Formed by arch extrovert Zoot Money out of the ashes of The Big Roll Band, Dantalian’s Chariot (obscurely named after the god of music and movement from the 101 Spirits of Solomon) came together due to a combination of;
a) Zoot’s boredom at being promoted by EMI as “the white James Brown”
b) the influence of his bosom buddy, boozer-turned-Geordie-mystic Eric Burdon
c) the ingestion of certain illegal chemical substances.
White robes and instrumentation, together with what was widely regarded as the best light show in town, meant that Dantalian’s Chariot raised the underground’s ecstasy count at clubs like Middle Earth and UFO, but sadly the only release during their nine-month existence was the single The Madman Running Through The Fields.
Written by Zoot and his guitarist, future Police guitarist Andy Summers ( or ‘Somers’ as it was at this time) Madman employed many of the stylistic devices that conspired to make English acid pop such a mesmerising beast – schizoid lyrics, tempo shifts, in-jokes, fade-ins, fade-outs, backward tapes, dream sequences, non-sequitur guitar runs, extraneous sound effects – but remembered to add a magnificent song to the rampant studio trickery to create a psychedelic potpourri of monstrous proportions.
Still smarting from the disbanding of the relatively lucrative Big Roll Band, EMI lost interest after the single’s release, leaving Zoot to raise enough money to support what was becoming an expensive project.
The soul-based Direction label stepped in, but when they rejected a proposed Dantalian’s Chariot album, Zoot announced that the group were finished, observing bitterly that “people were too interested in my old Big Roll Band and didn’t really want to know about the new group.
The trouble with people in British pop is that they dislike progression. They are always thinking in old terms and won’t accept anything new”.
Andy Summers accepted an invitation to join Soft Machine for the duration of their American tour with Hendrix, but within weeks he and Zoot had joined Eric Burdon in The New Animals, whose October 1968 album Love Is included an extended reworking of The Madman Running Through The Fields, together with another song from Dantalian’s Chariot’s live repertoire, Gemini.