Magic Mushrooms

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The Magic Mushrooms released one of the finest pieces of early psychedelic garage madness, "It's-A-Happening," in late 1966. Introduced by nothing less than mindblowing screeching distorted guitars, the…
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The Magic Mushrooms released one of the finest pieces of early psychedelic garage madness, "It's-A-Happening," in late 1966. Introduced by nothing less than mindblowing screeching distorted guitars, the rave-up verses threatened to go out of whack like a cuckoo clock unwinding for the last time. These were brought to sudden halts by fuzz guitar licks and scrapes, after which a narrator intoned spoken pearls of acidic wisdom such as "spray the weed, a zephyr breeze, a mushroom hangs above the ground." Whether this was serious brain-damaged psychedelia or a parody of some sorts is unclear. The production was quite advanced for its time, however, particularly in the guitar work, and actually made #93 in the charts, on A&M Records no less.

Since original members of garage bands such as the Magic Mushrooms are usually found by fanatical fanzine editors, it's odd that so little hard information has come to light about the band, doubly so since "It's-A-Happening" was included on the landmark Nuggets compilation. According to the liner notes on the Nuggets box set, the single was recorded in New York, and writer/producer Sonny Casella was based in Philadelphia. According to Lenny Kaye's original liner notes, they also did singles for East Coast and Philips, and according to Mike Stax's liner notes on the box, they released two albums. A couple of other tracks have shown up on obscure garage-psychedelic compilations, such as "Never Let Go" (on You Gotta Have Moxie Vol. 2, a really tough and rapid bluesy garage tune, and the more generic garage song "I'm Gone."