Mark Tulin, original bassist for pioneering 60s psychedelic group The Electric Prunes, has died at age 62.
Tulin, a trained deep sea diver, frequently volunteered at the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber, or USC-CHC. The USC-CHC is an emergency medical facility for the treatment of scuba diving accidents, located in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island, off the coast of California. A February 26 post on the Facebook page for the USC-CHC said, “It is with deep sadness and a very heavy heart that I inform you of the death of Mark Tulin. He collapsed today while helping out at the Avalon Underwater Clean-Up and had immediate response by Baywatch Avalon and Avalon Fire Department medics, but he could not be revived.”
The Electric Prunes had two mid-60s hits with “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” and “Get Me to the World on Time.” The band went through many lineup changes in the late 60s and had completely dissolved by 1971, at which point none of the original members were still in the band; Tulin had already left a couple of years prior. Around 2001, the band reformed with three of its original members, Tulin included. The Electric Prunes toured extensively during the 00s and also released two all-new albums, including 2007’s critically-acclaimed ‘Feedback.’
“Professor Psychedelic,” as Tulin was known to his friends, also played occasionally with Smashing Pumpkins during recent years, contributing bass to most of the tracks that comprise their eighth album, ‘Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.’ He performed with the band at a show on Record Store Day in 2010, and also for their appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno a few days later.
Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan developed a close friendship with Mark Tulin. On February 27, producer and longtime Pumpkins collaborator Kerry Brown posted a fond remembrance of Tulin written by Corgan on his blog. The following were some of Corgan’s touching and insightful comments about Tulin and his life:
“Mark was part of a movement of suburban kids in the mid to late 60s that changed the world with their dark musical dreaming, and of course their Anglophile obsessions. From their imaginations sprang so many technicolor daydreams and all manner of wishing; wishing that we were often what we are not. Professor Psychedelic was his nickname, and he wore it proudly… Some bands just have the ‘it’ factor, and to those in the know, the Electric Prunes had it in spades before the blueprint was cast in cliched stone… Playing music with Mark was always a joy, he was truly a great, sympathetic musician, a native bass player who knew his instrument and played with a quiet fire… He died at least doing what he loved to do, helping others, as a volunteer, being part of a rescue team that helped distressed divers off Catalina Island.”