Jay Aston - "Jezebel"
GothCon - Atlanta, Ga
March 19, 2000
~by guest writer Michael Donnelly *

A small crowd stood hushed and focussed as Jay Aston played a set of beautifully sparse songs that shone a light on the holes left in life as one moves from the known to the next.

Jay stood alone onstage in fashionable black (it was gothcon you know) and painted pictures with guitar and voice telling stories of plans made and unmade, love made and love taken and of learning to look ahead rather than to the past for reason and reconciliation.

In spite of the audience size and the less than ample pa system, a flood of emotion and music, wonderful music filled the room. Jay and his guitar dug right to the place we all keep hidden from most (sometimes even ourselves) Adding a little levity to the set were some clever verbal quips and a tremendously catchy impromptu Bauhaus medly that spread a grin across the entire room.

A fantastic experience from an artist sharing the intimacy of personal transition and self-aware enough to know that from any perspective, brooding is only skin deep.

*Michael is the singer for the Atlanta based band Trans_lu_cent

Jay Aston and Jezebel sites:
GothCon: www.gothcon.com

With Replicate
At The Redblood Club
Dallas, Texas
March 16, 2000
~photos &  review by ::Cyberina Flux:
Razed in Black decided to kick off their Central US tour in Dallas
this year for a benefit for KNON 89.3 FM's Gothic and Industrial show, The Grey Zone.  Leave it to Texas weather to give us a thunderstorm and hail about an hour before doors opened!  The rain didn't appear to dampen the spirits of any of the acts or the fans though, as this was the best show I have attended so far this year hands down.

First up for the night was DJ Ergot, a local DJ to Dallas.  His set of Goa Trance was the perfect starter for the night of Industrial rock with trance undertones.  It was amazing to see the number of attendees to brave the inclimate weather, and Ergot did a great job of getting up and around.

After Ergot wrapped up his set a new act out of Dallas by the name of Replicate took the stage for their very first live performance. Replicate is an electronic act featuring a former member of the coldwave act, Puncture.  Replicate, however, is an entirely different animal than what Puncture was.  Imagine taking breakbeat techno rhythms, layer disturbing samples and sounds on top, throw in a standup electronic drummer with a martial kind of stance, and a harsh Industrial vocalist that simply cannot stand still.  Despite his bad head cold, singer Angel Martin gave it his all and didn't leave a single empty space of the stage uncovered.  A definitely high-energy show leaving the crowd with surprised with something that they  didn't expect.

When Replicate took their leave, DJ Evil from Hawaii stepped up to the turntables.  I have to say this was one of the best DJ sets I've heard in a long time.  Normally, you don't find me dancing much at concerts but listening to this set I simply couldn't stand still.  It was filled with an ingenious potpourri of industrial, gothic, retro, and techno and it never stopped grooving.

Finally around midnight, the long awaited Razed in Black took the
stage.  Razed in Black on recording is Rommell from Honolulu, but on tour he brings together quite an interesting cast of characters including an extraordinary drummer who had taken time out of his busy tour schedule with the Broadway Stomp to hit the road with Razed in Black.  The set all around was one of the most energetic I've seen, and it was tight tight tight never skipping a beat.  The entire crowd was up on their feet crammed to the front and dancing through the whole thing.  And, aside from the weather, keeping the whole crowd pumped throughout was no small feat because I'd be surprised if I was told that Razed didn't play their entire discography!

f you ever are blessed with the opportunity to catch the Razed in Black crew, let me tell you now that you should definitely not miss the opportunity.  If you want high energy with a lot of attitude, this is the show for you!

Razed in Black

PO Box 177432
Irving, TX   75017

Cleopatra Records
13428 Maxella Ave
PMB 205

The Redblood Club
2617 Commerce
Dallas, TX

KNON 89.3 FM
PO Box 710909
Dallas, TX  75371
The Grey Zone
DJ Stereotype - rds@metronet.com
(for more photos go here)

Rhea's Obsession
CD Release Party/Concert
~reviewed by Steph

How impatient we have all become in this age of instant gratification. Heaven forbid that  we should be made to wait, to curb our strident demands to have it all now. A fierce buzz of anticipation has been following Toronto's Rhea's Obsession for the past couple of years. Their entrancing debut, Initiation, was released four long years ago. The devoted initiates have been yearning for a deeper immersion into Rhea's lush musical dreamscape.

Rhea's Obsession wisely ignored all of this. Displaying a wisdom that is sadly lacking in many promising young bands, they chose not to capitalize on the success of their debut by rushing out an inferior second album. They crafted their offering with slow care, and on this cold March night, the faithful gathered to receive it.

The original venue for the CD release party was The Opera House, a beautiful theatre in Toronto's east end, but sadly, a scheduling glitch caused the show to be moved to Lee's Palace. Lee's Palace is one of those clubs that has been around forever, and it's better known for it's punk shows than for ethereal songstresses. Oh ye of little faith...

We entered the club and were greeted by a wondrous sight. Lush ferns and ivies spilled onto the stage, and hung enticingly from poles and overhead beams. Crusty old Lee's Palace, that we all know and love, had never looked or smelled better. A statuesque woman bedecked in trailing vines, to be referred to henceforth as Arboretia, moved among the crowd, handing out door prize tickets.

Bitter Harvest, a one-man noise/ambient act, warmed up the crowd for close to an hour. Unfortunately, his low-key stage presence confused many audience members into thinking that he was a stage technician testing the equipment. It took almost half an hour for us all to realize that the black-clad figure wandering around onstage banging on instruments was indeed the opening act.

The Master of Ceremonies, assisted by the lovely Arboretia, gave out CD prize packages to a lucky audience member sporting a Between Earth and Sky-themed tattoo, as well as drawing from the door prize tickets. Then it was time for the next supporting act.

For many years, one of my favorite local acts was An April March, a lovely Cocteau-inspired band driven by Danella Hocevar's swoonsome vocals. They disbanded a year ago, much to my dismay, so I was delighted to find that Danella and her partner Chris had formed a new band, Red Hot Red. This supporting slot for Rhea's Obsession was their debut performance. Less dreamy than An April March, Red Hot Red played a short set of jazzed-up lounge songs, showing a playful, slyly sexy personality. The additon of a cellist was the perfect finishing touch, as the slow throb of the cello blended with Danella's sultry vocals.

More CD packages were given away, and then it was time. The lights dimmed and the audience radiated anticipation.
Her white, upraised arm heralding the crash of guitar and drums, Sue's voice cut a path of pure light through the smokey haze. With the band creating a seamless swath of rhythm and melody behind her, she claimed the stage, pushing its limits, reaching out to the audience as if to draw them into the circle of magic that she and the band were creating.

They played all of the new album, from the meditative Too Deep, which is a excellent vehicle for Sue's voice to the impossible-not-to-dance-to title track, which has been on repeat in my CD player lately. During Mahakala, a haunting song, Jim wrung sounds from his guitar that wash over the crowd like an otherworldy visitation. After a short break, Rhea's Obsession returned to play material from their first album, beginning with my favorite song, Waves. How this band has grown in the past couple of years! It is evident that their confidence and presence have grown as a result of their steady touring schedule. We weren't wrong, those of us who flocked to their early shows and raved about them to anyone who would listen.

I had always wondered why people didn't dance more at Rhea's Obsession shows. No such reticence is evident tonight. The floor is soon filled with swaying bodies undulating to the enchanting melodies. All impatience forgotten now, we dance in thankfulness and joy. We have been compelled by the goddess.

Band Line Up:
Sue Hutton - All vocals, percussion, guitar
Jim Field - Guitars, basses, programming and additional percussion

Band Contact Info:
Website: http://www.spiderrecords.com/rheas/
Smail: P.O. Box 67575 576 Dundas Street West, Toronto Ontario, Canada, M5T  3B8

Label Contact Info:
Website: http://www.metropolis-records.com/
Email: label@metropolis-records.com
Smail: P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105

An interview with Tom Shear of Assemblage 23
~by Wolf

There's a new rising star on the industrial horizon, under the name of Assemblage 23. After a most remarkable debut on Gashed!, A23's first album Contempt is now out in Europe on Accession Records as well. A wonderful and effective mix of harsh industrial and melodious trance-like melodies can be considered A23's trademark, with exceptional vocals and lyrics to boot. Since it most likely won't be long before everyone's talking about A23, Starvox decided to ask Tom Shear, A23's talented brainchild, a few questions to find out who is behind one of the most promising releases of the year. Your resident graver reports:

Could you tell us a little about how you initially got into making music and how this eventually led to the creation of Assemblage 23? Where did you come up with the name?

A23:I've always had an interest in electronic music even from a very early age. So it was only natural I think that I ended up making it one day. A2 just kind of came out of my interest and love for electroindustrial type music. As for the name... it's just a name... no real significance, just a label for what I do.

Your debut album Contempt has been out in the US (on Gashed) for a few months now and was released in Europe (on Accession) in April. It has been raking in nothing but glowing reviews, with seemingly no end to the praise. I would assume this all amounts to quite an overwhelming feeling? How has it measured up to your expectations?

A23:There have been some people who didn't care for it much, but overall I have been really astonished by the response. I never would've expected it to be received as well as it has so far. I think it goes without saying that I am glad it has been, though!

Contempt was mastered at Ascent Labs with the help of Ed Vargo (THD). How did you meet up with him and what was it like to work with such an experienced artist?

A23:My friend David had written to Ed quite a long time ago and found out that Ed lived in PA. not too far from where I was living at the time. He suggested I drop Ed a line and send him a tape, and that's sort of how Ed and I met. Aside from the fact that I just like hanging out with Ed, I've learned a tremendous amount from him just from peeping over his shoulder. He's very patient, too

The sound of Contempt is a succesful showcase of melodious and danceable industrial/ebm. Do you strive to achieve this particular sound or is it simply where your talents and equipment take you?

A23:It's pretty much just whatever comes out. I mean, I think that's why you have a song like "7 Days" on the same album as a song like "Purgatory"... obviously both different styles. I guess the only criterea is that it's music I would enjoy listening to.

Speaking of equipment, what does your array of synths and samplers consist of?

A23:There was no array, unfortunately. "Contempt" was done entirely on an old Ensoniq EPS-16+ sampler and that's it. I've since upgraded my studio quite a bit though, so I feel less restricted than I once did.

Your vocals are, especially in comparison to many other bands in this genre, very distinct and professional. Do you put a lot of effort into them?

A23:I try to. I think vocals tend to be the weak link in a lot of industrial music, so I wanted to spend some time on the vocals to hopefully make them a little more polished. I still have a ways to go, but I've certainly made an improvement over my singing on some of the real early stuff.

Has anyone ever told you that you sound a little like Jean-Luc DeMeyer of Front 242? :)

A23:Haha... well, I've heard all sorts of comparisons... that's certainly a very flattering one though, I think DeMeyer has one of the coolest voices in the scene.

Who are your inspirations, both within and outside of the industrial genre?

A23:Stuff like Depeche and Yazoo got me interested in the style of music, but there have been a lot of inspirations as time went on. Not to skip back to DeMeyer again, but I am still really amazed at how well-structured and detailed Front 242's stuff was. Outside of the genre, I'd say one of my favorites is definitely Bjork... that voice is incredible!

Where do you see Assemblage 23 several years down the line and what are your ambitions as far as music is concerned?

A23:Older, fatter, and balder probably. heh. I don't know where I'll be down the road, and I don't really try to predict such things. I hope I can reach a wider audience and turn more people on to A23, but that's about it. I don't have any delusions that I am going to be able to quit my day job and do music for a living. (Although that would be wonderful.)

How have your experiences with both Gashed and Accession been so far?

A23:Great on both counts. Adrian and Eric are both utmost professionals and its a pleasure to work with people who take what they do seriously and work hard at it. There's too many crooks out there running labels.

Earlier this year you headlined 2 live shows which were supposed to be supports for the haujobb tour. How did you experience these live shows and do you have any plans for touring the US in the near future?

A23:Those shows actually went phenomenally well. I was worried because this was early in the tour so most people didn't know that Haujobb wasn't playing yet, so I had envisioned all of these horrifying scenarios where we'd hit the stage and be pelted with bottles because we weren't Haujobb. But to my surprise, people really made the best of it and enjoyed the show anyway. We actually got the best reactions we've ever gotten. As far as tour plans, nothing right now... some shows here and there later in the year mostly, towards fall. And one show in Cleveland on June 3rd with Fleshfield and Dubok.

Aside from touring, what does Assemblage 23 have in store for us in the future? Will Contempt possibly receive the ever-popular remix treatment?

A23:Fleshfield is doing a remix of "Purgatory", Aghast View did a remix of "Surface", Railgun is remixing "Skyquake". and there are some others out there, but I have no plans to release a remix album for them, they'll more likely than not be on comps, etc. I think its silly to release a remix album with only one album under your belt. These things are more appropriate after you have a number of albums to choose from and there is more of a demand for it.

In closing, could you please tell me where the sample "I believe I've spend enough time in the company of death" in your song Anthem comes from? I can't remember and it's driving me crazy! :)

A23:The Lost World, that Jurassic Park sequel.

On behalf of Starvox I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Congratulations on your excellent debut and the best of luck for all your future endeavors. If there's anything you'd like to add, now's your chance.

A23: Thanks so much for the interview! And thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of A23!

Babylonian Tiles Interview
~interview by Matthew

Truly one of the most unique dark music bands out there, integrating the  surreal soundscapes of 60's psychedelia and vintage goth rock.  I shared a few words with the band's leading lady Bryna, discussing the band's influences, recording techniques, and the parallels between the psychedelic and gothic cultures.

STARVOX: Your sound is very fresh and unique within the dark music underground. What inspired your music to take the direction it has, and what initially caused such interesting infusions into Babylonian Tiles?

BRYNA:  We incorporate a variety of musical elements into our sound. Everything from Psychedelia/Prog and Space Rock to old-school Goth, with  many things in between. We really like to play with Middle Eastern motifs and rhythm changes, while letting melodies interplay between the vocal, guitar and keyboard parts. Of course, each band member brings their own unique musical perspective and background to the arrangements, but we're especially influenced by '60s psychedelia. Our music just naturally develops into a dark hallucinogenic trip. People always assume we do lots of acid.

STARVOX:  Well, unfortunately, many are of the opinion that in order to fully enjoy or understand ‘psychedelic’ music that you must be under the influence of hallucinogens or some form or narcotics.  What would you say to these people?

BRYNA:  I think it would be very arrogant to decide that another person "must do" in order to fully appreciate the music. There are many different levels on which to enjoy and understand something, and certainly many different ways to achieve a certain mental state. I do think that, generally speaking, there is a certain sensibility, or mindset, that is shared by people who are heavily into psychedelic music. And many of these people definitely have used hallucinogenic substances on the way to obtaining that,  but that doesn't mean that a person can't get there through other means, and I believe there are some people who are already there naturally.

STARVOX: Like myself!  <laughing> I see frightening colours and such as it is without the habitual use of narcotics, so I have always felt that mind expansion is very possible without the use of drugs.  It’s the same with Techno/Rave music.  You either understand it and appreciate it, or you don’t.

STARVOX:  I noticed that you guys record very much in the same vein as classic bands, such as The Doors for example, where certain instruments and voices are panned completely to the left and right. Do you also use vintage instruments and other recording techniques to convey a 60's style?

BRYNA:   We definitely feel it's important to record with an engineer who understands the '60s psychedelic vibe and sensibility that are the center of our music. We had a lot of fun recording our newest CD, 'Teknicolour Aftermath', If you listen carefully, you'll hear weird sounds and effects coming and going in the background, small passages that intentionally go out of phase, and creative panning, which all works to give the feel that parts of the music are physically moving from one place to another.  As for equipment, our guitarist Tim plays through vintage Hiwatt gear, and I gravitate towards that 'organ with Leslie' keyboard sound, which my old, analog keyboard captures pretty well.

STARVOX:  Psychedelia is often confused with what people nowadays think of as 60's rock or classic rock. How would you differentiate between the two?

BRYNA: Many people, when they think of psychedelia, they're often thinking of that whole 'love and beads' thing, or what I call 'hippie rock'. Much of the familiar '60s music you hear on classic rock radio I consider to be 'hippie rock'. There were definitely certain elements that were common to psychedelia and other rock music of the '60s and some of the psychedelic themes made their way into the more mainstream music of the time. But that often happens, where things created in an underground movement eventually surface in the mainstream. Psychedelia was and is about mind expansion, and musically speaking, that manifested itself both lyrically and musically, pushing boundaries and creating a mood of introspection and spiritual travel. Despite the 'love and beads' association, much of the great psychedelic music actually had a definite darkness and moodiness to it. You can hear that listening to albums like The Pretty Things' "SF Sorrow" or the Ultimate Spinach tune, "Ballad Of The Hip Death Goddess". That's why, for Babylonian Tiles, bringing our psychedelic roots together with our old-school Goth influences were a natural occurrence.

STARVOX: Do you think that the moods of claustrophobia and unrest in psychedelia is what could appeal to Goths?

Bryna:  I don't really find psychedelic music to have a mood of claustrophobia, for the most part. I do think that much of the better psychedelic and acid-inspired music wasn't afraid to deal with dark themes,  and often even embraced the darkness. For that reason I think that manyGoths would find that genre of psychedelic music appealing.

STARVOX: In some ways, do you think this mood might more accurately capture the mania and opium drenched visions of Gothic writers such as Coleridge, Poe, or Shelley more so than the average run-of-the-mill Sisters influenced Gothic rock band?

BRYNA: Although I'm sure much psychedelic and darkwave/gothic music has been created by avid enthusiasts of Poe and the others, I don't know that you could say that any modern music accurately captures the visions of those  writers as they were from a totally different time. Some of today's music might capture our interpretations and reactions to their writings, but at  the same time the music would actually be quite alien to the writers  themselves. Certain moods and feelings might be timeless, but the style and way in which an artist expresses those same feelings can change dramatically according to one's time and place.

STARVOX: That’s an interesting point…I always thought that if those artists WERE alive today, or were suddenly reincarnated and were exposed to darker underground music, they would adore it.

STARVOX: So Babylonian Tiles has a new CD out entitled “Teknicolour Aftermath” through a new label called Pangea.  The CD has a few new tracks, but mostly reworkings of earlier material.  Any reasoning behind that?

BRYNA: When Pangea signed us they felt that our previous releases contained a lot of great songs that never got the push and exposure they deserved. They wanted us to record some new material, while also getting our earlier music out to a greater audience. Although some years have passed since
 making our first two CDs, we felt that some of those original recordings still remained the definitive versions of those particular songs. Those songs appear on the new CD, but have been re-mastered to sound even better. With some of the other tunes, our approach and attitude in how we play them has evolved over time, so we decided to re-record them for the new CD, along with the new material. The new recordings definitely capture more of our live feel that we have nowadays.

STARVOX: You have been dubbed the ‘Hip Death Goddess’ and I assume that comes from the psychedelic song you had mentioned earlier.  So how did you yourself earn such a flattering and unique name?

BRYNA: The song is "Ballad Of The Hip Death Goddess", originally recorded by Ultimate Spinach, and is an example of the '60s darker psychedelia. Some years ago, we were working with our friend, photographer Edward Colver.  He shot the photos on the early Christian Death album covers, along with so many other well known photos of the early L.A. Punk and Goth scene.  He did our last CD cover, as well as the new one.  Anyway, Edward, who has a huge collection of psychedelia, pulled out a record and told us that he thought this song would be perfect for us to cover. It was 'Ballad Of The Hip Death Goddess" We ended up recording it for a compilation CD and added it to our live set. The song's writer, Ian Bruce-Douglas, really loved our version as well as our original material, and felt that I was the embodiment of his vision of the Hip Death Goddess. Of course, I was extremely flattered and have been known by that name ever since. Ian has since been kind enough to write the liner notes for "Teknicolour Aftermath"

STARVOX: You guys cover the Donovan classic “Season of the Witch” on the new CD. Is that an old fave of the band?

BRYNA: We're all big Donovan fans and "Season Of The Witch" just seemed like a natural for us.

STARVOX: You have also done a few live covers from King Crimson and The Doors if I am not mistaken.  Are any of these ever going to end up on a future releases?

BRYNA: Tim in particularly has been wanting to do a particular Crimson tune for years. I won't say which one as we haven’t actually done it yet, but it could very likely end up on our next album. For a while we were doing The Doors' "Not To Touch The Earth". We're always coming up with ideas for songs we could cover, but we still really enjoy the process of bringing an original song to life.

STARVOX: Which of course, you do so well. How long have you been playing music and what is the extent of your training?

BRYNA: I believe that Tim, Brian and Christian started playing their instruments while in their teens. Although Tim had already been playing and jamming with other musicians for a while, he'd never actually joined a band before Babylonian Tiles. I studied classical piano on and off while growing up, and was always around music, as my mom is a jazz singer, but I never thought of being a band until a friend of mine, who thought I had talent, harassed me mercilessly until I joined my first band as a keyboardist in '82. It wasn't 'til I started Babylonian Tiles that I started singing after we couldn't find a vocalist to fit the bill.

STARVOX: Babylonian Tiles are embarking on a summer tour this year.  Any particular goals or plans set for your stage performance or set list?

BRYNA: Considering how little sleep we'll be getting, just staying awake for the shows will be a start. But seriously, we really enjoy touring and taking our music from place to place. When you hear us live you're going to hear things that aren't on the records. The instrumental sections are always slightly different and nuances change from performance to performance. Our goal is to have the kind of shows where we're really clicking with each other as musicians and the audience is really getting into it and is picking up on that vibe and feeding energy back to us. When that happens we come away from the show with a tremendous feeling. And we love for people to come up and talk to us at the shows, so be sure and introduce yourselves and say hello! We'll be out on tour this May and June.

Our tour schedule is at http://www.babylonian-tiles.com/tour2000.

STARVOX: Thanks Bryna, and good luck on the tour and with the future of Babylonian Tiles!

Babylonian Tiles are:
Bryna Golden (aka, the Hip Death Goddess™)- vocals, keyboards
Tim Thayer - guitar
Brian Schreiber - drums
Christian Ramsey - bass

BABYLONIAN TILES: http://www.babylonian-tiles.com
HEAR BABYLONIAN TILES: http://www.mp3.com/BabylonianTiles
I AM SHE...THE HIP DEATH GODDESS™: http://www.hipdeathgoddess.net
PANGEA MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LLC: http://www.pangeamusic.com

David E. Williams
~interview by Kirin

People who should know better in the music industry have made curious comments about David E. Williams' music, which only serves to illuminate the fact that Mr. Williams is not only
ahead of his time, he's moved into the brilliance of being beyond time entirely.  Remarks like, "It sounds too adult contemporary" are pitiful and laughable when you've actually *heard* the music.  Yes, David E. Williams voice is an incredibly full and mellow baritone. Yes, the music shimmers and winds and twists around the mind in a pleasant way.

However, woven into the beauty and the pleasantry, is a most dispicable humour, and endless lyrical pokes in the eyes with very sharp sticks.  The problem David E. Williams has, is that most people just don't get it.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem to give a shite.  He goes right on doing what he does best;  being David E. Williams.  The following is an interview with him, and if you enjoy it at all, I encourage you to visit his website, and purchase some of his music.  Not only will you be pleasantly surprised, but you can walk 'round knowing that you're listening to music so desperately lovely, that not even the créme de la créme of the apocalyptic folk and ephemeral goth lablels can appreciate it.  Now that's what I call "elite."

K:  The music on Hello Columbus seems to be the most full, sweeping, tender, and melancholy of perhaps ALL of your work.  The lyrics, especially, seem to be more introspective and self-effacing than on the other recordings.  Do the music and lyrics on Hello Columbus reflect a conscious change in the way you approach your music?

DEW:  At the risk of sounding pretentious (granted, that's a risk I'll take a lot during this interview,) I never allow my conscious mind to dictate any artistic or lyrical direction.  Instinct tells me when the words and chord combinations are "just right."  To paraphrase one of my childhood influences, I move about with the self-assurance of a sleepwalker.

K:  Strange as I am, it is the line, "Socks hang from the shower rod like sad white fish" which struck me as being utterly brilliant.  Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when that particular line came to you?

DEW:  I had just come back from the Laundromat. Some of my white socks were still a little damp. I hung them over the shower rod to finish drying.

K:  Your lyrics are so beautifully poetic, it sometimes amazes me that you're gifted with musical talent as well.  Have you ever considered publishing your lyrics in book form?  If not, consider this an "aye" vote, if you ever *do* wonder if anyone would want such a thing!

DEW:  Not to be self-effacing, but I really don't think of my lyrics as poetry. Both underground and aboveground culture are plagued by songwriters and rock stars who think they're fucking T.S. Eliot (there's a good many sawdust Nietzsche's out there, too).  Well, I'm a bit over-educated (ha, ha, ha) to be one of these self-touting egotists.  I know my limitations.

On the other hand, I'm not ashamed to admit that David E. Williams is my favorite song lyricist. That's as it should be.  If someone else could touch me the way I touch myself, well, then what would be the point of writing at all?  Since you ask, though, I ought to mention that a very macabre comic book was created a few years back based on my song "Bad Day Anyway".   My friend Hazel drew it.  It's really swell.  Only one copy of it exists in the world.  Over the years, I've thought about publishing it, perhaps with a CD or 7" insert of the song.

K:  Since the world didn't end on January first, now what?

DEW:  NASDAQ to 10,000!

K:  Have you ever had tarot cards read for you or a palm reading or anything like that?  If so, what did they say?  Did any of it come true?

DEW:  Actually, Hazel, the artist behind the "Bad Day Anyway" comic, used to read my Tarot.  I'm not very mystical myself.

K:  Are you wearing any jewelry right now?  If so, what?

DEW:  Though jewelry is acceptable and in some instances recommended for others, my personal fashion aesthetic is one of austere non-adornment-- no jewelry, tattoos, or decoration of any sort.  A wristwatch is allowed. I would wear a single iron cross if I had ever done anything to earn one.

K:  Do you remember what your first thought was this morning?

DEW:  "I have a hard-on but it's nothing to get excited about because it just means
I have to take a piss."

K:  Have you written any songs or lyrics since "Hello Columbus"?  Is there any chance of us hearing them anytime soon?  (This is a long way of saying, "Are you working on any new recordings?")

DEW:  At this point, I don't have any burning need to spend my own very painstakingly-earned money in a studio recording music that  will be heard by only about 200 of the eight gazillion people in the world. Of course, on the upside, the way technology is going, it will probably soon be very inexpensive for me to make nice-sounding recordings at home. Lavish production at the flick of a lazy finger.  On the downside, I'm not as prolific as I once was. "You wake up spewing out this shit," Jerome used to say.  Still, there are a couple songs:  "Carmina Melanoma" (written for an as-yet unmaterialized duet with Jarboe), "Game Warden" (a song about a guy from the fish and game commission) and "Seizure Dream Believer" (about the perils of kidnapping and fucking epileptic women after you deprive them of their phenol barbitol).

K:  "Not a Gear at All" is probably one of the most overtly sad songs you've ever written.  The line "Not a gear at all, but the blade of a circular saw gone dull" is haunting on a couple of levels.  Will you talk a little bit about what this song means to you, and how you feel about the song at this point in time?

DEW:  It's my version of the "rock 'n' roller growing old" song, you know, like Don Henley or Steely Dan would write, but, uh, hopefully better because I'm the one writing it.  I hope I haven't ruined it for you and for readers of yours who haven't actually heard it yet.

K:  Do you feel that it is possible to lose the capacity to be disappointed?

DEW:  Only in heaven.  Boo hoo hoo.

K:  What music are you listening to regularly these days?  What were your favourite new recordings of the past year?

DEW:  We just saw the Philadelphia Orchestra perform Gorecki's amazing Symphony Number 3 (The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), so I've been playing my CD of that quite a bit.  I bought this CD called EARLY MODULATIONS/ VINTAGE VOLTS, which features early electronic music from pioneers like Gelmetti and Morton Subotnick.  That's really fun! There are parts of the new NINE INCH NAILS album (OK, I can hear all the poseurs shouting "poseur") that are really, really good--sonically awe-inspiring. I don't know if it's genius, great equipment or what, but the power and dynamics of his music are really amazing. Thankfully, they more than make up for the questionable quality of the vocals, lyrics and public image.

K:  Have you read anything recently that excited you?  'Anything you've read in the past year that you'd recommend to someone else?

DEW:  Geek Love is really good, have you read that?

K:  Yes I have.  I have a love/hate relationship with it, and therefore
adore it immensely.

K:  Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?  If so, what are they like?

DEW:  Rockports.  Comfortable, conservative, black.  Old man shoes.  I have a pair of German army surplus jackboots, but I think I look silly in them.

K:  You seem to have a fairly extensive knowledge of history, which is reflected in your lyrics.  Do you educate yourself on these things, or did you actually learn something from the American education system?  (Assuming you were born and raised in America.  Were you?)

DEW:  Unfortunately, David E. Williams is one great European bard who has never set foot outside the United States. The core of my literary background comes from studying English and American literature at Penn State. Most of what I know about history-alright, let's be honest about it: WORLD WAR II!-was learned at
home on my own.  Off and on, I've read books about the subject from age 5 (literally) when my parents bought a set of encyclopedias and chance decreed that I initially open the letter "H".

K:  Do you believe in anything or things?  If so, what, and if not, then I guess we'd have to say you believe that you don't believe in anything, and then we have a whole new problem, don't we?

DEW:  I've always thought of myself as an absurdist. I hated philosophy from a very early age and was thus drawn to absurdist writers like Ionesco.  His plays had people turning into Rhinoceroses and corpses growing to 20 feet long, crowding the living from their houses.  None of it seemed metaphorically too
distant from the world outside my window and just a little bit down the street.  It was only somewhat later that I reconciled existential despair with a Spenglerian  cultural despair-the sense that I was part of a culture and civilization that would soon be extinct.  This impending cultural extinction made the absurdity of my own inevitable death even more insignificant.

K:  Do you still have plenty of those rockin' "Triumph of the Williams" clear red vinyl 7"s left?  God that's a cool looking little record.  Everyone should have one! Well, okay, not EVERYONE.  Somehow I can't see the current presidential candidates enjoying them at all.

DEW: Yup. There's a bunch of them left.

K:  Speaking of the presidential race, how do you feel, personally, about the practise of scatalogical consumption?

DEW:  Is that some kind of a pickup line?

K:  'Depends on what you ate yesterday.

K:  Are you now, or were you ever a member of the Communist Party?  (Do you think I sounded appropriately senatorial when I said that?)  In all seriousness though, have you ever been to Highgate Cemetary in London?  Isn't that where Karl Marx is buried?

DEW:  Did you ever read that book SS-GB by Len Deighton?  Germany has conquered England and still maintains their non-aggression pact with Soviet Russia. Marx's body is to be ceremonially exhumed from the London cemetery and returned to Germany with a Nazi and Communist honor guard.  Somehow, though, terrorists have put a bomb in the coffin and it explodes.  That's not what the whole book is about, but somehow that part sticks in my head from when I read it 18-19 years ago.

K:  No, I've never read the book.  I do entertain fantasies of Marx and Hitler Pez dispensers though.

K:  Do you collect anything?  If so, what?

DEW:  David E. Williams CD's.  I've got, like, hundreds of them in my closet. Actually, I collect what everyone expects I collect.  For all of you historical obscurists, the latest and most popular addition is an autographed photo of Lida Baarova.

K:  Will you recount a happy memory from your childhood?

DEW:  Eating hamburgers at my maternal grandmother's house.  They were always tastier than my mother's hamburgers.  They were flat, like you would get in restaurants.  My mother's were big and thick and we thought that made them inferior.  Of course, these days, the thicker the hamburger, the happier people are. Me included.

K:  Is there anything YOU want to ask ME?

DEW:  Do you like hamburgers?

K:  I've never eaten a Hamburger, but I suppose one human being tastes about the same as the next.  Har har har.

K:  Okay, well, hopefully answering these questions has been at least amusing for you.  Thanks for taking the time, and for making the effort to get your music and your talent into the world.  It means a lot to some of us, who are twisted enough to be moved
by it, and who turn to it for solace, inspiration and perverse delight.  Think about that book of lyrics, will you?  Seriously, your lyrics with some of those hideous and lovely little drawings you do, would be a thing to behold.  Anyway.  Thanks again, so much, for your music.  Oh, and  this is the point where you add any last words if you want to!

DEW:  Edward Gorey, we'll miss ye.

websites of interest:
The Official David E. Williams site:
Geek Love:
Eugene Ionesco:
Len Deighton:
Women of the Third Reich:
Edward Gorey:

Interview with George Petros 267
by Aaron Garland
March 2000

If you've ever been lucky enough to come across a graphic or written word from George Petros, chances are you won't soon forget it, even if you didn't know what to quite make of it. For those not old enough to have heard of Charlie Manson before Marilyn Manson or who simply weren't paying attention, Mr. Petros was the driving force behind Exit Magazine, an oversize pulp where irreconcilable and often inconceivable worlds collided with unflinching intensity. A peculiar mixture of art, science and the taboo were the meat-and-potatoes of this seminal mag which has yet to be equaled. After Exit's demise, Petros continued with Seconds, an all-interview magazine which has the appearance of Spin or Rolling Stone, but with a penchant for the kind of content that neither of those rags would ever dream of touching. Once again, Petros manages to collide, or should I say, synthesize the best of both worlds with his current printed medium. The same can be said of the responses he gave here, as you shall see dear reader.

1. I've heard rumors that the final issue of Seconds is soon approaching. Is this true and if so, why?

Not true.

2. How many copies are printed of each issue? How many for the Exit series you did back in the eighties?

re: Seconds - my contract forbids talking numbers. re: Exit - 2000 of issues 1, 2 & 3; 3000 of 4 & 5. We burned 1000 copies of #1 as a salute to capitalistic indulgence and imperfect printing.

3. I think Seconds is clever in the way that it packs in a lot of outré subject matter while maintaining an innocuous and slick appearance. (Could you)comment?

Well, Seconds is happily mainstream. Within that context, however, we navigate among the extremes whenever possible. My wonderful writers bring Seconds to the edge. First and foremost we like threats to the status quo. But we look for beauty as well as brawn and brains.

4. Do you think you've been able to get information across through the 'art of the interview' that would have been too "hot" for the more direct, graphic presentation of Exit?

Both formats - graphic and interview - can be effective in their own way. Graphics immediately evoke archetypes and universals and all that sort of stuff and therefore get right into people's heads. Ideas presented in interviews carry the validation of a celebrity and can be ruminated by the reader. Additionally, Seconds and Exit each faced fundamentally different censorship hurdles, so it's impossible to compare the relative impact of their contents. Seconds is way bigger and draws on a wider variety of subjects. And the concept of something being too hot does not compute. All information is equal.

5. The 'History of Astronomy' timeline you did for Exit Issue 3 and the cover for #3 were my all-time favorites. What inspired these pieces?

Thanks - those are among my favorites too. I've always been deeply interested in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology, along with their attendant mathematics, and of course I liked space-related science fiction. The night sky, which is our most immediate window on the universe, has always fascinated me. It is at once familiar and foreboding.

The iconography of that sky - star charts, zodiacal symbols, deep-space photography, spectral charts, space art and so on - seems immutable and permanent. Altering it might alter physical reality itself. So let's alter it. And I like the night sky's psychic black-light show and its palpable rain of sub-atomic particles and its perceivable electromagnetism. So, why not update what's in people's minds? The first piece of altered space art I ever saw was Cal Schenkel's cover for Frank Zappa's album, "One Size Fits All." It was a star chart with new constellations constructed from elements of Zappa's lyrical content. In many ways it was a parody but to me it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen. From my first sighting of that I strove to embrace the majesty of the sky while unhinging the complacent ones down here on Earth. And don't forget my piece "Varieties Of Heavenly Armaments" in which firearms constitute the constellations. Space represents both the future and the past, but except for a few satellites and the occasional Shuttle launching it has little to do with the present. Perhaps this impression is best verified by the fact that the stars we see are made of light that's millions of years old. And in better days we were promised a Space Age; it didn't happen. What we got was a showcase of everything that's wrong with the human spirit. Who in their right mind would not want to proceed full steam ahead into that which is not presently understood?

6. Some of your other juxtapositions from that time seem to have a scientific aesthetic flowing through them. How did this approach come about?

The scientific method and its anti-matter opposite, religion, inform everything in our civilization. All our art shows signs of the creative process (either science or religion) just like it shows signs of the formative process (brushstrokes, smudges, non-repro blue lines beneath black ink, pixelation et cetera). At this point in history most artists are still tuned in to religion for their inspiration (or are reacting against it). Few of them understand the world scientifically. Woe unto those whose minds harbor baggage of former tribulation! Like the title of the second Strawberry Alarm Clock album says: "Wake Up, It's Tomorrow."

7. I've noticed that some people into music and the arts are intimidated by science. Do you think this made the pieces that much more threatening?

Definitely. Many - but not all - artists are artists because they weren't smart enough to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists. Science is voodoo to most people. They cannot resist it; they cannot pray for it to go away. Knowledge is the last thing they want; they want wisdom instead. Processing information objectively doesn't fit in with the artistic lifestyle. Anyway, most so-called artists drink too much to understand how science could help them.

8. How accurate is the phrase "we are technologically advanced but culturally bankrupt" at this stage of civilization?

Aaron, I hope that's not one of your originals, because I'm tempted to say that phrase's originator is very misinformed. Culturally we are quite sophisticated. There's a nascent environmental and libertarian consciousness brewing. There are people concerned about human rights, animal rights, labor issues, children, space travel, better cities and so on. There are people fighting religion's stranglehold. There are people who care about each other who have the resources to affect change. Our current technology wouldn't exist without some compassion. Smart is finally cool. The days of military necessity propelling all progress are over with. We stand on the brink of universal enlightenment. Of course as I write this particular answer here on Friday night I'm tripping on Psilocibin (Magic Mushrooms) so the world seems kinda cool. Tomorrow I might smoke some Base and feel differently, although I doubt it. Our culture is improving - this interview and its venue are a testament to that! Besides, what is a "rich" culture? Primitive tribes proud of their environmental parasitism? Ancient civilizations that have been static since who-knows-when? Amalgamations of former slaves whose indignation serves as identity? Self-proclaimed Liberals living off the fumes of Western Civilization? We're it - we're the top of the heap to date.

9. Much of your earlier work transcended the dualities of right and left politics, science and art, and ultimately the underground and the establishment on various levels. What's the fallacy of dualistic thinking?

Right and Left and other polarities are designed for people most comfortable in herds, like sheep and cattle. Promulgation of such opposites is conducted in the same way that sports fans are manipulated and worked up. This is not the result of any conspiracy; it's simply a bunch of like-minded individuals promoting their own. Everything accepted on the one side automatically must be denied by the other. It's just so stupid to consider oneself on any "side" of an issue. The fallacy of dualistic thinking is that only half (at best) of the story is understood, there's always something to be "against," and it creates constant competition where consensus is required.

10. You've applied the term 'Propagandart' to your material but it seems you succeeded more in confusing those who would attempt to fit what you do into a specific agenda. How is that term relevant to your work overall?

Of course I never cared about the placement of my work in any continuum because my work stands alone ideologically. Anyone confused by that must be quite an amateur critic. The propaganda in Propagandart is directing viewers to me and not any -ism, movement or cause. I have only one agenda: The success of our species (which means our happiness et cetera) and harmonious living for all forms of life.

11. What resources or areas of research would you recommend for those who are drawn to your work?

Frank Zappa. William Blake. Cosmology. Time travel. The history of American foreign policy. Greek science and how it differed from what preceded it. The history of illustration. Go vegan. Get deeply into Marijuana. Take some Acid. Master the use of Heroin as an aphrodisiac. Study all sorts of engineering. Railroad history. Get good at chess. Never kill anything except other human beings when necessary. Listen to Easy Listening versions of pop hits. Minimalism. Americana. Trip-hop. Drum & Bass. Learn how to cry when you're impressed. Practice your psychic skills. Forget about rock (except Pyschedelia). Understand everything and how everything's connected. Become bisexual and ambidextrous. No headaches; never get bored, never get tired. Never take advantage of anyone. Respect all life. Feed stray animals and birds. Be a good lover.

12. You mentioned in a previous interview that you spent much time in school before starting Exit. What are your thoughts on the current educational system?

Here's a poem I once wrote:
"I owe my drawing talents to this great school system of ours / I used to draw to pass the endless hours -"

There's 3 R's so far. How about three more - finance, medicine and law?

13. As I understand, you also have no use for nihilists. What's wrong with them?

At whatever point in history they might have gained power, from then on the world would have been shrouded in pessimism. Things are bad enough! Besides, there's a cool meaning to life. They're wrong.

14. What's the most interesting interview you've ever done? Do you have a favorite piece from your days with Exit?

re: Seconds (my own most interesting interviews) - John Serrie, composer of music for planetariums; Cap't. Robert "Hoot" Gibson, USN, head Space Shuttle pilot who plays in a rock band along with other astronauts; Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, the radio astronomer who makes music out of heavenly static; Harlan Ellison, sci-fi writer; J. G. Ballard, sci-fi writer; Allen Ginsberg, poet; Ed Sanders, poet, journalist and former Fug; John McLaughlin, fusion guitarist; and DJ Spooky, master of an as-yet-unnamed genre.

re: Exit - of my own stuff my favorites are the aforementioned astronomical pieces as well as "Creating & Destroying" and "Nazion #3." Of other people's stuff, my favorites are everything by Kim Seltzer, Adam Parfrey's adaptation of Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and "The Book Of Charlie," Joe Coleman's "The Dance Of Death," David Paul's "New Animals," Robert N. Taylor's "The Swastika: Sacred And Profane," Byron Werner's adaptation of Lovecraft's "The Tomb," and A. C. Samish's "Railway Problems."

15. What are your plans for the future?

Another Exit-like magazine, to be called 3579. Forging onward with Seconds. Writing a novel. Sexual deviancy.

16. Final comments?

Effort is not enough; success must be inevitable. You are what you fuck. When the gods want to punish us they answer our prayers. Peace!