SOCRATES DRANK THE CONIUM
SOCRATES DRANK THE CONIUM
Socrates Drank the Conium is a Greek progressive/blues rock band that formed in 1969 and was active in the early 1970s. Their sound was reminiscent of other such bands of the approximate period like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jeff Beck and some of the more progressive, experimental works of Black Sabbath. Their categorization as “progressive” can be attributed mainly to their abundant use of less-than-conventional time signatures. The group would go through many lineup changes throughout the years, but the two core members have remained: guitarist Yannis Spathas and bassist/singer Antonis Tourkoyorgis.
Socrates (as the somewhat ponderous name is often abbreviated) began its career in the clubs of Athens. Most prominent of these was the popular Kyttaro. They were present at a number of other locations in and around Victoria Square in Athens. Apart from playing many original songs at gigs, Socrates often covered Jimi Hendrix songs, none of which were featured on any studio releases. However, a thirteen-minute cover of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones found its way onto their 1972 album Taste of Conium. The guitarist, Yannis Spathas, favored two sunburst Fender Stratocasters, a Candy Apple Red Roland GR-505 guitar synthesizer, a black Gibson Les Paul Custom and a cherry sunburst Les Paul Standard as his instruments, Antonis Tourkoyorgis played a mid-1970s natural ash-bodied Fender Jazz Bass and sang, while several drummers were used throughout the live shows and recording sessions. As a whole, the three-piece outfit resembled that of Cream: counterparts Spathas and Clapton, singer/bassists Tourkoyorgis and Bruce and drummers Boukouvalas and Baker.
In 1975, Socrates went through a change in stylistic direction with “Phos” which released in 1976 and was produced by Vangelis and featured his contribution on many tracks. Phos was mostly reworkings of older songs by Socrates. Both LPs ‘On the Wings’ and ‘Phos’ were issued in the USA via Neil Kempfer-Stocker’s Prog imprint Cosmos. ‘On the Wings’ (sealed) value is $250. While ‘Phos’ (sealed) fetches $175.
During 2002 Socrates reunited in an extended form (featuring keyboards and a second singer) to do several shows around Athens.
Antonis Tourkoyorgis – Bass guitar, vocals
Yannis Spathas – Lead guitar, Roland guitar synthesizer
George Trantalidis – Drums
Elias Boukouvalas – Drums
Nikos Antypas – Drums
Kostas “Gus” Doukakis – Guitar (1973)
Makis Gioulis – Drums
Asteris Papastamatakis – Keyboards
Markella Panagiotou – Vocals
Leonidas Alachadamis – drums (1975)
(Appears on) Live at Kyttaro – 1971
Socrates Drank the Conium – 1972
Taste of Conium – 1972
On The Wings – 1973
Phos – 1976
Waiting for Something – 1980
Breaking Through – 1981
Plaza – 1983
The Original Singles – Compilation released 2005