- July 21st, 2009
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Galactic Zoo Dossier #8 is now out. In it you can find my interview with light-show and light-painting pioneer Bill Ham. I put a lot of behind-the-scenes work into making this piece happen. Ham is a true American visionary and one cool dude to boot. His work with the Charlatans at the now mythical Red Dog Saloon in Nevada and with The Family Dog at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom helped lay the foundation for the swirling, kaleidoscopic light shows that would become a trademark of the global psychedelic movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s. Ham, who had been experimenting with light for several years, predates the Haight-Ashbury scene. He started collaborating with bands as early as the summer of 1965. Ham and the Charlatans are more or less considered the inventors of the psychedelic rock show experience. So yeah, he’s a real badass.
If you’ve never seen a copy of G.Z.D., then you’re in for a treat. It’s a lavish fanzine dedicated to psychedelia both old and new, with original artwork from artist and creator Steve Krakow. It comes with a CD and a set of Guitar God & Astral Folk Goddess Trading Cards. Don’t miss out on those! You can order a copy of Galactic Zoo Dossier from its publisher, Drag City, or from distributors like Forced Exposure and Boomkat. It’s pricey but well worth the cost.
For more on the history of the Red Dog Saloon, which is ground zero for just about everything that happened in San Francisco between 1966 and ’69, check out this article and this amazing documentary. Great stuff.