Around the same time I moved out to the Hollar House in beautiful Singers Glen, VA, self-proclaimed “Birthplace of Sacred Music in the South”, I was bit by something. Maybe the same thing bit me twice or maybe two of the same thing bit me once each. I had a small, red lump on the back of my left shoulder and a larger one in front, like I’d been shot through from behind with some kind of spirit arrow. I ignored the spots for a while until they got bigger and opened up into pus-oozing sores. Then I started doing research. The wounds I had looked very much like the pictures I saw of bites from brown recluse spiders, aka “fiddlebacks”. We do have brown recluse spiders here in VA. At first I was kinda bugged about the possibility that I came across a brown recluse at the Hollar House, because I live there and my daughter spends a bit of time there. After thinking about what I was doing during the first part of August, I realized that it was much more likely that I got bit while doing some work in the attic of the little collectively-owned restaurant where I work. Which isn’t wonderful, but my grrrl doesn’t sleep in the attic so I can live with that.
I try not to expose myself to doctors, especially when I can’t easily divert the bill to worker’s comp. In this case, I kept the sores bandaged and slathered with antibiotic cream, doubled my dosages of immune-system-boosting natural shit and didn’t worry. I was kinda interested in the possibility of necrosis, which happens regularly with brown recluse bites, but it didn’t happen. I did have a lot of muscle pain in my left shoulder, very much exactly like the pain I had when I wrecked a scooter about ten years ago. I figured the spider venom had settled into the scar tissue from that injury and woke it up. The pain spread. By the time the skin wounds had healed, I was experiencing significant muscle pain all though my left shoulder and along my spine from my waist to my neck. I was eating aspirin like candy, but still struggling.
Like everybody else, I carry stress and tension in my back muscles. There’ve been moments in the past few years when I thought about getting some body work done, to break up some tension, release some toxins, but I never got around to it. It became obvious that I had to do something so I started looking around for a massage therapist or something. I found a guy who does deep tissue massage and acupuncture. We worked out a plan and got together.
I believe in self-healing. I am absolutely certain that people have far more control over their health than they think they do. Living a good, honest life, eating mostly healthy food, getting enough rest and exercise are all one needs to be healthy. Spirituality may help – it sure helps me. If I have a bone sticking out, I’ll go to a doctor, but in this case I figured they wouldn’t do anything for me but tell me I was bit by a spider and write a handful of ‘scripts. I don’t need any more pills, thank you kindly.
As of this writing, I’ve had two sessions of deep tissue work and acupuncture. It’s amazing how much better I feel. I’m still stiff and sore in the morning, but a couple aspirin and some shoulder-rolls take care of that well enough for me to go to work. I definitely advocate body work.
Health care is a big issue right now. Most of us can’t afford doctors even if we need them. Even so, many of us go to them for treatment when we could do it ourselves. I’m not suggesting anybody try to cure HIV with rosehips or crystals or any crazy shit like that, but if you have soreness or congestion or some such, a little research will lead you to a variety of cheap and simple treatments. If you’re going to have a baby – or want to avoid same – any midwife can do as much for you as a doctor. Giving your body the care it requires will prevent many ailments and simply believing in your ability to be healthy will go a long way to make you so. DIY ain’t just for releasing music, son. In those cases when you can’t massage and/or stick needles in your own back, there may be someone in your community who can do that for you in exchange for food, work or whatever special skill you have. Meeting and interacting in help giving/getting ways with the people in our communities is important.
And avoid these:
Circumstances obliged me to be present for a musical performance by a duo recently, a pair of optimistic, young, well-bred, white people who had done some traveling, in other words, hippies. They were competent musicians. The fellow impressed me with his chops on the jaw harp, an instrument I’ve struggled to get any results from. Unfortunately, they were using their talents in a truly horrible way.
After the second song, I said to a friend “Sounds like somebody spent a summer in India.” The next song was introduced thus: “This next song is one we learned when we spent a summer in India.” I’m not kidding. It was that obvious. They had a chord organ and hand drums and were singing praises to Krishna.
Another friend, a young man whose parents emigrated from Iraq, joined our conversation. His own experience made him somewhat more outraged about the cultural appropriation taking place on stage than me and the other white guy. “Where do these fucking rich-kid hippie assholes get the idea that it’s okay for them to steal from other cultures?” We ragged on them ‘til they packed up their tambura and stumbled off to smoke ganja and congratulate each other on their ability to spend their parents’ money on vacations in under-developed nations and then ragged on them some more until we got bored with it.
Where do fucking rich-kid hippie assholes get the idea that it’s okay for them to steal from other cultures? I can only assume that they’re so insulated by privilege that they truly cannot understand how offensive they really are. They honestly believe that the fact that they spent a couple months between semesters in India gives them the right to co-opt the parts of Indian culture that are easily marketed to other fucking rich-kid hippie assholes. They were warmly applauded by the audience members who fit that description, some of whom actually acknowledge the existence of this low-born, middle-aged, unattractive and untraveled Espresso Shaman occasionally – usually when they want something.
I’m going someplace with this – someplace other than displaying my contempt for rich-kid hippies. The BDSR catalog includes a cd titled Vodou Chile, which contains sounds sampled from recordings of Haitian Vodou ceremonies. And Rangda Electric, which has samples from recordings of rituals involving Rangda, the Balinese death-witch-goddess. The song “Smells Like American Spirit” was built on field recordings of Lakota war chants. I could on quite a while listing the BDSR material that I stole from cultures not my own. Actually, that’s not true. I have sampled and stolen so much material from so many sources over the years that I’ve forgotten where most of it came from. In some rare cases, I might be able to identify a sample, but only if it’s something really obvious like the drum/bass intro to Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” which I used on something that hasn’t been released yet.
So, what’s the difference? How is my rampant sampling of field recordings of the rituals and ceremonies of other cultures unlike the music of the pair of hippies I was so freely criticizing above? I don’t know. I could offer a bunch of excuses and justifications, but I suspect it really comes down to my own natural tendency to believe that it’s okay when I do it. I’m me; therefore my actions are somehow okay. Ya know, the exact same arrogance that I find so deplorable when I see it in people who are younger, prettier and wealthier than me.
I’ll see your cultural appropriation and raise you hypocrisy.
Or maybe not. I dunno. I am too close to me to be able to be able to tell whether there is, in fact, a difference. I know my friends well enough to know that they wouldn’t be able to give me any kind of clear answer either. They’re biased by their friendship with me and their own cultural thefts. We’re Americans. Our country is built on cultural theft.
So. I accept any and all criticism. I am guilty. I do this at work, too. When someone mentions the fact that I am loud, coarse, intimidating, self-righteous &c., I acknowledge the truth of what they’re saying. It really throws people off. They expect defensiveness and/or contrition. When they’re confronted with a bald-faced admission of guilt, they don’t know what to do. Tack on some bullshit about personal growth being a journey, not a destination, and they’re ready to apologize. It’s amazing how well it works. I did it the last time I was in front of a judge and not only did I walk out of the courtroom, the felony charge was dropped from my record.
I realize I might be seeming a bit more like a slimy weasel than usual right now. I’m taking that voice for humor. It’s an indisputable fact that I am a grossly flawed human being, but I really am honestly committed to becoming less so. I am much less of a scumbag than I was ten years ago and I’m miles away from the drunken, strung-out thief I was a few years before that, but I’m not perfect nor do I intend to be in the foreseeable future. Most people are slimy weasels when you get down to it, though politicians are more so. Admitting one’s flaws is a very small step in the right direction.
I will continue to sample other peoples’ works. I think everything I’ve done falls under the “Fair Use” clause. A nice, juicy lawsuit from some major label would only be a good thing for BDSR. And I’m still able to convince myself that I’m doing something different or that motives are purer or that BDSR is a project with such an overarching scope that pilfering from oppressed aborigines is okay.
Also, unlike one of the above-mentioned fucking rich-kid hippie assholes, I would never be seen in public wearing a white fedora.
Also again, for white hippies stealing from India and making it awesome, check out Saddhu Brand’s 1970 platter Whole Earth Rhythm.
At work, I happened to look out into the dining room and saw a little girl, about seven, round face, sleepy eyes, shoulder-length blond hair tucked behind her ears, picking her nose with her thumb. It hit me that I was seeing my own daughter, two years older.
I don’t remember right now where I encountered the idea of the Long Body. It’s a Native American concept, but that’s a big group of different peoples with different life ways and ideologies. At any rate though, the Long Body is the body you will occupy all through your life, your body in four dimensions –the fourth being time. It was Einstein, of course, who had the idea that time was a dimension or something like a dimension, an idea which was pretty radical for the scientific community. The Long Body concept takes that as a given.
People tend to associate with people their own age when they can. That’s probably always been true – we like people who are like ourselves. Those who are close to us in age are generally at the same stage in life, generally have the same interests and tastes. That’s perfectly normal and natural.
In the past, everyone was regularly exposed to people of all ages. Before the Industrial Revolution, things changed very slowly. Certainly there were “generation gaps”, but they were not as extreme as what we know now. The Baby Boom after WWII and the social upheaval that happened when the Baby Boomers (aka “the Worst Generation”) reached their teens and caught the attention of marketers created the Generation Gap, capitalized. Youth culture became a thing. People stopped associating with their elders whenever they could, advertisers realized they could cash in big on selling fabricated youthfulness, age became awful and eternal youth became the obviously unattainable goal. The phrase “midlife crisis” appeared as aging Boomers pathetically scrambled to return to their glory days, listening to Beach Boys boxsets in their PT Cruisers. Viagra made it possible for old farts to get boners so they could fuck their kids’ friends. Fucking disgusting.
(The peak year of the post-war Baby Boom was 1947. Allowing a life expectancy of eighty-three years, we can expect to be rid of the vast majority of Baby Boomers by 2030 and then we’ll never have to hear “Octopus’ Garden” again.)
Friends, we’re all gonna die. Some of us will be lucky enough to get old first. I, personally, intend to live to 100. Beyond that, I have no aspirations. I am not afraid of old age. I expect to be able to work at a job well into my seventies, after which I’ll retire to just make music and art and be a burden on my daughter. I’ve begun to see some signs of aging – I’m sorer after much physical labor and I’m losing my close-up vision. I recently found a pair of reading glasses, but my arms are long enough that I don’t really need to use them yet.
Getting old is a good thing. Ideally, age brings wisdom, but in any case it brings the knowledge of experience. I thoroughly advocate aging. I also thoroughly advocate finding old people who are the kind of old people one wants to become and looking to them for example. I haven’t really dug much of Tom Waits’ music since 2000, but I do respect him as an old guy who has stayed true to himself, avoided any attempt to fake youth and has continued to follow his muse. Johnny Cash was another old guy who stayed his course, exploring artistically without selling out right up to the end. Cash’s version of “personal Jesus” is a remarkable adaptation, a cover that transcended the limited cheese appeal of the original to become something no one could have foreseen. Joseph Campbell grew old the right way: letting go of the forms and follies of youth and middle age without ever giving up or giving in. All three established a degree of stately dignity that I find entirely appropriate to age. There are a few individuals in my own life who stand out as examples of the right way to get old, but you don’t know them.
I should point out that being cool is not something to aspire to. Campbell was never cool. Waits and Cash are cool now, but they became cool by never giving a shit about being cool. Try not to be cool. Also, banging chicks and horking blow are not things one should hold in high esteem. Jack Nicholson may be a hero to the Worst Generation, but he’s a scumbag and never was much of an actor.
So, the Long Body. The body you were born with is the one they’ll bury. It’s a good body and deserving of care, but it is only a meat carriage. Don’t be too upset when the parts start to wear out. Find some old people who have the kind of qualities you want to have when you’re old – if you’re lucky enough to get old – and follow their example.
And enjoy children. You’ll never be one again, but you can enjoy childhood through them.
‘S been a while since I did anything here – life, in all its glorious permutations, got in the way somewhat. Amongst the activities was a move out to Singers Glen, self-proclaimed “Birthplace Of Sacred Music In The South”. I haven’t seen the birth certificate on that and don’t know how that claim can be justified, but I am not going to kick up a fuss. BDSR makes sacred music in the South. It’s entirely apropos that we should come to the source.
This really is a dream come true. I grew up in small towns around Rockingham County – when we went to town, Harrisonburg was the town we went to. We lived just across the line in Augusta for a few years, but Rockingham is my home county. My great-great-great-grandfather served his country in an infantry unit called the Rockingham Rifles, under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. In the rural South, you can’t get much more local than that.
I moved to Harrisonburg when I moved out of my parents’ houses, left H’burg a number of times, but always returned. H’burg has a way of pulling back – a fact I used to curse when I was trying to escape. A few years back, about the same time the Spotted Opossum came out of her ma, I had a major shift in consciousness about all that. I realized – understood the “realness” – that I am rooted deep in this specific place, surrounded by these holy mountains and that any energy I spent trying to leave was wasted. I will live and die in Rockingham County, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and I am Earthmotherfucking fine with that.
A year or so ago, a guy I knew when I was a teenage pothead moved back to town. We met up and he started participating in BDSR under the nom de guerre Black X. He stumbled onto a house for rent about the time I was looking for my next digs and it all fell together. We moved out here last week. I still got shit in beer boxes all over. The landlady told me the original owner was a character named Ray Hollar which immediately gave the house a name, the Hollar House. We’ve got a basement we can jam in, a yard where we can shoot guns, an overgrown area where the little grrrl can pick berries and get poison ivy. All the comforts, joys and bugs of a country home. We can actually see constellations here. Last night I stood beside the mailbox and pissed in the road. We sit on the porch, burning sticks in a bucket, listening to the crickets and owls and Gods knows what’s making those sounds. It’s unfuckinbelievable.
Other than that it’s been the usual summertime stuff – painting houses, cooking in the little restaurant, sitting around picnic tables or leaning on the truck talking with friends ‘til late at night, taking little girls to the woods to splash in creeks, catch crawdads and tadpoles, all that wonderful shite. The restaurant is closed for our annual maintenance week. I’ve been ripping out rotten footers, pouring concrete, cutting out useless pipe, really enjoying using power tools to tear shit up before fixing shit up. A couple friends are starting on-line retail businesses, both of which will allow me an opportunity to peddle wares without having to set up my own eshop. I got a big tattoo, a piece of traditional American flash that I’ve been wanting for a while.
On the BDSR front, not much in the way of shows. Less happens locally when the college students are away. Drummer Boy was gone for a bit, visiting kin, but he’s back and chomping at the bit to play somewhere. There’s a new house setting up the basement, so we’ll be there making hellacious noise soon enough. There’s a bunch of releases coming out as soon as the various labels put ‘em out – a split with Medicine Calf, a split with Garage Olimpo, the “Crazy Bush” compilation. Somebody somewhere is sitting on a full-length cd that will drop eventually. I’ve got material in the can that I’ll get around to finishing up and put out from here. Lots of stuff going up on Bandcamp all the time – that’s been a really great outlet for short blurts and scattershot. My natural desire is always to go for the longest possible jam, but the time-limited format of Bandcamp has proven extremely fertile. All the individual tracks there are free, but you can pay for them if you really wanna. I dunno why you’d wanna do that.
Today I’m driving down to the other end of the county for a family reunion. I expect there’ll be forty feet of rock-solid good Southern food made by women of German descent, some of which won’t contain dead animal. My rotten kid will get to play with cousins she seldom sees. (The family reunions of my childhood took place at the old farm way back in the mountains of West Virginia and involved a lot of playing in the immediate vicinity of rattlesnakes and black widow spiders. The WVA branch of the family died out, shifting the center to Bridgewater, VA, which is easier for me and safer for the grrrl, but also means a certain amount of loss. I assure you, I’m making sure she gets the proper exposure to the hazards and harms of a rural childhood.)(Remind me to tell you about the WVA branch sometime. The patriarch of that clan was on “medicinal marijuana” and a helluva fiddler.)
So that’s where we are and how we are. I hope you’re doing well, and if you’re not, we’ve got a bedroom we’re interested in letting out. Maybe a move to the country is what you need.
“Religion is what the individual does with his solitariness.” – A. N. Whitehead
I know absolutely nothing about Mr. Whitehead. The quote above came from I And That – Notes On The Biology Of Religion by Alex Comfort, which I got at the free book stand in front of Downtown Books, a local bookstore that has somehow managed to stay in business. It’s a good book. The title refers to Martin Buber’s I And Thou, obviously. I haven’t finished it, but the gist of it is that the impulse to religion is inherent to the human animal; that the reason all of the world’s religions share so many common ideas and themes is that all people share the same biological blueprint, which is reflected abstractly in the ideas and themes of religion. This is a concept that I’ve encountered many times before, but Comfort delves into it in more detail. I And That is a bit dry, but certainly worth the effort.
Whitehead’s line about religion is thought-provoking. The first thought it provoked in me was “The word is solitude, not ‘solitariness’.” I certainly think religion is a little more than that, but that is a good starting point.
I had some solitude recently, an unusual thing. A whole day with no work and no little grrrl. I laid around drinking coffee for an hour or so – which is how I begin every day – then went out to Fridley’s Gap, one of my regular National Forest haunts. Usually when I go there I tread the same ground, but this time I decided to find my way to a rock face I’d been admiring on a ridge I’d never been to. I guessed where it was – I couldn’t see it from the bottom of the gap because of trees and didn’t want to climb above the tree line to get oriented. I just lit out a-walking. It was a beautiful morning of sunshine and cool breezes, butterflies and birds, scratches and spider webs. I wandered through some blackened areas – they were doing controlled burns out there last month – and was pleased to see the little green shoots coming up through the burn, ants crawling out of charred logs, new life popping up all over.
As I got higher, the mountain got rockier. Big hunks of stone jutting up out of the earth, like bones. Higher still, the trees thinned and I could see the valley stretching out, brown and green rectangles of farmland. The turkey buzzards were soaring in slow circles, riding the up-drafts. I could see their red heads turning from side to side as they searched the gap below for brunch. There were feathers on the rocks and I gathered a bunch of them, shoving them into the band of my hat. I found a dog bowl and slate marker on a cairn. I shed my cut-offs and laid there naked in the sun on a rock that was a hundred-billion years old. The mountains here were once like the Himalayas. They were that big. Unimaginable time has worn them down to the gentle, rolling mounds they are today.
I was in a slightly altered state up there on the mountain. I felt like I could just wander and wander, seeing and seeking the next rock face, scanning the cliffs for the chance to climb down for another wing-feather, gazing off at ridges and valleys and then suddenly seeing the shape of the wind-blasted cedar right beside me. It happens every time. I always feel like I could just drift off and become part of the mountain and I expect one day I will.
Eventually, I started heading down. There were more burned areas to blacken my feet, thorns to scratch my shins, bear shit to remind me to look for bears. I found a trail. There was actually a trail that led pretty damn close to where I was going which I followed back to where I’d begun. I was glad for the trail, which made returning easier, but glad I had forged my own way out. There’s a little swimming hole at Fridley’s Gap which I jumped into and then down to the truck. A bunch of cars pulled into the parking area when I got there – big, loud people with lots of kids, coolers, folding chairs and assorted errata. I was glad they were going to the swimming hole and gladder that I’d already been.
There are always carcasses around the parking area at Fridley’s. Hunters kill deer, cut out the loins and saw off the racks then leave the rest to rot. I always look around for bones I can use. This time I found a coyote. There’s no good meat on a coyote – people kill them just to kill them. The skull had been busted, but was mostly intact and I was able to find both pieces of the lower jaw. I brought it home and was able to wood-glue it back together pretty good.
Nap. Worked on some recordings. Dinner was beans and rice with a liberal amount of pickled Thai chilis. Then I went to hang out with friends, which ended the solitariness.
Every bit of that was my religion. But as I said, that’s only the starting point. Hanging out with friends is part of my religion, as is taking the sprat to playgrounds and working and sleeping and anything else I do. I’ve come to agree with the great mystics of all religions who say there is no sacred and no profane. Everything is a thing of God/Brahman/WakanTanka. Every action is a rite. I’ve spent years attaining to this understanding. Yes, I am sometimes less conscious of it, but I’m always somewhat conscious. It takes work and practice and repetition, but it does come and when it does, the world is different. Some people experience it as a sudden awakening. For me it’s been more gradual. I have had epiphanies, but mostly I’ve just grown into my awareness that the world around me is a manifestation of Divinity and that I am as well.
Comfort is quite correct. Religion is a reflection, in abstract language, of our inner selves. Jesus said as much. So did the Buddha. God/Nirvana/Shiva are within us already. All we have to do is realize and start acting like it.
One of the conditions of one of my jobs is that I will be exposed to the “fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” that is Glenn Beck. The job pays well, so I tolerate it.
Mr. Beck recently delivered a sermon/rant protesting the oppression of heterosexual white men in America, during which he mentioned several individuals –heterosexual white males - who have made significant positive contributions to society, but obviously, he could not mention them all. I would like to mention a few heterosexual white males, unnamed by Mr. Beck, who have made the world a better place.
Moondog, aka the Viking of Sixth Avenue. Completely insane experimental composer, blinded by a farm accident which somehow involved a dynamite cap when he was a teenager. Moondog had some brilliant ideas about rhythm: he felt it shouldn’t be so rigid, a concept that this Espresso Shaman independently stumbled onto some years ago. Moondog’s most famous composition is a song titled “ENOUGH ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS”. You can expect a BDSR version of that to hit the Bandcamp in the near future.
Raymond Scott was among the greatest lunatics in the early years of jazz, composing frenetic songs with titles like “Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals”. He also composed soothing, electronic music for babies and built room-sized “instruments”. Warner Brothers bought the rights to all of his music and used it in Bugs Bunny cartoons. You’ve heard “Powerhouse”.
Father Yod. The Pacific Theatre in World War II was horrific. Islands were battled over repeatedly. It wasn’t unusual for there to be corpses laying around in various states of decay. Everyone who was there was affected by it – including my grandfather – and some couldn’t return to “normal” life afterwards. Father Yod came back from the war, tried to resume his life in New Jersey, but somehow found himself out in California with long hair, a beard, several “spirit wives” and a psychedelic rock band. Huh. Yod gave everybody new names – the “family name” was Aquarius – put out a couple LPs and died in a hang-gliding accident.
Benny Goodman. I’m totally serious. Goodman wasn’t a ground-breaking musician, but he put out a shitload of very good jazz. And he was the first bandleader to appear on stage with a racially mixed combo. Or at least the first one anybody knows about. I’m sure that blacks and whites had played music in front of audiences before, but Goodman did it big and he knew he was taking a chance. It could’ve meant the end of his career, but he went ahead and did it. That deserves some props.
Roky Erickson. Jesus motherfucking Christ, man. Roky has been to the mountains of madness and has returned to tell the tale. I’ve seen some of the alligators and I’ve been up in the attic with that baby ghost, but I can’t begin to convey the reality of insanity like Roky Erickson. Saddhu, saddhu, saddhu.
Angus MacLise. I’ve waxed poetic all over MacLise, but I don’t think I mentioned the fact that he was a heterosexual white male. Also, he was the original percussionist for the Velvet Underground. I’m kinda glad his big ego clashed with Lou Reed’s – if Maclise had stayed with VU, we wouldn’t’ve gotten to hear Mo Tucker’s monobeat. I like monobeat. I use it a lot. Lou Reed was a white male, but he wasn’t entirely heterosexual so he doesn’t make this list. Also, I pretty much can’t stand anything he did after Metal Machine Music. MacLise died of malnutrition in Nepal.
Harry Smith. Of all these, Smith is the one I most identify with. He was an artist, film-maker, musician and all-around nutjob. He was a mystic, a visionary, a hoarder, who spent much of his life in poverty. Of all his accomplishments, the one he is most known for is compiling the Anthology Of American Folk Music, a goddammed eight-album set of the best of traditional American songs fron the 1920’s. The Anthology woke America up to her own heritage, which was in danger of being lost forever, and sparked the Folk Revival of the ‘60’s which yielded a raft of watered-down, bullshit pseudofolk by assholes like the New Riders Of The Purple Sage and the Grateful Dead, but that can’t be blamed on Smith.
At the end of his life, Smith was able to say “I saw my dream come true. I saw the world changed by music.”
Full disclosure: I am also a heterosexual white male. However, I am not at all bothered by the backlash against heterosexual white males that so troubles Mr. Beck. I completely understand how and why women, people of color and non-hets are a bit peeved about the demographic that has only very recently begun to lose the power to keep them segregated, alienated, incarcerated, frustrated, voiceless, choiceless and generally holding the shit end of the stick. I understand because I’ve been involved in the fight against oppression for decades. I may be a man but I’ve never been the Man.
Glenn Beck is the Man. He is the embodiment of the white heterosexual power structure that has clung to wealth and power and forced anyone not like him into ghettos or reservations all through America’s history. Now that those people have started to gain ground in the struggle for freedom and equality, Beck is cashing in on the fear felt by “his” people. Fuck that asshole. Fuck that heterosexual white male piece of shit. Fuck him for being so desperate to stay on top of the social heap and fuck him again for profiting by selling racist, sexist, homophobic justifications to people who are just as heinous as he is.
I’m not gonna quit that job. I like painting houses. I’d rather do it for the fun of doing it, but unfortunately, I live in capitalist America, so I need filthy lucre to live and it does pay well.
Took the Spotted Opossum to the Little Grill for blueberry pancakes. Ran into one of her friends, a wild-haired little imp, attended by a baby-sitter who was also a teacher at the grrrl’s old pre-school. We shared a table, the wee’uns had a good time kicking each other under the table and giggling about whatever inside jokes they were in on and I was able to treat everybody out of my employee food credit fund.
The girl and I got in the little red truck and rolled on out to the country. We bounced around a bit looking for the best possible spot and settled on Rawley Springs, one of our reoccurring playgrounds in the G. Washington Nat’l Park. The dam we worked on last summer was mostly knocked down – as I expected – so that gave us some work to do. We also had this little flower-pressing book from an arts’n’craftsy set she got for Xmas, so we looked around for flowers and leaves to press. And, of course, there were spiders and bugs to exclaim over, stare at and talk about. She wants me to pick up all the creepy-crawlies so she can see them, but she don’t wanna hold ‘em herself. No crawdads or tadpoles yet. They’ll come along.
We encountered a group of Indians – from India – who were out for out for a hike. They had some concerns about bears and snakes which I was able to address to their satisfaction. While I was talking to a couple of them, I noticed another one standing back and taking my picture. I had an image of how I might look to them – a bearded, tattooed American, wearing camo pants and a battered, brown leather hat, holding a little girl on his hip. I imagined them home, in Benares, showing their friends the picture of the rustic mountaineer they encountered, hanging out in the woods with his daughter – the same way American tourists talk about the exotic people they met when traveling. It was an amusing thought. I was glad to run into them, glad to be able to tell them they didn’t have to worry about bears – they all stay away from where people are – or snakes – we have some dangerous varieties, but they won’t be out and about for a few weeks.
There was one scary moment – I left the girl alone for a minute to take a picture of something. I explained to her where I was going and she said she wanted to stay where she was to do what she was doing, so I gave her the standard line about staying out of the water ‘til I got back and went. I was gone for a minute or so and when I got back she wasn’t where I left her.
Friends, I know a bit about myth and folklore. I know that there are many stories about magicians whose hearts are not in their bodies – they have removed their hearts and stored them in some protected place. This prevents them from aging and they cannot be killed by direct attack. Usually, these are dark magicians; the hero has to find the hidden heart and destroy it to stop the magician’s evil works. In faery tales, giants = parents/adults, so maybe these stories have to do with parents, I dunno, but I sure do know what it’s like to have one’s heart located outside of one’s own body. Any parent knows that.
In a trice, I was thigh-deep in the river, spinning around and hollering her name. My daughter is the only person I’ve ever met who is more important to me than me and she was not where I left her. That’s a form of terror that I can’t put into words. Parents understand; others can’t.
I saw a little blond head through the bushes up the trail. She had gone after me, heard me call and, running back to me, had tripped on a root and fallen down. We had missed each other in crossing because I didn’t come back along the trail – I took a shorter, more direct course. She was crying because she fell and I was kinda dazed by the wave of fear I’d felt, but we got through it. She does need to learn to be okay by herself for short periods and I need to learn that she can handle it. That’s part of facilitating her developing need for independence. I’ve left her alone for a minute or two before and she was fine… just one of those things, I guess.
After five hours, we’d eaten all our trail mix, pressed a bunch of foliage, rebuilt the dam and she was sprawled out on a rock with the towel pulled over her like a blanket so it was time for heading home. Back at the shack, dinner, activity books and puzzles, finally off to bed.
And why is this “Bridge Of Dread”? Well, it’s like this: Sub Rosa released a double-cd set of works by Angus MacLise, The Cloud Doctrine, back in ’04 or so. I was already a fan of the man’s musical explorations so I snapped it up. It’s all impressive, but “Universal Solar Calendar” really jumped out at me. The piece is MacLise reading a loooooong list of seemingly random phrases which I soon realized was his naming of the days of the year. I did some research and was eventually able to orient MacLise’s calendar to the Gregorian and ever since then I’ve christened my day-planners by going through and writing in the name of each day. Sometimes, I need a title for a piece and nothing is coming to mind, so I check the name of the day when I completed the piece.
“The Supernatural Bride”, an acoustic guitar mediation that was the BDSR side of a split cassette with Matt Riley was recorded on the day Angus MacLise named “The Supernatural Bride”. “Days Of The Zenith”, a track on From Pussys To Death And Back Again/Eternal Freakout, was recorded during the series of days named “First Day Of The Zenith” through “Fifth Day Of The Zenith”. An early BDSR cd, The Transcendental Outhouse, which was a tribute to Angus MacLise and contained his reading of “Universal Solar Calendar” covered in sludge, was centered around a live show recorded on the day he named “The Transcendental Outpost”. I tweaked that one slightly.
An unintended, but welcome, consequence of using MacLise’s day names this way is that certain days are fixed in my memory. Whenever I look at my planner and see that the day is “The Transcendental Outpost”, I remember that show, in that damp basement, in that apartment where I painted a huge, day-glo Jolly Rodger on my wall with the slogan “Some Day, Some Happy Day”, where the Spotted Opossum was conceived, where her mom and I split up. “The Supernatural Bride” was a different apartment, the girl was a toddler. “Descent Of The Host”, which hasn’t been released, was this place right here, where I’m sitting right now and the name of the day I’m writing is “First Day Of The Zenith”, so we’ve come back around to that, and the memory I have is that creaky glider-chair where I sat in the middle of the night, recording Pussys To Death, exhausted from twelve-hour workdays, but determined to plow ahead.
I didn’t realize when I first wrote “Universal Solar Calendar” in a day-planner that I was setting myself up to experience the annual cycle in a new way – new to me, but not new. Holy days are supposed to function this way. Michaelmas, Candlemas, Good Friday, St. Stephen’s Day – the Church calendar is peppered with saints and special observances. All the religions have their ways of designating the passage of the year, ways of marking out specific days and linking them to memories. This teaches us to know the individual days of our lives as unique, while also illustrating the steady march of time, which leads inevitably to death and then on to whatever happens after that. It’s a good system.
I want to remember taking the Spotted Opossum out to Rawley Springs to press flowers and play by the creek. It was a good day, the first day warm enough to go out there and get in the cold, clean mountain water. It was a wonderful daughter/daddy day, boo-boo and all, in the midst of a season of troubles and strife. Things ain’t exactly as I would wish them to be, but I did have that day with the girl and that day will now be associated with “Bridge Of Dread”.
This is pretty much how I operate. I stumble into things. When I became a vegetarian, I was motivated by some sort of vague sense that maybe being a vegetarian would somehow be a desirable thing. Eventually, I began to associate my abstinence from meat, fish and fowl with the dietary restrictions imposed by various religions. I am morally opposed to factory farming and I believe that consuming massive amounts of animals is unhealthy, but I’m a vegetarian because being a vegetarian causes me to be aware of my relationship with Divinity. I stumbled into the “Universal Solar Calendar” as a way of designating the days of the year and marking them out in my memory. I follow the inspirations and see where they lead. And I heartily encourage other people to do the same.
When one is open to the influence of spirits and/or Spirit, that influence comes. Intuitions and weird ideas float in, wanting to be made manifest. It takes a little practice to figure out which ideas are ego bullshit and which ones are inspirations – I get tripped up occasionally. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Generally though, I find myself stumbling happily along, realizing after the fact that some random thing I did for no known reason has influenced me in ways I never coulda/woulda seen coming.
I got ordained today. Somebody was talking about how she’s supposed to officiate at a friend’s wedding – apparently, you can be temporarily ordained by a Justice of the Peace to officiate at one wedding – and I mentioned that it’s actually really easy to be ordained. Anybody can do it. I pulled up a website and in a few minutes, I was ordained. I didn’t order my official certificate because, while the ordination is free, you have to pay for the paperwork. I would’ve but I blew my last paycheck on electricity and child support. But even without the paperwork, I am ordained and can perform weddings. And I will perform: if anybody is willing to cover travel, food and lodging, plus a nominal fee, I will officiate at their wedding and I’ll play at the reception free of charge. I’m totally serious. I don’t care if you’re straight or gay, just trying to get citizenship or anything. I’ll marry polyamorous covens on peyote in a nudist camp – actually, I’ll waive the fee for that.
Officiating at weddings is only one of the services I am willing and able to provide, only one of the many things I can do for you. As a deeply spiritual person, I am always looking for opportunities to contribute something positive to the world we live in.
Anyone reading this surely knows about the hours upon hours of noisy (not Noise), experimental, mostly improvisational and frequently difficult music that I have made available, much of it totally free, none of it priced at the ridiculously high rates charged by the mainstream music industry scum. You may also know that I have taken the Vow of the Bodhisattva and that I will, therefore, remain voluntarily in the cycle of death and rebirth, forsaking the incomprehensible bliss of Nirvana, until all sentient beings have achieved Enlightenment, at which point there will be no one left except a bunch of Bodhisattvas standing around saying “no, please, after you”. If you need a koan, I can provide you with one. If you are so close to attaining Enlightenment that all you need is someone to whack you with a stick or shout “katz!” at you, come on over. (Occasionally I pass a Wal-Mart or I see someone wearing an Insane Clown Posse shirt and I think about how many incarnations it’s going to take for all those assholes to be Awakened and I get kinda bummed out. I took the Vow – now I’m kinda stuck with it.)
If you’ve been following this thing for a while, you may recall that I once announced that I was starting a shamanic advice column. I got only one query from a snarky little barista, which I responded to with all due respect, but the advice column still stands. Send an email, letter or hand me a note and I will solve your life problem(s) right here in this space.
These are a few of the services I will provide. There are others. For example, if you ever need a B-side or a track to submit to a compilation – possibly a comp I am organizing – send me one of your songs and I’ll do a dub version. Actually, I don’t need the whole thing, just the drums and bass. If your song doesn’t have drums or bass, that’s fine. Just send what you have and I’ll do an alternative mix.
Need art? I got that. Need cover art? Well, by golly, let’s talk. I do a lot of the cover art for BDSR – if the label is willing to do it, I’m usually happy to let them – and I would be happy to provide cover art for you. Unless you are Insane Clown Posse, in which case I won’t.
Handpoke tattoos: $20/hr. I used to do them for free, but then I got tired of doing them. Another thing I used to do for free that I now charge $20/hr for: explaining why I don’t like your poetry.
Also, I’m a shaman. I shamanize. Usually, that takes the form of organizing and participating in performances, but I do other shamany shit too. For example, if your community is experiencing drought or if your usual food-animals have disappeared from the hunting grounds, I would happy to take care of that for you. I would, of course, require the complete cooperation of your community and payment in advance. Provide me with the details – estimates are free.
I admit that I am not as skilled as some at diagnosing and treating physical ailments. I have not focused much attention on this aspect of the shaman trade. I can witch your warts away, sure, that’s easy. If you have a lump on your testicle or bloody diarrhea, go to a fucking doctor. I will attend to some cases involving mental disorders, but I gotta tell ya, those can be tricky. Some things, situational depression for example, are relatively easy to cure; others can’t be cured at all. Certainly, a hearty helping of shamanic ritual can break through the psychological barriers that prevent an individual from locating their own hidden resources, which can completely eliminate some conditions and can make others much easier to deal with, but I would never advise anyone to substitute shamanic medicine for SSRIs or any other form of pharmacology. In general, I advocate psychiatric treatment, including medication as prescribed by the attending physician, as well as active spiritual development as the best possible treatment for mental disorders. As your Espresso Shaman, I would be happy to assist you in dealing with your fucked-up brain.
Obviously, I am able to facilitate vision quests. I prefer to host, as my spirit animals are happiest here in the oldest mountain range in the world. I can travel, but that’ll cost ya. A vision quest is not a camping trip. There will be no Iron John-style men’s movement New Age bullshit. You will not have fun and there is no guarantee that you will have any kind of vision. Basically, you will pay me to take you out into the woods, get you lost, tell you to sit someplace for a day or so with no food and almost no water, without sleeping, possibly enduring some additional hardships which I will make up on the spot, all in the hope of experiencing some sort of vision or hallucination or esoteric wet dream or whatthefuckever and if you don’t get what you’re after, tough shit. Also, you will have to sign a waiver so your family can’t sue me if you die. You could just do it yourself, though I would advise doing a bit of research first. If you do hire me to facilitate your vision quest, I will help you figure out what you experienced, if anything. That’s really the crux of the whole vision quest thing. Anybody can go sit in the woods and be uncomfortable for a few days and almost anybody who does so will have some sort of noteworthy experience, but if you don’t know how to separate the wheat from the chaff and make sense of it, it’s nigh impossible to put it to any good use.
Musical instruction is not part of the shamanic trade, but I don’t feel the need to be bound by tradition, so: shamanic guitar lessons. Whether you are an accomplished shredder or a rank amateur, I will teach you to slough off “the right way” to play guitar and access your own personal style of making sounds come out of a guitar with no regard whatsoever for how “good” or “bad” those sounds are. The whole (spirit) world of shamanolodics will open up before you, beckoning you to strum your way in.
Honestly, though, it really is easier to teach people who don’t know anything. If you’re one of those, I will teach some basics – you really do have to know a little bit before you can launch off into inner space. I don’t mean sight-reading or transposition or any of that useless shit; I mean I’ll explain standard tuning so you’ll know what to avoid, how to annoy the shit out of people with perfect pitch and what to feed your wolf tones. If you don’t have a guitar, you can use one of mine until I locate one to sell you.
If you do know how to play, I’ll still work with you, but I’ll be a lot more abusive. It’s for your own good.
What else? I can explain Finnegans Wake, extract teeth, paint fences… really, I’m wide open. As I said, I’m constantly looking for ways to make the world a better place, constantly looking for ways to be of service.
How may I help you?
- I was hanging out down town with the Spotted Opossum, looking at flowers and bees and talking about flowers and bees and some guys were trimming the shrubbery around the Methodist church. They had gas powered trimmers. One guy, nearer to us, was keeping a steady buzzing drone. The other guy, kinda behind the shrubs, was fading out, stopping and powering back up. The trimmers were barely out of tune, off by a few cents, which created a wonderful effect:
Binaural beating: DROoOoOoOoOoOoOoOne
It was awesome. I really enjoyed those trimmers. There is so much amazing soundage going on all the time. I have no idea why people listen to the shit they listen to.
The Flying Burrito Brothers?
Fuck that. Gimme power tools or crickets anyday.
- The hardest part of fasting is remembering you’re fasting. There’s food all over the place and it’s all too easy to pick something up – a piece of candy, to take an example that caught me off-guard today. It is certainly preferable to maintain the fast, but a little bite is nothing to fret over. We are, after all, merely human. Resume the fast and try harder.
- The title of this blog puns on The Varieties Of Religious Experience by William James. I considered “Vagaries Of Religious Experience”, but a Google search showed that many people had already used that. “Vulgarities” makes more sense for my purposes anyway since part of what The Big Drum In The Sky Religion is about is blurring the line between the sacred and the profane, not to profane the sacred, but to sanctify the profane. We believe that everything is sacred. Fuck. Shit. Piss.
- What’s behind the mask? Imagine a face that is equal parts Lance Henrikson and Steve Buscemi, but with Walter Mathau’s nose. Got it?
- People outside Harrisonburg might think that The Big Drum In The Sky Religion are hometown heroes. Nothing could be further from the truth. It ain’t that the locals hate us; it’s that they don’t give a shit. We aren’t attractive, we don’t go to the right parties and we sure as shit don’t play indie/alt post-punk math-rock or any form of metal. Mark 6:4 seems relevant here. King James Version, as always.
- This Espresso Shaman regularly and enthusiastically supports the ELF, which means there is no fuggin’ way I can participate in any of that shit. I have a small child and an arrest record; it would be foolhardy and reckless for me to get involved with any kinda domestic terrorist organization, no matter how righteous it might be.
Nevertheless, I support in intangible ways. For example, I would encourage people who do not have the complications I have to get involved, after learning a bit about security culture. One cannot be too cautious with that kind of thing.
Same holds true with the ALF.
- I don’t like being touched. I don’t mind shaking hands and I can handle the very brief semi-hug and cheek-kiss that happens when I see my Mom or Grandma, but beyond that: don’t like it. Obviously, I don’t mind general contact with women I’m sleeping with, but at this writing, I’m not sleeping with any women nor am I particularly interested in any. My daughter is the exception: she likes a lot of physical contact and I enjoy it with her.
I used to think the fact that I don’t like human contact meant there was something wrong with me. Then I just accepted it. There’s no reason for me to try to make myself enjoy hugging everybody or having people do that thing they do where they touch your arm when they’re talking because they want you to know they’re warm and caring people. Fuck that.
I did a Google search once on “i don’t like being touched” and discovered that it’s actually a thing: Tactile Hypersensitivity Disorder. I reject that. I have my share of disorders, but that ain’t one of ‘em. And I’m not hypersensitive. I just don’t really like people touching me.
Also, I think mayonnaise is disgusting.
- Check out this great idea for an app: fuzzbox. Yep, an app that makes all audio sound like its being run through a distortion pedal. I’m thinking old school fuzz, real simple: an on/off switch and a dial for turning the distortion up and down.
I’m not sure how to move on this idea. I have an old flip phone and no intentions of upgrading to an iphone or smartphone or whatever anytime soon. Apps are something I hear about but have no serious interest in or knowledge of. I would like to cash in on the trend, though.
I guess I’ll start shopping it around, sending emails to various companies that make distortion pedals.
- Awfsome (ôfsəm) adjective: Something so awful that it is awesome.
Around here, this word is frequently used to describe movies. White Comanche, featuring William Shatner as a pair of identical half-Comanche/half-white twins who hate each other, is awfsome. Actually, pretty much any movie starring William Shatner is going to be awfsome. Other awfsome movies: Journey To The Planet Of Prehistoric Women, The Killer Shrews, Bride Of The Monster, The Born Losers, Billy Jack, The Trial Of Billy Jack, Billy Jack Goes To Washington, Orgy Of The Dead, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Vive La Muerte, The Beast With A Million Eyes, Them, Godzilla Vs. Mothra (“Godzilla Vs….” pretty much guarantees awfsomeness), Finis Hominis, If Footmen Tire You What Will Horses Do, The Burning Hell, I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse, El Barón Del Terror, Zombie, And God Said To Cain, Slave Of The Cannibal God….this list could on and on.
I generally watch awfsome movies with my laptop handy so I can research what I’m watching in real time. If one is watching, for example, Manos: The Hands Of Fate, it’s good to know that John Reynolds, the actor who played Torgo, was wasted on painkillers and that he blew his brains out after the film was completed.
It’s hard for me to come up with examples of awfsomeness outside of movies. The Black Death was awfsome. I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.
- Great quotes by me:
“There is no justification for bad animation.”
“I am willing to accept morality as the price I have to pay for sanity.”
“I don’t want to be the best me I can be; I want to be the most me I can be.”
“You mess with the tiger, you get the horns.”
“Most people won’t fuck you over unless they have the opportunity to do so.”
“The wise warrior may choose not to fight, but the warrior who never fights is a poser.”
“Choose your battles and fight to the teeth.”
“If you lead your nation to victory, you will be celebrated as a hero and remembered for ages. If you change a baby’s diaper, no one will remember, not even the baby. It is better, therefore, to change diapers.”
“Turn to religion, damned sinners, not that it may save you, but that you may save it.”
“Today is the last day of your life.”
Howdy, friends. It’s a rainy Monday here in the valley of the Shenandoah. I painted some porch ceilings this morning and don’t have anything I have to do until later when I gotta show up for a meeting at the collectively-owned, democratically-run restaurant where I occasionally cook, but mostly wash dishes and complain about the godawful music the hip(pies/sters) have on. I’m trying to get back into the habit of thinking about this thing and actually writing a piece once in a while. It’s not a hardship or anything, but I do tend to fill my schedule to overflowing and there’re always a bunch of creative pots simmering so getting one more on can be tricky.
I’m also listening to the current BDSR project – one of the current BDSR projects – Twin Infinities (Feel God About Your Body), which will end up being a goddam double cd release. This one consists of shorter pieces, individually titled, sort of like songs. It’s a radical departure from our usual method of structuring cd’s as one giant, ridiculously bloated track. The impetus for the change was BDSR’s entry into the Bandcamp arena, which was in turn inspired by our desire to release a couple things – Tohu Wa Bohu and The Theatre Of Infernal Music – that nobody was interested in. After signing up with Bandcamp, we realized that we couldn’t put either of those up there because they’re too fuckin’ huge, so those are available through Internet Archives along with a lot of great movies. The fact that we had signed up for Bandcamp and hadn’t used it then led to the creation of a handful of tracks specifically for that venue and another handful because doing shorter tracks and releasing them immediately has some instant gratifications that are pleasing and then it started seeming like a good time to start putting together an actual release and “Twin Infinities (Feel God About Your Body)” had been on the list of possible titles for a while. Doing short tracks is kinda fun, but it won’t become the norm. We’ve got a couple poor quality live recordings which we’ll try to fix up and overdub into something listenable and those will eventually be some of a release to be titled Nevermind The Brahmins, Here’s The Big Drum In The Sky Religion, which will either be three or four longish tracks or one longerish. Also waiting to see the light of day are three that were recorded last year: Fear Of A Sacred Planet, three tracks; Sweetheart Of The Ashvamedha, two tracks; and 666th Century Schizoid Shaman, a grotesque and inexcusable bit of bloated cacophony in one loooooonnnnnggggggg, unlistenable track. There was a netlabel up around DC interested in that one – interested in hearing it based on our synopsis. We sent it and now those guys won’t answer our emails, so it’s unlikely they’ll be releasing it which is perfectly understandable. That we are still planning on putting it out there is testimony to our commitment to commercial failure with naked people cover art.
Actually, let me state here and now that we will release 666th Century… in a week. I don’t know the exact date I received the inspiration for The Big Drum In The Sky Religion, but it was about the middle of April, 2007, so we call 15 April BDSR’s birthday. 666th Century… will be our 7th anniversary release, reaffirming our undying dedication to bringing you, both of you, the very best in shamanically inspired musical self-sabotage. BDSR will never have a hit, we promise.
This is on my mind at least partly because we just passed the first weekend in April, which in Harrisonburg, VA, means MACRock, the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Rock, when a shitload of unknown bands and a shittier shitload of hipsters converge on our otherwise sleepy town to pander to each other, the bands all hoping to get signed to a label so they can be the Next Big Thing. It’s kinda like SXSW, but smaller. We, the locals, view it as an opportunity to separate fools from their money. The restaurant where I work was a venue. We had hardcore bands. One of my co-workers was pretty delighted; the others, the ones who enjoy Ani Difranco, were horrified. I found it somewhat boring. The hardcore bands were certainly hardcore enough, but I didn’t hear anything that I hadn’t heard before. I talked with some of the band members and they seemed like good folks. I was glad to run into a young lady who I met a few years ago when her band played with BDSR. Hardcore can be fun; I’m just not especially moved by it anymore, especially when it is happening in a context of such blatant suck-uppery.
BDSR might play MACRock. If they contacted us and there was money involved. I’d rather get paid to play a MACRock show than wash dishes at one. But BDSR will never try to get a MACRock show. The whole process of sending a demo and bio and all that shit to get a show to possibly impress some label guy and hopefully get fucked over just doesn’t make any sense to me. Commercial success is artistic failure. No one succeeds in music without selling out. No one can serve both God and mammon, and BDSR serves God/gods.
I should mention Tom Waits. Tom Waits is the only currently active musician I know of who is commercially successful and worthy of my respect. I haven’t liked much of what Mr. Waits has released in the past decade, but I do believe that he is following his own course, though heavily indebted to Cap’n Beefheart. Waits is famously contemptuous of the music industry. He has likened it to swimming in shark-infested waters. That he can continue to navigate it without being eaten alive just shows that our suspicions were correct: Tom Waits is not human.
That aside aside, I ain’t saying BDSR will never work with a label. Obviously, we’ve worked with many micro-labels, here and abroad, and will continue to do so. Micro-labels tend to be individuals burning cdr’s in their homes, running off covers at the local copy shop. That’s the label version of what we do. The deals are done without contracts and I have no choice but to assume the labels are motivated to put out our music because they like it and believe it has value. Certainly, I hope they recoup their investment, but I can’t imagine anybody is making any money. BDSR sure ain’t.
I haven’t gotten any emails from bigger-than-micro-labels, but I have thought about it. If some medium-sized indie label expressed an interest, I would consider it. The switch from “we” to “I” is because it’s my decision, not ours. BDSR is not a democracy. I, Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman, aka browny, received the inspiration, seven years minus a week ago, and I have the only vote. Of course, I take into consideration everything the other participants have to say, follow their leads in performance, take the chance when they have ideas and generally welcome their input, but I always have the power to veto. I haven’t had to exercise it much. Mostly, the people who get involved are on a similar wave, but it has happened that I had to say “no, that doesn’t fit BDSR”.
I would consider working with a larger label. I want people to be able to hear BDSR. I think the music is good and the message behind the music is better. I am trying to alter the world with sound, after all, and it would be a lot easier if more people heard that sound. But I would have to have a lot of control over all stages of the process: the recording – where, when, how – the production, cover art, tour support, if any, probably not because I got shit to do around town and going off on a tour seems like work. I suspect that my demands for final say-so at all levels would cause any hypothetical label to say “no, thanks”. I’m fine with that. If the sharks won’t play Marco Polo according to my rules, I’ll stay out of the water.
That said, as I mentioned, there’re a few titles ready to hit the shelves, so if you wanna put ‘em out, drop a line. Twin Infinities (Feel God About Your Body) sounds great so far. It’s about ¾ finished. If you know the albums that title refers to, you are an old punk.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.