- F Desprte these technical manaped t o get a deal W& a the wreckage of an actual Swedish as stoned hipp~eshave huacked a jet and however,when Pan Am threatened to to lay low. Years later, S~meonIS sbll ambitious electronic instrument. Much t o the embarrassment of its inventor, i t became known as 'the Simeon'. It involved nine extra oscillators packed together and wired into the telegraph keyboard, and a bass foot pedal to produce a shifting chord drone. It produced some spectacular results, but i t wasn't without problems.
"After the first couple of times playing out i t became apparent that it was going to be impossible to do any serious touring with this monstrosity. After a lot of trial-anderror we ended up building i t in sections that we could hook together at the venue. In that sense, today's version is no improvement. It's still an awkward bitch to travel with,
album had been recorded at New York's Record Plant, but nobody was interested in releasing it. The tapes were eventually lost when the studio closed in 1990.
After f~nallygetting his equipment back, Simeon attempted to relaunch Silver Apples (minus Danny) as a quartet, but after one gig at The Village Gate in 1 9 7 0 he decided to give up music for painting.
"It took a three month sailboat trip and a year of selling ice cream from a truck before I could clear out the intensities of the Silver Apples experience. It was another two years after that before I was able to do anything meaningful as an artist. The rock bulky and fragile.
business can be hell on your edges," comments Simeon.
"The Simeon was always i n a s ta te of f l ux and 7- development," he continues. "I guess there would have been about four Simeons in the past. The one I am playing now has already gone through one metamorphos~s,so it's The Simeon Mark VI. When I reformed the band I was determined that I wasn't going to call it the Simeon anymore. That wasn't my idea in the first place, it was a label hype thing. It isn't in my nature to go around naming things after myself, but I suppose I'm stuck with it."
For the riext 2 0 years Simeon concentrated solely on art. Then one day at an opening of an exhibition featuring some of his work, he was introduced to Xian Hawkins. The meeting was the charge that jolted Sllver Apples back into life.
"Xian was doing sound for one of the bands playing at the opening party. He overheard me mention Silver Apples to one of the musicians and struck up a conversation. I met Michael, our drummer, through Xian. Michael had never heard of Silver Apples, which I thought was kind of cool."
T he first Silver Apples album was released by Kapp in 1968, sporting a striking silver cover upon wh~chtwo apples had been stencilled in black ink. The music inside described a then unique hybrid of rock dynamics, courtesy of I Taylor's tuned drum kit, wayward electronics and poetry supplied by acquaintances of the group. "Oscillat~ons"was • issued as a single, and much to everybody's amazement H managed t o get into Philadelphia's Top Ten. The album's other notable song was "Program", which features an early example of radio sampling, an experiment that, across the water in London, was being duplicated more studiously by AMM guitarist Keith Rowe.
"Sampling was not a known phenomenon at the time," remarks Simeon. "At least not to me anyway, but I felt the need to do more with the song than just perform it straight. I punled over it for days, then one day it hit me to do just what the guy in the song is doing, dial a radio from left to right, searching for sounds. We recorded it with
The new Silver Apples have just recorded an album in Chicago with producer Steve Albini. Simeon says: "When word got out that we were going to be performing in Chicago last spring, a friend of his got in touch with me and said I should call Steve when I got there because he was a fan. So I d~d.We set the date to record. The sessions produced some awesome stuff. We recorded all 12 songs in two intenslve days. There is no question that this is the best work Silver Apples has ever done."
After 3 0 years of neglect, Silver Apples have finally come through. "All the external forces involved were like a crowbar prising my fingers off the paintbrush. There was something cosmic about meeting Xian and having it all open up for me. I couldn't ignore i t Besides, I love music, always have." Silver Apples tour the UK this month: see Soundings for details. For details of the availabili~of past and future Silver Apples releases, go to their website at: www.s~lverapples.com.Thanks to Phi1McMullen for information and assistance with this article