The Cities of Red Night were six in number: Tamaghis, Ba’dan, Yass-Waddah, Waghdas, Naufana and Ghadis. These cities were located in an area roughly corresponding to the Gobi Desert, a hundred thousand years ago. At that time the desert was dotted with large oases and traversed by a river which emptied into the Caspian Sea.
The largest of these oases contained a lake ten miles long and five miles across, on the shores of which the university town of Waghdas was founded. Pilgrims came from all over the inhabited world to study in the academies of Waghdas, where the arts and sciences reached peaks of attainment that have never been equaled. Much of this ancient knowledge is now lost.
The towns of Ba’dan and Yass-Waddah were opposite each other on the river. Tamaghis, located in a desolate area to the north on a small oasis, could properly be called a desert town. Naufana and Ghadis were situated in mountainous areas to the west and south beyond the perimeter of usual trade routes between the other cities.
In addition to the six cities, there were a number of villages and nomadic tribes. Food was plentiful and for a time the population was completely stable: no one was born unless someone died.
The inhabitants were divided into and elite minority known as the Transmigrants and a majority known as the Receptacles. Within these categories were a number of occupational and specialized strata and the two classes were not in practice separate: Transmigrants acted as Receptacles and Receptacles became Transmigrants.
To show the system in operation: Here is an old Transmigrant on his deathbed. He has selected his future Receptacle parents, who are summoned to the death chamber. The parents then copulate, achieving orgasm just as the old Transmigrant dies so that his spirit enters the womb to be reborn. Every Transmigrant carries with him at all times a list of alternative parents, and in case of accident, violence or sudden illness, the nearest parents are rushed to the scene. However, there was at first little chance of random or unexpected deaths since the Council of Transmigrants in Waghdas had attained such skill in the art of prophecy that they were able to chart a life from birth to death and determine in most cases the exact time and manner of death.
Many Transmigrants preferred not to wait for the infirmities of age and the ravages of illness, lest their spirit be so weakened as to be overwhelmed and absorbed by the Receptacle child. These hardy Transmigrants, in the full vigor of maturity, after rigorous training in concentration and astral projection, would select two death guides to kill them in front of the copulating parents. The methods of death most commonly employed were hanging and strangulation, the Transmigrant dying in orgasm, which was considered the most reliable method of ensuring a successful transfer. Drugs were also developed, large doses of which occasioned death in erotic convulsions, smaller doses being used to enhance sexual pleasure. And these drugs were often used in conjunction with other forms of death.
In time, death by natural causes became a rare and rather discreditable occurrence as the age for transmigration dropped. The Eternal Youths, a Transmigrant sect, were hanged at the age of eighteen to spare themselves at the coarsening experience of middle age and the deterioration of senescence, living their youth again and again.
Two factors undermined the stability of their system, The first was perfection of techniques for artificial insemination. Whereas the traditional practice called for one death and once rebirth, now hundreds of women could be impregnated from a single sperm collection, and territorially oriented Transmigrants could populate whole areas with their progeny. There were sullen mutters of revolt from the Receptacles, especially the women. At this point, another factor totally unforeseen was introduced.
In the thinly populated desert area north of Tamaghis a portentous event occurred. Some say it was a meteor that fell to earth leaving a crater twenty miles across. Others say that the crater was caused by what modern physicists call a black hole.
After this occurrence the whole northern sky lit up red at night, like the reflection from a vast furnace. Those in the immediate vicinity of the crater were the first to be affected and various mutations were observed, the commonest being altered hair and skin color. Red and yellow hair, and white, yellow, and red skin appeared for the first time. Slowly the whole area was similarly affected until the mutants outnumbered the original inhabitants, who were as all human beings were at the time: black.
The women, led by an albino mutant known as the White Tigress, seized Yass-Waddah, reducing the male inhabitants to salves, consorts, and courtiers all under sentence of death that could be carried out at any time at the caprice of the White Tigress. The Council in Waghdas countered by developing a method of growing babies in excised wombs, the wombs being supplied by vagrant Womb Snatchers, This practice aggravated the differences between the male and female factions and war with Yass-Waddah seemed unavoidable.
In Naufana, a method was found to transfer the spirit directly into an adolescent Receptacle, thus averting the awkward and vulnerable period of infancy. This practice required a rigorous period of preparation and training to achieve a harmonious blending of the two spirits in one body. These Transmigrants, combining the freshness and vitality of youth with the wisdom of many lifetimes, were expected to form an army of liberation to free Yass-Waddah. And there were adepts who could die at will without nay need of drugs or executioners and project their spirit into a chosen Receptacle.
I have mentioned hanging, strangulation, and orgasm drugs as the commonest means of effecting the transfer. However, many other forms of death were employed. The Fire Boys were burned to death in the presence of the Receptacles, only the genitals being insulated, so that the practitioner could achieve orgasm in the moment of death. There is an interesting account by a Fire Boy who recalled his experience after transmigrating in this manner:
“As the flames closed around my body, I inhaled deeply, drawing fire into my lungs, and screamed out flames as the most horrible pain turned to the most exquisite pleasure and I was ejaculating in an adolescent Receptacle who was being sodomized by another.”
Others were stabbed, decapitated disemboweled shot with arrows, or killed by a blow on the head. Some threw themselves from cliffs, landing in front of the copulating Receptacles.
The scientists at Waghdas were developing a machine that could directly transfer the electromagnetic field of one body to another. In Ghadis there were adepts who were able to leave their bodies before death and occupy a series of hosts. How far this research may have gone will never be known. It was a time of great disorder and chaos.
The effects of the Red Night on Receptacles and Transmigrants proved to be incalculable and many strange mutants arose as a series of plagues devastated the cities. It is this period of war and pestilence that is covered by the books. The Council had set out to produce a race of supermen for the exploration of space. They produced instead races of ravening idiot vampires.
Finally, the cities were abandoned and the survivors fled in all direction, carrying the plagues with them. Some of these migrants crossed the Bering Strait into the New World, taking the books with them. They settled in the area later occupied by the Mayans and the books eventually fell into the hands of the Mayan priests.
The alert student of this noble experiment will perceive that death was regarded as equivalent not to birth but to conception and go in to infer that conception is the basic trauma. In the moment of death, the dying man’s whole life may flash in front of his eyes back to conception. In the moment of conception, his future life flashes forward to his future death. To reexperience conception is fatal.
This was the basic error of the Transmigrants: you do not get beyond death and conception by reexperience any more than you get beyond heroin by ingesting larger and larger doses. The Transmigrants were white literally addicted to death and they needed more and more death to kill the pain of conception. They were buying parasitic life with a promissory death note to be paid at a prearranged time. The Transmigrants then imposed these terms on the host child to ensure his future transmigration. There was a basic conflict of interest between host child and Transmigrant. So the Transmigrants reduced the Receptacle class to a condition of virtual idiocy. Otherwise they would have reneged on a bargain from which they stood to gain nothing but death. The books are flagrant falsifications. And some of these basic lies are still current.
“Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.” The last words of Hassan I Sabbah, Old Man of the Mountain. “Tamaghis … Ba’dan … Yass-Waddah … Waghdas … Naufana… Ghadis.” It is said that an initiate who wishes to know the answer to any question need only repeat these words as he falls asleep and the answer will come in a dream.
Tamaghis: This is the open city of contending partisans where advantage shifts from moment to moment in a desperate biological war. Here everything is as true as you think it is and everything you can get away with is permitted.
Ba’dan: This city is given over to competitive games, and commerce. Ba’dan closely resembles present-day America with a precarious moneyed elite, a large disaffected middle class and an equally large segment of criminals and outlaws. Unstable, explosive, and swept by whirlwind riots. Everything is true and everything is permitted.
Yass-Waddah: This city is the female stronghold where the Countess de Gulpa, the Countess de Vile, and the Council of the Selected plot a final subjugation of the other cities. Every shade of sexual transition is represented: boys with girls’ heads, girls with boys’ heads. Here everything is true and nothing is permitted except to the permitters.
Waghdas: This is the university city, the center of learning where all questions are answered in terms of what can be expressed and understood. Complete permission derives from complete understanding.
Naufana and Ghadis are the cities of illusion where nothing is true and therefore everything is permitted.
The traveler must start in Tamaghis and make his way through the other cities in the order named. This pilgrimage may take many lifetimes.
-William S Burroughs
During the Crusades, the Hashishins fought both for and against the Crusaders, whichever suited their agenda. As a result, the Crusaders brought back to Europe the Assassins’ system, which would be passed down and mimicked by numerous secret societies in the West. The Templars, the Society of Jesus, Priory de Sion, the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians, etc. all owe their organizational efficiency to Hasan. In fact, the Illuminati had their origins in the mystical aspect of the Hashishin order, although most equate the Illuminati with the Bavarian Illuminati, which was a revised version of the Hashishin system (Tim O’Neill analyzes, in-depth, the influence of the Assassins in Adam Parfrey’sApocalypse Culture)
Our modern day “assassination cults” (the FBI, the CIA, etc.) have incorporated many of the Hashishins’ techniques into their methodologies. In a CIA training manual titled “A Study of Assassination”, you find traces of the Assassins influence throughout. Hasan Sabbah is even mentioned in the document, which is a must read if there ever was one.
If you want to know more about the secret order of Hashishins click on the image below.
I have written at least one post about Charles Burns before but maybe I failed to mention that to me he is amongst my 3 favorite graphic novel artist. I sincerly, deeply admire the quality, the releveance and the genius behind each of his books and other creations like the pocket sleeve of Iggy Pop album Brick by Brick, this guy always taps right up into my alley when he picks a subject on whatever topic it is; music, movies, writers, trends from a certain era.. I really appreciated his Black Hole, went back and read all his previous work and wouldn’t miss reading hisX’ed Out Trilogy and now this. It never fails to deceive me. Burns brings you in a world of his own. Icons from our childhood now coming back to haunt us in a twilight zone that might be awaiting some of us, Burns brings evil with candor from the least expected things but giving it a estheatic treatment that is suppose to be reassuring, very definite lines, 50’s like cartoons and a technique that is flawless and is not unique but if you take it as a whole, Charles BUrns has really managed to make is style recognizable instantly, unequaled, unparalleled. Hergé drawing and writing pop surrealists stories simpler but close to what Burroughs could have done when he was a kid.
R. Crumb once observed that “The work of Charles Burns is a vision that’s both horrifying and hilariously funny, and which he executes with cold, ruthless clarity… It’s almost as if the artist… as if he weren’t quite… human!” And it’s true that Burns’ icy pen and ink drawings, which came to popular attention with the publication of the graphic novelBlack Hole, depict disturbing realms that similarly attract and repulse, while being both alien and yet familiar.
The good news for Burns fans is that two new titles, Vortex and Love Nest, will be published this month byCornelius. But if you’re in Paris there’s no need to wait since you can currently snag copies at Galerie Martel, while checking out original drawings from the titles, such as the ones below.
Based on a play, the manga is a Japanese horror manga, written and illustrated by Usamaru Furuya. It was adapted from a play originally written and performed by the Tokyo Grand Guignol theatre troupe in 1986. The original writer of the play, Norimizu Ameya, played the part of Jaibo and thus became the character’s namesake..
Litchi Hikari Club also know as Lychee Light Clubwas published in English as Lychee Light Clubby Vertical Inc. on April 26, 2011. This Ero-Guro /seinen manga that revolves around a group of nine schoolboys who plan to create the ultimate in Artificial Intelligence. For the sooty industrial town’s lads there’s only one point of light: the Light Club, a secret brotherhood they’ve organized in an abandoned factory.
The attractive leader of the club, Zera, is a twisted man polluting the minds of the club members to make them do whatever he pleases. Tamiya, the original founder of the club, wants to reclaim the club. Niko, the second in command, is pissed off at Jaibo, the one obsessed with Zera. They kidnap a schoolgirl, but the AI Raichi falls in love with her and she with him, and things get messy. They’re on the verge of booting up their crowning achievement, a “thinking machine” fueled by lychee fruits. At the same time, the middle schoolers’ cooties-fearing solidarity is devolving into a downright National Socialist muck of murderous paranoia, perverse aestheticism, and (not always) suppressed homosexuality and as the story progresses, we watch the group gradually fall apart due to internal conflict and as the boys, under corrupt leadership, involve increasingly more twisted and depraved methods to reach their goal.
Furuya Usamaru made the action to take place in a world where the Japanese and the Nazis have won the Second World War, even if it doesn’t play a very important role in the action, it always made me thaught how affected the Japanaese were by their defeat and how close their way of thinking is close to the Germans. Furuya Usamaru is the same author who wrote the troubling Suicide Club (Jisatsu Circle) who was later on made a succesfull and equally troubling movie by Sion Sono as young students, subliminally influenced by apparently teen pop artists bands into a trend of comitting group suicide…
Now there is a prequel that has been written as well as a sequel that were both supposed to be made availabel in North America but so far, it has been impossible to get one delivered to my door. If one of you know how to get ahold of one or the other in North America plz let me know!! If you want to begin your first adventure in the Manga world I think this Manga would be a good place to start, in my humble opinion of course…
Hutter’s surreal works are as magical as they are strange. His work is pitched at that enjoyably nebulous zone which lies on the borderlands of fantasy, science fiction and surrealism, from which hybrid visions emerge that are never too defined in one direction or another. His paintings remember the works by Bruegel or Hieronymus Bosch.
Now there are some ideas that have been germinating in my mind for a while.. I can’t say how long because it’s not a very definite thought but rather an evolving one. I have hesitated to talk about it since I know for sure that a lot of people are going to go sort of like: ”OK… ( Nooooo!!! Would be more accurate) Another Goddamn Conspiracy Freak Advocate!” Now I feel this thing was there before I was born. For someone my age and look back at the history, culture, politics and music of the 60’s and the 70’s, most of that time very enthusiastic about what was being thought and done but always being intrigued, revolted and afraid of how something like the Summer of 67 ended up being such an absolute total bad trip. You are left there thinking:”Boy!!! That Vietnam War sure made it seems like it was a really good thing if it was worth the death of millions of US soldiers and all the sufferings that come with it when such a war take place not only on the killing fields overseas but also where it all comes back to in the end, the families, the people of both sides and when 4 soldiers died in OhioI think people realised that the impact back in the US (and around the world) was far more important than we could have ever imagined. In fact so many conspiracy theories have the Vietnam War at the epicenter that one could be tempted to think that all that the secret agencies have done behind close doors and in plain daylight, right before our very eyes, must have been in multiple various cases a blue print of many, many similar covert and false flag operations to come!! Well, it seems they have learned a lot more than we did. It is so obvious why people won’t admit to themselves it happened, it’s not because they’re stupid or bad, no, far from it, it’s because to most people it would be inconceivable that the people in power, the people who have a part of our fate in their hands, it’s inconceivable that they could do things like that, it’s also impossible to them that the people who would have noticed (let’s say the medias) wouldn’t have allowed it. I do respect that opinion. I don’t either diminish the noble act of being a soldier and fighting at the peril of your life for a cause that you believe in. I just believe that people are given orders from their superior and they execute it. In the army, in the office and as a citizen.
The CIA was founded in 1947 and has increasingly expanded its roles, including covert paramilitary operations. One of its largest divisions, the Information Operations Center (IOC), has shifted focus from counter-terrorism to offensive cyber-operations. While the CIA has had some recent accomplishments, such as locating Osama bin Laden and taking part in the successful Operation Neptune Spear, it has also been involved in controversial programs such as extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation techniques. When the CIA was created, its purpose was to create a clearinghouse for foreign policy intelligence and analysis. Today its primary purpose is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence, and to perform covert actions.
Now where would they start? Some stuff went further back..The complaints were coming from broken homes probably? But not so much from the veterans themselves as they were, themselves very divided on that part. The Hells Angels were started on March 17, 1948, by the Bishop family, American war immigrants in Fontana, California. The name “Hell’s Angels” was inspired by the typical naming of American squadrons, or other fighting groups, with a fierce, death-defying title in World Wars I and II so I would say they would have worked against anyone who or anything that is anti-war. Everyone agrees now that it was a huge monumental mistake to have hired the HA as security for the Free Festival of Altamont. But I’m ahead of myself there..
In the 60’s came a new breed of youngsters in large numbers, idealist, contesting the values their rigid parents were fighting the best they could, the flow of new ideas and the magnificence of the movement being such that it was like a beast that would kill you with LOVE. The Beatles part was ok I think… but then came the Rolling Stones! Then in New-York the scandal of Pop Art, TVs (transvestites!), Drugs!! First known casualty Brian Jones(3 July 1969) who mysteriously died a ”death by misadventure” in his pool. Then it was Jimi Hendrix turn (18th September 1970) who died of asphyxia, all dressed up in his bed with wine in his hair and all over his clothes. Then came Janis Joplin (October 5, 1970), Pulmonary edema and congestion, they say due to an injection of heroin overdose but the death certificate says that the eyes show a moderate sign of dilatation, which is very surprising if she indeed died of a heroin injection!! Last but not least, 2 YEARS TO THE DAY AFTER BRIAN JONES on July the 3rd 1971, Jim Morrisondied, according to the death certificate of a cardiac arrest. All 4 were died at age 27, within 2 years, all the artists that represented the remains of a movement born with The Beatles, wanting peace and love, the retreat of US and all troops in Vietnam, no more wars, honesty.. JFK wanted honesty! And Peace!! He was killed too!!
The Vietnam war started in what was called the INCIDENT and the main actor on the field was no other than the Jim Morrison’s father, George Stephen Morrison, United States Navy rear admiral (upper half) and naval aviator. Morrison was commander of the U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964, which sparked an escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War. Now isn’t that something? Now you must be saying what about Manson!!! Well I think Manson was the Ace in the Hole! Imagine the secret agencies wanting more than anything that this war goes on and on, in fact when the 4 students were killed in a manifestation, Nixon had been elected by promising he would stop that war, instead he announced the Cambodian Campaign, taking the war on a whole new level and threatening territories that were never suppose to be a part of it.
Now this was only a little part of what went on during those years, because I have nit mention the Tate-LaBianca Murders by the Manson Family. What a perfect setting!! So they had it easy dealing with musicians, they all have vices that could kill them and no one would ask amy questions. Now they needed something even more frightening!! No doubt in my mind that countless affairs were carefully manipulated by secret agencies. Now after the music business comes the actors!! TheLookout Mountain Air Force Station was founded on the same year as the CIA and ended in 1969, after the Charles Manson trials. Interesting fact: Sharon Tate’s father joined the army in 1947. Paul Tate spent 23 years in U.S. Army intelligence and retired as a lieutenant colonel soon after his daughter’s death.
Imagine for a second that all the actors and all of Hollywood’s shot callers were under the influence of the Intelligence agencies of the USA government. Imagine that a lot of stuff is being written and/or pre written before it happens. And of course you can use aspects of an event or a company, or a person and make them appear as you like into the heads of people who watches TV. Imagine that Burroughs was right when he wrote in his novel ”The Ticket That Exploded” about ”language being a virus ”. He claimed that language is infectious and exerts limitations and controls over people’s minds by its very existence and utility. He believed that the ability to think and create was limited by the conventions of grammar and usage. For example, most people have not difficulty grasping the idea of a “kitchen sink,” but a “sinking kitchen” gives most of us pause. Most words and phrases in our native language are indelibly linked to the concept they represent. What comes to mind when I say: ”Black Cat!!” I’ll wager it wasn’t a white horse. I’ll further suggest that it wasn’t a dark-colored boat, a dominatrix’s whip, or an African-American jazz musician…. Yet all are possibilities. Burroughs thought that eventually, such associations could eventually lead to complete thought control, by limiting the mind’s ability to free associate. All possibilities would be accounted for by existing words in expected patterns. Burroughs made his living in the medium of words, but he reportedly believed that “‘Word and image locks’ and ‘association blocks’ lock the mind into conventional patterns of thinking, speaking, acting, and perceiving things.”‘ This led him to use a variety of techniques for breaking out of the virus’s control including cutting and folding word groupings to form such gems as “The great skies are open. Supreme bugle burning flesh children to mist.” He also included a decade long part of his life trying to put to practice some aspects of Scientology and the Dianetics with a few results of his own. Acquiring while doing so the convoited status of what they call:”Clear”.
There was a studio located in Laurel Canyon that closed in 1969, shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders. Los Angeles, California is the epicenter of the movie-making industry, so it should come as no surprise that the US military had its own studio in LA. Known as Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, or Lookout Mountain Laboratory, what made this studio special is that the films produced there were all classified.Let’s say out of pure fabulation that they closed after this because they had managed to infiltrate the main private industry, slowly but surely. One movie and one book translate that idea very well: First the movie called ”Mulholland Drive” by none other than David Lynch and the book, Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. The Church of Scientology has acquired the power to influence the courses of things. It has been scientifically verified by Burroughs and other well-esteemed members of the human race learned how to use multi -media images in a certain way, superimposing them, etc. to influence the course of events.
You don’t have to believe that though… Just look at the work of Andy Warhol. He multiplicated an image to diminish it’s impact. Some say he was influenced by Dali. All his life, Dali was obsessed with doubles, copies and replicas because he had an older brother who died before he was born and his grieving parents named him exactly the same name! Warhol took it to another level, duplicating the same image time and time again! Anyone knows that after you have heard about an event repeatedly the magnitude because almost insignificant, YOU GET USED TO IT!
There’s a program called ”Beyond Scared Straight”. The first time I saw it I was appalled by how young the kids were and how insignificant the nature of their crime was versus the treatment they were given. I told someone, without even thinking, ”they” are going to get more and more vicious and daring as time goes. I watched it again maybe 2 seasons later (because people love that shit!) and I saw an 11 year old girl, at her wits end, on the edge of a panic attack, breathing in a brown bag because she had skipped class and was STARTING to take after her 15 year old older brother who had skipped class and was smoking pot. WOW!! That’s it???? Two seasons earlier you had much heavier crimes and teens that were older… like 17 with a load of criminal charges that were about to get them to appear before an adult court, so I guess they told themselves they should get them before it happens but any fools know that teenage is a difficult time and no one should be judged according to that specific period of your life. And what about ”Campus PD”? The motives and the way they arrest these poor students!! My God!!! What does that tell you?? It tells me that there’s a war against the youth. A youth that in the 60’s tried to change things, tried to stop a war. They were stopped too. The hippie movement died with Charles Manson and later on with Jim Morrisonand all the martyrs of the defunct revolution. Anyway, the point is that after awhile you get accustomed to certain things if you see them again and again on TV. A few years ago violence in films and on video games was a big thing, nobody cares now. The sexuality, the language and the level of violence have gone up the roof!!! To Be Honest it’s not what scares me the most. What scares me the most is the level of influence the medias have and how it belongs to a very few privileged, greedy hands. A retired CIA agents was asked what would be his best advice if you wouldn’t want to be influenced by the secret agencies in a negative way and he said: ”Don’t watch TV, Never watch TV or movies unless you watch it in a critical manner.” Right away you get the image of these poor guys who think the TV is talking to them and telling them to do stuff… Well, maybe they aren’t so far off… It’s just not literal, it’s just is a little more subtle then how they put it, but not by that far. It’s very easy to influence the people. It’s so easy to demonize someone, you all know that right?? Just put his quotes in horror movies character or anything related to evil, quote him out of context, associate him (or her) to murders, rapes, blood or the occult before, during and after the facts and very soon you will have fabricated what represents the very essence of evil in the minds of the mass.
Now if I make some general observations about the medias in general, I can see that the more is more and more sexualized, violent, that the black guy or the old guy always dies first, that beauty and money are more important than anything, horror movies always end up bad, think of yourself first or you’re going to get fucked, you can’t trust anyone, you have to fit into the mold or you will be attacked AND youth is under attack.
Add to that the fact that movie and TV tend to look more and more like reality and you get a pretty weird picture…. If you would be holding a major part of the medias, wouldn’t you use them to your ends? I get this image popping in my brain, day after day, a granite monument erected in 1980 in Elbert County, Georgia, in the United States. The structure is sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge”. The monument is 19 feet 3 inches (5.87 m) tall, made from six granite slabs weighing 237,746 pounds (107,840 kg) in all. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.In a book written by the man who called himself R.C. Christian. I discovered that the monument he commissioned had been erected in recognition of Thomas Paine and the occult philosophy he espoused. Indeed, the Georgia Guidestones are used for occult ceremonies and mystic celebrations to this very day. What really bothers me is the first rule written on the Stone:
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
Now that is scary don’t you think?? The fact that most Americans have never heard of the Georgia Guidestones or their message to humanity reflects the degree of control that exists today over what the American people think. We ignore that message at our peril.
PS: It was proven that AIDS is a virus that wouldn’t have never survived in nature. It is proven to be man-made. I’m thinking about this movie in which our hero manages to create a movement in the masses but we’re not mad! We swallowed every little pill they made us take, little by little, leaving us with the illusion that we could still make it in our own way and that we are not hurting anyone!! Well, today was Jimi Hendrix death anniversary and I can honestly say that we are heading towards a very grisly, frightful, , loathsome and abhorrent future, a NEAR future. BTW Lennon got his day too remember? The Beatle who was the most active on the political scene. Making Bed ins for peace…. Could they really do that you think???
I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!
Just finished reading the latest Burroughs’ biography ”Call Me Burroughs: A Life by Barry Miles and I was so enthusiastic about it I had a hard time putting it down. Just to give you an idea the intro consist in simply telling this (true) story in which Burroughs tries to get rid of this Ugly Spirit in a sweat tent with a few very close friends and a Shaman who finds it happens to be a much harder task than he originally thought it would be. the ”Ugly Spirit” won’t give up so easily and he really needs to use all the supernatural powers he has. After the ceremony he confides that at a certain point he wasn’t even sure he was going to be able to get rid of it.The intro ends by saying:”This is the story of William Burroughs battles with the Ugly Spirit”. Sounded VERY promising to me… The book doesn’t follow that lead though but rather gives a very well documented detailed bio about Bull’s parent’s, friends, travels, business projects, relationships, love..everything is in there!! It is very detailed and is very interesting even if it’s very different from Victor Bockris‘ bio ”Notes from the Bunker” which has a much more intimate approach but if you love Burroughs as I do, you will none the less be delighted by all the details that you always wanted to know but was too afraid to ask!
I can’t stress out how this is the ultimate detailed biography on Bill. Finally we are getting the whole, complete picture by someone who was very close to him, not in bits and pieces, the whole, complete, complex picture served on a continuous thread that we can all grasp fully and completely. Bill had a way of telling stories that were so personal that he’d always left you wanting to know more, just opening avenues after avenues, the embryo of the embryo of an idea that he has yet to explore and trust me, they are infinite… I think my wish was granted and I finally got to getting the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth in plain, simple and understandable words and figures of speech for all to understand and grasp the grandeur of this larger than life character who has shaped so many aspects of today’s art. I have read almost all his novels, lots of essays and other experiments, interviews with other significant masters of modern art (like Andy Warhol for example) but something tells me this was the ultimate voyage that I had been waiting for into the mind of the Godfather of Punk himself. I wasn’t even deceived to have uncover a his secret and that his mystery will be gone and I’m sure that all of you who knew him know very well why. So… even if I know you will want to finish this book very fast, I suggest that you take your time and savor every word, every page and every chapter of this biography I could definitely have a lot to say about it although whatever I could say will never be a match to what you can get by reading Bill’s bio. If you are a fan, you owe it to yourself to read this one and the one by Victor Bockris.
Discovering Burroughs and his art was a turning point in my life and from that moment I never saw life the same way I used to. William S. Burroughs is without question one of the most influential character of the modern ages and I intend to suck out every detail I can from him. I was once invited to meet him personally by Montreal writer and poet Denis Vanier (1949-2000) and his wife (also a writer) Josée Yvon (1950 -1994), both being close friends to Bull, told me they wanted to introduce me to him !! Imagine!! Vanier gave me a VIP pass for his shotgun paintings exhibition when he came to Montreal around 1989 but unfortunately fate and my crazy life back then didn’t allow me to meet him in person and I so regret that it was impossible for me to make it, I regret it to this day still.
(Always click on images for put in links!)
This guy has foreseen so many events, trends, politics, changing in arts, literature, performing arts, fashion, screening our lives like the FBI or the CIA would in an attempt to reduce our lives to basic intel but just falling in an endless spiritual torment of ideas and beliefs, occult images and visions if the past and the future … This is really all I can say about his work, trying to break it down in a few lines. It is simply impossible. Like I said before, do not go and try to understand word for word that he is saying, some of his books are more like a huge mosaic of images and ideas following a very thin and fuzzy line for an idea in huge brush strokes for sure he will give you inspiration and if he doesn’t give you inspiration he will for sure in some strange way understand where you can find it. I think the best quote I could use comes from the first book of the trilogy of “Cities of the Red Night” and the Old Man in the Mountain Hassan I Sabbah….
The Prisoner (known only as Number Six) is a former government agent who has abruptly resigned from his job and finds himself imprisoned in an idyllic yet bizarre seaside village isolated from the world by the sea and mountains where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Number 6 desperately wants to find his way to freedom without revealing anything to anyone, being loyal to his employers but also true to himself and the sets of values he believes in. The Village seems to be inhabited by other prisoners as well as enemy agents and guardians but it is very difficult to know who is who, Most (but not all) guards wear the same style of resort clothing and numbered badges as the prisoners, and mingle seamlessly among the general population. Thus, it is nearly impossible for prisoners to determine which Villagers can be trusted and which ones cannot.
The only one that obviously seems to be in charge of the Village is Number 2. Number Six is monitored heavily by Number Two, the Village administrator acting as an agent for an unseen “Number One”. A variety of techniques are used by Number Two to try to extract information from Number Six, including hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination. All of these are employed not only to find out why Number Six resigned as an agent, but also to extract other purportedly dangerous information he gained as a spy. The position of Number Two is filled in on a rotating basis: in some cases, this is part of a larger plan to confuse Number Six; at other times, it seems to be a result of failure in interrogating Number Six.
Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, the show’s combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surrealistic setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general became the base for what is now known as one of the best cult series from the 60’s , it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.
The opening and closing sequences of The Prisoner have become iconic. Cited as “one of the great set-ups of genre drama”, the opening sequence establishes the Orwellian and postmodern themes of the series;its high production values have led the opening sequence to be described as more like film than television.
The bicycle that is always at the forefront of anything related to the Prisoner is without a doubt the symbol of LSD and all the fuss that was made round its discovery. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide was discovered April 19, 1943, asAlbert Hofmann, a chemist for Sandoz, in Basel, Switzerland, ingested a minute amount—just 250 micrograms–of a compound derived from the ergot fungus. He soon felt extremely disoriented as he rode his bicycle home, where he experienced all the heavenly and hellish effects of lysergic acid diethylamide. Pink Floyd even had a song immortalising this event simply called ”Bike”.
Many secret services around the world were very intrigued by various hallucinogenic drugs (especially but not exclusively, LSD) and a shitload of secretive research around mind control were set in motion by various governments after WWII. Without a doubt, the Village where most of the action takes place his he and specifically is a reflection of those mind control covert operations, at least it is one aspect of it. One in particular, Project MKUltra—sometimes referred to as the mind control program—was the codename given to an illegal program of experiments on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions. Their purpose was to study mind control, interrogation,behavior modification and related topics. It is therefore obvious that the serie was very much aware of all the implications of LSD (mainly but not exclusively) during this period and for sure the bicycle that is omnipresent throughout the serie reflects the importance it had back then.
Another part of the inspiration for the Village came from research into World War II, where some people had been incarcerated in a resort-like prison calledInverlair Lodge. Actually the Village is a brutal dictatorship, best described by Number Six himself as “This farce, this 20th century Bastille that pretends to be a pocket democracy.” It is ruled by a revolving series of Chief Administrators designated “Number Two”, some of whom return to the office after lengthy absences. They vary greatly in personality and in methodology: some of them are quite amiable, some are sadistic, and some are mere bureaucratic functionaries bordering on functional impotence. Sadly, I must admit that it seems to resemble more and more today’s or even tomorrow’s ”ideal” society, “Work units” or “credits” serve as currency in its shops, and are kept track of with a hole-punched credit card (no money), its unique, controlled newspaper, its taxi service (no individual cars allowed implicating that you cannot go anywhere outside the village on your own), It’s camera surveillance system (Big Brother), No alcohol or drugs, no gambling, no radio, rigged justice system… It is baffling to think how far the resemblance has gone with what is actually well on its way… Exactly who operates the Village is deliberately obscured. Ostensibly, the Village is run by a democratically elected council, with a popularly-elected executive officer known as “Number Two” presiding over it and the Village itself, although internal dialogue indicates that the entire process is rigged. Number Two appears to be directly answerable to unseen superiors, the shadowy “They” or “Number 1″ pulling all the strings from behind the scenes, with direct contact via a red hotline phone. Undoubtedly resembling today’s Illuminati, Bilderberg, Skulls & Bones, NSA, Isis and similar shadowy organisations whose influence is felt but whose motives and goals are far from being clear. Do I need to say more?? If you watch the serie you will, without a doubt take note yourself of these little ”insignificant” things that are indeed very troubling.
It was probably one of the most influential pieces of television of the 1960s not only in the UK and USA but also in France, Australia and many other countries. Even The Beatles were fans. Its cult status was confirmed with the establishment in the 1970s of the official Prisoner Appreciation Society, Six of One.
Apparently there is a chance that it will be brought up to life again by none other than the creator of (among many others) ”Blade Runner”, Ridley Scott! The movie director already had plenty of momentum heading into Golden Globes weekend with a Best Director nomination, and now he has even more. Scott is in early negotiations on a deal to come aboard and direct The Prisoner, the screen version of the 1968 Patrick McGoohan British TV series. This has been a plum project at Universal for some time with numerous A-list scribes including Christopher McQuarrie writing drafts. The most recent version was by The Departed scribe William Monahan. The film is being produced by Bluegrass Films Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark. Scott’s Scott Free team will likely become part of it as they get the script that makes the director happy. Numerous writers are circling to do that, and the elbowing by several top actors has also begun, now that word is getting around that Scott is coming aboard.
It’s time for the next installment in the Metal Injection artist series, Artists in Metal and it’s a big one! got a chance to speak with John Dyer Baizley, one of the most renowned visual artists in the metal/hardcore community and the vocalist/guitarist of Baroness!
Baizley recently completed work for Coliseum and Black Tusk, but has worked with several other acts such as his own band Baroness, Darkest Hour, Kavelertak, Kylesa, Pig Destroyer, Skeletonwitch, Torche, and even Metallica just to name a few. In this interview we chat about his beginnings as an artist, look into his process, and much more…
Michael: You’re a rare exception in that you are an established visual artist and in a successful band. What came to you first the visual arts or music?
John Dyer Baizley: When I was really young, I gravitated towards the visual arts first. I feel that’s what comes most naturally to me. I’ve always had an immediate proclivity towards making visual art and I was a really tactile kid. Both of my parents had a background in the arts; so that was a language both of them spoke fluently and as such, I developed my interests in art prior to music.
I should note: I think they both saw the creative impulse or drive in me; they tried to surround me with all of the tools that creative people would need in order to express themselves. At a very young age, I had access to a to many of the artistic implements which I continue to favor, and I was also given a guitar at a very young age. My parents weren’t musicians themselves, so I didn’t have anybody to help me work through those immediate musical issues, but honestly I’m glad that I didn’t. When I hit adolescence I discovered punk rock, where you didn’t need any training at all. I saw it as counterproductive in those days to have a formal or technical skill set.
Michael: Did you end up going to art school for college, or where you mostly self-taught?
JDB: At first I did teach myself and took the classes that were available to me, which were admittedly quite limited given my geography, in the Shenandoah Valley, southwestern Virginia. In middle school and high school I got the opportunity to develop a bit by getting involved in some of the local college courses. Once a week, I would drive up from my hometown of Lexington a half hour up to a little town called Staunton where they had life drawing classes. In Lexington, I took what art instruction was available. The importance of drawing and painting from life were impressed on me from a very early age.
Art came fluidly, so I was able to teach myself many of the things I thought were important by copying and mimicking my artistic idols. When I graduated high school I really had no other inclination other than going to art school. I ended up going to Rhode Island School of Design for a very productive three years, before dropping out in 2000.
Michael: RISD is a very established art school. Would you say it helped you a lot in evolving your art process, or did you gravitate towards you early beginnings from the DIY punk scene?
JDB: It’s hard for me to say what would happen if I didn’t go to art school. It wasn’t that I learned any specific painting or drafting skills at school that I felt I couldn’t have taught myself. However there is something quintessentially unique and important that you gain by immersing yourself in a scholastic and creative universe, and being held to certain academic standards while being surrounded by artists of varying disciplines. I think that the critical thing was to help me open up mentally and be exposed to a wide variety of artists with wildly different styles, mentalities, and processes. Through my exposure to such a diverse collection of artists I was learned to separate the artistic wheat from the chaff, and find the sort of things that would become useful to me in the future.
I’ll say it would have been a much slower process if I hadn’t gone to art school, but I don’t think it was critical towards my eventually becoming an artist. As far as I was concerned, that had already happened.
Michael: I’m not sure if this was during your time at RISD, but what got you into doing commission work for bands?
JDB: That’s sort of a funny thing. I was only in art school for three years, I dropped out because of some personal and substance-abuse related issues, and I stopped creating anything at all for about a year and a half. When I finally felt I was starting to get ready to re-enter the arts I moved from Virginia down to Savannah Georgia, where Baroness officially started. I began making album artwork out of necessity, though I certainly wanted to do it. Baroness needed merchandise, we needed covers for our EP’s and demos, so that started kicking me back into making visual art.
Baroness started out by sometimes playing 250 shows a year and, as it goes, we met a lot of other bands. They saw our merchandise and often said, “Would you be interested in working with us?” I also made a lot of friends on the road and always offered my help; it was just something that felt like an easy fit. I loved the sense of community, and I wanted to be part of it.
Several years down the line I realized that, whereas I had started out with an interest in becoming a fine artist, I now saw myself taking on commissions in the more proper role of an illustrator or designer, which I’ve never been entirely comfortable with. Through every path that I’ve chosen, I have tried to claim full authorship over what I make, so it can suit my needs as an artist first, and then, by proxy, the musicians and artists that I work with are happy with what they get. It’s a hard-line stance, but one which bears the most fruitful results.
Michael: Not entirely comfortable with commission work?
JDB: Not at all. I guess I’m skirting around the issue here, I hate art direction and the necessity to sell a product. It was one of the major hang-ups that I had with art school or art/design as a profession: that the idea that making a living off of making personally-driven art would at some point have me wrestling against art direction and commission-driven work. With that struggle comes the understanding that you’re ultimately trying to appease someone else with your art. That’s never been the impulse for making art. I must satisfy my needs as an artist first, and then if the message is good and the theme or the content is worthy, then the audience may find those qualities as well. I think that’s true of most good art, so yeah, I’ve always had this contentious relationship with doing commissions trying to “make other people happy,” or see their vision come to fruition.
Michael: With doing those commissions, I notice that you go back to a lot of bands. For instance you’ve done work for Skeletonwitch with two major releases, Beyond the Permafrost and Serpents Unleashed. Do you go out of your way to be a little more selective about the people you try to work with to allow a more artistic license?
JDB: Yeah, I think you have to. If you want to create something that’s worth doing you have to self-edit from the get-go. You really must be careful and selective with whom you work, you must constantly ask yourself the hard questions about your art, and you must set a nearly unattainable standard for yourself. If I’m in the business of making artwork that is designed on some level to sell a product, then I have to be very comfortable with the people I’m working with and I’d like to be proud of the end result regardless of its sale-ability.
I can say thirteen years into doing this full time, I really appreciate the artists I have had the chance to work with, even if it’s something slightly outside the box or something that’s very obvious, it’s what I want to do. I’m not going to put myself into a project that I’m disinterested in, because I think that the integrity of the end result will be threatened.
Skeletonwitch was one of the bands we hooked up with when Baroness first started touring, playing in basements, warehouses and anything just shy of actually playing inside a club. We’ve had this connection since the DIY days, they have changed so little in their enthusiasm, and that’s something I find myself gravitating towards, even though I’ve recently made a concerted effort to move away from focusing entirely on the punk/hardcore/metal community. Punk rock and metal has always been a home to me, it’s where I cut my teeth; and those are the friends that I have, and the bands that I love.
I really try to work with an artist who is trying to create a long legacy of quality rather than trying to jump aboard a trend. Frankly I don’t need to do that, but, and I can’t stress this enough, I’ve been fortunate in that I can eke out a living being this selective. A lot of my friends who are commercial designers and proper editorial illustrators often have to take whatever jobs are given to them. I’ve made a very strong effort to have the power to say no to something, and I think that’s a crucially important right for every artist. No one wants to be in a position where they are desperate for work; desperation breeds sub-quality artwork. I can’t say I love 100% of every mark that I’ve made, but more often than not I’m pretty happy, and I’ve learned the value of making personal improvements as a result of mistakes and missteps.
Michael: It really seems to me like you created this great situation with Baroness gaining popularity in conjunction with your artwork. Would you agree that’s what’s gave you the ability to be selective?
JDB: Oh yeah, for sure! They are both equally important projects for me, and I’m really lucky to be a part of both. I’m not like most album artists who have to create off of another artist’s pre-existing imagery. I make the music and the art simultaneously and there is really an elevated level of synchronicity happening, allowing me to be a little bit more personal. I don’t have to have conversations with the artist to find out what’s going on. I’m able to have that insight without a conversation; there is something nice about that; it streamlines the process as well. This ability to work on Baroness’s vision, has allowed me create and expand my style.
Michael: Would you say that it’s difficult as a commission artist to really take the time to do your own personal work, or do you feel that merch and album art of Baroness becomes that personal work, since you are involved in all aspects?
JDB: That’s a tricky question. For the better part of a decade I didn’t really delineate the difference between commission work and personal work, I just say “If I’m getting paid to do it, by virtue of that fact it is a commission; but I’m going to make it a personal work for myself, and I’m going to fulfill the need of the artist that I’m working for simultaneously.” It requires a little bit of pig-headedness and self-confidence to adopt that kind of stance.
I also get to create album art as a fan of the music, enhanced with the insight that the band gives me. Therefore, I know what they think it’s about, and as a fan I can make the artwork from the standpoint that I’m trying to figure out the music in a separate way. Concurrently, I have the insight of what it’s like to be the musician, the visual artist, and the listener. Working amongst these three tiers can offer a broader perspective on the work.
I think a lot of musicians have a very difficult time articulating what their music is about in a visual sense, and at the same time visual artists can have great difficulty taking something sonic and translating it to a focused visual work. There is such a great divide between the audio and visual. When the pairing works well it can open up new layers and insight for the music, and it makes the experience a much more rewarding one. That being said, when you miss-fire and when ideas don’t synchronize, things can be very confusing. No artist wants to have the weight on their shoulders of the failure or misrepresentation of a record, based on their visual content. Musicians are handing you their baby, this work that they have crafted and put all this love into, and you don’t want to fuck that up, you want to elevate it. You can’t honestly say your going to achieve perfection 100% of the time, there is always going to be that little bit of risk involved, which for me makes it exciting.
However, to get back to your original question, having done what I do in a somewhat linear direction for a while now, I’m starting to realize I do need to carve out some time and do something more personal, some art that that won’t have a logo and barcode attached to it. There is a space in my life that needs to be filled, concerning the purely visual side of things, where the concept for the artwork comes from somewhere other than packaging. I’ve started working on that recently, I’ve been lowering the number of projects that I take on, because I don’t want to become a market-flooding-ubiquitous -album-cover-artist.
Depending on labels release schedules, even if I try to space all of my projects out, sometimes three albums will come out the same month that will have a cover I have done. It’s not as if my work is incredibly dissimilar one piece to another; its all very recognizably mine. I know as a fan I will gripe about it whenever somebody seems to be ”too visible”, devaluing the individual pieces that they are doing. In light of all of this I have made an effort over the past two or three years to work with bands I am familiar with and pare back the overall output. I’ve also been quite busy with music.
It’s not like there aren’t good new bands starting; I just have limited time. I could spend all year just doing visual art and the same is with music. It’s become a difficult balancing act… For which I’m very fortunate! I am, however, an avid listener, and I’m always trying to find some great new artists to work with, as contradictory as that sounds.
Michael: Would you say you split the time you work on the visual arts and the time you work on Baroness, or do they sometimes have to happen in tandem with one another?
JDB: It would be probably be really nice if I could dedicate myself to split my time up evenly, but that’s almost impossible for me at the moment. The fact of the matter is that the average life span of a band is much shorter than that of an artist. Music is working well for me right now; it’s giving me what I need at this point in my life, and so I would say for the moment that it has become more of a priority. I realize that at some point the band won’t be there. I could become too old to play, or the well- spring of creativity will dry out more quickly than it will as a visual artist. On the other hand, I can’t stop making the art that I make, it’s important to me and to my sanity.
We schedule the band first, and we’re not active every week of the year, so whatever spaces open up I just schedule for art. It does sort of work out to be a nice balance, nearly 50/50. Sometimes there is scheduling cross-over, sometimes I have to make art projects on the road, or make sacrifices in order to meet a deadline.
I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where when I get tired of making art I can make a smooth transition into making music and vice versa. There is always something to do.
Michael: You mentioned you sometimes have to work on art on the road. Does the process become more limited in that scenario, for instance can you only work on drawings instead of paintings?
JDB: We were just in Australia for a couple weeks touring, I took a condensed but complete set up. I took pens, paints, paintbrushes, pencils, and paper, everything I would normally use. I spent a good deal of time in hotel rooms and in the back of clubs, working.
It’s definitely not the optimal environment to work, but sometimes you’ve simply got to get something done. I tend to overextend myself without really thinking through the realities of completing so many projects in a year, which generally means I’m going to be a little bit behind. I suppose that’s the nature of the beast.
Michael: So the road doesn’t stop you…
JDB: As long as the tour can support that. There are some tours where the entire day is spent working on tour-related issues. Some are easier and have more down time, and those are the ones where I can get artwork finished.
It drives me insane; it’s really draining to do both at once, so I try not to when possible. I do need to sleep at some point right?
Michael: What influences in your artwork? I do sense an Art Nouveau angle, mixed with heavy metal / hardcore punk art like Pushead, but you have a certain romance to your work with your use of female figures.
JDB: As I stated before, when I was young I was given a fairly comprehensive art history background. Both my parents, my mother especially, gave me that exposure. I was in museums frequently, and was exposed to the great masters from the Italian Renaissance, the Impressionists and the Northern Europeans like Caravaggio, DaVinci, Monet, Degas, Rembrandt, Bruegel, etc.
As a teen when I got into punk and metal and saw those record covers that changed me, Metallica, all the Black Flag records, that became my initial exposure to the importance of album art. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained a broader variety of influences from other album artists, especially those from the 70’s. For example I’m a huge Roger Dean fan, very much into his Hipgnosis and especially Storm Thorgersonalbum covers. I have a preference for 12”x12” vinyl layouts, so I try to refer to those artists a lot.
The classical elements I spoke about before, work for compositions, referring to those old master paintings. The Art Nouveau thing works very well for album covers, those bold lines and bright, but not comic-book-like colors, allows the imagery to be graphic, colorful, and expressive all at the same time.
There also is a little bit of a comic book reference to my work as well, and occasional pop-culture references. I do like to add a bit of classicism and romanticism to the artwork that I do. It’s always about my particular visual vocabulary; I think asalbum artists we all use certain elements unique to ourselves, and I feel in some way we try to keep our lexicon limited in order to be recognizable as an artist, allowing us to get our message across over the course of different records by different bands.
Each band has it’s own musical language that you have to pay respect to, but what I like to do is then take those things that are direct, immediate, and obvious. I‘ll start with the obvious imagery and themes and work backwards, utilizing my style and technique along with less-obvious references: icons and metaphors from old stories, a lot of Greek/Roman mythology (if the project I feel demands it). Of course there is a lot of pseudo/quasi religious stuff in there from the types of images that I make, they require a very specific sort of imagery.
It’s my intention to make something stand outside the realm of album art, but it also feels comfortable to me to be in it. It’s tricky and definitely a requires striking a delicate balance. I take myself seriously and want my image to me more than just something aesthetically suited towards selling records. I find the most intriguing covers those that least heavy-handedly refer to the direct album concept or title. In fact, many musicians are the happiest when the artist and audience re-interpret or re-imagine the content of the songs. Drawing from art history and mythology allows me to connect with viewers in a familiar, yet loose visual framework. Blending disparate histories and themes can give the overall presentation a recognizable, yet unique flavor.
Michael: When you work on album artwork, do you work together with the artist/band or is it more or less give me the record and I’ll listen to it and give you my interpretation?
JDB: I’ve learned over the years how important it is to be really up front with bands that I work with. When I first talk with bands the set-up usually goes like this: “I want to do this album, I will put 100% of myself into it, my aim is to make this the best album cover that you have, but I can’t take art direction.” It’s just not who I am, or how I work. I have no problem if a band moves on to somebody else because of that stance. If they want to have more influence that’s perfectly fine, I respect a band being in total control of their visual identity. Similarly, I know how important it is for me to adhere to my method. I’d rather not waste everyone’s time getting bogged down in a situation I know to be artistically harmful.
It can be difficult to mediate a compromise between what I have in my head and what the musician has in mind, which is often 180° different when it comes to the finished product, so it requires that element of trust from somewhere. The point I make to them is “You’ve seen what I do, so just trust me and we will come up with something exciting.”
Michael: Referring back again to you working with similar bands over the years, that trust is already there.
JDB: The times I run into problems are when the musicians get stuck on those very little details that to me, as a visual artist, are inconsequential. Sometimes they want something like a portrait and they are unhappy with their likeness, or they want less red or less blue, those elements don’t really cut to the core of what we’re trying to achieve. That’s the kind of criticism I struggle with, in order to give the collaborator a finished product that I’m proud of.
Michael: What is your typical process like when it comes to image creation?
JDB: The first thing I do is research, as I talked about before, most of my work wants to have an outside reference point to it, so whenever possible I get the music or the demos from somebody first and then get the artist’s interpretation of what it’s about. Then I try to figure out what effect the music has on me, and try to find some old story, maybe from mythology or from religious or historical text, something that I feel can work in conjunction with what I think the album is about. From that literary standpoint I can then start to develop a set of images, subvert things, twist them around, use them in an obvious or a figurative way, all to help get my point across. After all that prep work I start sketching.
I draw everything from life, so I’ve got to find models and go out and take pictures, set up lights, all that sort of stuff. I work a sketch until its finished and I show the band that sketch and say “Now is the only opportunity you have to weigh in on anything, if this isn’t working for you I have to start from scratch.” The main reason for that final warning is that I work in permanent watercolors and inks. It’s not like oils or acrylics where you can paint over things; once it’s there it’s there. So the whole set up for the band is “This is how I see it going, it’s going to change, it’s going to grow into something totally different once the color and the line weight is put in, but if your cool with this sketch I’ll get going and show it to you when it’s all done.”
After that nobody hears from me in a month, and then, “here is your album cover I hope you like it.”
Michael: With your visual artwork, are you trying to work on one piece at a time or are you doing projects in tandem?
JDB: I usually work on one thing at a time. I get pretty immersive in the process.
Michael: You also seem to do a fair amount of screen print work that seems based mostly off your paintings. Do you ever do screen print work that is planed form the start to be a print?
JDB: Yeah, the screen print thing is nice because one of my goals, from the get go really, was to make things that were worthy of collecting but not prohibitively expensive.
I don’t actually silk-screen them, I work with my friends at BRLSQ of North America who do that. For the longest time though the only place where you could get my work was at a Baroness show, which for me was really important, to have that kind of connection with the people who understand the sense of community in the little realm of the music industry that I’m a part of.
Since then I’ve outgrown that because of a larger demand than I could satisfy by hand-to-hand art sales, so I’ve taken on bigger silk-screeners, and its not because I love silk-screen, I just want to make things that people will display that don’t have to be super expensive.
It’s been fun to continually have some prints going on and things like that; it’s just not my primary goal. It’s what people like, and it’s a great way to get the work out there.
Michael: It could be my bias as a printmaker, but I feel it’s a great medium for the metal/punk community. While some of us are doing well financially, the majority of the culture is working class, so having that accessible art is extremely important.
JDB: When I was younger I was impressed when I could actually get my hands on something that I wanted. It’s important for me to have different tiers of value for the art. Some of the silk-screens are really affordable, but I do have some high-end silk-screens that are several color layers and a little more expensive, and then I have the paintings that can get way up there.
Michael: I’d be remiss not to discuss this a little bit, but after the accident that Baroness was involved in during 2012 a lot of reports focused on your recovery to playing guitar. I was wondering if you were still able to work on visual art during your recovery?
JDB: For the first eight months of recovery I couldn’t do anything, I was just in too much pain, too bent out of shape, and just too broken to make anything. Once the acute/extreme stuff had healed or at least scar over, I found it pretty easy to pick up a pencil again and start working.
I was fortunate that the side of me that was destroyed was my left side, and I’m a righty, so that was working perfectly by the time that I needed it to. Guitar was more difficult though, because I needed both hands to do that.
I think the first thing I did after it was the Kvelertak ”Meir” album cover. That was a big piece, lot of paint, lot of stippling. It was nice to get back into making artwork with a band I have a good relationship with, and to work on an album I knew a lot of people would dig.
Michael: Did you find it even more therapeutic than before, seeing as it was a part of your recovery in a way?
JDB: It had always been very therapeutic before the accident, but afterwards even more so. I would say that I have a high level of gratitude to still have the ability to create art. It was very nearly not the case, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about how lucky I am to have survived, but I did, and I’ve got both arms still firmly attached.
There is an elevated sense of gratitude for that, its good.
Michael: You’ve done a lot of work in the metal scene and a little bit outside of it. Is their any artists you look at today that you would like to work with in the future?
JDB: Yeah, there are plenty of them. The thing is, I don’t want to mention any of them. I will stop making album art when there aren’t goals to me, or bands that I have yet to work with that I find important and they are still around. That’s in part what keeps me involved, I recognize that no matter how old I get, how many records I’ve done, or what the public perception of me is, there are still exciting things that I haven’t done. As long as that’s the case I will keep doing this.
Michael: What projects are you working on currently? I noticed your doing something with Coliseum.
JDB: I just did a re-boot of their self titled first record. Personally that was a fun project to work on. In fact, I remember back in the day when Baroness was coming up with Coliseum playing the first show they ever did. Ryan (Guitarist and Vocalist of Coliseum) and I have had that close relationship for many years. That makes it not just a passion project for me, but something that I can put a lot of history and a lot of weight behind.
Right now I’m finishing up something with Black Tusk that will be coming out on 7”, I got some big prints that are coming down the pipeline, and I’ve done some work on the new Baroness album.
Baroness records tend to be big, hundreds of hours, lots of research, development, and attention to detail. When I’m done with all those things I just don’t want to be seen for a week.
Michael: For sure, because it’s your representation on both ends, you got the full package on your plate.
JDB: It’s masochistic! I know it’s going to punish me and run me through the ringer. That’s the feeling I always get before getting into these things. I think it’s why I keep doing them, that demand of so much attention. The concept has to be strong, the heart, soul, and expression has to be strong, the presentation has to be strong, the music has to be awesome, the lyrics have to be good. It’s a total beast.
Michael: What advice would you give to younger people coming up in the art world that would like to do artwork for bands?
JDB: It’s the same advice I’ve given for years. If what you want to do is make artwork for bands, you have to love doing it because there is almost no money in it. In order to start doing it, you just have to put yourself out there, work for bands you love and for as little as possible to start, if not free, that’s what I did for years. Give your stuff away and if it’s good, people will come to you.
Do the work, and always ask yourself why, ask yourself what its about, be able to answer the questions other people will have about your work. Don’t try to make some overly pretentious statement, be direct and make your own shit. The important thing isn’t that your technically great, I think it’s the power of your expression. Speak with your own voice and be as unique as you possibly can.
This is a creative field and it’s all subjective, not everybody is going to love what you do, but you have to be yourself, that’s what’s most important. Bring it as hard as you can.
Images of ZÏLON at theMontréal Mural Festival ( Landmark ) of / Mural an abandoned building (which one day will be destroyed to make place for one of those beautiful but sterile condos) / Photos: ZÏLON , G.A. De Homa and Stephanie Allaire ”The building is located at the corner of St-Dominique & Marie – Anne street, Montreal. It was all done using spray paint in 2 jours with the assistance of my Lift technician (Spirit in the Sky) Daniel Duhamel. Thanks to all for your cheers and praise!! It most definitely shows I am very well ALIVE!!! (57 going 58 and still alive and kicking!!) . Cheers et to all the envious well TUFF LUCK MOTHERFUCKERS !!! .” Z xx
Godfather of Beat Generation Posthumously Drops ”Naked Lunch” Wildest, Dirtiest, Most Shocking Parts on New Psychedelic Spoken Album!
Khannibalism and Ernest Jennings Record Company have just announced the release date for a highly-anticipated album, called Let Me Hang You, featuring the late Beat generation artist and legendary postmodern author William S. Burroughs in a never-before-heard series of recordings, reading aloud from his seminal novel Naked Lunch with the accompaniment of King Khan and other acclaimed musicians.
Near the end of his life, William S. Burroughs was recorded reading some of the most shocking sections of “Naked Lunch,” his 1959 fever dream of a novel, which follows the descent of a drug addict into the underworld, for a release that paired the passages with experimental music.
The world may not yet have been ready for such an experience.
“The project got buried and put out of print very quickly,” said the producer Hal Willner, a longtime Burroughs associate who helped record that abridged audiobook, which was released by Warner Bros. (and pops up now and again on eBay).
57 years after the publication of William S. Burroughs’ seminal novel and 19 years after the death in 1997 of the legendary writer at the respectable age of 83, those surreal recordings — which featured music from the guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, along with the pianist Wayne Horvitz and the violist Eyvind Kang — are getting a second life as an album with an assist from the independent musician King Khan, best known for his raucous live shows as an eccentric punk and soul frontman. Billed as psychedelic spoken word, “Let Me Hang You” (Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co.) will be released on July 15 viaKing Khan’s new label, with updated ambient accompaniment for the author.
Described as “a collection of depraved genius straight from the godfather of punk’s very own mouth,” – think sex, drugs and defecation — in pop-song-length chunks across 13 tracks, using a variety of amusing voices and a lot of foul language. The focus was sections of the novel “that we found very funny in an outrageous way,” Mr. Willner, 60, said. fans of Kerouac, Ginsberg and other writers of the ‘50s anti-establishment era will no doubt embrace this revival of Burroughs’ most famous and controversial work, now modernized and given additional edge.
The producer revived the recordings that became “Let Me Hang You” — which the album’s liner notes describe as being “abandoned and collecting dust on a musty shelf as forgotten as a piece of rancid ectoplasm on a peep show floor” — recently with Mr. Khan in mind as the composer who could finish the job.
Mr. Khan, who was born Arish Ahmad Khan to Indian parents in Montreal and is now based in Berlin, said he had first discovered “Naked Lunch” as a teenager, around the time his father became addicted to cocaine. “Reading ‘Naked Lunch’ gave me a completely different view into addiction that made me sympathize with my father’s situation and helped me cope,” he said. “It made a mutation in my mind and left an ooze in my brain that I still go to for inspiration even 30 years later.”
After the 2013 death of Lou Reed, whose collaborations with Mr. Willner and artistic support of Mr. Khan brought them all together, the remaining pair found some solace in collaborating on what Mr. Khan called the “dissident art” of Burroughs, who “broke all these boundaries of sexuality and narrative, paving the way for the birth of punk.”
With contributions from the Australian garage-punk band Frowning Clouds and the vocalist and composer M. Lamar, Mr. Khan added to the work of Mr. Frisell in an attempt to heighten the unsettling mood of Burroughs’s narration. “I was making a lot of strange music, so it was perfect timing,” he said.
The writing in “Naked Lunch” “is really heavy and perverse at a time when society needs to be reminded that you can explore these nether regions of life and bring back something really beautiful,” Mr. Khan said.
On top of that, he added, “It’s hilarious.”
Let Me Hang You is scheduled for release on July 15 and is now available in vinyl, CD, and digital format. For pre-order here. For full details surrounding the album’s inception, click here and take a look at the track listing below:
Let Me Hang You tracklist:
1. The Exterminator
2. Manhattan Serenade
4. This You Gotta Hear
5. Disciplinary Procedure
6. The Afterbirth Tycoon
7. Leif The Unlucky
8. Let Me Hang You
9. Islam Inc.
10. The Queen Bee
11. Clem Snide
12. Gentle Reader