Turn On Your Mind

Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock




Turn On Your Mind used to be called Kaleidoscope Eyes. As his introduction explains at considerable length, Jim DeRogatis changed the title because it was a reference to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which isn’t as good a Beatles song as “Tomorrow Never Knows,” whence the new title comes. This sort of deranged nitpicking makes DeRogatis a perfect guide through five decades of psychedelia, using band histories and contentious High Fidelity-esque charts, one of which claims that Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” is a psychedelic masterpiece. DeRogatis’s mind may have expanded a little too far, but as the hippies would say, Turn On Your Mind is a real gas. James Slaughter, BLENDER magazine


Back in 1996, rock scribe Jim DeRogatis put out a book called Kaleidoscope Eyes: Psychedelic Rock From the ‘60s to the ‘90s, which was a great overview of an often-misunderstood genre. This tome immediately won my heart by pointedly not acknowledging the Grateful Dead as the ne plus ultra of psychedelia—indeed, DeRogatis makes a convincing argument that the Dead barely qualify as psych at all. More importantly, though, the book has had a huge influence on my listening habits over the past eight years, ultimately becoming as big a factor in my record collection as the various volumes of The Trouser Press Record Guide. (And isn’t that the point of a book about music? To encourage readers to listen to that music?) DeRogatis’ lively, opinionated writing and omnivorous taste made Kaleidoscope Eyes one of my very favorite rock books. It’s been supplanted, however, by Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, DeRogatis’ revised edition of Kaleidoscope Eyes. HIGH BIAS (CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW)


Jim DeRogatis presents to the public his exhaustively researched book on the roots of psychedelic rock, and his ensuing opinions and considerations on the most influential psychedelic records of all time. The book’s title takes it’s moniker from the omnipresent catch-phrase, setting the tone for a drug-induced rollercoaster of musicians centering around The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. “Turn On Your Mind” focuses on Psychedelia’s inception the 60’s, and shows the bridges and seeping transitions into the Indy rock, Emo, and the roots of the Rave scene. Despite spending time covering the British influence and the inner workings of many smaller bands, the tome is effectively a 600-page CD review laden with top ten “most psychedelic” lists. DeRogatis kaleidoscopically jumps from artist to artist doing a thorough job of following up on all of his tangents; explaining why everything happened, who dropped who’s acid, and what band both Lemmy of Mötörhead and Sci-Fi writer Michael Moorcock both fronted. DeRogatis is a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, and is also is the author of the meticulously researched and Romilar-laden “Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Journalist.” Brett Lemke, MAXIMUM INK


To many, psychedelic rock is the musical equivalent of the gray-ponytailed hippie: occasionally noticed at the supermarket but mostly thought to be trapped in the Sixties. In this self-described improvement on his earlier Kaleidoscope Eves, DeRogatis (Let It Blurt: The Life and Tales of Lester Bangs) aims to show that psychedelic rock didn’t just spring up and then wilt with the flower children. He charts the genre’s journey from Albert Hoffman’s first batch of LSD to the Beach Boys’ hipster bandwagon fave, Pet Sounds, to the current jumble of techno/ dance/mind music. He also introduces us to psychedelic rock’s family: the ugly nerd child (progressive rock), German exchange students (Kraftwerk and Krautrock), and the aromatherapist (New Age mood music). DeRogatis’s harsh honesty is refreshing as he rips into Jim Morrison’s dimestore Beat poetry and Sonic Youth’s indie snobbery, but it evaporates as he spends a whole chapter gushing over dork rockers Flaming Lips. With the current explosion of neo-garage bands, this book will need another edition in about three years. Recommended for most libraries, both public and academic, and for drum and guitar start-ups. Eric Hahn, LIBRARY JOURNAL


There are probably as many defin­tions of psychedelic music as there are of the nature of folk music. In this massive revision of his 1996 book, Kaleidoscope Eyes, Chicago Sun­Times rock critic Jim DeRogatis makes it clear what he does, and does not, consider to be true psychedelic music. He dismisses many late-60s icons such as the Doors and Quick­silver Messenger Service in a few sentences each, but waxes eloquently and at length about acts like Roxy Music, Pere Ubu, and Yes that do not commonly fall under the psychedelic umbrella. Also, don’t pick this up expecting to read about the current jam band scene (which gets about a page), or to learn much about any groups that use blues or jazz influ­ences as the basis for extended impro­visations (DeRogatis opines that the Grateful Dead reached its artistic peak during their “garage band” phase in 1965-66). DeRogatis does a fine job of delving into the early 1970s “Krautrock” phenomenon, and later shows his admiration for, and knowledge of, the arcana of the myriad cult bands that made up the various psychedelic revivals of the last quarter century. Where he really shines is in making the connections between early psyche­delia and contemporary genres such as house music, techno, “stoner rock,” and rap. The book is also as contem­porary as publication deadlines allow, bringing in such current acts as the Strokes and Polyphonic Spree. DeRogatis never pulls any punches, and is as lavish in his criticism (describing Donovan’s early years: “...he aimed for Woody Guthrie, but sounded more like Woody Woodpecker”) of musicians he feels are overrated as he is in his praise of acts like My Bloody Valentine and Moby. One may not always agree with DeRo­gatis’ strong opinions, but his enthu­siasm, and his prose, never flag throughout the book’s encyclopedic length. The volume is peppered with “best of’ lists and illustrations, and the 186 album “Ultimate Psychedelic Rock Library” and a further 43-page discography provide plenty of aural support for those who would rather listen than read. — Michael Parrish, DIRTY LINEN


Turn On Your Mind is a massive 630-page look at the progression of psych rock since the mid­60s. DeRogatis doesn’t only focus on the usually covered San Francisco psych scene, but also takes a trip to New York (Velvet Underground), Texas (Thirteenth Floor Elevators) and England (Pink Floyd) as well as pointing out the psych-leanings of The Beatles, The Byrds and other main­stream ‘60s acts. The author also travels through the past three decades bringing to light psych’s modern practitioners and one­hit wonders, a rare interview with Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter, and ends the book with “The Ultimate Psychedelic Rock Library,” a list of 186 essential psych record­ings, and Further Psychedelic Explorations, a list of more bands and albums. The “essential” list includes albums by a diverse group of artists ranging from The Seeds, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Love, Parliament, and The Rolling Stones to Genesis, Oasis, Stereolab, U2, and The Flaming Lips. — GOLDMINE


In Turn On Your Mind by Guitar World contributor Jim DeRogatis is a historical and critical look at one of rock’s most inventive genres. This mind­expanding book connects the dots between early pio­neers like Pink Floyd and new millennial practitioners like the Flaming Lips and Wilco. Krautrock, shoe-gazers and one-hit wonders are present and accounted for, but blotter acid is not included.— GUITAR WORLD


Turn On Your Mind is dense and comprehensive In examining, the rise and heyday of psychedelia and its subsequent New Wave and rave effect. DeRogatis is no stranger to deconstructing rock & roll - he’s covered Lester Bangs, alt-rock critique, and more — but the ambitious effort wears thin. At a time when few sounds are pure in influence, most bands share broad artistic influences that don’t really make the connection unique. Yet DeRogatis has a passion that’s alluring even when you’re slogging past page 500. — Margaret Moser, THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE


DeRogatis takes on that ever-present Woodstock generation in Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (Hal Leonard). DeRogatis draws upon the parallels between the summer of love and twenty-first-century stoner rockers, between sixties acid tests and modern raves, to illustrate the enduring legacy of the psychedelic era. So whether you’re a member of the baby boom or of the “baby boom echo” generation, check out the balls on this writer.  — Barbara Rice-Thompson, PENTHOUSE


I’ve been a fan of writer Jim DeRogatis since the publication of Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic. Now, he’s followed that with Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. What’s most interesting in DeRogatis’ interpretation of what is and isn’t psych is that his boundaries are widespread. He in now way limits himself to the middle and late 1960s. You’ll find Moby in here, even Wilco, and justification and context for it all. Turn on Your Mind deserves close reading. —John Koenig, DISCOVERIES