By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Through the past
Texas Compilation (Mark's Dream)
Mind and Eye Records
Mark Migliore--who took his own life a little over a year ago--had a profound influence on the local music scene, both individually and through his Rockadelic Records, a vinyl-only label dedicated to sounds that could broadly be thought of as psychedelic. Mike Pemberton--of local garage-psych band the Burnin' Rain--was one of the people who knew him well, so it's only fitting that Pemberton's Mind and Eye label issue this tribute to Migliore.
Mark's Dream has done an excellent job of encompassing the span of both Migliore's career and his interests. The Other Side's "I Want You" was Rockadelic's first single, issued in the late '80s; The Sacred Seeds' "Mark's Dream"--on which Migliore played bass--was one of his last projects. Migliore wasn't dogmatic in his tastes, however; if something interested him, he supported it, and two groups that weren't necessarily psych bands but nonetheless benefited from his appreciation--Lithium X-mas ("Halo of Flies," a mis-named Alice Cooper cover) and Hash Palace ("It's Too Late")--also appear.
The local psych scene has an interwoven, family-like vibe reflected in the personnel on Dream: Ubiquitous drummer Chris Gore, who plays on five cuts with four bands; Pemberton--who in addition to Burnin' Rain plays guitar with Fish Eye Lens (another band that featured Migliore as a member, on bass), the Texas Fog Society, and Sacred Seeds; and several other people appear with different bands.
The sound is classic garage psychedelia--tinny keyboards that paint a star-studded background against which fuzzed-out guitars rage and tear, cascading vocals that try to summon some inner light against the darkness, and rhythms that range from spacey ballads to amphetamine-laced workouts, sometimes within a single song. The best of the bunch is Fish Eye Lens' "Cast Your Eyes," an almost-textbook psych exposition. It's a sound whose principal flavor is Roky road--as in the Thirteenth Floor Elevators--but other, more obscure bands like Cold Sun, Shiva's Headband, the Exotics, and the Headstones are in there, too. Mark's Dream is in fact a pretty good insight into what moves the more retro half of the Dallas psych scene, as opposed to the less traditional campers like Bag and Jaloppy.
Rockadelic continues as a label, ably helmed by Migliore's brother. Mark's passing left many painful questions, but documentation of his importance to local music--at least--lies in the grooves of Mark's Dream. "If he hadn't of been around," Pemberton says, "we wouldn't have gone on to do what we have so far. We would've been happy with one album; now we have five. He was a major influence."