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.
1.When and why did you start playing?
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?
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?
HARMONY: Smoke on the Water (on toy piano), and theme from Exodus (on kazoo).
4. Is your family musical?
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?
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?
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 2.
9.What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
HARMONY: I’m hungry.
10. Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?
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?
HARMONY: I distract the audience by breaking into interpretive dance.
12.Do you get nervous before a performance?
HARMONY: Only if I’ve forgotten my kazoo. And my weed.
13.What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
HARMONY: Keep away from the brown acid before going on stage, man.
14.Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?
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?
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.