Although he (apparently) vanished off this mortal coil in 1981, three decades after his death musician/magician Geoffrey Crozier (or Jeff Crozier or Geoffrey Krozier or any number of variations on that theme) still makes ghostly appearances all over the world via documents of his work that have been posted posthumously on the Internet like freaky little occult bombs with long fuses.
Crozier was called “the high priest of exorcism-rock,” “the Mad Magician,” “High Priest of Magick” and billed as a “voodoo psychedelic magician.” To think of him as merely an Aussie Alice Cooper (or Arthur Brown for that matter) is to entirely miss the point of the truly impressive CHAOS this guy was able (and quite willing) to orchestrate as a performer. Alice is, and always was, just a stage act. This guy obviously meant it. Like a man possesed, Crozier was also clearly doing whatever it was he was doing for his own benefit and only secondarily for the audience’s entertainment.
Suffice to say, I don’t think anyone who ever saw the man perform, let alone they who performed with Geoffrey Crozier, ever forgot him. Although he played with quite an assortment of different musicians, it seemed like his modus operandi changed little throughout the years. Loud music. Pandamonium. Pyrotechnics. Flashing lights. Illusions. Always a distinctly Dionysian, if not downright evil, flavor to the proceedings. No matter who was backing him at a given time, the idea was to have them just “play”—that is play whatever, basically, I don’t think he was fussy as long as it was half or fully crazed.
Duncan Fry, who played guitar in one of Crozier’s earliest groups, writes:
What he wanted was free-form continuous music for the 30 minutes or so that he performed, while clouds of oily smoke, flashpots, and strobe lights alternately choked and dazzled the audience. Most of the musicians who turned up for the audition couldn’t handle such a laissez-faire attitude to the music side of things.
“But what songs are we going to play?” they would whine. “No songs, just play, play” Geoff would reply, setting off another flash pot.
While Crozier did his thing, he would talk-sing in a freeform surrealistic schizophrenic poetic manner, often using snatches of Aleister Crowley. The effect was not unlike a demon-possesed jabberwocky-spouting Vivian Stanshall in many respects.
Here’s a loose transcription of the sort of thing he’d…uh… rap, quoted from a fascinating 2006 post about Crozier on Julian Cope’s Head Heritage website:
“Pope Pubic, 13th of March, April 1972 and the year of rats as big as cats, hmmm, what a well-hung door… Flamshot was his well-oiled name, and he was a supreme and utter no nonsense around here mate or I’ll rip your lungs out and flush your entrails into my hair he said. Face me when you talk to me, son of a tinker’s curse, all hail the redback, and let’s take drugs together, and let’s get pissed together and let’s fuck one another and let’s drown in one another’s bubbling bloodbath as we cut each other’s throats… mmm I’d like to see you squirm, I’d like to see you burn, and finally the coin stopped spinning and fell back to earth, and they both got what they wanted… a Shiva hand-job!”
There are fragments of Krozier’s biography scattered here and there (the best perhaps being “Geoff Krozier – A Magik Story” an essay from his friend and collaborator Rob Greaves). The (very) short version is that he was born Jeff Crozier in Australia in 1948, started off as a stage magician/illusionist in the mid-60s at a young age. His act was becomes something darker and much wilder incorporating psychedelic rock music with the formation of what ultimately became known as Geoff Krozier’s Indian Medicine Magik Show, having previously been called The Magic Word, or when they performed in more conservative parts of Oz, the Magic Pudding!
He ends up in New York during the punk era, living on Staten Island in a tiny room with “a dog called Schroeder, a black cat named Quasar, a dove named Tweedledee and a monkey with the unlikely moniker of Sarcophagus Mayhem.” There he performs with Kongress, a mind-bending mid-70s NYC punk outfit that also included berserk No Wave legend Von LMO on drums and Otto Von Ruggins on synthesizers. (We’ve covered Kongress before on the blog here). After that implodes—Crozier and Von LMO apparently felt homicidal towards one another—he returns to Australia, is given the Australian Society Of Magicians’ Magician Of The Year award and in 1980 he hooks up with an electronic group called The Generator (or Rainbow Generator) and records and performs with them.
Crozier hung himself on May 17th 1981. With the details of his biography scattered hither and yon like digital ashes, it’s impossible to say too much about him with much assurance. Google him yourself and you’ll see what I mean. [Try alternate spellings of his name: Jeff Crozier, Geoff Crozier, Geoff Krozier, etc to tease out more mentions of this fascinating character.]
The clip below is an insane 1970 vintage performance of Geoff Krozier’s Indian Medicine Magik Show from an Australian television program called Hit Scene that has got to be the single most demented thing anyone did on TV (let alone in private) anywhere in the world that year. As I watched this, I wondered how such a thing could have been allowed to happen and I found that the answer that Krozier’s day job at the time was as a set painter at Channel 9, so he had connections at the various TV shows taped there and was able to fill in at a moments notice if another act cancelled, so that is the answer as to “how” something this insane occurred and was beamed into middle class living rooms some 45 years ago.
However it happened, I’m just glad that it did. Press play….
Posted by Richard Metzger |