Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Azitis - Help (PSYCHEDELIC CHRISTIAN ROCK US 1971)


Azitis,help,1971,psychedelic-rocknroll,Christian,sacramento,elco,zeke_nuez,garage,california,front"AZITIS - HELP" (PSYCHEDELIC CHRISTIAN ROCK US 1971)

Azitis was a California quartet featuring "Don Lower" (vocals, bass guitar), "Michael Welch" (lead and rhythm guitar, flute), "Dennis Sullivan" (organ and piano), and "Steve Nelson" (vocals and drums).
Originally known as Help, until threatened with legal action by the British band (on "Decca Records") of the same name they changed the name in Azitis (pronounced "as-it-is" from a reference to the biblical verse, "Thy will be done on earth [azitis] in heaven").
The band was first conceived in 1966 by Sacramento-area musicians "Don Lower" and "Steve Nelson".

Azitis,help,1971,psychedelic-rocknroll,Christian,sacramento,elco,zeke_nuez,garage,california,THE_ROADSIDE_BUSINESS,Ken_Pense,Keith_Deane,Richard_Gould,Don_Lower"The Roadside Business" from left to right: Ken Pense, Keith Deane, Richard Gould, Don Lower

"Don Lower" had cut his musical teeth playing in two of the area's better 60sGarage Rock outfits, "The Cambridge Coroners" and "The Roadside Business", and after "Don Lower" met "Steve Nelson", the two formed a songwriting partnership.
By 1969, the band had reached a level of quality that necessitated the production of recorded music.

After signing to Sacramento's own "Elco Records" in 1969, the enormous volume of original songs made it difficult to choose which to produce.
After many performances and audience reactions, two compositions were chosen and a date was reserved for the recording session: "Life Worth Living" backed with "Questions Why".

Azitis,help,1971,psychedelic-rocknroll,Christian,sacramento,elco,zeke_nuez,garage,california,Don_Lower,Michael_Welch,Dennis_Sullivan,Steve_Nelson,singleHelp: "Life Worth Living" / "Question Why", Capitol Custom SZB-3704, USA 1969

From there, the four-piece changed its name to Azitis, and in 1971, the band cut its first and only full-length, "Help" ("Elco Records" SC-EC-5555, 1970), a Christian Psychedelic classic.
Swirling with mood-driven organ work and spirited vocals, "Help" is a full-blown Psychedelic affair.

Opening with the aptly titled "Creation", "Help" floats through a series of biblical themes, including the Fall, Judgment Day and the Revelation, backed by some of the day's trippiest Fuzz guitars and most weirded-out phasing.
"Help" is one of the very best Christian Rock records.
This album reveals hidden depths with each listen. The dreamy, laid-back vibe will appeal to Psychedelic fans, but at first hides the abundance of melodic ideas.
After a few listens you'll be drawn in by the excellent vocals, consistent sound and thoughtful lyrics.
It's often quite dark, but the groove isn't depressive.
With the supervision of "Roger Hamilton Spotts", engineers, "LaMont Bench" and "R.S. Owens", at the "Pavillion Studio's Inc" of Vallejo, California, the "Help" album took shape.

Azitis,help,1971,psychedelic-rocknroll,Christian,sacramento,elco,zeke_nuez,garage,california,vinyl,labelThe arrangements followed a continuous path, only interrupted by the mandatory spaces between songs, (to the disappointment of the group, since re-mastered with no spaces between songs). Designed as a 'Rock Opera'.

Azitis_help_1971_psychedelic_rocknroll_Christian_sacramento_elco_single_From_This_Place_Hope_To_SaveAzitis: "From This Place" / "Hope To Save", Elco 1, USA 1971

With a run of 1000 copies stopped due to "Dennis Sullivan", who was suddenly struck with the smell of success, and fled from the group, leaving no reason or explanation.
Azitis and the recording company were left scrambling for ways to salvage the production.
It resulted in company losses, and contributed to it's eventual closure. The remaining three went on to add a new member, piecing together a solid group, but too late to keep the momentum going.

Azitis,help,1971,psychedelic-rocknroll,Christian,sacramento,elco,zeke_nuez,garage,california,Don_Lower,Michael_Welch,Dennis_Sullivan,Steve_Nelson,promoAzitis from left to right: Steve Nelson, Zeke Nuez, Don Lower and Michael Welch

The addition of "Zeke Nuez", not only added a strong keyboardist, but also strong woodwinds, to the new sound.
Azitis worked new material into the show, and toured without the support of a discouraged record company. Finances, were strained, and soon this group was dissolved.
From the liner notes on album:
"From long hours of hard work, revising, jamming, improvising and re-arranging, these four young men are only beginning to master an unmatched uniqueness in today's rapidly changing music scene. With a sound as original, there is no way to go but up. They write and arrange their own music and they know how to play it. They have a message to convey and they know how to say it. They are poetic, yet simple, deep, yet relaxing. Their music and lyrics have a strength and a power to them that suggests a sort of mystical realism that is maintained from the first note of the "Creation" of LORD I SAW YOU CRY to the fadding rhythm of JUDGEMENT DAY. There is no end to the realistic and new way they put their music across. signed: John Cole, President ELCO Records".


Shakur said...

hoow tanks

yahwehfrk said...

I've been trying to collect Christian Psych for a while and I ran across this by accident. Thank you very much for sharing this. It is much appreciated.

Bob Haldeman

Anonymous said...

gracias por tu visita,
estamos enlazados.

hasta otra!


Dennis Sullivan said...

Hello all, I guess I'm the guy who "fled" from the band -- Dennis Sullivan (Keyboards). It has been over 35 years since I was the fourth member of the band but have stayed in touch with Michale (Lead Guitar) who know lives in Tennesse. Michael and I got together and recorded a full album using full orchestratation called Sullivan & Welch. This album is very different from AZITIS, and captures some of the history of Michael and I pre-HELP. Anyway, I saw this page and thought I would drop a note out there to all the people who liked our music. If you want to contact me you can email me at

Dennis Sullivan

MODO Publishing BMI said...

Actually, there was never a threat from the "Decca Help" as the California "HELP" owned the trademark. ELCO records made the change on the promo single to the LP without consulting the band, not wanting to slow the promotion by litigations that "could" arise. Nevertheless, the band did release another single several years later with the name "HELP", but as time marched on, the name AZITIS seemed to stick, so websites reflect the name as does the official site located at

Timmy said...

Thank you for this. I think I like it. Parised be Nero's Neptune.

MODO Publishing BMI said...

As time has marched on, The second LP by AZITIS entitled "Window Into In" is scheduled to be released on CD May 15th 2011. The Masters Project from California State University In Sacramento was recorded and now reproduced on this CD. And... Seven other Steve Nelson and Don Lower singles from the period, Featuring the elite Guitar work by Steve North and the Keyboards of Rod Courtney. A must CD for those who have enjoyed AZITIS over the years. Prepared to be thrilled.

Anonymous said...

It's a three-way tie between Azitis, Fraction and Joshua, with honorable mention to Out of Darkness, Agape and Wilson McKinley, as far as who had the best, most authentic crunchy jangly tie-died rock in the Jesus movement. They're all good. But if you don't listen to Azitis' song "Prophet," you're really missing out!

Unknown said...

Amazing !