The only screams reverberating through the night had been Two more were Christopher Milk and Chainsaw, related in sharing the same, utterly astonishing lead singer. Here, then, are those photographs. Sailors beware: beyond this point here be demons.
Whatever the manifold failings of that band were, it was not a humble beginning. Many Paraphilia readers the world over played in rock bands during their younger days, but few attained such well-documented heights for ones not remaining on the current tips of pop-cultural tongues as did Christopher Milk and Chainsaw.
Professionally, the former were featured in cover stories on Rolling Stone Magazine when it actually mattered. And myriad cover features for that matter. They were signed by two major record labels, United Artists and Warner Brothers when that actually mattered, with actual 45 singles, EPs and LPs in deluxe packaging released betwixt the both of them.
Annie Leibovitz and Norman Seeff photographed them. They appeared on televised broadcasts. Their onstage theatrics, look and repertoire influenced both Cheap Trick two pretty boys and two dweebs?
He also personally introduced young recording artist David Bowie to the music of The Stooges. She saw the future clearly but was never believed until it was too late. As a writer and performer, he and his crew pioneered only to see latecomers get the fame and credit.
All remain best of pals. The writer of this very piece introduced an influential member to the original band, dated another for two seconds, and wed yet another the singer of both bands, and they remain a couple some three and a half decades on.
The latter band also ahead of its time, Chainsaw, was termed glampunk, punk, hardest core. The foursome fronted by Mr. Important re-release of legendary troublemakers from Los Angeles, circathe template for Iggy-esque clever lyrics backed by a maelstrom of cohesive punk fury.
His sample promotion directly follows and will in full later, as he prefers to remain his own best spokesman, and I prefer domestic tranquility. Their foundation and origin initially stretched back to the yearwith Chainsaw actually forming in Hence the unusual erudition evinced by a sub-group oft associated with slobbering knuckle-draggers, hard rock musicians. And what if they were? Or are? It was there that John, addled by some hallucinogenic substance, decided that I was the Angel of Death.
We soon set about the ultimately futile endeavor of choosing a new name. Nobody particularly liked my suggestion of Mr. We soon embrace trial by fire with a flash performance in the Dykstra Lounge. Nobody in the band was particularly pleased when I left for a long-planned summer trek cross-country and through Canada, but it's not like a lot was happening in late August and September.
I declined both to give this band thing a shot. Upon reflection, with the Barrie to Heather to Xtopher Milk thread, my life probably would be completely different. To paraphrase Mr. For four minutes after Christopher Milk disappeared from the stage, there was dead silence. While we were not as pleased with our impact, it seemed to grow on people and then into legend, since no fewer than four photos of Mr.
During my recuperation, John decided that what we needed was dancers and multimedia and More People! Anybody who ever saw Christopher Milk live will agree that Ed. From song selection to sound, he envisioned the band as more Procol Harum than Bonzo Dog Band, more deliberate than aggro, more polished than out of control. Even so, we would have been much more satisfied with the outcome had he spent half as much time on the lead vocals as he did on the guitars.
When the inevitable Iggy comparisons erupted cute, half-naked skinny blonds prone to pottymouth and proactivity inside their audiences, the both of them he upped his own antes and set his Twister flung off his cape, revealing his emaciated, plucked-chicken frame. Barking and grumbling his lead vocal, this obscene vision stumbled straight toward the edge of the stage and -- over the edge onto the panicking audience. Tables toppled over, Twister leaping from one to the other like Little Nell on the ice floes, drinks and candles slid to a tinkling and crashing death on the cement floor.
Twister in his deranged, hyperactive attempt to single out one. I had just been released from the military in early It was there that I met my first real popstar in the person of John Mendelsohn. I was smitten. These were the lads with whom I was destined to rocket to the top.
Surly Ralph, The Kiddo, Mr. Twister and Flashfinger Bazbo the Donald. Accordingly, I was soon christened G. First thing, lose the drumsticks and start bashing with logs. Sometime later at a television appearance lipsyncing, I actually played with carrots.
Dressed me for the street as well as the stage. Tight tops, hip-hugging bottoms and Eleganza pumps increased my stature immensely. We had a roadie named Normal who dressed up like Alex from Clockwork Orange. He was onstage security to insure that Mr. Twister could not escape from the stage and wreak havoc on an unsuspecting audience.
Until later. At a milestone gig was at The Whisky a Go-Go, I actually left my drums and sat on the front of the stage where I calmly disrobed, then returned to do a drum solo, the finale of which occurred when John and Kirk crept up from either side and pelted me with cream pies. I think that was the gig where Neil Young was quoted as saying that Christopher Milk was absolutely the worst band he had ever seen or words to that effect.
Instead we hit the road to build up our grassroots following, and amongst same, I managed to contract an std before heading back to Hollywood. Christopher Milk was for me many childhood dreams coming true. It was like getting to relive your high school days, but this time being at the top of the heap. Par example, regarding my initially mislabeled photograph of the Classic Lineup of Christopher Milk Mr.
I had not yet persuaded The Kiddo to repudiate the hippie look. John: No such thing is the case. I recognized all the members of The Classic Lineup on sight. And on site, as here. Kirk: Speaking of visionary, Heather copyrighted this pic the year before it was snapped. Ralph: You boys stop that, right now.
John: You just stay out of it, Ralphie-boy. Italianate percussionist we had toward the end. In other news, I am in contact with Ms. Vanessa Gilbert, who might have been one of the platform shoed beauties I tried to knock over like so many bowling pins at the end of our performance at El Monte Legion Stadium.
I Album) having been so beastly to the cheerful Italianate percussionist, but of course I regret much. You are in contact with her because I guided her here. Too much of it! Kirk: I love it when you talk dirty. Or Mr. John: Do you suppose your phototechjargon frightens The Kiddo, missy? You have clearly not witnessed one of his ampchats, during which he and another will spend days comparing the, you know, specs of various amplifiers.
I made some reference to The Who using a particular brand, Hi-Watt, if memory serves canapes. Or maybe I have it backwards. Heather: Golly gee Wally, you told him to just stay out of it!
John: Do as I do, not as I say, madame. Or maybe I have that backwards too. The above in print demonstrates the evolution, as certainly as the Berlin Archaeopteryx fossil caught similar of dinosaur into bird, of John and Kirk making up after a twenty year hiatus. Below, regarding the color photo sessions shot on location in verdant Topanga Canyon that none of them remembered doing despite pictorial proof otherwise.
Heather: I suppose none of Album) participants, who all claim selective amnesia, can explain what set off this clothes-swapping frenzy. It shows a time warp window of young performers in their preening exuberance, show-off camaraderie, interplay, and hopeful asides to the future in a unique period of rock music culture.
We were gorgeous. We were clever. But the court will note that I watched the documentary about their bass player. John: Now it can be told: James Williamson Ed. CMilk did not do no fucking barrelhouse. We had genius beyond rating. History clearly had been waiting just for us Now Our beauty has been looted. His immediate recognition of the shots of Mr. Twister prompted our conversation. Remember Velvet Goldmine?
Well, I for one came from a privileged first band. One that hell yeah! John, though not at first, became close with his heroes through job requirements. Heady times, big egos. So a big part of our attitude was hell I'm already famous. Step aside. We thought that a band with Twister who was absolutely fearless onstage and intelli-pop would work. The separation of the two was inevitable.
But G is a drummer, and all he wants to do is drum. J and I wanted to write. So we did. And that sowed And John continues to self-record in an incredibly competitive digital world while I was so deflated on the lack of interest in my psycho-progressive stuff that I retreated into comparative normalcy.
And Twist got to tour Italy in But while it was happening, it was heady and quite crazy. Think of the Flaming Lips. They after 20 years shout through bullhorns, set fires at their venues on purpose and sing about some very strange stuff. Sound familiar? The Tubes? Think about it. But we owed a lot to those before us as well.
Early on, with Steve Ferguson and Denny Castanares in the college band, we had some great talent. But post-Mr. Twister after John, Kirk and I congealed, no other could be admitted. So, sic transit hubris. Facebook brought us together again to some extent, and I have realized that no real band, none that shared a certain bond, ever dissolves completely.
And after all this time we're still played a bit on the radio, available for download, and have a goddamn Moreover, I have great fun reminiscing about the band days and how ridiculous and fun they were. We lived the life, if only for a short time. Selective memory is sometimes a lifesaver. He has deep wounds, hard to fathom. Yet he will always be a dear friend. Vision is by nature contrarian, and he suffered consequences and backlash, some in excess.
Then the gods punished him for his hubris. But they went too far After Christopher Milk, Mr. Backstory: stymied for a big finish, director Norman Yonomoto trolled for ideas whereupon the soundman Gordon Skene the Rhythm Machine extolled he could put together a visually exciting group with original songs overnight and the next day they could shoot the cast dancing to them and Godzilla would arise and stomp the building and the roof would fall in crushing everyone, The End Fin.
At one time or another all of Sunset Blvd. These soirees became infamous for our live bands never adequately recorded despite pro help, as all were too drunkpre-video, collectorscavenged movies Bullitt, Deep Throat, etc.
Twister continued his bad boy ways, eventually concocting another band with the Donald based upon their prior embrace of punk rock abroad. Chainsaw emerged. Thanks to Dionysus Records, this awesome gem is back from the grave. True to its proto-punk character, a heavy rock and roll character. What more can you ask for? Play this fucker! Cool shit! Totally convinced of their earth shaking talents and optimistic beyond all reason, the naive youths hied themselves off to sunny England with visions of emerald greener pastures.
There, as the Original Pointed Stick, they earned countless pints of Guinness, packs of crisps, and not much else by playing Pretty Things, Soft Machine and Move covers, interspersed with a few notable originals like Hey, Blacksmith, which to this day they are unable to accurately recall.
Countless tiny pubs, with equally tiny audiences driving tiny cars down the wrong. Permit-less and on the edge of starvation they returned to LA to rethink, regroup and re-attack. By everything was bright and new. New name Chainsaw. New material. New rhythm section the dynamic Miss Laura Crowe on bass, the uncontrollable Mr.
Raul Gomez on drumslong before political correctness would have given its cold approval to such a lineup. A newly refined diet with the essential food groups of Cigarettes, Cognac, Beer, Speed, and Protein tablets. The first single, Polaride Pictures was semi-disastrous, semi-crap, and thus now much prized by the more eccentric sort of collector bless all of you. Chainsaw live was a maelstrom of broken bars, tables, chairs, amps, heads, microphones, bones, glass, and a new definition of aggro.
A fanatically devoted cadre of insatiable fans was unable to balance an irate mix of club owners, parents and brothers who were increasingly demanding the soonest possible elimination or exile of this Chainsaw thing.
They wound up in Nashville, a perfect foil for those who might live there but despised most of what it stood for.
Chainsaw played every flea bit dive sound familiar? The fashionable diet see above tended to have side effects, and despite the unwavering admiration of their fans and peers, Chainsaw were getting more than a little frazzled. A slimy promoter lured them to Europe, and disappeared after the first No money, no real food, and limited shelter outweighed a new but just as manic bunch of fans. The fist fight ensued — the end was.
For 25 years the tapes lay Album). Fences were mended. Listen to it over and over and over Not only are they not dead, they are back. Chainsaw rocked, hell yeah! In28 years after these punk pioneers had called it quits, assorted all-ages audiences in sold out clubs all over Italy welcomed Chainsaw back ever so raucously.
With an eclectic reformation, Chainsaw-Euro became Mr. Napoli at it happened loved Chainsaw, with photographic evidence thereof. Other venues varied according to the provincial populace. Luckily, the moment we got on I was my rocker self again. The gig was energetic and weird, with stoned people staring at us while one single girl was dancing in front of the stage. We left the place at 3 a. Went to bed at a.
Life on the road! But destiny cannot outwit the time-space continuum of predetermined fate: once again Chainsaw broke up for all the exact same reasons for which they broke up originally. So what have we now? More happily, there is the present. Kirk Henry a. This proved too early for the timeline of then non-existent MTV.
His Facebook avatar is pictured. Ralph Oswald a. Surly Ralph in Christopher Milk relocated to Colorado with his first wife Teri and found deserved happiness with his second wife Anita best friend of his first wife Teri and extended family. He owns his own piano tuning business and gladly celebrates his Scottish ancestry, as seen here in a photo by Anita Oswald.
He remarried, to former dominatrix Claire Mistress Chloe and currently resides with her in her native England. He also never wavered in his continued obsession to write and record music and has continued doing so since his late teens. He thankfully still writes both fiction and quasi-non fiction, all available online. The graphic denotes some of his ebook offerings as well as his visage. Twister continues to thrive on his mystique, selfpreferred mystery, continuing-to-this-day blond-andpepper good looks, and hyper-intelligent abilities alone.
This photograph depicts his channeling his bad boy ways far more productively as a Top Gun F simulator jet pilot. He eschews social networks, so I reprazent, as the kiddies deem same. I met Mr. T, not the groupies. How did I tackle documenting the musical career of the love of my life with such dispassionate objectivity? To utilize the Joss Wheedon format: With. This may have been a visual valentine, but every picture told a story.
Photo by Heather Harris, medium format Rolleiflex on tripod, as we photographers were wont to travel. Everybody wants to rule the world. Twister surveys potential domains from The Reichstag, Berlin, Germany, Photo by Kurt Ingham. Photo by Heather Harris. Twister in the movie Garage Sale. Photo by Jim Oswald. Christopher Milk, Topanga Canyon photo shoot that none of them remembers, not even being there, Digital graphic enhancement by John Mendelssohn.
Photo by Heather Harris, Oil painting of Mr. Proof sheet also features the late Shelley Benoit of Warner Bros. Records, who introduced Mr. Twister and Heather Harris. Photographer unknown. Full page photo of Mr. Photo by Kurt Ingham, Christopher Milk the expanded troupe with dancers, Photographer unknown, Mr. Twister, Twister, Christopher Milk on Boss City!
Photo by John Mendelssohn. Kirk Henry and Mr. Twister flanking unknown fan, Santa Monica Beach, Calif. Photo by Jim Oswald, Mr. Twister, Christopher Milk, venue unknown, Twister, Christopher Milk playing Santa Monica. David Bowie picks Christopher Milk as his third favorite artists of May 13, Sunset Blvd. Twister, continuance of bad boy ways in the s. Twister, Raul Gomez, the Donald. My first studio portrait ever.
Chainsaw live in Naples, Italy, March 28, Chainsaw live in Los Angeles, Jan. Kirk Henry, Facebook avatar, Photo by Anita Oswald. Ralph Oswald, Photo, graphics by John Mendelssohn.
John Mendelssohn, Twister as Top Gun F jet simulator pilot, May, Photo by Kirk Henry, Mr. Twister in Westwood, Calif. When I was fifteen years old I bought a record of strange music from Morocco, recorded by the charismatic, flaxen-hair rhythm guitarist of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, on his fabled trek to the Rif Mountains in Although his personal life was full of lurid tales of debauchery and cruelty, this singular contribution to pop culture beyond playing with the Stones was enough to raise Jones, in my book, to that of exalted hero.
Shortly before his untimely death at age twenty-six, Brian looked toward other cultures to create a new fusion of sound that would take the world another twenty-five years to catch up with. The music of Jajouka is not for everyone. Their primary instrument, the ghaita, is a folk oboe fashioned from apricot trees that howls with an unbound ferocity over the relentless thunder of goat skin drums.
Upon first hearing this exotic cacophony, the music punched me square in the heart. Then you fall in line until you pay the piper. I was in San Francisco at the time, anxiously waiting their arrival with a handful of fans at the Virgin Records store.
Eventually three medium-sized men wandered in, clad in white djellabas. Without a word they began to play a They had been on the road celebrating the re-release of the Pipes of Pan album and were scheduled to play that night at the University of California in Berkeley.
After their brief performance, I approached their leader, Bachir Attar and introduced myself. The show ended with Pan; the crazy, horny goat God known in the Maghreb as Bou Moral Dissection - Reek Of Shits - st (Cassette, shaking and twirling in a mad delirium before our astonished eyes. Six months later, while wandering around Manhattan I happened across a little souk in Soho called the Gates of Morocco.
The place was filled with beautiful rugs and pottery. I wound up talking with a couple guys named Mohammed and another dude named Lateef. I asked if they knew where I might find a ghaita. They just happened to have one in the window. But as usual I was short on cash. A week later I returned to buy the instrument. From then on I returned to the shop regularly. A moment later a funky old Ford Econoline pulled up outside of the shop.
It just sat there for a while with the motor running. Nobody got out so we strolled over to the van to see what was going on. Inside, among thick clouds of smoke sat Bachir El Attar reclining on a Berber rug. I watched silently as everyone greeted him, speaking in rapid Arabic. Eventually Hamid, the smiley driver, introduced me to Bachir. We are going to a party now. Would you like to come? We feasted on a delicious salmon tajine and for desert we munched majoun, a sweet, sticky mind-bending confection made from honey and marijuana seeds.
Soon after the music began, timeless melodies and deep grooves that lasted into the wee hours. By 4 AM, nearly everyone had passed out on the couch or lay sleeping on Berber rugs spread out on the floor while Bachir and his brother, Mustapha sat on the white leather sofa playing the lira a cane flute. Mustafa employed the ancient technique of circular breathing, holding a seamless drone as Bachir improvised an eerie melody. Suddenly it was all right there — The linear mystical melodies of the Berbers of Northern Morocco flowed seamlessly over the funky syncopated southern beat of the Gnawai tribes.
After the jam finally wound down, Bachir carefully laid the flute on the glass coffee table and lit another Marlboro.
I asked him if I could take a look at the instrument. I picked up the flute respectfully and checked it out from end to end. It was made of light bamboo with seven holes on top three played with the left and four with the right and one underneath, a single hole played with the left thumb.
It was closed at the end to create a low note for droning. It was a beautiful old instrument. I asked Bachir. I asked Bachir if it would be okay to play it, Moral Dissection - Reek Of Shits - st (Cassette. As I began investigating its unusual scale, Abderahim picked up the bongos and began to pound out a driving rhythm. Little Mohammed sat up and started clapping along, accenting the off beats.
I suddenly found myself improvising an unknown ancient melody when Mustafa picked up his flute and began holding a low, steady drone. A hollow haunted tone poured from his flute like a moan from a disembodied ancient spirit. The music carried us for an undeterminable period of time — maybe fifteen or twenty minutes when somehow, the flute suddenly slipped out of my mouth and just like that, the jam ended. I glanced over at Bachir who sat poker faced, saying nothing.
I nervously set the flute back down. Mustapha Attar and I sat outside on the bright sidewalk sipping mint tea as he meticulously tied a new reed to the mouthpiece of my ghaita. After getting it just right, he put the instrument to his lips and blasted a piercing riff that echoed off the Soho storefront windows. I finally had to lure the jet-lagged Berber from his bed with the smell of a big cup of hot black coffee.
With his hair, still wild with dreams, Attar sat on the edge of the couch and lit his first Marlboro of the day. They care about the music, which is very good. But after many thousands of years, maybe there is an end! Bachir is an intense fellow. His onyx eyes either sparkle with laughter or can shut out the world faster than smoke-black windows on a passing limo. On their American tour, the Master Musicians consisted of just ten members.
In Jajouka, at the height of its power the band numbered fifty musicians. The Attar brothers, now in their mid forties, are the youngest members and driving force of the djellaba clad ensemble.
Part of the dilemma they face is that the musicians must be from the village of Jajouka. Now the children grow up and go off to school. But we are thinking of building a school in the future for the kids so they can learn this music.
The possibility of an all-star gala seemed like a great idea until suddenly Attar became annoyed. I think some people, it makes them scared. You can feel the reeds vibrating in your body. That is why the music is called Bou Jeloudia.
Bou Jeloud has got his mojo workin. According to legend, if he whips a woman with the leafy switches he carries in each hand, they will become pregnant and give birth within the following year. Doctors cannot help them. There is little doubt the cleansing fire pouring from the bell of the ghaita could drive the evil from the most demonic of us human beings. If Brion Gysin opened the door for Brian Jones, then Jones threw the open the gates of Jajouka to the rest of the world when he recorded the maniacal melodies of Pan.
I was five years old. I remember they had this big reel-to-reel tape recorder and Brian was dancing with the headphones on. It was incredible. In celebration of the man with the strange clothes and big blonde hair, a goat was slaughtered and a feast was soon prepared. Bachir repeats the story again, that is quickly becoming a chapter in mythology of the modern world.
Until Brian Jones came along field recordings had an academic air about them. The idea of manipulating Mississippi field hollers or Javanese gamelan orchestra recordings was not only unheard of, but would have been deemed sacrilegious at the time by the few purveyors of world music recordings, such as Nonesuch and Smithsonian. Heretic or not, Jones added his special sauce of phase and reverb to the wailing ghaitas and rhythmic drums so the rest of the world might experience the wild sound as he heard it dancing in his head during his brief visit to the Rif Mountains.
But was Jones tampering with tradition when he messed with the mix? And because it was Brian's idea. Attar himself plays ghaita, gimbri 4 string lute and lira wood flute as well as banjo and guitar and a bit of harmonica. Jajouka was at One Thousand One Nights playing. Paul Bowles, he loved Jajouka music very much.
He bring his equipment to record Jajouka. This is mine! Then he went and recorded all the Moroccan music he could find. And Brion Gysin, he was very jealous! But still they loved each other. He thought he was the greatest painter.
Painter, author, editor, musical anthropologist, inventor, philosopher, mystic and restaurateur, Gysin wore each of those hats As an artist, Gysin painted otherworldly figures that evoked cryptic Arabic and Japanese calligraphy. He was embraced and then quickly expelled for vague reasons by the Surrealists. Most folks find it difficult to comprehend how one person could create such a tremendously diverse body of work.
As a life-long fan of Gysin, I interviewed Steve Lacy, the master of the soprano saxophone shortly before his passing inabout his collaboration with Brion on an album they made for the HatHut label called Songs. We were working on similar things in different areas. Brion came to a party one time and we met and started talking. It was astonishing, absolutely like a dream. It was a wonderful, very unusual collaboration. It was a lot of fun to just wing it.
We were between words and music really. So his words were the spark for the music. Every time he read, it was different. I listened to his voice a lot and talked with him and set his lyrics to music. The melodies were taken from the sound of his voice, the way he read.
Brion was a great reader and a great performer. He really knew what to do with a microphone. He had a great voice and could improvise like a jazz musician. Were there any particular performances or pieces that still stand out in your mind? Through the years we worked together a lot and produced nineteen songs, stage works and performed together in Amsterdam, Paris and Italy, at poetry festivals and museums.
It was performed in Italy and France but we never took it anywhere else. It was wild! It was a really far-out show. We did a lot of theatrical things although we never could bring them to America.
Wow, what a shame! Brion was involved in so many things. Brion had many, many lives, in different parts of the world with all kinds of different professions, from heavy labor to Broadway productions. He had connections to so many different circles of people. Lots of important people in my life I met through Brion. Many other people also had the same experience. He was a catalyst! Brion had certain powers.
He was a uniquely charged, charmed person. I mean, to me, he was a genius. He was a multi-faceted genius. In the mid seventies he did a photomontage. He took a camera, a Leica, which he focused on the Pompadeu Museum, which was being built at that time. He took an apartment right across the street from it and took a series of still photographs, creating permutations of the view.
Brion had a show at a little obscure gallery in Paris, Gallerie Raph, I think it was. When you walked in and saw all these crazy colors, in a series like that, it just hit you right in the eye. The show was a knockout and not one piece was sold! The gallery was completely empty. His work was ignored. Well, at least your music was better appreciated in Paris!
But you could get wasted anywhere. You could starve to death in Paris and hit the skids here in NYC! Did Brion ever take you to Jajouka, to play with the Master Musicians? Brion had a I thought Brion was a musical genius! I gave him back music in a way but he already had it from Morocco. That kind of music he could deal with. He had been very frustrated. They were the lyrics for an un-produced Broadway show based on the life of Uncle Tom. He had talked with composers and producers but nothing came of it.
Brion showed me the lyrics and I flipped. That was the beginning of our collaboration. That album is absolutely brilliant! Years ago I had a radio show on a college station in Milwaukee and played the living hell out of it.
He put so much love and work in that. Brion was there in the studio, listening to us in ecstasy while we performed his songs… The thing that impressed me most about Brion was his taste and discretion and his humor and of course his erudition. This cat had educated himself — he knew literature, painting and music and theatre and dance.
His taste in music was pretty good. Brion appreciated and worked with Don Cherry. At the same time he also had a cheap, trashy side where he liked low-class junk music. How did Brion manage to completely slip through the cracks? Do you think he purposely dodged fame?
No, Brion craved attention and he deserved attention but he took it from unlikely sources. There is so much jealousy, deception, intrigue and shenanigans going on in Paris, and that surrealist group was full of those things. That was a trauma that really hurt Brion terribly. He was pretty young at the time because it was back around I have a couple of his drawings from Morocco that are just beautiful. Burroughs said Brion was the only man he respected and trusted.
Burroughs really loved Brion and vice versa. We were very tight. We were dear, dear friends. I loved the guy. It was a collaboration that clicked from the start. Ornette also felt a deep connection with the musicians as well. Not five minutes after mentioning his name during my interview with Bachir, Coleman was on the phone, as if by magic, calling to welcome him back to New York.
After their brief conversation Attar returned to the sofa, lit another cigarette and began to talk about his old friend Bob Palmer who he felt understood the music on a profound level. Palmer so dearly loved the music of Jajouka that after his untimely death, he was cremated wearing a Moroccan djellaba with his ghaita clutched firmly in his hands.
John Kruth: Bob Palmer seemed to have his finger on the pulse of all the best music happening when he was alive, no matter what the style, whether it was blues, free jazz, world beat or punk.
Oh, he was guided by the light. He had so much love for what he believed. John Kruth: How long did you stay in Jajouka? Ornette Coleman: I was there for three weeks to a month.
At the time Bachir was very young. I knew his father. The music was magic, from another dimension that people, I think, will understand in the future. Over the years, western musicians, painters and poets have all fallen under the spell of the lusty, trance-inducing music of Jajouka. You fall in line and dance until you pay the piper. Jajouka, the Masters, he explained, were facing tough times.
Indeed the musicians are getting older. Many need health and dental care. On top of that, most of the young people grow up and head for the cities, having little or no interest in living in the village or playing the music. Bachir was hoping Ornette might help arrange and play at a benefit for the musicians. Ornette Coleman: There are many forms of non-tempered music like Jajouka, whether Chinese or Spanish music, but what makes Jajouka stand out it is the ancient story behind its creation.
The tempered structure, which was created in Europe has served music for hundreds of years and in itself has not been free of grammar as non-tempered music. It was a very beautiful experience. One can have a spiritual experience anywhere and can experience it equal in relationship to their concept of what God is. It mostly comes to any person that is not trying to stylize a feeling. Bachir Attar: The musicians love the music, of course, but I would like more people to understand Jajouka.
It scares some people. But they need to hear this music and open their hearts. Ornette, he understood it completely and put it on his album [Dancing In Your Head].
John Kruth: Jajouka is ultimately spirit music, born in nature and always seems a bit out of place when performed indoors, in a concert hall. Bachir Attar: To hear the music of Jajouka played live in caves and mountains is the best! It is classical music especially for the Kings of Morocco. It puts people in a deep trance and we cannot be responsible what happens to them when we play it.
It is old music, from over one hundred years ago. It was learned and kept by my father. Now we have our own label [Jajouka Records] and we still play it. It is the real thing. The quality of it may be hampered because of people not understanding how to express it.
The life of Jajouka cannot die. It is immortal. Bachir Attar: Ornette was inspired to write a lot of music after he played with my father in Jajouka. We feel him very much! Ornette Coleman: Music is a dimension of life, the art of life and human beings are the creators of this life.
It is one life and we are all sharing it. All we have to do is make it better, which we can do, as long as we are standing on our feet and not our knees. The sound has a pristine, almost bell jar like quality.
No matter how it is mixed, or adorned Jajouka is spirit music that was born in nature. The music has always seemed out of place indoors, be it a studio or a concert hall. Pulling another ace out of his sleeve, Bachir revealed another dimension of Jajouka I knew nothing about. It is called It puts people in a deep trance and we cannot be responsible for what happens to them.
I will play it for you if you come to Morocco. I have tapes from my father. There are fifty-five scales inside the music. Ornette, he completely understood it. The wonderfully strange pandrogynous Genesis POrridge looks like Alice just back from the rabbit hole.
As we talked I had the distinct feeling I was looking at a mirage. Perhaps the very same djinn magickal spirit a French woman wrote of in her diary as her family tragically died of thirst in the Sahara. In her last moments, just before expiring, the distraught woman wrote in her diary of having a vision. She hallucinated the appearance of a hermaphroditic genie with a blinding smile. Several of his books were published in England as cheap paperbacks because they were seen as pornography because they had sex bits in them.
My father, bless him, used to pick up anything by Burroughs or Kerouac when he was traveling. The basic theory is when two artists collaborate, they would both write stuff, chop it up and then re-assemble it, the re-assembled piece of work was no longer by William Burroughs or Brion Gysin.
Nor is it really by them as it includes the process of random chance. So they would assign the being which created that work, they would call it the Third Mind - the mind created by the other two collaborators.
Lady Jaye and I have been collaborating too. As you can see when we got married we switched roles, and began playing with expectations and identity. Genesis hands me a photograph of their wedding. Lady Jaye is dressed macho in black leather while P-Orridge is all in white wearing a wedding gown. All through my life, from the sixties until now I have been investigating identity and the unfolding of DNA as a program and different ways to confound it. DNA is the As Brion used to say in a pre-recorded universe who made the first recording?
You can argue very convincingly that the planet earth is a recording device. How do we know about history? Because traces of it are recorded in fossils and so on. Nearly every age of human beings that have lived so far are still happening simultaneously. Some are still living in the middle ages. You have men in the Sahara still living in a prehistoric mode and then there are people in present day Tokyo. So Lady Jaye and I have taken what is the next inevitable step, which is to include the human body.
For the first time in history, that we know of, we have the ability to cut up, rewind, collage, assemble and disassemble DNA, which is the ultimate recording of the species. That recording was once helpful for human beings to survive. It was good for human beings to be aggressive, to maintain and possess territory and breed and replicate by the strongest having the right to make babies.
All of that was a series of prehistoric imperatives that are in our DNA, our genetic code, which are the reasons that as a species we have survived and flourished through ice ages and everything. However the environment has now changed. It seems that the most critical purpose for thinkers in our time is to find ways to short circuit DNA codes.
We now have genetic engineering, cosmetic surgery and computers - all this amazing technology which we could apply to make the species evolve so that it was actually modern. So we feel that we want to use our bodies, because we use our bodies as our art, and our lives to at least represent and suggest a new alternative way of evolving because we believe it is actually a matter of survival as a species.
We can either continue to pretend that something will miraculously change our innate behavior and save us all at the very last minute or we can finally take responsibility for own evolution. Kill Yourself! Punk Vol. Need some new music to shake off that wintertime chill?
We can help. Classic dub techno! Borbetomagus — 1st CD Agaric. Light in the Attic. Deluxe Edition boxset in clamshell case with tons of extra stuff. Icona Pop — This is. Limited orange vinyl! Yeh, C. Wire Magazine Demdike Stare cover! Case — Blackwood LP Lion reissue. James Cotton — Chicago Harp Showdown! CD Fuel. Pre-Throbbing Gristle excellence! Steven R. Jan St. Teisco Rimauri — D. CD Myladys reissue. Tronics — Say!
B.O.B.B.Y. - Various - Rapology 14 (CD), Obelele Ir Upelis - Svajonės - Jaunimo Ir Jaunu Sirdziu (Vinyl, LP, Album), Dont Fight The Feeling - Enchantment - Dont Fight The Feeling / Get It While Its Hot (Vinyl), Hilary - Only You Vindaloo (Vinyl), Play All Night - Sweet* - Cut Above The Rest (Vinyl, LP, Album), Exclusive Freestyle - Dj Scene - Any Day All Day (CDr), Dakore Vs Abrasif - Headcut (File, MP3), Lost In The Catacombs - Andrew Duke / Akumu - Organic / Structures (CDr, Album), Be-Bop-A-Lula - Cliff Richard Y The Drifters* - Cliff (Vinyl, LP, Album), Mas Que Menininha - Os Originais Do Samba - Exportação (Vinyl, LP, Album)