Lothar and the Hand People

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Lothar and the Hand People
Origin Denver, Colorado, USA
Genres Psychedelic rock, Psychedelic pop, Space rock
Years active 1965–1970
Labels Capitol Records
Website www.lotharandthehandpeople.com
Past members John Emelin
Paul Conly
Rusty Ford
Tom Flye
Kim King
Richard Willis
William Wright

Lothar and the Hand People was a late-1960s psychedelic rock band known for its spacey music and pioneering use of the theremin[1] and Moog modular synthesizer.[2]

The band was notable for being "the first rockers to tour and record using synthesizers, thereby inspiring the generation of electronic music-makers who immediately followed them."[3] Formed in Denver in 1965, Lothar and the Hand People relocated to New York in 1966. The band played gigs with groups such as The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, The Lovin' Spoonful and Chambers Brothers; the band jammed with Jimi Hendrix. Lothar and the Hand People played music for Sam Shepard's play The Unseen Hand,[4] and was the opening act at the Atlantic City Pop Festival.

Capitol Records released two albums by this short-lived band: "Presenting … Lothar & the Hand People" (1968, produced by Robert Margouleff) and "Space Hymn" (1969, produced by Nick Venet). A Rolling Stone review described Lothar and the Hand People's music:

It is electronic country, a kind of good-time music played by mad dwarfs, and it is really good to listen to. There is no tension here, no jarring forces at war with each other. It may be strange that New York, the city which deifies speed and insanity, could produce this music, but it is as if Lothar and the Hand People have gone through this madness and come out on the other side, smiling.[5]

The band's most popular recording was the title song "Space Hymn."[6] Lyrics: (spoken) Now, sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and listen very closely to the sound of my voice. Imagine that there is nothing but you and the sound. Floating freely high above the Earth. Now, as you listen you will begin to relax. Every sound you hear relaxes you further. Just you and the sound. Your arms and legs feel heavy. Very heavy. Like lead. Every sound takes you deeper and deeper. Nothing can disturb you. Every muscle, every part of your body is relaxing further and further as you drift down deeper and deeper. You are floating away from the sound of my voice but you can still hear it. Imagine you are riding down an escalator. Slowly going down farther and farther into deep relaxation. Feels so good. Now, I'm going to count backwards from five to zero and on every number you will go another level deeper. Relaxing more completely on every count until I reach zero. On zero you go twice as deep. Backwards from five to zero. Deeper on every count and on zero, twice as deep. Five, so relaxed. Four... Three... Two... down, down, One... Zero... way, way down. Imagine you are floating high above the Earth in deep space looking out on the universe. Floating free in Space. Uplifted and filled with a silent "Ahh" watching the movement of the stars. (sung) Standing on the Moon, filled with thoughts of home, Earth so slowly turning, twenty thousand years, human hopes and fears, are we finally learning? Riders together on a Starship of stone, living together, trying together, dying alone. La La, La La La...

In 1997, The Chemical Brothers sampled the Lothar song "It Comes on Anyhow" in "It Doesn't Matter" on their album Dig Your Own Hole. A music video for Space Hymn screened in 2004 at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival and the ION International Animation, Games, and Short Film Festival, Los Angeles.[7]

[8] The band's unusual appellation refers to a theremin nicknamed "Lothar" with the "Hand People" being the musicians in the band. Lothar and the Hand People was the source for a Saturday Night Live skit called "Lothar of the Hill People" and a Boston-area theremin band named The Lothars.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Albert Glinsky, Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, University of Illinois Press, 2000, p. 341.
  2. ^ Trevor J. Pinch and Frank Trocco, Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer, Harvard University Press, 2002, p. 15.
  3. ^ Michael Roberts (March 16, 2000), "Give the People a Hand," Westword.
  4. ^ Don Shewey, Sam Shepard, Da Capo Press, 1997, p. 68.
  5. ^ Lenny Kaye (May 3, 1969), Lothar & The Hand People, Presenting ... Lothar & The Hand People, Rolling Stone 32.
  6. ^ AllMusic entry for Lothar and the Hand People
  7. ^ Space Hymn | Music Video | 2004
  8. ^ Jim DeRogatis, Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, Hal Leonard, 2003, p. 230.
  9. ^ Dorothy Pomerantz (September 1, 1998) , "The Lothars Revive the Spooky Sounds of the Theremin", The Somerville Journal.

External links[edit]