By: Dave Gedge
Bad Acid Magazine
"Some of my best trips were bad trips..."
Chrome, the legendary US acid punks play the soundtrack to your worst nightmare trip - harsh, grating, cold, evil, dark, crawling with skin burning acid noise....One moment sounding like the soundtrack to a hardcore zombie flick, the next like a completely insane robotic hate machine, in search of mass killing, white fire pouring from it's vents.... A near death alien abduction experience put to music.
After a period of absence, and the death of co-founding member Damon Edge they've re-emerged and released a crushing album "Tidal Forces" on Mans Ruin, and a double live cd on Cleopatra.
I spoke to an acid-fried Helios Creed about the concept and ideas behind Chrome, past and present.....
Chrome is real harsh, why?
Helios: "Harsh? Like harsh laundry detergent?"
Helios: "Industrial strength...."
Like acidic, melt
your skin off and make your ears burn....
Helios: "Industrial strength pipe cleaner...."
Helios: "Well, the original concept that me and Damon had was that if your parents hated it, it was sure to become popular. When we were making Alien Soundscapes we wanted to make sure that the younger kids that were buying those kind of records, their parents would definitely think it was harsh, y'know?
It's very robotic,
No Humans Allowed! Where does that come from?"
Helios: "That was an idea on Alien Soundscapes where humans were not readily available or allowed, so it was a better way of capturing the imagination of all the astringent and strange people."
Your music kinda
goes good trip then BAD trip, and when it's a bad trip it's fucking heavy.
Helios: "Yeah, that's the thing that me and Damon talked about. In the sixties when music was all good trip.... we decided we'd express bad trips as well.... funny trips, scary trips, y'know? You could be totally in fear of your life one second, the next second laughing... that's the kind of funny-scary approach where you don't know if you're dying or being reborn.... that's a good feeling. Fear always brings out a bunch of adrenaline that goes really well with the experience."
Unless you think
you're not breathing anymore....
Helios: "Or that you're not getting enough radiation or something...."
SF plays a big part
in your lyrical approach.
Helios: "Yeah, somebody said that the movies from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's are prophecies of what we're experiencing in real life, so there should be music with that too."
Does this reflect
Helios: "Yeah, inner space is equally important in the Chrome experience. Alien possession helps with the music."
Helios: "Yeah, when you get possessed by an alien you write a different kind of music, right? That's another Chrome concept, alien possession. First there's alien abduction, then alien possession. They just come into your body and you just start writing alien music."
Are we talking
Helios: "Musicians channel anyway, artists and stuff... So it's just one step further away for you to be possessed."
Has LSD played a
part in this, opening your mind?
Helios: "Yeah, you could become channelled really heavilly through LSD to the point of totally losing yourself, and becoming another spirit.... and experiencing things on that level which leaves one to believe we should study this drug further, haha!!"
Would you say,
then, that you need psychedelics to get into your music?
Helios: "Good psychedelics are always advisable!"
What are 'good'
Helios: "Well, back in the old school of psychedelics the best were
All old types of
Helios: "Yeah. The best acid I ever took was called Orange Sunshine back in the sixties, and I think what made that so good was it was in a tablet form and it had other things mixed in with it, like a little heroin, a little bit of coke, it was mixed with other things that got you up, so when you did it there was no way you could have a bad trip or a scary trip. They had some great chemists back then, you'd never be sick the next day due to taking too much of the hard stuff. Acid was the prominent trip"
Is acid the main
instigator of the Chrome experience?
Helios: "Yes, I would say it is, you know, we're all like chromosome damaged and all that, so we're heavily influenced by the LSD experience. Also the time Chrome was putting out those records we were also influenced by the punk experience. LSD was very square, so we had to express it in a new way."
I gather you weren't
that accepted in the punk scene?
Helios: "No, not at first. We were hated because acid was so square, that's what hippies did, right?! So it was stacks of beer and hard drugs I guess, which was fine with me. That was the early days, but you know how things mutate."
You talked about phenomena and aliens, what's the fascination with that?
Helios: "Well there's been a big fascination since I was a teenager. I saw a UFO in Hawii, I was with a friend and it was really visible, right over my head. Strange lights, a saucer shaped disc, it was definitely not our technology - human being technology - I'd say I was about eighteen or nineteen years old, and this was before I was recording or doing music in a big way, but it influenced me alot after seeing that. So that's where the Helios Creed thing came from."
When I was the same
age me and a mate used to hang out in this place and we experienced a time
lapse. We were walking on top of a hill in the afternoon, on the way home from
a smoke in the country, we tripped over and when we got up it was dark. We'd
lost four hours.
Helios: "You had that? It's called 'missing time'. I think I might have had that but you can never tell 'cos you've gotta record and document all your time.... and if your time's not documented you can't prove you've had missing time.I was on mushrooms when I saw my UFO and I don't like to tell people that, but I really did see it. But the reason I know I saw it was the guy sitting next to me saw it as well. Things got very intense after that. They seemed to be helping, channelling for sure. They were higher evolved than us. Even though it was over twenty years ago it could happen any day. Anybody can have a mind boggling experience."
It seriously makes
you question what's real.
Helios: "Yeah, I've had alot of experiences where I didn't think I was coming back. And then you're suprised when you come down. But good LSD is hard to find these days. One of the things that kept it going in the States was, and still is, the Grateful Dead thing. There's numerous people involved that make it and sell it. It's like a family thing. You can always buy the latest good acid. And there's thousands of those guys in jail for doing that, too.... they're still there today, that's why it's hard to get the good stuff. It was a big part of the American culture. It was a big threat to the government so they had to stamp it out."
Have you tried
Helios: "Yeah, I've done ecstacy quite a few times."
What did you think?
Helios: "I thought it was okay.... I guess. I did it about five or six times, each time it was different.... I remember sex was good! But it was so long ago it's kind of a vague memory."
Yeah, it doesn't
stand out. Ecstacy has brought in a really boring drug culture.
Helios: "Yeah, we've got that over here too, I don't care for it much. I was asked if I wanted to do a techno record.... I said I didn't want anything to do with it! Everywhere you go that's all humans listen to, right? If you're an alien you're gona think "Where's the music?". So we made No Humans Allowed for people who like things a little off the wall."
I listened to that
and it made sense to my ears.
Helios: "Both me and Damon vibed on that at the same time. Chrome was held as one of the scariest acid bands. If you wanna go on an acid trip whether it be good or bad; Chrome!! Most people go on a laughing trip by the end, and the reason for that is that you feel the Devil is about to reem you up the ass!! It's funny and scary at the same time... You just start cracking up....
"The reason why Chrome made it the way it did was because space rock wasn't going to take off as it was, it had to have that negativity to it, that's why we were labelled 'acid punk', and it had that threatening aspect. The flowery thing was over, people thought acid was over completely, but little did they know.... I was having a hard time with the hippy 'positive' thing. They didn't acknowledge the negative part of how they got to where they were, that was a big thing missing."
That's where Bad
Acid is coming from. Respecting the negative trips as much as the positive.
Helios: "Yeah, you've got to acknowledge both."
I've had alot of
bad trips but they've taught me so much.
Helios: "They do teach you alot of stuff, some of my best trips were bad trips."
I've heard people say
that there's no such thing as a bad trip.
Helios: "But what do they talk about the most? It's the bad trips!! They're the most interesting ones! If people want to have a pleasant acid experience but can't relate to the heaviness of it, they're just too fucking wimpy! We're making acid music for people who have a pioneer adventurer within them, that aren't afraid of the ridges and rough terrain, you know what I mean? We take people to dark, scary places that some might not wanna go to on acid, but then we bring them back out of it, we wouldn't leave them there!
I'm gonna make music for people who take acid for the rest of my goddam life! It's what need, it's what we all need, that want it. I'm not gonna wimp out and be apathetic to the whole thing.
The music scene today is like a lollipop or something, but music can be many things. Noise can be many things. Music is sound itself. That's what acid is for!"