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GONZO WEEKLY: Jon talks to Ant-Bee

Billy James, an author of rock biographies and a musician in his own right, reassembled great musicians from the psychedelic era in his own Ant-Bee project. Featuring contributions from The Mothers of Invention, the Alice Cooper Group, and members from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, Ant-Bee has recorded several albums of material that bring together the styles of several branches of late-60s experimental rock music.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Ant-Bee began in 1987 in Los Angeles as a venue for James to showcase his musical affinity to the psychedelic and experimental music of the late 1960s. Signing to Voxx/Bomp! Records in 1988, Ant-Bee released Pure Electric Honey, which featured guest appearances by former members of The Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart. Sounding like a cross between the Smile-era of The Beach Boys, early Pink Floyd, and late-period Beatles, the record became well known in the underground scene in Europe.

Assembling a live band, Ant-Bee performed in the Los Angeles area in 1990 to much success. While the band recorded a couple of videos, the next recorded material Ant-bee would release was a German EP, 1992s With My Favorite "Mothers" and other Bizarre Muzik Reassembling the original Mothers of Invention for the first time in over 20 years, James and company performed material that was both humorous and spaced-out. James recorded with The Mothers of Invention once again on the second Ant-Bee record With My Favorite Vegetables & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994), which received strong press and sold quite well.

Three years in the making, Lunar Muzik (1997), explored both the pop and experimental side of the psychedelic spectrum and was bolstered by strong production and appearances from Daevid Allen of Soft Machine and Gong and Harvey Bainbridge of Hawkwind and the original Alice Cooper Group. Billy James helped to gather together the impressive array of guest artists on the album Midnight Daydream from Bruce Cameron. Interviews with Billy are featured in the DVD documentaries From Straight To Bizarre - Zappa, Beefheart, Alice Cooper and LA's Lunatic Fringe and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - In The 1960s.

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