Yes indeed I am proud to present a small interview with the real legends of psychedelic soul BLACK MERDA. Check here for proof. Black Merda began in the mid 60's and recorded some of the heaviest and damn amazing psyche funk ever. Anyway, they are back and great as ever as their last CD proved. Get a copy of Force of Nature and their first album Black Merda to hear how real funk should be. Anyway, here is my interview with them.
GVSE: For those who don't know can you tell me the history of Black Merda?
BM: Well around 1967 Anthony Hawkins, Tyrone Hite and I listened to Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” album. We were so blown away by what weheard that we decided to get into that type of music and style of dress ourselves. But we had more of a funk rock style, with more hard hitting lyrics then Hendrix. At that time we were known as “The Soul Agents” the band included a sax player and trumpet player. We toured with Edwin Starras Edwin Starr and The Soul Agents to support his song “Agent Double O Soul”. After hearing “Are You Experienced?” We dropped the horns and added Anthony’s younger brother, Charles as an additional guitarist to the band and changed our name to “Black Murder” and eventually to “Black Merda”.
GVSE: Who were you playing for when you started? Was it mainly a black audience or white or pretty mixed?
BM: We mainly played for black audiences but sometimes for white audiences.
GVSE: Of course in the music I can hear that soul sound but there is also the heavy psychedelic sound too. Who were you listening to and getting inspired by at the time?
BM: Well as I stated previously, we first got turned on to the psychedelic thang when we listened to “Are You Experienced?” But we also heard “Led Zepplin, Jethro Tull, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Cream, and just the whole psychedelic vibe that was going on at that time.
GVSE: The name Black Merda (pronounced and meant as BLACK MURDER) is a fantastic name. How did it come about and what does it mean to you?
BM: When we changed our musical and fashion style to a more dynamic funk, rock, psychedelic approach; we decided we needed a more dynamic name to go with our more dynamic image and music. Charles suggested “Murder Incorporated” but I thought that was too criminal sounding, so I suggested “Black Murder” to bring attention to the widespread killing of black people that was occurring at that time in the fight for civil rights. We later changed the spelling to “Black Merda”. “Black Merda” means the killing of black people.
GVSE: What were you all doing before reuniting in 2005?
BM: We were all kinda just doing our own thing, various musical projects etc, we would get together occasionally and talk about old times and jam a little bit.
GVSE: You guys wrote and recorded amazing material. Why do you think you didn't get the recognition you definitely deserved?
BM: The record companies didn’t really promote our albums and we didn’t have a management team working with us. There are probably other factors involved as well. But, we are getting more and more recognition now!
GVSE: What music are you guys listening to these days?
BM: We’ve always listened to all kinds of music and still do, but no one in particular.
GVSE: I love the new album Force of Nature. It is so raw and funky. How was it going back into the studio?
BM: Thanks! We’re glad to hear that! We know that our fans will probably always compare any music we do today with our music from the past. We know that’s the standard we’ll be judge by. So we’re never really sure how fans will react to anything new that we do, especially if it’s different from what we did before. It was a real blast working on “Force Of Nature” so much so, that we’re working on new material as we speak! Really dynamic powerful and meaningful stuff!
GVSE: Finally, any new projects or concerts coming up that you want to talk about?
BM: New project mentioned above. No concerts lined up yet, but hopefully we’ll be able to do some touring in the near future.