Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Interview with El Topo

Months ago, when I was playing the part of a would be musical events coordinator for a little happening art spot on Calle Ocho (whose name is best left forgotten and compartmentalized in the area of my brain which I'll happily elect to electrocute and donate to science) I was able to put together a pretty decent show, which showcased the talents of The Creature Tweaker Council, which is basically a group of awfully talented laptop music engineering mad scientists from an alternate dimension where raving is as common as walking and having a hell of a time is just a rite of passage. The show featured some of the more common Tweakers (as the folks in the know, refer to them as) but there was a last minute surprise guest that wasn't originally scheduled to appear as part of the lineup for the evening. And this artist was none other than Alex Anico or @nico as his business card reads, going under the stage name of El Topo. What immediately struck me was the nicely polished mix containing very eccentric pieces of pop culture. You could basically hear anything from an old Nintendo 8-bit console video game to popular phrases from b-movie horror flicks. And all I could think of was: "Now that's what I call entertainment!"

So a little later, after the show was over, I carefully examined his business card and noticed that he had several other sites which I started checking out. I was then amazed by the fact that he was also a visual artist. I even went as far as fashioning my new business card after his, making sure to include any and all links that I have up; so I figure I owe a great deal to him for this particularly good instance of inspiration. Anyways, time went by and the whole prospect of hosting shows dried up for yours truly, mostly due to the all the needless stress I was undergoing at the time and then I got the notion to start uploading some of the slide show video presentations that I originally prepared for the local artists that performed live at the aforementioned venue, and eventually this blog came about as a way of putting the words to moving pictures and whatnot. So, as luck would have it, I just so happened to get a hold of Alex (AKA: El Topo) recently, and suggested to him the idea of doing an interview piece for this here blog. He immediately, and so the story goes... ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to present my interview with local laptop beat generator and artist extraordinaire El Topo.

PS: As a fellow artist, musician, and maybe even writer? I'm only guessing on that last title there, mind you... I just have to know what is it like for you to be a Renaissance Man (or two thirds of one at least) in this day and age?

ET: Tiring and stressful, [laughing out loud] but rewarding. It definitely takes a lot of patience but the end result is a satisfaction like no other. The one thing that any "Renaissance Man" (or woman for that matter) must take into consideration is starting off with a good plan of attack in regards to their work. Otherwise nothing gets finished because you spread yourself out too thin.

PS: Do you feel as though that you get more recognition as a performer or as an artist? And which of the two is it exactly that you would much prefer to be remembered for? Art, music, or both?

ET: I don’t do art (music, writing, drawing) primarily for recognition or praise but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t nice receiving it. Artwork is my true love (I mean I didn’t become a Studio Art Major for nothing!) so I’d have to say that, is what I would like to be remembered for. I find creating a drawing is a lot more difficult than creating music.

PS: Do you feel that Miami caters more to DJ's than it does musicians? Or are the two different breeds of musicians all in the same boat, which is paying to play, and generally getting little if no pay whatsoever for what they do?

ET: Miami is such a strange beast. It definitely caters to DJ’s more but that is only because it’s such a tourist town. I don’t believe DJ’s are musicians. If they produce their own music they are producers. There’s nothing special about spinning someone else’s music. It definitely bothers me whenever I meet an upcoming DJ or emcee who complains about not getting paid. I find exposure so much more valuable. Honestly if you want to get paid spin top 40 or get a real job. Do this (DJ or produce) because you love it.

PS: What in your opinion, do you think should be done to improve this situation for local performing artists?

ET: Honestly I don’t think there is much one can do other than bust your ass promoting yourself. Miami isn’t really a city that has FULLY embraced the “local artist” like other cities (i.e. New York or Los Angeles) but it’s definitely trying and getting better at it. To say it doesn’t is a lie though. The TM Sisters are a perfect example of local artists who have been embraced by the community and who bust their ass to improve their situation.

PS: Can you tell us what the creative process is like for you when you're putting together a piece? Like for instance, when do you know it's finished, or more importantly when do you know that it changes or evolves into something else?

ET: Ha ha! I think every artist can agree that a piece is never finished! But I get what you mean. I’m pretty spontaneous when it comes to my artwork but as far as music it definitely stems from being influenced by an outside source (be it film, or an experience). I used to sit on the tables outside an eatery in college and just draw people being people. Everyday life is the best fuel for the creative process. But there is a feeling that is hard to describe but every artist experiences. It’s a voice inside that tells you, "Wow!" when you step back and observe your piece from afar.

PS: And by this same token, would you say that live performances hinder your creativity or actually permit you a chance to test the uncharted soundscapes that exist in your brand of club music?

ET: Oh man... there is nothing like performing live. I mean from the butterflies and the nausea you feel right before you hit the stage to the wave of relief that washes away any fears as you begin to perform. And when you hit that tunnel where everything around you disappears and you’re not even conscious of what is going on but you know its perfect, it’s the ultimate test. You can spend your whole life in your room making incredible music but you’ll never know how good it really is until you see other people smashing their heads together at your sounds. Dino Felipe & Otto are some of the greatest performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. The way they completely lose themselves in their music is amazing.

El Topo Image

PS: Would you say that the music that you produce is highly experimental and underground or can it be considered enough to be embraced by the mainstream community? And also, would you welcome that sort of transition or would you prefer to still leave your mark independently, totally devoid of popularity?

ET: My music isn’t really experimental. I grew up listening to break beats, drum and bass, and hip-hop so those are the main genres that I produce. The idea that one’s music can never be embraced by the mainstream is kind of outdated. There is an audience for every genre. And when you say mainstream music I think of top 40 MTV and nowadays there is more hate for that type of music than I’ve ever seen, simply because people are starting to realize that there is actually more music than what Best Buy has to offer.

PS: Tell us a bit about your stage persona... why do you use the masks? Does it have some deep rooted psychological meaning, or is all it just for show?

ET: I love masks. One of the first comic characters I ever created was a demon who was punished by the devil and made to wear 1000 masks. I just feel what people see on stage isn’t the real person who is performing. Plus they tend to remember the mask more than they remember the individual (the mask meaning the alter ego). Every performer/band wears a mask otherwise they would use their real names instead of some pseudonym. (Editor's note: Tell me about it!)

PS: How'd you get or decide on the stage name of El Topo? Can you tell us what it means?

ET: Alejandro Jodorowski is one of my favorite directors and if you know who he is you know of his film El Topo. El Topo means The Mole and a mole spends most of its life underground. Sometimes when the mole rises to the surface too fast it is blinded by the sun. The name El Topo is a reminder to never become full of yourself, otherwise you’ll become blind (not literally) and will be unable to see yourself for who you really are.

PS: Describe your relationship with The Creature Tweaker Council. How long have you been a member, and where do you see this live outfit going in the next couple of years?

ET: I joined CTC about a year and half ago. I’ve been friends with Peasants with Feathers for some time now and when I met Linenoise I was baptized into the organization. I remember at that time CTC was like fifty or something people but they cut it down to only participating members which was a better idea. Now it’s something like fifteen official members as well as a number of honorary members. We are just getting our new label SWAM NOISE off the ground and I believe the next CTC Compilation record should be out soon. Eventually I’d like to see all CTC members on stage at the same time performing in unison.

PS: Can you tell us a bit about your side projects, such as Friends in Square Places and The International Horror Association? Are they just hobbies for you at this point, or do you plan on doing something bigger with those projects of yours sometime in the future?

ET: Actually my music is my real hobby and my comics are my main focuses! [laughing out loud] Friends in Square Places (F.I.S.P.), is a comic series based on my former pets as well as my college experience. I created the main characters Who & Ted back in a chemistry class when I was in high school. It’s a collection of personal experiences, romantic involvements and friends living together and loving life.

International Horror Association (I.H.A.) is a bit different. I’m one of the world’s biggest EC Comics fan. If you don’t know they are responsible for great comics like Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, & Crime and Suspenstories to name a few. I.H.A. is a modern take that pays homage to those series. I also started an online "Live-Action" version of I.H.A. last fall where I would dress up as the host of I.H.A., Raymond, and would stream obscure and classic horror films on Justin.TV. But after showing the ultra-violent Flower of Flesh and Blood I was booted off the site, so until I can set up the streaming on the IHA website the live action version is on hold for now. But you can always expect a comic release every Halloween. Right now I’m finishing up the fourth issue of I.H.A. which will be a detective story titled Crimes of Passion.

PS: Is it hard for you to juggle between being a DJ and being an artist?

ET: Oh man, you do not even know how hard! Sometimes I want to just focus on doing comics but then I go out to a show and hear some dope tunes come back to my apartment and jump on the computer and start busting out tracks for like three days straight. I got to a point where I realized I have to compromise. A little time for art a little time for music.

PS: Tell us a bit about producing tracks... your music employs the use of everything from vintage Nintendo music tracks to movie and TV show samples. What frame of mind does one have to be in in order to come up with these eclectic samples? (i.e. Like what crack are you smokin' kid?!? lol Just kidding... but please elaborate anyways)

ET: Well film is a HUGE part of my life. My father owned a video store when I was younger so I was always watching movies. And now that I’m older, my roommate and I are constantly trying to top each other with a better film. You just know when hear the right sample, or line. The track is just born. I recently saw the 70's Horror Sci-Fi movie called The Demon Seed and it literally spawned the next album. Influence is the ultimate creative spark. But it can’t be just any sample, the obscurity is what makes it genuine.

PS: What's your most memorable moment (to date) performing live?

ET: Emceeing for Andy C and Soul Slinger back during WMC (Winter Music Conference) in 2004 was pretty cool, but to be honest I could give three shits about emceeing for some so called "Superstar DJ". Some of the best moments I've had have to be emceeing at Infrastructure (a drum & bass weekly that ran from '04-'06). Loosing yourself with local DJ’s and friends is what’s best in life. I tell you I could have an awesome time jamming with my CTC crew in front of just a handful of people who are actually listening and studying your beats, even more so than in front of a huge crowd who don’t know who you are and are only there to see the headliner.

PS: I ask this question of all the artists I interview... how well would you rate the importance of online social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc. when it comes to getting the word out about your music?

ET: INDISPENSABLE! The only reason some of us "bedroom producers" get any kind of notice is cause of social networking sites. Although it can be a little overwhelming. It seems like everyday there is new site that you have to join. I said before I absolutely refuse to join Twitter but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up doing so out of necessity.

PS: Do you think it's harder to draw more people to a show by word of mouth than it is vs. getting them to show up through an online announcement through these aforementioned popular networking sites?

ET: It’s actually a combination of the two. You can’t put all your eggs into one basket and rely on just word of mouth or just an online announcement. What really brings the people is hard work, perseverance, and the will to continue even during hard times. If you’re passionate about your craft then you’ll do what it takes to bring them in. If you build it... they will come!

PS: And do you think that these networks cause more of a disconnect between the audience and the performer, like say for example if you were to put up a video of you performing live on YouTube, then how different would that performance be if you were to witness it live firsthand and all versus just staying home and catching a live stream of it somewhere? I guess what I'm saying here is... what can I expect from a live El Topo set?

ET: I only play original music, and rarely play the same songs. There is definitely a difference between seeing someone live as opposed to seeing them on YouTube. The disconnection comes from people who can’t break away from social networking sites. You can always expect something different from an El Topo set.

PS: Finally, where do you see your music heading towards in the next few years?

ET: Right now I’m putting together my first Dubstep LP and I expect a few CTC compilations in the coming months. The sky’s the limit. The only place to go is up and as long as the sun, moon, and earth exist, everything will be fine.

So there you have it folks, an exclusive interview/portrait/or whatever you wish to call this piece with Alex Anico (AKA: El Topo). Below are a few more links of his, so please be sure to check them all out...

The PMCRW Productions Website
- PMCRW on MySpace
Friends In Square Places Online
- Friends in Square Places on MySpace
The International Horror Association on the Web
- The I.H.A. on MySpace
El Topo on MySpace

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spotlight on Huma Rojo

Hey again people, I recently came across this band through a mutual friend, or actually another band which you may all know and love as Radioboxer, and I just thought I ought to turn the world onto them, because they're a really talented group of individuals that I personally like to listen to, and well... I know you all will too someday, so here's bringing you all a head start! What follows is an interview that I conducted via the web with Dámaris Vicke, lead singer/songwriter/bassist of the band Huma Rojo which are currently working on their debut album, which is due out any day now...

PS: First off, where does the name Huma Rojo mean? And who came up with the band's name?

DV: Huma Rojo is a character from a Spanish movie called Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) from director Pedro Almodóvar. Huma is a famous actress who is addicted to smoke, and her junky girlfriend. She also imitates Bette Davis (a Broadway 1940’s prima donna/starlet who smokes with abundance) and interprets Blanche DuBois from the classic 1947 flick A Streetcar Named Desire, which I have always loved.

DV: Javier and I came up with this name in 2006 when we started as a duo, since we have always been into films, and directors, and Almodovar is one of our favorite directors so Huma Rojo really touched us, and ever since then, we have been HUMA ROJO and kept this musical waves and vintage idea floating around us…

PS: Can you please let us know how many members are in your band, how did you all form, and how long has the band been together?

DV: We are a four piece. Well, HUMA ROJO as a duo, me and Javier three years nonstop, and with the new line up, (Daniella and Jonathan) I would exactly say a year, so that makes four years of Huma!

PS: From what I've heard, I'd say that the band is influenced by a combination of The Doors, Pink Floyd, and maybe a bit of Daft Punk and/or LadyTron... would I be right in this estimate? And as a follow up, can you please let us know what other artists, be they musical, visual, literary and/or otherwise; have an influence on you all as musicians?

DV: Actually, yes, we like those bands, especially Pink Floyd and The Doors. I just basically write my songs on the acoustic guitar, bass or keys, sometime lyrics and poems come first, so once I feel the song is kind of ready, you know, with a kind of blurry vision I bring the song to rehearsals, and we all begin experimenting and creating whatever sound we feel the song is asking for, we are not influenced by any bands in particular or music, we play whatever our ears want to hear in that moment. We listen to anything; we all have many different styles and tastes. This is what lately we have been around or listening to; there are also a few that have been influences for a while as well...

Reading: Everything from Hermann Hesse, to García Márquez, Octavio Paz, Asimov, bios, terror, etc.

Films: Movies, short films, art films, etc.

Paintings and personalities: Frida Kahlo

Music: Radiohead, Wilco, Granddaddy, Tujiko Noriko, Oddland, Pink Floyd, Santa Sabina, Café Tacuba, Happy Apple, Tosca Tango Orchestra, Caetano Veloso, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Tom Waits, Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Xiu Xiu, The Kills, Fiona Apple, Sigur Ros, The Lappetites, The Cure, Autolux, Stars, The Breeders, The Beach Boys, Diamanda Galas, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, John Lennon, Jeff Buckley, One Ring Zero.

PS: Would you say that the style of music you play is ambient rock or psychedelic pop? What in your opinion would be the distinction between these two?

DV: I would say that we have a little bit of both, we have some ambient/experimental, and some psychedelic pop, however, I feel that the difference is not that big. I am a huge fan of John Cage, and I think he was considered an ambient music composer, and gave it the term of “experimental music” I consider ourselves to be a rock band now, even though we do have some elements of psychedelic music.

PS: Who is responsible for the lyrics in this group? Would you say it's a group effort, where each respective member contributes to the overall structure of the song, or does each member bring his or her own idea to the table while the rest of the band supports it?

DV: I compose all the songs and lyrics, I started this project with the purpose of wanting to play and sing my own music. Javier has always helped me from the beginning with arrangements, ideas, and lyrics as well; however, I usually bring the whole song almost finished, then each member contributes with their ideas and we each make arrangements. We all work on the songs until we are satisfied, although, we can never stop thinking of new ideas for the songs, especially now that we are recording our album. And yes, everyone brings ideas to the table, and if it works out and goes with the style, we all work on it together.

Huma Rojo Image

PS: What's your opinion about the local music scene? Do you think it could use some improvement, as far as wages for the bands that perform are concerned, or would you feel that it's normal for a band to pay their dues no matter how popular they get?

DV: I think there's a little bit of truth in both arguments, I have seen bands demanding bands to get paid even though they don’t bring no one to the shows, just as I have seen promoters book bands that fill the venues and pay them their fair share. In my opinion, it's just like everything else in life... where the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The scene in Miami is extremely big, you will find amazing music and musicians if you search carefully, although to me in the end it's all a cottage scene, DJ’s are more admired thanks to the city’s lauded dance club scene, and sometimes bands are not treated the way they are supposed to, so we have to count on our devoted fans. I do feel that there should be more improvement as far as wages are concerned, if you are taking it seriously and being professional about it. And I do feel that it is okay for a band to pay their dues at he beginning of their career.

PS: Where do you see the band Huma Rojo headed years on down the line? Would you say that the band has long staying power, or a very short shelf life?

DV: I think this is just the beginning for all of us, even though we all have been through a lot, we respect each other very much and most important, we enjoy working with each other to the max. We are all very good friends and admire our work, so I say you will have some Huma for a while! [laughs]

PS: Tell us a bit about your new debut album... are you excited about the prospect? Who are you recording the album with at the moment?

DV: Well, it is a beautiful experience! For Daniella and I, it will be our first album ever, although we have both worked with many reputed musicians and recorded in other projects... but this is amazing, we are having a blast and such an awesome time. And we all became really good friends. We are recording our album with Producer and Engineer Doc Wiley, who is an amazing person that has always helped and supported us ever since I started with the idea of recording my solo album, which never happened... [laughs] but is now totally blooming!

PS: Can you explain how the recording process is like? For instance, how do you know when a song is finished versus just your typical run-of-the-mill demo reel?

DV: This is a hard question because music is like the ocean, it has no end, and if you go deeper and deeper, you will find yourself with different physiognomies, so sometimes it is better to give it a rest. Just like Da Vinci said: "Art is never finished, only abandoned."

PS: What's it like for you all as performers? Do you feel more at home experimenting in the studio, or would you say that live performances bring out the best in your prowess as musicians?

DV: I think this is kind a bit like Sophie's Choice, but if I had to choose one, I guess I would go with the studio first, because that’s were you create and ideas are born, is practically the birth place of the song. However, we love playing live. I guess it is really like thirst and hunger, you cannot satisfy either one of the two... the energy you get from the people, is nothing that can be recreated in terms of feeling. Playing live and getting the feedback from the crowd is totally ecstatic!

PS: Do you consider yourselves to be more visual in the band's presentation/live act, or is it all just straight ahead music?

DV: We are all about music, so that is our first priority...however, we do know that there are some visual elements that play a big role on our live performances, so we try to have fun and make it interesting to the audience members. Things like mannequins, flowers, and candles on stage are part of our shows; we feel it helps set the mood, and get a clear visual picture of where we feel the music is leading us.

Well, there you have it folks, Dámaris Vicke, one fourth of the creative element behind the ambient experimental pop rock outfit by the name of Huma Rojo that hails from Miami Beach, Fl. Do yourself a favor and check out this band, for your ears will thank you for it!

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Which One's Pink?

Hey once again, everyone... one of my favorite bands, which I must say have had the biggest influence on me (artistically speaking) has to be none other than the band Pink Floyd. Ever since I heard their monumental Dark Side of the Moon, followed by A Saucerful of Secrets and later on Piper at the Gates of Dawn, I was immediately hooked.

What fascinated me the most was that I took special notice of the band's lineup on the earlier albums liner sheets, and noticed that at one point there was another guitarist by the name of Syd Barrett, which I learned later on, was actually one of the founding members of the outfit. What I was really trying to figure out, however, was in fact who was who on that kaleidoscopic photograph that adorns their first album's cover. And then, of course, the mania began. I had purchased the book A Saucerful of Secrets: A Pink Floyd Odyssey by late biographer Nicholas Schaffner, who passed away very shortly after publishing this very same offering.

What fascinated me the most was the fascinating history of this band, and how much they mirrored The Beatles, and yet still managed to slip in a little under the mainstream's radar in order to establish a very cool and sometimes strange cult following of a reputation amongst their fans worldwide. Well, that's an awfully poetically stupid thing to say, really...especially when you consider at how well their Dark Side of the Moon album release fared on the charts, which at one point was voted as: "One of the Best Albums to Fuck To..." believe it or not. Others claim that you have to be on LSD in order to experience it and truly appreciate it. But I think I'll pass on that, since I like my brains sunny side up instead of scrambled, thank you very much!

Anyways, after hearing many fellow Floydians' (that is one who digs Pink Floyd, just like Beatles fans are called Beatlemaniacs) claims that you needed to be high in order to hear the secret messages jumping out at you on The Dark Side of the Moon record, I figured it would just be easier to crank up the volume and put my headphones on. And sure enough, I got to hear the famous recorded interviews that were all conducted during the course of the recordings to most of the crew, as well as The Abbey Road Studios personnel. "I've been mad for fucking years..." "Yes, absolutely years, every holiday, and night." Sorry if I can't really claim perfect accuracy in that last transcription, but it's the sound effects used in that album that sometimes drown out the speech. Roger Waters is notorious for doing that sort of thing, you know?

I was even surprised to find out that even Paul McCartney was interviewed during this taping process, which involved asking a random set of questions, likened to what I could best describe as a Voight-Kampff test on a Replicant just to see if someone was completely insane at the time! Of course, this track was never used, and basically scrapped for a couple of better probing Q & A behavioral responses. This was yet another thing that Roger Waters is notorious for; according to David Gilmour, which is basically sacrificing a great musical piece in order to make it sound more of a radioesque sort of sound. Again, I'm paraphrasing, since I can't exactly remember what the exact words were that he used to describe this genius sound editing process of Roger's.

But at any rate, it's a pretty far out thing to know that while The (early) Pink Floyd were busy in the studio recording their first offering The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Beatles were right next door recording their landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And it also turns out that their engineer Norman Smith also worked with the Beatles! Imagine that!

Norman Smith Image
And here's Norman at the Controls...

Another interesting tidbit is that when the band first started out, they were more geared towards R & B based sounds, and they went through a number of name changes; such as Sigma 6, The Tea Set, Leonard's Lodgers (more on that later...), The Screaming Abdads, The Architectural Abdads, The Abdads, and get this... The Megadeaths! Go figure!

There was even a point where there were five members, just like the Beatles in their early heyday. And this additional member was none other than Bob Klose, who left the music scene to further his studies.  So it's not exactly the same kind of treatment that Pete Best got when the band finally got around to stirring up a great deal of interest from the record label, or anything.  But it's still worth noting here that there were actually two periods that there were five Floyds.

Bob Klose Image
The fifth Floyd... Bob Klose

But then again, it's not really accurate to say that Bob was the fifth Floyd, since there were a few other members and earlier incarnations of the band lineup, and their name around this time was most probably Leonard's Lodgers.  However, it may be correct to say is that he was still a member while the group had donned the name The Pink Floyd Sound, which was an idea of Syd Barrett's, naming it after two of his favorite blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. There is also a story out there, which I can't say for sure if it's accurate or not, that Syd used to feed acid to two of his cats, one of which was named Pink and the other Floyd. Sometimes people think that this is the origin of the band's name. Another thing that pisses me off is the fact that people will refer to Pink Floyd as a person. It's a group, you fools!

The Five Floyds Image
Well... you don't see this everyday, do ya?
The full five member Floyd lineup!
  L to R:
Nick Mason (drums), David Gilmour (guitar),
Roger Waters (bass), Syd Barrett (guitar),
Richard Wright (piano/organ)

Oddly enough, this was yet another joke that's prevalent on the band's personal ode to Syd Barrett, which was one of the first acid casualties of psychedelic rock; the album Wish You Were Here in the song Have a Cigar where the verse "The Band is just fantastic, that is really what I think, oh by the way which one's Pink?" is the epitome of the highly misinformed culture in the music industry. For me, this is basically just about everybody I've tried to engage in a conversation with that have little to no idea of just how important this group really is.

Getting back to the note I made earlier, about the Leonard's Lodgers title of the band. Apparently, this name was influenced by Mike Leonard, who was the band's lighting projectionist. One could easily say that if it wasn't for this inventors' tinkering about with the use of sounds to affect light patterns, well... there wouldn't be such a thing as raver night clubs today! There wouldn't even be a Pink Floyd light show to begin with! And no, I'm not talking about the one at the local science museum, kids! I'm talking about the one that we get to see at during their live performances/tours/etc. Which, by the way, I don't think will ever happen again, now that both Syd Barrett and Richard Wright have each passed away. So God only knows what the future holds for the remaining members.

Hopes were pretty high (permit the pun, there...since one of their songs was called High Hopes and all...) when the band made a special reunion at Live 8. This was technically the last appearance the band ever made together, after the split between Waters and the other two remaining members of the band, David Gilmour and Nick Mason (that is... after Wright was fired by Waters after The Wall).

Which brings me to a cool little tidbit that I picked up, courtesy of The Internet Movie Data Base, which is the best place to find out some pretty cool trivia about one's favorite movies and all. I found out, or better yet... actually proved to my curiosity, for I could have sworn he was in the film, was the fact that Roger Waters was actually in The Wall! It turns out tat at one point, he was considered for the lead role (not in a cage!) but the part was eventually given to Bob Geldof (of The Boomtown Rats fame). Here's some visual proof...

Pink Floyd The Wall Movie Wedding Sequence Image 1
If you blink, you'll miss this...
There's Roger (in red) appearing as the best man
in the very brief wedding scene of the film
during the Mother sequence.

Pink Floyd The Wall Movie Wedding Sequence Image 2
And here he is again, with Bob Geldof (second from right)
looking remarkably a lot like Syd Barrett
in his psychedelic heyday!

Anyways, I just thought I'd share this with all of you out there, the uninitiated, as I like to refer to you all as, and not just the regular lot of assholes that refer to Pink as a he, when they say something to the extent of: "Yeah, I like his music!" or better yet think of them as a strange underground group. I'll never forget a comment that one of my schoolmates told me one time, which was something to the extent of: "Dude, don't you listen to normal music?" Freaking idiot! Oh well...

One more thing I like to add, which has been a highly repeated subject time and time again, in the anals of Floyd fanatic speculation... and that is that most people claim that the last moments off of the bands' Division Bell album is actually a conversation between David and his son Charlie, or something along those lines. There may be some truth to that statement, however, what most people tend to overlook for the most part is that this line is also in the song Astronomy Domine, which is the first song off of Piper; the band's first album. If you listen closely to the heavily distorted megaphone blaring over the crazy diamondesque guitar solo work of Syd (whose name was actually Roger, and whose middle name was Keith) Barrett, you can make out the exact same phrase, which is: "Charie? Is this Charlie... Hello?" It's pretty difficult to hear, since there's a lot of crazy experimentation going on in there, but the fact of the matter is that it's there! Basically, if you look at it from this standpoint, Division Bell was actually a very highly reminiscent album that drew largely from the glory days of the group. If you listen, you could hear the swarms of bees, (or just a lot of buzzing insects...don't know if they're really bees or not) from Granchester Meadows, which was on their Ummagumma album. And you can also hear the bells from the Fat Old Sun, from their Atom Heart Mother album, which at one point was considered to be used as a soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, according to Roger Waters; and not the more common urban legend of how the twenty-five minute long Echoes suite off of Meddle synchronizes up perfectly with the stargate sequence at the end of the film, which is coincidental if not altogether completely sick! I mean, can you imagine what frame of mind you have to be in to figure out this kind of thing?!?

Of course, the crazy line of coincidences doesn't stop there. Let's not forget the whole Dark Side of the Rainbow spectacle! Which is really where all this fanatic Floydian madness originated from in the first place! For those of you that don't know, it's basically playing Dark Side of the Moon at the same time you start watching the Wizard of Oz. You can find out more about this completely far out concept by clicking here.

Anyways, another interesting fascinating little tidbit that I'd like to point out is this video that I like to share every now and again with my friends, who are all musicians in their own right; which is that aside from the unreleased (but heavily bootlegged) Vegetable Man or Scream Thy Last Scream songs which Syd Barrett composed for A Saucerful of Secrets, shortly before his departure from the group, and/or the What Shall We Do Now? and When the Tigers Broke Free numbers which are not on The Wall album (with the lyrics of What Shall We Do Now? still printed on the lyric sleeve!) but are in the film; there also exists a released (eight-track only) version of Pigs on the Wing, from Animals, which bridges the gap between both parts of the song. Both songs, of course, normally appear as bookends (or what I like to call the bread parts of the sonic sandwich) of the album. Of course, this version was actually created as a sort of audition tape for guitarist Snowy White, when they were all in talks for doing a tour together to promote the Animals album. There are many videos of this out there on YouTube, but this one's my favorite... since it's the first on I came across when I was looking for this rare version of the song.

And then, of course, there are other little rare variations here and there that I've stumbled across online... which is the alternate promotional video for Arnold Layne, which was the band's first hit about a kleptomaniacal cross dresser. Both the song and the lyrics are light years ahead of their time, and only go to show how much of a genius Syd Barrett really was. Below is the official promotional film, followed by a lesser known promo (which has somehow virtually disappeared from YouTube - probably due to copyright, fair use, and all that jazz...).  As a bonus, I've also found a true stereo mix of the song as well.

And then, I stumbled upon yet another little gem, which was a slightly different version of Corporal Clegg, off of A Saucerful of Secrets. I was going nuts trying to see if I could spot Syd in this video. Of course, he's not there, but David's reflection in the mirror threw me off. At one point I was thinking that all five members were in this video, but apparently not. Anyways, I like this rarity the best, since the song's ending is completely different, as well as there being some notable differences in the level of the instruments on the track. We don't get to hear the normal military siren followed by mortar fire, but instead a continuous chanting, done in an almost goosestep-like marching beat. My only gripe is that the video wasn't complete, but hey... we can't have it all, I suppose! Here's the alternate version, followed by the full length promotional version...

And finally, there's yet another gem which I found on eBay. It's one of them Japanese mini discs, which are CD's recorded straight from an original vinyl source. The album in question was none other than Piper at the Gates of Dawn. What's cool about this CD is that I believe it was released before the special anniversary edition of the album, which contains both the stereo and mono mixes, along with some third bonus disc, that I still haven't heard! Anyways, this CD contained an earlier acetate of Candy and a Currant Bun, which had some slightly different lyrics. And for those of you that don't know, the BBC in its infinite wisdom decided that the song's original title Let's Roll Another One was definitely not up to standards at the time. And yet, they didn't have any reservations, nor did they object to the verse of "Please just fuck with me!" How do you explain that one?!? Yes, indeed... censors are pretty stupid, but not as stupid as those people that liken the name Pink Floyd to an individual person instead of a group.

All right, well... this includes this portion of Musical Trivia with your host Dr. Gonzo XXVII (or AKA: P.S. Elliott for short!) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

Monday, September 7, 2009

R.I.P. Jimi & Brian...

Hey again everybody, I apologize for not posting anything as of late, but I've had a rather bad dry know, just the usual lack of creative fluids flowing through this here rather unconscious (or semi-conscious) stream of writing that I call a hobby. This is all not to be taken so seriously, of course... yet somehow it means something, I know it! But it's not much nonetheless, never once making that much sense, or even some cash flow off of Adsense! Yes indeed, friends... my total earnings have amounted to mere pennies on the dollar. And I mean that; literally! Oh well, I do apologize for gloating here about all this, but an artist does have to make some money somehow, right?

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not an artist, in the more traditional/conventional approach to showcasing his own talents off to the world. Mainly because, I just can't afford to do so! But more on that topic later... for as of right now, I'm currently engaged in a juggling act; between work, this blog, and my would be career as an artist. No wonder an artist's work is never finished, eh?  Maybe one day it'll all be completed somehow.

But all in due time... for now, let's go to the visual and have a lark; that is...a laugh! This image below, is just a summary of the guidelines set forth by the universal code of the world (or whatever it is that sounds important enough to be pulled out of one's own ass and published for all the world to see on this internet superhighway, currently functioning as a meaningless form of expression by yours truly over here) is what everybody in the office, or those of you whom are employed; each at your own general place of work and all, must adhere to every now and again, effective immediately... Enjoy!

Universal Program Management Flow Chart Image

Well, I just thought you'd all get a kick of that image, courtesy of John Q. Public (whoever he is!) and I also thought you may find these couple of bits of news that I stumbled upon recently, late at night while trying to keep from being bored to death. And that is that two of Rock n' Roll's tragic cases are possibly going to be reopened. Well, technically one of them is, and I'm not really sure about the other one, for it's just a book that's scheduled to be published, raising the awareness of the very sinister going's on that took place years ago. Both of them involve two of my heroes Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix of the Jimi Hendrix Experience / Gypsy Sun and Rainbows / Band of Gypsys fame. And what do both of these cases have in common? Well, aside from the whole J conspiracy... which was artists that had the initial J as an initial at one point or another died under mysterious circumstances, and were at one point believed to be off'ed by someone. No one bought the drug trip stories, or death by misadventure claims, so now nearly half a century later is when this bit of new evidence finally comes to light, leaving officials with no choice but to re-examine the case. Hopefully both of them will get a full review and a proper determinable conclusion.

However, it's a bit too late, if you ask me, since it's events like these that literally let people get away with murder. Yes, I know that seems rather redundant, but it's the best I could come up with at this point, so bear with me, here! Personally I feel that the Hendrix death was a lot more sinister, since it was his greedy manager (Michael Jeffery) that did the dirty deed, along with a pair of henchmen. Not only was this creep draining him of nearly every penny that he (that is...Hendrix) was making off of his record sales and investing it in renovating some property off in the Cayman Islands somewhere, but he figured he needed to do it just so he could collect on the insurance. This act was so predetermined, in fact, that he needed to make it look like a natural death by misadventure for it could have violated some clause in the insurance policy (which Jeffery took out on him, leaving himself as the beneficiary, mind you...) if the death had been ruled as a suicide. Basically, they just drowned poor Hendrix with red wine, and a handful of sleeping pills, which this artist was already accustomed to, since he was a purported insomniac as well! So imagine that! The infinite wisdom of the authorities assumed it to have been an accidental overdose of sleeping pills combined with wine and a rather unfortunate episode of regurgitation/inhalation/whatever it is! Of course, I'm no one to say that this is how it actually happened, since this story has been published by Tappy Wright, a well known rock n' roll roadie who claims that Jeffery had confessed to the murder while he was in drunken stupor about a year or so after the event transpired. And you didn't think to tell anybody about it, Tappy?!? Why'd you wait so long dude... technically that would make you an accessory after the fact, would it not? Oh well, timing is everything, I guess. I guess you just need people to buy your book, just in case you're tried in court as such. I mean after all, it's not like the police are going to arrest Jeffery, since he died in a plane crash and all. Which can only lead me to yet another conspiracy theory. Is Jeffery really dead or just avoiding the authorities? Okay, it's not a conspiracy theory, but still another thing I'm pulling out of my arse at the moment?

Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix image

And this story of course shares yet another strange coincidence Brian Jones' death, which was also another drowning related incident. These events, of course, were depicted in the movie Stoned. Anyways, for some hitherto unknown reason, the authorities have recently declared that they are planning to review the case once again. Well good luck on that one, too ya coppers! Since the murderer has already passed away with the blood still on his hands and into the grave. Here's the link to that bit of refreshing news. The question is... who is going to be tried for all of this? If anybody should be arrested here, it ought to be the police for failing to investigate this matter to its fullest extent! Maybe they were bought off? I don't know... but at any rate, at least it's a start in shedding some new light onto the case. So we can only wait to see what happens.

Personally I feel as though somebody out there; maybe some grander, wiser, sentient being decided to screw around with our realm of possibilities (i.e. parallel dimensions and all that jazz) and he is now staring straight at the operational flow chart listed above to see what he should do next, since it must have screwed up somewhere along the way! And another interesting tidbit, while we're talking about murder of famous people and all that. It seems as though Michael Jackson's doctor is in a helluva pickle at the moment since he basically prescribed or injected one pill or shot too many. Of course, that's nothing new...and it's not the reason I'm mentioning it, for I just needed some seg way into the actual bit of news that surprised me. And that was that Michael Jackson's glove was sold for $49,000 in Australia. What surprised me was the fact that it was only sold for only five figures. You would expect things like this to go for a lot more in this day and age, but then again maybe people are putting common sense before their usual greed nowadays. Still, it'll definitely make a great investment for some kid's college tuition one of these days, should they decide to part with it after its been handed down from generation to generation and all that jazz. A true family heirloom, so to say! At times like these, I wonder if MC Hammer's inflatable pants are worth anything...and more importantly, who has them now? And...will they be up for auction anytime soon? For if I had a pair of pants like that... dare I say? I could rule the world! Well, actually that's just one of my many random, out of left field standardized test types of crazy thoughts. And no disrespect to you, Mr. "Stop...Hammertime!" sir. For it was just a randomly half-assed attempt at comedy there, folks; completely non sequitor. So you have my sincerest apologies... for I'm just too legit to quit what I'm doing here.

So in conclusion, this has been P.S. Elliott (for lack of a better name; like Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting (you call this reporting?) for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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