Acid Carousel, as a name, sounds a lot like the band’s music. Mind-altering, ever-changing and light-hearted. When you listen, you feel like a guest to a sophisticated experimentation of sounds and vibrations artfully colliding.
The Denton-based psych-rock group began as a solo act. John Kuzmick began releasing singles under the name Acid Carousel while playing in bands such as Majik Taylor and The Steve Gnash Experience. John recorded the first Acid Carousel record almost entirely by himself with a few guest appearances in a couple of songs. “I designed most of the album covers so far also, coming from studying visual arts at UNT for the past few years. That’s what I’m doing during the day mostly, constantly surrounding myself with any type of art I possibly can. I wouldn’t be able to maintain sanity without any form of artistic expression in my life.” After the second single released, Gus Baldwin (also of Sealion and The Steve Gnash Experience) joined and, soon after, reached out to Ian who came on as bassist.
John, Gus and Ian originally met at Zounds Sounds – a Dallas “school of rock” – taking lessons of all kinds. “I met Gus, the other songwriter in Acid Carousel, when the owner of Zounds put us together in a band where he played drums, and I played guitar and wrote a lot of the songs. We’ve been making music together ever since.” The guys met their current drummer, Fielder, in the dorms while at UNT. And then came Lucas, who Gus met in a math class at UNT. “Everyone else has been slowly added throughout the past year and a half.” But in case that seems a little too straightforward… this is where Acid Carousel gets trippy. The lineup fluctuates from one show to the next. Depending on the night, you may see an entirely different lineup (sometimes including, for instance, Ariel Hartley of Pearl Earl, one of the bands from our PHOBIAS event in June).
When the kaleidoscopic group isn’t playing a show, you can always find them jamming or just hanging out at their house in Denton. “Our favorite house venue, The Bean Cave out in Denton is another place you’d probably see us, whenever there’s something going on there.” And if you’re ever over at the Denton house, you’ll most likely find Pitzman’s Mustard laying around… “We all collectively share a love and frequent use of Pitzman’s Mustard. We put it on everything unless people are around.”
You can absolutely get a whiff of the band’s influences in their original songs. “The Beatles, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, White Fence, The Kinks, Donovan, The Seeds, Ty Segall, Wand, Can, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Ventures… and that’s just scratching the surface. Basically, the gist is, we’ll do anything with psych influence in it unless it’s annoying.” And the same goes for their shows. Expect to see elaborate, colorful mementos from the psychedelic era from the stage set to the band’s attire.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre was so much of an influence on John, it inspired the band’s name. “Acid was the name of an early side project the lead singer Anton Newcombe had in the early nineties, and Carousel is a song he wrote featured on the 2001 EP If I Love You.” As for the lyrics that effortlessly accompany a mix of psychedelic, punk, pop and surf sound, they’re inspired by a deep sixties influence, says John… for the most part. “Our music is fueled by whatever is going on around us, usually experiences we’ve had and what not. Sometimes we do story stuff also though, more recently.”
Look out for a new EP that should be landing in the near future. For now, plan on thriving and jiving on a vibrant trip with us to see Acid Carousel at Art Con 13 on Saturday, November 11, at the Cedars Union.
Written by: Christin Taylor Workman
Photo by: Annie Nelson