Monthly Archives: September 2016

Interview With Two Really Mod Hippies

Interview Joe Flower & Harmony Breeze

San Francisco based hippie-duo Joe Flower & Harmony Breeze first made waves in Australia with a cover of Bruce Watson’s Save The Hippie. Now, on the heels of their summer festival tour with The Trippy Hippy Band, they’re set to mark the psychedelic world yet again. While readying their weed contacts in Nimbin (which is currently under siege from a Byron Bay SWAT team) Joe & Harmony were pleased to sit and fidget with us for several minutes: “Almost straight, can yah dig it?” The following exchange is a sobering meditation on the priorities of a relationship amidst a hectic touring schedule backdrop.

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1.When and why did you start playing?

JOE: I started playing air guitar at 11, but didn’t graduate to a real guitar until I was 22, so 1991. I started playing a real guitar coz some asshole stole my record player.

HARMONY: My folks owned a record store on Sunset Blvd which had a small instrument section. Whiling away the hours my favorite instrument became a toy piano, that incidentally was used by Seals & Croft on their 1972 hit “Summer Breeze” – like, how far out is that?

2. Which instruments do you play?

JOE: 6 & 12 string acoustic guitar and ukulele. ( I did play double bass for a spell until I moved into an 8th floor apartment without an elevator.)

HARMONY: I play cosmic voice flute and also dig getting percussive with toe cymbals and tambourine. Recently I’ve been experimenting with an electric kazoo thru a Wah Wah pedal (wait til yah hear our version of Vodoo Child, like, wow!)

3.What was the first tune(s) you learned?

JOE: Bloodsucker by Deep Purple and a Grateful Dead version of the Elvis standard Ol’Shep.

HARMONY: Smoke on the Water (on toy piano), and theme from Exodus (on kazoo).

4. Is your family musical?

JOE: My folks weren’t players but they sure had a cosmic need for music in their lives. My mother was at Newport in 65 when Dylan went electric (and she cheered) and she met my father at Monterey Pop Festival in 67.

HARMONY: Like I said, my folks ran a record store in the 70s and most of the Laurel Canyon cats used to hang out there. I think Jackson Browne still owes them money, but I can’t really be sure coz I haven’t spoken to my folks since 1980 when they voted for Ronald Reagan.

5.Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

JOE: The Ravi Shankar who said, “Music is not for sale” and then went onto make a squilluon dollars from his music.

HARMONY: Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, right? Gloria Steinem too…she’s not a musician, I just admire her.

6.Which famous musicians have you learned from and what have you learnt?

JOE: Okay, like, Willie Nelson taught me how to make the best hash cookies ever, like, I saw more ceilings than Leonardo da Vinci, and Joan Baez who showed me how to whip up a cheese omelette.

HARMONY: My Laurel Canyon neighbor Frank Zappa showed me the best places to stash your shit when your being busted by the fuzz….

7.Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?

JOE & HARMONY: See question 6.
The Trippy Hippy Band
 8.Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

JOE & HARMONY: See question 2.

9.What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

JOE: My fondest musical memory was when Jerry Garcia said to me, “Dude can you hold my coffee?” I did. He blew his nose then said, “Thanks man.” I don’t have any musical memories from my house coz I grew up in an orphanage where live music was banned, and most musical memories from my town involve weed so I can’t remember most of them.

HARMONY: I’m hungry.

10. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

JOE: My favourite musicians are ones with good weed, groups too for that matter, like, they have groupies too, right. And CDs, like, no man, vinyl, right? But when that asshole stole my record player he took my records too, man!!

HARMONY: Any band that made the San Francisco scene in the mid 60s, like Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Fish, Quick Silver Messenger Service.

11.How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

JOE: Well, I just edit it out later…

HARMONY: I distract the audience by breaking into interpretive dance.

12.Do you get nervous before a performance?

JOE: Only if I’ve forgotten my guitar.

HARMONY: Only if I’ve forgotten my kazoo. And my weed.

13.What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

JOE: I’d say just wait until you’re no longer a beginner coz the nerves wear off by then.

HARMONY: Keep away from the brown acid before going on stage, man.

14.Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?

JOE: Are you kidding me?

HARMONY: Yeah, I attend sessions, and a good one is when I have to be carried out.

15.How often and for how long do you practice?

JOE: Are we still talking about music?

HARMONY: I like to align my Chakras with a daily practise of downward facing dogs and happy babies.

16. How do you balance your music with other obligations mate, children, job?

JOE: Music is my job, my mate and my children, can yah dig it?

HARMONY: Joe is my mate, see above.

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