The mythology of rock’n’roll seldom recognizes the importance of the Welsh to the art form. Not only did the Welsh provide the world with the important parts of Stonehenge and because of this a lifetime of free festivals and back to the stones moments, they also gave us Bill Graham’s favorite band that was not the Grateful Dead or some other band from San francisco.
Sometime in the dim and distant 70’s a Welsh band played the Filmore and so impressed the diminutive music mogul he paid them a bonus, an unheard of thing, and introduced them to John Cippolina, the guitar maestro from Quicksilver Messenger Service. Immediately a connection was born around volume, guitars and jamming, and drugs of course there was drugs.
This heady brew led to one of the great live albums in Maximum Darkness which is a jam packed joy of guitaring and singing about bananas, guitars and drugs. Three guitars, bass and drums all turned to 11 and rocking out for that true West Coast meets South Wales sound. It’s also got one of the best record sleeves ever.
For years the rumor circulated that Cippolina’s guitar had been overdubbed by Mickey Jones but none other than the great Deke Leonard has reassured us that everything that sounds like Cippolina is Cippolina and that’s all I or anyone else should need.