Levitation Room Started as Punk and Almost Ended in a Nevada Jail

Levitation Room’s music conjures Beyond The Valley of The Dolls late ‘60s Los Angeles psychedelia. But their roots are grittier than their flower child vibe suggests.

The psych-rockers are punks at heart. Taking early inspiration from Johnny Thunders and The Stooges, Levitation Room bashed through a variety of punk styles before realizing they had to go deeper to find the sound they were destined for.

“Eventually, we kind of just were like, ‘well, what were these cats listening to,’ Levitation Room frontman Julian Porte tells BTRtoday. “And if you delve back a little, they were listening to ‘60s garage.”

Their album Headspace, released Oct. 4 on Greenway Records, is a lush feast of slipstream guitar, lulling rhythms, intricate keyboard work and inviting vocals. Of the album’s many psych-rock anthems, the band’s favorite track is “Stars Speak Softly,” an emotional number that floats along a lazy river of sounds before hitting a sudden rush of rapids for its closing epic guitar solo.

“We play it with a lot of feeling,” he says. “I think that’s the track that makes us really excited about the music we’re doing right now.”

Levitation Room, “Mr. Polydactly Cat”

Levitation Room’s music oozes with trippy grooves, inviting listeners to explore new worlds and experiences. Their instinct to encourage psychedelic exploration steers them well. Most of the time, anyway. It almost led to disaster when the band nearly dosed a couple of cops with LSD.

Levitation Room’s tour tradition is to celebrate crossing a state line by sparking a bowl. Their lighters had just started flickering as they entered Nevada when a police cruiser’s lights appeared in their rearview mirror.

When the cops searched the car, they found two tabs of acid Porte forgot about it. Facing a tour-killing stay in a Nevada holding cell, Porte talked his way out of the tight spot by saying the LSD tabs were breath mints that they were happy to share with the police.

The cops confiscated Porte’s harmonica holder thinking it was a smoking apparatus, and let Porte and his band ride on. “We were just like, ‘man, it would be pretty funny if those cops took that acid,’” he says.

Levitation Room is working on a new album and planning a full European and U.S. tour for next year. In the meantime, listen to the entire interview with frontman Julian Porte and Levitation Room’s newest album Headspace on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.