Melancholic Reaction

I was saddened to hear of the death of John Byrne, the mainman of 60s garage band, the Count Five. Their first (and last) album, Psychotic Reaction, is one of my all time favourites. Byrne’s lyrics are so cheerfully moronic they pass right the way through stupidity and out the other side into something that sounds like some sort of weird wisdom, but probably isn’t. Example: ‘Well just you walk down any street/ You’re sure to meet one of us/ Well if you don’t meet one of us/ You’re sure to see a double-decker bus/ Here comes the double-decker bus’.

Lester Bangs wrote a somewhat famous article on the Count Five, Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, collected in the book of the same name, in which he imagines a whole fictional career following on from their one actual hit, Psychotic Reaction, including the brilliantly-titled (sadly non-existent) album, Snowflakes Falling on the International Dateline. To my mind, it’s the best thing Bangs ever wrote (and also possibly the best ever fiction writing about rock music), and pisses on all the stream-of-consciousness drugwitter that he became better known for.

Anyway, here’s the Count Five in action, playing, like all good bands of the period, right next to a swimming pool.


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