F J McMAHON
Originally released in the late 1960s on the semi-legendary Accent label, F J McMahon's rare folk LP "Spirit of the Golden Juice" found a new audience via a vinyl reissue a few years ago. I was able to connect with F J ("F" stands for Fred) recently and he kindly agreed to a short Q & A to provide some more details on his somewhat mysterious LP and career.
Q: Could you say something about your background and early years, especially with relation to playing/listening to music?
FJM: I started playing guitar around 1958 or so after reading an Elvis fan mag. I started a band in junior high school and did real well through high school. We started with Ventures music and progressed through the steps with the rest of the world with folk, Beatles etc. After a stint in the Air Force I came back to Santa Barbara Calif, home town. And started playing.
Q: Your LP reminds me a bit of the 1960s folk scene and artists like Fred Neil and Tim Hardin - would you consider yourself part of that era?
FJM: The people I listened to most were Beatles, Steven Stills, Hoyt Axton, Johnnie Winter. I still think Hoyt Axton was about the best singer/story teller there ever was.
Q: What were the circumstances behind the LP?
FJM: Tigereye music put out the album in 1969. I played lead and backup guitar on the album, vocals, wrote all the songs. It was the only album I ever recorded. The bass player was a guy called Peace Pipe, who had a couple of singles on Accent [note: this was probably Jon Uzonyi]. The album was recorded at PD Sound in LA. The photo on the back is Big Sur, California coastline, the one on the front was taken at the infamous Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.
Q: What precisely does the title (and song) "Spirit of the Golden Juice" refer to?
FJM: The song Spirit is about my experiences in Viet Nam, Thailand and the PI. The "golden juice" is I.W. Harper bourbon which was the fuel of the times.
Q: Did you play much live back then?
FJM: I played live for about 8 years and then gave it up when disco took over.
© Lama Sivart Doz 2002
The Lama Workshop