Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I've mentioned Voivod on numerous blog posts. I've also slapped paintings of Human Centipede 2 director Tom Six's paintings and Rozz Williams of Christian Death's film on Jerry Magoo. I also just posted video art by John Zewizz of Sleep Chamber. The next step of course, is to get some artwork by someone from Voivod, and it so happens of course that someone in Voivod was a visual artist. This was MICHEL "AWAY" LANGEVIN. I've been a longtime fan of his illustrations for the Voivod album covers. In the 80's Away really accomplished something as formidable in artwork as in music. To match Voivod' science fiction themes and obsession with post-nuclear mutant warriors and such, Away created a visual language of expression to go with it. Not surprisingly, it looks a lot like comic book art. He has had a real look to his art. I'm particularly a fan of his poster and t-shirt designs. I don't really have any ambition of becoming a rock star or anything anymore, but I'd like to play in band that covered Joy Division and Voivod, which would be called Joyvod, until we recorded an album worth of Oi covers, at which point we'd be called Oivod.
Monday, December 26, 2011
John Zewizz is seriously underrated. It has become cliche to describe this and that as underrated, but John Zewizz, he is underrated in my eyes. He was the focal point figure in the Boston area goth band Sleep Chamber from the 80's and 90's, a band I remember well from high school and a band that probably doesn't get played or listened to nearly enough. They where in it from the beginning in the early 80's, but they've never been a band that people seem to bring up in conversation or know about much. That's kind of a shame. They got fairly into the longer soundscape side of things.He was in T.O.P.Y, (Temple ov Psychick Youth) which is that cult that Genesis P. Orridge had in the early 80's, but he apparently Zewizz broke away from it. Zewizz did, however, retain that odd spelling that Genesis P. Orridge uses. That's good that Zewizz broke away from that, because as I've written many times elsewhere I've grown sick of and disillusioned with Genesis P. Orridge, some of these other somewhat akin figures like Rozz Williams , Ian Curtis and John Zewizz still fascinate me. Zewizz is obscure and also prolific. You never hear him anywhere or about him anywhere, and there's hours and hours of great music by him floating around, some of which is a very clear goth rock kind of thing, but a lot of which is lengthy sonic exploration. I hate using the term "experimental" in this context because goth music itself is generally fairly marginal and he was involved in the genre at the very beginning, so saying that an early goth band was 'experimental' is redundant and vague. The other thing that strikes me about Sleep Chamber is how much they played top the connection that goth music had to the whole fetish S&M scene, which became really focal in Sleep Chamber. Since it was a male singer it was like a sexually aggressive male asserting himself on the world. Getting a bald spot and a pot belly did nothing to deter him either! Oh well, it wasn't as bad as Genesis P. Orridge and those stupid looking breast implants. That to me has always had a kind of campy or humorous value, intentional or not. Sleep Chamber is truly unique in that as campy as Sleep Chamber they were also a very innovative band- and the better bands around these days like Xeno & Oaklander or Children of Technology seem to agree. I find digging through weird old goth or metal bands far more rewarding then listening to current bands. One side of the coin is Venom, Voivod, Celtic Frost, and the beginnings of Norwegian black metal, the other side of the coin is Christian Death, Sleep Chamber,Joy Division,Bauhaus, Death in June, Executive Slacks or whoever else. Why am I so into these kinds of bands? Well, to be honest, it's because I can't stay in my house all day listening to Michael Savage on the radio and watching Human Centipede 2 over and over again. I'm getting close, but I'm not quite there yet. That's my heartfelt ambition, but I'm not there yet. I have to dig up some decrypt goth culture from my childhood or some black metal periodically. There is an odd and un-explained, in truth unexplainable, drive within my psyche, a compulsion, to be a fan and only to be a fan of certain goth bands and certain metal bands- and that drive his been encouraged by the success of blogs on that topic. If you want to really look at the provocative and central issues, take a long look at Michael Savage and Human Centipede 2, Savage is still not allowed to step foot in the U.K. and they only let Human Centipede 2 in after something like 32 cuts. That actually shows that there are filmmakers and authors that are still challenging the social order in substantial ways. The old goth and metal albums are not as explosive to examine as that, but there is still that curious compulsion. Also, I live in Las Vegas so I hear all the commercial pop music when I have to buy a nail clipper from the casino gift shop or whatever, I don't need to be bombarded with that in my own room. Then of course, there's his video art. Just like Orridge had a a bunch of strange video art and Rozz Williams made that bizarre film just before he died, Zewizz has plenty of incoherent video art to show the world, centering around occult and religious iconography, abstract forms, and seemingly hypnotic optical illusions. What is it and what does it mean? Zewizz would likely tell you that what he is doing is a form of ritualistic magic. I haven't done strong illegal psychedelics like LSD in many years and do not hear voices in my head, so I'm a little skeptical about that. However, if this kind of video art was driven by inner madness, then that makes it of course no less intriguing. There is something about to these old goth bands like Christian Death of Sleep Chamber, and I'm opened minded enough to include their video work in that sentiment. ` Zewizz disappeared completely for a while. My understanding of what happened was that Zewizz had a really bad heroin problem, and then to make matters worse, in the late 90's, there was an unsolved case where a Swedish nanny was found murdered on his block, and he was investigated as a suspect or person of interest by Boston police in the murder, because he was into black magic and it was right on his block. Apparently, this made his drug problems and mental health issues a lot worse, and he dropped out of sight for a while. It's a very unfortunate story. He's floating around on-line lately I've seen, he now spells Sleep Chamber "Sleepchamber". He's…he's weird. I never met him,I don't think the murder was him, but he's weird.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ssgOyL0JLM (cut and paste link into browser) I would like to point to the aesthetics of the short-lived and now impossible to find television show Babes from the early 90's. It did not make it through more than a season. is largely forgotten, and for good reasons. Babes is about three overweight sisters who live together in the same apartment in a city somewhere. Babes is really the depths of bad television. It does not in a anyway deviate from the norms of the sitcom formula and revolves almost purely on fat jokes. There is a reoccurring- that's right- repeated- gag about the three sisters lying in the same bed and the bed collapsing. The joke- which of course is not that funny to begin with- was frequently repeated. as with other film and television that no longer has any financial value worth suing over, it has resurfaced in bits and pieces on youtube. So far as I could find, there wasn't even a full episode available on there. This is culture that has become very marginal not because of any deliberate transgression or because of a lack of advertising budget behind it at the time. This is culture that exists in an extreme margin because it was actually too stupid for the television consuming masses. It fascinates because it is completely repulsive and mongoloid. Babes is unbearable- an extreme flop in television history. It revolved around fat jokes that fell completely flat. Babes is the intellectual equivalent of announcing at an important business meeting that you've just defecated in your pants deliberately. The artist Mike Kelley made some similar observations about the Baby Huey cartoons. There are some fairly washed up people still flopping around the art world left over from the 80's and 90's. I worked for the art magazine TRANS>arts.cultures.media back in the 90's as an intern, I should know. One of the most tedious things I've ever done is trim down lengthy text from a recording of the artists Tony Ousler and Mike Kelley for an article for TRANS. It was like water-boarding. It was an internship too so I didn't get paid. Mike Kelley's name comes up in some context or other every so often. I'm not a huge fan. There's a video that was posted of him on the Jerry Magoo blog that I write for sometimes that sort of annoys me. There were a serious of YouTube videos that were done as adds for the music store Amoeba Records where various people show what they've purchased at the store. He goes through his CDs, he goes through Sun Ra, Joe Meek, etc. with the kind of pseudo-intellectualism that an employee at a store Other Music in New York has about obscure art rock bands. Here's the ad that was on Jerry Magoo once again. i find it more annoying than anything else. There is this one essay by Mike Kelley that does kind of work, where he writes about the old Baby Huey cartoons and how they succeed as art because if you watch them as an adult they will make you extremely uncomfortable. The essay is called Filmic Regressions: The Baby and Baby Huey. It deals with a film from the 70s that I haven't scene from the 70's called The By and with the old Baby Huey cartoons. It went into more specific detail then this, but the essay Kelley wrote about how very uncomfortable, how unbearable it is to watch the old Baby Huey cartoons as an adult, and that this very discomfort made Baby Huey cartoons successful as art. They're utterly infantile. It's children's entertainment with no real educational value. The infantilism of it will simply make your skin crawl. Of course, Mike Kelley's right- it is very difficult to sit down to watch a fat retarded duck as an adult. Observe: if you can sit through this crap for more then a minute to two, you've got me beat; in so far as that is true the psychology of it is sort of interesting. Right up there with Babes.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Cinephile, communist, ladies man, and Hennessy drinker Kim Jong-ill has passed on. The leader for years of North Korea has passed. The first book I released had Kim Jong-Il, Saddam Hussein, and Michael Jackson on the cover. All three of them are dead and the U.S. war in Iraq is over. The idea was actually that I had this very luddite understanding of the world and that I could express this luddite understanding by throwing people who'd gone insane in the eye of electronic media. I don't like the book. I did read a lot of biographical data about Kim Jong-Il. Wow, was he a freak! I was deeply depressed when I wrote Electric Beauty and the Beast. I recall that one of the few things that really was break from that depression was reading up on Kim Jong-Il. He had his favorite South Korean director and the director's wife his favorite film star kidnapped to make a monster movie. Pulgasari. Years later, I found the film on-line, but by then I had moved onto reviewing cult films. In Medieval North Korea the local village has a sever problem with the Emperor’s oppressive forces, who want their iron tools used for farming to make into weapons. When the village blacksmith is captured he creates a small metal statue out of a clump of rice, a feet I must say I was very impressed by. When his daughter accidentally pricks her finger and blood is dropped the statue turns into an adorable metal creature that eats iron, then gets bigger and bigger by eating more iron. He becomes a Godzilla sized monster that assists the proletariat revolt, (it was made in North Korea) in destroying the forces of the emperor, but when his unstoppable appetite for iron becomes a threat to the villagers and the good workers of the village, Pulgasari makes the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of the people, in a very touching final sequence, Pulgasari becoming kind of a communist mascot for the North Korean people. This is actually a very fun and easy film to watch, I strongly recommend it. The little Pulgasari is cute and fun and would make an excellent pet. When it jumps out and starts taking a bite out of swords, LOL! The communist message of unity and sacrifice for the greater good of the worker’s revolution makes this film distinct from other Asian monster movies. The soundtrack is a very cool communist 80s synthesized sound, likely to remind people of the Legendary Pink Dots. Kim Jong-Il actually managed to produce a fun little film on this one, even if he had to employ kidnapping as the means to do so. It should be of note that death by starvation, a daily reality in the socialist utopia of North Korea, features prominently as a theme in this film. I want to get a pet baby Pulgasari. The film has of course re-incarnated on YouTube. Here's an excerpt:
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The topic that has come up today is the astoundingly stupid. I was surprised that someone actually found my blog by looking up Electric Turn To Me. If you were in New York around 2003 you might vaguely recall this band playing small local clubs and art events. It's unlikely, but you might. Some music critic at the time, I think it might have been for the Village Voice compared Electric Turn To Me to Christian Death. Here's a question for you, how old was Christian Death lead vocalist Rozz Williams when the first Christian Death album came out? He was 18 years old. Christian Death are generally considered a "goth" band, the first Christian Death album was released in 1981, the term "goth" was likely less then a year old at that point. That is to say he played in one of the very first bands of an entire genre while he was in his teens. Rozz Williams level of innovation is roughly comparable to that of Ian Curtis of Joy Division- except Rozz lasted ten more years then Ian Curtis before killing himself in the same manner, so there's ten years more of Rozz. Few people even remember Electric Turn to Me they had veritably no impact whatsoever. Thirty years later, the music of an eighteen year old Rozz Williams is still very much with us and has a global following. That is such a stupid comparison. As stupid as that is, I also just saw not the worst movie I've ever scene but certainly the movie with the stupidest trick ending I'm aware. The House on the Edge of The Park it's called, an Italian filmed in New York from 1980. Here's the whole movie: SPOILER ALERT! The film starts out with this guy raping a woman. This rich couple come by the rapists auto-shop and invite him to a party with his ambiguously mentally challenged side-kick. At the party, things turn ugly with the rapist and the side-kick raping and beating the party guest. This goes on for about an hour. Then the man who invited him to the party pulls out a gun, shots the rapists and reveals that he is the brother of the woman raped in the beginning, and it was all a set up so that they could get revenge on him for the rape. They let themselves get beaten and raped for an hour for that reason? That makes absolutely zero sense. It also is not revealed how they knew he was the rapist. Don't pay to watch this piece of crap movie. It is on YouTube in it's entirety, of course. It has a place a cinema history. I have never seen a film with a trick ending that stupid. In fact, I don't think I've seen a Scooby-Doo episode with a trick ending that stupid. That's right up there with ranking Electric Turn To Me with Rozz Williams.
Friday, December 16, 2011
The problem with doing blogging for me is that there is a rigid pattern to what I do that gets hits and what I do that the world ignores. If I post a short story, write directly about U.S. politics, write about literature, I generally won't get more then 10-30 hits. If I write about either a.) metal (in particular black metal) or a gothic/industrial music or b.) a movie that fits neatly into the horror/cult section, then I can get as many as several hundred hits. That doesn't mean that I will, it means that I can. The pattern is nearly without divergence. It becomes like playing two notes over and over again. There is some room within that for me to be a little bit Lester Bangs about it and interject humor and my own personality a little bit, but it's still very constraining. I don't even think it fully allows me to represent my musical tastes completely accurately. I've had a growing disillusionment with bands developing for years now, going back to about 2003. It is not what is of deepest interest or concern to me, to be honest. Musicians have annoying tendency to be far leftists. I've had crazy musicians send me threats on-line. It's a mess. It does happen that people e-mail my reviews to others or repost links to my bogs somewhere, which is flattering. That happened recently with something I wrote on Psychic TV, who I've grown to hate. I was in New York during the 2000's when The Strokes and dozens of fecal indie rock groups started getting tons of press for no good reason at all. If perhaps by blogging about better bands than that, I can steer fashions at all away from that happening again, then I will do my duty.One thing is that it does force me to really dig for music to write about. I just recently responded to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction choices for 2012 by noting that Guns N' Roses, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Beastie Boys were not the best bands of their times, and pointed to The Cult and Voivod as being better bands. But why stop at Voivod and The Cult? I think with rock and roll you do have to dig a little bit to get the real deal bands. There are utterly failed and pointless musicians and band that never got much attention because they didn't deserve it. Guns N' Roses and the Beastie Boys I would say were only really okay bands ever, and I think Red Hot Chili Peppers are actively a bad band. The Beastie Boys themselves were fast to point out they were ugh indebted to other lesser known bands. They cited The Slits, Bad Brains, X-ray Specks and an early hip-hop band I'd never heard of called the Treacherous Three. It makes sense, they started as a punk band and then got the white people playing black music bug and switched over to early hip-hop. I'm not a hip-hop person, but I looked up the Treacherous Three, which was sort of fun. Hip-Hop was a very different entity 30 years ago. With slight reservation, I guess it is fair to say that the punk bands that the Beastie Boys cited, The Slits, Bad Brains, and X-ray Specks probably also represent underrated and unsung pockets of music. I'm less crazy about the punk bands the Beastie Boys referenced. On the topic of bands to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recent years, Metallica is actually an amazing source of information on lesser known bands worth commenting on. Metallica recently did their thirtieth anniversary show which featured a whole slew of guest stars. The singer for a fairly obscure band Sweet Savage, Ray Haller, joined Metallica on stage: There are a number of excellent bands that might have disappeared into relative obscurity if not for Metallica sighting their influence or covering them. Diamond Head, Angel Witch,and Sweet Savage are underrated and excellent bands from the NWOBHM- New Wave of British Heavy Metal- period of late 70's early 80's heavy metal made a comeback in Britain. Metallica began almost as a NWOBHM cover band. Metallica have referenced these bands here or there. The entirity of the NWOBHM '79 Revisited collection that Lars Ulrich of Metallica compiled back in the 90's is available on YouTube, thankfully. Angel Witch I think are particularly good. I really feel they should have been huge, it just never quite happened. Of course, since I was upset to see The Cure nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but not make the final cut, that brings up the subject of goth again. With goth you can almost call the entire genre underrated. If you look back into the beginnings of goth, it is daunting to look at someone like Ian Curtis of Joy Division knowing that he created all the music he did before killing himself at the age of 24. For some reason he's on my mind today, but I think equally daunting if slightly well less known would be the case of original Christian Death lead singer Rozz Williams who also killed himself, but at the age of 34. There are movies about Ian Curtis, but i think Rozz Williams really is a largely unsung musical genius. Rozz Wiliams he had a couple of good bands, Premature Ejaculation, Shadow Project, along with Christian Death. It is sort of fun to try to imagine how popular music might sound different if the bands like the bands mentioned here had become as mainstream as Guns N' Roses or The Beastie Boys. It might be fun to see one or all of these unsung bands get an unexpected revival. As bands like the Strokes, Interpol, The White Stripes rose and grabbed far too much press, that was a real cancer upon the arts as far as I can see. It seems an unfortunate inevitability that bands and the whole culture of "projects", "shows", "'zines", "labels" etc. is going to remain central to the arts for a very long time. If I have to be exposed to it, I would rather that culture veer towards the influence of Rozz Williams or Angel Witch than towards the Strokes or Pavement or other such excrement. That's probably way too much to hope for. I think this crap with the hipsters and their fecal indie rock can keep going and going. Regardless, here's looking towards the future in 2012….
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Today was the day. He knew that, as a customer, he was finally going to get what he really wanted. He walked into the Denny's Behind the Stratosphere Hotel. As usual, it was full of tourists. He pulled the 1911 .45 from his jacket and fired a shot in the air. He grabbed a waitress by the back of the neck, and threw her down to the floor in front of him. She spilled coffee all over the carpet. He thought of the semen she was also about to spill all over the carpet, and chuckled to himself. "Okay listen up people. This hear waitress is going to suck my dick until completion and if anybody makes a move, I start shooting." The waitress with a gun to her head and undid his zipper and did as she was instructed. The old people, children, fat people, and every one else stood motionless. "And if we get around to it, I'll shit in your mouth for everyone when Im done." The bus boy had already dialed 9-11 hiding in the kitchen. Metro was on their way within seconds. He heard a chop shout "Move away, m'am." When he turned around he was shot in the shoulder. As the assailant fell to the ground, he laughed. "In my final moments I was free. I was free in ways you'll never understand." The cop moved in closer. "In my final moments I was above your laws. The legal system, and even more basic laws we take for granted. Manners. Taboos. I was beyond all that for an instant." He smiled at the cop. "And in that instant I knew a joy beyond all you understand." The cop looked quizzically at the dying man as paramedics arrived. The assailant coughed up some blood and muttered something barely intelligible, something about finally getting customer satisfaction. The assailant died very quickly. The cop thought to himself for a second. It was funny, they'd have to do an investigation, determine if he was on drugs, or off his medication, all of that. It was all kind of a mote point. The assailant actually said more or less why he had done what he had done. There was a certain logic to it. Why he used this waitress and not a super model was unclear to the cop. The waitress was only okay looking.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Here are some real depths of First of all, I can not properly call this a film review. That is because the Necro Files from 1997 was not filmed, but rather video taped, perhaps on a camcorder, in Seattle. It contains rather extreme violence and sexual content from start to finish. None of the violence can be taken at all seriously due to the unprecedentedly poor acting and special effects. There is a scene early on in in which a "baby" is sacrificed by Satanists in which the baby is clearly an ordinary plastic baby doll. This bares repeating- they did not have the budget to get a real infant that could be used for the scene. The baby comes back to life later and the film with the magical ability to fly- the problem there in being that the string that the baby is visible.There is, however, a lot of rape and sexual content that could really raise eyebrows. It opens with a 90's goth chick in a shower, and she gets raped by serial killer who cuts her nipple off with a knife, eats it, and then vomits it out in the sink. All of this is done with the worst special effects you've ever seen. A couple of cops show up. It's revealed the serial killer took the life of the sister of one of the cops, and then the other cop flips out and shoots the serial killer. After that, a bunch of robed Satanists are scene at the gravesite performing a baby sacrifice at the tomb of the serial killer, who comes back to life, and rips the penis off one of the Satanist. On the topic of male frontal nudity, the zombie has a giant penis that's hanging out through his fly for a good chunk of the film. There are quite a few very graphic scenes of the zombie raping 90's goth chicks with his elongated zombie phallus. The mask of the zombie is pretty much a rubber mask you might find at a Halloween shop. It would not surprise me if it was from a Halloween shop Meanwhile, the cops are after the zombie serial killer, as well as the baby from the sacrifice, who has come back to life and know also the ability to fly. The zombie chases after two of the Satanists. One of the Satanist is killed by the flying baby. There's some subplot about one of the cops going loose cannon and doing a whole bunch of drugs. It doesn't make a lot of sense. There's a final confrontation between the cops, the flying baby, and the zombie rapist. Somewhere in there the zombie rapes and kills a goth chick who is playing with a blow up doll, and there's a curious bit about the zombie falling in love with the blow-up doll. None of it can be taken seriously for a second in any way whatsoever. If you are not laughing at the special effects, you're laughing at the over the top lewdness of the film. Then there's the whole bit with the goth chicks getting raped with the giant zombie penis. All the women that get raped on screen look like members of Switchblade Symphony. I don't know what the director's fetish for raping goth chicks was all about. The shock value of the sexual content is seriously offset by the string the flying baby is hanging from. And then there's very specific 90's references that feel rally dated- one of the satanist's has a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt, the title is a play on the X-files, a very popular TV show at the time. This thing is goth people in the 90's screwing around with camcorders. If you play me some band from 1980-1994 or so that wore thick black eye make-up and a lot of hairspray that never made much money doing what they do, in particular if they were big on drum machines and echo pedals, then you've found the sound of my adolescences. I'll probably still even tell you that these were unsung musical geniuses. The In Goth Daze compilation- that's my album right there. I don't know if I could say they same about video output. I got a good chuckle out of the Necro Files. I'm not sure I would say that it was genius or anything. I doubt anyone has heartfelt nostalgia for it.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Up until this point I was one of the few people who liked the Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration, an album almost universally panned as a bomb of a project. Lou and the boys finally lost even me. It was the video that did it. Daren Aronofsky, who directed the unbearably bad film Pi was called in to handle the video. And here it is- Notice how it is a boring black and white video of Lou and the boys doing the song without anything else going on. You call in a big shoot Hollywood director and all he comes up with is this? That's extremely stupid. There's some double exposure effect, and beyond that, it's Lou and the boys playing in Metallica's studio. That's a choice I don't really get, especially with Lou Reed going on and on about hanging out with Warhol and Warhol's experimental cinema, etc. I really don't get how this was going to turn around the public perception of the album as a catastrophic artistic failure. It won't. The pubic perception is that the album is really just Lou Reed doing a bunch of spoken word over repetitive metal riffs from Metallica. That's sort of what it is. I actually hear a lot more then that going on in the music. From footage of live performances a lot of the guitar parts you might think are Metallica are actually Lou Reed. As for the video I don't see anything of interest going on. So they lost even me eventually. It's unfortunate. For a while, I believed that this particular album would lead rock out of the kind of dark ages that it's been in for about ten years where The Strokes and The Killers started getting a lot of press. The Strokes were somehow safe and acceptable to sell vodka and American Apparel clothing, and so they won the lottery and became the new face not only of rock but of the arts in a more general sense. If that's a world dying, it is dying because rent is now in New York three times what it is in Las Vegas. You could take current metal bands or goth bands over The Strokes. I certainly would. I can go on and on about the Primitive North America compilation and the Metalhit Free Download Series, the Gothic Daydreams compilation, but none of those bands are doing anything that truly radical that I've heard. Akitsa is probably the closest. It was not the disappointment of the season. Large chunks of Philip K. Dick's notebook were just released that consist of schizophrenic religious rantings for hundreds of pages. That thing is an abortion. If anybody really came off well on the Lou Reed and Metallica project, it was me. I was able to expand my readership substantially by writing about the project. However, that was more true of other topics this summer and fall- Human Centipede 2, for example. Perhaps, when IFC releases Human Centipede 2 I will probably hide in my room and watch it over and over again and listen to a whole lot of Michael Savage.