The Pooterland Interviews:

Tim Du Feu - The Open Mind

18th June 2001


The Open Mind, a British Freakbeat/Psych band from London are probably most noted for the now legendary track ‘Magic Potion’ which appeared as a single and later on their much sought after debut album on Philips in 1969. Fortunately this album was re-released on Antar (ANTAR 2) in 1986 and this has made this classic piece of 60’s Freakbeat much more accessible to collectors of 60’s psychedelia.

The single ‘Magic Potion’ has also appeared on many psychedelic compilation albums over the years, including The Psychedelic Snarl, The British Psychedelic Trip Volume 3 and also The Perfumed Garden.

Band Personnel were as follows:

Mike Brancaccio - Guitar/Vocals
Timothy De Feu - Bass
Phil Fox - Drums
Terry Martin - Guitar/Vocals

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK talk to Bass player Tim De Feu...

The Open Mind

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: How did the name The Open Mind come about?

It was my suggestion. We were originally called The Dragset (now you know why we wanted to change it). The Open Mind was meant to signify open mindedness toward the arts and music.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: When did the band form?

In the early 60's. It was that long ago I couldn’t really give you a precise date!!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Where were you from?

We were all from Putney, South London.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Did you always play psychedelic music?

Unwittingly, yes! (Just came naturally I guess)

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Who were your main influences at the time?

We were all heavily into the Blues (John Lee Hooker, Elmore James to name a couple). Musically, a band called Nucleus (Geoff Kline & Chris Spedding) were influencing us as well

POoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What bands were you each in before The Open Mind formed?

This was my first and only.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: How well was the band received at the time?

Enthusiastically I recall. People were into bands who were 'experimental' and had original material as times and musical tastes were changing from the rock 'n' roll of the 50s.

One of our non-fans at the time appeared to be Paul McCartney. He was in the audience at the Bag o Nails and although he listened to us, was more interested in the female members of the audience! What does he know!!!!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Which one are you on the cover of the original album? are you 'in the head' or are you the cool dude in the blue leather suit?

Three of us, including me, are in the head. The other guy is Terry Schindler (Terry Martin to you).

The Open Mind

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: You are probably most famous for the now rare Philips single 'Magic Potion', has this always been a favourite with your fans and do YOU think its a good track?

What fans....????? I do think it's a good track, although sometimes embarrassing to listen to now (but some people don't think it has dated). It was produced by Fritz Fryer from The Four Pennies. Dusty Springfield was listening in.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Are you surprised that Magic Potion is still held in such high esteem over 30 years after it's release and that it has featured on various psych compilations?

We never would have thought that anyone would still be listening to it now (don't know if anyone ever listened to it THEN!). I did hear it once on the radio, completely by accident and couldn't believe my ears. Since then I've spoken to some people who have actually heard of us.

The record shop off Portobello Road (Blenheim Place) has a good stock of our album - I was even cajoled into signing some copies for them! Ah, fame cometh too late!!.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: We have always felt that it was years ahead of its time, having such a 'heavy' sound for 1969, what did the UK music press make of it when it was released?

I believe it was banned from airplay at the time as it was considered to be a 'druggy' song. I imagine it must have been reviewed but we never paid much attention to things like that at the time (too busy with the druggy thing!!!!).

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What London clubs did you play in?, Did you have any residencies?

We had a residency at the Marquee and have played at The Pontiac (where we started as Dragset and where Peter Green also started out), The Revolution, The Bag o Nails, The Speakeasy and the Playboy Club.

We also gigged at The Establishment with Jimi Hendrix who had been brought over by Chas Chandler and was trying to form his band, also with Robert Wyatt of the Soft Machine who gigged with us.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Did you tour?, if so who with?

No, we were strictly a London band.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Who else have you played with?

We've been on the bill with Joe Cocker, Electric Prunes, Love Affair, Marmalade, Nucleus, The Nice, to name but a few. At one time, Jon Anderson sang in the band and we appreciated his input. Unfortunately he left to form 'Yes' so I guess we lost out on a bit of fame there - we could have been Yes!!! (in our dreams!!).

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What and when was your best gig and why?

The Playboy Club in 1969 for the Bunny Girls and the free fillet steaks!!. We used to go into the kitchens and the chef would cook us free food - unbeknownst to the management. Musically, it was probably our debut gig as The Open Mind at the Electric Garden in Covent Garden.

Because we were 'of the time' we were received enthusiastically and the audience were great.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What is your favourite song from this era? (by other bands)

Bye Bye Blackbird by Joe Cocker (just 'cause I like it - no big significance and it didn't remind me of the war or anything like that!)

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Who was your favourite band from this era?

The Moody Blues. They were also considered a 'druggy' type band but I liked their melodies and lyrics.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Is there any unreleased material surviving from The Open Mind?

Not as far as I'm aware. Everything we recorded was released.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What Bass guitar did you use on the album and have you still got it?

Fender Precision 1962. I sold it for £120 to pay the rent - not one of my best moves, it's probably worth about £4,000 now.

But I still have the Marshall amp that I used then. Any offers? Allison (wife) says it's taking up too much space in the spare room.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What effects did Mike Brancaccio use on his guitar?

He used a straight Sunburst Gibson with a Fuzzbox and Wah Wah pedal.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Did you have a lightshow supporting you at your gigs?

There was a lightshow run by the road manager but we also had some 'groovy' fireworks and flashpowders which managed to devastate most of the dancehalls in South London (we tried to pick those close to a Fire Station and hoped they had good insurance).

As an example, one night I was doing the flashpowder thing but the stuff failed to ignite. So I moved over to have a better look, kicked the flowerpot which was over the burner and the whole thing exploded in my face, removing my eyebrows and half my moustache.

Unfortunately, we had a photoshoot the next day and they had to draw in my missing bits. I looked like Groucho Marx.

Also I believe we were filmed for a Dutch porno movie as 'the band in the club'.

If anyone finds this film, please destroy it !!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: When did the band split?

1973. We wanted to move into more jazzy stuff and The Open Mind was known as a psychedelic band.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What bands were you involved in after The Open Mind?

Terry, me and lead guitarist Stephen Florence formed Armada with a new drummer. This lasted about 3 years but we never recorded but did lots of gigs. Personal circumstances amongst the band members led to it folding.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Do you still play in a band?

No, but I'm open to offers and am learning to play the ukulele!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What do you now do for a living?

I'm a design engineer for the petrochemical industry.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: What are the other members of the band doing these days?

Terry runs a very successful wholesale fashion house in Vancouver. Micky teaches guitar and can still be found performing classical concerts at such places as the Royal Festival Hall and other such prestigious establishments.

Philip became a master carpenter and built Pete Townsend's recording studio. I have lost touch with him but if he's out there say hello.

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Have you ever considered re-forming the band?

Terry, Mick and I were at one time very keen but it smacked of 'The Blues Brothers' (more like The Grey Brothers now)!

pOoTers pSycheDelic shAcK: Do you still listen to 60's/70's music?

Most definitely!! - even from the 50s (I'm THAT old). I'm still an old rock n roller and always will be.