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Spiny Normen were an incredible mid-’70s Houston hard rock, progressive, psychedelic rock band that featured mellotron, Vox Jaguar, crunchy, heavy guitars, flute with echo effects, and lots more. A totally lost relic, this self-titled album was recorded at a community college and never released. The recording is very English, dark, mysterious and proggy, but also very acid-drenched. “Circa 1976, Gerry [Diaz] and I would skip class, smoke whatever scrap of contraband we could scrape together and meet in the high school auditorium where there was a piano and bang out crunchy rhythms. Gerry was playing guitar, listening to Alice Cooper, hair down to his back and about the only Mexican-American in a white bread school. He was cool! So when he said one day, ‘Hey man we should jam some time,’ I was stoked. I found an ancient Vox Jaguar that had belonged to Fever Tree and a Kustom amp that I blew out just right, that made the most beautiful distortion, accompanied by a beloved phase shifter. Over the next three years we began to experiment, spending months penning intense, bizarre, surreal and mind-affecting pieces influenced by King Crimson, Pink Floyd, film soundtracks, Van Der Graaf Generator, and the like. I was collecting keyboards: a mellotron, a single-key-play Moog... Gerry was adding echos, early guitar, synth and tons of pedals. I learned the flute. In we went with a hired stand-up bass player and little engineering knowledge to the community college 8-track recording studio and just played like psychedelic Mozarts. Timpani, live effects, sound effect records, backward echo, violin bow on guitar and plenty of echo. Gerry and I on vocals. What came out was still, to this day, in my humble opinion, some very complex, untouched territory, holy-what-the stuff. We were all about 19.” —Steve Brudniak (cofounder of Spiny Normen)