Sly and the Family Stone, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane are just a few of San Francisco’s storied purveyors of psychedelia. Following in their footsteps seems like a rite of passage for many locals acts, but The Love Dimension is determined to carry on the celebrated tradition.
The psychedelic band was founded by frontman Jimmy L. Dias in 2009 and while it has been somewhat of a revolving door of contributors, Dias has remained a constant driving force. RIFF caught up with him to discuss the band’s origins, its current roster and Dias’ plans for its future.
Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Love Dimension
8 p.m., Friday
The Uptown, Oakland
RIFF: Before you started The Love Dimension, you described yourself as a “healer.” What did you mean by that?
Dias: Well, when I first moved out to California from the East Coast, I was studying the healing arts, like hypnotherapy, studying with different shamans and healers. I actually still do some sessions with people.
How did that lead into your career in music?
I was doing music before, in Boston, for a long time. But when I moved out to the West Coast I kind of gave up on music. I sold all of my gear. I said “I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.” In one of my hypnotherapy classes … there was this one guy who went up and he was doing this dreamwork. Basically, the message that that guy was getting was, like, he didn’t want to work for his dad’s company. His dad had a construction company and he was like, “I don’t want to do this, I want to do music.” I just remember watching him being, like, “Hey, I want to do music too!” I remember it felt like a boomerang hit me in the back of the head. So after that I started over. I started with the acoustic guitar and then I started writing songs and many of those songs ended up becoming songs for The Love Dimension.
Did your experience in mystical healing influence the direction you selected for The Love Dimension, or did you already have an interest in psychedelia?
Doing some of the healing work, what you’re doing is working in an altered state of consciousness, which can be a very psychedelic experience. I feel that it expanded my awareness and how I see things. It also helped me rid myself of a lot of beliefs and negative thoughts that were keeping me from doing what I wanted to do. One [thing] that I took from that was learning about hypnotic language and how that corresponds with really good songwriting. Like how [in] a really catchy song they keep repeating the chorus over and over again. It just gets into your subconsciousness and sticks in your head. So I find myself using some of those ideas when I’m writing a song.
You mentioned that mystical healing expanded your mind and opened your eyes. Is that what you try to do for your listeners?
I guess so. I really just want people to be inspired and open up themselves. The analogy I like to use a lot is “wanting to be a lighthouse.” Like, not telling people what to do, but just shine a light so other can find their way. I guess “opening people’s minds” is one way to put it. I don’t really know how to word it. To me, to be myself even more is really all I can do. I can’t do anything for anybody else. All I can do is express the music inside of me and then hopefully that inspires somebody has to go out and create in their specific way.
You have had several band members come and go over the years. How long has this current roster been together?
Well the current roster has been changing every show. There’s been a few periods of the band where we had a similar lineup for two to three years. But more recently, we’ve had stuff come up. [When I first started] I started just booking shows and I’d figure it out later. Which I did for the first Love Dimension show. I didn’t have a band yet, but I knew I wanted to play. Then about a week before show, both the drummer and bass player contacted me. So I’ll call [different people] up and put a band together. For example, we just played a small New Year’s Eve show as more of a three-piece, with just a guitar, bass and drums. Then we played at Bottom of the Hill and we had two drummers and four singers. It depends on the show.