Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People

 

LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE
PRESENTING…LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE(1968)

 

Lothar and the Hand People were a psychedelic rock band that got their start in Denver, Colorado in 1965. They relocated to New York City in 1966. They were arguably one of the first bands to start the genre of space rock and they were an influential band in the sense that they were considered the first band to tour and record with synthesisers, which paved the way for many other musicians to do the same.

Specifically, they pioneered the use of the theremin and the Moog modular synthesizer. These instruments gave Lothar and the Hand People a very different, and at times otherworldly sound that was not heard in rock music up until that time. The most interesting aspect of the theremin, is that it can be played without touching the instrument.

Theremin
Theremin

Lothar and the Hand Hand People have an interesting, if not weird story behind the band. They use a theremin that they called “Lothar” and the people in the band are referred to as the “Hand People.” The band’s music is wild, fun, and interesting, if not a bit strange. However, I found them to be innovative and influential, in a childish, adolescent sort of way.

The band’s first album, of only two that they recorded, is title “Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People.” The record is a bit hard to grasp on a first listen, and I wasn’t overly impressed. However, after subsequent listens, it grew on me, and my sense of an interest in all things strange but enjoyable.

The first song on the record was a funky cover of Manfred Mann’s song “Machines.” It is quirky and rather tough to immediately appreciate, but it becomes catchy after a few listens. It is a futuristic song about how machines will rule over people, put in a silly way that makes it seem as though it is aimed at being childish. Interesting, but weird.

The next song on the record, This Is It, is a smooth song with a nice flow to it, and the guitar solo in the middle has a nice country twangy feel. This is a nice contrast to the clunky, mechanical feel of the first song.

This May Be Goodbye sounds like the beginning of a 1970’s funk song, with the synthesizer intro. It is a good song, not on of the better one’s on the record though.

That’s Another Story is a entertaining song with the synthesizer in the background that sounds a bit like a soundtrack from an old west movie.

Kids Are Little People is just plain weird, but fun. At first listen, I almost skipped over to the next tune, but I gave it a chance. It comes across as playful and nerdy, and one has to wonder if these guys were really just a bunch of  crazy musicians, out to have a bit of fun. I think that is the correct assumption, they were not going to write any deep philosophical pinings here. Just good, psychedelic, trippy fun. A record full of fun fluff, but good fluff, in a world of madness that was representative in late sixties culture.

Ha (Ho) starts off with the theremin, then develops into a well written insightful piece that turns into a chorus of gibberish. Hence the name of the song. There is a nice psychedelic guitar solo in the middle. Strange, but entertaining.

Sex and Violence, a rambling piece about, well, sex and violence. Not a lot of lyrical content here, and the song is not dark and sleazy as the title suggests. Just a trippy psychedelic song with little to add to the world other than some weirdness.

Bye Bye Love is a cover of a 1957 song made famous by The Everly Brothers. A song that has been covered numerous times by many artists, this particular cover version is adequately recorded, if not with a bit of a silly feel to it, as is the way much of the record comes across.

Milkweed Love is trippy, psychedelic, if not a bit slow. Good song to relax in the sun to on the beach in 1968. Woody Woodpecker is hilarious. Sixties music performed for and by, a bunch of stoned out hippies and it is great. I really did come around a bit too late to appreciate this at the time!

It Comes On Anyhow is a trip, literally. Fun, weird, psychedelic. Paul, In Love finishes out the record with the theremin making one last stand on the record. Psychedelic ending to a truly psychedelic musical voyage.

Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People may have been obscure, and never really found much commercial success, but they sure were innovative. And weird. And trippy. And all sixties! The record is a good attempt at something weird and wonderful. It succeeded on both counts, and though not one of my favorites from the psychedelic era, they sure did make an impression on me. I’m just not sure what the heck it is. Worth a listen, for sure.

Rating: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People

  1. I love 60’s psychedelic music! For a big music fan like me, it’s really nice to see bands I’ve never heard of before in a genre that I enjoy. I’ll be giving their album a listen later. Very nice review by the way. I really appreciate that you went through each song to explain your feelings on it and it’s history. What was your favourite song in that album?

    1. Hi Gisele, thanks for commenting! My favorite song on the album is “You Won’t Be Lonely” although I like a few of the songs equally. It is a strange album for sure, but kind of fun also! Please visit again, as I’ll be posting weekly!

  2. I’ve never heard of these guys before but I reallllly dig their experimentation. What better way to ring in a new genre of music than with something absurd and weird? Then weird becomes the new cool and the cycle starts all over again! Thanks for the review and history. What would be your top picks for psychedelic rock bands?

    xx

    Helen

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by! My favorite psychedelic bands are The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix. But there are many others that are great. Please visit again, I’ll post more about psychedelic bands weekly, some well know, some obscure!

  3. Thank you for the detailed article on Lothar and the Hand People. I enjoyed reading your post as it is very informative and contains also your emotions. I liked Bye Bye Love and Milkweed Love but I also have to agree with you that some of their songs are a bit weird if not all 🙂 I usually listen to different type of music but without doubt there are days in my life when I would love to listen to Lothar and the Hand People.

    1. Thank you for commenting, yeah, Lothar is a bit strange, but it grows on ya! Please visit the site again, I’ll be posting weekly!

  4. I’ve always been into the pioneers of sound myself. I enjoy hearing something I have never heard before and it was cool to stumble across this post. I have been trying to gather some info on what people think actually spurs this innovative spark in bands an musicians. Do you think it was a choice by the band to have such an unorthodox sound from the get-go or do you think they just produced what they thought was fun and interesting at the time?
    Thanks for the post was a good read.

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for commenting! I personally feel that some bands back in the sixties were keenly aware of what they were attempting to do could be pioneering. Some bands were just stoned out and having fun, and that sometimes sparks creativity juices and gets them flowing. I think with Lothar, it was more of just them having a good time and enjoying what they were doing, with a little chemical prodding, so to speak:) I wasn’t around, but that is my guess. What a great time for music was the sixties! Please visit again!

  5. Wow. What a trippy band. They remind me of Frank Zappa and Bonzo Doo Dog Band. I really like your take on the songs. Thank you for posting videos on them and bringing them to light. Can’t wait to see who you will feature next. Great job on the site.

  6. I never even heard of Lothar and the hand people. Thanks for the heads up man. After hearing the second song, I have to at least give the rest of the album a try. Awesome story. Do you happen to know the best place to hear the second album? I would also like to give that one a listen as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *