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Political and Religious Debate Three-Ring Circus (without non-human animal slaves)

When I was still in The Pit, enjoying the interactions I had with a handful of sane music business homies, I often entertained a scenario where a snorkel of voracious, pissed-off weasels methodically skinned her alive, leaving her ravaged, bleeding form to get all manner of unwanted attention by creatures in the forest, who take their janitorial duties quite seriously.  To be honest, that’s too good for her.  Some people who are reading this post, can attest to a lot of what I’ve been saying about her since 2002, and I will attempt to communicate my memories of that. Essentially, we were at war with one another, not just work-wise, but creatively, business savvy (she had it all over me on that), and every single worldview to which each of us clung up to this very day).

This is someone who used the collective office phone to have a raucous conversation with a sales rep about she would have no clue on how to live on a $20-30K yearly budget, where all of her employees who were managing just that, listened on in disgust.  This is someone who began threatening me with termination if, for the next 6 months, I had to drop out of work for even a half day.  Aunt Tudi's doc appointments were a mess to reschedule and find other transport if I couldn't figure out how to work around the situation.  On top of that, since my cube was right outside her office door, I was always the first one she'd come to each morning to say "G'mooooooorneeeeeeuuuunnn" and pretend civility.

And she loved to stand outside my cube and laud conservatives and everything they've ever done.  One of our bitchiest fights was one night, when we were working over on promo campaigns, news came on the radio that Ronald Reagan had finally dropped dead.  The Mistress had a sad.  I said, "Thank fucking god.  It's about time that piece of shit dropped dead.  The world suddenly seems lighter and happier."  She was scandalised, and began chanting all the good things he supposedly did for America.  I shut her arse down with no mercy when I interrupted her to state that I was part Jewish and to watch a POTUS lay wreaths on SS officers graves after doing a PR tour of Bergen Belsen.  "I was glad when I found out he was losing what little fucking mind he had, and I'm glad he's dead.  I hope he suffered before the end, and I hope he's rotting in hell now."


We didn't speak for a couple of days.

Then a few months later, she was complaining about all the immigrants to me and the lady behind me, Joanie, who is Laotian.  Being appropriate is a foreign concept to the Feudal Mistress.  I let her say her self-inflated piece, which she ended by saying:  "Besides, if they want to come into this country, they need to speak its language!"

To which I replied, "Oh, wow!  I didn't know you could speak Cherokee!  Let's hear you say something."


Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.24.53 AM.pngI was rewarded with two more days of peace and quiet. Before I left BMG, I purchased a special tee shirt I wanted to wear in a photograph with the Feudal Mistress. Politically, she may be a 9-volt battery, but she was pretty sharp when it came to passive-aggressive innuendo.The expression on our faces say it, don't you think?  What I want to try to write about regarding our ongoing war that ended with the day the tee shirt I bought specifically to have a farewell taken with the Feudal Mistress, leaving no doubt in her mind that the entire front of my body is screaming murderdeathkill in a mild-mannered public service announcement.  Whoever said that a picture speaks a thousand words should be honoured, or sainted, or given a So Good and True You Are, We Wish to Bestow upon Your Person, this Cliché Master's Medal of Honour.

"What is this all about?" You might ask.

It gets image heavy from here, so let"s have a courtesy cut, shall we?Collapse )

Honestly, I haven't felt this Sithly in a way too long.  Maybe the Duggars are good for something after all.

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  • Current Music: Pink Floyd - Shine on You Crazy Diamond
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Abandon Mediocrity - Support Musical Superiority with Shriekback

~Through Us the Way into the Sacred City~






~Through Us the Way into Nights of Heat and Weirdness~





~Through Us the Way to the Illuminated Ones~
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~Sheer enthusiasm made Us~





~And Passion and Poems and Sex~






~Before Us nothing but Excellence can endure~





~For We are the Gateway to Excellence, Deviance, and Delight~
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~ABANDON ALL MEDIOCRITY, YE WHO ENTER here!~



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Bellatrix

Thankfulness

Don't complain about what you've been given, and always be thankful for what you have.  Words of wisdom, my friends.

Also, in relation to that austere advice, behave around others in the manner you are treated, even when you're treated like fat trash from a [beyond] broken home (that was still a thing in the 70's), living in other people's homes and, later, in the projects.

Before my health collapsed, I had forgotten the harshness of those lessons, although I never stopped being grateful.  Thanks to almost 20 years of making a pretty decent wage for someone in South Carolina, I was independent, taking care of others, and it was a pretty fucking brilliant feeling.  I needed no one to do anything for me.  Autonomy was a lovely thing, but it can be devastating when you lose it - lose everything.

I am still very thankful for everything I have, and I will always do everything I can for whomever I can - there are some exceptions.  But growing up being systemically reminded that I was never going to be good enough, financially comfortable enough, socially acceptable enough, or worthy enough kind of sticks with you.  All those little reminders, lessons, begrudgements, and exclusions seems to have piled up.

Only, this time, instead of casting my eyes down and just dealing with whatever comes my way, I'm starting to more fully appreciate Patrick Bateman.  He looks awfully elated to have that axe.  I want to experience that kind of thankfulness.  I'd carve the turkey every goddamned year.

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  • Current Music: Tal Bachman - She's so High
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Farce

"Break it down again. No more sleepy dreaming."

The other day, I came across this article - and soon found myself in awe of the information the piece provided. It’s an image-heavy article, which means this post will also be image-heavy. I’m not copy-pasting the text, so I strongly suggest clicking this telling image to be taken to the full write-up, especially if you’ve had a breakdown, know someone who has had a breakdown, or you ever fell victim to one of my unexpected, late-night, inexplicable and incoherent ramblings via email, blog commentary, or any other method by which you and I maintain contact.

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With each image that applies or have applied to my experience, I will share how it felt for me, if I suffered from the description in the picture. The first one here will show what will be behind the cut, should you decide to read further.

mb26.jpgFor me, this was not a sudden mindset, but a gradual one. In crises, I was always the one that held things together.  I could switch off parts of my brain, and do what I needed to do at that moment in time.  At the age of 12, I was the one who gave directions to the paramedics, when my great-grandmother had her massive stroke.  Granny was a non-functioning, human-shaped manifestation of panic, and Aunt Tudi was frantically trying to get things ready for when the ambulance arrived to the point where, honestly, she was being a detriment to any progress we might could have had. It was only two days later that the upheaval found me, at which time I became non-functional for a period of time, just a few days.  In times of turmoil, I realised I could take care of whatever situation I found myself, then release it all later in private.  The only times I ever lost that ability was the night before Granny died in 1993.  The doctors told us there was no hope, and she could die at any moment.  Since Granny also helped to raise me, having lived with me all my life, I fell to pieces.  But the next morning, when she died, I was cool as a cucumber.  This was Aunt Tudi's mother, to whom she had been excessively close.  This blow to her emotional well-being is something she never quite got over.  I was the one who had to make Granny's arrangements, and I did so in a disconnected manner, devoid of bothersome emotions.  Things needed to be done, and there was no one but me stepping up.  I remember a cousin remarking that I had to be some sort of Vulcan, or just callous as hell.

Click this if you care to continue.Collapse )
Ornate Triskele

Carolina Mountains

A song my Father Unit wrote and performed at both Bele Chere and Shindig on the Green, in Asheville, North Carolina in 1976. Years later, he was able to record it. Until she sent the song to me, my Stepmother Unit was the only person in possession of the song since Dad's death in 2006.

All the pictures I used for the video are of Asheville and locations on the Blue Ridge Parkway, focusing primarily on The Smoky Mountains. The woman seen beginning at 1:16 is my aunt and my father's sister, Aunt Tudi. She is sitting at the rock wall in Craggy Gardens, from where we scattered my Paternal Grandmother Unit's ashes in 1993. In 2011, the family scattered Aunt Tudi's ashes in the same spot.

Also, the green A-frame chalet seen at 2:07 is a house in Black Mountain that I lived in, in 1975.

To the best of my knowledge, 'Carolina Mountains' was only shared publicly at the two aforementioned music festivals. Although he did copyright it, Daddy was too scared it would be stolen. I'm sharing it now, because it needs to be shared. All songs have importance and worth, and this is the best way I can honour him and let people in on one of my father's many talents.

The other reason for sharing it is I'm homesick.


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  • Current Music: Nine Inch Nails - Sunspots
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Throwback Thursday - Sonic Interview with Shriekback, 1987


Shriekback

Big Electric Energy

by Lesley Sly


They are tired of being cult heroes – Shriekback, the weird studio band, the unpredictable performers. Their new line-up, tour and album were the firt lap in a drive for wider acceptance. Head shrieker, Barry Andrews, maps out the course.


The Shriekback of old was, by their own admission, chaotic and experimental. They were machine-men, dabbling with drum computers and Fairlights, every song a loose sketch from backing track to overdub. And live, it was jam science.


But the Shriekback that stormed Australia with a high octane live set and the cruisy cocktail-style album, Big Night Music, in March was a different kettle of…fish. (Alas, little light was shed on their strange preoccupation with deep sea creatures in our post-gig interview).


They are now a band intent on cracking the mainstream, getting their powerful live sound onto vinyl and dispensing with as much machinery as possible in the process.


They’ve been streamlining the human element, too. When they hit the cultish London circuit in 1981 with the mini-album, Tench, they were six-piece. By the following year, they were three – Barry Andrews (vocals/keyboards; ex-XTC, Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen), David Allen (bass; ex-Gang of Four) and Carl Marsh (guitar).


Then came the albums Care and Jam Science and in 1984 they took on drummer, Martyn Barker, had their first chart single Hand On My Heart and followed up with the album, Oil And Gold, inn 1985.


In early 1986 they signed a new deal with Island and lost Carl Marsh. Another change was the approach to recording. The writing trio of Andrews, Allen and Barker decided to concentrate on the expansive, atmospheric elements of their music and go for an ‘all-played’ groove, augmented by their four-piece Big Live Band – Michael Cozzi (guitars), Steve Halliwell (keyboards) and backing singers, Wendy and Sarah Partridge.


For the Australian tour they added a percussionist and Barry left keyboard duties to Steve, bar the occasional solo.


The last time I saw the band live was at one of their first gigs in a seedy London pub. On stage this year, in the claustrophonic refectory hall at Sydney Uni, there was hardly a trace of the enfant terrible. Dynamic, controlled, structured rock’n’roll theatre, a new authority, no chaos.


In the dressing room later, Barry Andrews explained this new order…


Your live set is much more structured now. There are middle-eights, you all start and stop in the same places. You’re very tight and professional…

I don’t know about very tight and professional, but certainly more than we used to be. We do all end at the same time.


Remember the Greyhound in Fulham (London), one of your first gigs?

(Shudders) Christ Almighty. We have changed since then.


Do you think you’ve sacrificed spontaneity for structure?

Not really. It used to be a fucking mess. There was a good, wild, out-of-control energy, you know all those AAARRRRGH, post-punk screams. But after a while…it’s unchannelled and ultimately not satisfying when you do seven gigs in a row and only one of them is any good.


I think we are channeling that energy more and there are still areas of improvisation…freedom within that structure.


What parts are improvised?

All the solos. I never play the same solo twice on Feelers, I’m always mucking around with the vocals, doing little improvised rants and stuff.


I think it’s a popular misconception that you have to do completely improvised music in order to have freedom. Mike (guitarist) always plays the same solo but there’s a difference when he’s really putting his heart and soul into it. It has an authority and power to it.

You get quite close to recorded sounds live…

I think we do considering how many overdubs and weird things we’re doing in the studio.

Were you using Fairlight much on Big Night Music?

No. We’d decided it was going to be a low budget album and we weren’t going to use the Fairlight as much as we had on Oil And Gold. We also wanted to use more acoustic instruments, so that it sounded like a band in a room playing some music, all in time.


Towards the end of recording there was a particular sound on Underwaterboys that we couldn’t get on either the JP8 or the DSS1 and me and Gavin (MacKillop, co-producer) were tearing our hair out [er, figuratively speaking]. So we decided to chip inn out of our own money and get the Fairlight to do this sound. As it turned out we did do it within budget – we didn’t have to sell our cars or anything – and so we went round the tracks putting little touches of Fairlight on here and there.


You’ve always used machines to make music. Was the decision taken on this album not to do so due to budget or were you bored with that approach?

No, it wasn’t because of the budget. It was the first record where Martyn (drummer) had really found his feet and he had loads and ideas bubbling over. It seemed a bit irrelevant to haul in a Fairlight or drums computer and put it through its paces.


We were bored with all that stuff after a four-year romance with technology too. Also, some of the rhythms are so subtle like, Running on the Rocks – there no drum computer in the world can do that.


How do you write your songs?

Always from the rhythm. In the old day it was a drum machine and we’d build the songs in the studio a la Bowie and all that. But, that wasn’t a particularly cost-effective way of doing things and we also decided that we wanted the…thing to happen in music that you only get when you’ve played a song for a long time on stage.


On Oil and Gold there was only one track that was like that (Health And Knowledge) which, while it wasn’t a great groove or even a particularly great song, had this smoothness, a rotundity to it. We thought it would be nice to have a whole album with the edges worn off, with a nice ‘used’ quality to it.


Do you write together?

Generally, Martyn will put down a rhythm and we’ll all – me, Dave and Martyn – improvise around that. If there’s an energy to the groove we’ll just tape the drums on cassette for two minutes.


Then, I take that home and put it on my cassette machine which has a loop function and just sit there singing to it, record that on another machine and listen to it. I find that quite often good things come out when you’re just burbling off the top of your head whereas if you sat down and tried to write it, that critical part of the brain might be brought to bear on it and crush the idea before it grows. I then go through and make notes, wander round, have a cup of tea, read a few books, find a few weird words (laughs).  Then I do the whole process again until the thing starts to bed down into a structure, verse, chorus, etc.  Then, I take it back to Dave and Martyn and we work on chords and details.


Atmosphere is crucial in your music. Is sound important in the writing process?

I tend to find that the rhythm will suggest a certain kind of atmosphere. It will all be encapsulated in that rhythm. Once you’ve got the initial crystalisation of the song, it’s all police work from there on. Like, Shining Path…it was obvious from that rhythm and the title that it was going to be this huge, swirly, exotic druggie-opium vision. From there on we knew it was going to need bells, big chords, wind gong, etc.


No home studios?

Martyn’s making moves in that direction. Sometimes I think it would be a good idea but then…I used to do that with XTC. I used to sit in my bedroom with an Akai two-track machine, a Wurlitzer piano and microphone and write the whole thing. Then I’d go along with a song and try to impose it on the band and tell the bass player and drummer what to play.It had a kind of awkwardness to it because they were playing something which wasn’t quite natural for them. Sometimes it worked but now it works every time because we don’t add things to songs unless they do work.


So, when you record now you take complete songs in?

Yeah and we’re going to work that way on the next album. There’s a couple of new ones we’re playing already.


How long does it take to get a song together?

Maybe a day per song. But, once I take the verse and chorus along we just put a bit of intense energy into it, maybe an hour, and then I take it home and work on it again. Then we bring in the other players.


You use the Jupiter 8 for rehearsals?

Yes.

What’s happened to that battered old organ you used for years?

It’s in my ex-wife’s cupboard. I go round every now and then and dust it off (the organ, that is). It’s a sweet little thing, and I can’t bring myself to throw it away but I can’t find any use for it anymore.


Was recording Big Night Music standard procedure?

Yes…I haven’t worked in that way since the Robert Fripp album. Gavin is a very traditional producer and I really left it to him. It’s nice, there’s something very organic about recording that way [as a band]. You don’t have to go through the endless…well, there’s a drum rhythm and I haven’t got a clue what to do next, maybe go blurgh on the first beat of every bar and then try to find some chords, and lay three tracks of percussion that we’ll never use.

It was exciting to work like that and if money was no object I probably still would…


Because there’s always the element of surprise when you’re actually creating the song track-by-track?

Yeah…the only track we did like that was Sticky Jazz and I think you can hear the difference…the textures change suddenly.


What about vocal treatment?

On Big Night Music I was getting into big whispering but the process of recording was mostly traditional. Occasionally I fed my voice through an AC30 amp wound up like fuck and recorded in a live room. On the end of Black Light Trap I fed it though Mike’s pedalboard with the distortion wound right up…and all these other knobs. I don’t really know what they do.


It’s your fifth album and seems like a summary of the rest. Do you agree?

No, I think there are areas left out…mainly the big noisy stuff. It’s like taking one of the themes of Shriekback, which is the big, dark, quiet cocktail band thing with more of the reggae influence. We’ve taken that and really explored it.


On the next album we’ll get into the big racket.


Using players and no machines?

Yes, I think so. It usually becomes apparent after you’ve been on the road a while what sort of album you want to make next. On this tour it’s become clear that everyone is excited about taking the atmosphere we get live and trying to record that and mess with it and see what happens.


Back to the whispering…you’ve said you’ll do more shouting next time. Isn’t the whisper part of Shriekback’s charm, a hallmark almost?

Well, for the sake of making an homogenous record…it always irritated me, about Oil And Gold especially, that you’re listening to a noisy track, you’re in party mode and then suddenly it goes all quiet and mushy and you have to leap for the turntable and get that track off.


When I want to listen to a piece of music I want an atmosphere and I think most people do. So, I would say…yeah, we’ll have a whispering-free, high-noise album. (laughs).


Why are you so popular here and often dismissed as an arty band in the UK?

There’s two things…if you’re not getting played on radio in the UK there isn’t really the gig circuit to establish yourself anymore. Also, the British psyche finds it a bit disgusting seeing this person up there on stage going ‘waaaah, look at me’. They like records and nightclubs and keeping it all under control.


For a long time in England we were making experimental, reflective, not grab-you-by-the-throat sort of records and people got a bit bored waiting for Shriekback to do something that would be devastating. And live, it was a shambles. We couldn’t take an audience like we did tonight. Now, we can take a cool audience and have them in a frenzy by the end because we’ve learnt the art of rock’n’roll theatre.


The soundtrack you’ve done for the movie, Slamdance…

It’s not a soundtrack, it’s just the song at the end. I’m looking at doing a soundtrack though…I’ve done a film music demo to a whole bunch of image from wildlife documentaries and films like Conan the Barbarian and Passage to India. So we’re going to go to LA and throw a few video tapes at a few moguls there.


Shriekback has its own sovereignty – it’s not something that each of us independently would do. I found doing the film music demo it was more one dimensional.


You’ve talked about having a magic power live that you don’t understand. Is that created because of the audience?

I think it’s there in rehearsal too, it’s just a smaller audience! It’s partly that with the band the sum is greater than the parts. I like working on my own but I prefer having other people around to bounce off and crash into.


What about your preoccupation with fish?

(Laughs)…What can I tell you?


Other projects?

Yeah…Martyn is writing his own songs which sound fabulously commercial, Dave is talking about doing an album with Jorgensen of Ministry and I’m making Super 8 movies at the moment.


Film seems to be quite a strong direction for me…I’m just assembling images and playing around with scripts.


Solo albums?

No. Shriekback is not entirely my vision but at least I can involve all my musical interests which is great.


In XTC I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, only that it wasn’t XTC. It was only after that that I started to look at my musical language…finding out why I liked certain kinds of music, and what moves me.


Do you listen to music for pleasure?

Yes…not pop. I used to have a clock radio which drove me mad because it would come on in the morning with this pop music and I’d wake up going ‘oh, the bass is good, drums are okay, what about the chorus’ and you go into all that.


I listen to old church music, nice gentle things.


This need for wider appeal…does Shriekback need more commercial success to reach full potential?

I think it’s a popular misconception that you achieve commercial success and then you do what you want to do…I don’t know anyone who has done that.

We are doing what we want to do, it wouldn’t be different if I had loads of money.


What is there left for Shriekback to do?

The next album – translating the live thing. And, getting our music to a wider audience. I don’t think there is anything hopelessly archane about what we do and I don’t see why it shouldn’t appeal to a lot of people. I think it’s a case of appropriate presentation.


And…I’m tired of being a cult figure.



THE BACKLINE

Martyn Barker (drums): I’m using a hired Yamaha 900 Series kit – 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 toms, 22" bass drum, 14" x 10" deep snare and Zildjian cymbals (16, 17, 18 crashes, Chinaboy and Swish both 16"; hi-hats are K Series (top) and Dynobeat (bottom); Camco chain bass drum pedal.


I’ve been using this kit on the American and Australian tours. In England I’ve been using a Gretch kit but I’m changing to Yamaha because I like the depth of the sound of this kit. You get a good natural sound, it’s very good live and as an all-round kit.


I’ve been using very thin crashes because Shriekback is a dynamic band so you don’t need any ride cymbals. The music needs good splash sounds…plenty of that.


The difficulty for me with cymbals is trying to change the sound all the time…in Underwaterboys I used coins to rub against Chinese cymbals which makes that off-beat sound. And in Nemesis the chorus has to be very dynamic so I use lots of splashes, lots of crash cymbals.


No electronic drums?

I used to use bits of Simmons gear and I use the Linn 9000 for writing. But for Big Night Music I used a real drum kit with percussion because it was easier and that was the direction the music was going in.


(Live percussion is: LP congas and cowbells. Cymbals in Zildjian (16" thin crash), and 20" Chinese wind gong.)

Mike Cozzi (guitar): I’ve been experimenting a lot lately and have just changed all my gear. At the moment I’m using a Gallien-Krueger amp as a preamp sending it though a Carver power amp. The main effects I use are a volume pedal, which I think is well under-used these days, and three different distortions, Big Muff, Boss overdrive, and the other is the distortion on the Krueger. I use various rack delays…everything is rackmounted.


I still use a Strat which I’ve had customised (added a Kahler tremolo and humbucker pickups). On the acoustic numbers I use a Hohner semi-acoustic 12-string.


Bass equipment: Music Man bass guitar through Trace Elliot gear, using 4 x 10 and 1 x 15 speakers.

Martyn: Dave has a custom-built bass which he uses for the slower moodier numbers which makes a deep, warm sound. But the Music Man is his main instrument.


Keyboards: Jupiter 8 and Korg DSS1 which wins heaps of praise from Barry Andrews: "We seem to be getting sounds which are as good as a Fairlight Series II. It’s helpful having the synthesizing part as a well as the sampler because you can really fuck around with those samples and make them sound interesting.



Sonic (July/August 1987)


Shriekback recently released their 13th studio album, Without Real String or Fish. It is available on their website. Click the album cover to be taken to their online store!

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  • Current Music: Electric Light Orchestra - In the Hall of the Mountain King
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Shriekback - The Y Records Years

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There is still a dinky handful of these left. Any of you who have known me for long, know the story behind them. If you don't, just ask. All you really need to know is that the CDs available are in their original wrap (the cigarette kind, not shrink wrap) with the barcodes and spine sticker unaltered or defaced in any way. These are, for all intents and purposes, brand new. Shriekback are offering the album for £40 (just over $60, USD), which is a median price for what the used CDs are typically going for on sites like eBay (new copies of the double CD are priced considerably higher, and you can't be completely sure that what you're buying hasn't already been opened and played, then rewrapped). With these, you can be confident that the product has never been unwrapped and played, and your money goes directly to the band, instead of to middleman profiteers. More importantly, your purchase will help Shriekback record more music for us all to enjoy!

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To the best of my knowledge, these are the very last new copies of 'The Y Records Years.' To acquire one is pretty much a chance in a lifetime at this point, and I am not being dramatic. The band began to send word out a couple of days ago, that the CDs are available, and many have already been reserved for shipment. Right now, I believe around 10 are left.

JUST TEN

Write the band at shriekprods@outlook.com to inquire about purchase.

If you have any questions regarding the double CD, feel free to ask me here or at susperia5@yahoo.com. If I know the answer, I'll give you one. If I don't know, I'll try to find out, then let you know what I've found.

Also, you may want to look into purchasing a copy of Shriekback's new album, their 13th studio project called Without Real String or Fish. It is a genuine tour de force that will more than satisfy longterm fans as well as seduce newcomers into Shriekback's eclectic reality.  The new album is available through Shriekback's official website.  Click on the album cover below to be taken to their store.  Besides the new album, they also have all manner of goodies ripe for the picking.  It's a veritable musical Garden of Eden!

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Now, go forth and shop with abandon!

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You may get a better look at the CDs by clicking on the images for full size.
Hand model is Wilma Terry Evans.

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  • Current Music: Electric Light Orchestra - Mister Kingdom
Here is the news!

Jeff Lynne's Speech at His Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony


It's been a very busy day for me, taking care of some promised duties, but I did manage to edit and upload Jeff Lynne thanking everyone for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  There's a couple more vids of the event I plan on throwing up on You Tube tomorrow.  I'll try to finish the account of mine and the Mother Unit's escapades in Tinseltown tomorrow.

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  • Current Mood: enthralled enthralled
  • Current Music: Sting - Fragile
Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne Got His Star

This is actually just a marker to note the date that what I'm hopefully going to write all about tomorrow, after I've had some rest. The Mother Unit and I spent the day in Los Angeles to cheer on Jeff Lynne, who received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I have pics and vids to prove it! But, for now, I need to rest the brainmeats and maybe even sleep.

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  • Current Mood: indescribable indescribable
  • Current Music: Smidgen purring
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Flint Cheat Sheet



The Flint Cheat Sheet

Character study on the Darkling, Simon Flynt


  • flinttapeta.pngBorn Simon Flynt in the post-Mortality years near Waltham Forest (now Epping Forest, which ispart of Greater London) to a blacksmith and a baker/midwife. One sister, named May.

  • Developed a strong friendship and bond with childhood friend Gareth Owen, whose family had relocated to Waltham from Wales.

  • Transformed into a Vampire at the age of 27 after leaving a pub for home. The Vampire who transformed him is unknown, but was probably part of the Darkblood Hive, passing that lineage on to Simon. He was given the Vampire name of Absinthe, suggesting that the Vampire who had brought him into the Hive was quite possibly French. Simon rejected the name and returned to his mortal name, hiding his new identity from family and acquaintances. Only Gareth knew what Simon had become, and took that secret to his grave. After it was obvious he was not aging, Simon pretended to leave Waltham, when he actually just took refuge in the forest, feeding on hunters, travellers, and anyone else who may happen to find themselves in the depths of the wood. Gareth also gave blood to Simon, who now called himself Flynt, deepening their bond.

  • After the death of Gareth, then an old man, at the hands of none other than Cadmus Pariah, Flynt changed the spelling of his name to Flint and joined a roving band of actors who put on Passion Plays in each village they came upon. Flint could only perform at night, and used the excuse of artist's preference as to why this was.

  • Moved on to become an artist in London, painting and sculpting all manner of subjects, from landscapes to people. He also took up swordsmanship during this period, the rumours of his prowess in this becoming local legend.

  • Sailed to America once his eternal youth became suspect in London. Was known in the southern colonies to be an eloquent travelling preacher. Was one of the first to hold nighttime tent revivals. Was often called Brother Flint during this time.

  • Relocated to New York to begin a new life, once again finding a niche in the art world.

  • Bounced from region to region in the US until present-time, where he settled in Los Angeles and no longer bothered to hide his Vampiric nature. Flint the Vampire became well-known in the club, art, acting, and Beat circles.

  • Has large round hazel eyes that occasionally flash an eerie phosphorescent green.

  • Dark blonde hair, kept at a lanky length just past the ears.

  • Stands at just under 5'7”, making him slightly shorter than the small but highly dangerous Cadmus Pariah.

  • Often mistaken to be a crazy street preacher in various metropolitan centers.

  • Prefers females for his blood, but has no qualms taking males. Is well-received in the LGBT community.

  • Is fond of animals, often having a dog companion. He shares this trait with Dmitri, Kelat's soul mate.

  • Although tempted to transform his beloved Gareth, Flint has never brought a soul over to the world of Vampirism. He has just never really been interested in doing such a thing.

  • Loves to hang out in matinees while waiting for the sun to go down.

  • Is fond of comedy.

  • Tends bar in some of the clubs he goes to on a occasion.

  • Has a fascination for the modern world's technological advances and the odd fad.

  • Enjoys participating in protests and has been registered as a subversive by Homeland Security. He doesn't care. Protesting is fun.

  • Likes to be bare-footed when at all possible.

  • Visits Epping Forest as often as possible.

  • Likes to read, and has often visited Clive Barker at book signings and various other events.

  • Has a collection of swords, from his years of being a practicing swordsman.

  • Carries a camera with him everywhere he goes.

  • Likes all kinds of music, and was actually a fan of Magnificat, not recognising the leader as the man who killed Gareth.

  • Favourite emoting gesture is the shrug.

  • Possesses the ability to anubis into a common rat.

  • Cannot abide the sun, but has no trouble with religious symbols and artifacts.

  • Has a strong Compulsion and Glamour ability, but cannot maintain either for very long, mainly due to a lack of self-confidence when it comes to such magicks.

  • Chose to remain within the New Hive when the Original Ten were reconciled by the Augury of Gideon. He felt he had nothing to offer the world as a mortal, and decided to remain wandering in the eternal night.

  • Rarely kills, and only when he absolutely has to. This does not come from some lofty ethic; rather, he would prefer to dedicate all his time to the drinking of blood, not caring enough to make a kill unless his prey becomes too vocal or physical in their protests to his attentions. These are usually mostly straight men who find themselves in a compromising position with another male. Instead of having to listen to an endless diatribe against his practices, Flint just disposes of the prey and moves on to the next one.

  • Has the ability of super speed, and can run like a cheetah if he can be bothered enough to do so, and that’s not often.

  • Developed tapeta lucida upon being transformed, which may be the reason behind his strange, flashing eyes. His night vision is double that of most Vampires and he can actually see in infrared as well, seeing heavenly bodies usually only visible to high-powered telescopes.

  • Spirit animals: the domestic canine, the brown rat, the badger, and the moth.

  • Affiliate plants: most deciduous trees.

  • Affiliate gemstones: emerald and agate.

  • Scents: opium and tobacco (specifically pipe tobacco. No one knows why, and Flint doesn't really care why).

  • Music Preferences: Chamber music, Early 80s Punk and New Wave, Electronic, Hip Hop, and Trip Hop.  It has been suggested in some Darkling circles that Macklemore's Thrift Shop was a product of the artist meeting the Vampire in - you guessed it - a thrift shop.

Vagabond Vampire, Simon Flynt was born and raised in the days just after the end of the Great Mortality, near what is now called Epping Forest. After his transformation into the Darkblood Hive, at which time he was given the name of Absinthe because of his unusual eyes, Flint spent decades haunting the formerly-named Waltham Forest, long enough to become known to the people of the area as The Waltham Phantom. He does not know his Blood parentage, and had to learn about what he had become from his dearest friend, Gareth, who had learned about Vampires from a tribe of Romani passing through the forest. He is distinct in that he possesses tapeta lucida, and is seemingly cloaked from detection by Cadmus, which gives him a particular advantage when they finally do cross paths. He has long had the habit of looting thrift stores and charity shoppes for clothing intentionally way too large for his small frame. Since he is essentially homeless, his wardrobe is his home, which he wears in layers, discarding what he can no longer use, as he goes along. Flint has never used his given Vampire name, Absinthe. (anchors and influences - I’ll leave it to you which are anchors and which are influences: Tim Roth, Wavy Gravy, Ted “Theodore” Logan, Abby Hoffman, Jimmy Stewart, John Lydon, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, the Fool as represented in the Tarot, Viva la Vida by Coldplay, Inigo Montoya, Casanova, Hipsters, the Golden Age of Hollywood, Evangelical revivals and medicine shows.)

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Craggy 2005

We would go up to Craggy Dome at least once year to pay our respects to Granny.

The last two times I visited, it was to add Aunt Tudi's ashes to Grannys. I went back up a couple of weeks later, broke my camera, got lost, and finally got back to Janice and Uncle Michael's.

I want to go again.  One more time.  I need it.  The only other place I could imagine being happy to die there is Craggy Gardens in Asheville, NC, and magick that is Avesbury.

Visiting the area from which we scattered Granny's ashes in 1993 seemed to bring a kind of peace to Aunt Tudi.  She might have started the journey a little down in the mouth, but crazy music and dangerous coffee took care of all that.  And it allowed us to have the fun, I'd like to think Granny would have wanted us to have.  The one solemn moment was when Aunt Tudi would retouch the black cross on the stone from which we launched Granny.  I could always tell when she needed some alone time.  I never thought I'd be making that drive by myself, intent on tracing a Pentagram beside the cross.  Aunt Tudi was not a Wiccan or a Pagan, but she grokked it in a way a lot of self-proclaimed Witches are at loss to understand.



I want that sensation of flight and try to spin onto my back like a bag in the wind, so I can face Nature's painting masterpiece and maybe even glimpse the spirits of Aunt Tudi and Granny, as they stand to welcome me after gravity has had its dark way.
I need to go home.

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Without Real String or Fish Is now Available on Amazon

And the album is getting excellent reviews already!  Take, for instance, Dadjago:

no titleTo me at least, the Shrieks have always felt as if they were otherworldy creatures dropping strands of (sometimes rather ichorous) knowledge on us. It might not be immediately intelligible, but there'salways been something there (barring "naked apes and pond life", not sure about that one...) worth examining. This is no exception, the terpsichorean wordplay and capering tunes all come together rather nicely. Much like "Life in the Loading Bay" the album is also possessed of that odd assurance that only comes from having been around the block a few times. There's no doubt, no existential crises, and no peacocking about in some confused attempt to get the attention of a lover or a contract. Not to say that any iota of energy or mystery has been sacrificed for this maturity, that's all still there, in grand amounts, it's just not wasted. Just, you know, buy this. You'll not regret it.

That's not all. Dadjago has plenty more to say, as do all the ones who have so far added their two daktari to the fray. Amazon is only offering the digital album, which can be purchased by clicking the album cover featured in the image above. But you can still obtain the actual physical CD from the band themselves. Having the lovely CD booklet and libretto is well worth the wait for the mailman to come calling! Or you could just do both. The more support the Shrieks have, the more likely we are to get more ingenious music from them.

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Creem 1987 Interview with Barry Andrews


Shriekback
The World’s Second Best Pop Group with a Bald Singer
By Dave Segal (‘Creem’ June 1987)

“…Shriekback have opted to make a different kind of music – one which exalts human frailty and the harmonious mess of nature over the simplistic reductions of our crude computers.” – liner notes to Big Night Music. This thing called Shriekback is a strange beast. Trying to describe them gives me one hell of a headache. The new Shriekback music (it’s called Big Night Music but it could just as easily be called Small Morning Music) screws with rock critics’ rote jargon. If you wanted to be crass, you could label ‘em an intellectual funk band with gospel/cocktail lounge pretensions. Unlike most Anglo-Caucasians who funk around with black styles of music, Shriekback throw a skewered light on what, in pedestrian hands, can be a brain-numbing genre. You can attribute Shriekback’s uniqueness (no lie) to keyboardist/singer/lyricist Barry Andrews.

Andrews has full control of Shriekback now that Carl Marsh has departed with his Fairlights and drum computers for solo obscurity. Pared down to a trio (Dave Allen, he of the Zeus-like bass playing on Gang of Four’s first two LPs, and Martyn Barker on percussion toys), Shriekback have for the most part ditched Marsh’s vision of a “harsh disco reality” and gone for a rococo/eclectic sonic gumbo that’s as slippery to grasp as Eno’s skull in a bathtub. There’s a slickness to the Andrews/Gavin MacKillop production on Big Night Music, but don’t let that trouble yer noggin. It’s a good kind of slickness; Andrews has a Byrne-Enoesque aesthetic that enables him to craft exotic pop of excessive fussiness (‘Black Light Trap,’ ‘Running on the Rocks,’ ‘Sticky Jazz’) or of severe sparseness (everything else). You could call this The Soft Album without too much controversy.

Oddly, some of the songs sound better with the volume turned down. Perhaps because he can’t sing very well, Andrews often resorts to an intimate whispery delivery. Very nice and relaxing, this voice. And he’s a clever gump, too. It’s not by accident that wispy, gentle toons sit cheek by jowl with swollen brassy epics; and then out of nowhere will sprout a pretension-deflater like ‘Pretty Little Things,’ which sounds like Prince on helium and dexies. I tell ya, listening to Big Night Music is more fun than working in an abattoir on a humid day.

Andrews has the serene monkish demeanor of the Keith Carradine character in the Kung Fu TV show. Before Shriekback, he was in XTC from ’77 to ’79, and he also played with Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen in 1980. He’s a peace-lovin’, broad-minded intellectual dabbler wearing a black floppy hat and a long black coat. We had a civilized chat amid the delicately bubbling jacuzzi water inside a swanky Detroit hotel. Andrews proved to be more stimulating than a week’s worth of The Dick Cavett Show.

CREEM: Why did Carl Marsh leave Shriekback?
BARRY ANDREWS: He wanted to do solo things, really. Carl’s quite a self-contained sort of bloke I don’t think he ever found it easy working with other people. The band was becoming a two-headed beast that was tearing itself in half. Oil and Gold (released in ’85) suffered from that. A bit of schizophrenia between the Carl direction and my direction. I like things when they’re soft and vulnerable and maybe even a bit maudlin. I like a certain amount of crying into my Guinness.

Did Marsh’s departure cause a change in your sound?
Definitely, there was a sort of opening of the sluices. When Carl left, I felt like, firstly, I’ve got this huge canvas to work with on the whole record. It’s all gonna be my words, my tunes. So instead of it being this common denominator area we could inhabit with Carl, what the three of us could agree on was actually a bigger area because there were fewer things to filter out. I wanted to try doing something very simple and direct and emotional, like ‘The Cradle Song,’ Just trying out every option and seeing what’s possible. There’s a certain amount of experimentation that doesn’t work, but a whole lot that does. Normally we wouldn’t have even dared to try. Big Night Music is diverse. I don’t think anyone could complain about it being too homogenous. I think there is a coherence to it that we’ve never achieved on a record before, with the possible exception of Care (released in ’82)

Does everyone have creative input into the words and music?
I’m the sole lyricist. On the new album, Dave confined himself to bass playing, Martyn did a whole lot more than he’s ever done. He plays all the drums and does lots of percussion. So he’s actually responsible for quite a lot of the textures. I’m really responsible for the way the whole thing sounds and the structure of the songs. I can’t imagine collaborating with someone on a song. It would be like having somebody advise you while you’re having sex with somebody (laughs). There’s so much that just happens in your head. It’s quite a fragile process and it’s not something I could easily involve someone with.

Your lyrics have a stream of consciousness to them…
A stream of unconsciousness…(much laughter).

Sometimes it’s brilliant and at other times it leaves the listener baffled. Maybe they’re too oblique for universal understanding.
Maybe that’s a valid criticism. I don’t go in for any kind of broad political commentary.

You write more about personal things?
I don’t know if they’re even personal things, really. What I try to do is create an entity with sound that has not existed before. The songs are meant to be things you can walk into and walk around, that have their own kind of smell and atmosphere and texture. They’re not meant to be billboards or television programs. Or newspapers. The lyrics aren’t the point any more than the bass drum pattern’s the point. You might have a very good pair of kidneys but that’s not your whole story, is it?

If I asked you what ‘The Reptiles and I’ is about, could you tell me?
I can tell you what I was trying to do. It’s what it is for you definitely. That’s a nice fatuous answer, I suppose, and it’s what it means to me. And that’s about as far as it goes. I had this idea of using a lot of lists that I found in Webster’s Dictionary. A list of languages, elements, proverbs. I liked the idea of a bunch of verses that were lists. I was trying to create a nursery rhyme that would work in an adult way and would have that sort of darkness about it, that sinister kind of thing that the best nursery rhymes have. I’m really a little kid sitting at the foot of the great god Language. I’ve really got no command over it. I pretty much take what it gives me. I get excited by all the different ways people speak in the same way. I get excited about all the different cultures people can have, all the different ways of being in the world. It seems very rich and diverse and brilliant. And it inspires me.

Were you influenced by any writers?
I steal a lot. I’m a complete bastard for that. I’ll tell you the dead ones. I’ve ripped Shakespeare off something rotten. I’ve had my way with T.S. Eliot. Martin Luther King. The Bible. Certainly bits of the Koran. Complete verbal beachcomber.

At least you’re taking from great sources.
Oh yeah. That’s what they’re there for. To get crunched up and recycled. I don’t do it in any cynical way. It’s like doing a cover of a band’s song that you really think is a good song. It seems silly to wrack your brains when somebody else’s said it so well. I just rip it off. Shameless, really.

Have any current songwriters influenced you?
David Byrne’s approach – when I was a bit more uncertain about writing lyrics – he seemed to offer quite a good little cubbyhole to hide in, where you could get away without saying anything at all as long as it sounded all right. But on this LP, I got less and less satisfied with what you could do with that and more interested in what would happen if you pushed the thing up toward the light a little more. So things like ‘Cradle Song,’ ‘Reptiles,’ and ‘Gunning for the Buddha’ are like little narratives, stories, which I’ve never attempted before. Getting into the old Tin Pan Alley thing. People like Gilbert and Sullivan and the English music hall singers. Popular Victorian kitsch. Edwardian parlor songs.

Shriekback is often labelled an intellectual band.
It’s high time we burst that bubble.

Are you college-educated?
No. It was between making a choice of being in a rock’n’roll band or going to university.

Are you religious?
I don’t belong to a religion. I don’t have any faith, in that way. I do have a strong religious sense. It’s difficult to say without it sounding pretentious. I have a sense of awe of a kind of religious veneration or worship in the presence of what is around – people, mainly, the rush and energy of people and what they can do and build and keep going on and having babies. Just what it is to be alive. There’s definitely a force that moves us on in a mysterious way. I said to someone once that I feel about religion the way I felt about sex when I was 12. You know there’s something going on, but you don’t know what the fuck it is!


To read more about Shriekback's music and career, please visit their website (sign up for the newsletter for free downloads) and Tumblr. You can also join in our conversations over on Facebook. And, while you're at it, pick up a copy of their new album, Without Real String or Fish!