Philadelphia-based neo-psych band The Asteroid #4 are set to record an album this September with Peter Daltrey, vocalist from 60s UK psychedelic rock group Kaleidoscope (not be to be confused with the group of the same name from the US).
Although Daltrey’s group never achieved great commercial success under the Kaleidoscope name nor in their subsequent incarnation as Fairfield Parlour, they created some of the most enduring music of the time. To fans of classic psychedelia, Kaleidoscope were just as important as better-known groups such as Jefferson Airplane or 13th Floor Elevators.
As a solo artist, Daltrey began releasing albums in the UK and Japan in the 90s, including 2000’s ‘Tambourine Days.’ Around the same time, he also began to collaborate with New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Damien Youth. The pair released two albums together, then formed The Morning Set and released another record under that name. Daltrey has since adopted a pseudonym, Link Bekka, under which he has released three more eclectic albums.
The Asteroid #4 have steadily built a loyal following over the years since their mid-90s inception, receiving more and more acclaim from fans and critics with each subsequent release, most notably 2006’s ‘An Amazing Dream,’ 2008’s ‘These Flowers of Ours’, and 2011’s ‘Hail to the Clear Figurines.’ Now, with six studio albums under their belt, a reputation for impeccable live performances, and the support of their new label, The Committee to Keep Music Evil, the band have truly become a force to be reckoned with.
The Asteroid #4 guitarist/vocalist Scott Vitt took a few minutes out of his day to tell Rock Edition a little about how the collaboration with Peter Daltrey came to be. See what he had to say below.
How did you get hooked up with Peter Daltrey?
It all started by us playing this well-documented haunted hotel in a small town in central Pennsylvania called the Grand Midway. We were invited to play the hotel’s annual Kerouac Festival last summer by a friend of the hotel’s proprietors, a singer-songwriter by the name of Damien Youth. Damien and us were the live entertainment at the hotel for the weekend. It’s a pretty crazy place in an old coal mining town where this turn of the century hotel sits in the center of. All kinds of weird vibes happening there, with reports of ghostly voices and the things that go bump in the night.
Nonetheless, after our performance, Damien approached us about working with a past colleague of his, which winded up being Peter Daltrey of Kaleidoscope. Damien informed us that Peter was interested in working on a new project with a band and he thought we’d be perfect based on the aesthetic direction Peter was looking to achieve. Obviously, we were psyched about the idea, as Kaleidoscope and Fairfield Parlour are huge influences on us.
Who will the album be released as? Will it come out under The Asteroid #4’s name, Daltrey’s name, or perhaps a different name?
We haven’t really discussed those details yet. We’d be cool with it being a different name, but we would also be interested in keeping it Peter Daltrey and The Asteroid #4. Being that it’s a true collaboration, I personally like the latter.
After working with Peter and getting to know him a bit, I’ve learned that this is similar to how Kaleidoscope worked as Peter was essentially the lyricist/vocalist and the band wrote the music.
Prior to beginning, we really didn’t know where or how Peter wanted to approach the sound or aesthetics. We didn’t know if he wanted a set of songs that sounded verbatim to what his past bands did or something else. When we asked him what direction he wanted us to work toward, he pretty much said, “The Byrds’ ‘Younger Than Yesterday.'” We thought, “Uh… yeah, we can handle that.”
Does the album have a title yet?
Again, we haven’t discussed that yet either, but I believe Peter is interested in one of the songs being a title track. We’re going to leave that for him to decide.
Is Peter writing all of the lyrics or will The Asteroid #4 collaborate on some of them?
Up to now, Peter has been writing all of the lyrics and it will probably remain that way. However, now that we’re actually going to be in the same room together for the first time, a true collaboration may materialize and we’ll be able to assist him in his phrasing and tuning some things up here or there, which may mean editing a lyric or two. Considering what he’s done in his career, it’s a bit hard for us to step in and say, “Hey, why not try this or that?” Unless he asks for it, we’ll do our thing and let him do his. However, to truly work as collaborators, we must take each other’s suggestions with an open mind, and so far we’ve been successful at doing just that.
We’ve written the music for ten songs and sent them across the pond to Peter. Based on the lyrics he’s written, he’s asked if we could edit this or that by adding another verse, extending or shortening things to fit his lyrical phrasing. Peter sent the songs back to us with a very rough vocal take on each song for reference of where he’s heading on each track, with song titles. We’ve since re-recorded the songs back here in our studio in Philadelphia. We’re bringing the files to LA in September, where we’re meeting Peter to properly record his vocals.
What studio will you be recording it in?
We will be recording it at the Committee to Keep Music Evil studio in Hollywood. The studio is in the ground floor of where Rob Campanella of The Quarter After and Brian Jonestown Massacre resides.
When are you recording?
We have three days scheduled in LA: September 10, 11 and 12. We’ve got a handful of shows in California starting the prior weekend. We’ll end up in LA on the tenth, where we’re playing with Peter and recording the days following.
Some friends out West have been learning the music of classic Kaleidoscope songs, and they will perform with Peter. The Asteroid #4 will also be on these bills: San Francisco on September 8, Palm Springs on September 9, and finally LA on September 10. We’re hoping that if we have the chance to sit with Peter prior to these shows that we’ll be able to invite him up while we’re performing to play one or two of the new songs we’re working on together.
Originally, we thought that maybe we, or at least a couple of us, could be a part of the band playing his classic material, but we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to play our own music. It would’ve been a little too much to take on, especially considering how much we would not want to wrongly play those great songs. We’ll leave that pressure to the other guys!
When do you think the record might come out?
After we have Peter lay down his vocal tracks in LA, we’ll then bring the files back to Philly with us, where we’ll do overdubbing, backing vocals, etc. We’ll probably do a rough mixing session and send the songs back to Peter to hear before doing a final mix and mastering. I would hope that the record be completed by November. When it will come out is up to how and where we decide to release it. This was initially Damien Youth’s arrangement and he brought us together with Peter, so he should have the first say as to what to do with it. Damien does have a small boutique vinyl-only label that we’d like to see it released through, but we’re not sure. I’m certain it’ll start as a digital release and we’ll take it from there.