Listening to Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus and thinking of Mr. Skin

The passing of drummer Ed Cassidy of the band Spirit has me reflecting on their music and what it’s meant to me.

When I was a kid, I ended up buying some pretty “off the wall” records. In 1976, while living in San Francisco, I bought SpiritSon Of Spirit. I was already familiar with “I’ve Got A Line On You” from Oldies Radio.

Around the same time as I was making my first forays into collecting Psychedelic records, a friend took me to see Spirit as a three-piece at The Golden Bear in Huntington Beach. Ed Cassidy cut quite the mysterious figure in my young mind.

I eventually picked-up all the “real” Spirit albums produced before Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes went off to form Jo Jo Gunne and Randy California eventually resurfaced under the Kapt. Kopter And The Twirly Birds moniker. Ed Cassidy and John Locke carried on as Spirit with brothers John and Al Staehely for a short while.

A year or two after the Golden Bear show, I attended what was essentially an early Psychedelic revival show at the Santa Monica Civic Center with the group, still a three-piece, headlining above Steppenwolf and The Strawberry Alarm Clock I remember seeing Randy California inside the entrance area meeting and greeting the crowd in what looked to be a shiny psychedelic jump suit.

I don’t think Spirit had preconceived idea about what kind of band they were or what type of music they were supposed to create. Their music alternately evoked the mellow Laurel Canyon and the dystopia of “1984″.

I used to get reports of Ed Cassidy doing his laundry next door to the store I used to work at, Peanut Records, around 1990, but I never saw him. But, at last I can say, “Mr. Skin, I know where you’ve been.”

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