It was producer Brian Butler who suggested doing a piece on these comically feuding “Satanists,” some whimsical characters he found on the Internet. They called themselves “The Syndicate of the Five Points,” a reference both to the pentagram and also that they were five Satanic covens who were joining their membership together. Each component part of the Syndicate was a “cult” consisting of a “leader” and no followers.
Initially these would-be cult leaders were all friendly towards each other and would meet and hang out and bullshit about the Dark One, evil and stuff, at shopping mall food courts and so forth, but wouldn’t you know it, one of them had to go off and marry his Christian girlfriend (on Richard Simmons’ Dream-maker TV show, no less!). Then there was “The Cartoon” that tore them apart.
I don’t want to give too much away, you’ll just have to watch it. The less said beforehand, the better.
One thing I will mention is that if you watched one of the earlier clips I’ve posted here, Brice Taylor: Mind Controlled Sex Slave of the CIA, Bob Hope and Henry Kissinger, you’ll already be familiar with the late Ted Gunderson, who was a special agent of the FBI in Southern California and at one time had about 700 agents under him. That’s actually true. How a complete idiot like Gunderson—an amusing, total nut-job of the conspiracy theory set who believed any darn thing he was told—ever got in a position of power like that is a question I’ve mused about elsewhere. From the time between his earlier on-camera interview in the Brice Taylor piece and when this one was shot a month or two later, the number of “practicing Satanists” in America had dropped by one million. Remarkable, don’t you think, unless of course, Ted was just making this shit up off the top of his head, which was exactly what he was doing.
It’s also why we brought him into the piece as we couldn’t figure out how to make it work with just the Satanists alone—they were too boring, funny but not really funny enough—and we knew he’d be good value as their onscreen nemesis. Gunderson’s ridiculous paranoia elevated the piece to an entirely different, weirder place. How could we have done this without him? The man was was a genius of unintentional idiocy, a real-life Fred Willard character with a strong opinion on everything. Comedic gold for a show like mine.
Incidentally, Ted Gunderson is not the only one of this crew who is dead. “Spook,” the guy who claims to have strangled a dog, is burning somewhere in Hell. No great loss there, I’m sure most of you will agree.
I’m not quite sure what happened to Magister Nalls, but I have heard that he’s not really a Satanist anymore. The dude who calls himself “Desecration” was, I believe, the limo driver of former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan (who obviously surrounded himself with the finest security experts that money could buy if this “evil” wackadoodle passed the fuckin’ background check!).
Yet another segment from my UK TV series of 2000-2001, Disinformation. Produced by Brian Butler. Shot by Nimrod Erez. Edited by Nimrod Erez and Doug Stone. Music by Adam Peters and Brian Butler.
1983’s Get Crazy, directed by Allan Arkush (Rock And Roll High School) is one of the few rock movies that get the energy right. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with reality, but so what? The best movies about the devil’s music are often the goofiest.
Things go off the rails in this good-humored farce about a chaotic New Years Eve concert at a Fillmore-like venue where no one seems to have a handle on what the fuck is going on. Malcolm McDowell is a riot as the Mick Jaggeresque rock star Reggie Wanker, as is the rest of the saavy cast, including Lou Reed, John Densmore, Lee Ving, Howard Kaylan and Derf Scratch - all displaying the “been there, done that” aura of men who’ve been in the rock ‘n’ roll trenches and come out smiling.
Before getting into making films, Arkush worked at the Fillmore East, so he knows the territory.
These fan-shot clips of David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars in Dunstable, supporting the then brand-new Ziggy Stardust album on June 21, 1972, have been sync’d up to live recordings. I’m unsure if the audio is from the same show, sometimes they’re really in sync, other times less so, but it’s close enough for rock and roll.
YouTube user bri2kay is who we have to thank for this Ziggiful bounty. Considering the scarcity of Ziggy-era footage, this is gold. And there’s a lot more where these came from.
H.R. Giger is mad as hell and he’s not gonna to take it anymore! And understandably so, in this 1997 letter from H.R. Giger to 20th Century Fox for omitting his name in the credits for Alien: Resurrection.
The last paragraph is a zinger!
November 13, 1997
To: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
The Alien Quartet has, from the very beginning, contained my unique and personal style. For the first film ALIEN, I was awarded an Oscar for “Best Achievement for Visual Effects”. In ALIENS, a film I was not asked to work on, I still received a screen credit for “Original Alien Design”. On ALIEN 3, I was cheated out of the Oscar nomination received by that film because 20th Century Fox gave me the credit, “Original Alien Design” again, instead of “Alien 3 Creature Design”, as it was my rightful title in accordance to my contract and the work I had performed on the film. In 1976 I had completed two paintings, “Necronom IV” and “Necronom V”, in which two long-headed creatures appeared. In 1977 these paintings were published in my book, NECRONOMICON, by Sphinx Verlag, Basel, in German. It was in this version of the book that Ridley Scott, in his search for a credible Alien creature, came across these two paintings and decided on them for the full-grown Alien, using the words “That’s it!” The statement has been graciously repeated by Ridley Scott in almost every interview about his work on ALIEN.
The creatures in ALIEN: RESURRECTION are even closer to my original Alien designs than the ones which appear in ALIENS and ALIEN 3. The film also resurrects my original designs for the other stages of the creature’s life-cycle, the Eggs, the Facehugger and the Chestburster. ALIEN: RESURRECTION is an excellent film. What would it look like without my Alien life-forms? In all likelihood, all the sequels to ALIEN would not even exist! The designs and my credit have been stolen from me, since I alone have designed the Alien. So why does Fox not give me the credit I rightfully earned?
As for those responsible for this conspiracy: All I can wish them is an Alien breeding inside their chests, which might just remind them that the “Alien Father” is H.R.Giger.
An extract from my contribution to Mark Goodall’s brand new book Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation, a collection of essays on music and the occult, featuring contributions from Mick Farren and David Kerekes among others, and pieces on the Beatles, the Fall, Nick Cave, John Coltrane and many more.
Before it was destroyed in a 1965 bombing, Harlem’s Nation of Islam Mosque No.7 could boast a cluster of striking alumni and associates, suggestive perhaps that powerful — or even sinister — forces were circling it. Louis Farrakhan was once in charge there, and was preceded in the role by none other than Malcolm X, who famously brought Cassius Clay into the Harlem orbit (turning him into Muhammad Ali in the process). Somewhat bringing up the rear is the comparatively little known Clarence 13X, whose eviction from Mosque No.7 and the NOI by Malcolm X led him to found The Nation of Gods and Earths — more colloquially known as the 5 Percenters, an heretical sub-sect of the NOI that would later distinguish itself by providing the slang and mythos behind much of the greatest rap music ever made, including Rakim, DOOM, and the (so to speak) meta-gangster rap of mid-nineties New York, exemplified by acts such as Nas, Mobb Deep and The Wu-Tang Clan.
Cassius Clay, of course, remained “Orthodox” — describing himself as “a fisherman for Elijah Mohammed” (the then-head of the NOI and self-proclaimed savior of Black America). While there is inadequate opportunity to get into the rules and dogma of the NOI, we should note that the hook upon which Clay skewered his bait had much more in common with Freemasonry than it did traditional Islam…
As in any Masonic sect, NOI members are initiated incrementally, and must memorize (and demonstrate some understanding of) tracts of esoteric lore in order to graduate to higher levels. One of the things neophytes must learn is a catechism of symbolism and numerology called “The Lost and Found Muslim Lessons.” These can sound pretty odd to profane ears (for example: “What are the exact square miles of the useful land that is used every day by the total population of the planet Earth?”) but are meant to impart esoteric insight through recitation.
These “Lost and Found Muslim Lessons” are wedded to the NOI’s recognizably Gnostic narrative, in which the traditional Gnostic Demiurge figure (the inept or malevolent creator of the material world in which the soul finds itself imprisoned) is the infamous Yacub, a mad scientist responsible for breeding the defective white race (“Dad”) and endowing it with a significant metaphysical fallacy for good measure — the concept of a “mystery god,” a deity that exists without (rather than within) humanity. Humanity itself is divided up between the ten percent of people aware of such truths but who opt to use them to oppress the ignorant eighty-five percent, and the remaining five percent who are aware of these truths and dedicated to using them to empower and enlighten the masses (good on ‘em).
Unfortunately, membership of the NOI looks a bit of a drag. As well as apparently having to permanently don a bow tie (I think I’d sooner be circumcised), gambling, fornication and intoxication are forbidden. Rectitude is the order of the day… excluding, apparently (and as ever), the sect’s leadership, who in the Sixties were beset with a number of scandals regarding its near pathological philandering, a double standard that must have helped to inspire Clarence 13X – expelled by Malcolm X from Mosque No.7 for like incontinence – to form his 5 Percenters, changing his own name to “Allah” for good measure.
Now here’s where it gets interesting, for Clarence 13X did not found his group in order to implement the top-down rectitude lacking in the NOI, nor to replicate its hypocrisies, but to instead altogether loosen the shackles of piety.
Goodness knows they chafed him enough — Clarence (a handsome fellow, as well as a snappy dresser) enjoyed a drink, smoke, toot, flutter and fuck no less than the average Rolling Stone, and saw little wrong with his fellow 5 Percenters enjoying the same, so long as they were careful to eschew pork — the notorious P.I.G. (he also — and in no little contradistinction to Mick, Keith and the gang — encouraged his followers to steer clear of smack, which he deemed “the swine of substances”).
Of much greater importance to Clarence than conventionally respectable behavior — which he appeared to think either would or wouldn’t assert itself in its own sweet time — was the wider dissemination of the NOI’s metaphysics among the offspring of New York’s African American slums, a rambunctious generation theoretically ripe for NOI conversion but likely to be deterred by the required lifestyle strictures.
Clarence lived out the remainder of his life balancing his role as religious mentor with his penchant for drinking, gambling and womanizing, during which time the 5 Percenters spread impressively, with its founder attracting plenty of negative attention and spending a certain amount of time in New York prisons and mental institutions, eventually being shot dead in ambiguous circumstances.
It was surely Clarence 13X’s teasing apart of morality and metaphysics that later made his creed so viable to the Nineties rap outlaws. Even in his lifetime this masterstroke had its repercussions, with the initial generation of Clarence’s converts causing a tabloid furor, the press misunderstanding the 5 Percenter insignia as merely the shtick of a dangerous new gang — by the time the ‘crack epidemic’ would divide up America’s slums into predators and prey, 5 Percenter theology was well entrenched as the warrior creed of a growing urban soldiery.
One tempting explanation for the ensuing high proportion of significant 5 Percenter emcees is that, by demanding that adolescent initiates begin committing the extensive NOI catechisms to memory, the proselytizers — usually older friends or relatives — incidentally enhanced these young persons’ mnemonic and recitative abilities.
Certainly, by the time the young RZA decided to form his collective, he was able to reap seven superb emcees with a single close sweep of his razorblade. For the initial core of the group, GZA, Method Man, and the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, RZA’s blade hardly had to travel, as all four were related to varying degrees and had been listening to hip hop, studying 5 Percenter theology and playing chess since childhood. These three voices — respectively cerebral, stylish and anarchic — dominate Enter the 36 Chambers...
So, one minute the Wu were playing clubs and house parties in their native Staten Island — there are rather picturesque accounts of ODB tripping on acid and firing his gun into the ceiling mid-gig — and the next they were superstars. RZA would spend the following five years brilliantly consolidating their legacy: producing and directing classic solo albums by the Wu’s five most talented members. Taken together, these solo debuts — Method Man’s Tical, GZA’s Liquid Swords, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Ghostface Killah’s Ironman and ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, the Dirty Version — surely constitute the richest oeuvre in hip hop.
Besides the career criminal and the cataclysmically unlucky, no one is more instinctively superstitious than the superstar — who fortune has touched with her most conspicuous (albeit volatile) wand. You can only imagine how the members of the Wu, all long since initiated into a form of urban witchcraft that attested to their inner divinity, felt to wake up and find themselves world famous. Whether or not the impoverished and mundane aspects of their former lives ever tested their faith in the mystical worldview of The Nation of Gods and Earths, their subsequent success manifestly compounded it, resulting in their becoming propagandists for Clarence 13X’s small sect and introducing it to tens of millions of listeners around the world.
For ODB, meanwhile, who had betrayed schizophrenic tendencies long before stardom provided ostensible confirmation of this supernatural worldview, success would only push him deeper into psychosis. By all accounts, he was one of the most dedicated 5 Percenters in the Wu, a fact that has usually been met with incredulity by some chroniclers of the group, who are stumped by the challenge of ascribing fervid religiosity to a pop star renowned for his spectacular affection for arrest, anilingus and crack cocaine. Fair enough, though in ODB’s history of womanizing, incarceration, shootings and insanity, we can detect an echo of the life of Clarence 13X himself, and are reminded that the 5 Percenters are an unusually flexible – and, frankly, rock’n’roll – sect.
In a repellent bit of attention-grabbing bluster, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is inviting disenfranchised gun-toting New Yorkers to come to Texas and enjoy the freedoms of the wild wild west. The day after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed some tough new gun laws, Abbot started running ads on the ‘net promoting the Texas life-style of packing heat, being fully-armed and perpetually locked and loaded.
“Wanted: Law abiding New York gun owners looking for lower taxes and greater opportunity. You’ll fit right in here in Texas!
Keep more of what you earn and use some of that extra money to buy more ammo.”
Clicking on the ads lead you to a Facebook page where you can register your support for Abbott’s harebrained bullshit.
It is at time like this that I have to remind my friends and myself that my new hometown of Austin is in Texas but not of Texas. I can assure you that most folks here in the Capital city would much rather fire up a bong or a barbecue pit than fire a goddamned gun. I think I can speak for most Austinites when I say “Abbott is an embarrassment and doesn’t speak for all Texans.”
The Patti Smith Group with Tom Verlaine performing in Spain, 1996. This was the European leg of her first tour since coming out of retirement. I saw the very first show of the tour at Irving Plaza in NYC with my daughter who immediately became a convert to the power and glory of Ms. Smith. And an old buddy of mine who hated punk rock was equally blown away.
At over $300 a pair, Del Toro tye-dyed chukkas are the absolute anti-thesis of what tye-dying clothes was originally all about - a cheap way to make your clothes look fashionable. But if you got the bucks, these puppies would look real cool with a pair of faded jeans and an old t-shirt. Coming this Spring.