Robyn Hitchcock has long been known both for his open-minded creativity and for his love for psychedelic music and imagery. In a new video for his Robyn Hitchcock track “Sayonara Judge,” Hitchcock and director Hugh Hales-Tooke, who have known each other since Hitchcock’s days with the Soft Boys in the mid-Seventies, channel that psychedelic spirit to trippy effect.
“I first saw Robyn Hitchcock in my hometown, Cambridge, in 1976,” Hales-Tooke tells Rolling Stone Country. “He was playing with a fairly early incarnation of the Soft Boys. It seemed fitting for Cambridge to be the place for Robyn Hitchcock to emerge. He was doing something strong and unique but with a strong connection to Cambridge, the home of Syd Barrett and early Pink Floyd psychedelia. He has had special significance for me ever since.”
To create the visual, Hales-Tooke compiled stop-motion style animation of photographs and objects, trippy illustrations, digital graphics, and photos of Hitchcock himself. The clip’s narrative loosely follows that of the song, with moments like the first-verse lyrics, “Losing my face, losing my friends” and “I’m twirling my cane out on my own” accompanied by vaguely abstract visual interpretations (for the former, for example, Hitchcock’s face is erased from a photograph).
“The animation interprets Sayonara Judge as a book about a journey,” Hales-Tooke says. “There is a recurring, exultant, image coinciding with the chorus that looks with hope to the future, and images accompanying the verses of the song that are to do with erasure — a past wiped away — and sadness about what has been lost on the journey out. Fans of Victorian psychedelia will recognize the sinister whimsy of John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland that are used to accompany the final verse of the song.”
In October, Robyn Hitchcock will hit the road on a new mini-tour, which he’s dubbed an “electrospective” of both the finest work from his 40-year career as well as a healthy dose of tracks from his 2017 self-titled album (and some psychedelic covers, to boot). For his backing band, he’ll bring along the Nashville Fabs, a trio of, as Hitchcock puts it, “three ace musicians from [his] adoptive home” comprising Ryan Brewer, Buddy Hughen and Wilco’s Pat Sansone.
“The longer I last, the more of a challenge it is to squeeze my career into 90 minutes” Hitchcock tells Rolling Stone Country. “But we’ll have some quality material that nobody’s heard live in a while. It will be a treat to return to the two-guitars-bass-drums-and-harmonies template one more time, in some of the greatest cities on the rock & roll map. Look out, Sir Paul, Sir Mick and Viscount Keith.”
Check out Hitchcock’s upcoming tour dates — including his electrospective shows — below.
August 30 — Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet (solo)
September 1 — Tucson, AZ @ HOCO Fest (solo)
September 29 — Memphis, TN @ Goner Fest (solo)
October 5 — Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre (with the Nashville Fabs)
October 6 — Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater (with the Nashville Fabs)
October 10 — Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall (with the Nashville Fabs)
October 12 — New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom (with the Nashville Fabs)