Spirit – “Fresh-Garbage”

Believe it or not, the title of tonight’s song, a classic by Spirit, isn’t about the United States!

Los Angeles rock outfit Spirit left an enduring mark on rock music from their arrival in the late ‘60s, infusing into the genre a smorgasbord of eclectic musical influences, including jazz, pop, and world music, and a bit of psychedelia too. In Spirit’s original lineup the band was guitarist Randy California (the name given by Jimi Hendrix), drummer Ed Cassidy, vocalist and percussionist Jay Ferguson, bassist Mark Andes, and John Locke on keyboards. It was an interesting troupe: The members represented a flurry of different musical backgrounds, and in age, Cassidy was a good 20 years older than the rest of the members (and California’s stepfather).

Spirit’s 1968 self-titled debut was a commercial success and an influential record thanks to the record’s mishmash of musical styles, its trippy asides, and inspired jams. It also garnered some notoriety, as the legendary British rock group Led Zepplin, who toured with Spirit in the late ‘60s, lifted pieces of the band’s music for some of their songs, such as bits from Spirit’s instrumental “Taurus,” for their opus “Stairway to Heaven,” leading to a notable copyright lawsuit decades later. 

The album’s opener, “Fresh-Garbage” is about a peculiar topic: Trash. No, really, the whole song is about garbage. Maybe this could be a deeper meaning about littering, waste, and environmentalism (a topic that was rising in public consciousness around the time)…or maybe it’s just a moment of nonsense about gazing at your discarded items. Either way, this one is absolutely killer, kicking off with whimsical keys and a smoking bassline that progresses into Ferguson’s trash-focused lyrics. The way the track leaps into fits and starts after Ferguson’s vocals and that very posh and psychedelic break on the latter half of the track…it’s such a trippy jaunt!

And oh yeah, if you’re trying to place where you’ve heard this one before, P!nk interpolated it for her 2003 single, “Feel Good Time.”

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