It's Gonna Blow!!! - The Cinepunx Interview

Foreground is director Bill Perrine, with us goofs surrounding him. Photo by Eric Bresler.
Currently Reading: 
Becoming Richard Pryor by Scott Saul
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Today's Playlist: 
Arcane Death Ritual by Sortilegia

I once again joined Josh and Liam on their Cinepunx podcast. This time the interview was not with me, but rather with Bill Perrine, director of the new (and very enjoyable) documentary It's Gonna Blow!!!: San Diego's Music Underground 1986-1996. I was guest interviewing with the fellows along with my brother Bull. It was a lively talk and if you like the interviews here on the site, you should give it a listen.

You can find it here.

The Cinepunx podcast is also available through iTunes.

If you'd like to listen to me talk about L!F!P!, the Cabbage Collective, Diabolik DVD, Exhumed Films, etc., the episode with my interview, #10, is here.

I should be joining Liam, Josh, and probably Bull again in early March for another interview with a documentarian. More on that if it comes to fruitition.

God Is (Most Certainly) Not Great

Freedom of speech is great.

And it's worth defending against the troglodytes who want to force their antiquated and vile beliefs on the world through force.

“Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”
- Salman Rushdie

2014: The Books I Shared My Year With

As 2014 goes kaput, I reflect upon the books of my life. For me it was a year of considerable lows (the death of my father, Joseph J., and my beloved cat, Autumn Leaf) and soaring highs (marriage to Hana, a marvelous trip to Oregon, some fascinating LOUD! FAST! PHILLY! interviews, successful Exhumed Films events, killer records, the joy of living). My constant companions were my beloved books. Below please find a list of every book I read in 2014 in the sequence in which I read them. Below the list I mention my favorites of the year. I started many other books, sometimes moving more than 100 pages into them, before I shit-canned them. Those books are not mentioned. Thus, all the below works have merit (as did, quite often, the books I didn't complete, though they didn't work for me at the time I attempted to immerse myself within them). I compile and present this every year not as a boast (I don't know if reading 62 books is impressive or not), but to highlight these often brilliant works, the marvelously creative individuals who wrote them, and to encourage others (you!) to -- I hope -- read some of them. Here goes!

1. Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult by Dayal Patterson
2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
3. We Who Are About To... by Joanna Russ
4. Moomiland In the Winter by Tove Jansson
5. Civilwarland In Bad Decline by George Saunders
6. Golden Fool (Tawny Man 2) [audio book] by Robin Hobb
7. Baal [audio book] [re-read?] by Robert R. McCammon
8. Doctor Sleep [audio book] by Stephen King
9. Fool's Fate (Tawny Man 3) by Robin Hobb
10. They Thirst [audio book] [re-read] by Robert R. McCammon
11. Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach 1) by Jeff VanderMeer
12. The Troop by Nick Cutter
13. Dark Eden [audio book] by Chris Beckett
14. Usher's Passing [audio book] [re-read] by Robert R. McCammon
15. Marcher by Chris Beckett
16. Fevre Dream [audio book] [re-read] by George R.R. Martin
17. I Travel By Night [novella] by Robert R. McCammon
18. Butcher's Crossing [audio book] by John Williams
19. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
20. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson [audio book] by Jeff Guinn
21. The Alienist by Caleb Carr
22. Hearts In Atlantis [audio book] by Stephen King
23. White [novella] by Tim Lebbon
24. Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon
25. The Inheritors [audio book] by William Golding
26. Sand Omnibus [audio book] by hugh Howey
27. Authority (Southern Reach 2) [audio book] by Jeff VanderMeer
28. Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome [audio book] by Anthony Everitt
29. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
30. Shadrach and the Furnace [audio book] by Robert Silverberg
31. The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack
32. Mr. Mercedes [audio book] by Stephen King
33. A Different Kingdom by Paul Kearney
34. Night Warriors [audio book] by Graham Masterton
35. On the Run: Fugitive Life In An American City by Alice Goffman
36. Lost Girls by Robert Kolker
37. Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel
38. The Eflstones of Shannara (Shannara 2) [audio book] by Terry Brooks
39. Wraith [graphic novel] by Joe Hill and Charles Paul Wilson III
40. Stinger [audio book] by Robert R. McCammon
41. Ancillary Justice [audio book] by Ann Leckie
42. The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge
43. The Bear by Marian Engel
44. The Auctioneer by Joan Samson
45. Harvest Home [audio book] by Thomas Tryon
46. Maynard's House by Herman Raucher
47. Acceptance (Southern Reach 3) [audio book] by Jeff VanderMeer
48. Persepolis [graphic novel] by Marjane Satrapi
49. Elric Volume 1: The Ruby Throne [graphic novel] by Michael Moorcok, Blondel, et al
50. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
51. City of Stairs [audio book] by Robert Jackson Bennett
52. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
53. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
54. Little Wolves [audio book] by Thomas Maltman
55. A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland
56. The Wake [graphic novel] by Scott Synder et al
57. The Fever by Meg Abbott
58. The Lesser Dead [audio book] by Christopher Buehlman
59. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
60. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
61. Revival [audio book] by Stephen King
62. The Pike: Gabriel D'Annunio: Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

My favorites of these (not counting re-reads) were:
Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult
The Goldfinch
Civilwarland In Decline
Dark Eden
Butcher's Crossing
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson
The Luminaries
The Devil All the Time
Lost Girls
The Eagle and the Raven
The Auctioneer
The Bone Clocks
A Little History of Literature
The Lesser Dead
The Book of Strange New Things
The Pike: Gabriel D'Annunzio: Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War

(My wiener held to a flame, I'd chose The Eagle and the Raven [1978] as my favorite work of fiction and The Pike [2013] as my favorite work of non-fiction read in 2014.)

Now to 2015, which is beginning quite well with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and Black Dahlia by James Ellroy.

Words, words: I love you.

Regarding the site, while it's been a while since there was a new interview, some are in the works. It's been a busy time for me and, as noted above, an eventful time. As well, one interview I did for the proposed "Splinterviews" section of the site was -- for reasons outside my control -- shitcanned. A big bit of press may be coming down the pike that should drawn many new eyes and ears to the site, so I hope they like what we've done so far.

Darren Speaks!

Former interview subject Darren Finizio submitted the following to me to run here in the L!F!P! blog:

The other day I let a 60's record collecto type of person into my home
and I let him hear something I recently created called The Antisocial Social
People -- it's a conceptual album I created because I though it was a good
idea. Probably no one will hear it. It has short songs featuring scenesters
voicing elation over various styles of music, interspersed with prayers by
The Antisocial People accompanied by pipe organ. He preceded to tell me that
familiar line about musicans can't play the same way when they get older,
'xept now this time he was referring to [me]. "Don't you realize that most
musicians [say] they get better with time, but lose track of what *cool and
just can't [do it] anymore". I thought about his comment and couldn't stop
thinking about that interview with you. I had to write this. In that
interview we barely, if at all, discussed what I'm doing now. You posted
phone messages I'd wish you'd remove. Thats not 'my new music'. I was just
trying to perform my parents old sheet music to make you laugh. Needless to
say, for the last 5 years I've began intensely practicing my guitar on a
regular basis, exploring texture/sound/feedback.....oh, all sorts of things.
I'm learning to [fly] and play tsome fairly complex music. Many musicians,
like many visual artists, create better music later on in their lives and I
believe I'm definitely one of them. I'm a slow learner. Now, when I play
guitar with my drummer friend Rich Moscowitz (from Philly 90's avante jazzers
IMU) and John Thomas (from 90's Philly fun fusionoids Tintinabulus and EDO) I
realize that I've become quite good at playing Music. The real thing. As far
as songs, well, Darren NOW (with a rubber band and mic) could easily blow
away Muscle Factory or Hoppy The Frog THEN. I'm completely sure of it. I
could arbitrarely change tempos and improvise lyrics to my songs. I've gotten
more fun and more interesting. So what gives, Philly? What's up with the
age-ism thing? Why y'all making me seem like a relic? Do any of the hardcore
punks you interviewed tell you that they merely got into the scene because
they needed a style, an identity......because they went to the same college?
I'm still young before my years and, though, it's cool to reminisce about the
past, I've so much music to offer in the NOW. What [is] the Philly scene?
What has it [ever] been? Clique upon clique? Mood music made for cliques as
an ethemeral outsping of identity? Funny to think I overrided it all by
wearing a Frog costume and singing music that pretty much sounded like Loving
Spoonful or lifting some dumbells onstage and playing Hawind light for y'all.
So much more to music. Sorry, I can't help but resent Philly for putting me
in a museum. I've so much more to offer, but you'll probably never hear it.
And those Youtube videos? Do you think I'd ever give anything reallygood away
for free? Most all of them are there to make fun of y'ouever for being online
when you should be living.

*"cool" meaning no longer attending shows and getting an idea of what people I ever cared. And, anyway, would a carnie ever step out and
watch a sideshow with the rubes?

Summer Ends, Moving Forward

Philly DIY Skillshare Conference Panel
Currently Reading: 
The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge
Today's Playlist: 
Baphomet Pan Sub-Niggurath by Unaussprechlichen Kulten
Bored Civilians by Keith Cross & Peter Ross
Demo 2014 by Ardour Loom
Heptaedrone by Khthonik Cerviiks
III-V by Endlichkeit
In Turmoil by Ancst
Necrosophic by Harvest Gulgaltha
Saman by Hildur Gudnadottir
Simulacrum by Xothist

It's been a while since a new interview has been posted here on L!F!P!, so let this blog post stand as an update on the state of the project.

This has been a busy summer for me, though not as much in the creative sense as I'd prefer. My business, Diabolik DVD, has been compelling me to work 11-hour days through much of the last few months. While this is good for making money (which I've put into a new roof on my home, the removal of a "cat enclosure" from my backyard, and some new shelves built by the inimitable Kevin Lawrence [as well as purchasing too many records and books]), it has not given me much time for savoring the pleasures of summer. I managed to visit my friend Kathie and Jason (plus cats) in Portland, Oregon for a week and I've been out running in the forest nearly every day. Aside from that, however, it's mostly been work! work! work! As the summer winds down, some formidable life changes are upon me (more about this in the future) and I begin to look forward to an end to the heat and humidity and the return of the exquisite beauty that is fall. 

Stacey Finney contributed several essential interviews to the project over the summer. She has recently had to deal with some family issues, so one of her scheduled interviews was pushed off. She'll likely conduct it soon. I love Stacey's interviews and I'm thrilled that she's taken such an active role in the project.

Karen Kirchhoff's L!F!P! photographic portraits are still up at the Grindcore House. I hope you, dear Reader, have seen them already. If not, you should stop by if you're in South Philly. While I have no idea when they'll be coming down (they've already been up for over two months), they should remain for at least a few weeks to come.

I have one interview in the works (but not yet scheduled) that will fall into a new set of ancillary interviews I'll be calling "Splinterviews." These will be interviews with people I find fascinating but who may not fit into the primary focus of the project (writers, musicians, artists, thinkers, folks who do things I appreciate, weirdos, etc.) or were interviewed before and will talk briefly with me as an update to what's been going on in their life. These (somewhat shorter) interviews will appear in the blog section (this section) of the site, not within the main body of interviews. The first of these should be with a Philadelphia-based nurse who came out of the punk scene. I'll be talking to her about health care (mostly sexual health and reproductive rights) from a punk perspective. I hope to see this come together in late August or early September.

As summer draws to its unofficial close, I thank those of you who are reading this for continuing the support the project. If you like what you hear here, please spread the word about L!F!P! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the project, so feel free to send me a message. Finally: I still have a couple t-shirts left!

P.S. This recent interview with the great Ian MacKaye is a must-hear!

Photo: On a panel at the Philly DIY Skillshare Conference on August 1, 2014.

Tapewrecks On The Electric Love Muffin

Currently Reading: 
The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge
Today's Playlist: 
Baphomet Pan Sub-Niggurath by Unaussprechlichen Kulten
Bored Civilians by Keith Cross & Peter Ross
Demo 2014 by Ardour Loom
Heptaedrone by Khthonik Cerviiks
III-V by Endlichkeit
In Turmoil by Ancst
Necrosophic by Harvest Gulgaltha
Saman by Hildur Gudnadottir
Simulacrum by Xothist

Last year the excellent Tapewrecks blog wrote about my interviews with Joe Genaro and Rodney Anonymous (Linderman) of The Dead Milkmen. Tom Quinn of the blog was mostly concerned with the "fictitious years" of the band. It was neat to see some parts of the interviews transcribed. 

Tom just informed me that there is a new piece up about Rich Kaufman of The Electric Love Muffin. Again, some bit of the interview (conducted this time by guest interview, former interview subject, and friend Stacey Finney) has been transcribed. 

It is here.

A Tree Falls In Fairmount Park

Currently Reading: 
The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge
Today's Playlist: 
Baphomet Pan Sub-Niggurath by Unaussprechlichen Kulten
Bored Civilians by Keith Cross & Peter Ross
Demo 2014 by Ardour Loom
Heptaedrone by Khthonik Cerviiks
III-V by Endlichkeit
In Turmoil by Ancst
Necrosophic by Harvest Gulgaltha
Saman by Hildur Gudnadottir
Simulacrum by Xothist

While running on Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon last Friday, August 15 I heard the ripping sound of a tree falling. At first I wasn't certain what tree it was, but I knew it was close to me. Then I saw a massive tree fall a few yards in front of me. On the other side of the tree was an elderly woman walking a small poodle. I heard her screaming before the tree hit. As soon as it fell I began to climb through it to get to her. Behind me was another runner, a young woman who joined me in scrambling through the tree. We reached the old woman and found that she was seemingly okay but her dog got clocked. She was wailing and holding the bleeding dog. The runner fortunately had a cell phone, so she called 911 (but there were no area locators around us) and she called the old woman's veterinarian with advance notice that she was on her way. I asked her if she had a husband, family member, or friend she could call. She said she had no one. Since she was about a mile from her car on a path, crying, and carrying a bleeding dog, I asked the runner to stay with the woman while I ran ahead to the parking lot to find someone to agree to drive back to pick her up to drive her to her car. When I got to the parking lot by the Valley Green Inn, I found some bicyclists who agreed to get her, but their car was locked in the parking lot (there's a convoluted way to get in and out for part of the day and night), so I had a find a cook in the not-yet-open restaurant who didn't speak English well and get her to agree to open the gate. By the time the bike guy and I drove towards the woman and the runner, she was nearly at the parking lot. I helped her into the truck and away she went.

Upon returning home I was hit was the impact of what I witnessed and took part in. Mostly I felt bad for the woman and the dog. I didn't know if the dog would survive and I didn't catch the name of the vet she was taking it to. I tried calling some area vets to see if they saw one of their patients with a tree-damaged dog, but I had no luck.

Come Saturday morning, I heard from Adam/Atom Goren of Fracture and Atom and His Package. It seems his wife Jenn was at their vet at the same time this woman came in with the dog. Jenn later related the story to Adam, who then saw my Facebook posting about the incident and connected them. He told me the name and location of the vet (which rang a bell in my head) and I called that morning to talk to the receptionist at the office. She knew exactly what I was talking about. Once I explained who I was in connection to the story, she was very willing to talk and said some kind things to me. At the office they were fond of the woman and her dog. Alas, however, the dog needed to be euthanized. She asked for my name and telephone number in case the woman wanted to thank me. I didn't need to be thanked and I thought she might not want to think more about that awful morning, but I gave her the information.

The next day I ran was that Sunday morning (I skipped Saturday as I had to work a convention in NJ). In the time since the tree fell and Sunday morning it had been cleared away, leaving only a line of bright green leaves across Forbidden Drive and a stump at the edge of the path. As I approached the spot where the tree fell and ultimately killed the small dog, a russet fox came bounding from one side of Forbidden Drive and ran across the Drive precisely where the tree fell and to the other side, where it disappeared into the forest. A fox is a rare and wonderful sight in the Wissahickon, especially on a Sunday when many people are in the park. No one one else was there to see the creature. I was struck: death -- but life.

A few days later I saw Logan, a man I see when I'm out running and with whom I'm friendly. I had already told him about the incident, so when he came upon the woman he knew all about it and talked to her about what happened. She adopted a dog the day after the accident and was walking with her new dog.

Last night she called me to thank me and send me blessings. I missed the call, but I'll call back today.

It's been a strange -- and ultimately tragic -- chain of events, but it could have been far worse. On the path no signs of what occured a week ago remain. Even the trail of leaves has been dispersed in the wind.

Of Human Bondage

"His habit of reading isolated him: it became such a need that after being in company for some time he grew tired and restless; he was vain of the wider knowledge he had acquired from the perusal of so many books, his mind was alert, and he had not the skill to hide his contempt for his companions' stupidity. They complained that he was conceited; and, since he excelled only in matters which to them were unimportant, they asked satirically what he had to be conceited about."

-- I feel you, Philip. That is, Philip Carey in W. Somerset Maugham's 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. It may have taken me 43 years to get around to reading this book, but that beats never managing to get to it then dying of cancer/heart disease/car accident/shark nibbles/lethal rejection/brain analism/worm stuff/the pox/SIDS/etc. Stripped of the ornate verbosity endemic to many novels of the era, Maugham's prose has a very modern fluidity and his understanding of his characters (and considerable humor) make the lengthy novel (607 tiny-type pages in my early '80s orange-spine Penguin edition) flow while entrancing the reader. Bully!

1-2-3-4! Puppies Are GO!

Currently Reading: 
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel
Today's Playlist: 
Tliltic Tlapoyauak by v/a (Black Twilight Circle)

The era/error of the yuppie (young urban professional) is over.
Let us enter the era of the "puppy," which is the:

S/he comes from the hardcore punk scene and brings from it the ethics of punk and its DIY ethos along with a desire to GET PAID. Areas of employment include but are not limited to: graphic design, small business operation, food trucks, screen printing, carpentry, writing, medical care, computer programming, audio recording, etc. Willing to give the Wall Street types and Penn students the boot. Killer record collection. Co-op memberships and farm shares. Rescue animals over Lamborghinis. 

Philly DIY Skillshare Conference 2014

Currently Reading: 
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel
Today's Playlist: 
Elixir of Sorrow by Lunar Aurora
Movements From Masses/Motets/Chansons by Guillaume Dufay/Capella Antiqua Munchen
Rejoice and Transcend by Wrought Iron
Return of the Silkie by Carol Kleyn
The Next Four Years by United Nations

I'm not putting this in the "Event" section of this site because it's not directly L!F!P!-related, but the project may come up when I appear on a panel about running a small business with a few others (including former interview subject Jeff Ziga of Little Baby's Ice Cream and R5 Productions). This is a three-day and night event running from August 1-3. My panel will be at the Beaumont Warehouse (5027 Beaumont St. in West Philadelphia; close to the Mariposa co-op) from 6:30 - 7:30 PM on the first night, Friday, August 1, 2014. It may run later due to the Q&A session. The weekend will feature all manner of panels, events, food, and live performances. Should be great fun! I hope some of you can come out to the panel and, more essentially, to the event as a whole.

There is more information about it here on their Facebook page.