A Decade Under the Trees: In Tribute to Acid King’s Busse Woods

Classic.It might be the all-time stoner metal classic. Not only was it judged as one of the five essential Man’s Ruin releases by this site, but StonerRock.com also rates it as one of the best albums of the last century. Acid King‘s Busse Woods — now 10 years old — is so potent that by the time you finish listening to opener “Electric Machine,” your eyes are bloodshot.

Busse Woods is that rare occasion where everything on an album works — the songwriting, the riffs, Billy Anderson‘s production, the vocals, the thickness of the bass, the art: all of it comes together to create a memorable, lasting, timeless impression. The obsession with killer Ricky Masso and the account of his ritualistic murders, Say You Love Satan, achieves a genuine aura of doom and ’70s biker horror chaos, and is the very essence of what this music is all about from start to finish.

At the time, San Francisco-based Acid King was comprised of guitarist/vocalist Lori S., bassist Brian Hill, who quit the band shortly after the record was done, and drummer Joey Osbourne (these days Mark Lamb and Black Cobra‘s Rafael Martinez share the bass slot), and the phrase “power trio” was perhaps never more appropriately Just in case anyone wants to go biking later.applied. Every moment of Busse Woods is amped to the fullest and even the quiet intro to “Drive Fast, Take Chances” feels like it could explode at any moment. You can feel the air being pushed out by the speakers. It is thick and moist and dank. The Heavy.

Busse Woods takes its name from Lori‘s teenage hangout on the northwest side of Cook County, Illinois‘ forest preserve, and in crafting it, she managed to capture the recklessness of druggie youth. When Small Stone did their 2004 reissue with bonus Hawkwind and Bachman-Turner Overdrive covers, the record’s legacy was cemented. Simply put, it is among the highest points of its genre.

Lori took some time out to talk about Busse Woods, making the album, its legacy and when we might see Acid King issue the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s III. Interview is after the jump.

Righteousness.What was it like when you were hanging out in Busse Woods? Are there any stories that you recall from that time you’d like to share?

Thinking back at Busse Woods or Ned Brown Forest Preserve, it’s hard to believe we weren’t all in prison or dead. This place was where bored suburban teenagers hung out ’cause that’s what we did! Most of my memories are hanging out with my high school pal John Cesak. He was the big drug dealer back in the day and we would go there pull in open the trunk, crank Black Sabbath and sell nickel bags! It was like a flea market for drugs, lids, purple microdot, black beauties HELL YEAH!? Hanging out, smoking and playin’ Frisbee. Total Dazed and Confused.

It’s been 10 years since the album was released. What do you remember of writing and recording it? What was it like working with Billy Anderson for that one as opposed to when he did Zoroaster before or III after?

Busse Woods was probably the easiest release to write and record. Brian Hill joined the band and the songs just Busse Woods-era Acid King.really seemed to come together pretty quickly once he joined. We recorded at this place in San Francisco that is no longer open. I think Billy was having girlfriend drama during that record HA! Usually does on all our records but Zoroaster!

I remember being really psyched that Brian joined and at that time I was totally into Jesus Christ Superstar, so it was a lot of fun recording “39 Lashes.” I find each release gets harder and harder. Sometimes working with the same engineer is like the same thing as dating vs. going out for five years — you get comfortable in the relationship — which for me was not such a good thing as far as recording goes. I remember Billy mic’ing my amp as we started to set tones, I plugged in hit one note and he said “Okay” tones set HA! Can’t mess with my tone, it takes no additional studio trickery.

Describe how you felt when you were done recording and listened to the finished album for the first time. How have your feelings about it changed since?

Damn, 10 years ago, hard to remember. I think I shut all the lights off and put this light up solar system lamp I had while I listened to the final mix. I don’t really listen to any of my records but I do think this one sounds the best. “Electric Machine” never gets old and we still play “Silent Circle!”

What was the process like when you signed to Man’s Ruin? Was that before you started writing the album, and did Frank Kozik reach out to you or did you get in touch with him? You picked the cover according to the liner notes, but what was it like getting all the artwork together?

There wasn’t much of a process. Man’s Ruin was basically down the street from my house. He loved this kind of music and already released [1997 EP] Down with the Crown on vinyl and a split with Altamont, so he just released it no process! My ex-husband is the one that was friends with Frank and hooked it up and the rest is history. Stoner rock. There it is, folks.I chose the cover and artwork because Busse Woods was a part of my life and I didn’t want Dr. Zaius, Clint Eastwood or Fred Flintstone with a swastika on my cover, which were some of Frank‘s typical band covers. My friend in Chicago took the photo and Frank Photoshopped it together. Pretty simple stuff. Another pal in SF had a cool picture of a picnic table that we used to replicate the ones they used to have in the woods. Everything came together very easy, songs, recording and cover art!

What happened with Brian that he ultimately left the band?

Brian leaving the band was a shocker to us. Busse Woods was done and about to be released and he just dropped off the face of the earth. It was kind of like being dumped! Seems as if Brian was not happy in the band so opted out. I could go on to the reasons why but Brian and I are friends and that was a long time ago, so I won’t open up old wounds. I can say I was really bummed I really dug playing with him and he was a great addition to the band that was part of a classic Acid King release.

Let’s go track by track:

1. “Electric Machine” — Like Tony Martin said while singing for Black Sabbath, “This one is a classic!”
“Silent Circle” — Song about Ricky [Masso] and the group of boys that made the silent circle.
“Drive Fast, Take Chances”Peter [Lucas], our first bass player, always said this to me when? I took off on my motorcycle, so we named a song after it.
“39 Lashes” — Obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar; we needed one more song for the record so it seemed like a good idea
“Carve the 5” — Carving Pentagrams on picnic tables!
“Busse Woods” — Stoner hang out of all time.

These days you have either Mark or Rafa playing bass, but other than personnel involved, how do you think the band has changed over the years?

I think the songwriting has reached more professional levels. I have become a better songwriter and vocalist over the years and I just feel the natural progression over time has changed the band. Acid King will always have a signature sound like AC/DC and The Ramones but will have subtle changes, whether it be more dark, more ambient or more driven.

Has there been any writing for a follow-up to III? If so, do you know when a release could be expected?

Currently writing the new record, have about five songs in the works. I would say it is more atmospheric and I’m looking forward to finishing it up, but most likely won’t be until the end of the year.

Any other plans you want to mention or closing words?

A small European tour will derail us in July/August!

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10 Responses to “A Decade Under the Trees: In Tribute to Acid King’s Busse Woods

  1. sonny says:

    thanks for the interview. acid king rules! need moar tours, suckas

  2. Tombstones says:

    Acid King for presidents! Hope to see you in Norway sometime soon!

  3. Joey Genovese says:

    little Ricky Masso was a douche bag that nobody ever called AcidKing, he was nothing but a pathetic punk kid killer

    as far as Busse Woods being the ultimate stoner hangout, are you kidding? I can think of a hundred in jersey in the 70’s that would make it look playtime for children

    and Lori try learning to play the guitar that same power chord riff is really getting old

    this is just one of a hundred stoner records that sound the same

  4. dhmitri says:

    i fucking looove this band
    lori is great

  5. Cachupapas says:

    Acid King rules!! Saludos desde Guadalajara, México. You guys opened my mind for a whole new world of bands, even when I´m not obssessed with Jesus Christ Superstar, but yes with “The Obssessed” the band…

  6. Corb says:

    Dude Joey, shut the fuck up. If you don’t like the band or the album, then get the hell off the page you fucking lowlife.

  7. 70's Stoner says:

    Man I remember Busse Woods back in the late 70’s. One could just drive up and buy anything…pot, hash, coke, angel dust (ouch) right out of the cars.
    Great place to party and play frisbee, too bad the cops shut it down.

  8. sheena says:

    I LOVE this album. Love this band. I take my dogs out to Busse Woods all the time, I wish I could have seen it back in the day when all that was going on………….As for the comment by Joey above~ nobody likes a troll, if you don’t like Acid King don’t read arcticals about them, dickworm.

  9. Phil says:

    Ahhh …….The good ole days – during the peak hours , it was impossible to find a parking spot at busse ,…
    you constantly needed to keep an eye open for the dreaded ‘ banana man ‘ ( the ” rangers ” drove bright yellow crown Vic’s )
    – you couldn’t have open alcohol with in 50 feet of the roadway ,…. they would some times enforce with a long tape rule !

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