Before becoming synonymous with that tosser Jeremy Clarkson getting all macho in cars that very few people can buy the petrol to go round the track in never mind the car and crappy dad rock compilations , Steppenwolf were remembered as a blues rock outfit who had more than Born To Be Wild to their name.
Initially from Toronto and called the Sparrows. The band found themselves in San Fransisco during the summer of love and playing venues such as the Matrix. Like a lot of the bands around at the time, they would get on stage and “experiment” or as we up here in the west of Scotland would call it, fannying about.
On the 14th of May 1967 one of these gigs was recorded and released a couple of years later as the Early Steppenwolf album. This was one of the albums I was given by one of the hippies that I hung about with when I was fourteen. Side one of the album is made up of pretty straight up blues rock originals and covers only identifiable as Steppenwolf by John Kay’s distinctive vocal style. Side two is a different beast entirely, the whole side is made up of one of those “experiments” which lasts for 20 minutes and at around the 10 minute mark morphs into a rather brilliant version Hoyt Axton’s The Pusher, later used to great effect in Easy Rider.
I think that this track has to be listened to in it’s entirety at least once but these days I usually put the needle down half way across the vinyl and listen from there.
Steppenwolf – The Pusher (Live)