I believe that Purple Overdose must be the most well-known psychedelic band from Greece nowdays. They’ve been around for 22 years releasing their trippy sound through Greek and foreign record labels, reviving the 60’s and 70’s psychedelic music.
From the first days that this Athenian band was formed by singer/guitar player Costas Constantinou in 1987, Purple Overdose was having a hard time finding a steady line-up. Musicians would join the band, only to leave after a few months, urging Constantinou to become not only the guitar player, but also the singer, as well. Lots of credit must be given to bass player, George “Sugar” Papageorgiadis, and the drummer, George Nikas, who were both members of the band, No Man’s Land, and helped their friend keep the spirit of the band alive.
Costas Constantinou was a talented musician, and a former member of the garage bands “Poison Pen” and “Frog’s Eye“.
A few months before recording their debut album, “Exit #4“, Nikas was replaced by jazz drummer Christoforos Triantafyllopoulos, and a fourth member joined, keyboard player Michalis Vasiliou (who would later join the band Echo Tattoo for a while).
Right after the release of the album, George “Sugar” Papageorgiadis was replaced by Andreas Andriopoulos who is the band’s bass player through today.
Two of the songs that didn’t make it to the album were featured in a compilation tape which was given free with the magazine, Psychagogos, in the early 90’s.
The ground was ready and their fans craved a new release. A new album came out two years after the first one, titled “Indigo“, and carried a blend of strong psychedelic music which revived the 60’s and gave a cult status to the band.
The unreleased material of the “Indigo” sessions, recorded in 1989, would be released on a vinyl album during June 2004, and since 1989 seemed to be their most productive year, the German label Nasoni Records would later release in 2006 another album. “A Trip To Purpleland” came out as a double vinyl LP and double CD and featured live recordings from back then.
Back in the early 90’s, before once again undergoing line up changes, Purple Overdose went on a string of gigs all around Greece to promote the “Indigo” album.
In 1993, the band released a limited edition single, titled “You Lose It/2008 Old View”, in 1000 copies. “2008 Old View” was a remixed outtake track from “Indigo” while “You Lose It” was a new recording.
In 1994 their third album was released by the title “Purple Overdose” while their first two albums were re-released on coloured vinyl. The album cover, as well as the poster that came with it, was made by Iliana Noea. Again, the band mesmerized Greek and foreign critics who welcomed the album as one of the finest psychedelic pieces ever.
During December 1995, the band went in the studio for new recordings. These recording sessions ended up three months later, with the band experimenting on prog-rock music forms. Their song structures became more complicated and their acid melodies took over. So, in 1996, the “Solemn Visions” album was released.
The year 1998 found the band with a new record deal with another independent record label. Their next album would be their first CD release. The concept album, titled “Reborn”, received a review in the Spanish magazine Atropos, which ended with the following line: ”…probably is the best psychedelic band in the world. But what a pity! They are not from England…”
In 1999 the band played at the Rockwave Festival in Athens with Mercury Rev and Deus. After that, during 2000, they went on a number of electric and unplugged performances which were recorded and released a year later on a double box set album titled “The Salmon’s Trip Live”.
Purple Overdose is the perfect example of how much some people love music. After all these years, with all the difficulties raised from here and there, the band is still active today, playing their well-established psychedelic sound – maybe not as often as their fans would like, but, they are still here, hopefully for many years to come.
Click here for their MySpace profile.