Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Magnaphone Memories-Lydia Lunch interviewed by Greg Trout

One of the great thrills of any writes life, young or old, small scale or big, is to get to talk to one of your heroes. I got that rare privelege in 2005 when the great Lydia Lunch agreed to sit and talk to me on the phone from LAX. 

Lydia Lunch is a performance artist, writer, actress, and in my definition a rock star. She was part of the No-Wave movement in the 80s in the company of Swans, Sonic Youth, Richard Kern and countless other creative folks. She then became part of an early underground scene that included The Birthday Party, Foetus and X and has since become her own amazing entity.

I count her records Honeymoon in Red, 13.13, Shotgun Wedding, and Drowning in Limbo as classic and permanent fixtures in my rotation.

To call her an influence would be an understatement. From her DIY and fearless approach to her use of trash iconography and her choice of collaborators she is a touchstone in everything I do. I count her among John Waters, Robert Rauschenberg, Cornell Woolrich, Lenny Bruce and Pee-Wee Herman as the people who speak to my work in every form.

I am especially proud that this interview is included on her wikipedia page.

What follows is the actual interview as it appeared online, complete with the two photos she gave me permission to use at the time.

Lydia Lunch
Since she nearly single-handedly spearheaded the No-Wave movement in 1976 by forming Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Lydia Lunch has been a performance artist stunning in her creativity, confrontational vision, and longevity. In the 80’s she collaborated with such underground legends as Richard Kern, Nick Cave, Foetus and Die Haut, and recording some classic solo work such as Queen of Siam and In Limbo. The 90’s found her continuing her collaborations with such luminaries as Exene Cervenka and Kim Gordon as well as kicking her spoken word assault on the world into high gear. This new century finds her working on installations, illustrated word and a new record Smoke in the Shadows featuring Nels Cline, now of Wilco. I spoke to Lydia Lunch this past spring from LA and she had quite a bit to say.
Greg Trout: I want to start by telling you that your 1992 release Shotgun Wedding is one of my all-time favorite recordings.
Well Rowland Howard is just unbeatable.
Greg Trout: I agree. I wish he worked more.
He's just such a slow worker. When I did Shotgun Wedding I had to import him and it's just so hard to pull music out of him but when it does its just beautiful. He's truly one of the best guitar players in the whole world. I wish he could crawl out of whatever funk he's in down in Australia and do more work.
Greg Trout: In the reviews for Smoke in the Shadows a lot of mention is made that is a sort of return to Queen of Siam. Do you think this is true or is Queen of Siam just an easy reference?
I don't know why people think Queen of Siam is such a landmark. Maybe it was the time in their life that they heard it but if you go back and listen to it, all of side one is basically childish, perverse sort of Edward Gorey-esque nursery rhymes. The other side is this jazz influenced big band kind of a thing, but people always think of the big band stuff. Its very duplicitous to me and now with Smoke in the Shadows, its very noir, I am using a lot of Jazz instruments but I don't think it's a jazz album and I don't even know where the jazz comparisons come from, I think every song Is very different. I don't know I just think people are fuckin' lazy. I don't think Queen of Siam is an easy listening record, I think the first side is very perverse. Maybe they are just in awe of the mastery of Robert Quine. It takes a diehard to know what I have done for the past 28 years and each record really does try to contradict what has come before. I think that if anyone didn't know what I did than they would think every record I did sounded like the Agony is the Ecstasy, which I am not even sure you are familiar with, it was my first illustrated word, spontaneous, on the spot performance which was atrocious to more ears.
Greg Trout: The other side is Drunk on the Pope's Blood, right?
That performance was supposed to be 13.13, which is one of my favorite recordings, but the band was so neurotic and irritating that I had to drop them before the European tour. That was the first illustrated word work of my career and I can assure you, Nick Cave could not believe his ears and hated it. He never understood what I did, you know Rowland and I would do these spontaneous experimental performances opening for the Birthday Party and other than Tracy Pew the rest of the band couldn't even understand what it was all about. But, and this contradicts Smoke in the Shadows, I have never been one to work with a safety net and if you are going to go out and spontaneously combust in front of the audience you will either come up with the best fucking thing anyone has ever heard or the worst fucking piece of shit anyone including yourself has ever been subject to. To me its another notch in my fearlessness and it opened the door for me to do much more illustrated word in a very spontaneous way. The live set for Smoke in the Shadows which the U.S. wont get to see, while we play about 5 songs from the record, we then go into some really harsh, threatening illustrated word. I mean to seduce is fine and I consider Smoke in the Shadows seduction and instead of bludgeoning them over the head you are poisoning them slowly.
Greg Trout: I think the key to the success to a lot of your work is that no matter what genre you work in you always sound very much at home.
Well what ever I have done I try to contradict what has come before or I at least try to build on it. Although I am not very limited at all in a sense I am still very limited because I can only speak from my frame of reference and I am very intuitive about the collaborators I am going to choose and that's what happens. I can only be true to the way I feel so whatever genre I am creating at the moment is what I need to inhabit.
Greg Trout: I think that is especially true on the track "Trick Baby".

One of my favorites. The only music I have really been interested in in the past 10 years…when Rap music really hit hard with the Geto Boys and Scarface and then later Rigor Mortis, Facemob and even Mystikal and even up to Eminem who I think is the most punk thing out there, that's really the only music based on the production and the atmosphere that has given me any sort of perverse pleasure. Certainly "Trick Baby" is not a rap song, it's not R&B it creates its own genre but is very influenced by the only music I put on when I want to listen to something, other than instrumental quiet world music like Muslimgauze. I have no idea how rappers do it, although I am one of the most verbose artists out there, someone like Biggie Smalls would go into a studio with nothing written down, I cant fucking comprehend it, I have my lyrics in front of me no matter how many times I have sung them. It's a grand fucking mystery to me and I am someone who has 25 page speeches to deal with that sound like they are rolling off my tongue but I assure you every line is on the fucking page. The respect I have had for music in the past 10 years has all gone into murder rap or very dark gangster rap, thematically, production-wise, the samples they use etc. "Trick Baby" being kind of a tribute and even using Iceberg Slim quotes at the end. So its not rap music in the same way as when I am referencing jazz, it's not jazz music. "Trick Baby" is one of my favorite songs on there and I have been searching for 5 years for someone to make that kind of music for me. No one I guess could understand what I was talking about until Tommy Grenas threw that one at me and I was like "Exactly". The vocals where all done in one take, I was just there what can I say?
Greg Trout: This is your first music offering in 6 years, correct?
Yes it started with the Nels Cline stuff, Nels Cline being a genius, after we covered "Heartattack & Vine" for a Tom Waits tribute record we still had some time so I asked Nels to come up with some music so he went into his closet and 2 days later he had four songs so that's when Smoke in the Shadows was really started. I had already worked with the Nubian Lights so it was a natural but it still took quite a while. One of the longest procedures was the recording because it was recorded in blocks and fits and starts, but what really took me a long time was the order of the material and what was going to go on this record. It's a very coherent record and that was more difficult than actually recording the music. I know, the easiest thing. The order of the fucking songs. I have never obsessed like that with any other record; they always seem to have a natural order. Also getting the artwork together took quite a long time.
Greg Trout: What are you concentrating on next?
Well I am living in Barcelona now, have been for about a year. Most of my collaborators are in England. Terry Edwards and Ian White, both who have played with Gallon Drunk and some other people. I don't know, I have a few concepts in mind, one is a slight dig at the Christianity of Nick Cave, which I scoff at, I'd like to a religious album that is almost an anti-religious album if you know what I mean-I'm not talking Marilyn Manson here, I'm talking about songs built around very perverse religious fairy tales and utilizing world religious music and then perverting it. Like I have used jazz and perverted it and rock and perverted it in the past. In Spain villages have three day drum marathons, which are the most incredible things you have ever heard. So that would be a jumping off point. One story that really caught my ear is a saint in Spain called Saint Eulalia who was a thirteen year old girl who under the Romans would not renounce her God so she was tortured in thirteen different ways ala her own station of the cross. They beat her, they tortured her, they raped her, they cut her breasts, they poured gasoline on her, they finally ended up dragging her naked through town on the back of an ox. A story like this set to Spanish Easter drumming music seems quite provocative and interesting to me.
Greg Trout: Sounds like living in Spain is working for you and the rest of us.
(laughs) well, who could resist? Last year I took a tour of rohas, which are these beautiful monuments in the center of small villages where they would tie the heretics. They would beat them and torture them, pour honey on them and let the bees sting them or in the winter tie them there naked. You see I move for inspiration, I move for collaborators. There is so much wealth of history in Spain, not so much the horror and brutality of it but also it happens to be one of the most progressive countries right now in the world. Its only 35 years from under the fist of fascism, where America is currently slipping under, which gave me a great reason to relocate.
Greg Trout: History always seems to associate you with New York.
And I haven't lived there in fifteen years. It's horrifying to me to think how long it's been since I lived there, and also horrifying to think how much time I spent there as well. I'm glad I was there when I was there but now I have a twenty-four hour time limit and cant fucking stand what it has become.
Greg Trout: What motivated you to move to Spain?
I've been going there for fifteen years, I have friends there . It's one of the hottest cities in Europe right now, not for music but for visual art. I love the atmosphere, the history, and the beauty of the architecture. Something drew me there and I would keep going there whenever I could. I was in Los Angeles for four years, wanting to leave for two, I even investigated Louisville, Kentucky, just sort of tired of America. I wasn't interested in Berlin, a lot of artists are moving there now because its so cheap because the economy is so bad, England is far too expensive although there are many artists and collaborators there. Spain is still reasonable, and it's just the daily quality of life that is so different. I find that when I am in the U.S., especially in the last few years and under this fascist so called "presidency", I find myself so brutally obsessed, and not even angry, more gloating about how predictable this cycle is, but yet obsessed with it. I speak about political issues enough in my work, I don't need to live it, and I already feel like a spy when I am in the U.S. I might as well live elsewhere. Its self-preservation, I need to live somewhere where the day-to-day reality is not so contaminated with lies.
Greg Trout: In the United States you can get work doing Spoken Word…
Greg Trout: …While in Europe you seem to be able to tour with music annually.
At least once or twice a year with music and I have. I don't know how I got the wherewithal with Teenage Jesus to raise the money and take them to Europe but I did. A lot of people at the time in the states just didn't do that. I just decided to raise the money, and play in England and Germany. It was very effective. People like Blixa Bargeld were very involved in the promoting of the no-wave scene, and were very influenced by it. I then took Eight Eyed Spy to Europe. I just kept going back with different projects, and that set the stage for me to continue to perform there. I think because they draw less of a divide as to what they accept as art or culture. They are more accepting, they understand art a little better, having you know, thousands of years of history. I just have more opportunities to do more things, including spoken word. I can do far more spoken word shows there in spite of the language barrier. I can do exhibitions, installations and here, it's as hard as it's ever been. I can't even afford to go on tour in the states.
Greg Trout: You've collaborated with a lot of interesting people. Exene Cervenka, Rowland Howard, R. Kern, Die Haut, yet your style is rather confrontational and your persona is rather larger-than-life which doesn't seem like it would lend itself to collaboration.
Well that just goes to show how wrong public opinion can be. My ego is secure enough that it doesn't have to impede on anyone else's. For the most part I am very encouraging to people and people are comfortable with me. I taught a semester at the San Francisco Art Institute and there was no criticism allowed in my classroom, only encouragement. That's how I view my collaborations, if another artist has an element that we can mutually encourage, well that's what I am going in to stimulate. I am encouraging people to do something else, to step outside of themselves or get more into themselves. I am very easy to deal with, I'm not judgmental. I just want people to do what they do. People also love to collaborate with me because I'm in charge of everything! I find the money to do it, I find a way to get it out, I find someone to book the show, and all they have to do is show up and create. I have collaborated with alcoholics, pill poppers, heroin addicts and having never been an addict myself you're considered the outsider because you are not on their level, its ridiculous. I don't want to call myself sober because then I sound NA/AA and I'll do whatever drinking or drugs I want, its just that I never had a fucking problem with it. Now consider a scenario were people would consider me strange because I'm not fucked up enough, its bizarre. Unfortunately a lot of the people I have worked with, their art has not suffered under the worst of their behavior. Some of them have come out on the other side, everyone is entitled to their junkie adolescent period, it seems to be part of the procedure, and it never impinged upon their work. Someone like Foetus who was at the height of their alcohol fueled dementia, which luckily he has been out from under for the past seven years, but you know how do you tell them anything when its not impeding on their work, you just have to put up with it. you have to extend some positivity and also some tough love. People don't understand that when they are doing these chemicals because of the great pain they feel they don't understand the emotional tsunami they but everyone around them through. That's difficult. You just have to hold their hands. I don't regret any situation I have been put through because of someone else's fucked up nature I don't regret any experience I have ever had because the end result is going to be the creative output which is going to outlast the moment. That's part of what feeds my stamina and what has helped me survive.
Greg Trout: So basically the project creates itself with the exchange of ideas between you and the collaborator.
Well I told Nels I wanted something sexy or jazzy and I wanted him to pull upon some of his elements that don't often get showcased like with Mike Watt or whoever. When I worked with the Anubian Lights and Tommy Grenas I wanted something that was more groove based, sexy and sinister. Or like in 'Touch My Evil' , which was based on the movie "Touch of Evil" which then has the latin midsection. So it would be song by song or they would come to me with songs and I would say yes or no. That's basically how this record came together. They knew the lyrical content and vibe I was going for. It was pretty intuitive. Very exciting.
Greg Trout: Who are you listening to these days?
Face Mob which is a Houston based band led by Scarface. I was listening actually to the Stooges yesterday. Also this Turkish group called Babalusa which is sort of Middle eastern trip-hop/belly dance. I was in Istanbul and I met these characters who are friends of Alexander Hacke of Neubauten. They were very groovy and otherworldly yet world music enough to be interesting.
Greg Trout: Anything else you would like the world to know that it doesn't know yet?
I think they are getting more than an earful with this interview. They should really look inside themselves and ask what they need to know about themselves that they don't know yet. That's my whole goal in the process of creation is to furthur understand what drives me to do what I do and to step off the wheel and not become an automaton of reaction but to be proactive so I think its up to the individual reader to question themselves and not to question me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Greg Trout & The Three Investigators

When I decided to start a blog chronicling my experiences throughout my life with pop culture and re-printing some of my better pieces from the past there was no question in my mind what image I would use as the splash backdrop. There was only one image that could sum up what I wanted to achieve with the blog and illustrate my journey through life. That image is the original cover of the 1967 Random House release of the seventh Three Investigators adventure The Mystery of the Fiery Eye. Those kids at night in front of that old house digging and searching, that’s me-digging and searching, both physically and metaphorically and many times in an old house.

The Three Investigators series of books was a huge part of my just-before-teenage-years. There was something about their capers that spoke to me. They were a bit more human and kitschy than the Hardy Boys and more nuanced than Encyclopedia Brown.

The template for the series was nearly ridiculous. 3 early teens that use a junkyard as their home base and get around in a chauffeured Rolls whose services they won in a contest and solve mysteries sometimes with the counsel of Alfred Hitchcock. Sounds plausible, right?

But there was something very human about the characters, especially to an awkward pre-teen. The leader of the gang was Jupiter Jones, a way-too serious for his years kid, self conscious about his weight, it didn’t help matters that as a kid he played a character named ‘Baby Fatso’. in a bunch of baby food commercials, and that people would shout that to him in public places. Pete Crenshaw was the athlete and muscle of the group who appealed to the young ladies and brought an aw-shucks attitude to the proceedings. Bob Andrews was the bookish one, smaller than the rest who worked at the library and did the research they needed for each case. Guess which one I identified with?

When I was thinking about them it occurred to me that I knew nothing of the background of the genesis of the actual series. Turns out its quite fascinating.

The Three Investigators was the brainchild of a fascinating fellow named Robert Arthur, Jr. A graduate of William and Mary and early Greenwich Village bohemian he made his living throughout the 30s and into the 40s writing for pulps, including Amazing Stories and the great Black Mask. In 1940 he took a class on writing for radio at Columbia University. He then created one of the finest scary anthologies ever on the air: The Mysterious Traveller. At the time scary shows with a character introduction were very popular (The Whistler, The Hermits Cave, The Witches Tale). Each week after a lonely train whistle the Mysterious Traveller would invite you to listen to his tale. Essentially the listener was made to feel like they were on a train late at night and a creepy man was sitting behind them and keeping them a captive audience and spinning a yarn. What set it apart from the others, which were basically gory noirs or stories that would eventually become known as Giallo, was that they almost always had a mystical and supernatural bent. Only 70 of the 370 episodes (Most of which Robert Arthur wrote himself) exist now. You can hear them here.

When radio dried up Arthur made his money writing for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Thriller. His connection to Alfred Hitchcock led to him editing those great big short story collections
we all got out of the library in the 70s with those amazing illustrations.

He also hit upon the idea of a series of mysteries for young readers that would be entertaining and serve as an introduction to the form. Hence the Three Investigators, of the 43 books he wrote 11 and I have read 16.

So after this research and thinking about these books it occurred to me that I haven’t read one of them in 32 years. Since I still have all of them I decided to pick one up. I went with The Secret of Terror Castle. Besides it being the first one I also remembered it was my favorite and I plowed through it in a day in the summer of 1980. I also read it in a day in the grim gothic winter of 2015.

Upon reading it not only was I enormously entertained but I was really tickled to learn the germs of some of my obsessions as an “adult” may have been planted here.

Jupiter becomes obsessed with making their first case a success, and by case he means he learns that Alfred Hitchcock is seeking an authentic haunted house for his new film. Bob learns of a haunted mansion in the Hollywood hills that turns out to be the disused property of a mysteriously vanished Lon Chaney like silent film star. I will spoil nothing else, go read it.

But there it all is. Silent film, disgraced Hollywood royalty, exploring abandoned places-I am sure those all interested me before I read this, I am also sure that’s what hooked me.

I am going to read a few more in the coming days. I bet they go over my love of cryptozoology and kitsch mysticism as well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Magnaphone Memories: Pale Divine, April 2005

As you may or may not know from 2004-2010 I ran a fairly successful website concentrating on music and media entitled Magnaphone. Its limits were only my imagination and it offered me the opportunity to talk to some of my heroes, write about some of my influences and basically pontificate on some of my favorite obscure things and share them with the universe.

I am going to be sharing some of the finest features I ran during that time here at the Troutchives. Today I offer you one of my favorite interviews. I became friends with Darin McCloskey sometime in the late 90's when I discovered his band Pale Divine and contacted him. Over the years he and I have hung out every now and again and kept each other on top of what's happening in the heavy realm.

The following interview is from April 2005 Please enjoy:

The most important thing when it comes to music is truth. Even the casual listener can weed out phoniness. A band or musician can be churning out the most mindless pap, but if their heart is in it, we know.

What antiquarians refer to as “heavy metal” has past been lumped in with churned out pap. Whether it be looked down upon as bad-boy posturing to score groupies, the sounds of the basic musical talents of avid Dungeons and Dragons fans, or mere caterwauling of Neanderthals, metal has rarely gotten the respect it richly deserves.

Metal can be a reaction, it can be a statement. It can be the last stab at being heard for a disenchanted misfit, a vehicle for progressive thought or education, or merely - like all music - great art.

Pale Divine fall squarely into the aforementioned categories of heavy metal that cover progression of thought and art. Since their inception, Pale Divine have been near-crusaders when it comes to truth and their revulsion in the face of hypocrisy, specifically, organized religion.  Questioning the crusading pretense of certain faiths and using possession and the inferno as metaphors for the great wrong place in which we live is the norm for Pale Divine.

True, railing against religion, which we are raised to fear and respect, doesn’t seem to be the ideal listen for a late night outdoor kegger per se. But more and more, people are starting to notice that Pale Divine is the real deal and keeping the spirit of ‘73 alive.

After a legendary-in-the-underground cassette demo, Pale Divine released Thunder Perfect Mind in 2000. It heralded the arrival of a major power trio on the heavy rock scene, with one foot placed squarely in the Uriah Heep and Deep Purple past and the other looking towards a past informed future, with serious nods (and cameos) to the Pentagram-influenced underground in Maryland. Their new release Eternity Revealed is even stronger. The killer riffs and tighter than tight playing is there, but there is a furious undercurrent, a din, and a maelstrom that is exactly what they have been looking for.

I recently spoke with drummer and lyricist for Pale Divine, Darrin McCloskey. He has a lot to say. Some of his thoughts are almost as heavy as his music.

MP: What does metal mean to you?

In a word, honesty. Mind you, it’s not that every form of metal music you find is completely honest…but for the most part it is a very sincere and unabashed form of music. It simply is what it is. Love it or hate it, it's always been here and it always will be.

Honesty also enters into my mind when I think about contemporary music as it relates to heavy metal. A lot of musicians don't like to admit they play metal - at least that’s been my experience. The misconception is that playing metal music somehow limits your ability or intellect, and I suppose to the uninitiated that could be the case. Personally I can’t think of too many styles of music that are as challenging to play as metal. I suppose when it comes to performing "difficult" music the obvious suspect would be jazz. Rightfully so, but the beauty of metal is that there’s so many emotions and styles involved in playing it; at least playing it right. Not to mention the skill or dexterity. Some might consider it more honorable to say they play "modern rock" or the dreaded "alternative" but realistically when it’s metal you know it - there’s no disguising it.

MP: When did it start speaking to you?

As far back as I can remember. I believe it was those first strains of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin that did it for me. Later, "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath closed the deal.

MP: Why is metal the music you choose to be so close to your heart?

It’s the music I’ve always enjoyed the most. I’ve been listening to it for so many years now I can actually mark events in my life by what band or record I was listening to at the time. When I began playing music it wasn’t like the first song I wanted to learn was "Daniel" by Elton john (laughter) it was "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin or "Symptom of the Universe" by Black Sabbath. I guess it wasn’t so much a "choice" as it was just a natural course.

MP: Where does it fit into your life? Personally?

It’s been a part of my life for so many years now it is basically who I am. I suppose in many ways my personality has developed around it. I mean, it wasn’t like I woke up one day and decided that now I have to "grow up" and stop playing or listening to heavy metal music like people do so often in order to fit into society.

MP: Metal, especially doom metal can come from a dark place. Where does this come from with your music?

There’s a lot of darkness in the world, there always has been and you can bet there always will be. It isn’t something you can really ignore. If you do you’re really not being very fair to yourself, or the world around you. There’s definitely a lot of darkness associated with Pale Divine’s music, most of which comes from what goes on around us as it relates to human spirituality. Most of what we’ve written thus far has been really calling into question the purpose of religion in our society. Not that all religion is bad. Religion as a philosophical concept is fine; it helps us cope with the unexplained. Ironically though, there is a lot of darkness that comes from religion, specifically its misuse. That’s primarily where we’ve been coming from up to this point; these topics of "misuse."

MP: How long have you been playing drums?

Since I was in grade school. That’s when I began taking lessons. I didn’t get my first drum set until I was in my late teens.

MP: What or who inspired you to pick up the sticks?

Early on it was Peter Criss from KISS. Bear in mind I’m a child of the 70’s. There was no other musical influence stronger than KISS at that time. Later on John Bonham, Neil Peart, Bill Ward, Brian Downey, Ian Paice, the list can go on and on. Pretty much anyone one I was listening to at the time, they’ve all made an impression in one way or another. There aren’t too many contemporary drummers that really influence me. Plenty that I admire, but as far as influence it still goes back to those classic players. I still listen to all that stuff and they still impress me every time I listen to their work.

MP: You have named Candlemass, Trouble, the Obsessed, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Uriah Heep as influences. Talk about any or all of these bands and the recordings that are most important to you.

Those bands formed the foundation; we’re simply expanding on it. Those bands are really what led us to pursue this style of music. They are all the originators and the primary influence of Pale Divine’s music. I would have to say they are all about equally important to us in that they each put a different brush stroke on the tapestry of heavy metal music, or “doom” if you prefer. Personally I would cite the early works of all those bands as being the most important to us.

MP: You recently got back from a tour with Place of Skulls. Do you get any writing done on the road? When you tour with a band, does it inspire any collaboration? Tell me about some of the bands you have run into along the way.

We were actually only on the road for a little over a week. For as short a time we went out, there really wasn’t the desire or inspiration to try to write anything new. We just mainly tried to stay focused on the material we were performing. In the case of being on the road with Place of Skulls, it really influenced us as to how a band should perform night after night. They were so tight and professional it was a good experience for us to witness them and to hopefully take some of what we learned and apply it to us in the future. It’s great to be able to play with a band that you respect and admire so much; kind of like getting off on the right foot if you know what I mean. Had we had our first touring experience with someone who wasn’t as professional or together as they were it could’ve been a disaster.

MP: What was the last CD you bought?

Last CD I purchased was Big Elf’s "Hex" when I saw them perform about a week ago. They’re a really interesting band in that they have such an authentic vintage sound it was incredible to watch them perform. It almost felt like we were all in some kind of 70’s time warp!

MP: What was the last book you read?

Sound of the Beast, The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe. That should be mandatory reading for anyone into metal. Very well thought out and informative. I think a lot of kids today could use a lesson in "Heavy Metal 101."

MP: What media inspires you?

Usually film it can lend itself to lyrical inspiration. A film called “The Mark of the Devil” inspired the song “Devil’s Mark” from our last CD “Thunder Perfect Mind.” Literature, certainly the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe had a large part to play in many of the lyrics to early material such as "Crimson Tears" and "Rites of Passage." It all depends really on how receptive we are to what we come in contact with. Lately we’ve tried to keep our lyrics more reality based, so the media influence has become increasingly less.

MP: Spiritual themes are a common thread in your music and in doom metal in general. Pale Divine is possibly one of the most spiritual bands out there; not exactly religious but definitely inquisitive when it comes to divine thought. Please comment.

Yeah, well it’s a wellspring of inspiration as far as I’m concerned. It’s such a tremendous force in our society and our world...really. There are so many angles to choose from but basically without really getting into religion too much we wanted to explore the spiritual side of man’s existence and how it manifests itself naturally as opposed to what’s been indoctrinated into us by society. There really does seem to be a conflict of interest there and I wanted to explore that a little on "Eternity Revealed."

MP: Anything else on your mind?

I must say that I’m more than a little disappointed lately as to what’s being passed off as heavy metal. Linkin Park, Korn and the rest of the so-called Nu Metal gang really is a far cry from what I consider to be heavy metal. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the recent work of Metallica and their obvious pandering to that "style." Kirk Hammett is a brilliant guitar player and now he isn’t playing guitar solos on any of the material on the latest album? Why...because It isn’t cool anymore? Since when are Metallica concerned with what’s cool? Isn’t this the same band that blew all the hair bands away in the early 80’s? What happened?
I can only sincerely hope that there will soon be a change in the weather and true heavy metal will rise again. Maybe this year's Ozzfest headliners are an indication (i.e. Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer) that change is on the horizon...I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Something's gotta give!