A truly underground document of the national obsession with heavy, mind-bent psychedelia. Originating in the unassuming suburb of Prairie Village, Kansas, Bulbous Creation seem to have warped directly from the wrong side of the looking glass with a jabberwocky full of surreal lyrics and gratuitous guitar solos. Recorded and abandoned in the catacombs of Independence, Missouri’s Cavern Sound studio in 1969, Bulbous Creation’s eight-song screed invokes images of sinners, wage slaves, drugs, out of touch parents, jail, and the devil, naturally.
“He was kind of a loner,” Jan Parkinson said of his younger brother Paul, singer and guitarist of Kansas City’s Bulbous Creation. Born and raised on the west side of the Missouri River in Prairie Village, Kansas, Paul used his semi-isolated surroundings as fuel for his fantastical lyrics. A series of informal bands were formed in high school with his childhood friend Jim “Bugs” Wine and revolving cast of drummers. The band was put on ice in 1966 for Wine’s enlistment, and he spent the next three years stationed in Korea, Germany, and Fort Riley, Kansas, where he spent his downtime honing his bass chops to a fine point. Discharged honorably into the heady climate of the ’60s final year, Wine waded into the potent stream of freedom and higher consciousness that was flowing in every city. He got an apartment in KC with another childhood friend whose hair was gathering around the collar and a job in avionics. It was here he reconnected with Paul Parkinson.
Wine had already been looking into putting a band together. A personal ad in the K.C. Star put him in contact with guitarist Alan Lewis, who had a monstrous talent and a familiarity with Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep. Lewis and Wine gelled immediately, but lacked the introspective nature of true songwriters. Wine invited the wordsmith Parkinson to apply his lyrics and melodic ideas to their heavy foundation. On the drum stool was Chuck Horstmann. For no identifiable reason, Lewis thought the term “Bulbous” applied to their sound, and wanted to name the band thus. His mates balked, but applying the slightly cosmic “Creation” to it at least let it roll off the tongue. Their all-originals set list made them a difficult booking, and profits did not materialize.
In 1971, the quartet poured what little personal surplus they had into a full day of recording at Cavern Studios, tracking enough material for a full length album. Bulbous Creation wouldn’t stay together long enough to save up for a custom pressing. The deeply individualistic Parkinson left to perform his songs as he thought appropriate, as a solo act. He preferred coffee shops to concert halls, and would stick to his craft another 20 years before hanging it up. Horstmann followed suit. Wine and Lewis soldiered on, adding a few components and then shortening their name to the more sensible Creation on the path to a more progressive sound. The Bulbous Creation LP might’ve been doomed to oblivion but for the efforts of Rich Haupt, who issued the seven-song LP in 1995 on his Rockadelic imprint. When Paul Parkinson died of leukemia in 2001, a lone copy turned up amongst his possessions, proof enough that someone, somewhere, was listening.