STEPPENWOLF Early Steppenwolf (1969)

Early Steppenwolf (1969)
21 Stoner Minutes Of “The Pusher”

Released in 1969, this is actually an earlier Steppenwolf (a.k.a. Sparrow) live date from The Matrix in San Francisco, May 14, 1967. Recorded before the band even released an album, Early Steppenwolf is notable for a few reasons. First, it finds Steppenwolf knee deep in the blues, filtered through the group’s distinctive blend of personalities (John Kay, Goldie McJohn, Mars Bonfire, Jerry Edmonton & Nick St. Nicholas). It also highlights the band’s early live version of Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher,” a psychedelic feedback improv that meanders around the cosmic fringes for about 15 minutes before eventually morphing (via an obvious edit) into the actual song. To be honest, it’s more meandering than cosmic. In “I’m Going’ Upstairs,” Kay isn’t even sure when to come in on vocals. Raw but fun. Dismissive of Steppenwolf? They were a decent blues-based bar band, give a listen. This was up for years before getting a comment. A mercy comment, at that.

Power Play (2:56)
Howlin‘ For My Darlin(4:53)
I’m Goin‘ Upstairs (7:17)
Corina, Corina (3:57)
Tighten Up Your Wig (3:14)
The Pusher (21:28)


  • Anonymous
    December 11, 2009 - 14:15 | Permalink

    OK, so now there is.
    This is one of those albums that is never going to set the world on fire, but it is an important 'missing link' between 'quite a long time ago' and 'just a little bit less than quite a long time ago'. There are seeds here that illuminate quite a lot of what was to come (and not just from Steppenwolf)…

    … and it is certainly deserving of at least one comment.

    Thx for posting!


  • Anonymous
    November 9, 2010 - 13:17 | Permalink

    Ufa! A serie of excellent posts ! You wanna kill me !
    Thanks !

    from São Paulo – Brasil

  • sitarswami
    November 9, 2010 - 15:27 | Permalink

    My best friend played this album constantly back in the day, so it succeeds as a nostalgia trip. I've been wanting to hear this long version of The Pusher for more years than I care to admit. Thanks for the post.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 9, 2010 - 18:01 | Permalink

    Find it HERE.

  • Mylene
    November 10, 2010 - 23:31 | Permalink

    If John Kaye had died and Jim Morrison lived. Steppenwolf would be revered and The Doors would be playing half empty houses on the revival circuit. :p

  • Jobe
    November 11, 2010 - 16:42 | Permalink

    I've seen this for years but never have listen to it. Strange since I love this band. Well I'm gonna make up for lost time now.

  • Anonymous
    April 26, 2011 - 07:59 | Permalink

    i had this album. a friend of mine shoplifted it from a local "value mart" back in the day. i was in alaska (anchorage, born and bred) only about 13 at the time. i loved steppenwolf and followed them through "for ladies only" and john kay's first solo lp. good stuff

    • Willard
      February 11, 2015 - 17:24 | Permalink

      That’s pretty much when I stopped listening, too.

  • Rah
    April 16, 2012 - 20:10 | Permalink

    I Love Steppenwolf. Thank you. The Herman Hesse version is great too. John Kay sings like he means it.

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