Thursday, February 18, 2010

Steve - Steven David Heitkotter

While searching around my music past, I stumbled across a familiar name.  Steve Heitkotter.  He was most notably the drummer in the Fresno, California 60's band The Road Runners.  Steve lived across the street from my grandparents.  I remember one summer, (somewhere between 69-71) being invited to Steve's house with Ross D***** to record songs on and off for a couple of weeks.  Steve recorded these songs on reels and reels of tape (with his nice sounding Sony machine).  After recently reading about him, I'm wondering if he took those recordings to make his record.  I'd have to hear it.  I could be that bass player.  I doubt it was recorded at a Fresno County mental institution.  How could a recording at a County mental institution stay a secret?  I doubt that the staff would allow someone to come in and do such a thing.   I would love to hear from the person who supposedly recorded those sessions at the mental institution.  I doubt I ever will.  I doubt it ever happened.

If anyone should have any first hand information to ad to this unbelievable story, please feel free to contact me.  Especially any information confirming that Steve is still, or was, at any time in a Fresno County mental institution.

Here are some things that have been posted about the record:

"Honorable Mention: Heitkotter – Heitkotter – “Intense real
people/fringe LP popular among psych mafiosos, a 3-man band with
guitar, bass and drums led by Steven David Heitkotter, presumably
recorded inside the mental institution where the guy has been for
decades. Track titles include “Hangin’ All Night,” “Quaker, Dog Got
Away,” and the 14-minute “Fly Over The Moon”. The vibe is intense and
feverish like a nightmare, unique LP that lives up to its reputation.
This may have been a test press only and comes in a blank cover,
except for the handwritten title. He was also in a garage band in the
1960s that released a few 45s.”

"A blues rock/garage album recorded in a mental institution where the
songs sometimes threaten to fall apart at any moment. Apparently this
Heitkotter guy is still under care as of '09.  Cadillac Woman has a
bit of funk happening and the vocals sound a lot like Lenny Kravitz.
It's a pretty good track with some bluesy guitar shredding. Quaker,
Dog Got Away shows traces of this man's insanity, while the rest are
just average blues jams. It's kind of creepy in some parts, but nowhere near as Jandek, and it mostly sounds like some amateur guys rehearsing. Obviously the recording quality is pretty bad, but you can still make things out clearly - and a scrappy recording is the only way this should be presented.  This is a mild curiosity, but not
something I would be tempted to listen to for a while."

"Recorded in a Fresno County insane asylum, this album is for and by
the beautifully unhinged. It asks no questions and offers no answers
other than, "It need not be determined." These are real dispatches
from the abyss; the drummer seems to be having fits, his kit is
showing stress cracks; the engineer sits in silent fear as the tape
rolls; someone in the band could flip out at any moment; hospital
staff is standing by with straight jackets and full hypos in hand
while the band plays on..."

"100% home-made, non-commercial avant gard, with no effort at all put
into editing. Rambling-intro-into-improv. style mat'l with poor
fidelity. Most of this is guitar based. 5 tracks= 1 B, 3 B-'s, and a
C-. "Cadillac Woman" is my pick, while "Fly Over the Moon" has 2
parts, the first much better than the second. An acquired taste, to
say the least - you've been warned!"

"A poorly recorded, shitty mess of bad garage rock. Don't fall for all
the hype about how UNDERGROUND AND OUT THERE this is--it's not."

"Real people underground experimental psych lounge rock vibe. One of
the band members was in a garage band prior to this lp."

"Honestly, I think the album would be less appealing without that
washed out, lo-fi production..."

"As good as the hype surrounding it--which is pretty unbelievable...
Astonishing, creepy, sounds like nothing else that came before it (and
really, only Jandek-in-rock-mode afterwards)."