Psychedelic ‘Apples’ to oscillate on campus

Lexington will get a bite out of a different kind of apple this weekend.

Psychedelic, electronic rock band Silver Apples will perform, along with The Moon Upstairs and two Lexington-based bands, Warmer Milks and Diagram A. The show is tonight at 8 in Memorial Hall and is sponsored by WRFL.

Silver Apples stemmed from the five-member, 1960s rock group, The Overland Stage Electric Band, after singer, Simeon Coxe, who goes by Simeon, began to use a pre-World War II oscillator during shows. An oscillator is an electric device that measures input and output in order to produce a signal or wave used in electronic music.

The introduction of the oscillator sparked waves through audiences but hit a sour note with the rest of the band as slowly, one by one, members left the group. Eventually, only drummer Danny Taylor remained.

“Me and the drummer were perfectly happy with the sound,” Simeon said. “We just tried to find a way to do this with just the oscillator and drums.”

Simeon and Taylor performed their first show as Silver Apples in 1967.

The name Silver Apples came from the final stanza in the William Butler Yeats poem, “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”

“It’s a trippy, psychedelic poem,” Simeon said. “As a kid, I had it on my wall as kind of an inspirational thing.”

The poem mentions “the silver apples of the moon, and the golden apples of the sun.” Being in New York City and not California, the band thought that “silver apples” was more fitting as a name, Simeon said.

“If we had been in California, I’m sure we would have went with golden apples instead,” Simeon said.

Silver Apples was one of the first bands to use the sounds oscillators produce. The instrument Simeon uses now was designed by him and consists of two old analog oscillators and a modern sound sampler.

“I was one of the first in a rock band,” Simeon said. “The pure electronic sound was the reason why I was attracted to it.”

Since the 1960s, Silver Apples has gone through many changes, some of them tragic. Simeon was in a car accident in 1999 that resulted in a spinal cord injury limiting the use of his limbs, and Taylor died in March of 2005.

Over time, Simeon has been able to regain the use of his limbs, though he has had to alter the way he performs on stage.

“I lost some dexterity in my fingers, so I don’t play the keyboard very well anymore,” Simeon said. “But I’ve made up for it by doing a lot of the older songs I did before Silver Apples.”

The accident made him go back toward his original sound, Simeon said.

The opportunity to tour again came when Gifted Children Records asked Simeon to go on the road with Moon Upstairs to support the record label and both bands’ new material.

The love Simeon had for his music helped him decide to tour again, this time as a solo artist.

“Musicians love to perform their music,” Simeon said. “So far it’s working out fine.

“I’m not your everyday rock band,” Simeon said. “I’m close to unique if not unique.”