Last spring Nanaimo psychedelic rock sextet Moths and Locusts and some high-profile musical friends recorded an album with one of their genre’s lesser-known legends.
John Alder, who records as Twink, was a part of the British psychedelic music scene of the 1960s, and played and recorded with musicians from influential groups including Pink Floyd, Yes, Deep Purple, T. Rex and the Rolling Stones.
“Twink is amazing, but not everybody knows who he is,” said Moths and Locusts vocalist Valentina Cardinalli.
In 2017 Moths and Locusts bassist and synthesizer player Dave Read, who also runs NoiseAgonyMayhem Records, was asked by Twink’s manager, an old acquaintance, to help make a reissue of Twink’s 1970 solo album Think Pink. Read said his “mind was blown” by the opportunity to work on a record “hailed as a classic in the psychedelic rock genre.”
“I don’t know where the idea got hatched, but somewhere it was proposed: ‘Hey maybe our band Moths and Locusts could do a recording with Twink?’” Read said.
That proposition came to fruition in April 2018, when “somehow, we managed to get Twink, who now lives in Morocco, to Nanaimo to record the record here.”
The four-day session at the Chamber Studio featured Moths and Locusts – Angus Barter, Dave Bean, Mike Breen, Cardinalli, Samantha Letourneau and Read – as well as Jay Ferguson and Gregory Macdonald from Sloan, who were touring through Nanaimo at the time, Swollen Members’ Rob the Viking and Wolf Parade’s Arlen Thompson, both locals, Toronto musician and producer Ian Blurton, sitar player Cam Hittle and Twink’s manager Barnaby Bennett. Read said it was a collaborative project, with Twink providing lyrics and Moths and Locusts fleshing out his musical ideas.
“There was no arguing, but high passion. And that’s actually really tricky,” Cardinalli said.
“Everybody saw the goal, it wasn’t about individual ego from anybody,” Read added.
After recording the album, Think Pink IV: Return to Deep Space, Twink and the band performed together in Victoria and at the White Room in Nanaimo.
“Songs that I personally had known for years, to be playing with the guy who sang on them, it was really cool,” Read said.
Nanaimo filmmaker Raymond Knight documented the recording process and the Nanaimo concert. Read said he’d like to edit that footage together, but said, “That’s another project altogether.”
Think Pink IV, featuring cover art from Nanaimo artist Sean Anderson, is now available locally at Fascinating Rhythm, the Vault Cafe and the Black Dot, and online from Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.
“We’re really proud of the record, we’re really honoured to have worked with Twink and everybody else who was involved and really excited to continue to put Nanaimo on the musical map,” Read said.
He said he hopes the album draws attention to Nanaimo’s talented, diverse and supportive musical scene.
“One of the main things for us is look: Twink and members of Sloan and Wolf Parade and Ian Blurton and Rob the Viking, all these guys are into what’s happening here and it’s helping put Nanaimo on the map as a music destination, which I think it is,” Read said. “You go out any night of the week, there’s going to be good music in town.”