Considering how much I love the shit out of Daevid Allen and Gong, I’ve only posted about them once before on DM??? How can that be?
Well then, here’s to making up for that grievous oversight with something so fucking good it might cause you to have an out-of-body experience: Two insanely great live Gong performances from French television in 1973 on a show called Rockenstock.
First, the band do a ripping version of “I’ve Never Been Glid” that sounds extremely close to the studio version on Angels Egg except that Daevid Allen mischievously changes the song’s last line, “That’s another story, now it’s time to go and have a cup of tea see” to “That’s another story, now it’s time to go and smoke another roach.” (“Glidding” is how the Pot Head Pixes fly the teapots, if you are confused…)
I love the way that Allen’s trippy hippy dancing seems to “conduct” the group. Dig Steve Hillage’s “lewd guitar, Pierre Moerlen’s drums (the man was a god of rhythmic pounding, up there with Jaki Liebezeit), Tim Blake’s spacey VCS3 and synth-work, the great Mike Howlett’s booming, tight, bass-lines and Didier Malherbe’s anarchic sax riffs. This is Gong at the height of their power and they absolutely crush it..
After the jump, “space whisperer” Gilli Smyth performs a mind-melting version of “Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy” from Flying Teapot.
In, I think, 1988 or 89, I mailed hundreds of letters to all of the freaky organizations and crazed loners listed in Rev. Ivan Stang’s classic book on oddball culture, High Weirdness By Mail.
I sent the exact same form letter to all of them (“To Whom It May Concern, I am interested in more information about your organization, Thank you, Richard Metzger”) and within a very short period of time—about two weeks—my mailbox was overflowing daily with completely insane shit from some extremely marginal individuals. I used to have boxes and boxes of it. I’m sure that the current tenants of my former East Village apartment still to this very day get whimsical, creepy and outright alarming things addressed to me.
Among the high weirdness highlights were these people in Kentucky who sent me several homemade cassettes featuring some seriously demented (and low IQ) “alien channeling” sessions with “The Commodore” that became more and more paranoid and racist with every tape. This stuff was out there, existing in a parallel continuum of irrationality far beyond anything heard then on Art Bell’s radio show. With each cassette they’d send me—there were dozens sent for my one single letter of inquiry—there would be a crude drawing of their house and an appeal for money so that they could build a “UFO landing lookout” (something that you and I might call it a “porch”).
Equally persistent, but no less nutty, was the curious assortment of incredibly stupid items I received from disgraced TV televangelist Peter Popoff. Popoff—who was exposed as a fraud a long time ago on The Tonight Show and many times since—must assume that the people who contact him are the dumbest people on Earth and for the most part, maybe he’s right. Among the nonsense I got from him were a “prosperity prayer rug”: You were instructed to kneel on the “prayer rug”—a cheap paper poster with a dotted line circle—and put your wallet in front of you and pray for money (for a monetary donation, Popoff would also personally pray to God on your behalf) and a Handi-wipe type thing with supposed “holy water” that would make your debts vanish by supernatural intervention. Or something.
(He’s still around. The last time I saw Peter Popoff on TV, he was on BET and had re-invented himself as a sort of preacher/debt councilor)
The zaniness is broken down into categories like Weird Science, UFO Contactees, Jesus Contactees, Weird Religion, New Age Saps, $chemes & $cams, Cosmic Hippie Drug Brother Stuff, Weird Politics, Rantzines, Comics, Badfilm & Sleaze and Rudeness & Sex Wars.
You’ve got your slack cut out for you…
Honestly, I must say, spending 3 or four hours writing to all of those kooks was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I highly recommend High Weirdness by Mail. No really, in some ways, it changed my life! Praise Bob!
It’s an absolute delight! Guaranteed to make you smile or double your money back.
There are several similarly charming Harry Smith anecdotes like this one recounted in books such as Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular (Andrew Perchuck and Rani Singh); Think of the Self Speaking (edited by Rani Singh); American Magus: Harry Smith (edited by Paola Igliori) and the monograph Harry Smith: Fragments of a Northwest Life (Darrin Daniel).
My favorite Smith anecdote, and I think this one comes via Allen Ginsberg—pretty sure—is that Smith usually wore eyeglasses that he found in the trash. If he happened upon some discarded glasses, tried them on and they were better than the ones he was wearing, he’d toss the old ones and keep the new ones!
Late last month in Mexico City, Alejandro Jodorowsky organized the “March of the Skulls” to disperse negative energy caused by the death toll of the nation’s drug war. Nearly 40,000 Mexicans have died drug war related deaths in the past five years. The advance billing for the November 27th event described it as “the first act of collective psycho-magic in Mexico” and it attracted nearly 3000 people who donned skeleton masks, face-paint, tops hats. Some marchers carried black versions of the Mexican flag and shouted “Long live the dead!”
The “maestro” arrived at the palace steps about 1:30 p.m., causing brief havoc among the gathered calaveras as people jostled to get near him. The white-haired Jodorowsky, fit and agile at 82, wore a black sports coat, a bright purple scarf and a detailed skull mask.
Along with his family, Jodorowsky led the calaveras up the Eje Central avenue to Plaza Garibaldi in a mostly silent demonstration. In the late 1980s, he filmed some key scenes of “Santa Sangre” at this plaza, homebase for the city’s for-hire mariachi bands. On Sunday, it was easy to imagine another “Santa Sangre” scene being filmed during the march, but this time from a dark and unfamiliar future.
Someone decided the group should sing a song. It became “La Llorona,” the Weeping Woman.
Jodorowsky was displeased with the group’s initial interpretation, so he asked for another go at it. A mariachi band joined in as accompaniment.
“There are 50,000 dead beings,” Jodorowsky said through a bullhorn, before the sea of skulls. “They are sheep. They are not black sheep. We must have mercy for these souls that have disappeared. Let’s sing this song with lament, as if we were the mother of one of these persons. Understand?”
Then he asked that all those present cross and link their arms with those of the strangers around them. The group did. They chanted “Peace, peace, peace!” until Jodorowsky asked that everyone let out a big laugh. Laughter and applause followed.
You have to love that the wiley shaman did the old “c’mon you guys can do better” routine and made them sing it again!
After the jump, a news report about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s November 27, 2011 Psychomagic event in Mexico.
In one of the best interviews with him I’ve read in some time, comics mage Alan Moore offers his views on the future of publishing, Occupy Wall Street and that sad tosser Frank Miller. He also comes up with an extremely appealing idea for wresting control back from the bankers and plutocrats: Change the currency!
Mull that over for a second, won’t you?
What do you think needs to change in our political system?
Everything. I believe that what’s needed is a radical solution, by which I mean from the roots upwards. Our entire political thinking seems to me to be based upon medieval precepts. These things, they didn’t work particularly well five or six hundred years ago. Their slightly modified forms are not adequate at all for the rapidly changing territory of the 21st Century.
We need to overhaul the way that we think about money, we need to overhaul the way that we think about who’s running the show. As an anarchist, I believe that power should be given to the people, to the people whose lives this is actually affecting. It’s no longer good enough to have a group of people who are controlling our destinies. The only reason they have the power is because they control the currency. They have no moral authority and, indeed, they show the opposite of moral authority.
In the sixth issue of Dodgem Logic, I remember doing an article and I was trying to think of possible ways in which our society might be altered for the better. I’m not saying that any of these ways would necessarily be practical but it’s important that we try to think these things through. It’s probably more important now than it ever has been. There is a sense that we don’t have an infinite amount of time to get these things right.
With politics at the moment seemingly determined to keep ploughing on their same destructive course because they can’t think of anything other to do, when we’re facing the possibility of an economic apocalypse, of potentially an environmental apocalypse, we don’t necessarily have an infinite amount of time. I think that since our leaders are not going to address any of these problems then we really have no choice than to attempt to wrest the steering wheel from them. If they’re aiming at the precipice with the accelerator pedal flat to the floor, then we don’t have any other choices left. Do it now, in this generation, because we don’t how many more there’s going to be.
The economic problem is a strange one…
Economics is always strange. You’re not talking about anything that’s actually real. Researching a chapter for Jerusalem, I read a couple of books on economics to see if I could get my head around the facts of the situation. I was astonished when I found out the value of derivative bonds, in 2008. These are bonds that have a value in themselves that were once connected to a real thing, there might have been a bond made for the sale of a herd of sheep, but that can be sold on and they gain in value. The notional value of the world’s derivative bonds was in the region of sixty trillion. Exactly ten times the economic output of the entire planet, which is around six trillion. That means that the gap between what economists and what the world’s economic forces and the banks thought they had to play with and what actually existed was fifty-four trillion. That would seem to me the depth of the hole we are in.
So something has to be done about that. I would suggest beheading the bankers, but while it would be very satisfying and would cheer us up, it probably wouldn’t do anything practical to alter the situation. Behead the currency. Change the currency, why not? It would disempower all the people who had bought into that currency but it would pretty much empower the rest of us, the other ninety-nine percent.
When some magicians die, they vanish—their work done, their infernal ceremonies finished, their fire extinguished—leaving no traces behind. This was almost the case with self-styled high priest of rock magick, Geoffrey Crozier. Almost, I say, because some extraordinary documents of his short, turbulent time on this planet still remain. Dangerous Minds pal Otto von Ruggins is allowing us to showcase some of this rare and previously unseen material. If you are into vintage garage and punk rock insanity—like the MC5, New York Dolls or Alice Cooper, you know, the transgressively transcendent stuff that Julian Cope or Thurston Moore like—in all its mutant glory, then this post is for you.
Geoffrey Crozier was an enigmatic magician/rock performer from Australia who was a legend amongst New York City’s underground rock cognoscenti circa 1975-78. Crozier was the lead singer—you could also say lead shaman—of a rock group called Kongress whose other members at that time included pith helmet-wearing synth player Otto von Ruggins and nutzoid space rock No Wave madman VON LMO who beat the drums savagely, often with chains.
In the pages of The Village Voice, James Wolcott described a Kongress gig like so:
“A rowdy bottle smashing night…earlier in the evening there had been an altercation with a satanic occult band named Kongress that played music that sounded like a Concorde drone with Aleister Crowley lyrics. They abandoned the stage only after threats of violence were unfurled like vampirish cape flourishes.”
More Kongress after the jump, including insane live footage from Max’s Kansas City, Halloween of 1976 and 1977!
Manson (1972) is the razorblade in your Halloween candy bar. Chock full of footage of Manson and his freaky followers, this competently-made and unsettling documentary is a horror show made that much more horrifying by the fact that these folks aren’t acting, they’re real. With subject matter this dark and disturbing, the film makers didn’t have to embellish the story in order to gut punch the audience. All they had to do was point the camera in the right direction and let the film roll. Some of the interviewees have the long-distance stare of the truly mad.
Had the US government wanted to put a stake in the heart of the hippie movement, Manson’s gang of demonic flower children and the mayhem at Altamont provided the perfect opportunities to discredit an entire movement. Along with the death of Sharon Tate and Meredith Hunter, 1969 saw the death of the Aquarian Age.
ABKCO Films presents legendary director Alejandro Jodorowsky in a rare New York appearance with a Halloween screening of The Holy Mountain at MoMA:
Jodorowsky will introduce his visionary 1973 cult film The Holy Mountain, which famously played for sixteen straight months at New York’s Waverly Theater, at “An Evening with Alejandro Jodorowsky” on Monday, October 31, at 7 PM. The program serves as a coda to the exhibition of Jodorowsky’s work that was organized at MoMA PS1 earlier this year by Klaus Biesenbach.
Jodorowsky will take part in an onstage conversation with Klaus Biesenbach and Joshua Siegel.
The Holy Mountain is a surreal and picaresque satire depicting the journey of a Christ-like figure, the Thief, to a symbolic mountain that is said to unite Heaven and Earth. Playing the character of the Alchemist both on and off screen, Jodorowsky immersed his actors in months of preparatory spiritual and occult exercises, and was also responsible for the costume, set designs and for co-writing the musical score.
The second of this week’s seasonal mixtape treats, and this one is quite a departure from yesterday’s Disco Argento mix. Ave Satanas is (as the name would suggest) a compilation of Satanic rock from the late Sixties and early Seventies, that could be considered the roots of what we now know as black metal, though at the time it would have been classed as psychedelic. It was compiled by one DJ Goatface Killer, better known as Russell Elder from Glasgow’s Mono music emporium.
There are culty groups aplenty on Ave Statanas, like Germany’s Lucifer’s Friend, Chicago’s Coven (pictured above), Leicester’s Black Widow and the original Iron Maiden (not to be confused with Bruce Dickinson’s lot). The music represents a time when rock was getting heavier, drugs were getting harder and post-hippy culture was getting darker, hence the inclusion of extracts from both Anton LaVey’s “The Satanic Mass” and Bpbby Beausoleil’s score for Lucifer Rising. It’s also unlikely that you’ll hear the word “Satan” uttered so much in the course of around 80 minutes - below is the tracklist featuring the year and country of origin of each track:
01. ANTON SZANDOR LAVEY (USA) / THE SATANIC MASS (EDIT) (1968)
02. ANTONIUS REX (ITALY) / NON FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA (1974)
03. BLACK WIDOW (UK) / IN ANCIENT DAYS (1969)
04. COVEN (USA) / BLACK SABBATH (1969)
05. BULBOUS CREATION (UK) / SATAN (1969)
06. THE RATTLES (GERMANY) / THE WITCH (1968)
07. THE GHOST (UK) / NOW YOU’RE DEAD (1970)
08. THE GUN (UK) / RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1968)
09. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (UK) / FIRE (1968)
10. ROKY ERICKSON & THE ALIENS (USA) / WHITE FACES (1977)
11. LOLLIPOP SHOPPE (USA) / YOU MUST BE A WITCH (1967)
12. DUFFY (UK) / JUDGEMENT DAY (1971)
13. BEDEMON (USA) / CHILD OF DARKNESS (1973)
14. LUCIFER’S FRIEND (UK / GERMANY) / LUCIFER’S FRIEND (1970)
15. IRON MAIDEN (UK) / GOD OF DARKNESS (1969)
16. AFFINITY (UK) / THREE SISTERS (1970)
17. SAM GOPAL (UK) / THE DARK LORD (1969)
18. BOBBY BEAUSOLEIL (USA) / LUCIFER RISING PART II (1972)
BONUS! The original video for “The Witch” by The Rattles:
Yes, there is one rogue track from 1977 on the mix, care of Roky Erickson and The Aliens, but I’m sure we can all let that oversight slide. After the jump, audio clips of some of the tracks featured on Ave Satanas…