Shindig!: How did you become the Mad Alchemist?
The Mad Alchemist: I became The Mad Alchemist quite recently. I met up with Radio Moscow in 2011. They're a very intense, Blue Cheer-type revival '60s band. I realised performing with them I had to do really intense plate action that drove me into a mad frenzy with the oils going everywhere. Consequently, the name Mad Alchemy seemed most appropriate for my lightshow...
SD!: You're a beloved figure on the West Coast scene and have done lights for everyone from Big Brother & The Holding Company to Morgen Delt. Who have been your favourite subjects so far?
TMA: Big Brother, Roky Erickson, Radio Moscow, John Cippolina from Quicksilver, blues legends like John Lee Hooker, Elvin Bishop, Tower of Power and It's a Beautiful Day. However, my recent favourites were Toy and Jacco Gardner at The Chapel in San Francisco, and my Moon Duo and Sleepysun shows. This has been, hands down, the best year for the lightshow so far. It has evolved really in the last six months exponentially due to the explosion of new psychedelia from around the world. The Temples shows are fantastic too.
SD!: Why do you think so many people are still so intrigued by the social movement (of psychedelia) and fascinated by it as a musical genre?
TMA: I think people are drawn in because it's a great art form. Like jazz, it was largely not taken seriously bar a small collective of diehard music fans, and it was dismissed as just some drug induced trend. if you look at the state of most contemporary music, it's pathetic. It's like a vehicle for false celebrity and capitalism, so people become disenfranchised and look back and want music made by people who really cared to make the best songs and play the best they could.