"BRAINS!!!"

"BRAINS!!!"

The Zombie, as an archetype, is perhaps the most socio-political monster of them all. It says, in effect, “Your neighbors want to kill you, so maybe you should kill them first.” Although its many cultural incarnations all reflect the universal fear of dead, the last 150 years have seen this archetypal monster [1] assume forms that seem especially relevant to the modern/ post modern era. (“BRAIIIIIIINS!” From Return of the Living Dead, the source of the whole “zombies eat brains” thing.)  Until the 1800s, the Vampire archetypes of early legends were essentially zombies: shambling, rotting dead folks who had returned Read more »

The Times, They Are A’Changin’ (Music, Magic & History, Part VI)

The Times, They Are A’Changin’ (Music, Magic & History, Part VI)

I throw myself on the altar of your art. Publicist Diane Gardiner, to Jimi Hendrix Change comes from unlikely places… in this case, coffee dens, German nightclubs, second-hand blues records, and a collection of recordings made decades ago. In the backwash of rock’s first tide, creative misfits take the lead. England, Germany, France and other nations catch rock-n-roll fever even as it dies down in America; here, though, many fans prefer authentic blues to the whitewashed product humming on U.S. airwaves. An armful of blues and rock recordings sparks one of music history’s most significant partnerships; Keith Richards re-encounters his Read more »

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

Mystic Rhythms: Rumble (Music, Magic & History, Part V)

If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars. – attributed to Sam Phillips, owner of  the Memphis Recording Service, and the man who “discovered” Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (incidentally, Phillips denied having ever said this) (Arguably the first rock-n-roll recording, Ike Turner’s “Rocket ’88′”) It starts with the blues riffing of a poor boy named Bo Diddly. It rises in the duck-strut of a handsome dude named Chuck Berry. It ignites when a white truck driver catches “that Negro sound” in the gyrations of his Read more »

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

Mystic Rhythms: Anything Goes (Music, Magic & History, Part IV)

The sound is the freedom. The chord don’t mean nothing.– Ornette Coleman, interviewed in Andrew Zuckerman’s book Music   (Image from Powerchords: Music, Magick & Urban Fantasy; art by Bryan Syme) If blues is the Devil’s music, then its offspring – jazz, country, soul and rock – are its four horsemen. Thundering across electric highways, these fertile musicologies plunder everything they find. Jazz shares the outlaw origins of blues, but focuses more on instrumental prowess than personal catharsis. Supposedly named for sexual intercourse, jazz takes the most sensual elements of European, African and American music, and then heats them to Read more »

Art: A Spectrum Theory

Art: A Spectrum Theory

As I often say, Art exists along a spectrum between Expression and Communication: the Artist expresses, and the Audience understands. (Dark Side of the moon REMAKE2, by Norman Bates.)  In what I call “the Spectrum Theory of Art,” artistic creativity runs along a triangular spectrum. At the origin – the narrowest  point – the Artist Expresses inspiration. At the point of broadest dispersal – the broadest extreme of the spectrum – that inspiration becomes mere information or sensation, with little or no personal connection to the Artist. Along the way, hopefully, Art hits a “sweet spot” where the Artist’s intended Read more »