August 24, 2001
~reviewed by Kevin
(photo credits in order of appearance: PJelenc/TimWellman,
Edwinna Rossi, Pierre Jelenc,  Pierre Jelenc
Artwork by XnMerry)

While CBGBs may be a legendary punk club, it's far from an ideal venue for people who can actually play their instruments.  Cardboard walls combined with a tinfoil-and-insulation ceiling make for an acoustic engineer's nightmare; everything blurs into a rumbling fog, with warbling from the tweeters to liven things  up.  If you're there for the Ramones or Green Day  this only adds to the dirty-ashtray charm.  For a band which relies on finesse and technical skill as much as raw power, it can be a huge obstacle.  Still, as Acts Magdalena takes the stage I have high hopes.  If anything can cut through CBGBs' sonic sludge, it's Christian Merry's voice.

"I want to swing with my wings behind me," Christian  sings sweetly over bassist's Rick Van Benschoten's  droning, organ pedal-like background, "fly like a  bird  of mirth."  Even at her most ethereal, there's always  an undercurrent of anger in Christian's singing, a feeling that things are about to explode.  I'm  impressed by how strong her voice is live, and by  the  band's skill.  After this show, Rick will be leaving for a brief tour as sound engineer for Laurie Anderson; guitarist Yuvall, stick bass player Lou Rossi and drummer Raul Vasquez are also professional studio musicians.

"Who you idolize is who you nail," Christian sings,  the hint of a snarl in her voice.  I look over at  the couple standing next to me and chatting away blithely. "Who you idolize..." Christian repeats, harder this  time.  I know what's coming as Raul, Lou and Rick pick up the pace.

"Who you idolize is who you nail!"

The couple next to me jump back, the ice cubes  clinking in their drink.  That's a typical reaction  upon first hearing Christian's guttural growl.  Imagine Diamanda Galas at half-speed, maybe, or a shaman channeling something primal and enraged.  Christian stares straight ahead, chanting the line over and over.  Distortion swallows her words as the
band plays behind her.  In an ideal environment it would be difficult to mike Christian's multioctave singing: here her low range blends in with the bass line until it's nearly indistinguishable.  It's a pity: one of the most impressive things about Acts Magdalena is how orderly their chaos is.  Christian may be growling, but she's growling on key and in
perfect time with the band behind her, and enunciating every word.

"Bullet," Christian's ode to her childhood begins.  This is a much faster song, one which doesn't begin with any hint of sweetness.   Right from the start Christian is pissed off and lets you know about it.  This isn't the nuclear family, it's the thermonuclearfamily, an explosion of betrayed trust, pain and rage. "Just say you love me," she spits out like a
rusty razor blade.  "Say it LOUD!"  Once againdistortion makes it difficult to suss out the lyrics,but Christian pulls it off by dint of raw force. "Bullet" also showcases Raul's drumming.  A drum machine  can keep a beat, but a live drummer can add power and momentum that simply does not come in a box: this is something which more bands should keep in mind.

With "I Might I May," and "Void of Culture," Acts Magdalena previews two new songs.  Both are straight-ahead rockers, giving Yuvall a chance to show  off his chops on guitar.  I can see why some critics have compared Christian to Grace Slick.  Both have  an eerie, otherworldly presence onstage; both can capture an audience's attention by staring straight
ahead  and singing; both have operatic pipes.  I'd give  Christian the edge for sheer power and for her taste in  material: I can't imagine Christian singing "We  Built This City," nor can I imagine Grace pulling off the demonic shrieks with which Christian punctuates the  wall of sound.

"Low" ends things as they began, with thick, dueling bass lines beneath Christian's vocal.  It's  not a fast song, but it is all the more powerful for that.  As the drums and guitar join the bassists and propel things along, the edge returns to Christian's singing, until before you know it she's growling again.  The sound seems clearer now; it's a pity that the set is ending.

Acts Magdalena is a tight and professional outfit; most important, Rick and Christian are imaginative songwriters who are trying to create their own sound, not shoehorn it into some "genre" or "style."  In  the short run this may be a bug rather than a feature:  Acts Magdalena is more challenging than your standard saccharine synthpop release, and those who like their  music to fit easily defined categories may have a hard time placing Acts Magdalena.  Still, I can't imagine  any Industrial fan being unable to appreciate this band.  Christian's nightmare images of child abuse and
family violence are more frightening than anything Trent Reznor ever dreamed up, and the progressions and melodic structure show a knowledge of modern classical and avant-garde music which would do any Rivethead band proud.

Acts Magdalena

Write to request this  FREE promo CD!

RITUAL: A Benefit for the World Trade Center Victims
September 15, 2001
Performances by: Velocity Chyaldd, Gabrielle Penerbaz, Voltaire
La Nouvelle Justine - New York, New York
~by Kevin Filan

* * * * *
A man wearing go-go boots, a corset, and nipple rings belts out an operatic version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."  This is what America is all about -- 150 freaks, Goths, glambois, trannies, vampyres, fetishists, cyberpunks, and miscellani coming together to support a good cause.  The National Anthem ends and we bow our heads in silence, punctuated by sobbing.

We're a little over 2 miles from Ground Zero; outside you can see the smoke filling the empty patch of sky which used to be the World Trade Center. Many of us were in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning.  I was on the #4 train when the first wave of shaking, crying passengers boarded; my girlfriend Kathy saw the towers collapse as she was evacuated across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Kathy's in New Jersey this weekend; I wasn't going to come, but I didn't want to be alone tonight.
Earlier Velocity Chyaldd performed "Aftermath," a song she wrote in 1997. "Though I stand burning on the bridge I will not jump," she sang, scarred and defiant as the city itself.  I've wanted to see Velocity's band, Vulgaras, for some time.  Velocity has  achieved some fame as a performance artist; I wanted to see how her obvious stage presence translated to a rock and roll stage.  After tonight's performance, I can see it translates well: she has a solid voice and a gift for an intelligent turn of phrase.  I make a note to myself to see Vulgaras at the earliest possible opportunity.  You never know which day will be your last.

Gabrielle Penabaz, the creative force behind St. Eve, is another yet New York  performer with charisma to spare.   She's been seen in costumes that would do Peter Gabriel proud: tonight she's wearing a simple long black dress.  Kerry Smith tunes his  acoustic guitar and Macadam sets up his keyboard as Gabrielle apologizes for being unprepared.  It's a graceful gesture, but hardly necessary; this week everybody is unprepared.

The set begins with a cover of Radiohead's "You and Whose Army?"  "So you thought you could take me on," Gabrielle asks, half-purring and half-growling as she slinks across La Nouvelle Justine's miniscule stage. St. Eve's music always has a harsh, angry edge beneath the beauty.

"Come on if you think you can take us on!" Gabrielle spits out and it becomes an anthem, a focal point for all our simmering rage. Behind her a large Osama Bin Laden caricature is almost obscured by American flags.  PIN THE FLAG ON OSAMA BIN LADEN, explains the sign beside the St. Andrew's Cross, YOU MISS AND YOU GET SPANKED! FLAGS $1.00 ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE AMERICAN RED CROSS. "Come on! Come on!"  It's a great performance, one of the best I've seen from Gabrielle, sexy and angry and menacing as the number which follows, "One Day."  I'd like to see her in an intimate setting like this again, especially with her entire band.

As Gabrielle leaves the stage I spot an old friend of mine, a pro domme. More than half her clients worked in the WTC.  She has no idea how she's going to pay her rent now.  I buy two roses from a passing vendor and give them to her, just because I can still buy flowers for pretty ladies.

"I've been trying to get drunk since Tuesday," Voltaire explains as he straps on his guitar.  "Tonight I've succeeded."  It's the kind of mordant humor we've come to treasure from Voltaire, and at this moment it's sorely needed.  The crowd's laughter seems high-pitched, almost hysterical.  Or maybe I'm just jumpy.

"God Thinks" starts things off with Voltaire's tribute to fundamentalists of all stripes.  It's funny and apropos.  Yet, while I agree that "God prefers an atheist" to a murderous true believer, I still found the song somehow unsatisfying.  If we're going to blame God for every crime against humanity committed in Hir name, maybe we should give a nod to those people who lend a helping hand in Hir name too. I can't blame Voltaire for this one though.  The song was written in a simpler time, and aimed at a far less malevolent target.

"As you might have guessed, I'm not going to be doing 'When You're Evil,' tonight... " Voltaire mumbles, almost apologetically, before going into a story about how he was able to view the disaster from his East Village apartment.  His eyes are hollow and his voice rough as he speaks of office workers falling from windows, of bodies strewn on the street, of glass mountains burning and crumbling to the ground.  He stops in midsentence, then takes another drink and begins "Feathery Wings."

Voltaire's act is all about pretense and persona; nobody really thinks he wants you to kill the man upstairs, or that he enjoys stealing candy from babies.  This is Voltaire unguarded, something I've never seen before. There's no ironic smirk here, just anguish as he sings  "I'm so sick and tired of the taste of tears, the sting of pain, the smell of fear, the sounds of crying" as the guitar swirls behind him slow and beautiful as a 90-floor freefall.  As the song comes to an end I realize I'm crying for the first time since Tuesday.

The song ends.  Voltaire expresses support for the Muslim owners of the restaurant across the street. The crowd cheers loudly.  When this happened I was afraid there would be Arab-American blood in the streets.  There have been some ugly incidents -- and one incident is too many -- but many more Americans have spoken out against anti-Arab bigotry and intolerance. Perhaps we have learned something from history after all, I think, as Voltaire begins "Let it Go."

Voltaire has a false start, then another, as he struggles with tuning problems, or maybe he's just trying not to cry. As the third time proves the charm he sings once again with real feeling, real passion.  This is not the old Voltaire: the phrasing is less precise and the playing sloppier, but in its place is raw emotion, more blues than Brecht or Weil.  As he tells us to let go of the hate I realize I'm crying again, realize for the first time in my life I'm proud to be American, realize that nothing is ever going to be the same  again.

(photos of Vulgaras and St. Eve courtesy of their websites, Voltaire by Blu at DragonCon 2000)

Check out other articles by Kevin Filan in Hybrid Magazine:

La Nouvelle Justine Homepage

Vulgaras Homepage

Voltaire Homepage

St. Eve Homepage

A Pre-emptive Halloween celebration of:
The Brides, I mean.. The Brickbats, I mean.. er..
Rock and Roll Star Destroyer (?)
~Interview with D.W. Friend and Corey Gorey by Blu
(photos courtesy of D.W. and his alter egos)

D.W. Friend, Corey Gorey and Mister Paul Morden, collectively known as the BRICKBATS, began playing their special brand of "undead rock and or roll music" in the summer of 1995. 1996 saw the release of their debut full length musical recording SING YOU DEAD, some critics called it "DEATH ROCK," some called it "GOTHABILLY," others labeled it "UNDEAD ROCK AND ROLL," . . . most however, . . .ignored it completely. 1998 brought the release of CREEPY CRAWLY (the unauthorized autobiography of undead rock and roll music). It was rumored that a third record and possible fourth record were recorded, but hidden in the catacombs of the Carpathian Mountains, . . .or perhaps, more realistically, they lay dormant in a recording studio in the hometown of ED WOOD, Poughkeepsie New York.

Although fame and fortune eluded them, the BRICKBATS soldiered on throughout parts of the U.S. and Canada, shaking their noisy death rattle. Sadly (cue VH-1 BEHIND THE MUSIC-music) in the summer of 2001, tragedy hit. As reported in the D.W. FRIEND CLUB (a magazine in celebration of D.W. Friend), "On July the fifth, the BRICKBATS bass player extraordinare, Mister Paul Morden was checked into a local hospital. After several expensive exams, doctors were shocked to find Mister Morden suffered from a rare degenerative brain disorder." Fortunately after an experimental surgery his life had been saved, as a result though, he was convinced it was 1858 and the California Gold Rush was on. With sturdy oxen, Paul headed west, bringing the BRICKBATS brief career to a halt.

Never being able to sit idly, undead drummer D.W. Friend and doom crooner Corey Gorey, began working under the moniker the BRIDES. However the duo's collective attention span being that of a kitten, they also began working on a GLAM ROCK ODYSSEY called ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER, while D.W. Friend also appeared in the NYC documentary FREAKS, GLAM GODS AND ROCK STARS1, never to be content to sit still Friend and Gorey continue to create and torture patrons of coffee houses on the East coast under the name THE BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE.

All attempts to get D.W. and Corey Gorey to publically talk about ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER have failed miserably. "D.W. Friend" and "Corey Gorey" will claim to have no knowledge of ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER (Do. W. Friend, Corey-Ti Gorey-Ti, Sir Cyan V.13.0, and the beloved Monochromeo).

D.W., in a state of tweenkie-induced delerium speaking as his publicist, was overheard to say, " D.W. Friend and Corey Gorey insist they have never heard of ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER, and the members of ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER state, 'they have no idea who D.W. Friend and Corey Gorey are, as they have been traveling on a comet through outer space for many years.'"


Blu: On the news horizon: I've heard stirrings about a new Brickbats CD on Neue Asthetik Multimedia – do tell!  Will we see Monster Party yet?

D.W. FRIEND: If I may speak in metaphor, our creation of "our little monster party," was like the creation of a baby. The "conception" of our songs, like procreation often is, was quick yet satisfying. The "job" was done. Now the seeds had been sewn, and it was "natures" turn to grow the seeds. While we, like anxious parents, waited, and waited, and waited, and yes, . . .waited. Nine months came and went and turned into . . .THREE YEARS!!!!

Now as any mother will tell you, a three year pregnancy is going to be very draining, physically, emotionally, . . .and any other kind of drain you can think of. We were clogged, . . .backed up. Finally, a doctor came in, we will call this doctor "Neue Asthetik Multimedia," and this doctor said, "you're long over due, . . .we'll get this baby out for you." So this "beast," I mean "baby," . . .uh album, will say hello to the world through the help of N.A.M. this Rocktober. Got to and demand your copy. I think they're throwing in some afterbirth with the first 100 orders.

         . . . and Blu, proving our stupidity, it's true, . . .we're pregnant again, and it's name is "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROT." Unless we decide to terminate this pregnancy . . .er, project.

COREY GOREY: We didn't get a divorce though. So there are no motherless children out there. It's hard when such close people get separated, but without lying, there are probably three to four other albums the BRICKBATS could release.

So, in answer to your question (Corey's eyes begin to search the ceiling, in a futile attempt to find an answer), that album will come out, I can't tell you if it looks any good, but it sounds all right,  . . . for a compact disc.

Blu: The Brides. Brides of Frankenstein? Little Women? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? How did this name and project come about?

COREY GOREY: I really wanted to call the band the BRAIDS!!!, but this guy (points to D.W.) said we didn't have any braids! He wanted to call the band the BRIDES, and when I said we weren't brides either, it didn't seem to matter. He always gets what he wants.

D.W. FRIEND: HERE COME THE BRIDES!!! As "they" say, "You can take the boys out of the macabre, but you can't take the macabre out of the boys!" . . .All right, even if they don't say that, the BRIDES began when Corey and I found ourselves in need of a new "outlet." In the process we created one of the most talked-about horror classics of all time, and an acclaimed sequel to the original FRANKENSTEIN!! No, . . .what, . . .that is the BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Actually we "created" a more elegant and fashion oriented brand of death rock. It was time to put away the tattered suits and slide into more refined evening ware. Betsy Johnson has been hired to design all of our outfits. It's really going to be RA-SHA-SHA!!!!

COREY GOREY: We're going for haute couture. None of this cheap fifth hand me down "cock and ball."

D.W. FRIEND: . . .yes, yes, yes. And the music's quite good too!

Blu: Tea or coffee?

D.W. FRIEND: The situation usually dictates the drink. With Japanese fare, Green Tea; a cozy fireside chat after a day on the slopes in Aspen, Maple Tea; after spending the night burying the "WHY WON'T YOU DIE!!!" dead, . . .coffee. The BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE. Which is a perfect time to mention our celebrated coffee house band, THE BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE. Corey?

COREY GOREY: Well (extending finger), I'll get to that BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE in a second. I think with coffee or tea, you really have to let the situation dictate the answer. Unfortunately the "situation" almost always involves rain, cigarettes, a lot of work to do, and . . . Seattle. Which usually equals coffee.

When I'm wearing a bowler and shoplifting at HARRODS, there is a 99.44% chance that me and tea will not be meeting in the C-U-P.


COREY GOREY: Oh yeah, THE BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE. I will be playing the role of "Marquis de Sad," D.W. will be playing the role of "Lord Sutchandsutch," and together we will musically debate the possibilities of using guitars as coffee bean grinders. The full c.d. COUGHA-CUPPY will be available at the end of September, whether you want it or not. And even though we're kidding, we're really not.

Blu: And now,  I hear there's yet a THIRD band? Are you mad?  How many bands can you be in at once? I've heard rumors that aliens abducted the Brides and sent them back down as glam superstars? What’s this project about?

D.W. FRIEND: I have no idea what you're referring to. (despite denial, ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER, their tribute to all things SCI-FI and GLAM, will be released on ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER RECORDS by the end of the year. Updates can be found at

COREY GOREY: Three bands? Well maybe, you can't count THE BLACK, BLACK CAFFEINE as a "band," but did we mention we're also playing in the JAMESONS, backing Greg from the HALLOWTEENS. Did I also mention we forgot how to sleep? Of course the BRIDES prevail. You would have to talk to the robots and the clones about that other band, . . . what did you call it ROCK AND ROLL STAR DESTROYER?

Blu: Boxers or briefs?

D.W. FRIEND: In brief, I did wear boxers. Now I enjoy boxing in my briefs. But wait until I get my Haines on you!!!

COREY GOREY: As brief as possible.

Blu: How can zombified salivating fans get their grubby paws on this music?

D.W. FRIEND: Well, the MONSTER PARTY can be joined through contacting Neue Asthetik Multimedia, hopefully it will be easy to acquire a copy. I think they're trying to get them in as many "markets" as possible. I think quite literally they'll be putting them in markets, so check your local STOP AND SHOP.

As for the BRIDES, the music has been recorded, and many an executive has been seen rubbing their hands together in an overly excited fashion, dreaming of getting their cookie covered mitts on "our goods." I am hoping for an early new year release. In the meantime, Corey and I can be reached through our website at

COREY GOREY: See a doctor, worry about the music later.

D.W. FRIEND: Now that is practical advice.

Blu: Any plans to play live in the near future?

COREY GOREY: We've put together an ALL-STAR cast and we're all ready turning down the likes of Karl Lagerfeld for the guest list.

D.W. FRIEND: Yes, we've put together a top notch performing quartet. We've got GREG JAW on the bass, and JULIA GHOULIA tickling the ivories. We're currently booking shows, so if you've got a supermarket opening, bar mitzvah, 50th anniversary party or fund raiser, get in touch won't you?

COREY GOREY: When things are fully available we'll take their clothes off and take pictures for you. Wink, Wink.  . . . Did I just smudge my eyeliner? (turning to D.W.)

D.W. FRIEND: No, but you just said "Wink, Wink." out loud.


Blu:  Fruit, on the top or bottom?


COREY GOREY: What was that all about? Do you mean blueberry yogurt? If you open it, and the fruit is on the top, . . .girl, you're in trouble.

(D.W. is walked back by his "people," and agrees to finish the interview)

Blu: DW – do you still hide underneath stairways?

D.W. FRIEND: In the past I would sneak into the homes of the people that were fans, and yes, I would hide under their stars and rattle my chains, . . .perhaps moan a little through my prosthetic "ghoul-teeth." However I have since stopped. It became expected of me. I leave that to Marilyn Manson now. Shock 'em dead you knucklehead!!

Blu: Any plans for Halloween yet?

COREY GOREY: Every year my plans get bigger and bigger, and before November 1st even roles around, I usually find myself cursing heavenward and scaring the cats by throwing video tapes across the living room floor in a fruitless effort to find the CURSE OF THE SON OF THE BRIDE OF DRACULA'S WEREWOLF FRANKENSTEIN versus THE YOUNG INVISIBLE MUMMY, . . . because I know it's there somewhere!

D.W. FRIEND: (turning to Corey) What's Halloween?

1Look for cameo appearances from The Brickbats in the John T. Ryan film FREAKS, GLAM GODS AND ROCK STARS -  a movie that came out in NYC theaters at the end of April documenting several New York City bands and performance artists, included were TOILET BOYS, VOLUPTUOUS HORROR OF KAREN BLACK, and my favorite, the BRICKBATS!

The Brides official website:

The Brides on mp3:

Rock and Roll Star Destroyer on mp3:

Related links:
Memphis Morticians (Brickbats' Paul Morden's new project)

Neue Aesthetik

cEvin Key
The Ghost Of Each Room
~reviewed by Jyri Glynn

Anyone who has followed the legacy of Skinny Puppy and its influential members already knows that cEvin Key needs no introduction.  For those few out there, who have been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with this industrial music icon, lets just say that there are not many artist who can claim an entire musical genre as Key certainly can.  Being one of the founders of the illustrious Skinny Puppy; as well as, Doubting Thomas and more recently the band Download, cEvin Key has released his second solo project titled “The Ghost Of Each Room”.

Upon first receiving a copy of GOER I immediately noticed the remarkable cover photography which I later learned was a photograph that cEvin had taken from a painting which hangs in the Haunted Rose Hall in Jamaica.  If you are not familiar with the Rose Hall, it was a great mansion, which was built in the 1770’s.  It is most famous for the story of its mistress Annie Palmer, who came to reside there in 1820, and the fanciful legends of underground tunnels, bloodstains and hauntings.  What Goth can resist this?  Annie Palmer was allegedly feared as a black magician, and she is also supposed to have dispatched three husbands (by poison, by stabbing and then pouring boiling oil into his ears, and then strangling him).  She had innumerable lovers, including slaves, whom she simply killed when she was bored of them.  A real sweetie, eh?  She was 4’11” high and was eventually murdered in her bed during an uprising.  It is now said, she haunts the mansion.  So now that you’ve had your history lesson, lets talk about the music.

The album starts out with the instrumental track, bObs Shadow, which has this eerie keyboard part that without a doubt reminds me of some score written for the classic, 70’s vamp-soap, Dark Shadows.  cEvin is complemented with guest’s Justin Bennett from Professional Murder Music and Frank Verschuuren.  Verschuuren is most known to me as the Legendary Pink Dot’s producer.

The album continues with the song TAtayama, which gamers might recognize as the same track as Unknown From M.E. that was re-mixed for the Sega Dreamcast game compilation album ‘Sonic Adventure’.  With its tribal electric drumbeats and keyboards, this song has a similar feel to it as some of cEvin’s earlier work with Download.

cEvin once again delivers outstanding rhythms with the electric drums, along with Verschuuren adding electronic sounds on the third song, hOroPter.  Also Omar Torres from Native Instruments Software provides additional sounds utilizing a modular music software called Reaktor 3.  This program is used for synthesis, sampling and effects processing.  ( )

15th Shade is a “must hear” for any Legendary Pink Dots fan.  Edward Ka-Spel (LPD) is featured on vocals, cEvin on both drums and guitar and his former band-mate, Bill Van Rooy from Download.   Ka-Spel whispers a dark tale of paranoid delusion and panic with his story telling fashion habitually known to LPD listeners.

With its repetitious electronic beats, Sklang definitely has a Download feel to it.  The featured guest artist on this track includes Phil Western (DL); as well as, Kent Clelland and Omar Torress once again from Native Instruments Software.  When I asked cEvin how he join up with the guys from NI, he told me that he met them at the last NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show and ended up collaborating with them on the tracks.

The Track, Frozen Sky completes the cycle of cEvin’s long legacy of bands and is my personal favorite off GOER.  Ogre, most notably known as the front man for Skinny Puppy and more recently Oghr, assembles the music with his own industrial flare of harsh industrial vocals and harmonies.  Ken Marshall, the producer for such bands as Front Line Assembly, Numb and Machines of Loving Grace, creates the electronic atmosphere, while Saki Kaskas adds just the right touch of industrial guitar to make this song a club hit for sure.  Frozen Sky picks up right where Skinny Puppy’s last album, The Process, left off.  For those of you who have had the chance to catch Ogre’s new solo project Oghr on tour, you’ll find that not only is cEvin playing drums with Oghr, but the band also performed Frozen Sky live.

GOER continues with soundscape tracks, Aphasia, cccc4 and Klora where cEvin continues to demonstrate his abilities to create electronic music at its finest.

The final track is titled; a certain stuuckey and unmistakably sounds like a misplaced track from a Tear Garden album.  It features all the members of the Legendary Pink Dots as well as, cEvin playing a plethora of various instruments.  Edward Ka-Spel‘s metaphoric lyrics relay a tale of mockery towards an uninvited guest.  “Kill it….if it offends you, close the door and tell someone else to…kill it”.

“The Ghost of Each Room” is an overall great sounding album that displays all cEvin’s musical talents to their fullest extent.   With its wide variety of guest artists ranging from diverse music and electronic backgrounds, this album provides an assortment of musical talent for its listeners.  If you are already a fan of Download, Tear Garden, or Skinny Puppy you certainly will not be disappointed.

1: Bobs Shadow
2: TAtayama
3: hOropter
4: 15th Shade
5: Sklang
6: Frozen Sky
7: Aphasia
8: Klora
9: cccc4
10: A Certain Stuuckey

Subconscious Website:
Metropolis Website:

The Impossibly Twisted & Assorted Ramblings of Mad Men
or: My Interview with Cinema Strange
~by Blu
(Pictures courtesy the Cinema Strange websites and from the Zillo Festival courtesy of Russian Gothic Pages)

StarVox: You guys are one of the hottest bands on the West Coast right now and a lot of that is due to the style of music you play. You've pretty much gained a cult-like following. Your fans are very dedicated with a hefty mass of websites dedicated to you on the Internet. You play BatCave-ish Deathrock and the "older" generation is really latching onto your sound while we're seeing a resurging interest in deathrock by the younger club goers. Patrick from Kommunity FK, who you've played shows with before, recently told me you were like long lost adopted sons to him. How did Cinema Strange form and what kind of connection to older deathrock bands do you have?

Yellow:  Well you see that’s the curious part… not having any connections to older, or any deathrock bands.  It has, in a sense, created for us an empty construct from which we have been able to create essentially un-influenced music… i.e. music purely spawned from our loins.

Lucas:  I don’t have any loins.  I’m like a Ken Doll down there.

Bonzo:  Or a Barbie Doll, for that matter.

Lucas:  Patrick is a swell guy.

SV: Have you run into any resistance getting gigs because you don’t really sound like all the other contemporary bands in the gothic genre?

Yellow:  Yes, in the beginning because as you stated, styles really didn’t mesh.  Or, in the best cases, we’d play to an unsuspecting audience, prepared for an ethereal or EBM performance.  (Perhaps we made an impression though?!)

Mik:  But apparently, we basically, completely, almost totally wiped out the anti-Cinema Strange resistance regime a few years back.

Bonzo:  That led to organizing our own events, which has worked out well, artistically, if not always financially.

SV: Your music is often very literary -- "MoundShroud" is named after the main character in Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree" and you quote Shakespeare's Hamlet in ""Hebenon Vial".  Do you read a lot? What are some of your favorite books?

Mik:  From fiction to theosophy, baby’s first pop-up book is 26 letters of alphabetical adventure!

Yellow:  At least it’s fair to say that my reading of philosophical materials such as Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” has a profound literary effect on Lucas’ writing.

Lucas:  Not only is that unfair to say, it’s untrue.  My scribblings are solely influenced by gladiator films and a 1987 Trans-Am wall calendar that I found in a dumpster in back of a Thai restaurant.  I also read Dickens, but he’s not an influence.  He’s like the jolly uncle I love and hate at the same time.  It’s like I told my son, Steve, the other day:  “I will punch you in the face!”

Bonzo:  I just got done with Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography.  That was fun.

"So far, it’s just higgledy-piggledy every time.  Like falling asleep in your bed at home and then you wake up a month later in the desert, wearing a loincloth and leading a pack of kangaroo mice into battle against the cacti menace.  That’s how we end up with songs. "
SV: "Lindsay's Trachea” is one of your most popular songs. Its unusual because of the experimental way it’s written. In fact, most of your songs are witty and twisted in such intelligent ways. What's the song-writing process for you?

Yellow:  Always intelligent, as stated in Article 5 of our mission statement.

Bonzo:  Thanks for the compliments!

Lucas:  I wish we had a consistent song-writing process.  So far, it’s just higgledy-piggledy every time.  Like falling asleep in your bed at home and then you wake up a month later in the desert, wearing a loincloth and leading a pack of kangaroo mice into battle against the cacti menace.  That’s how we end up with songs.

SV: I know you recently traveled to Germany and played at the Herbstnächte III festival at castle Rabenstein. How was that and what's the scene like in Germany?

Lucas:  It’s funny because I was telling the guys just the other week, “It would be fine if our next show was at a castle in the middle of the black forest.”  And then this show came down the pipe from Motherdance (our booking agent).  How’s that for neato-mosquito?

Bonzo:  That festival was the troupe’s fourth trip over the Atlantic.  The Europeans have been extremely receptive to nuttiness.  After all, Cinema Strange is like the Jerry Lewis of the gothik universe.

Yellow:  We’ve been all over Europe, now, baby!  It’s great!  They’re just like American deathrockers (except cooler).

Bonzo:  The Europeans just have a bigger scene.  A lot of it is more mainstream, so there’s a lot more money involved.  America’s scene is proportionate regarding good and bad music, just smaller in economic scope.  Less media coverage.

SV: What bands have you played with that have left a big impression on you? What bands would you LIKE to play with that you haven’t yet?

Yellow:  Hmmm… don’t know if I understand this question… best not to answer.  But I’d be interested to find a band that we would like to but haven’t yet played with, for an impression to be left.

Mik:  I second the notion!

Lucas:  Playing with VNV Nation left a big impression on me.  Before that, I didn’t realize how popular that sort of music really was.  There was a huge crowd.  That was in Austria.

SV: So is the recipe for good Mohawks the same as it was back then - egg whites, superglue and aqua net by the gallon?

Bonzo:  I’ll vouch for Aquanet by the gallon.

Mik:  I can control my hair by willpower alone!

Yellow:  Wow… super glue!  Can you imagine?  I double dare anyone reading this interview to attempt it and get back to us on how it went (and how they got it out).

Lucas:  It would be simple with a few basic solvents.

SV: I hear the deathrock scene is pretty strong in California - particularly LA and Long Beach... has that been your perception of it? What are club nights like out there?

Yellow:  Yes, and yes.  And exactly.

Mik:  I usually stay home club nights… superstition.  “Home”- Australian for “Club”.

Bonzo:  The scene seemed to be growing steady by the end of last century.  It’s holding, I think.

SV: Your music often times reminds me of something Edward Gorey would have done if he was a musician -or even Tim Burton. They're filled with horrific images presented in a carefree almost childish realm of dark-fantasy. Are you fans of the aforementioned?

Mik:  It’s great, man.

Yellow:  Do you mean, are we fans of horrific images presented in a carefree almost childish realm of fantasy?  If so, no, not fans.  Just perpetrators.

SV: Outside of Cinema Strange and making music - what do you guys do and what are some hobbies?

Mik:  Every once in a while they untie me and let me see my wife.

Lucas:  I like “Kick the Can”, but no one ever plays with me.  Speaking of that, I found a can in the road yesterday and I kicked it and then some beans came flying out.  After that, my soul felt dirty.

Yellow:  Right now, I’m just trying to define happiness in less abstract terms, seeing as how it is not actually considered an emotion.  Because every emotion has a catalyst… except happiness.  In fact, it is not even the means to an end, as is in most other situations.  It is the end.  Which makes this whole depressing gothic thing sort of a contradiction in human existence.

Bonzo:  If anyone’s still reading, I enjoy needlepoint and I’ve always got the bridge club Wednesday nights.  Thank-you, goodnight!

Official Website:

Pictures from the Zillo Festival courtesy of Russian Gothic Pages

Women Who Rock: Sue Hutton from Rhea's Obsession
~article and interview by Steph
(photos by Gordon Hawkins and Jerry Bennet)

It was one of those moments when your soul inhabits every pore of your skin. I was in the back room of the Rivoli, that hot, crowded little room where I used to go to hear local bands play. It was a benefit show for a campus radio station, and DHI, one of my favorite industrial bands was playing. Opening for them was Rhea's Obsession. Just a week before, my editor had raved about them, comparing them to the  sublime Dead Can Dance.

I was willing to be convinced, so I showed up early, sweating under my leather jacket in the humid summer air. I remember Sue, her hair loose and wild, attacking her djembe, abandoning herself to the music and the motion. Even more than that, I remember listening with closed eyes as she sang "Waves (Take Me Alive)", a song so full of beauty and promise that it almost hurts to listen to it.

"rush me out on your tide/before the waves take me alive"
The music took me that night, moved through me like love and breath. Sue's voice was pure, knowing and timeless. I bought a copy of "Initiation", their debut album that night. The next morning, I put it on, wondering if the intensity of the night before could possibly be captured on CD. It could. Six years after I first bought it, Initiation is still one of my favorite albums.
"Hold me deep when the body's undone/go deep/go deep/completely believe"
Going deep, going beneath the surface is what art used to be about. Rhea's Obsession found us all floundering in the shallow waters of pop culture, and dragged us out into the depths of their music with them. As musicians, they immerse themselves in their craft, and they demand an equal surrender from the listener.

Sue Hutton is the timelessly beautiful voice of Rhea's Obsession. When she sings, you can feel that every breath is carefully placed, every nuance articulated to perfection. It is not surprising to hear that Sue undertook some opera training, which she says she used to "add a twist" to the traditional Celtic music and Bulgarian folk songs that she was singing. This led to performances at Celtic festivals, doing traditional songs with unconventional arrangements.

"It ended up shocking some of the [folk}community, some of whom are very purist." Sue recalls, grinning. "The organizers were like 'lovely songs, but too bad about the non-traditional treatment'. I thought then that the folk festival scene was not working out, and that it was time to head in another direction. Around that time I met Jim [Field, guitarist for Rhea's Obsession and Sue's partner] at the El Mocambo, a club in Toronto where all the musicians were hanging out at the time. The following week he was offered a soundtrack gig, and when he came to see Rhea's Obsession, he thought he'd steal me for the soundtrack. It was wonderful because I was able to do all those experimental things that the folk community was rejecting."

Wait a second...did I hear that correctly? Rhea's Obsession existed before Jim joined the band?

"Only for a couple of gigs." Sue clarifies. "It was a much more traditional thing back then. We had an electric violin. It was very cool."

The soundtrack was to an avant-garde dance film called "Tabulae Anatomicae Sex", a that collaboration turned out to be a pivotal experience for both Jim and Sue.

"Working  on the soundtrack allowed me the flexibility to be a lot more experimental with my voice, and it allowed Jim, who had been playing in the punk rock, hardcore scene, to venture into a more traditional world, so it was a perfect bridging for both of us. We just went in and freaked out some strange music! That was the birth of Rhea's as we know it. That was when she truly became born."

Sue's reference to Rhea's in the third person catches my attention. She does this often, talking about the band as an entity unto itself. I venture the theory that she and Jim experience Rhea's Obsession as an organic entity, one in which the band and the songs create themselves , instead Sue and Jim imposing an external structure upon the music.

Sue looks straight at me with her disconcertingly direct gaze. I've met Sue several times, but I can never remember what colour her eyes are. The intensity of her gaze is too distracting.

"That's beautiful. That's a beautiful way of looking at it." she says.

"After touring for a while, one begins to want to impose a certain level of control, especially with Jim being the studio and production fanatic that he is. Now we're really playing with that balance. We've always found that if we don;t have to room to breathe and  improvise naturally and spontaneously while playing live, we may as well not bother. My dad is a jazz musician, and he always talks about the right and left brain integration that he gets from improvising."

The organic quality of Rhea's Obsession is due in part to the eight months that Sue spent in India when she was 19. She speaks of the honesty with which she approaches her music, the refusal to have a gimmick for Rhea's Obsession.

"The more in touch with the universe we can become, the more flowing our whole existence will be." she says, "All the principles I learned about life when I was in India are the same principles  I apply to the band."

Sue's path to India began when she was 16, and suffering from migraines. After one migraine lasted for three days, she was admitted to the hospital. The doctors thought that she might have meningitis, and performed a spinal tap, after which Sue had to lie flat on her back for three days. Unable to lift her head even to read, Sue listened instead to the tapes her brother brought her.

"My brother brought me three ninety minute tapes by Ram Dass." Sue recalls. "He used to be Richard Alpert, who was Timothy Leary's cohort. He was a clinical psychologist from Harvard University who discovered LSD and then went on to discover spirituality in India. I listened to three ninety minutes lectures by Ram Dass, and by the end of it, I knew I had to go to India. It was just clear as day. Everything became clear for me."

At the start and close of every yoga class, the students and teacher join voices in chanting Om. The sound carries long after the voices have stopped , hanging in the air as everyone sits with closed eyes. The warm swell of sound aids in uniting their energies, and it was though this practice of chanting and meditation that Sue was initiated as a musician.

I comment that sixteen is a fairly young age at which to be having such a transformative experience.

"My family was not an easy family to grow up in." she says carefully. "My mother died the year after I came back from India. There were many suicide attempts before that. I've done a lot of healing, but I definitely grew up with emotional challenges. I see it as a blessing that I got introduced to the whole healing path so early. It really saved me."

There is no self pity in her manner or her voice. When she says that she's healed, you believe her.

Sue sings with her whole body. The sight of her as she sways and shimmies is entrancing, constant musical motion. As I blissed out in a sensual reverie that first night, I was unaware that other members of the audience were paying their own homage to Rhea's unique ambiance.

"I heard that there were people having sex at the back of the room that night!" Sue exclaims. "I think it was that show. It was one of the early shows where we were opening for either DHI or Masochistic Religion. There was a line up of people after the show saying 'I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but I have sex to your music all the time'."

Sue is obviously very pleased by this.

"I thought that was amazing!" she says with a wicked grin. "A friend of ours said afterwards that there were people having sex right by the soundboard and that all the women in room were getting really horny, which was incredibly cool to me. That was such a beautiful thing to hear."

"We just played the La Femme Nikita convention last month, and it was a really neat experience introducing that crowd to that whole sensuality because they're more conservative people. That was a real trip for us to see a whole room of people turning on to it for the first time. Sometimes it's a challenge to try and bring that energy to the audience."

Some of those challenges have come from within the goth scene, where Rhea's Obsession has garnered a substantial following.  I've seen people posing languidly at their local shows, and wondered why they're not dancing instead.

"I think that there are times when the gothic scene promotes judgement and conformity. I don't think I've ever witnessed such a conformist subculture." she says.

Sad but true. We've all seen the scene queens glaring at those who dare show up in anything other than regulation black. Perhaps we've even been guilty of it ourselves. None of us were cool kids growing up, and now that we've found our own version of cool, we throttle it's life-force in a deathgrip.

"We don't go back to non-receptive environments anymore." Sue commented. "I think that the gothic scene is looking more for big productions, and what Jim calls 'show business', rather than music. He always talks about bands that use backing tapes and bands that are sort of doing karaoke. You're no longer playing music, you're just acting in front of backing tracks. That's when it crosses over into a more superficial angle,  which is what the gothic scene seems to enjoy more. I will say %100 after touring quite a bit over the past 4-5 years. "

In the early days, Rhea's was known around Toronto as a 'musician's band', when local musicians would often hang around after gigs wanting to know how Jim got a certain guitar sound, or wanting to get a closer look at the array of instruments the band had onstage. This approbation from the music community  gave rise to the Rhea's buzz.

"There were writers who were actually writing about the music." Sue recalls. "When we entered the gothic scene, there wasn't as much appreciation of the musical integrity. It's very interesting world to be in,  coming from a musician's background and a spiritual background, and being in a scene which does not equate with either of those things. A lot of the bands that we meet on the road are there strictly for the clothes and the posing, and they admit that. We feel somewhat isolated. "

"It's been an interesting experience doing the spiritual, musical practice which talks about stepping out of ego, and being in an environment which promotes ego. However, I think we've come to a good balance. Even if the audience is busy judging the person next to them for wearing the wrong shoes, the people who are real gravitate to us."

For Sue, her commitment to truth and authenticity has included being aware of and involved in her native heritage.  Her grandfather's great aunt was a Mohawk woman, and her father kept  photographs of her all over our house because it was  important to him that this woman be remembered.  As a native woman married to a white man,  she faced the prejudice of the white community, who used to believe that if you were native, you were destined to be an alcoholic.

"She was dressed up and paraded around as though she was a white woman, but she also remained secretly in touch with her roots. " Sue tells me. "She passed this information on to the people around her, and my grandfather so valued this knowledge that he made sure he passed it on to us. My father has been very involved in working with native communities, so as a kid, I was taken up to the native reserves in Northern Ontario and we'd live in these huge teepees while my dad was launching an education program."

Sue has worked with native women's resource centres, the Canadian Alliance of Solidarity of Native Peoples, and helped organize benefit concerts for Temagami. A lot of people are shocked by human rights atrocities that happen in places like South Africa, she observes, and yet don't realize that similar violations are happening much closer to home.

"It's difficult to reach out in so many different directions at once. I'm also quite connected with the Tibetan community, and Jim is doing some work on a CD to benefit the protesters who were wounded at the Quebec summit. I want to be working 24 hours a day for all these different causes."

Rhea was an ancient Greek goddess, the daughter of Gaia and Uranus. When Cronos rose to power through devious means, Rhea collaborated with Zeus and Gaia to overthrow him. Festivals in honour of this spirited goddess were marked by wild, abandoned music and dancing . How fitting that Rhea chose Sue to be her messenger.

Rhea's Obsession

Something Spooky This Way Comes...
~Interview by Blu

Their invasion has begun. Incantations have been recited; candles have been lit, pumpkins have been disemboweled. I've started to hear SPF1000 in the clubs and on the radio now here in Seattle. Perfect timing because Halloween is on its way and SPF1000 has come up with some of *the* most entertaining spooky music I've heard in a long long time. I cannot seem to stop playing their CD and I can now mouth all the samples from Haunted Mansion on the "Haunted House" Re-mix on cue. Childhood delight and fond memories mix with smells of fall and all at once, the world is a gothic playground complete with stripey tights and pretty boys. Who better to feature for our October issue I thought, than the mastermind  behind it all? I posed these questions to David, of SPF1000, and here's what he had to say...

StarVox:  When and how was the band SPF1000 formed? What's the story behind the name -- is it because you live in ever-sunny LA ?

David: Absolutely, I was born and raised in Los Angeles (home of the tanning bed). I've had it with that California tan. Maybe because I'm a huge fan of the European porcelain look in so many gothic paintings from painters like: Lorenzo, Fouquet and Dalmau.

The Goth scene is as much about style as it is about music. Maybe even more so. Part of that style (as the name Gothic implies) is that European 14th and 15th century "dead" look, but more up dated of course. (Some of us bathe more than twice a year as well). A tan finds no friend in such a style.  It kills me to watch "Love at first bite" with George Hamilton as Dracula. Count Chocula also seems not to work for me.

The name SPF1000 to me, is more of a way of saying that we don't take ourselves too seriously. Music and a music scene should be fun, don't you think? That was what inspired me to do this band.

On July 4th 2000 I was on a plane from New Yorkto L.A. when it hit me. The name, the look the music... everything. Of course I didn't have anything but a name at that point, but in the following weeks I started writing the songs and looking for members. That wasn't easy. There are a lot of cool looking guys in this town, but finding ones that could play and get along is damned near impossible. I scoured the local clubs for the guys. Andy (keyboards) and Gabriel (Guitar) I had already known. Scott (Bass) was introduced to me by his girlfriend and Jackie (Drums) I found in an ad I placed. Luckily it work out and we were rehearsing by December or January.

"An eight hundred pound gorilla living in my studio, it's voice it now whatever it wants it to be."

SV:  How would you describe SPF1000 to someone who's never heard you before?

David:  At first, when I had just started writing the first few songs I had wanted to sound very orchestral and heavy (I suppose I still do). As it is with too many things in life: What you want and what you get are rarely the same. I feel SPF1000 had become it's own entity. An eight hundred pound gorilla living in my studio, it's voice it now whatever it wants it to be. If I like it or not. Today SPF1000 to me sounds unique for such a non-unique idea... Modern goth and death rock song ideas, structures and lyrics with Industrial/Electronic drums and Orchestral sounds and overtones. In other words: SPF1000 is a dark, modern, Goth Industrial band.

SV: Describe each member of the band with one phrase.

David: Including me? Here goes.
ANDY: Our super star eyewitness, If it's going on... Andy knows about it, and had the idea two month ago.
GABRIEL: The "real" thing. The absolute DARKEST member of SPF1000.
JACKIE: Our conscious. He sees all from that drum riser.
SCOTT: Most likely to be eaten by a demon. A demon that he conjured up out of rat parts and broken bass strings in his room.
DAVID (me): The megalomaniac, It's either my way or.... I'll be ratherupset. And there may even be an argument.

SV:  So tell me, how *did* you manage to sample the Haunted Mansion ride for the Haunted House re-mix?

David: After years of research in the Mansion (tough assignment). I still couldn't find a way to get a clear audio sample of just the voice. I had heard there were several Disney albums released throughout the years claiming to be from "The Haunted Mansion"... They weren't. They were cool stories with sound effects and creepy music, but not what I wanted. I wanted the ACTUAL recordings for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. So like everything else I do; I started searching the internet and before long I had found more than I could ever use. It's amazing what people out there will put on a web site. Thank you to them.

SV:  DJ Xian wrote about your first live show for StarVox a few months back. What was playing that first show like and how's it been since then? We've been hearing all kinds of good things about you guys....

David: After months of intense rehearsal and promoting, we booked our first show and started promoting like crazy, but I had never even stopped to think "Shit David! You've never sang in front of people before". I had played drums and guitar for years, but this was singing! Front man, main focus, all that. I think because I felt so confident in the music and in the band, I really didn't have much to worry about... So I didn't worry. (too much) Two month later when we were now playing The El Rey Theater.... That was a little different.

Our shows had gotten increasing bigger over only a few months. By the time of our fourth show SPF1000's reputation was preceding us. All that meant to us, is that we had to keep it up and entertain on a bigger scale. GREAT!

We've now booked a few more shows in Hollywood that will rival the Coven13 Summer Gothic Ball. So things are looking bright, agreed. In October alone we will be extending ourselves. Coven13 has asked us back to play their Halloween Masquerade Ball at the Hollywood Athletic Club on the 27th (plug plug) This will dwarf the Summer Gothic Ball. Richard O'Brien (Rife Raff) is flying in from England to do songs from Rocky Horror, godhead is playing and there is a special guest so big I can't even mention it.

I think our problem is two fold now: We have done a good job promoting to the Super-Hip Hollywood crowd but I'm not sure if the average record buying goth kid knows about us yet. Problem two I feel lucky to have: We are getting really used to playing big venues.

I think in one move we can fix are dilemmas... We are going to start playing some under 21 venues and see if we can't broaden our audience a bit and I'm sure the venues won't be a posh.

"Candle burned pumpkin really does smell like victory."

SV: What are plans for releasing a CD? How do fans get a copy of yourmusic if they're just dying to have it?

David: I really don't want to release one of those Do-It-Yourself CD's. So for now Ampcast and has all of our stuff online for free. OH NO! FREE. hahaha. I'd rather have people listen for free than have to pay for 1000 CD's at $5.00 a shot. But beware... CD's are coming. I'm in the process of mixing down the songs as we speak.

SV:  Any touring plans? (<cough> Can we tempt you to come to Seattle, she asks selfishly ?)

David: I'd LOVE to... What's for dinner? We'd just need a place to stay =) Touring is something that I'd have to have a BIG carrot hanging in front of me to do. We are not opposed to it, I think we'd rather just do precise one-off shows in places where we'd be most effective. I kind of sounded like Colin Powell just then huh? There IS something romantic about a bunch of guys driving around in a smelly van praying that the next club promoter won't flake out on paying you so you can afford to eat that day. We are just a little to high maintenance for that. Hell our make up mirrors and striped tights alone would take up half of a van.

SV:  What does a band like SPF1000 do for Halloween?

David:  I don't even want to know what Gabriel does, I'm sure it involves something or someone dying. I think Scott hunts a demon down that he released a few Halloweens ago. Andy will be at what ever ends up being the best party. And I think Jackie will be glued to the T.V watching 'The Great PumpkinCharlie Brown" backwards, over and over until it "all makes sense".

Believe it or not I love passing out candy. It's the best way to capture that Halloween spirit aside from carving pumpkins. I just carved my first one of the season the night before last and just the smell of it put me in that perfect spooky mood. Candle burned pumpkin really does smell like victory. Then I start up the broom, grab the cat and I'm off by midnight.

SV: Musically on your CD, you have a good mixture of organic instruments (guitars, bass, drums) mixed in with electronics... did you seekthat balance out purposefully? How does it translate to your live show?

David:  Yes, I did set out to do that. Bringing that into a live arena was (and is) a real challenge. Live instruments are inherently very loud, if the balance isn't right we'll sound like a rock band... yuck. So when it came time to put this show on the road (so to speak) I went to great lengths to cut our electronics down to just the essentials. That way we can really bring those up in the mix. Rock be gone. Apollo 440 said "you can't stop the rock", well I'm trying me damnedest.

SV:  What's your favorite song to play live currently?

David: We do a cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding". That is just a blast to do. It's most likely because since people already like the song: the pressure is off. Or if people don't like it: "hey. I didn't write it" hehehe. So I can drop my guard and just perform. Plus I love the reaction on everyone's face when they realize what song it is.

SV: Muppets or Sesame Street?

David: Muppets... No question. If only for the two old men in the balcony that heckle the entire show.

Official website:

SPF1000 Club:

Free SPF1000 tunes on Ampcast!

Haunted Mansion Link: