Hot Smoke and Sassafrass' — Bubble Puppy
Bubble Puppy, founded by Texas guitarist Rod Prince, found their moment of fame with their 1969 number 14 charted song "Hot Smoke and Sassafrass," that became a hit when it was featured on American Bandstand, an American music-performance and dance television program that aired from 1952 to 1989.
The hit was inspired by an episode of the TV show "The Beverly Hillbillies," and was an ode to meditating and smoking marijuana.
Ashlee Burns, Corpus Christi Published Sept. 25, 2019
at The Belmont, the Rod Prince-fronted Bubble Puppy kicked off an Austin-themed bill with a powerful set that featured “Hot Smoke & Sasafrass” in the middle — and the songs that came before and after were not inferior.
Bubble Puppy: “Hot Smoke & Sasafrass”
If opening up for The Who in ’68 isn’t good enough for you, we don’t know what is. With a new live studio record released just last year, which includes their psych rock classic “Hot Smoke & Sasafrass,” Bubble Puppy is a band that helped shape the psychedelic rock movement in Texas during the late ’60s — and continues today.
Rod says this article is probably one of the BEST article written about Bubble Puppy. Sadly a copy of it is not online to share.
Bubble Puppy The 1960s psychedelic band scored one of Austin’s first pop hits with “Hot Smoke and Sassafras.” While they never reached that level of notoriety again, they’ve continued to perform after a 2011 reunion when they were voted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame. (7 p.m. March 15, 2018 Hotel Vegas Patio)
It’s been over half a century since Bubble Puppy first landed on the Texas music scene. Forming in San Antonio in 1966 after their previous band The Bad Seeds disbanded, the group's first show was actually opening for The Who at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium in 1968. A year later, their first single "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" would impressively secure the number 14 slot on the Billboard 100 chart, capturing the attention of national audiences with the track's winding duel-lead guitar licks, vocal harmonies, heavy drum rhythms and unexpected transitions.
Written and illustrated by Justin Jackley
The most impressive act of the night was truly the incredibly energetic show put on by Bubble Puppy. Most of the younger crowd that came to see some of the other bands or people that just completely stumbled into the venue by chance didn’t seem to have any idea what or who they were seeing but they were eventually caught up in the magic. The current lineup of Bubble Puppy really is the most cohesive incarnation of the band. They played flawlessly and you could really tell how much fun they were having being up there – Drummer David “Fuzz” Fore had the biggest grin on his face for the entire hour and a half set. Rod Prince’s bold, almost operatic voice, carried us through the classic songs such as ‘Hot Smoke & Sassafras’, ‘A Gathering of Promises’, and newer songs we hope to hear more of in the near future. These guys really give everything they have every show and all while having a blast on stage! Always respect your elders – especially when they are our psychedelic fore-fathers. I made arrangements to meet up with Rod and for over an hour we discussed the history, the present, and the future of Bubble Puppy.
by Jack Daniel Betz
the Bubble Puppy is the only IA band still gigging. Their insanely tight playing and Who-like vocal harmonies are something you’ll never hear on the Eagle (or the now long-gone Arrow), but the Bubble Puppy produced one perfect album at IA and every song on their set list is like a slice of warm, hallucinogenic apple pie.
The most commercially successful of any South Texas psych outfit, Bubble Puppy formed in San Antonio in 1966 when singer and guitarist Rod Prince moved from the coastal ’burbs to collaborate with his writing partner Roy Cox. “I was in Mathis then, having just returned from LA,” Prince says. “I had nothing else going, so I went to SA and Roy and I put the players together to form the first incarnation of what would become the Puppy.” At the time, Prince says the San Antonio music scene was “very tight-knit. Everyone knew everyone, like a family, without much in the way of showbiz competition.”
In 1969, Bubble Puppy landed a Top 20 hit with “Hot Smoke and Sassafras,” a tight, six-string death punch over which Prince sings cryptically of “the place above where it began.” When Prince tells the Current that Bubble Puppy was “consumed with virtuosity,” it’s no joke. Through tempo changes and a wandering guitar interlude, “Sassafras” makes writing an intricate hit seem effortless.
Houston Chronicle By Rick Campbell on November 7, 2013
Ray Rush might have been on to something when he mentioned Bubble Puppy in the same sentence with The Beatles. But International Artists got in the way. Fore said he’d learned about 10 years ago that Apple Records wanted to release Hot Smoke as its first single. Fore said he’d never heard a thing about that. But he was able to later confirm it at a reunion of Corpus Christi friends, when Carl Becker of J-Beck Records told him the story.
“He took a suitcase full of records over to Europe. One of them was ‘Hot Smoke.’ He met with George Harrison, who was already fully aware of Hot Smoke. (Harrison) said, ‘We want to license that.’ So Becker came back to the United States and talked to IA about it. They said they wouldn’t do it because they were going to open a London office. They couldn’t even open a can of tuna. So the story is true. Things would have been so different if they would have done that.”
famed Austin '60s psychedelic act Bubble Puppy brought all of the older attendees down from their campsites. The 'most feared opening act in rock' performed a burner of a set that came to a peak during their hit "Hot Smoke and Sassafras."
April 3, 2013 - It is with much sadness that we mourn the passing of Roy Cox, co-founder and bassist of Bubble Puppy.
"I've known Roy since we were 17, and there aren't many people that could match his enthusiasm for music. He was the driving force behind the Puppy, my writing partner for almost fifty years. At the top of his game he was one of the top three bassplayers on the planet and a gifted writer as well as performer. Another matchless addition to that band beyond the world. Fair winds, my brother!"
"I remember when Roy taught me to play guitar he taught me to play all the strings, he said let the whole guitar ring out. And when you're singing the secret to singing is to mean what you sing from the heart. I'll never forget that." Dave Fore
It was never fair to call Bubble Puppy “garage rock.” That was a term of convenience ensuring the band's authenticity. And they were authentic: David Fore, Rod Prince, Todd Potter, and Roy Cox had played in rock combos and surf bands around Corpus Christi and Austin before Bubble Puppy formed and started practicing weekly at the Pusi-Kat in San Antonio. They made rock & roll of the moment - esoteric, electric, unstoppable.
July 9, 2011 - We mourn the passing of our brother Gene Corbin, the 5th Puppy. The unsung director of our creative energies, who melded our wildly diverse egos and personalities into the Four Who Were One. The smoother of the rough places, the voice of reason in the chaos. Without Gene, there would have been no Puppy- no Gathering of Promises, no promises kept. We honor your life and memory, dear friend- we were fortunate indeed in having shared life with you. The last tower is climbed, my Truebrother.... and you're home safe at last. Fair winds and joy, till we meet again.....
Rod Prince .