The Cold and Lovely : On Ellis Bell and More

Interview and Article by SPfreaks

SPfreaks recently had a chance to catch up with Nicole Fiorentino and Meghan Toohey after their Record Release Party for their newest release, Ellis Bell.

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Ellis Bell (front cover)

The Cold and Lovely recently had a Record Release Party for your new EP, Ellis Bell. How did it feel to showcase those songs for the first time?

Meghan – It felt great. Because of some scheduling conflicts with Patty and Mel, we have a new drummer (Erin Tidwell) and keyboard player (Jennifer Goodridge) playing with us now and they are really adding new energy and excitement to the band. We never really got a chance to even feel like a band before with Nicole touring all the time and Mel living in NYC; but now we actually rent a rehearsal space together and enjoy the process of practicing. For a first show I thought it was solid and the songs went over well live. I can’t wait until we’ve had a few months of rehearsals under our belts.

Does The Cold and Lovely have any particular history at the Bootleg Theater? Any particular reason you wanted to have the record release at this location?

Meghan – I’ve played there a few times with other artists and always liked the vibe and thought the room sounded good. They also have a projector set up and we knew we were going to have our video set up be a big part of the show.

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Poster from Record Release Party

The new release is an EP – was this intended from the beginning? Did you ever want Ellis Bell to be a full album?

Meghan – We had a strong group of songs and thought it would be great to just get something out quickly. The first record wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be sonically, so this time around I wrote songs specific to a style of production, as opposed to try and fit a song to that style.

How would you describe the vibe of the new release? Where was your band at the time?

Meghan – I definitely think I was ready to work. When Nicole came home from the last tour and listened to the mastered album, we basically both agreed we had something special with these recordings and we should make a run of it with the band.

Ellis Bell was the pen name used by author Emily Brontë in the 19th century. What is the significance of Emily’s work on the band?

Meghan – I’m a huge nerd and love all things from the Romantic literature period. I had read Wuthering Heights and loved it. I ended up binge watching Masterpiece Theater and A&E classics and it came on one night. I got obsessed with the story; which lead to writing the song based around the plot line. I ended up researching Emily Brontë and discovering the name “Ellis Bell”.

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Emily Brontë (portrait by brother, Branwell Brontë)

The Cold and Lovely is a powerhouse of women in a rock band. Is it important to remain an all female band? How does that play into the music?

Nicole – I think it’s an exciting time for women in rock. There are a lot of all female bands right now (HAIM, Savages, Warpaint, etc.) and it feels like a resurgence to me, because when I was a teenager I was really into Riot Grrrl and that played a huge role in why I became a musician. If I can inspire one young girl to play music then I feel like I’ve done my job. Nothing is more heartwarming to me than someone telling me I am one of the reasons they picked up the bass – especially girls. Rock and roll is still a male dominated world and I feel really good that I have been able to claim my stake in it. I want other girls and women to feel empowered in that way. That’s why we want to keep The Cold and Lovely all women and why we are so involved in Rock Camp for Girls.

Speaking of women in music, how do you feel about Miley Cyrus’ recent controversy to include Sinead O’Connor’s open letter rejecting “prostitution” in music? Is it okay to be a woman in rock and be sexually provocative?

Meghan – I think it’s ok to be sexually expressive as a woman. Where I get lost is the fact that we are dealing with a young woman who has grown up as a role model to young girls. Miley’s choices are her own, but they kind of bum me out because I think she should have a sense of responsibility to a bigger community than just girls that are comfortable being overtly sexual. Madonna also had amazing songs and style. To me, Miley is trying to shock people and I just think she’s boring – but that’s my own opinion. Give me a great song and then take your clothes off or leave them on…

The Cold and Lovely is still fairly underground, but you have a very strong and committed fan base. Can you attribute that to any one thing in particular – perhaps everyone’s history in some very iconic bands?

Nicole – I think it doesn’t hurt that we are all seasoned veterans; it piques people’s interest for sure. And I think there are a lot of Smashing Pumpkins fans out there who wouldn’t have necessarily heard of us otherwise. I am so grateful for all of [their] continued support in my projects outside of Smashing Pumpkins. But I think ultimately the music speaks for itself. Maybe people are drawn to it because of the names attached, but they keep listening because it’s solid music. I am confident in saying that. ; )

How did you meet all the members of The Cold and Lovely? How did your band come to fruition? Meghan mentioned “Not with Me”, at the show, as something that you wrote together which convinced her to start a band. Is it that simple?

Nicole – Meg and I met through mutual musician friends about six years ago. I listened to some of the demos she had on her computer and was astounded that she hadn’t released any of them yet. Around the time I joined Smashing Pumpkins, she decided to start working on those demos and wanted to do a proper recording of them. I said I wanted to be involved as much as I could because I loved the songs so much. We met Patty at Rock Camp for Girls; where we all volunteer. Soon after, we got into the studio and recorded our first self titled LP.

Who do you consider, as a group, to be some major influences on your musical style? Reversely, who do you consider to be very relevant in today’s competitive, evolving, and oft watered-down climate?

Meghan and Nicole – The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Heart, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine. Listing relevant artists is tough to approach. We love a lot of “newer” bands like Radiohead, Silversun Pickups, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent, Tegan & Sara, etc. There’s also tons of amazing new music out there, but there’s also lots of crap. It almost takes more effort now to find your new favorite band in a sea of home recordings and/or people being able to post their music everywhere independently. I miss being able to go into record stores and browse and listen or check out “Staff pick”.

You personally played a Fender for a very long time and switched over to a Reverend. At the show, Meghan mentioned having some guitars custom made. Do you also have custom basses? Which do you prefer? Live vs. studio make any difference?

Nicole – Yes, I’ve been playing Fender since I was 14 years old. My first bass was a white Fender Jazz and it got stolen out of my car within the first week of moving to LA (note to self: never leave an instrument in your car in downtown). I am also playing both the Justice and the Decision basses by Reverend now; both of which I adore. And I recently got a beautiful bass from my friend, Lindz McKay, who builds replicas of vintage guitars. He built one for me that mimics an early 70’s jazz bass and I fell in love with it. His company is Bonneville Guitars. I really love [playing] Reverend with Smashing Pumpkins because they’re super punchy and cut through the wall of guitars. The Bonneville is great with The Cold and Lovely because it’s got a warmer tone. I mostly used a ’62 Fender Jazz on Oceania because you can’t beat the sound of a vintage guitar on a recording; but I don’t like to travel with expensive gear. On Ellis Bell I used a Fender Mustang with totally dead strings for that smooth, yet dirty, tone.

You responded once on a Twitter Q&A to having liked cassettes; especially because of the mix tape aspect. Did you ever make one or were you ever the recipient of one? Do you remember the songs?

Nicole – Someone made a mix tape for me right before I moved out to LA from Massachusetts, and I loved it so much that I listened to it all the way across the country in my U-Haul. The songs became my anthems for one of the biggest steps I ever made in my life. My favorite was “The Bluest Eyes in Texas”, the Nina Persson version. I still think a mix tape is one of the best gifts you can give someone you care about, because it gives them a peek at what songs have personally inspired you, and, if you choose the right songs, gives them an idea of what they mean to you. ; )

Feedbands.com is a website that is subscription based and releases one vinyl EP/LP per month. Do you enjoy the medium and are you a subscriber? Is The Cold and Lovely pursing a release through Feedbands?

Nicole – I think it’s an incredible way for new bands to get people interested in their music. Basically, you submit your songs to Feedbands, and if they dig them, they let their subscribers vote for whether or not they will print your vinyl. Once a month they print vinyl for whoever got the most votes and ship them out to their subscribers. So as a subscriber, you get a new vinyl in the mail each month from a band that you voted on! We are in the running to have our vinyl printed right now (we only have CDs/digital available at the moment). You can sign up for a free trial period and vote for us. After that I believe it is $14.95 a month. Not bad for vinyl lovers!

SPfreaks is very dedicated to collecting and preserving the legacy of musical output. Is there anything The Cold and Lovely find yourselves collecting?

Nicole – Shoes and VHS tapes.
Meghan – Rocks and music gear.

Check out five songs played live at the Record Release Party!

For more information on tours and releases available by The Cold and Lovely, please visit their website. SPfreaks would like to thank Nicole and Meghan for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer a few fan questions and wish them good luck with the new EP!

If you are going to be in the Los Angeles area on October 30th, why not stop by the Viper Room to see The Cold and Lovely play live?  Tickets available here.

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Smashing Pumpkins and The Frogs: A Brief History

Article by Arthur van Pelt

For today’s article we will put the spotlight on The Frogs, or more accurately, on the two brothers, Dennis and Jimmy Flemion, who founded the band.  Since it is a little over half a year ago that Dennis Flemion passed away at the age of 57, we thought it would be appropriate to honor the many years that Smashing Pumpkins and The Frogs joined forces.  From one of the ‘Collecting to the Extreme’ episodes we know that the Flemion brothers did additional vocals on “To Sheila” and “Behold! The Night Mare” on the Adore album, but in this article we will go deeper into their many other collaborations with Smashing Pumpkins.

The information and images below came from several sources (Matador Records, MTV, Wikipedia, Journal Times, Twitter, MySpace, TheMusic.com Australia, SPLRA, SPFC, Hipsters United and Crestfallen) and were reworked for this brief history on Smashing Pumpkins and The Frogs.

 01. The Frogs
Dennis (left) and Jimmy (right) in one of their most famous stage costumes.

Dennis and Jimmy are two brothers (Dennis is the eldest) that are best known for having founded the independent (and sometimes controversial) rock/folk band The Frogs in 1980. The Frogs, as a band, but also the individual Flemion brothers, have played an important role in the history of Smashing Pumpkins.  In 1993, Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan saw The Frogs at a small club in Madison, Wisconsin, and invited them to open for Smashing Pumpkins.  The first time The Frogs did so was at the Unicorn, Milwaukee show on July 23, 1993.  Very soon, The Frogs were opening for bands like Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Urge Overkill, and other who were fans of the group, to mixed reactions.  For example, on Hipsters United, November 28, 2008, a commenter named Davin explained: “The Frogs got booed off the stage the last time I saw them play with Smashing Pumpkins @ Aragon.”  Nevertheless, The Frogs shared the stage with Smashing Pumpkins on numerous occasions in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2007 and 2008.

As Gil Kaufman (MTV.com) remembered The Frogs during the then ‘final’ Smashing Pumpkins concert in 2000: “Corgan brought out longtime friends Jimmy and Dennis Flemion of bizarro Milwaukee rock duo the Frogs for a pair of songs early in the show.  Wearing his signature spangly green bat wings, lanky band leader Jimmy Flemion warbled his way through a country-ish reading of the ballad “Blissed and Gone” as Corgan swayed, smiled and acted uncharacteristically goofy, swinging his arms and mugging for the crowd. “I had myself / I had my band,” the head Pumpkin mooned, hands on hips, rolling his eyes like a petulant child.

And during the 2001 – 2005 period when Smashing Pumpkins was not around as a band, The Frogs was the band Zwan (which featured Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin) invited to enliven their live shows.  We know The Frogs opened for Zwan at the Double Door, Chicago show on April 12, 2002, and possibly others. 

After meeting Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain in 1993, The Frogs wrote two songs about Kurt (“Lord Grunge” being one of them), and also made him a videotape called Toy Porno. The VHS of Toy Porno featured select live performances and stop-motion animations with a number of painted action figures.  The action figures, and other dolls, were used as sexually promiscuous characters in various short sketches.  The tape became constant viewing material on Nirvana’s tour bus.  The videotape has since been made available to fans and has become a cult classic.

02. The Frogs with Kurt Cobain

The Frogs with Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

In the summer of 1994, the Frogs played the second stage at Lollapalooza, with Billy Corgan joining them at every stop, shredding away on lead guitar for their encore of “I Only Play 4 Money” and “Lord Grunge”.  Corgan continued to support and promote The Frogs by producing the short film Meet the Frogs which he included on Smashing Pumpkins’ 1994 Vieuphoria video compilation. The short film brought the group further recognition, but it also confused Smashing Pumpkins fans who didn’t know whether they should take the Frogs seriously as a band.

With their recordings for the Matador, Homestead, Four Alarm and Scratchie labels, but most importantly through their exhaustive Made Up Songs cassettes (and later compact discs), Dennis and Jimmy Flemion were, with their band The Frogs, one of the most crucial, if not one of the strangest American bands of the last quarter century.  Though best known (but not universally beloved) for the explicit subject matters found on It’s Only Right & Natural, as well as for their associations with a number of celebrity patrons, the Frogs’ comedic gifts have occasionally (and most probably unfairly) overshadowed their musical depth.  Just as It’s Only Right & Natural was a huge conceptual departure from their self-issued debut The Frogs, subsequent works like 1997′s grunge-baiting Star Job were a world away from the Do-It-Yourself folk affectations of It’s Only Right & Natural.

03. JF and BC working on Star Job

Jimmy Flemion and Billy Corgan working on The Frogs’ Star Job EP in 1994

In 1994, The Frogs signed to a new label, Matador Records, who released two Frogs singles to begin with. They also recorded the EP Star Job, produced by Billy Corgan (who used the pseudonym Johnny Goat); however, the album was not released at that time.  From August 1996 to February 1997, Dennis Flemion replaced Smashing Pumpkins’ recently-deceased keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin for the Infinite Sadness Tour. During each night’s encore, Jimmy Flemion performed “1979” (which was influenced by an unreleased Frogs song, “Pleasure”) with Smashing Pumpkins, as well as selecting audience members to dance on stage.  The Flemion brothers also appeared on the Smashing Pumpkins’ Tonight, Tonight single for the song “Medellia of the Gray Skies”, and they performed, as previously mentions, backing vocals on some songs of the 1998 album Adore.

More recent appearances where Smashing Pumpkins and (one of) the Flemion brothers or The Frogs as a band played together: on November 13, 2007, Jimmy Flemion performed with Smashing Pumpkins at The Backyard in Austin, Texas.  The Frogs also opened for Smashing Pumpkins on December 7, 2008, in Chicago during the band’s ‘Celebrating 20 Years Of Sadness’ tour.

04. The Frogs artwork

Artwork for several musical releases of The Frogs

On July 7, 2012, tragedy hit the Flemion family.  While out on a boat with family and friends, Dennis Flemion went for a swim and did not resurface.  On July 9th it was publicly announced that “Dennis Flemion, one half of the Milwaukee duo known as The Frogs, was identified earlier today as the missing swimmer from a Saturday afternoon disappearance on Racine, WI’s Wind Lake.”  The body of Dennis Flemion was recovered from the water on the evening of July 10.  Meanwhile, Billy Corgan took to his Twitter.com page after hearing the news and wrote, “I’m devastated by the loss of my friend Dennis Flemion. Words can’t explain the sorrow.  A tragic loss.  Please pray for his family.”  Funeral services were held on July 14th, 2012, and attended by Billy Corgan, who performed a new song called “25 Surprise”, which he wrote as a personal tribute to Dennis Flemion.

05. Dennis Flemion tweet BC

Billy Corgan Tweet from  July 10, 2012, when he heard about the untimely death of Dennis Flemion.

At Matador Records, Dennis Flemion was remembered by a blogger called Gerard, with the following words.

“There’s a couple of new Frogs albums that came out last week on iTunes; ‘Squirrel Bunny Juniper Deluxe’ and ‘Count Yer Blessingz’. The Dennis that we saw onstage would’ve recognized this tragic event as a huge opportunity to plug some new recordings. Sans wig, drum sticks, etc. he might’ve preferred I’d not even mention it. The fantastic output and fleeting moments of near-fame aside, I hope he’s remembered as a really sweet guy first, and a hugely talented artist second. Our thoughts go out to Jimmy, the rest of the Flemion family, their friends and everyone who was lucky enough to know Dennis.  Simply saying, “he’ll be missed” doesn’t come close to covering it.”

To this date it remains unclear if and how The Frogs, as a band, will continue on after the sudden and unfortunate passing of Dennis Flemion. So far, the two albums mentioned, Count Yer Blessingz and Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe that were released shortly before Dennis passed away, remain the latest musical output from The Frogs.  And as far as we know, no public appearances by Jimmy Flemion with Smashing Pumpkins have been noted since July 16, 2012, when Billy Corgan played “The Celestials” solo with an acoustic guitar at Dennis and Janice Flemion’s home, following the funeral.

A great article on The Frogs called ‘The Niles Notes: I’m Sad Because the Goat Just Died: Why I Love (And Will Miss) The Frogs, the World’s Greatest Band’ was written for L’etoile Magazine by blogger Niles Schwartz. It can still be found here.

Billy Corgan’s old band: Remove That Bible

Article by Arthur van Pelt

May we call this the biggest Smashing Pumpkins news in several years? A few of our members found out that Billy Corgan, for several months in the early 1980s, played the bass in a band called Remove That Bible! That band also went by the name The Marinetti’s in later years. But more important, a tape from that era called Ancient Times, has surfaced. It was handed over to us by 1 of Billy’s Bible bandmates called Jerome Greenway. We will bring an exclusive interview with Jerome soon too.

Meanwhile, on our Forum you can find a download of all the songs from that tape! We can clearly hear Billy Corgan wring the bass hard and loud in this newly discovered 1980s band, and it is not hard to imagine that Remove That Bible evolved into The Marked. Tracklist of the tape:

01 Dance V1
02 The Will Of God
03 Wastelands
04 Dance V2
05 Immediate Freshness
06 EO
07 Cherie Cherie
08 Dance
09 Rain
10 Workaholic
11 Radio Time
12 The Contender
13 I Wonder
14 Ancient Times
15 Like A Cloud
16 Ice

Update 2010/04/17 – Please be notified that this is an April Fools Day joke.

Glass and the Machines of God / a Modern Fable

Written by Billy Corgan  (around halfway 2000)

(Copied from official website of Smashing Pumpkins and stored here on 2012/09/29 for historical purposes)

somewhere in the not so distant future, we may find a world of not so subtle torments…for amidst the rubble of urban decay and barren wastelands find wander a billion shattered souls…disconnected from themselves by impersonal technologies and personal cause…one such soul is the center of our story, and his name is GLASS…he is the lead singer of THE MACHINES OF GOD, and he believes that GOD itself has asked him to try to change the world…this poses two simple questions: “what is important in a place such as this?” and “is GLASS a prophet sage or just someone who has gone quite mad indeed?!… but first we must go back into the decadent swirl of the past to set the stage for what is to come…you see, GLASS used to be named zero, and the band the smashing pumpkins, at least until zero convinced the band to change the name of the group…they were the biggest band in the world, so this was a very courageous move to make…one day zero had been alone in his house, quietly listening to the radio when a voice began to speak slowly and clearly to him…it was the voice he had heard in his head since he was a child, but now it spoke to him thru the radio…this voice, which came to be known as the I OF THE RADIO, told zero that his life was predestined, and in order to fulfill his destiny he would need to devote his life to a much higher calling, one that would look beyond the material trappings of the occluded world…this epiphany that he was indeed important was a life changing and soul shattering experience, giving him newfound confidence and spiritual purpose…he finds sudden clarity in his spirit, but can now see the utter shallowness of his real (and particularly) public life…this sudden change causes many around him to distrust where all of this is coming from…but his band stands with him when he changes his name to GLASS and rechristens the band the now aptly titled MACHINES OF GOD… in his heart however, GLASS secretly questions why he has been chosen…he is both enamoured and flattered by the idea, but at the same time is innately resistant to the responsibilities that this will bring…in his mind, god has aligned himself with GLASS, and GLASS has aligned himself with god…a messenger he shall be, but is he just a c.o.g. within another c.o.g. within another machine?…he decides to use the instrument of his band to spread the truth of life and that love and only love can be the answer…so our story begins with GLASS AND THE MACHINES OF GOD at the height of their material powers, with the most devoted fans in the world, and having just changed the name of the band, releasing their new album, entitled MACHINA… for years our hero has searched for his true love, the woman of his dreams, JUNE…he called her by many names hoping that there somewhere out there she waited for him too…so one night after a concert, he saw her, and right then and there he knew he had finally found her…JUNE was his perfect reflection, everything that he was not…she brings to him the universal truths of life and living, and a life he has never had… what he does not realize then is that he has fallen in love with a reflection of himself…she embodies the darkness he can only write about…she lives the life of flesh and bone, one he can only think about…so for one short period of time, our hero once zero feels complete and whole, with god and a woman by his side… GLASS finds himself increasingly torn between his new love and his true calling as a messenger…he doesn�t realize that he really doesn�t have to make a choice between the light and her darkness…he tries to find balance between his humanity and his spiritual pursuits…unknown to GLASS, the hedonism and electric energy of GLASS� accelerated world fuel JUNE�s ever increasing secret drug problems…GLASS comes home one night to find JUNE in a drugged haze, a vinyl record hissing endlessly on the out groove…JUNE is so out of it that she doesn�t recognize GLASS at all, as he calls to her to come back to him…the truth revealed, GLASS sits next to her and, in a rare moment of candor, reveals that god has been speaking to him thru the radio, knowing full well that JUNE probably won�t remember the conversation…despite that, GLASS reveals that he has doubts about the validity of the messages and wonders if he is going insane…GLASS decides because he loves her so, he will try to save her as he is trying to save everyone else, with the power of his healing…GLASS is now on a crusade to save everyone in his life; his band, his girl, his audience, and consequently the world…the only problem is that he has forgotten to save himself… GLASS begins to lose his balance on both ends when he becomes over righteous and indignant in his beliefs, alienating those who already believe in him and turning off potential new converts…GLASS sees himself as some sort of cosmic preacher, and if he just shouts loud enough the message will somehow get thru the din…JUNE, finding the solace and power in GLASS that she couldn�t muster on her own, begins to believe that she does not need him anymore…she has taken her fill from his light, and like so many others that have taken from GLASS, question whether they ever needed him at all…GLASS begins to bitter at the prospect that he is being toyed with and used by god and JUNE… slowly, GLASS begins to lose faith in his seemingly unshakeable beliefs…he becomes paranoid, believing that everyone is out to get him…the new album is released and is not well received by the fans or the general public…for the first time since the band began, GLASS is publicly humiliated…he begins to question the validity of the messages, thinking perhaps they are from a false god or that his filters of perception are misaligned… he begins to descend into madness, accusing JUNE of disloyalty…in one final argument, she admits she never loved him at all, and that she did hear him tell her about being spoken to by god, and that she believes he is insane…she tells him goodbye for the last time and storms off into the rainy night…she loses control of her car, and is killed when it skids off the road…GLASS blames god for the loss of JUNE, idealizing his time with her because he can not let go of what her vision means to his faith…he blames the fans for their betrayal at not supporting and following the bands new direction…inconsolable, and without informing the MACHINES, GLASS impulsively tells an audience one night that the band is going to break up and will only play one more final, and sadly tragic show… the night before the final concert, GLASS has a prophetic dream that he is a soldier in a war…he wears a uniform, but does not know who the enemy is or even what side he is fighting for…he wanders the empty streets, gun in hand, looking for anyone at all…in a dark starewell he meets a faceless soldier who takes him by the hand into a dusky basement…the soldier does not speak, and together they sit underneath a single hanging bulb…he is just an animal, seeking shelter, warmth, food, and love…this dream, and the MACHINES final concert send GLASS into a disturbing tailspin…he feels truly and utterly alone… after the final concert GLASS is quickly forgotten by the public, and he takes to living in an empty warehouse away from anyone at all…he has always felt alone, but now all of the things that gave him strength, focus, and identity are gone…he faces his own doubt and mortality for the first time…he begins to walk by himself at dawn thru the waking streets, and slowly finds an inner peace with his spirit…he begins to forgive and accept the things that have happened to him, and understand that his desire to find perfection above his own humanity led him to things that he did not really want or need…he begins to love and empathize with others without fear of consequence, and so in his aloneness realizes that he was never really alone at all… GOD has always been with him, and always will be…and so in this moment he fulfills his destiny, both for himself and for GOD…

An Excerpt from Glass and the Machines of God

And as it was with all things, we spoke in rhyme and riddle… not for fear of detection, for that had happened very long ago, but rather that those who had secretly wished to be spoken to were… to know that these words were intended for them and theirs only… only a warm heart and a knowing smile granting entrance to this mystery… for every age held it’s oracles and truth tellers, it’s false bell ringers of alarm, and of course the hollow spectres of complacency… so in this we sing the true echoes sown of old cloth, born to stare so ravaged by all they see… because truth is madness and madness truth truly revealed, and to see is to always see too much… to bear witness to the false and right and relay backwards and forwards that which you know… love the constant signal that heals and promotes as our truth teller sleeps inside furious walls, thrice blessed and crimson cursed… his story is the same story, and as with all without ending… a boy and a girl, simple yes but eternal always… glass plays, the machines shakes voltage, and the gaze is drawn again and again in uncertain lines… one ray catches a june eye, our angel who has waited so long… frozen to witness, we can walk around and survey this moment as close to perfection as any that have ever been, to see the joy, the exalt, the arrogance… with it’s sheer violence of embrace and release slowly offering teeth gritting awareness, the song ends, the lovers are, and in this bliss there is hope, expectation, and yes, pure and indivisible love… the girl, his love, the light that would transform any story into the moon and it’s sister stars… she had no faith but that which destroys, and had only known herself in coarse mirrors, giving over and into whatever moved her… opium eyed and gouge mouthed, she stalked a barren trail because she believed that all that was good had died long before she was named… she the reflection in glass, he in her that which he could not claim, her in him that which she so desperately needed, forever breaking… she had chased black holes of silence to find peace, and in turn that darkness swept into her a fever that was unshakeable… their fates had intertwined long before they were lovers, moment extending back before time their eyes first met, and that bond was eternal, thru fire and chard to meet again and again until this moment, our apex and conclusion… these lights rise to search the heavens, staining to be recognized in sanctity, purity, and insolence… to hopefully catch the gaze of supreme intelligence, watching us quietly and nodding a silent approval… because it is with faith and faith only that one justifies the reach, with little to confirm but glimmer and awe, ritual and circumstance alike, in dreams and visions alike, so real and unreal to be imagined again and again in a reverse mindscape, was fodder to soak in… he had his voice, disembodied with no claim… but were the sounds his?  could he own these thoughts if they could be sold?  thumbtacked to ceilings all over the world lay his schemes and proton wishes, cold flung to white light, like shrapnel of a teenage atom bomb… the kids waited their turn for their piece, and the eyes watched you everywhere… amongst these ruins our hero dies Zero and finals a stead station moving static code… thru the channels and medium still he spoke only to find out he wasn’t speaking at all, just humming someone else’s favourite song… the voice says you are one of many more to come… in sadness and in love, in faith and moment alive…

Glass & The Machines of God, part II

Eyes were being scratched still ant tattoes applied, but no one could or would ever hear the full secrets of glass. he was rewriting his story everyday, moving the fixed destiny point with every triumph and mistake every kiss held new promise, every song a new disaster all were sung to the ghost children, the synthetic flesh flash of ideal and glitter gash in their dreams they saw him surreal, but he was as real as they needed him to be discarded until he roared back into their visions, within blood and sound, once invested there was no turning back for anyone plastic playmates and wooden rock rat haunted their hari kari plots and glass obvious play s for sympathy, or was it the other way around he was a general leading them all into a war that he and they knew they could never win but still they fought to love and always die standing moving in night funerals because all the others had perished, he caught glimpses of their faces every once in a while in rubble and wreckage strewn he had fought way too long, jam wired shut and now he held too long past sleeping futures and endless newscasts, seeking shelter and a place to once again call home in the dark he would fumble with food and foe, seeking contact and knowing confirmation cells sighing agreement over concrete cold, always remembering and as if drawn he would lumber on, gun in hand and tears in heart he tried to keep a journal and kept losing the pages pictures of trees and dates taped to his chest he had gone mad but there was no longer anyone he heard or he respected to tell him so the grass grew very fast and it seemed he had to cut it every 4 or 5 days on radio static he waited for an order that may never come he had wanted to be outside in the direct sun, but the trees sang him to sleep the weeping willow out back seemed to hang its hurt so obvious and no one seemed to mind out the window he stared, seeking her and them a day would come his mind would drone but there was no one there to agree in fact the entire weight of his surroundings seemed to indicate the exact opposite but like a dumb fish he kepts swimming upstream there was little of beauty to guide except the sun and moon, his constant companions in majesty full the night came the daylight only providing protection for the scars laid bare the night before the pills seemed to have fallen on the floor everywhere, and no matter how hard one scrubbed the dirt was always there even the neighbors smelled the garbage and impolite realities piled high and often, spilling over the redwood fence into their perfect yards in the morning the grass shone dew prisms on the midday sun it burned scorched brown thirst and at night held cool moondust and starlight out here the universe was vast, only in distance it was never meant to be held there, it cried a mystery i am and you must find me first if the game is ever to begin in faith there is all power, in love all faith every action a pebble dropped into the clear pool of humanity, rippling forever on until the waves become indecipherable and unseen. what seems like confusion becomes order of the highest magnitude glass had so long ago reasoned himself out of reason anxious but not afraid, he told himself that this meant something over and over until he began to believe it the mask came off and he beheld yet another mask like all modern men we could claim mastery over all, but it was a paper truth and he knew it

Glass and the Sythetic Army – Part Three 7/21/2000

without focus, without generation, without peer…come whither winters too often seen …felt in devotion, willing in it’s uncertainty…cry aloud yes! children to a child …a crown glorious for seeing and naysing, soothsaying into prophecy in measured mercury time…this is our moment, our world, this is our church, our children, our dominion as yet undisclosed, as yet unclaimed…the universe is ours reduced to tiny portraiture… with love and fire and desire and innocence to reckon judgement upon us all…in this duality until we are truly free…this role cast and agreed upon, the child took it’s hand…to know no other except in one’s heart is to walk forward into oblivion…raised from sleep to be beaten, moved to non-tears from an implied violence that hung in the air at all hours…these terrors and troubles will make you he was told but somehow they continue to break him…a smile is always the great eraser, and the dreams of those future smiles and miles allowed a secret garden to grow,however sad true it all became…it never was you can say, but it was…and it never will be they can say, but it will…something always gets lost along the way…in translation, in memory, in vision, but that is just how it is…so to peer strong into the faces one must see their own face, to wonder reflection and not judge, but this too is impossible…for the accused will one day stand as the accuser…the cord snakes between the legs, one fist raised in power, the other fist raised in solidarity, this is the universal vision of the movement…I used to be a little boy so old in my shoes…for every face slap that imprinted itself as tattoo under my skin, every indignity that scarred itself upon my broken heart, walks with me as ghost and conscience…a boy, a zero, a hero, a goat, a ghost frozen glass, broken, this is all you need to know…the codex every moment in this war without end, the attrition constant, but the victories oh so sweet and pure…in this we drink from mountain springs and let the grand old sun soak us old…to curse one’s very existence is a kind of power, especially if you can decide to make the best of that hate, to fuel that anger with the necessity of resignation and purpose…to cloak your pain and fear in the language of sound, the poetry of devotion…a child draws the perfect house with the perfect parents and the perfect hot rod car and the perfect dog, unwittingly signing into a contract bound to be broken…the choices came before all he believed, but somehow the fuzzy glow of intuition didn’t seem to cover the tracks of this particular beast…glass disintegrates it all for your entertainment, his purpose to be the atom bomb unsustained and smiling that perfect smile…from the first cord came shiver and from the last cord will come peace…it is a game to be played viciously, so change the names and make up a few new verbs and there you go…this child was struck and a decision made to never never cry again…in this stupid land of the frozen ideal, WHO AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW?? the wooden idols of persecution in the glory of helpless and unending resurrection…who will be there upon your deathbed hour to hold your hand and wipe your brow…who will cast the last stone upon you, will it be the same demons, perpetrators and eviserators from long to haunt and decimate… all martyrs are dead and there going to stay that way… wave after wave of fury crossing the bow till there is little more than charred husks and winking sighs…no more to behold, no more to see, no more…the universe was contracting as quickly as it had been set into expanding malice…the first blow struck revolution, the last bell resonant silence…to match the eyes and the doll faces of the perfect parents with the perfect teeth smiling upon the perfect children. long live rock!!!! What does an outsider stand for if they stand cooly on the inside…can you exist inside and outside simultaneously? or must our heroes forever be on the outside looking in? to prove what? and to whom? a broken ideal for which no rewards are given but grudging respect…the spirit breaks but the will is strong…as soft white light caressed their faces they knew that all was good and all would be forgiven, and that their echo would ring forever on and on…in dull cascades and numb electric parades, the true essence would distill and pervert, becoming an unrecognizable new art in it’s distortion…a boy holds his guitar in teenage arms and he is power…a man holds aloft a broken guitar and he is shattered… who will pick up the pieces this time? only God knows the true truth…from child to children passed above heads and hearts, beseeched to know and keep knowing…the revolution is never over, it is just beginning…funny how this revolution was televised and everybody got bored and changed the channel to what? chattering mannequins on angel dust and power prayer…whither winters past but we live on and on and on…again and again we are in cracks and rust and swinging screen doors, never to be forgotten…are you tired yet????

Chapter 4

Q: What is the official status of chapter 4? i.e., is it the apex of the mystery for which we are striving to solve, a fan collaborative that we have to create, a missing link that will never be found, or something else entirely?

A: The title of chapter 4 is called “the true story of the machines” and it has yet to be released. I appreciate the fan collaborations, but the fans writing chapter 4 is not what I had in mind. don’t forget you are in the story, and trust me when I say that it is hard to write the play while you are acting in it.

Part V: The Story Of June (so far)

she drew circles around her subjects and squares around here enemies woman eternal. restless with praise/resentful of penetrating worship but she often resembled a statue in a museum/june sat with zero the hero playing chess/everytime he would make a move she would pick up another of her chss pieces and put it in her mouth/the horses were made of chocolate which made them the easier to taste. but the white chocolate queen was still her favourite/just as he was ready to call check-mate she ate the jellybean king and claimed her victory right then and there/she always won, or he made her think that she did/as she was drinking a glass of mercury to wipe the taste and memory, a trumpet sounded thru the rubber walls/”oh” he said and they got up to go/”do i look alright” she asked to no one in particular as she gazed into an antique mirror/they moved silently/shoes scuffing grey concrete as the sounds grew with each step/a dis-embodied voice cooly announced “LADIES and gentlemen of all persuasion, please welcome to our stage tonight and tonight only, the machines/at which point he yawned louder than he spoke any of the words/polite applause followed the remaining ducks as they hopped off the stage and the machines took their spots all marked with an X/ruby took her place in the wings to see the look in the eyes of the feedback scarred/and somewhere somehow someone struck a note/after the show they beat the chess set to splinters with a railroad hammer, and rode silently back to their home/glass blew the dust off an old forgotten vinyl record by the sex animals, while his love snorted one more line to pass the time which by everyones watch was over/as the record skipped they made love as they always had/he felt her in his bones/she wanted what was his and his only/he could no longer tell if he was alive as before but it hardly mattered to no one in particular because everything was different anyhow/each time he bored with this game he thought up a better one and this gave him much satisfaction/a trumpet blared thru the thin plaster walls and they both nodded it was time to pay the rent/when the friends began to arrive they were asked by no one in particular to sit at the big oak table at all the wrong famous names/snaky tooth took churchills seat/thunder jack took disraeli’s gear/namel sat wherever she wanted of course/billy sat at the head of the table and put on the hat pointy that spelld dunce/everyone laughed like they were supposed to/two twins appeared and began to saw the legs off the table/somewhere somebody said “this should take a while” porcelin white from all the drugs, daphne was now a prisoner of her own success/*hrmphh* the father hurrumghed, “there is no such thing as success, only hard work and tears”/of course everyone agreed “once i was a little girl” she said to no one in particular, “and i had bright red shoes that my grandma, who we called nana, would shine, shine, shine all day long”/everyone agreed that she was still that little girl/when the table collapsed from too much sawing everyone yawned and got up. except for billy. who was still stuck in the most serious of thought/he did’nt see her leave and he would not hear her when she returned/that night he dreamt of his mother young and beautiful and she told him many secrets, mostly about love and how it was like watr that shined in the man/”cover your eyes son, cover your eyes!”

Part VI
Well, the I of the mourning is on! Are you ready for redemption? Then read on- this is a chapter six in a series of missives designed to speak directly to your heart on an issue most important to you – your salvation!!

Many many years ago a child was born into a cold night – to some this beautiful child was blessed as any other, but not special. But to those who read the signs they knew a storm was coming! People, that child has come to these end times to deliver a message that must be heard! Do not shy away for this child is your child – for thou the truth may some times sting, eternal damnation is far, far worse!!! He says, “look to the I of the radio for all you seek the eye of the radio is everywhere, the maker of all that is real + all that is unseen. Be not afraid, for the I of the radio loves you and will always play your favourite songs. Everywhere you look there are reminders of a material world. It does not care about you. Why do you feel too big too small, too fat or too skinny, or are you too light or not dark enough??? Friends, where do you think these ideas come from? Why, a culture and civilization that makes money on our differences to exploit what we want the most – to belong!!! Let me tell you that you already do belong, for the I of the radio made us all different on purpose, so that no two should be a like. The I of the radio celebrates your individuality each snowflake, every flower every new dawn that brings light + life to this wonderful wonderful world. You are important!! Together we can move against these ominous forces to bring harmony to the chaos. Never forget the I of the radio is on, it never turns off!!! Coming soon!! (From this ministry) – Chapter 7: A happy ending?? Love life ambition, + piece? – is it possible in a modern world? – Is Rock n Roll bad for the soul? Or are we going to die for Rock n Roll?? – Happiness is a warm piece of bread! – False prophets + real deceivers! – They walk among us today! Restless children: their desires, wishes, dreams, and how to control them. God Bless You Friend! The I of the Radio Ministries Chicago, IL PO Box 57006

Part VII: A Happy Ending??

and so our story draws its final close, a million miles, a few smiles, and a pocketful of tears…all of it earned and burned strong into a consciousness like every living flashing star…all that was was left as perpetual myth, to twist in the wind laughing and wheezing until all could point and remember their stories, their movements, history as a claim they could all bear their own witness to…the body now ravaged but the spirit translucent and very much alive…like all poetry it would lose its place of meter over time, the rhymes and reasons would stale, leaving only pretty prose of frozen sentiment for a simpler, bygone era…it’s paper now, and you can do with it as you wish…no one soul need debate the dizzy purpose of the exercise, or the confusions that led them all thru thicker jungles…it is as it was, simply yours… the kids came and stole the show, naturally of course, when upon that hollowed stage the band strode as if any year, any time but now, but the final collapsing point did go noticed…weep your years and slit your wrists, curse your heroes and kick in the screens, the image stands…image upon image superimposed until all that was left was but greasy blur and a dull ache…but as each song tore each resonant after-image down, all that was left was very clear to see…the blueprint, the tabula rasa, the prayer as hymn had been in your palm all along…we never left… among these theories of delusion lay the simple heart of a simple man…maybe you know him, maybe you don’t, but it needn’t matter anyway because the tale told a thousand times was but one chapter in the long road…the fable that must know this end, in this moment had spun this simple man as gold, as eternal cold stop, as spinning fire-child, and as forever grasping animal…for even in war the most gentle of souls will let out a cry stabbing and cutting with all the passion a human being, all but dead, can muster up from rusty gut …let this tale end as it began…a soul alone in this world… heart connected to mouth, mouth to song, song to the heavens if only to tickle the very real ear of our divine creator… may the creator always spin back endless possibility and infinite potential…with this vibration in the timeless space, a mark is made to begin, so let this be the mark to end…in the void moments of madness, seeking and clutching, our simple man laughs out loud for all the world to hear…the drab crowd said shush and be quiet but it only made him laugh harder…for it really was funny, not because of a dumb joke or the wittiest remark but because he was having fun…it was all too simple and he really couldn’t believe hiseyes… now. here. always. you. “thank you God for all I am” …so at the last chord, in the last fade of sound, a stillness came and a peace they had all waited for for so long…one could dream that they would know what they would want now, and with good honor may our hero forge ahead… with love on your side anything is possible, even love… all wounds would hope to heal, the machines could stand down and sing their singsong whir to the wind, trees, and mother earth…it was a good day, and the night will hold quiet…his mother in dreams of good things…

THE END