2008 Artist Lineup

Ozric Tentacles

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A band from another time, Ozric Tentacles served as the bridge from ’70s cosmic rock to the organic dance and festival culture which came back into fashion during the ’90s. Formed in 1983 with a debt to jazz fusion as well as space rock, the band originally included guitarist Ed Wynne, drummer Nick Van Gelder, keyboard player Joie Hinton, bassist Roly Wynne and second guitarist Gavin Griffiths (though Griffiths left in 1984). The Ozrics played in clubs around London, meanwhile releasing six cassette-only albums beginning with 1984′s Erpsongs. (All six were later collected on the Vitamin Enhanced box set, despite a threatened lawsuit from the Kellogg’s cereal company for questionable artwork.) In 1987, Merv Pepler replaced Van Gelder, and synthesizer player Steve Everett was also added. Ozric Tentacles’ first major release, the 1990 album Erpland, foreshadowed the crusty movement, a British parallel to America’s hippy movement of the ’60s. Crusties borrowed the hippies’ organic dress plus the cosmic thinking of new agers, and spent most of their time traveling around England to various festivals and outdoor gatherings. The movement fit in perfectly with bands like Ozric Tentacles and the Levellers, and the Ozrics’ 1991 album Strangeitude became their biggest seller yet, occasioning a U.S. contract with Capitol. After the British-only Afterswish and Live Underslunky, 1993′s Jurassic Shift hit number 11 on the British charts — quite a feat for a self-produced album released on the Ozrics’ own Dovetail label. The album was released in America by I.R.S. Records, as was 1994′s Arborescence. Neither album translated well with American audiences — despite the band’s first U.S. tour in 1994 — and Ozric Tentacles returned to its Dovetail label for 1995′s Become the Other. Waterfall Cities closed out the decade in 1999, and the following summer the group resurfaced with Swirly Termination. Hinton and Pepler also perform in the trance-techno outfit Eat Static, and have released several albums on Planet Dog Records. Ozric Tentacles surfaced in 2000 to release Hidden Step, followed by the EP Pyramidion. In 2002, Live at the Pongmasters Ball came out on both CD and DVD, making it their first venture into the latter. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

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