Piper Gates was very sad to hear of the death of Bill Doss from The Olivia Tremor Control. For me 1996 was a terrible time for new music where the main aim seemed to be about achieving the achievable. With little new to like I started obsessively collecting vinyl reissues of 1960s psychedelic albums by the likes of July, Skip Bifferty and The United States of America and often wondered why no one was following this template of taking the pop song to the outer reaches.
As if by magic I received a phone call from my best friend who at that time owned a record shop saying “I’ve just got this album in that was invented for you, it’s like all your favourite groups rolled into one”. He was right; the album was Dusk At Cubist Castle by The Olivia Tremor Control. If you haven’t heard it you should: imagine Alex Chilton singing to unreleased White Album songs with The Beach Boys providing backing vocals and a dollop of Floyd/ early Soft Machine weirdness thrown in for good measure. This wasn’t about recreating the past it was about continuing it.
Bill was the principle songwriter along with the equally talented Will Hart and together they created some of the best psychedelic music ever written, it also helped that their voices went together like a psychedelic Everly Brothers on an Alex Chilton trip. Olivia’s gigs were a joyful celebration of life with band and audience smiling from ear to ear which makes Bill’s death at 43 all that more shocking. Hideaway, No Growing, Jumping Fences, A New Day and NYC-25 are the tip of a musical gift for generations yet to come. RIP Bill you will be missed.