There is a great new interview with John Kay and Michael Monarch in the Wall Street Journal. Well worth reading, journalist Marc Myers discussed the writing of "Magic Carpet Ride" with it's creators as part of his column, “Anatomy of a Song.” Here is just the beginning; click to the Wall Street Journal for the whole interview.

The Story Behind Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride’

John Kay and Michael Monarch discuss the origins of 1968’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride’

By Marc Myers

Released in September 1968, Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” became one of rock’s first songs to open with an extended passage of guitar distortion. The eerie prologue lasts 20 seconds and includes chugging electronic tones before dissolving into the song’s rhythmic power chords and blues-rock vocal.

Though the song came out a year after Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady” with its shorter guitar distortion intro, “Magic Carpet Ride’s” thick guitar riff set the tone for hard rock and heavy metal bands that followed in 1969 and ’70. The single reached No. 3 on Billboard’s pop chart.

Today, John Kay, the band’s lead singer and the song’s co-writer, performs as John Kay and Steppenwolf to fund the Maue Kay Foundation, which supports wildlife protection and conservation. Mr. Kay, 72, and the recording’s lead guitarist Michael Monarch, 66, recently talked about the song’s evolution. Edited from interviews:

John Kay: In 1948, when I was 4, my mother and I escaped from East Germany. We eventually made our way to Toronto in 1958, where I listened to rock ’n’ roll on the radio and began playing guitar. When I was 20, I moved to Los Angeles, and from 1964 to ’65 played folk-blues guitar at coffee houses. I played my way back to Toronto in 1965 and joined a rock group called the Sparrows.

Click here to read the full article and interview with John and Michael. 



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