Thursday, June 5, 2008


It was unavoidable. Mobs of old guys are shaking their calloused fists and ranting about the goddamned good ol’ days when punk rock punched a hole in the sky and the ever-patient satellite of VALIS blasted us with its pinkly delicious message of cosmic love and cultural transgression. It was 1974. It was 1980. It was timeless. We were young and we would never die. There was rioting, fucking in the streets, non-musicians releasing amazing albums (which were still spun by specially trained bees out of vinyl with gatefold sleeves that shamed the Renaissance masters, goddammit!) and the unavoidable orgasmic bliss of shaking things up. This immediatist breach, to hear some rant, was the last time that real people made music that was so strange and baffling that Biz assimilation was just impossible. Out there, in the Wasteland where the tire-fires never stopped and the ruins of civilization so-called stood like sarsen stones above the 24/7 freakout, we did the St. Vitus dance and slammed our sweaty bodies together until the low brown clouds glowed with morning light or nuclear terminus. Somewhere in the dim cathode twilight we could still hear the existentialist mumblings of Peter Ivers before he was unceremoniously snuffed-out like a microcosmic cover-version of the heat-death of the universe. We gathered in squalid nightclubs, deranged, full of life, burning brighter and brighter until the inevitable fall, unsustainable but not giving a shit because we were outside of time. It was surely the culmination of an act of magick, decades in the making, weird old Harry Smith plucking the Monochord with a shellac plectrum, shaking feathered sticks and unearthing dinosaur-bones of mad, mad music from the bedrock, from beneath the floor, down there rattling like haints. Who’s down there? The devil! Arne Sarknussem! The Living Heads of Mu! Now we walk through this land of ghosts where well-coiffed fascists wield the razor of public relations, wondering how we lost the secret and when that weapon was turned against us, retooled, moneyed, omnipresent. It’s Crystal Night again. The Buzzcocks were right, seeing far into the hazy expanse of a 4th, 5th and 6th Reich hosted by kinder, gentler Nazis where the occluded spawn of morons would take refuge from genocide and corruption in superficial media-death. Now it seems like a lost dream, as if the Finnegans never woke and would never wake again. When these stories are told, younger eyes roll. There is nothing in their experience like this. The evidence still spins, vital, liberating. The Monochord still vibrates and if you find that foolish, quiet center inside of yourself, it will, sure-as-shit, fill with the old madness of a world gone by. There are techniques to defy mass-mesmerization, free spaces to be seized, inside and out. One day there will be music that, while strangely familiar, will move us in new ways, casting out ancient demons of control and once more setting us on that long, well-traveled road. Drink up, dear souls, for tomorrow may be the day. Like epopts, we will die before death and see with fresh eyes, hear with fresh ears. And the corruption that we shuffle off will fall like black snow, like ashes from the mouth of a harbinger.

Shhhh! Listen now…

1 comment:

Jon said...

Just what I was thinking.