Wednesday, January 30, 2008

D is for Dragons...

Until very late last year, if you'd asked me who the Dragons were, my automatic (and only) answer would have been the professional baseball team in Nagoya, Japan - the Chunichi Dragons. But thanks to DJ Food and the fine folks at Ninja Tune, the Dragons I think of instantly now are Dennis, Daryl and Doug Dragon (and yes, that is their actual last name - how cool is that?!).

The brothers' album Blue Forces Intelligence (or BFI) was recorded at the close of the sixties and then shopped around to labels who - bewilderingly - passed on it. One track, "Food For My Soul," appeared on the soundtrack to a seventies surf film, which is where it came to the attention of DJ Food, who contacted Dennis Dragon to include it in a mix and casually asked if there was more where it came from. A little bit of searching yielded the master tapes (high school buddy/recording engineer Donn Landee had them kicking around) and when the Ninja Tune 'suits' heard the trippy combination of psych-rock and surf-soul the brothers had recorded, they flipped. Understandably, since I too flipped when I reviewed it for Stylus in the Dec./Jan. issue (which is still, briefly, available in Winnipeg).

The trio came by their talents honestly - their father Carmen was a symphony conductor and Hollywood arranger, and their mother was a singer. On the record the brothers used keyboards, vibes, layered vocals and studio trickery to amazing effect - inspired in part by "The Doors and others [who] were freaking us out with their hypnotic sounds," writes Dennis.

All three played as part of the Beach Boys' backing band in the seventies before they moved on to their individual pursuits - which brings me to the strangest piece of this puzzle: Daryl Dragon is THE CAPTAIN from Captain & Tenille!

Here's Daryl Dragon, a few years after recording BFI, with his and Toni Tenille's version of Muskrat Love, featuring people dressed as muskrats.

And here is
The Dragons' myspace page
Captain & Tenille's website.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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