Sutja’s Metaphysical Circus #7


Once more Mr Gutierrez graces us with his presence here at R$N Towers. This time he's concentrating on Touch Sensitive's reissue of Maya – Synthezoid Heartbreak / Distant Visions and the story behind it.

Re-adjust your brains just enough so that you're ready to enjoy whatever the day throws at you. Into the circus we go…

Maya – Synthezoid Heartbreak / Distant Visions

Have you ever felt like a robot? An alien maybe?
We are living in the 21 century and it’s pretty hard to fight against robotic behavior. Everyone’s “free” with their technology and their washed brains but, long ago if you wanted to feel real freedom you needed to fight against old fashioned traditions and pure ignorance. Once that has been done you were free but, everybody thought you were an alien. It’s 2016 and we all must know that aliens are
cool. I must say that my dad would have loved this.

Synthezoid Heartbreak/Distant Visions by Maya is the perfect cocktail of uniqueness, weirdness, sensual rage and struggle for freedom.

In 1973, Cincinnati, Burk Price aka Skyhorse (Guitar), Greg Whalen (Bass), Chris Clow (Vocals) and Jim Vassil (Drums) formed the band Maya.

Maya was well known by his extraordinary mise-en-scene. They ended all their gigs playing Distant Visions mixed with a very Hendrix-style Star Spangled Banner.

Synthezoid Heartbreak/Distant Visions were recorded at the Artist Recording Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio and self released by Maya in 1975.

In conversation with Burk Skyhorse: Greg Whalen was a prog-rock bassist with strong Chris Squire leanings. He was capable of playing lead parts on the bass and did so quite tastefully, bridging the gap between rhythm section and harmonic support. You can hear this on DISTANT VISIONS especially; those little bass runs behind Chris's vocals and behind my classic fingerpicking in the intro are tasty.

Chris Clow was a high, pure singer in the vein of Yes and Flash and the prog-rock bands we were influenced by.

Jim Vassil was a thunder drummer with a WICKED groove. His high hat flogging was right up there with Keith Moon, and he was especially adept at creating dynamics with subtle changes in brass/hat/tom work.

Then there was me, the mad guitar prophet from hell. I was deeply and profoundly influenced by Hendrix, with a nod to Brian May of Queen, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, and Steve Howe of Yes.

Well, the story of the band seems to be a bit unclear and mysterious but, one of the members (Skyhorse) is actually alive, living in California and he has a wonderful story behind.

Burk was a big fan of guitars and sound treatment. He would spend hours analyzing lps, magazines, new gear, fx pedals, etc. He was a freak (in the best sense of the word) but he got into drugs and had a big depression that made him attempt suicide twice.

He almost died in one of the suicide attempts but, there was a second chance waiting for him and now he is alive and playing with his actual band Cluster Phunk.

I am not a doctor but we all know that people who starts using drugs such as ecstasy, lsd, cannabis, heroin, etc. often notice changes in their mood.

I always said that taking drugs when you’re in trouble are a deadly cocktail. My advice is to not take drugs at all or at least if you want to, do it in the best way possible. Do it creatively and without problems in your mind/life.

The perfect recipe:

Having a synthezoid heartbreak because your wife cheated on you by telling you that everything was fine with your music world and then when you gave her the ring she wanted you to get a job at his dad’s real state company. They call you stupid dreamer but, you’re passionate and free like a blue bird having distant visions. Everyone thinks you’re an alien because you’re not like everyone. You’re different so, stop trying being like everybody else. Rules are for fools, losers and players. Worst game in earth. Drugs and suicide behavior. to feel alive… being a warrior.

William Blake once said:

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom… You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.”

Tip: Synthezoid Heartbreak/Distant Visions will be re-issued and released on vinyl the 26th February via Touch Sensitive records. You can pre-order here. Thanks to Mark Reid and Cherrystones for reissuing this wonderful piece.