Rock the Day A Guest Post by my Good Friend & Music Maven Marc Lund
July 22: Kaleidoscope (originally The Kaleidoscope) was an American psychedelic folk and ethnic band who recorded four albums and several singles for Epic Records between 1966 and 1970. The group was formed in 1966. The original members were: David Lindley (b. March 21, 1944, Los Angeles, California); Solomon Feldthouse (b. January 20, 1940, Pingree, Idaho); Chris Darrow (b. July 30, 1944, Sioux Falls, South Dakota); Chester Crill (a.k.a. Max Budda, Max Buda, Fenrus Epp, Templeton Parcely) (b. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma); John Vidican (b. Los Angeles, California)
Lindley was an experienced performer on a variety of stringed instruments, notably the banjo, winning the Topanga Canyon Banjo Contest several years in a row. While studying at La Salle High School in Pasadena, he formed his first group, the Mad Mountain Ramblers, who performed around Los Angeles folk clubs. There, he met Darrow, who was a member of a rival group, the Re-Organized Dry City Players. Soon afterwards, around 1964, the pair formed a new group, the Dry City Scat Band, which also included fiddle player Richard Greene (later of Seatrain), but Darrow soon left to set up a new rock group, The Floggs. Lindley also began forming his own electric group. In the course of this he met Feldthouse, who had been raised in Turkey and, on returning to the U.S., had performed flamenco music and as an accompanist to belly dancing groups. Lindley and Feldthouse then began performing as a duo, David and Solomon, when they met Chester Crill. They invited him to join their band, and by the end of 1966 added Darrow and drummer John Vidican, so forming The Kaleidoscope.
The group was founded on democratic principles — there was no “leader”.
Their 1967 piece Stranger in Your City/Beacon from Mars, recorded live in the studio, was also influential, with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page calling them his “favorite band of all time.”
It featured a solo by Lindley in which, on stage, he used a violin bow on electric guitar, probably inspiring Page to use the same effect later. Another influential guitarist, Eddie Phillips of UK psychedelic group Creation, was using a violin bow on a guitar as early as 1966. The album A Beacon from Mars was released in early 1968, to generally good reviews but poor sales. Liner notes to the CD reissue of this album claim the original title was Bacon From Mars but it was misprinted.
At the end of 1969, Kaleidoscope contributed two new songs (Brother Mary and Mickey’s Tune) to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, and supported Cream on their American farewell tour. The band split up soon afterwards. Here is Kaleidoscope with Banjo followed by Seven-Ate Sweet: