Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It's all THEIR fault...No.1 - WINO

Inspired by my last post AND by a need to impress upon as many people as I can exactly HOW massively underrated yet UTTERLY fantastic they are, I'm starting an irregular series of blogs dedicated to people who have helped make me what and who I am today AND will, hopefully, continue to shape and influence me in whatever I do into the future.

Scott 'WINO' Weinrich. One of my favourite guitarists and vocalists...hell....favourite people. Period. Soulful vocalist, ELECTRIFYING guitarist, a great songwriter AND owner of the firmest handshake that I have ever experienced. Whatever the man does is worth taking the time to listen to or look at. He is THE real deal, and a MASSIVE influence on my guitar playing. Not that you can always tell, but trust me, he is.

I've been privileged to see him play with several of the bands he's been a member or leader of, and met the man himself on a few occasions. Musically he has NEVER disappointed me, on record OR live, and as a man he has impressed me with his strength of character, sense of purpose and his singleminded pursuit of his vision. I am, however, saddened by the fact that I never got to see him play live with possibly my favourite of his groups, The Hidden Hand. Their records 'Mother, Teacher, Destroyer' and 'The Resurrection Of Whiskey Foote' are WELL worth tracking down. If you aren't familiar with the man or his music, I kindly suggest you rectify this case IMMEDIATELY. Your ears and soul will thank you for it forever.

If music be the food of love, put that piano in batter

Ok, so folks have been asking when I intend to update this here blog. I've tried a couple of times but I'm finding it hard to focus and reign in my 'all-over-the-shop' thought patterns, until this morning. I had my ass and ears kicked in by a band and it made me want to tell you all about some bands lately that have been rockin' my bizarro world.....

SHRINEBUILDER 'S/T'.......Need I say any more?

Wino. Dale Crover. Scott Kelly. That guy who was in Sleep but is now in Om. A veritable doom metal supergroup. I've been waiting for this one since I first heard about it baaaaaaaack iiiiin the miiiiiissssts oooof tiiiiiiime, and it finally dropped onto my doormat yesterday. I've been dodging people offering me downloads of the 4 track promo version of this since I wanted to experience the whole thing......and boy am I glad I did.
NOW, if there is ONE thing you should know about me, it is THIS -


He is to me what Clapton and Gilmour are to boring 'blues' obssessed pothead fucks. So I've been DYING to hear this, what with me ALSO being a long-time MELVINS lover, and it does NOT disappoint - despite what the naysayers are naysaying about it (since even before it was even recorded!). Sure I have one or 2 minor reservations about it, but they're really not enough to spoil my enjoyment of this hefty slab of solid ROCK.

I was in a baaad mood this morning when I got up, slapped this baby into my CD walkman as I headed out of the door........and was almost instantly grinning the shit-eating grin of an apple-happy idiot with a particularly crisp and shiny Granny Smith in his sights. 'Solar Benediction', the said opener, comes in on a particularly thumping set of drumb-clubbing from Mr Crover before alighting into a scorching Wino-led riff-fest, with Winos' soulful vocals providing the cherry on the top. WHOA. I was in LOVE baby! When Scott Kelly joins the fray, blends his gruff bark with Wino and the riffage turns COLLOSSAL, its like a fucking MOUNTAIN falling in on me.
The music ebbs and flows and then powers back into YUGE RIFFS OF DOOOOOM, with Wino giving us his tastiest licks with a guitar sound like an Assyrian Lion roaring its tits off.
'Pyramid Of The Moon', track 2, kicks in with another BELTER of a riff that had me particularly excited as it reminded me rather heavily of 2 riffs of my OWN, written for the late They Are Cowards. It even had a TONE like my own guitar sound, so as you can imagine, I was grinning THAT grin again.....waving at magpies and huge potentially murderous hounds and generally making like a Cheshire Cat.....and yes, I DO have a beard (private joke). In fact, as far as actual tracks go, all 5 present here are total killers............


........Al Cisneros. Why? Seriously. I mean, he's not a BAD bassist - far from it - but he IS nothing more than a one-trick pony. I mean, the guy has been coasting on the exact same vocal and bassline since Sleeps' Holy Mountain back in 1992!!
There is absolutely ZERO variation in what the guy does. ALL of his runs appear to be in exactly the same key, and his droning vocals just bore me rigid. Thankfully, he only gets to do a couple of solo vocal spots here and there, but I can HEAR his predictable bass runs WAY more than I'd like to. Y'know, I have nothing personal against the man, but if he NEVER made another record again I'd dance a fucking jig......rant over, back to the superlatives.....

So, yeah, just go get it. Really. I hope it kicks your ass and makes you smile like it did me. God knows you could DO with it.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

A little paranoia is a good propeller

I was recently diagnosed as having 'schizotypal personality disorder' - a diagnosis I at once accept to some degree and question - and one of the symptoms of said condition is a tendency toward paranoid thinking. Now, THIS is causing me a few sleepless nights due to ongoing situations in my life, and I'm thinking a lot about the old maxim that 'just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you'.

Speaking hypothetitically, as it would be indelicate and stupid of me to 'name and shame', if your employer is ACTING like they are trying to make your job and life more difficult after being made aware of your condition, and is giving off the distinct impression that their support is through fear of consequences, as opposed to altruism, is that what is ACTUALLY happening, or just your PERCEPTION of events, as seen through the filter of your 'condition'?

On a similar tack, another symptom of the condition is 'magical thinking'....which is something that I am, and always HAVE been, prone to - inasmuch as I perceive, or 'imagine' that I 'perceive', the occult undertow and bizarre links behind a great many everyday events. Now, this is being presented to me as a BAD thing, an escape from reality into imaginary realms of fantasy, but I find it very difficult indeed to actually SEE it as ME, its the way i have always seen the world from a very early age.
As a child I was obsessed with mythology and folklore and it really affected my worldview. I read voraciously from as soon as I was able to, and my reading material was exclusively books about dinosaurs, Doctor Who novels, occasional sci-fi and as many books on myths and legends, witchcraft and folklore as I could find. I was particularly fond of the myths and tales of ancient Greece and the Norse myths of the gods, BUT i was also a member of the school Bible Club - I was unable to discern the difference between the Bible stories and the greek myths I was reading, and my discovery that people thought the Bible stories were REAL but the greek myths were NOT caused me a great deal of confusion and consternation. Could they not see, as I could, that Jesus, Lucifer, Balder, Prometheus, Dionysus and Apollo were all basically the same figure?
I figured THAT out early on, and couldn't see why no-one else had. THIS was my first introduction into 'magical thinking' - CORRESPONDENCES.
To me, the world at large, seen and unseen, is webbed with such correspondences....and links can be made between seemingly disparate things with ease, given enough intellectual leeway. There are no such things as 'coincidences' - ALL 'chance' events have a pattern if you view them from the correct vantage point. An example follows;

Recently I was crossing a road in the city centre near where i live. I was listening to a CD on a CD walkman (I don't own an ipod - a decision I am beginning to regret) entitled 'Tales of the New Isis Lodge' (available from the souvenir shop at ) which is described by the displaced trans-yuggothian future-insect minds behind it as;

'Probably the first Musical inspired by the creative occultism of Kenneth Grant, Tales Of The New Isis Lodge presents 65 minutes of lush and occult exotica issuing from a transplutonic transmitter. Drawing its structure from the ultra decadent and ornate rituals described in Grant's book Hecate's Fountain English Heretic guide you through Egyptian pre-history to the fungi of yuggoth, re-imagine flower power in an indian tantric idiom, describe the workings of Chinese sorcerers, realise the neither-neither hidden within the jump rhythms of Count Basie and invoke Choronzon in the Crimson Desert. Aeons in its reification and packaged in delicious artwork, stylised as a homage to Grant's Typhonian tomes'

Which may not mean much to anyone not acquainted with the work and writings of
Mr Grant (,
Mr Lovecraft ( or
Mr Crowley (, but is a pretty accurate summary of the philosophic and lyrical content behind the recording - but, i digress......anyway, as I said, I was crossing the road with the aforementioned CD in my headphones when the CD arrived at the final track 'Demon Feast/the Dagger of Bou Said' - which is an almost literal reading of Crowley and Victor Neuburg ( performing the 'Calls of the aethyr' of the Enochian Keys of Doctor John Dee ( in the desert of Bou Saada. The track got to the beginning of the demon Choronzons monologue, when suddenly from out of nowhere a bus came hurtling toward me, nearly knocking me down.....the number of the bus? 93. I leapt out of the way and onto the opposite side of the road and noted a billboard in front of me advertising some type of car or other, and in the background of the billboard ad I could discern the silhouette of the 'extraterrestrial' intelligence LAM - painted by Crowley and much beloved of Grant.

Is it wrong of me to see the link between those 3 events? Is it a symptom of my 'illness'? Or is it so blindingly obvious that only a fool would deny the link? Now, to frame the events in their proper context, I have been having an ongoing magickal crisis vis a vis why do I find it so hard to actually PRACTICE magick these days? Should I even bother? Am I delusional? Is everyone who tries to dissuade me from the path in fact RIGHT? In those events, I felt I could discern the invisible hand of magick itself, operating through my interest in Crowley and things related, giving me a distinctly unsubtle push toward helping me decide. I have had this happen before, but never in such a direct manner. It is both a worry AND a comfort to me. it REAL or are my perceptions 'damaged' in some way because of my condition in conjunction with my propensities? Now, most people that i have discussed it with have placed it firmly within the framework of my 'illness'....but then I have to remind them that they cannot speak for me, nor share my perception, therefore, my question really ought to I CARE? Does it MATTER?

......and on balance, I find myself saying NO.

Postscript - just as I was about to post this, I noted a typo in the title I had assigned to it. I had written 'AL little paranoia....', which is, to me at least, deply amusing given the subject and content of this li'l screed....