(Band of Gypsies Rehearsals is on now. Excellent sound, good performances until the rehearsal evening gets late and the beers build up. The between-takes patter gets goonier and goonier, and in the last 30 minutes they do 5 takes of MESSAGE TO LOVE, each one worse than the previous one. It's a sign of the serious collector when one has "worn out" all the GOOD recordings, and starts actively seeking out the BAD performances. Not the bad RECORDINGS; bootleg CDs are too expensive to waste the $ on crappy old recordings. But technically clean recordings of awful performances are okay and justified for us serious collectors. There are some Hendrix bootlegs I won't buy or listen to because I feel like I'm eavesdropping -- home recordings and jams and stuff that are obviously not meant for outside ears. Jimi would be HORRIFIED to know that some of this stuff is in circulation. But ANY live shows, studio out-takes, radio broadcasts -- fair game.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think Hendrix was a god or spaceman or anything like that. I don't even think he knew he was gonna die. However, I do believe that the test of time is increasingly justifying my obsession with him as the most original, natural-born guitar player ever. I'd be the first to admit that his lyrics are often clumsy or corny, and he wrote lots of songs that are just plain dumb.
However, the INCREMENTS between the SPACES between the NOTES possess the mysterious power to make some of us BREATHE EASIER.)
I have some good news. Firstly, I got a paycheck from WIRED, a big one considering it was only 2 pages I gave 'em (my report on Mark Mothersbaugh, which was already posted here). That was good, to get money. Very VERY good. Makes Mrs. Stang relax. Also, the book signing at FORBIDDEN BOOKS (Dallas-Ft.Worth Subs MUST GO THERE NOW!!!) was good, in that ALTHOUGH 50 people wanted Wilson's autograph and only 4 wanted mine, I ran into lots of old friends, and met Paco of FRINGEWARE in Austin. I've been thinking lately that we needed to do more of... SOMETHING... with FRINGEWARE, seeing as how they're nearby and all, so it was good to have a face to face schmooze with the main guy. And he seems like a REGULAR DUDE. (In this business you develope a dread of the UNBEARABLY POMPOUS Adam Parfrey-type P.I.B. "artboy" guys, who abound.)
In other good news, I came into possession of snips of Snippy, the world-famous mutilated horse. Let me explain. Those intimately familiar with the mysterious CATTLE MUTILATION phenomena of the '80s (supplanted lately by crop circles) will recognize "SNIPPY" as the name of one of the first publicized animal mutilation victims. Snippy was a Texas horse who was found with all the meat and skin stripped from his head and neck, no flies or maggots around, surgical precision, totally weird, etc. etc. UFOs, no doubt. Or Psy-Ops guys practicing. Anyway, to some of us, Snippy the neck-skin-stripped horse is as big a celebrity as Mr. Ed. And your SubGenius brother, Rev. John Searcy, here in Dallas, well, his dad knew the guy who investigated Snippy and the cattle mute thang, old what's his name in Paris Texas, who published Stigmata for awhile until he got a girlfriend -- anyway Mr. Searcy got to snip some SAMPLES from Snippy right after Snippy was, uh, "abducted." AND I HAVE SNIPPETS OF THOSE SNIPPINGS -- carefully labeled in little vials: Scrapings from Brain Cavity. Scrapings from Spinal Cord. HIDE. Earth Beneath Carcass. Earth 10 feet from Carcass. Earth 50 feet from Carcass. And a nice 4x5 color photo of Dad Searcy and the Snippy carcass!
Searcy also gave me a can of COFFEE BOSS, a Japanese canned coffee brand which features a very "Bob"-like fellow on the label, although he has a mustache. Searcy said there was some discussion of this product on alt. slack, which I missed. I say that the logo man looks almost exactly like a bepiped G. GORDON GORDON.
Talk about trivia and moot points. I was gonna tell you about the Pope Bob Wilson lecture. It was at an old movie theater, the Major. To my overweening pride, the marquee said "ROBERT ANTON WILSON, HOST REV. IVAN STANG." I took a picture of that. I never saw my name on a marquee until this month. In Cleveland, my name was ABOVE the Church's. Dobbs is gonna fucking KILL me when he finds out.
I like to think. In sad reality, he almost certainly wouldn't give a shit.
Praise Dobbs, the GOOD Rev. Will O'Dobbs and the FINE Rev. Nickie Deathchick took care of hauling the Sacred Goods and manning the sacred Sales Table at both the bookstore and the theater, freeing poor old sickly, frail Rev. Stang from such earthly concerns. Sales were pitiful compared to similar events in other cities, of course, although Nickie seemed to start to get into the Sales Mode, and we sold two or THREE of the new metal Dobbshead cloisonne pins from Crux ($11 postpaid) and two ObE/KOF CDs by Bill Miller (same). People will buy those if you're there to tell 'em how good KOF is. "Like a cross between DEVO, Negativland and Metallica" seems to work and isn't entirely inaccurate.
Pope Bob is one sharp, funny guy. The "promoters" wanted him to do his "Sex, Drugs and the Occult" rant but he insisted on talking about the justice system, because he recently, for the first time ever, served on a jury, and had MOUNTAINS of observations about the whole process. Leave it to Robert Anton Wilson to tie the jury system in to the rituals of early Western Civilization. I couldn't stay to hear the "punchlines" but it was pretty interesting. What was REALLY fun was the question and answer period at the beginning. The cops were towing away attendees' cars in the parking lot and that created an interruption, during which Wilson postponed his planned rant and fielded questions instead. And it was GREAT. I dunno how Pope Bob feels about this, but I would MUCH rather do question-and-answer than canned rant. About half the time, the places where I "gig" are small enough that JUST THAT is required. It's weird, but when questions come at me out of left field, unexpected, my unscripted answers tend to be about a thousand times more funny, real and "insightful" than the stuff I TRY AHEAD OF TIME to MAKE that way. If I had my way I'd dissolve the sermon tradition entirely and turn it all into Q&A. To begin with, SubGeniuses come up with funnier QUESTIONS than most PROFESSIONAL COMEDIANS' ANSWERS. It becomes a challenge and a JAM rather than a stock recitation. Every devival and every rant is different, but how often can you say "ETERNAL SALVATION OR TRIPLE YOUR MONEY BACK!" and SOUND LIKE you MEAN it? The SubGenius tradition is scriptless and I honestly wonder if that isn't superior... for US, anyway. My only problem with that is, why can't we do the SCRIPTED stuff right, TOO?? You would THINK that that's where the money is. I dunno... it's weird. I started out with terrible stage fright and now I not only feel at EASE bullshitting to a crowd of people, I actually ENJOY it. Especially if they can bullshit back. Within reason. This isn't a democracy. It's still "show" and church.
Pope Bob seems to be equally at ease with an audience, but god damn it if he isn't about 90 times as INFORMED SOUNDING as I am. I feel like I can make an EMOTIONAL connection to people, oddly enough, but he can make that all-important INTELLECTUAL connection. His vocabulary is vastly larger and he's learned EVERYTHING. Compared to Pope Bob I feel like a butt-scratchin' hick faker, just because I'm not nearly as ERUDITE. We're in practically the same business -- professional PROJECT MINDFUCK -- but he has the LEGIT, RESPECTABLE side of disrespectable anti-establishment rebellion DOWN. I guess I do too compared to most ROCK BANDS (which may be why GWAR is interested), but compared to him I'm a scroungy t-shirt wearing half-literate Beevis type. He's disecting Beethoven and I'm playing amateur blues harmonica.
Interesting audience at this thing. All ages, heavy on the counterculture types, but with jarring exceptions. You could tell by the questions that RAW was getting: there was one guy who obviously felt he "knew" the "aliens." There were SERIOUS pretentious psuedo-intellectuals. There were OTO Crowley groupies. There was a drunk hollering in the back who MAY have been "BOB" for all I know. There were many a young upwardly mobile SubGenius with a fetish to pick. The behind-the-scenes organization was almost pure SubGenius old stock. Rev. D.Lee Lama (in ARISE: "BOB" is.. fill in the blank. "BOB" IS... Fill in the Blank.") set things up, Rev. Ymmot Zepol videotaped, Will and Nickie handled concessions. St. Joe Riley merely APPEARED and cheered everyone with his Curly-like good nature.
My only real job on this whole thing was to provide a nice stage intro for Pope Bob. After the booksigning and before the show I "wrote" the intro. What follows are merely a duplication of the NOTES I used. I didn't stray much from them, but the sentences were complete in the spoken version. The spacing is the way it is, because one needs big distinct lines to be visible under glaring stage lights. If, that is, one is the kind of spaced-out retard who can't just bear the outline in one's head, but who must make sure everything's WRITTEN DOWN just to prove it EXISTS.
ROBERT ANTON WILSON INTRO:
SUBGENII: The radio show HOUR OF SLACK is still on every week, all over the East Coast.
We do a devival every 2 months in that area.
The STARK FIST magazine is out, 5,000 pages, in color, but... on the Internet. Can't take it to the bathroom with you.
Normally preach about "Bob" Dobbs.
PRAISE ALL BOBS. Praise the GOOD Bobs anyway.
THIS MAN IS:
To reading public known by the authorly name, Robert Anton Wilson.
To friends, Bob Wilson.
To SubGenii and Discordians, Pope Bob.
The Pope who broke the barrier and decreed that we could ALL make OURSELVES popes.
New FRINGEWARE artwork shows morph from "Bob" to Bob to Col. Sanders.
Makes sense in a weird sort of way.
Is RAW the MISSING LINK?? between Pure Slack and crispy tender chicken?
It's hard to imagine a time when we didn't know what the eye in the pyramid stands for.
1976. Skaggs supermarket. Feeling RICH so made an IMPULSE BUY --
ILLUMINATUS PART 3. (No part 1) Monster on the cover -- Eyeball.
BAND NAMES. -- COMIC BOOKS! MONSTER MOVIES!
Guys who WRITE BOOKS but READ COMIC BOOKS!!
Seems normal now, but in 1976, a revelation.
Illuminatus Part 2 -- The Golden Apple.
Lists of SECRET SOCIETIES. Underlined and started researching. HAD been into science fiction -- got into the occult. (now into weirder: history)
One secret society I sorta wanted to join, the DISCORDIANS, but obviously fictitious.
FINALLY part 1.
Two styles... two writers. Sometimes at odds. When you go back now you can tell what's Wilson and what's Shea.
Hard to read as far as PLOT went -- didn't really understand the PLOT until I read the comic book --but TONS OF FUN for the throw-away DETAILS. Like FIRESIGN THEATER on paper.
Most EDUCATIONAL cheap sci-fi paperback...
INFLUENCED ME? Nah.
I'll admit that 2 years later I had written and published a little pamphlet predicated upon a religion that was a mixture of the seediest and scariest crap from all those secret societies.
But that was a JOB for Dobbs
Somebody sent me the xeroxed PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA and I almost died. But difference... peace and love versus strife and hate.
Looked for stuff by this guy,
COSMIC TRIGGER -- about the same stuff, only it was NONFICTION!
Only you got the feeling it was NON-nonfiction. Like he was trying to see how much you would BELIEVE about your own BELIEF.
Wrote him a letter asking a random question just to see if he would respond. He said, "If you get any deeper into UFOs, keep your sense of humor."
The ILLUMINATI papers -- more essays. CRANKING IT OUT. Made me feel real LAZY.
MASKS OF THE ILLUMINATI which would make a great LOW BUDGET MOVIE or PLAY, with only 4 main characters...
simple characters, James Joyce, Einstein, Aleister Crowley..
SCHROEDINGER'S CAT -- this time it didn't matter WHICH order you read 'em in, it was THAT Cosmic. And it IS that cosmic.
As it happens, I read the very end of the trilogy while experimenting with hallucinogenic substances. I actually "GOT" it for half a second.
Like reading about quantum physics -- you can understand it while you're reading it but then...
RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE SITTING NOW, more essays, which played games with the very act of sitting there reading that book. CONCEPTUAL. Like Andy Kaufman on paper.
THE HISTORICAL ILLUMINATI CHRONICLES -- my favorites in terms of a GRIPPING READ, pulling together all these themes. Can't wait for the TV MINISERIES of that one.
The Church of the SubGenius SNOWBALL got bigger and I ended up "opening" for Pope Bob more and more, got to meet my hero,
of course then you find out he's just some regular GUY who happens to have WORKED HARDER than most regular guys.
I can tell by talking to to him that he's read 50 times more books than me and written 20 times more books.
Always goes out of his way to make me NOT feel like an idiot.
About a year ago I finally got on the Internet. So did Pope Bob.
But he stays anonymous. I was privileged to know ONE of the 6 names he uses on Internet newsgroups like at.discordia and alt.slack, and alt.masons,
so I got to watch him pull off dozens of little thought-provoking Internet PRANKS.
For instance he would post some essay about ((CENSORED for alt.slack)), and I'd get to sit back and watch all these well-meaning idiots take it the wrong way and get all bent out of shape about it.
If they knew it was RAW they were flaming they'd probably have heart attacks.
But I don't know his other 5 internet names, so I could be the next victim!
Everything he does puts things in PERSPECTIVE.
Not just a unique perspective, THE ONLY CORRECT PERSPECTIVE, because it includes ALL perspectives.
Like seeing through the all seeing eye. And being entertained while doing it.
Forbidden Books and Dealey Lama present:
the Carl Sagan of religion
the Jerry Falwell of Quantum Physics
the Arnold Schwartzenegger of Feminism
The Helen Keller of art and music
The Nelson Mandella of White Supremacists
the one consistent self-validating GENIUS of OXYMORONS,
the James Joyce of swingset assembly manuals,
the Lenny Bruce of Funerals,
the Salvador Dali of assembly line workers,
the ROBERT ANTON WILSON of humanity.
P.S. I dunno how available tapes of this Dallas show will be, but you can purchase some classic RAW rants on cassette from his appearances at Starwood and in Cleveland via:
1643 Lee Rd., Room 9
Cleveland Hts., OH 44118
Ask for their catalog. They also sell Leary lecture tapes and even uncut SubGenius Stangian devival recordings the likes of which I would never inflict on SubGenii, because they aren't CHOPPED UP enough.
With the Power
Anybody ever read Lewis Shiner's book GLIMPSES, an ostensibly sci-fi paperback but actually a poetical work of art, about a guy who is able to "travel back in time" and RECORD ON MODERN EQUIPMENT FOR BOOTLEG PUSPOSES the never-finished albums of dead rock stars of the 60s? I know, it sounds like an insufferably dumb idea, but Shiner pulls it off masterfully. The protagonist retrieves the Beatles' LET IT BE the way it was SUPPOSED to be, Brian Wilson's SMILE (psychedelic album predating Sgt. Pepper's, by "the Beach Boys"!!?!!), The Doors' CELEBRATION OF THE LIZARD had not Morrison been a total drunk at the time, and even TRIES to keep Hendrix from dying so that FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN can be finished. All of this insane fantasy is subplot to... something else... at any rate, it's a gripping read for baby boomers. KIDS will probably be unable to grok the ancient r&r history, but it's a FUCKING MIND BLOWER for us oldster beatnik hippie types.
Hey, I learned how to spell "DEALEY".
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