Friday, November 14, 2014

"Hollywood Has It Wrong:" Uncovering the Truths of Voodoo with "Bight of the Twin"


(Author's note: Please check out my recent chat with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and watch the video below to put the following article in a proper context.)





When was the last time you read about an interesting movie or play and decided to hop in your car and experience the event for yourself? Now, when was the last time you read about an intriguing culture in a different part of the world and jumped in a plane with a film crew – especially with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge in tow - to check it out without knowing what would happen? There are very few people who would be so daring, but Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Hazel Hill McCarthy III is one of them.

Hazel's friendship with Genesis dates back to 2009, when she was introduced to h/er by Kelly McKay of Swoon Magazine. The two instantly hit it off; before long, Hazel was doing design work on Gen's book Thee Psychick Bible (Feral House), and Gen was appearing at Hazel's popular performance space Show Cave. Fast-forward a few years, and Hazel finds herself inspired to see the Vodun Festival in Ouidah, Benin in West Africa after reading about it in The Guardian. She invites Gen to take the trip with her. A small crew is assembled. Airline tickets are booked for January 2014. Nobody really knows what is about to transpire as the first plane leaves the runaway. And then...they're off.

Let all of this sink in for just a moment. Here is a film crew packing up and heading to a part of the world that they knew very little about – and to a community that knows nothing about them - all for the purposes of investigating a controversial religion. And with Genesis – a pandrogynous Caucasian with blonde-dyed hair and gold teeth – along for the ride. Still, it all made perfect sense to Hazel.

“I had to remind myself multiple times that Genesis was different,” she offers. “I'm not saying that in a fanatic way or a repulsive way, but you kind of forget the facade – the outer shell, if you will...I think something that really attracted me to Genesis was actually being able to look at yourself with faults, being able to take changes and being able to be vulnerable. For some reason, with the life's work that Genesis has really embodied as a transformative cultural artifact, I just thought it would really interesting to examine that further in what seemed to be the most bizarre culture fit, but at the same time the most fitting culture fit. Voodoo is something that can be really looked at in a myriad of ways. The only way to fully experience it is with somebody who kind of lives that activation and that type of wonderment and spectacle...It feels right when I'm working with Genesis to kind of take a stab in the dark, but with the gut feeling that this stab in the dark is going to be something with some sort of purpose and a bigger message that we won't fully realize until we physically experience it.”

Fortunately, the chance paid off, with the people of Benin welcoming the crew with open arms.

“Everyone we met was really open, loving and accepting,” Hazel says. “They didn't acknowledge, 'Oh, you are different.' We bypassed that; we were people. 'Yes, you're white, but you're just like anybody else.' I think that was the most shocking part of the trip. We literally fell into place there.”


Photo courtesy of www.bightofthetwin.com


Although most Americans live in a Web-connected age with plenty of information, Voodoo is still a very esoteric – and, for many, a downright frightening – subject. After all, “Voodoo” is about gore, violence and exploring the “dark side,” right? So why would Genesis call it a “religion of kindness” when we spoke about the project earlier this year? What are the real truths about Voodoo that a vast number of people in our culture seem to be missing? Bight Of The Twin will provide the answer to these questions.

“Specifically in Ouidah, the practitioners of Voodoo live a very coexistent life with other religions,” Hazel explains. “There's the Basilica [of the Immaculate Conception of Mary] in the main quarter, right next to The Python Temple, and a mosque is just another road behind. When they have actual functions and festivals, they allow all different religions to partake in it. Sometimes, practitioners of Voodoo are also Muslim and Christian. I hope to show through this film that Hollywood has it wrong.”

Two months ago, the crew made a second trip to Benin to continue filming. By then, flying to West Africa had become not only an adventure, but also a potential health risk as word of an ebola outbreak hit the world news.

“We had planned on going with a crew of six, including Gen,” Hazel recalls. “Two of the people who hadn't gone on the first trip pulled out before we left. They had major concerns with their own health and the risk of getting ebola.”

Despite the danger, the remaining crew soldiered on, seizing the opportunity to capture more footage for the film. In the spirit of repaying the hospitality of their hosts, the crew donated funds towards benches and desks for an elementary school in Benin. Not only had the filmmaker and her crew survived the ordeal, but they did what they could help children of Benin thrive.

Naturally, an undertaking like Bight Of The Twin cannot be possible without considerable funding. After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, Hazel recently launched a page on Indiegogo to raise the funds to carry the film to the next stage of production. The campaign had seven days to go at the time of this writing. Hazel is aiming to have the film finalized in the spring, preceded by a rough cut in December.

A film as intriguing as Bight Of The Twin also needs the right kind of soundtrack. Enter Hazel's husband Douglas (best known for his work with Nitzer Ebb and Recoil), who signed on to provide music via DJMREX, his current project with LA electronic music vet Cyrusrex. Taking isolated sounds taken from field recordings in Benin, Douglas and Cyrusrex used modular synths to create unique musical accompaniments. Along the way, frequent Skinny Puppy collaborator Ken "Hiwatt" Marshall joined the team to help with the sound design and music production. The resultant music is nowhere close to what one might expect when considering a soundtrack to a movie based in West Africa.

“Given that it was a subject matter filmed in Africa, we wanted to keep clear of a kind of cliched combination of National Geographic and Paul Simon,” Douglas says.

In keeping with the spirit of the film, this music will be utilized in unexpected ways. For example, some of the film's more in-your-face moments could very well end up with soothing sounds in the background.

“There will be very intimate sacrifices [in the film]...Things will get really intense,” Hazel reveals. “When there's that intensity, the last thing you want is some jarring music that is just overpowering the image. Then it just becomes this flatline nothing; you're not really sure what to hold your attention to. So the idea is to really juxtapose the music with the imagery.”

Of course, this isn't the first time Douglas has been involved with a P-Orridge-related project. His first experience creating music around h/er happened in the mid '90s – even if he didn't know it at the time. At the urging of his friend Mary Byker (Gaye Bykers On Acid/Apollo 44), Douglas hit the stage and sang at a Pigface show at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit. He would be reminded of this event years later.

“As I got to know Gen after Hazel had worked on the book, we were in LA swapping stories,” he recalls. “We were talking about the Detroit show. It was difficult to tell because Pigface had about 12 people onstage – and nobody was particularly coherent or especially sober - [but] we were actually on the stage together! Without knowing it, we had performed with one another.”

For Douglas, some of the most “intimate and emotionally charged events” surrounding the Benin journey involved the ceremonies where Genesis reconnected with Lady Jaye. For these “visibly raw” moments, the crew was reduced to just Douglas and Hazel. What they captured was a deeply personal chapter in the ever-evolving narrative of P-Orridge's existence.

“Gen is coming to the end of h/er life story,” Hazel says. “There's been so much baggage and non-resolution. If you see her life pattern, things have been very much on the fringe of society...I think this documentary is looking less at trying to glorify Genesis, but take the human condition that we all have and kind of amplify it through h/er experience in Ouidah. It's a little like a fish-out-of-water story, but fundamentally it's h/er experiencing something that s/he's been practicing. This isn't a fluff piece about someone of greatness at accomplishing life figuring out the origins of Voodoo in the one month in total that we spent there, and this isn't proposing to understand Voodoo. It's just trying to understand the human condition through this really interesting experience.”


Photo courtesy of www.bightofthetwin.com

Humbled by his travels in Benin, Douglas has learned to see things like flight delays and other inconveniences for what they truly are – first-world problems at a time when so many in other parts of the world have so little.

“I remember coming back from LAX to our home and just being kind of shocked at how much concrete there was, and how many people and cars there were,” he says. “We had only been away for two weeks...It really does affect you that deeply.”

“There's a closed-mindedness in the West that you don't feel when you go to Benin,” adds Hazel.

Above all, Bight Of The Twin will showcase a brilliant example of what is possible when inquisitive people leave the comfort of their surroundings to explore elements of humanity that are simply unattainable with a Mac.

As Hazel says, “There's still stuff out there, and [this project] kind of takes the chance of stepping away from your computer to find those things and really, fully experience them.”







READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Sunday, November 2, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW - Sonny Vincent & Spite: Spiteful





Supergroups can be tricky. Too often, the lofty expectations generated by the names listed on the album cover are decimated once the lukewarm reality of the album's music greets the understandably bummed listener. For one reason or another, projects of this nature tend to highlight the lowest common denominator of each individual contributor when they should reflect the very best that each musician has to offer. Simply put, far too many “supergroups” whimper when they should wail. (I don't need to name names; just look at your record collection and you’ll see that I'm right.)

Where does Sonny Vincent & Spite's Spiteful fit into all of this? First, let's have a look at the cast of characters. Of course, there's Vincent, New York Punk veteran and legendary Testors frontman, on vocals and guitar. On bass, we have Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols. The drumming is handled by none other than the great Rat Scabies of The Damned. And then things go way over the top...On saxophone, Steve Mackay from the mighty Stooges.

Let that sink in...We have a singer/guitarist who's been at this game for a good 35 years, the guy who wrote “Pretty Vacant on bass, the original drummer from one of history's greatest bands and a guy who played on Fun House. This is some serious, serious business – enough to make one reluctant to actually play the record out of fear of having his or her incredibly high hopes dashed. Thankfully, Spiteful will go down in history as one of the very few occasions where something like this absolutely works.

Blazing out of the gate with the all-out “Dog On The Subway” and wrapping up with the deceptively calm “Clouds,” Spiteful doesn't let up for a second. Boasting 14 tracks in under 35 minutes (perfect!), the album showcases some of the strongest, no-fucking-around Rock music committed to disc in decades. Shades of L.A.M.F., Blank Generation and Young, Loud And Snotty abound, while Vincent and Co. have more than enough spark in them to give latter-day Punk Rock 'N' Rollers a guide to doing it right. Highlights include the raucous, dirty Blues of “Silver,” the Mackay freakout on “Thief Of Words” and the sterling love song “Now That I Have You.”

In a world of literally thousands of “Punk” bands, it takes a bunch of middle aged guys to plug in and peel the paint off the walls to remind us of what the real deal is all about. There are guys who can play it, and there are guys who are it. Give Spiteful a listen to immediately recognize the difference.

(Note: This review is based on the track listing on the promo CD provided to the author. The tracks and song order referenced above might be different on the final commercial release.)


The behind-the-scenes story of the making of Spiteful is available HERE.  



READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From THE PROCESS to Praxis: Inside M.O.D. Technologies

Checking out a release by the New York-based label M.O.D. Technologies is like going to musicology class. Without fail, the credits offer a previously unfamiliar name (or five) of an artist with a history worth exploring. The label is not set out to build a discography based on genre; the goal is much bigger than that. M.O.D. is about fostering an entirely new world of sound based on experimental collaborations between unexpected (and incredibly enticing) combinations of disparate musicians. But what do you expect from a label fueled by Bill Laswell? Here is an overview of the label's most recent releases.


THE PROCESS


Take three masters of their craft, drop them in a recording studio for three days and see what happens. This was the plan behind The Process, which finds Laswell joining forces with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and visionary pianist John Batiste. Naturally, the results are extraordinary. From the stunning bass-drum interplay on “Drop Away” (featuring Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio on vocals) to the Krautrock vibe of “Black Arc,” The Process effortlessly shows that these musicians were meant to create music together. The album's greatest strength is found in its subtlety: Instead of flashy drum solos or other outlandish displays of musical prowess, the trio goes for groove over gloss. These players serve the song, not their own spotlights. A good example of this can be heard on “Time Falls,” where all three musicians (plus Dominic James on guest guitar) are playing at their peak without getting in each other's way. The Process is not just a great listen; it's an intense study of how musicians can instinctively (perhaps telepathically) communicate with each other to create magic.


M.O.D. Digital: The Incunabula Series
Below is an overview of the first six releases in The Incunabula Series by M.O.D. Digital. Many of these recordings were culled from Laswell's residency at The Stone in April.


Praxis & Rammellzee: In Times Of Horror



Along with PainKiller and Bladerunner, the mighty Praxis is Laswell's escape into unadulterated noise. Featuring late NYC performance artist Rammallzee, “In Times Of Horror” is an amped-up version of the already-insane 1991 track “Stronghold” (from the Sacrifist album) made even more menacing than the original thanks to horror-monster vocals and the paint-peeling saxophone onslaught of the incomparable John Zorn.

Bill Laswell & DJ Krush: Shuen


The perfect antidote to the Praxis acid bath, “Shuen” pairs Laswell and Japanese Hip Hop producer DJ Krush for a sedate, 10-minute chill soundtrack that manages to keep the waters calm even as crazed drums kick in along the way.

Method Of Defiance: Phantom Sound Clash Cut-Up Method: One




While it would be impossible for M.O.D. Technologies to put together a label sampler in the course of one song, Method of Defiance's 38-minute “Nebuchadnezzar” certainly comes close. The track's stunning list of contributors speaks for itself: Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Dr. Israel, Garrison Hawk, Gambian musician/composer Foday Musa Suso, percussionist Adam Rudolph, trumpeter Graham Haynes, Peter Apfelbaum, absolutely stellar drummer Guy Licata...need I say more?

Bernie Worrell: Phantom Sound Clash Cut-Up Method: Two



As discussed elsewhere on this site, Bernie Worrell is America's greatest living musician. Described by the label as “classic sound/mush up,” the 49–minute “Purple World” finds Worrell beginning and ending with a quiet piano – with a galaxy's worth of spaced-out Funk and percussion in between. Recorded at The Stone, “Purple World” features Laswell, Rudolph, Dr. Israel and Grandmaster DXT. A Bernie Worrell live experience is a journey; you never quite know where he's going to take you, but you know the trip will be unlike anything else you've ever experienced. “Purple World” is no exception. Beyond essential.

Milford Graves & Bill Laswell: The Stone (Back in No Time)



Another recording culled from Laswell's Stone residency, “Back In No Time” features the bassist and drummer Milford Graves taking a free-form musical conversation to the 40–minute mark. Although the song's unstructured nature (imagine a sax-less PainKiller) might be too much for some ears, those who stick around for the ride will be rewarded with a recording that offers new things to uncover with every listen.


Wadada Leo Smith & Bill Laswell: The Stone (Akashic Meditation)



Pairing Laswell with the brilliant Wadada Leo Smith, the 38-minute “Akashic Meditation” offers the kind of mellow sonic noir one might hear playing in the background in a David Lynch film. When it gets noisy, the track delivers shades of Throbbing Gristle's Heathen Earth. The perfect soundtrack for a midnight stroll in a cold, mysterious city.

Happy listening – and be sure to Google those names listed in the credits.

Al of these releases are available to purchase HERE.  

READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW - Mike Hudson & The Pagans: Hollywood High




When you get right down to it, legendary writer/Pagans frontman Mike Hudson didn't need to do a goddamn thing after releasing the “Street Where Nobody Lives / What's This Shit Called Love?” single with The Pagans in 1978. As perfect as anything off Raw Power, this two-sided gem easily secured Hudson's place in history, making everything (records, books, articles, etc.) he has blessed us with in the ensuing decades icing on the cake. Not only is Hudson still creating, but Hollywood High proves that hasn't lost the spark that made his early work so incendiary.

Backed by a supergroup including members of Detroit/Los Angeles veterans The Dogs (whose Loren Molinare produced the album), Keith Christopher of The Georgia Satellites and even former Dio/Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain, Hudson and his raspy, world-worn voice deliver an eight-song, 33-minute blast of energy that reminds listeners of what the real deal sounds like. This ain't Mall Punk, kids - this is real, filthy-barroom-at-1am-with-a-full-ashtray kinda shit. If The Dead Boys had kept their act together long enough to do a third album, it would have sounded like Hollywood High. (Appropriately enough, Hudson and Co. even kick out a cover of “Detention Home.”)

The album's many highlights include the riotous “I Just Got Up,” a harmonica-fueled cover of Son House's “Death Letter” and a new version of The Pagans' “'(Us and) All Our Friends Are So Messed Up.” The album's undeniable centerpiece, “Fame Whore,” finds Hudson delivering a spoken word piece – full of sex, blood, sweat, scratched skin and other nasty human things – over an eight-minute music jam.

Hudson says that Hollywood High was inspired by his turbulent relationship with muse Evita Corby, best known for her sexy-as-hell shot on the back cover of the Kill City album by Iggy Pop and James Williamson (and visually represented on Hollywood High courtesy of a vintage cover shot taken by the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy). If this album is any indication, she's one hell of a lady.

Hollywood High is out November 4 on Ruin Discos.
  
READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

ALBUM REVIEW - Mike LePond's Silent Assassins





Listening to Mike LePond's Silent Assassins is a bit of a homecoming for me. As a Metal fan growing up in New Jersey in the 1990s, it was impossible to ignore Symphony X and Non-Fiction, two groups that offered powerful – if differing – examples of just how vital the Garden State was to the underground scene during that time. While Symphony X was progressive in musical focus, Non Fiction was moody and brooding. Combine the best elements of both acts, and you have the nine songs that comprise this album.

Conceived as a solo project by Symphony X member Mike LePond, Silent Assassins features the renowned bassist alongside former Non-Fiction vocalist Alan Tecchio (also known for his work in Hades, Seven Witches and Watchtower), Symphony X bandmate Michael Romeo on guitar and drum programming and fellow New Jersey six-stringer “Metal” Mike Chlasciak (Halford, Testament). If you're familiar with these musicians, you already know what to expect with Mike LePond's Silent Assassins. If this is your initiation, rest assured that this album is true Metal of the highest possible degree.

Bursting through the speakers like a modern-day version of Judas Priest's Painkiller, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins holds nothing back. From the expectedly high-caliber musicianship to the flawless production (is that really a drum machine?), every second of this album delivers. The instrumentation is showy without being arrogant, while the album's lyrics (including the King Arthur-themed “The Quest”) remain epic without surrendering to the overblown pretentiousness that often hinders the genre. And after nearly three decades in the game, Tecchio offers perhaps his strongest vocal performance yet. Take a listen to “The Progeny,” “Ragnarok” or “Silent Assassins,” and you'll hear why he still stands as one of the most durable and dependable voices in Metal.

Simply put, anyone who loves this style of music can't go wrong with this thing.

But hey, of course it's good. It's from Jersey.  


READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jack Bruce RIP

My morning has been shaken by the passing of the extraordinary Jack Bruce, a man responsible for several albums that have been my regular companions since childhood. Of all of his many contributions to music, my favorite remains his work on Bill Ward's 1990 solo album, Ward One: Along the Way. It was Jack's singular voice – showcasing equal parts strength and vulnerability – that so brilliantly communicated the humanity of Bill's lyrics in “Light Up The Candles (Let There Be Peace Tonight)” and “Tall Stories.” And the man's bass playing – incomparable. Naturally, I could spend days writing about his work in Cream alone...
Bill's album will be played at an appropriately high volume in my home today, as will Jack's BBM album with the Gary Moore – also departed. We must all strive to leave our mark on this world. Jack Bruce certainly left his in the form of songs that will be cherished for centuries. The man's life has been silenced, but the man's soul will be heard forever. Rest in Peace Jack Bruce.

- Joel Gausten

Bill Ward and I discuss Jack Bruce, 2005:

Joel Gausten: You had an extraordinary group of guest musicians on Ward One. How did you determine who was going to perform on a particular song? For example, did you write, say, “Tall Stories” with Jack Bruce’s voice in mind?

Bill Ward: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I wanted to do it as duo with me and Jack, and I could hear Jack singing it. So I tried to write, lyrically, something that I hoped would appeal to him, and a feel and a kind of a blues thing, which I hoped would have definitely appealed to him. Jack, as you know, had been deeply affected by blues music. So I wanted to make something that was attractive and hope that he would like it. I felt that it was an incredible risk, because I have so much admiration for Jack Bruce, for the work that he’s done over the years, and for all the work that he did before Cream, with Cream and after Cream. So I knew that I was working with a very, very, very, very special person. Jack, I know, very much enjoyed the two songs that he sang on, and he complimented me immensely on my writing skills, which again bolstered that terrible self esteem that I had, when I felt that I was pretty much washed up. I’m recovering from this person that was living literally in the streets, panhandling. I’m coming from a place of no home, no house, the loss of my family, everything’s gone, no finances, no money whatsoever. So I’m coming from a place of absolute poverty and wreckage, and then I’m trying to write something for Jack Bruce (laughs). It’s a story, you know? So I was quite fearful. When I saw Jack get into the songs, then I felt that we were definitely on our way. Jack gave me a lot of validation. I sat down with Jack and I talked to him for over a week. I just spent time with Jack, period. We talked about everything. We talked about Cream. We talked about a lot of stuff. It was just a wonderful, wonderful experience. Of course, I would love to work with Jack in the future, if it ever came up. He’s just such a great bass player and a wonderful singer, and he’s a very, very, very nice man. He’s a great man. He’s a wonderful artist, so I’m very privileged to have worked with him, and I tried to design something that I thought would be well-fitting for him. 


credit: www.jackbruce.com

READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

In Days to Come: The Return of Soulside




It's finally happening.

Twenty-five years after playing their last gig, the final lineup of legendary D.C. band Soulside – singer Bobby Sullivan, guitarist Scott McCloud, bassist Johnny Temple and drummer Alexis Fleisig – are set to reconvene this December for a series of east coast reunion shows. As of this writing, the moving target that is the band's upcoming performance schedule includes two shows at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn (December 17 and 18) and two hometown appearances at the Black Cat (December 20 and 21). The December 18 and 20 shows are long sold out, with tickets for the other nights at both venues likely to be gone by the time this feature greets your eyes. The D.C. shows will occur as part of a weekend-long celebration of the release of Salad Days: The Birth of Punk Rock in the Nation's Capital, director Scott Crawford's long-awaited documentary on the D.C. Punk/Hardcore scene of the 1980s. The film boasts interviews with Sullivan and McCloud as well as live footage of the band in their heyday.

Unsurprisingly, Temple is as excited about the upcoming shows as the people who purchased the advance tickets.

I'm surprised it's taken us so long to play together again,” he says. “I had been hoping for it for years, and the film and Scott Crawford definitely helped to catalyze the situation. The timing was great, of course, because we last shared space together exactly 25 years ago. It's great; it's exciting to part of helping to support the film and have the film help support us.”

Fans can prep for the upcoming shows by checking out a new 12-inch release on Dischord Records that combines Soulside's 1988 Trigger EP with the three-song 1989 single, Bass/103. Released in August on yellow vinyl, the LP serves as a stellar primer for listeners who are just now discovering the band thanks to the considerable buzz surrounding the December events.

It's incredibly exciting,” says Temple of the re-issue. “It was an honor then and an honor now to be on Dischord. The fact that Dischord does things like take some of their early recordings and re-release them in this way is just absolutely incredible and such a huge inspiration.”

Although Soulside haven't been on a stage together in decades, the band's members have remained extremely prolific over the years. In 1990, Temple, McCloud and Fleisig joined forces with bassist/singer Eli Janney to form Girls Against Boys, an MTV-embraced band that enjoyed stints on Touch and Go and Geffen. In 1996, the funds generated from the Geffen label deal allowed Temple the opportunity to launch his own publishing company, Akashic Books, with Bobby Sullivan and the singer's brother Mark. After the demands of parenthood eventually led the Sullivan brothers to depart, Temple steered the company on his own, releasing such noteworthy titles as the best-selling Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes, Ziggy Marley's I Love You Too and The Jesus Lizard: BOOK.

In addition to performing in the bands Seven League Boots, Rain Like The Sound of Trains and Sevens, Sullivan's activities in recent years include work with the Rastafarian UniverSoul Order Prison Ministry


Bobby Sullivan (photo by Shawn Scallen, courtesy of Dischord Records)

Pleased to once again perform music with Sullivan, Temple is also looking forward to revisiting Soulside with McCloud and Fleisig, who have been his musical partners for nearly three decades.

I love playing with those guys,” he says. “While I'm busy running Akashic Books, Scott and Alexis are doing a lot of music internationally and all sorts of things. We have a great time playing together and we speak the same musical language. We like to do stuff together, and we've lucky to be able to keep doing so.”

As the gatherings slated to occur during the third week of December will surely demonstrate, the D.C. Punk/Hardcore scene is as vibrant now as it was when elders like the Bad Brains and Minor Threat first hit the stage. Why does Temple feel this region has remained so culturally relevant to the point where a film like Salad Days – and sold-out shows by a band that hasn't played in a generation – would even exist?

I think there's a real challenge among people in bands in D.C. to create their own voice and do something new,” he replies. “It wasn't appreciated in D.C. if a band was just sort of derivative of another band. If you weren't trying for something unique in a band, then there wasn't really a need for existence. That was something that a lot of musicians shared that was perhaps a hallmark. Also, the aggressive activism led by Positive Force, in particular with Mark Andersen, helped to give music a sense of mission. Even if a band wasn't particularly political or singing about injustice, a lot of bands supported playing shows for free and raising money regardless of the content of their lyrics. I think those were two special attributes of the D.C. music community and the era and vein that I was witness to, which is the same as what is in the movie.”


Johnny Temple and Bobby Sullivan (photo by Shawn Scallen, courtesy of Dischord Records)



READ JOEL'S BIO
PURCHASE JOEL'S BOOKS
FOLLOW JOEL ON TWITTER
EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com