50 Rocks: Telesterion's Debut Album Released!

50 Rocks: Telesterion's Debut Album Released!

This post involves moving somewhat ahead of the story with regards to my 50 Rocks series of articles. Still, it’s a rather sweet milestone for me: My band Telesterion released our self-titled debut album yesterday, and it’s getting a very nice response. Arising from a troupe producing a series of rock operas based upon Aleister Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis, our band has been together for roughly two years this month. We’d recorded the album this past summer, just before taking a four-month hiatus because three of our six members were staging productions of the Rite of Jupiter, which wrapped in Read more »

New Patreon Update: Powerchords Previews

New Patreon Update: Powerchords Previews

My Patreon page has a new update of sponsor-exclusive content – in this case, a few preview pages from my work-in-progress POWERCHORDS: MUSIC, MAGICK & URBAN FANTASY. Despite an all-too-lengthy gestation process, Powerchords is in the layout-proofing stage now, and should be going to press very soon, once Sherry Baker and I bash out all of the inevitable bugs. For folks who have not seen it yet, my Patreon page has featured exclusive previews, short stories, novel excerpts, never-before-seen episodes of my late, lamented webcomic Arpeggio, and even an MP3 from the soundtrack album of the forthcoming rock opera Rite Read more »

50 Rocks: Part Two – Take My Bass Away

50 Rocks: Part Two – Take My Bass Away

(For Part One in this series, go here.) To be blunt, I sucked. Sure, I had a bass. For a few short months around 1983, I had two of them. That did not, as I realized, confer an instant understanding of how to play the fucking thing. I could not afford lessons… and anyway, as I had learned at my expense years earlier, a music teacher would expect you to learn sheet music and chords I could not learn. I was, at the time, taking a massive class-load too, and so everything I learned about bass I learned by ear, Read more »

50 Rocks: Part One – Fire and Four Strings

50 Rocks: Part One – Fire and Four Strings

I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. Go figure. Like any red-blooded pre-teenage male in 1978, I used to air-guitar with my friend Mike Delahanty to the antics of KISS Alive II – complete with fireballs made from hairspray and lighters. [1] I envisioned myself shredding guitar like Eddie Van Halen by way of George Thorogood before a horde of shrieking fans [2], and memorized the contents of liner notes as if mere familiarity could imbue me with the power of rock gods. Unlike lots of kids, I actually tried to manifest those dreams through work. In addition to my devotion Read more »

Art, Temperament, Sabbath, and Tull

Art, Temperament, Sabbath, and Tull

Been on a Jethro Tull kick today, listening to a playlist that spans from their first album This Was up to Leaves to Branches in the early ’90s. And that got me thinking, for some odd reason, about the contrast between Ian Anderson’s humanistic artist side and his longtime reputation as a standoffish egotistical control freak – a side of Anderson that inadvertently created heavy metal as we know it. Anderson’s musical chops are indisputable. Likewise is his phenomenal compositional genius, an inspired work-ethic revealed when you consider that the band’s prime included 10 more or less classic studio albums Read more »

“Race Music” (Music, Magic & History, Part IX)

“Race Music” (Music, Magic & History, Part IX)

It’s hard to really hear her voice with all the jigaboo music — whatever you want to call it — jigaboo!  – Kristi Capel, Fox News anchor, referring to a performance by the Italian-American artist Lady Gaga (2015) As becomes obvious when you look at the history of modern music (explored in previous articles from this series), racism forms the bedrock of music as we know it now. The loathsome “triangle” slave trade forced people from West and Central Africa together with European colonists (some of whom owned slaves, many of whom did not), along with the Scottish, Irish, and Read more »

"Where Can I Find your Fiction?"

"Where Can I Find your Fiction?"

They strain: wolf and woman, struggling. Red cords burn across their skins, biting deep enough to bleed. Rich scents coil as they breathe, reaching in and drawing out again. The wolf thrashes in her grip. She dodges its teeth and wrestles it down. Locking eyes, they snarl. The sound becomes one with the ocean’s roar. It pulls her, draws her, taunts her, dares her. Furious, she dives… Thrashing, spinning, no air, no light. Cold weight, dragging. Darkness. Sand. Shedding bonds. Shedding leather. Bursting up through cold sharp stars. Up above, a chill moon glaring. Slivered. Rimmed with fog. Furious, she sputters. Gasps. Starts to Read more »

Iron Men and Diamond Dogs (Music, Magic & History, Part VIII)

Iron Men and Diamond Dogs (Music, Magic & History, Part VIII)

…those born of the underground had found the massive financial rewards of their commercial success overwhelming, and misspent the better part of the music’s artistic currency. That failure of nerve had simply and tragically reduced rock’s practical power to the power of business. – Fred Goodman, The Mansion on the Hill (Though largely absent from the airwaves, the original Black Sabbath changed the face of rock.) Social unrest and abhorrent popular culture spin a number of musical experiments into full-blown movements during the 1970s. Although metal, punk, reggae, and other styles can be traced back to the 1960s – and Read more »

Sucking in the ‘70s (Music, Magic & History, Part VII)

Sucking in the ‘70s  (Music, Magic & History, Part VII)

It was as if Morrison had foreseen the Manson-esque destruction of the hippie idyll, confronting the dysfunction of hippie kids initially liberated by sex, drugs and music but now disoriented, frightened, and potentially dangerous. – Barney Hoskyns, from the liner notes for the 2007 expanded CD edition of the Doors album Strange Days (As with the ’70s themselves, folks often forget how dark this movie really was.)    Magic has a price. And as the late ‘60s slide into the early ‘70s, the musical bill comes due. By the time President Nixon resigns and the last U.S. helicopters flee Saigon, 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 »