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Flirting with Death: Truman Capote’s SUPER WEIRD interview with Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil
06.30.2013
01:44 pm

Topics:
Kooks
Occult

Tags:
Truman Capote
Bobby Beausoleil


 
The transcript of Truman Capote’s interview with Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil, conducted in the latter’s cell at San Quentin Prison in 1972, is fascinating for a number of reasons, ranging from the two men’s sheer, exotic incongruity, to its exposure of Capote’s flirtatious/confrontational approach to interviewing killers. Most intriguing of all, however, is its revelation that, while Beausoleil may have been quite singularly star-crossed and known many notorious criminals himself, he didn’t have nothin’ on Capote

Capote begins the conversation by bringing up a mutual acquaintance, Sirhan Sirhan, whom he has just visited at the same prison earlier that day.

Bobby Beausoleil (laughs): Sirhan B. Sirhan. I knew him when they had me up on the Row. He’s a sick guy. He don’t belong here. He ought to be in Atascadero. Want some gum? Yeah, well, you seem to know your way around here pretty good. I was watching you out on the yard. I was surprised the warden lets you walk around the yard by yourself. Somebody might cut you. 

Truman Capote: Why? 

Beausoleil: For the hell of it. But you’ve been here a lot, huh? Some of the guys were telling me. 

Capote: Maybe half a dozen times on different research projects.

The two talk execution chambers for a while, and then Capote mentions that his knowing Sirhan Sirhan must make him the only person alive to have been acquainted with Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy—and their respective assassins!

Beausoleil: Oswald? You knew Oswald? Really? 

Capote: I met him in Moscow just after he defected. One night I was having dinner with a friend, an Italian newspaper respondent, and when he came by to pick me up he asked me if I’d mind going with him first to talk to a young American defector, one Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was staying at the Metropole, an old Czarist hotel just off Kremlin Square. The Metropole has a big gloomy lobby full of shadows and dead palm trees. And there he was, sitting in the dark under a dead palm tree. Thin and pale, thin-lipped, starved-looking. He was wearing chinos and tennis shoes and a lumberjack shirt. And right away he was angry—he was grinding his teeth, and his eyes were jumping every which way. He was boiling over about everything: the American ambassador; the Russians—he was mad at them because they wouldn’t let him stay in Moscow. We talked to him for about half an hour, and my Italian friend didn’t think the guy was worth filing a story about. Just another paranoid hysteric; the Moscow woods were rampant with those. I never thought about him again, not until many years later. Not until after the assassination when I saw his picture flashed on television. 

Beausoleil: Does that make you the only one that knew both of them, Oswald and Kennedy? 

Capote: No. There was an American girl, Priscilla Johnson. She worked for U.P. in Moscow. She knew Kennedy, and she met Oswald around the same time I did. But I can tell you something else almost as curious. About some of those people your friends murdered. 

Beausoleil: (Silence) 

Capote: I knew them. At least, out of the five people killed in the Tate house that night, I knew four of them. I’d met Sharon Tate at the Cannes Film Festival. Jay Sebring cut my hair a couple of times. I’d had lunch once in San Francisco with Abigail Folger and her boyfriend, Frykowski. In other words, I’d known them independently of each other. And yet one night there they were, all gathered together in the same house waiting for your friends to arrive. Quite a coincidence.

Beausoleil (lights a cigarette; smiles): Know what I’d say? I’d say you’re not such a lucky guy to know.

Consider yourself told, Truman Capote!

Stranger still is the shadow of another coincidence, seemingly unbeknownst to both interlocutors, that knits these remarkable coincidence clusters together. Who was it that Bobby Kennedy dined with before being driven to his notorious date with Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel? Why, none other than Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.

It’s a small world—smaller still if you’re Truman Capote and Bobby Beausoleil.

Read the full, fascinating transcript here

Below, Truman Capote razzes Johnny Carson on The Dean Martin Roast:
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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Dancing with a two-headed dog: Historic videos of Roky Erickson
06.28.2013
11:00 am

Topics:
Drugs
Hysteria
Music
Occult
Punk

Tags:
Roky Erickson


 
Here’s something quite special from the Dangerous Mind’s archives.   Roky Erickson’s life has been an American nightmare. That he somehow managed to dig deep within himself (with the help of therapy, his brother Sumner and stabilizing meds) to emerge, more or less intact, from a past in which he literally lost control of his life, endured imprisonment in a mental institute and electro-shock therapy, is a tale of torture turned to bittersweet triumph. The fact that he survived, is alive, and making stunningly good music today is astonishing and inspiring.

Erickson’s life is well-documented in books and film. A victim of small-town justice, Erickson was given the choice of jail time or a stint in an institute for the criminally insane. His crime: being different, being a rock ‘n’ roller and possessing marijuana.

Like most kids in the Sixties, I first encountered Roky’s music with the 13th Floor Elevators. Later, my punk band covered one of his solo classics “Two-headed Dog,” which has one of the coolest choruses in the history of rock:

Two-headed dog, two-headed dog
I’ve been working in the Kremlin
With a two-headed dog

If Erickson was insane, so are most artists that go out on a limb for their art. Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Sylvia Plath, Syd Barret…the list is so long I could spend the entire day compiling it. Some of these geniuses probably shouldn’t have taken mind-altering drugs, but whose business is it for me or anyone to pass judgment? Without the drugs, there are those on my theoretical list who may have burned out early but whose greatest creations were the result of a “derangement of the senses,” a term Rimbaud used to describe his efforts to enter a psychedelic state. All I know, is the work lives on and ultimately that’s all that matters in the here and now.

Erickson is a visionary and visionaries see things we don’t. Words are generally inadequate to the task of communicating the specifics of these visions, so the visionary turns to art and finds a method to articulate the indescribable in metaphor, myth and symbol. In describing his contact with aliens and demons, Roky may have used the only analogies he knew in order to describe his Muse (the voices in his head). He grew up with comic books and horror movies and they became his vernacular. As the poet Jack Spicer said in attempting to define the Muse (and I’m paraphrasing): “it’s the Martian that comes down and re-arranges the furniture in your head.” In Roky’s case the furniture was comprised of EC Comics, Mario Bava movies, The Outer Limits and whatever rustled through the woods on moonless Texas nights. Add a steady diet of LSD to the mix and that extraterrestrial Muse is moving furniture on several floors at the same time. No question that acid re-arranged Erickson’s senses for awhile, but what was it that made him fall over the edge into complete helplessness? My opinion: it was the cure that did it - a shock to the system that only a machine in co-operation with electrically-charged particles can induce. Take a man whose consciousness is malleable, zap his brain full of fire, and not only do the demons get burned, the angels do to.

In 1975, Erickson signed a notarized document in order to protect himself from continued attacks from Earthlings.
 

 
Fortunately, Roky Erickson never lost his connection to the meaningful voices in his head. He continues to walk with the zombies, sing with the spirits and dance with a two-headed dog. It could be surmised that the aliens weren’t the problem. It was the human beings that fucked Roky up.

Although he still sings about them, these days Erickson doesn’t talk about the aliens. Sharing such thoughts will bring you a shitload of problems. It’s best to keep quiet about where the songs come from. Better to be happy that they keep on coming.

The following video is two hours of clips compiled from Austin cable television and footage shot for Swedish TV. It includes some mesmerizing footage of Roky and musician/producer Mike Alvarez performing by an underground creek beneath the Congress Street bridge on Halloween night.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Ancient Egyptian statuette FILMED turning 180 degrees in British museum
06.24.2013
07:24 am

Topics:
Occult

Tags:
Egypt
Mummies


 
A couple of years ago I read Norman Mailer’s baffling, immense Ancient Evenings. The novel, which is set in Ancient Egypt and went on to inspire William S. Burroughs’ final novel The Western Lands, is about a thousand pages long, and by the time I finished it I think I chucked it out of the window of a speeding train (accidentally killing a large cow). But it did sometimes succeed in transporting the reader not only to the time of Ancient Egypt, but also into the mind of the place, giving you the intermittent suspicion that, perhaps this riddling civilization knew a thing or two about the afterlife—and that the “cunning of their tombs” (as Mailer memorably puts it) was fumbled knowledge rather than pseudo-science…

Such superstitious manias gradually pass into the unconscious, waiting for a delicious story like this one to stir them up again. Yes, according to the Daily Mail, in Manchester Museum a 4000-year-old, ten-inch-tall statuette, an offering to Osiris long ago purloined from a mummy’s tomb, has been observed, and has now been filmed, slowly turning 180 degrees to face an Egyptian prayer for “bread, beer, oxen and fowl” recently erected behind it.

The statuette’s slow about-turn has been captured on film by a time-lapse camera, and curator Campbell Price, 29, says he believes there may be a spiritual explanation. ‘I noticed one day that it had turned around,’ he said. ‘I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back, but then the next day it had moved again.’ The 10-inch tall relic, which dates back to 1800 BC, has been at the museum for 80 years but curators say it has recently starting rotating 180 degrees during the day. ‘In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.’

Disregarding any possible scientific explanations (c’mon—who needs em???), wouldn’t this kinda make Ancient Egyptian sense in so far as the spirit is traditionally thought to make use of such prayers for sustenance? In other words, might this inconvenienced (and starving) spirit be be angling his first good meal for a very long time?
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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Aleister Crowley: How The Great Beast unleashed the Loch Ness Monster

yelworclakcigam.jpg
 

The myths of a country travel better than its truths. Once, in a bar in Downtown Los Angeles, I got into a conversation with a man whose teeth were all gold caps. He asked me where I was from.

‘Shit. You’re from Scotland. You ever see that Loch Ness monster?’

‘No.’

‘But you know about it, right?’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Yeah? You know all about it, hm?’

‘Not really.

‘No? Then you don’t know who made it?’

‘Made it?’

‘Yeah, that’s what I said.’

I thought for a moment.

‘You mean Crowley? Aleister Crowley?’

‘Yeah, that’s the man, that’s him. That’s the evil motherfucker that made it.’

Crowley allegedly “made” the Loch Ness monster when he failed to complete a complex Magick ritual at Boleskine House. His failure was said to have unleashed a demon.

Crowley had purchased Boleskine House, on the south-east shore of Loch Ness, in order to carry out a series of rituals from The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. He had chosen Boleskine because he required:

...a house where proper precautions against disturbance can be taken; this being arranged, there is really nothing to do but to aspire with increasing fervor and concentration, for six months, towards the obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

Boleskine suited Crowley’s needs, and he later described the place in Confessions:

The house is a long low building. I set apart the south-western half for my work. The largest room has a bow window and here I made my door and constructed the terrace and lodge. Inside the room I set up my oratory proper. This was a wooden structure, lined in part with the big mirrors which I brought from London.

For Crowley, Boleskine House was a “Thelemic Kiblah”, a “Magical East”, where he could practice the Black Mass and summon demons. It is these demons which are believed by many to have caused the strange, monstrous disruption to the loch. Crowley later stated in his autobiography:

...the spirits he summoned got out of hand, causing one housemaid to leave, and a workman to go mad. He also insinuates he was indirectly responsible for a local butcher accidentally severing an artery and bleeding to death. Crowley had written the names of some demons on a bill from the butcher’s shop.

Aleister Crowley and the Other Loch Ness Monster is an engaging short documentary, directed by Garry S. Grant. It contains fine interviews with Kenneth Anger, Colin Wilson, Neil Oram, Head of the UK OTO, John Bonner and Mogg Morgan. And the commentary is read by former Jesus of Nazareth, Robert Powell.

Back to my American friend. As we headed off into the night, in search of another bar, he said, ‘You ever think that monster was maybe Cthulhu?’

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The Medium is the Medium: Art from the Spirit World
06.11.2013
01:12 pm

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
psychic phenomenon


 
The Hett Art Gallery and Museum in Chesterfield, Indiana was built to house artifacts from the spiritualist movement, most notably artwork done by spiritualist mediums when in contact with the spirit world, referred to in their installation as “Psychic Art and Inspirational Painting.” There are portraits painted by, among others, the psychic Bangs sisters who painted portraits of spirits with whom they communicated, who were later identified as actual people who had passed on, and a rather touching landscape of the spirit world.

Mediums still live and teach classes at Camp Chesterfield, among the oldest spiritualist communities in the U.S. (founded in 1886).

 
Above, a tour of the West Room at The Hett Art Gallery and Museum, which houses artifacts from the early history of the camp and the long line of well-known professional mediums who lived there.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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The little-known story of The Beatles’ on-staff astrologer
06.10.2013
10:49 am

Topics:
Occult
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Beatles


 
The Beatles opened their first Apple Corp. business enterprise, the Apple Boutique, at 94 Baker Street in London, on December 7, 1967. Technically it was simply called the Apple “shop,” because John Lennon disapproved of using the word “boutique.” The exterior of the shop, described by Paul McCartney as “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things,” was originally covered in a bright, swirling psychedelic mural designed and painted by Dutch art collective, The Fool (Simon Posthuma, Marijke Koeger, Josje Leeger, along with Simon Hayes, and Barry Finch). This mural was painted over after outcry from nearby businesses and an order from the Westminster City Council. The 18th-century Georgian building contained demo recording studios upstairs as well as in the basement, with the clothing and groovy accessories boutique on the main floor.

What do you need when you start an ambitious business enterprise with Eastern spiritual leanings and a hippie sensibility?

Of course, you’d require a professional on-staff astrologer.

Caleb Ashburton-Dunning was hired not only as the assistant manager of the Apple boutique but as the house astrologer to do daily horoscopes for the Beatles when asked and charts for any special event or problem. He worked out of a small office in the Apple building. His fiancee, a graphic artist named Mishi, worked as a salesgirl downstairs. Ashburton-Dunning did the majority of his astrological work for John Lennon and Yoko Ono until he had a falling out with John. 

Jazz and progressive rock guitarist and bassist Roger Bunn (who later joined Pete Brown’s band Piblokto!) used the upstairs recording studio at Apple. He wrote in his unpublished memoirs, The Right Side of the Tracks, in 2000:

“I first met Mishi through Diana’s friend Caleb Ashburton-Dunning, the Beatles astrologer, and manager of the Apple shop. Wherein, after Djinn had split, and while James Taylor recorded his demos in the basement, I was on the top floor recording “Life is a Circus” [later recorded by David Bowie]. Caleb had since left Apple in disgrace, reason being he told John Lennon to drop Yoko and return to Cynthia. Unfortunately, for Caleb Ashburton-Dunning, he was also in the process of going acid-ape.”

Ashburton-Dunning was devastated over being fired by Lennon simply for predicting that his relationship with Yoko Ono would not go well. He turned to the The Process Church of the Final Judgment, a bizarre new religious organization that had its headquarters in London.

The Process Church was founded by an English couple, Robert Moor (later calling himself Robert DeGrimston) and Mary Anne MacLean, who were former Scientologists. The Process were derided as Satanists because their teachings included the need to worship Jehovah, Satan, Lucifer, and Christ equally. This organization faltered in the mid-1970s and underwent many attempts at revival and renewal, eventually morphing into the Best Friends Animal Society, an animal rescue group.

Ashburton-Dunning seems to have disappeared after the initial disbanding of The Process. Mishi divorced him in 1969 and became the long-time common law wife of Roger Bunn.

In the clip below, from the 1968 comedy ‘Hot Millions,’ a young Maggie Smith shops at the Apple Boutique as Bob Newhart looks on.
 

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Judee Sill, the shockingly talented occult folk singer that time forgot

Judee Sill
 
There are only a few artists in existence that can actually communicate truth. I know them because their work can immediately cut through the fog of my daily life, force me to drop whatever I’m doing, and command me to listen, slack-jawed, as if struck with an arrow. The list is small—there’s a few songs by Nick Drake in there, some of Daniel Johnston’s 1990 album—but neither of them comes close to the otherwordly power, the angelic fury of Judee Sill at her best.

Judee Sill was born in Oakland in 1944. She worked the same folk scene as Joni Mitchell, perhaps her closest contemporary, but never found the spotlight. She never found the light at all, at least not the light of fame. She found a different light, an inner illumination, in Rosicrucianism, astral travel, Aleister Crowley and heroin.

After an early life spent streetwalking and playing in cafes, she got her chance at success—she was selected as the first artist for up-and-coming mogul David Geffen’s Asylum Records—a chance that was then dashed when she outed Geffen as gay on the radio and he canned her in retribution. (Geffen is now one of the most prominent out gay men in the world—Out ranked him the most powerful gay person in America in 2007.)

Sill, herself bisexual, spent her salad days in a Hollywood mansion surrounded by adulating female fans she kept around like slaves, sunbathing naked in her backyard. Soon all of that was gone. By the mid-seventies she was living in a trailer park and back to prostituting herself. At 35, she overdosed.

Though cited by many as an influence—Warren Zevon, Andy Partridge of XTC and David Tibet of Current 93, for instance—Sill remains unknown, even when similarly overlooked (but far less threatening) figures like the aforementioned Nick Drake have been resurrected for car commercials and posthumously canonized.

She was a genius, or, rather, she had a genius, as Socrates might have put it, a transcendent connection driving her on. Her second and final album, Heart Food, released in 1973 to almost no attention whatsoever (a condition that hasn’t changed), contains what Pythagoras might have identified as the Musica universalis, the Music of the Spheres. Sill, steeped in both mysticism and Pythagorean number theory, was able to produce songs like “The Donor,” precisely striking a raw nerve of human experience with complex musical arrangements that were almost beyond the scope of the merely human.
 

 
Prefacing “The Donor” when she played it live for the BBC in 1972, Judee Sill told the audience “Most of my songs, I always try to write them so they’ll make people feel better, or make them feel that their warm, human spirit is affirmed… but I thought one day when I was depressed, you know when you’re real depressed and you see everything comes to nothing, well, I thought, maybe I ought to take a different approach, and write a song that, instead of directed at people, would somehow musically induce God into giving us all a break, cause I was getting a little fed up by this point. So I put some combinations of notes in there that I worked on a long time hoping it would work… since that time I’ve decided that I shouldn’t get any more breaks, cause I already squandered them in weird places. But I’d like to sing this song for you in the hope that you’ll get a break.”
 

 
When she sings “I’ll chase him to the bottom, till I finally caught him,” she is talking about Christ, redemption, god, who dwells just as surely in the depths of Hell Itself as in that great gated community in the sky. Perhaps more so, there among the broken and the outcast, the last light in the eyes of the homeless and cold.

In those perfectly struck notes she captures that feeling of exquisite heartbreak that is god moving over the face of the waters, shattering the temple that it may be rebuilt. Or never rebuilt, in Judee Sill’s case, and that of many others. Not in this lifetime and world. In those chords you can hear every single broken life, every acid casualty or otherwise wrecked traveller on the road of higher consciousness. Every one that did not come back. Kyrie Elision.

In 2013’s occult-saturated pop culture, where club kids smear witch house affectations across their Tumblr accounts, it can be easy to forget how real and terrifying the occult can be for those who approach it with self-destruction in mind. It is certainly not that way for everybody—but it is undeniable that for those already enmeshed in life’s dark and entropic side, who are already chasing their own death, it certainly can be. How quickly all sense of perspective or common sense can be lost upon the occult’s event horizon, and how quickly they vanish therein.

Judee Sill was such a person. Her life and her music stand as a guidepost, a statement of truth to those who come looking for the light, and lack the discrimination needed to know where to look. Down the rabbit hole they go, the black hole, after the promise of something-or-other, some kind of God, some kind of power.

To those who have never seen where that hole leads, may you remain so blessed. May it remain an abstraction for you, a nightly news image of a child starving to death. But for those who have seen it, you Know. No glib phrase could do it justice.

But you can hear it in every note of every Judee Sill song.
 
The Donor is the heaviest thing I have ever heard. And the best.
 
Check out more dispatches from Jason Louv at Ultraculture.org.
 

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Visionary artist Paul Laffoley: Sci-Fi Leonardo da Vinci
06.05.2013
02:34 pm

Topics:
Art
Occult
Science/Tech
Thinkers

Tags:
Paul Laffoley


 
For our readers in London—and there are quite a lot of you, so don’t fuck this one up (and tell all your friends)—next Tuesday at the Southbank Centre’s Hayworth Gallery, visionary artist Paul Laffoley will be giving one of his mind-bending lectures accompanied by a slide show of dozens and dozens of his elaborate paintings and drawings.

Let me state this clearly, London-based DM readers: Next Tuesday, you will have the rare opportunity to meet one of the most fascinating people alive on the planet today. I truly believe that you will be stunned, I repeat, stunned, by what you’ll see there that evening. Paul Laffoley’s a Sci-Fi Leonardo da Vinci, a Bodhisattva reborn as a mild-mannered Harvard-trained architect/artist/inventor.

In short, the man is a dazzling genius and I’m reasonably sure that you, London-based reader, yes, I am talking to YOU, here, don’t have anything better to do that evening. In fact, I know that you don’t.
 

 
From the Southbank Centre’s website:

An opportunity to hear artist Paul Laffoley, whose practice has been defined as ‘the conversion of mysticism into mechanics’.

Paul Laffoley works with texts and images to create new ways of thinking about time and space, dream and mysticism, magic and consciousness. He has also designed a time machine and a prayer gun.

His appearance, to celebrate the opening of The Alternative Guide to the Universe, is a unique chance to hear someone The New York Times recently hailed as ‘one of the most unusual creative minds of our time’.

You hear that? It’s not just me, it’s The New York Times, too… Miss this at your own later regret, truly. The lecture begins at 6:30.

The Alternative Guide to the Universe is curated by Ralph Rugoff and will be exhibited from June 11th to August 26th at Southbank Centre’s Hayworth Gallery.

There’s another major Laffoley exhibit going on at The Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. That show, Paul Laffoley: Premonitions of the Bauharoque, opened in April and will continue through September 15, 2013.
 

 
Below, an interview that I conducted with Paul Laffoley about his work in 1999 for British television:
 

 
Thank you Douglas Walla of Kent Fine Art in NYC

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Get your very own ‘Lucifer Rising’ jacket
05.21.2013
08:21 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Occult

Tags:
Kenneth Anger


 
I was impressed as fuck by Noel Fielding’s clever “dog whistle” homage to Kenneth Anger (and Roy Wood) in the opening credits to his Luxury Comedy TV series (see below), but just imagine seeing someone walking down the street wearing one of these limited edition embroidered “Lucifer Rising” jackets from La Boca:

We’re very excited to have a very limited re-release of our ‘Lucifer’ jacket for Sixpack France. Designed as a tribute to the jacket worn in Kenneth Anger’s 1972 masterpiece Lucifer Rising, the original release sold out long ago, and has since become one or our most requested pieces. This new release is limited to less than 100 worldwide, and we have a few available in our shop now.
Also available in-store exclusively at Citadium Paris.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lucifer Rising: Jimmy Page’s insane, amazing, unused soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger film
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Lucifer Rising: Jimmy Page’s insane, amazing, unused soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger film
05.16.2013
10:03 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Occult

Tags:
Kenneth Anger
Jimmy Page


 
I think it’s safe to say that the music composed (and performed alone) by Jimmy Page and intended for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, but not used, was/is among the very most sought after Led Zeppelin, or in this case Zep-related, bootleg recordings.

The story has long been a foundation of the Led Zeppelin mythos: Page and the mercurial Magus of Cinema had a falling out, then Anger did his patented “curse” routine very publicly going so far as accusing Page of being a mere “dabbler” in the occult and a rich, lazy junkie. Rock journalists began to wonder if Anger’s curse had worked when a succession of tragic events saw Robert Plant badly injured in a 1975 car accident, Plant’s five-year-old son Karac dying suddenly in 1977 and the death of John Bonham in 1980 that instantly ended Led Zeppelin’s reign as the world’s biggest rock group.

There are always two sides to every story and Page maintains that he had given the project financial support, put Ken up in one of his homes (Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine House in Scotland, no less) and lent him film editing equipment. Moreover, he’d given Anger 23 minutes of amazing music. Anger needed an additional five minutes from Page to complete Lucifer Rising, but it was slow arriving and after a shouting match with Page’s wife, he threw a major hissy, “firing” Page and viciously denouncing him—for years—in the media:

“He’s a multi-millionaire miser. He and Charlotte, that horrible vampire girl – the druggie that got him on heroin – they’re both junkies. They had so many servants, yet they would never offer me a cup of tea or a sandwich. Which is such a mistake on their part because I put the curse of king Midas on them. If you’re greedy and just amass gold you’ll get an illness. So I did turn her and Jimmy Page into statues of gold because they’ve both lost their minds. He can’t write songs anymore.”

It’s not like Jimmy Page wasn’t busy back then (the time period in question roughly corresponds to the time Led Zeppelin IV was being recorded), plus Uncle Ken can go from sweet and utterly charming to homicidal in like two seconds flat. (I’ve met Jimmy Page, as well. He was super-friendly, easygoing. An old school gentleman, informing me as he shook my hand that he had been gifted with not one, but two copies of my Book of Lies occult anthology. I know which side of this tale I come down on: Jimmy’s! Look, I admire and revere the films of Kenneth Anger. I think he’s a truly great artist, touched by genius, even, but he’s fucking nuts...)

Eventually Page’s music escaped in 1981—probably sourced from the magnetic track from an early 23-minute-long “to be continued” print of Lucifer Rising that Anger showed potential investors (I’ve seen this, it’s pretty incredible)—when it hit the bootleg market as “Solo Performances by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant,” a limited edition LP with a green wax seal (I have one of these, it sounds like frying dogshit). Another blue vinyl version was released in a “Kabbalistically numbered limited edition.” Better quality digital versions started making the rounds on torrent trackers around 2005 and last year Jimmy Page released the music he’d composed for Anger’s film via his website on very limited edition red vinyl that sold out instantly.

The music itself is wonderfully perverse: a languid but steadily building Middle Eastern-sounding drone, festooned with evil chanting, tabla, screaming mellotron, a sonically shifting low frequency foreboding ambiance and shimmering 12-string guitar work. It’s a mad, diabolical symphony of beautiful evil; a fascinating piece of unconventional aggressively avant garde music from one of the rock era’s most mysterious living legends.
 

Although Page’s music was not used, the guitarist does make a cameo appearance in Lucifer Rising bearded and staring at a wreathed portrait of Aleister Crowley while holding an Egyptian stele.

Page does not often talk to journalists about his interest in the occult, but in a 2008 Guitar World interview, he did reveal a few fascinating tidbits about his creative process:

Guitar World: There was always a certain amount of speculation about your occult studies. It may have been subtle, but you weren’t really hiding it.

Page: I was living it. That’s all there is to it. It was my life – that fusion of magick and music.

Guitar World: Your use of symbols was very advanced. The sigil on Led Zeppelin IV and the embroidery on your stage clothes from that time period are good examples on how you left your mark on popular culture. It’s something that major corporations are aggressively pursuing these days: using symbols as a form of branding.

Page: You mean talismanic magick? Yes, I knew what I was doing. There’s no point in saying much about it, because the more you discuss it, the more eccentric you appear to be. But the fact is – as far as I was concerned – it was working, so I used it. But it’s really no different than people who wear ribbons around their wrists: it’s a talismanic approach to something.

Well let me amend that: it’s not exactly the same thing, but it is in the same realm. I’ll leave this subject by saying the four musical elements of Led Zeppelin making a fifth is magick into itself. That’s the alchemical process.

In Rolling Stone’s December 2012 cover story “Jimmy Page Looks Back,” Page said “...there was a request, suggesting that Lucifer Rising should come out again with my music on. I ignored it.”

Below, the unused Jimmy Page score for Lucifer Rising:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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