Quite often, the term "jam band" is used to describe an outfit that has a serious Grateful Dead fixation, but jam bands don't necessarily have to sound like the Grateful Dead, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, or Kingfish (although many of them do). In a nutshell, there are two main things that make a jam band a jam band: a strong '60s and/or '70s influence and a love of jamming and improvisation. Applying those standards, Psychedelic Breakfast is very much a jam band, but the bandmembers don't go out of their way to emulate the Dead or the New Riders. Bona Fide, in fact, has a lot more in common with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention (one of the Connecticut quartet's main influences). Recorded live in 2002 at a Northampton, MA, club called Pearl Street, this CD captures Psychedelic Breakfast in the environment where its members obviously feel the most comfortable: on-stage. These performances aren't the least bit innovative; Psychedelic Breakfast is unapologetically derivative, and Bona Fide sounds like it could have been recorded in 1972 instead of 2002. Further, the lyrics sound as dated as the melodies -- this band thrives on hippie-era clichés. But sounding dated isn't necessarily a negative thing; it can even be a plus if one has a high opinion of a particular era. Psychedelic Breakfast is stuck in the early '70s, and the fact that these performances sound so dated is actually a big part of their charm. Retro numbers like "Cosmic Spaceway" and "Rufus" will never be called groundbreaking, but the members of Psychedelic Breakfast are good at what they do -- even if they are overly self-indulgent at times. All things considered, Bona Fide is a likable, if imperfect, document of the Zappa-minded jam band.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson