Journey to the Center of the Mind was recorded on a higher budget than the previous album (after the success of the debut album), and features two new members to the line-up; Greg Arama replacing Bill White on bass, and Andy Solomon replacing Rick Lober on piano/organ. While their first album had more of a garage-rock style and sound, the Amboy Dukes' second album was recorded with a more psychedelic/pop sound to it (with the exception of "Mississippi Murderer" which has a similar feel of the first album with its R&B style). This was also the first Dukes album to feature all original songs, most of which were written by guitarist/singer Steve Farmer. Originally, Ted Nugent was to write the first side, and Farmer the second. The different styles of songwriting between Farmer and Nugent are somewhat noticeable. For example, Nugent's songs are much more fast-paced and have a hard-rock sound, while Farmer's have a softer, psychedelic pop sound. The two collaborated on such songs as "Mississippi Murderer", "Dr. Slingshot", and the title track "Journey to the Center of the Mind", as well as an unreleased track "You Talk Sunshine, I Breathe Fire". One particularly unusual method was used to record "Dr. Slingshot" where Farmer and Andy Solomon sing back-to-back. The reason for this was to properly demonstrate Farmer's lyrics, which he had written two alternate lyrics for the original music which Nugent wrote. The album also features a distinct harmonizing of Drake, Farmer, and piano/organ player Andy Solomon on most of the songs, such as the strong chorus in "Missionary Mary", in which each of the three are actually singing in different emotions. What's unique about this album is that the B-side was produced to play through without any pauses. The back of the album's jacket tells its listeners that all the songs on the second side are each part of a story, or "Journey".
Shortly after the album's release, Drake left the band over creative disputes, and was replaced by Rusty Day the same year.