Socrates Drank the Conium
|Socrates Drank the Conium|
Socrates performing live at the University of Patras (2008)
|Genres||Hard rock, blues-rock, progressive rock, heavy psychedelic rock|
|Past members||Elias Boukouvalas
Kostas "Gus" Doukakis
Socrates Drank the Conium, known also as Socrates, is a Greek rock band that formed in 1969 and achieved success in the 1970s. Influenced by heavy blues and rock bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, the band melded the unorthodox time signatures and orchestration of progressive rock and the intensity of blues and hard rock music, creating a unique sound that distinguished them from other Greek rock acts of that period. Outside Greece, Socrates is best known for Phos, their 1976 landmark collaboration album with Vangelis.
The group has gone through many lineup changes, but the two core members have remained: guitarist Yannis Spathas and bassist/singer Antonis Tourkogiorgis.
Socrates began its career in the clubs of Athens, most prominently the popular Kyttaro. They were present at a number of other locations in and around Victoria Square in Athens. In addition to performing originals, Socrates often covered Jimi Hendrix songs, none of which were featured on any studio releases; a thirteen-minute cover of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, however, found its way onto their 1972 album Taste of Conium.
Yannis Spathas favored two sunburst Fender Stratocasters, a Candy Apple Red Roland GR-505 guitar synthesizer, a black Gibson Les Paul Custom and a cherry sunburst Les Paul Standard. Antonis Tourkogiorgis played a mid-1970s natural ash-bodied Fender Jazz Bass, a Warwick Corvette Double Buck bass and sang, while several drummers were used throughout the live shows and recording sessions.
In 1975, Socrates went through a change in stylistic direction with Phos, which featured Vangelis' production and contributions on many tracks. Phos was mostly reworkings of older songs by Socrates. Both LPs On the Wings and Phos were issued in the USA via Neil Kempfer-Stocker's Prog imprint Cosmos.
In 2002 Socrates reunited in an extended form (featuring keyboards and a second singer) to do several shows around Greece. This lineup remains active.
Lineup (2002 - 2010)
- Antonis Tourkogiorgis – bass guitar, vocals
- Yannis Spathas – lead guitar, Roland guitar synthesizer
- Makis Gioulis – drums 
- Additional musicians
- Asteris Papastamatakis – keyboards
- Markella Panayiotou – backing vocals (reunion 1999 - 2009)
- Former/Past members
- Costas Karamitros – drums
- Elias Boukouvalas – drums
- George Trantalidis – drums
- Nikos Antypas – drums
- Yiorgos Zikoyiannis – bass
- Pavlos Alexiou – keyboards
- Leonidas Alachadamis – drums (1975)
- Kostas "Gus" Doukakis – guitar (1973)
- (Appears on) Live at Kyttaro - 1971
- Socrates Drank the Conium - 1972
- Taste of Conium - 1972
- On the Wings - 1973
- Fos - 1976
- Waiting for Something - 1980
- Breaking Through - 1981
- Plaza - 1983
- Live In Concert - 1999
- The Original Singles - 2005 (compilation)