|Photograph: Laurence Harvey|
For those who aren’t familiar with The Groundhogs, Joanna supplied these words about singer and guitarist Tony McPhee who named the band back in the early 60s after the John Lee Hooker song, Groundhog's Blues; as well as few words from Julian Cope's Head Heritage website on the band:
'Tony McPhee may be the godfather of grunge - ask Nirvana producer Jack Endino; he may have been playing with blues legends (Hooker, Dupree, Wolf) in the British Blues boom - check out BBC4's 'Blues Britannia' and 'Blues in Britain' footage; he may have been voted 4th best British guitarist by Sounds magazine. He is certainly still featuring in Classic Rock, Mojo, Uncut & Music Maker magazines - you will have to buy those to see; and yet he remains one of the business’s more enigmatic guitar legends, choosing to just get on and play rather than jump on the music biz bandwagon.'
And this, from Julian Cope:
‘In the very early 1970s, the Groundhogs were an ultra-hip, Utopian musical force playing their Top 10 album songs on Top of the Pops and recording alongside Can, Hawkwind and Amon Düül 2 for Andrew Lauder’s groundbreaking Liberty/United Artists record label. The Groundhogs’ albums were housed in supercool gatefolds or triple-gatefolds or even 12” x 15” unfolding comic books which portrayed the individual group members as superheroes. The Groundhogs referred to themselves as ‘Men of Destiny with secret thoughts of saving the world’, and gave their albums titles such as Thank Christ for the Bomb, Split and Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs!
...the Groundhogs music was something else entirely. It was a frantic and unresolved post-blues played at breakneck speed with a hard non-hippy idealism and drumming that sounded as though the god Thor was using the gasworks as tom-toms… Their frantic songs of alienation would piledrive along only to disintegrate into whoops of feedback and sonic wah-distortion. As a 15-year-old, I’d sit in the living-room of local axe-hero and watch him mime ecstatically to the guitar freakout in which T.S. makes his Stratocaster sound like the flushing of an electric toilet!’