Thursday, December 30, 2010
This year has been a rough one!! I have been wracking my brain for some salacious story about Tommy Lee or Bret Michaels, but sadly I don't have one. I *do* have a slight girly crush on C.C. DeVille, who in my opinion is like a life-size Muppet. His voice alone endears me to him, as he sort of sounds like Harvey Fierstein on helium. I just adore him. Yeah, I get how sad that is…
I think back to those "hair band" days of yore, when Poison was
constantly playing at Gazzarri's or the Whiskey. When boys and girls donned spandex and makeup and stood in line for hours to hear Bret Michaels warble. Poor sad Synde, the lone black-wearing freak standing in a sea of fuchsia and teal spandex. I completely stuck out like a sore thumb. The benefit? I sure got the bands attention, even if I didn't mean to. OH, NO. NOT ME, NEVER EVER... Still, on that fateful night a roadie brought me a note "C.C. would like you to join him
backstage." OMG, FOR SERIOUS???? Poor dear Muppet was going to get the
shock of his life.
I ventured backstage through a sea of boobs and hair to get to the
holy grail of cocaine. The rocks were so huge, I needed mountaineering
shoes to scale the room—OH, heaven. When I entered the room, it was as
if a priest had come in! Every single person in the room turned and
looked at me… OH, shit! This was bad. C.C. sauntered up (his hair
taller than me) and started to put the moves on me. OH, HELL NO!
I politely declined by saying that I would break him in two if he
touched me again. He was oddly flummoxed…and intrigued.
So, yes, this much is true: we sat and talked. Various topics crossed
our wordy paths. Our little C.C. is not as dumb as he pretends to
be!!! We talked hair, horror movies and horticulture.(uh-huh) and fave
music. We consumed refreshments and engaged in witty banter—
Synde: "C.C., you're a douche."
C.C.: "Yes, yes I am."
I left a few hours later with my virginity intact, if indeed there was
actually any to begin with, heh... So thus my love of C.C. was born,
as I write this I an hear his crackly voice in my head... Oh, C.C.,
tawk dirty to me.
Now tell me who would you like to talk dirty to you?
Monday, December 13, 2010
I am taking a moment to pimp my favorite Zombie Bitch, Amanda Feral. Amanda has a a debut novella Stocking full of Coal coming out on Thursday Dec 6th, at Elloras Cave.. you can get it here..
There are a couple of reasons I am pimping this e-book..Honestly, the bitch scares me! I have however read her book and it is absolutely awesome. Make no mistake about it, it is definitely erotica, not PR or UF ..However it's Amanda at her best, weaving a story of bruise fetishists. It's disturbing and hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing. I know you will all enjoy it. Yep you too...(you know the one in the corner saying they don't read erotica...yeah...riiighttt.)
you can find more out about Amanda Feral here...http://feralsmut.
and find out what our fav blogger Wicked Lil Pixie has to say too... here..
ok back to work for me....
Monday, December 6, 2010
I finally pinned down one of my favorite people, Paul Goat Allen. This man is a myriad of talents;
writer, poet, dad, husband, reviewer, and esotericist. I really can't say enough interesting things about him, so hell let's just let him surprise us all..
Welcome Paul...lets just jump right in, maybe that way I can throw you off guard and get you too tell us the “good” stuff...heh heh.
S- Tell us a little bit about yourself...
P- I’ve published one novel – Burning Sticks (1991) – and self-published two collections of poetry. I sold almost 5,000 copies of the last collection, Old Winding Way (1992), by myself out of the back of my truck in large part by doing poetry readings anywhere and everywhere – and that included being the opening act to heavy metal and rock bands in bars all around Central New York. Opening up for a Metallica tribute band in a bar full of raucous drunks was arguably one of the craziest – and coolest – things I’ve ever done. And they loved me, especially the poem “Owls in the Night” – I always closed with that one, screaming it at the top of my lungs…
And, as you know, I’m a fulltime book reviewer now. specializing in genre fiction. I’ve written more than 6,000 book reviews, mostly for BarnesandNoble.com, PW, BookPage magazine and the Chicago Tribune. Most people, I guess, know me from BarnesandNoble.com.
S- Okay, how about something most people don’t know about you?
P – Where do I start? How about I just start reeling stuff off…
• While attending a conservative Christian college, New York State troopers stormed my dorm, arrested me (for possession of stolen property) and dragged me out in handcuffs. Waiting in the barracks to be booked, the troopers shared with me close-up pictures of bruised sheep and cow genitalia. Evidently, a local man had been recently arrested for fornicating with farm animals and they had to take pictures of the crime.
• I once pulled a foot-long tapeworm out of a cat’s asshole.
• I’ve cooked and eaten meat out of an old hubcap while in the middle of the woods.
• I’m obsessed with the number 13.
• I touched Ozzy Osbourne when he played Rochester, New York in the early ‘80s. It was general admission and me and two buddies pushed our way to the front. One friend, Bob, was a big muscled guy so no one messed with him but my other friend Dan, was short and not that intimidating – he ended up getting crushed against the wall and pulled out by security when he began to panic. It was priceless!
• I enjoy growing a Rasputinesque beard during the winter – and spring – and sometimes fall.!!
S-that explains everything...I am obsessed with Rasputin..seriously....
P-Me too. When my wife got pregnant a few years back, I wanted to name the kid Rasputin if it was a boy. But we had a girl and I couldn't get my wife on board with Rasputina …
Any way, education-wise, I think the most influential event in my prepubescent life was finding a box full of Playboys while walking to school in fifth grade (back in ’75 when women were women).
• My family members all seem to die in the month of February.
• Whenever my father injures himself – hammer to thumb, head on kitchen sink, etc. – his swear word of choice is “cock-locker.” After four decades of hearing this, I still don’t know what a cock-locker is…
• I used to drive around with a mannequin in the passenger seat of my truck. (I still have the mannequin – and we remain good friends.)>>
S-me to! So I could drive in car pool lanes..I also drove with my cat Yama, and told policemen he was a person..they wouldn't argue..Shades of Tounces maybe?
P- I’m a Leo.
• Growing up, my sports heroes were O.J. Simpson and Pete Rose. Go figure.
• I love BarnesandNoble.com.
• My favorite movie line: “Damn you all to Hell!”
S- mine is “yippie kay yay motherfucker.”. I blame Stacia Kane for that.
• After managing bookstores for eight years, I hate Christmas.
S-dude...any holiday! Except Halloween, that hasn't been killed.....yet
P-I have a twisted sense of humor and a twisted sense of honor.
S-like the fey maybe..are you a Sidhe Paul???
P- Not that I know of but I do enjoy sleeping under mounds….
• My poetry has been described as Robert Frost and Jim Morrison with a pinch of Aleister Crowley.
• I broke an indoor college sprinting record in large part because of an overabundance of Icy Hot in my jockstrap.
• I love genre fiction – it’s my life, or at least my career.
• Roxy Music’s debut album, a bottle of absinthe and a Snickers bar.>>
S- I better be there for that!! I will bring the real deal.. I know someone who brews it.. heh...you can provide the snickers bar...
P- I would like to publish another poetry collection in the future but every literary agent that I query writes back, “Poetry doesn’t sell.” You could’ve fooled me….
S-. Where did the '"Goat" in Paul Goat Allen come from?
P-Honestly, I can’t remember exactly where the nickname originated. I started going through puberty before my friends and I do recall them calling me Goatee in elementary school. It’s not like I had a caveman beard or anything – my chin resembled Charlie Brown’s three head hairs – and Goatee was eventually shortened to Goat. Before that I was Sticks because I was so tall and thin.
I was a pretty introverted kid – I read a lot – and there were a few years in my early teens, ninth grade to be exact, where my life just sucked. I had a plague of zits on my face, a trio of sadistic bullies made my life a living hell at school, my father lost his job, one of my sisters ran away... it was chaos. I felt so alone, so helpless, so persecuted from all sides… after a half-hearted suicide attempt, I started looking for existential and spiritual enlightenment in the pages of a wild diversity of books: The Bible, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, The Tao Te Ching, LaVey’s The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Witch, Castaneda’s The Power of Silence…. stuff like that. I read everything.
I still remember finding the goat symbolism in The Bible fitting somehow. I felt like the world’s scapegoat. One verse in particular stuck with me – Leviticus 16:22: “The goat will take all their sins away…”
I contemplated becoming a priest back then – even filled out the seminary application to Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg – but by then my life had begun to change once again. I grew taller and gained 30 or 40 pounds of muscle, the bullies faded away, my father got a job… I started to begin to understand who I really was, who I would some day be. When I started dating the girl’s track captain (I was the boy’s track captain) and finally lost my virginity at 17, the idea of becoming a priest was out of the question. Dare I say laughable…
Any way, to make a long story short, I ended up going to a strict Wesleyan college on a partial track scholarship – the only Catholic on a campus filled with disciple-obsessed Protestants – and I literally became my nickname. I was the proverbial outsider, the loner, the pariah, but I embraced it – I grew my hair long, let my beard grow out, experienced with hallucinogenic drugs, questioned everything and everyone, got arrested, got inked, etc.
After graduating with a double major in Creative Writing and English Lit, I shopped around a novella that I had written in college called Burning Sticks, about a kid who loses his mind after his friend dies and ends up living in the woods behind a mall eating out of dumpsters. A small publishing company in Seneca Falls wanted to publish it and when asked what name I wanted to use, I decided to go with Paul Goat Allen. There were thousands of Paul Allens in the world – there was even another Paul Allen in my high school – and I figured using my nickname would make the name a little more memorable.
I had self-published two collections of poetry under the name Paul Goat Allen by that point, so it was irreversible.
S- How did you get started writing book reviews?
P-After failing to make a living selling my poetry, I landed a job managing bookstores (Waldenbooks), which I loved and ended up doing that for eight years. When Waldenbooks was sold to Borders, the culture changed overnight and suddenly “book people” weren’t as important as retail lackies who could sell the damned Preferred Reader card. I quit and, a few months later, a friend of mine who had worked for the Waldenbooks main office in Stamford, Connecticut, and who had gotten a job working at the B&N headquarters in Manhattan, called me and told me that B&N was looking for an editor for their new Explorations science fiction/fantasy newsletter. Although I had read a ton of SF and fantasy, I had never written genre fiction reviews before and I didn’t seriously think that I would ever get the job but I went down to NYC and interviewed, and I got the job. Miracles never cease.
I knew right away that this was my “dream job” and I was single at the time so I just immersed myself in books. I averaged almost a book review a day for the first four or five years. I was a book reviewing machine. After I got married and my wife had our two kids, my productivity went down a little but it’s been almost two decades and I’m still reading and writing reviews for BarnesandNoble.com like a madman.
S- Do you write?
P-I try to write creatively. It’s hard with my schedule. I play Mr. Mom during the day when my wife works and read/work at night so there is not a lot of free time to write creatively. That said, I have an unfinished novel, a few potentially great short fantasy stories and a bunch of finished poems in the bag.
S-What books influenced you as a child?
Moorcock’s Elric saga, Tolkien’s LOTR, Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy, and most definitely Harlan Ellison’s landmark anthologies Dangerous, Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions.
S-wow! Elric and Earthsea certainly had a influence on me...Ellison too, although I declined sleeping with him...so yeah .
P-I shut him down too….….
S- What are you listening to right now?
P-“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star.
S- Fav music genre?
P-I listen to everything – heavy metal, blues, disco, adult contemporary, reggae, country, classic... the only category I can’t stomach is anything religious. Yech. I’d rather get a colonoscopy than listen to that crap.
S-If you could sit down to dinner with five people living or dead who would they be?
P-First and foremost, would be my mother. She was easily the most influential person in my life and she died way too early. She always supported me in whatever I wanted to do – especially writing. She was so proud of me when I published Burning Sticks at the age of 26 … She was the one who found me in my bedroom and unhooked the belt from around my neck when I tried to kill myself. She was my rock – and she never got to see my kids. I’d like to sit down with her, show her pictures of her granddaughters and tell her, again, how much I love her and miss her.
Other than her, I’d love to sit down and chat with you, Synde. From what I know of you, it seems like we have similar stories, literary tastes, senses of humor, etc. although I never got to meet Jim Morrison…. damn you to Hell. ;)
S-Aw man Paul...I know we never are in the same city at the same time...Thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me.. Come back any time...
As a special treat Paul has allowed me to post his most amazing “Owls in the Night” poem..
OWLS IN THE NIGHT (1991)
By Paul Goat Allen
sometimes being human drives me insane
I wish I could live without this fucking brain
smoking the smoke and being one with the night
earth is the Great Mother and I am her sight
into the woods where the lotus-eaters hide
stoking the fires with thoughts of mass homicide
long-haired Brothers the only people left alive
just them and their Sisters trying to survive
loving each other as they love the land
severed fingers now a strong tribal hand
writers of the magical books already wrote
dreamers in the coven of the two-footed Goat
on the trees the mark of the laughing sun
in the cabins worshiping lovers become one
let me live in the paradise that is my dreams
loving my woman and weaving my schemes
fuck the world of double talk and two-faced liars
just give me cold moonbeams and dancing fires
and a few friends that care enough to create
a world out of Time without fear or hate
but in this backwards Hell where wrong is right
there are still the owls dreaming of the night
Monday, November 22, 2010
I feel like I left my Goth Post unfinished, so here is part 2 of Where Have All the Good Goths Gone. Please understand that I am not trying to offend anyone, only trace a path of the Goth progression, so forgive me the tread marks I make on the current Goth society…
I remember on one of my very first trips to Seattle, my good friend Cat telling me that the goth culture was alive and well in Seattle. It was all but dead in LA in the 90s, replaced by the sad "new punk " movement (read: not punk at all). Anyway, we were driving through the Fremont suburb when I saw a tall guy wearing all black including a long velvet mourning coat! I almost crashed my poor car in shock.
"Told ya," Cat smiled.
Within two years I had moved to Seattle permanently. At that time
there was a street in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill we called
"Black Alley." On this street were two Goth bars and a private Goth
dance club called the Mercury. The Merc (as we called it) did not at
that time have it's liquor license. So we would have to run 4 doors
down to JUJU (past Richard, JUJU's hunky viking bouncer) and down a
couple drinks, then run back to the Merc to dance. At that time, the
music and DJ's at the Mercury were stellar…reminiscent of my favorite
club in LA, Booth.
JUJU closed 4 years ago and became a series of yuppie/hipster art
galleries. The Mercury is still there, but it is no longer private; it
serves alcohol and also caters to what I call the velvet vamp or neo
goth. You know what I am talking about… The music sucks too. So I
rarely go there, and never on a Saturday night.
There is however one place I love, it's called Chapel. It's a
converted funeral home, and the music is great/loud/fast and moody.
(It's not a dance club, but rather a bar/meeting place.) Not to
mention the TO DIE FOR drinks. They make a black martini that is the
same color as my soul—love it.
Recently I took a "quiz" on facebook called "how Goth are you?." I came
out Goth Royalty!! Part of me was like, well duh, yet I was shocked. I
am who I am, I don't try to fit in. I actually try not to stand out.
One of my favorite writer friends Heather Brewer calls me the Supreme
Elder Goth, to which I am both pleased and embarrassed . ( I
know, I'm complex. What can I say?) Here's the secret…or at least
mine…a real goth doesn't think about it; they just are themselves. I
do own other colors besides black. Truthfully, I get dreamy eyed over
turquoise blue and true purple. So maybe I really do fail.
Honestly, I believe the way of the Goth has faded here in Seattle.
Gone are all the brooding black wearing folks. They have been replaced
with a sea of brown, top hats and goggles. Truly, Steampunk happens
when Goths decide to wear brown. It's okay, though… More black for me…
Desire lurks beyond good and evil
So dance on the graves where the hammer falls
***** special thanks to Dusty Grave for the photo*************
Thursday, November 18, 2010
As a kid, I wasn't as snarky as I am now, but I was known even then
for speaking my mind. I wasn't really raised by my mother and father, but by my sister Nancy (she is 8 years older). She pretty much took me everywhere with her. I especially loved going with her to get her hair cut in Beverly Hills, California.
Teddy, her hairdresser, was something... He often wore VERY SHORT gold or silver lamé shorts, platform shoes and a silk shirt tied up (remember this was the 70's). He had the most amazing shag haircut. Teddy was a character and I really loved him, as a kid he prepared me for the glam world. (He loved to show off his junk. I do not believe he ever wore underwear…again, no wonder I am like I am.) I'm sad to
say he is no longer with us...but I do digress.
A loooong time ago on the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Rexford Dr in
Beverly Hills (now prime boutique real estate) was a Ralphs grocery
store. If I behaved, my sister would take me to get a coke there (as
kids we were not allowed to drink soda). This particular day, as we
stood in line (I was about 12), I recognized the person standing in
front of us. Buying a case of beer and several bottles of alcohol was
none other than Alice Cooper.( my hero at the time, and only Rock Star crush) Now contrary to popular belief I am painfully shy, so i whispered in my sisters ear who it was. She pushed
me forward to say hi…and I was mortified.
Alice on the other hand noticed right away, knelt down and said hi. I
don't remember him reeking of drank so I am thinking it might be one
of the few sober times he had in the 70's. I looked up into his eyes
and said, " I'm going to work for you one day." He smiled and said, "
I bet you will," then he looked at my sister and made a comment about
how I certainly knew my own mind. There was an adult joke between them
that was lost on twelve-year-old me. The rest of the day I was pretty
quiet and introspective and didn't even tell my mom and dad about our
Years later my brother got me a job as an electrician on a huge stage
show... Whose, you ask? You bet, Alice Cooper! I was hired on for the
whole tour, and made sure that Alice knew the story. His reply: "I'm
not surprised, Synde. You certainly know your own mind." Dooode the
same exact thing, he had said the same thing...
Alice was my first real music boss, and to this day the best one I
have ever had! He never lost his temper and took us on trips, and
treated us like people. Some days I yearn for that kind of
treatment...Nah, it'll never happen...
***and I laughed to myself, at the Men and the Ladies-
who never conceived of us Billion Dollar Babies*************
Friday, November 5, 2010
When I mentioned I was going to write about the pathetic state of the
Goth movement on Twitter i got a bunch of hate tweets. Ironically,
that is exactly why I wanted to blog. Goths don't even know what they
are about anymore. EVERY Goth kid should Google "Visigoth" and see
what that means. There are no Vampires. That's not Goth; that's Anne
Rice, and please do not confuse the two. That is all I will say about
Goths... I have instead decided to blog about one of the godfathers of
This morning on a business call, one of my friends mentioned that one
of my favorite "Goth" clubs was experiencing a resurgence. It's become
an all ages club, which is really sad, I don't want to get my dance on
with a bunch of 18 year olds! I know that sounds harsh, but come on
now...it's not right.
So, there is this block in San Francisco at the corner of 11th and
Harrison that in my youth was Goth central. Back in the day, (yeah I
said it...sad I know) there was a bar on the corner called the
Paradise Lounge. They featured new young talent. One of my friends,
Peggy was a part time DJ there, we'd go there to get our drink on..and
then once she was done..we'd heckle the new talent.
Most nights it was this crazy gawky guy named Chris Issak, I wonder
what happened to him?...heh...
After we were suitably sedated we would turn the corner and wander
down to the DNA lounge. DNA was a warehouse style club, very Bauhaus
ala The Hunger in those days. There was a second floor grid that I
used to love to hang out on. Anyway, I digress...for a few years it
was the place to be. I spent many a weekend in SF sleeping on the
floor of my friend's rehearsal hall, so i could go out and dance all night.
A few years passed, and I returned to the scene of the crime. The
Paradise was gone, but DNA was still there...only this time it's not
just a Goth Club, it's a dance club (cries and rocks). However, the really
embarrassing part of this story is that I have dragged the Cure (whom I was working with at the time)there with me -- yep the entire band (DIES). The GM of the club handled it
really well and set us up in the VIP room and said we had shown up on
Deathrock night...we all laughed like little kids on too much Halloween sugar.
The VIP room, you see, had a closed-circuit TV so we could watch the
kids out on the dance floor. I think that night we counted at least 20
Robert Smith wannabes...5 were girls. We didn't stay long, the music
was bad, and we were bored. However, we did one thing that will
forever live on in my mind. We all removed all of our make up (yes
even Robert) and combed our hair down...looked really really normal
and then went out on the dance floor to dance to "Boys don't Cry."
Those kids had no clue they were dancing with their idols...only the
Dj knew. I wonder if he told them after we left?
So, you see, now this place is cool again. I wonder if my name is
still scrawled across the VIP room next to Robert's. On one hand, I
kinda hope they have painted...and on the other hand, sorta not...
sometimes i'm dreaming
expressionless the trance
sometimes i'm dreaming
so many different names
****photo of Dusty Grave as Struwwelpeter a Gothic version of an old German story book character****
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
When I work at the Evil Empire bookstore, I often have time for a little bit of reading. This morning, I decided to look at the music trades. As some of you may or may not know, I have firmly planted both feet back in the biz! Yes, it's true! Our heroine (or villain, depending) has done the unthinkable. Anyway, back to the trade rags. I just want to say that never has music been in a more pathetic state. What is out there is not just bad, it's pretty supremely craptastic. Here are some impressions I had. (I will obviously not mention the actual mags' names because being sued doesn't sound like much fun.)
First off, I picked up a very well known Deathrock mag that featured an interview with my favorite kitty daddy Glenn Danzig. This interview was so lame that I think I may have laughed out loud once or twice. " I am the real deal," Glen says. "I can tell a legally harvested skull from a illegally harvested one." Geez, Glenn, so can I... But dude, is that really worth bragging about? Oh, and get some sun---pale is only cute if you don't have jowls. While I am at it, your fingernails freak me the fuck out. Cut them. You are not a crack addict. He goes on to talk about Samhain (not the band, the holiday) and then gets angry when the interviewer wants to talk about what Glenn does on Halloween..He says its "not what we are here to talk about."
Sigh...you brought it up...
Next up, a more middle-of-the-road Rock 'n' Roll rag, it featured Rob Zombie interviewing Alice Cooper, which is a great idea! These guys could be long lost brothers. Sadly, it was really boring! Rob fawned over Alice, and Alice accepted it graciously while actually trying to talk about music. It was like watching an old episode of the Arsenio Hall show. You know what I mean: that virtual blow job. Then they trashed other bands, which I found immature and distasteful. Guys, that's for me to do. On you it looks like jealousy.
So then I read a review of the new Arcade fire CD. They are calling them the next big thing. Really, people, check out Echo and the Bunnymen, 'cuz that is the shit they are borrowing from. Personally, I find the Bunnymen way more compelling.
Honestly, music is very cyclic, I get that! Last night I ranted like a madwoman about a bit of this to my young ward---we'll call him Robin for now (uh huh that makes me Batman...well Batgirl maybe). I could tell through the laughter that he was slightly shocked at the venom of my words . I get that copying a sound is part of getting inspiration from your influences, however can we Puh-leaze have some new ideas. One thing we both agreed upon..Music is Show Business...anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves! Think about it, bright lights, fancy clothes(unless you like shoegazers)and loud music. Hey Viva La Vegas..dig?
Final outcome, I got bored and put the trades down. In ten years nothing has really changed there. The business is different but not the music..I will do just fine, but it's going to be a wild ride...
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
And the reaction will be passionate
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In the years I have worked in the music business, I never developed "crushes" on the people I worked for. The last time I can even think of crushing on a musician was during the 80's on Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet (FTR, I never worked with them). I can't explain it. I guess I really really like tall dark haired men? Anyway, once I saw him hold his microphone like a cup of tea it was done...crush abated big time. Although, when I hear "True" I still sigh like a 12 year old girl. (I know, I know…ewww.)
Or Have I??? Heh heh...
Mr. Jourgensen was very to the point as usual. "Fuck yeah, you should do it! Especially if it scares you, because that means you feel challenged, pushed to excel. You'll have to prove yourself all over again. That's a good thing. They'll be no laurels for you to rest on this time."
I might or might not have almost started to cry right then... If you know me, you know the answer. If you don't, then I totally didn't!!!
Armageddon, it's gotten
No savior jailer can take it from me
World ending, it's just beginning
And rock and roll is what I'm born to be
Monday, October 18, 2010
Once a year, a well known LA radio station called KROQ has a huge summer festival called the Weenie Roast. In the 80's and 90's, the station was not syndicated, rather a cutting edge station that showcased new talent. NOT POP. Anyway, I loved to work these shows as a lighting technician. The line up was always great and everyone treated the whole gig like a giant party. Not sure of the exact date of this particular concert, but the year was 1991 because White Zombie's La Sexorcisto had just come out. I was in the height of my goth years and I looked scarily pale. (I don't hide that I was also struggling with an intense drug addiction, which also contributed to the paleness.)
This year, Skinny Puppy and White Zombie were the headliners. A few hours before the show Ogre was on the stage with me working out some lighting kinks… It takes a bit to get the lights "just so" when a singer is going to cover themselves in cows blood… I love Ogre. I don't know him well, but in my experience, he is a funny and generous guy as well as a consummate performer. I have a background in theatre lighting so it was really easy to the the lights right. (FYI, this was before everything in lighting design became completely computerized.)
Once we had things set, Ogre was telling me about this new band, White Zombie. Rob was the talk of the town back then, with his animal prints, DayGlo, dreds, and crazy-ass top hats. Not to mention he had an amazingly talented female guitarist, Sean Yseult. Ogre thought I should meet him as we liked similar things. (Even now, Thunderkiss 65 is still one of my all time favorite songs.) In Rob's early days as a singer, his brand of talk/rap/singing was very cutting edge. We walked backstage and found Rob talking to his then new girlfriend (Sheri Moon, now Sheri Moon Zombie). He was taller than I expected and much friendlier too. Introductions were made all around, but when I reached out to shake his hand, he looked down at my hand and then back up to my face. Smiling he took my hand and shook it oh so gently, and said, "You aren't a Zombie are you? I was worried your arm would fall off if I shook it too hard."
At the time I overreacted (cuz I NEVER do that!!) and told him to fuck off. Rob seemed confused, adding, " You are really really pale."
The next night I began to tone down my look and within a year put and end to a very horrible chapter in my life. An addiction had been permanently put to bed. So yes, Rob's insightful and " humorous" comments did the job.
Years later I found out that my very close friend Jodie had been working for Rob all along. So we all hung out a bit, and Rob is still a funny guy. I am not a huge fan of his solo career or his movies, but his visual imagery is full of win. I retold him the story and he didn't remember anything except the green light… Funny, that...
I got nothing to say I ain't said before
I bled all I can, I won't bleed no more
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Wow! Today was one of those days where I woke up and BOOM, the struggle for relevance was on! Coming from the music business I always felt very much a part of things. Socially and artistically. When my health forced an early retirement out of me, I struggled to find the kind of social and artistic contribution that felt right. I owned my own esoteric bookstore, read tarot and the like, but couldn't make a living. Finally I settled on (for?) working in a chain bookstore and owning my own jewelry business. I have always kept one foot in the "biz" as many of my friends still work in it. Lately I have heard a lot of "wow you have been gone a looong time" and "you mean you don't know that band?" I struggle sometimes to feel like my cool points are being slowly stripped away. I still have lots of connections- but day jobbery often prevents me from hitting up gigs and playing nightly with pals. Being well connected doesn't mean I don't need creative recognition. It's a funny thing, when your friends are "noteworthy" it's harder than ever not to crave and creative recognition.
Age is a cruel master indeed. Recently a supervisor suggested it was time I start "acting my age." WTF does that mean? Dressing in granny jeans and letting my hair go gray? Listening to Michael Buble and wearing a fanny pack?
I firmly believe that you are as old as you act, so don't expect me to grow up anytime soon. I will keep pushing myself.
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
In the end
Monday, October 11, 2010
Recently on twitter there was a discussion of a reality show and celebrity. During it, a friend's husband made a groupie/starfucker comment to me. Now, relax! I don't think he was calling me either of those things, but I will admit for a second, I did suck air. If he was, well he is so far off that it's hilarious, but nonetheless it has been percolating in my mind...and Abracadabra, a blog post popped out.
During my time in the "biz," I met some really awesome people, some of whom could be classified as groupies. Oddly, Cameron Crowe did a great job depicting groupies in Almost Famous, as they were a merry band of women. All good friends as long as a famous dude didn't come in between them. The thing that struck me most about said groupies is that they had such incredibly low self esteem that they would allow these "guys" to use them and toss them away. Like a pile of used Kleenex. These girls were cool, stylish women who were looking for some acceptance. Many evenings it broke my heart. There were a couple of bands who would actually ask me to pick out several—ahem—"dates" for them each night. I would tell them what room to go to at the hotel, give them 20.00 for cab fare, and tell them what to expect. Most nights I would try to spend some time talking to them about their lives, trying to get insight into why they would be ok with this. It was always about wanting acceptance. Many a night I felt like a madame, and often I would refuse.
In the mid 80's I met Pamela Des Barres—famous groupie, writer, and sometime wife to Michael Des Barres (singer for Silverhead, Detective, and also a well known actor)—and we talked in detail about Starfucking. She was honest and funny, citing a poor home life, low self esteem and not fitting in at school all as factors. Those were all factors I faced in my youth, but the thought of being the "fuck buddy du jour" makes me want to slap the shit out of somebody. The difference is, I think, two things: I am a fixer not an enabler, and I had good role models growing up. My brother was already working in the business when I hit my formative years, and often took me along to help. I saw early on how to be a part of things without having to lose myself in the process. I saw how to be a part of the process, not the candy you ate after the process was finished. The music business did take a toll on me, I definitely had "to pay the ferryman". However I have more than just memories of whom I slept with.
What am I trying to say? Nothing, really...just taking you along with me on another memory. The comment I mentioned at the beginning of the post just allowed me to remember some of the fine people I met in my travels, and how I wished something better for them than they wished for themselves. I hope they eventually got it…
But you can't turn back the time -- It always gonna wait on the line.
**this post is dedicated to Sable Starr, who we lost in 2009.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
S-I agree. I think chain stores are necessary..Some people will not go to a bookstore unless it's attached to a mall. So there is a place for chains too..what do you think about that?
Hey I am going to do the intro and stuff tonight..Take one last look and see if you want to add anything..
I have seen some of the predictions of how big a piece of the market e-books are. When a new book releases(a mid list author) how big do you think their e book sales are? Do you think print is still larger?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
While I was in college getting my Master’s, I worked for Magic Mountain in their name talent theatre. It was excellent for getting gigs locally, piggy backed off the dates at the park. Many a relationship was cemented in the upstairs dressing room (not that kind, pervs!!).
**Useless factoid #2 all the concert footage for Spinal Tap was shot in that theatre...So win/win!
Any road, I digress.
One such cemented realtionship was with the Lords of the New Church. Stiv Bators (original member of punk band the Dead Boys) was their lead singer. The band scored 2 semi new wave dancy goth hits with Live for Today and Dance with Me. Most of the band hated Stiv, admittedly not without reason. He was extremely needy and very, very mopey. On this day, he looked extra emo as he approached me..
Now, Stiv had this leather jacket, it had bones sewed on the back to spell out LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH. It was kind of cool in a gross way. When I asked Stiv what was wrong he showed me his jacket. Several of the bones had come loose.
"They won't stay," he said forlornly. "I heard you make jewelry, so maybe you can do something?"
It took a minute for me to see his reasoning. Then I had an idea. I told him that if he was ok with me poking tiny holes in the jacket I could wire them on. Even make it look a bit cooler.
He was excited, a foreign emotion for Stiv and a bit uncomfortable to watch. I ran home (l lived only about ten minutes away). I grabbed some sterling wire, a leather mallet and an awl and returned to get to work. Stiv handed me his jacket and the yuck factor went from zero to 100 in sixty seconds. Not only did the jacket stink, but those bones were CHICKEN BONES--not bleached bones either! Look out, KFC!
I proceeded to wire said bones onto the jacket adding spirals and wraps to hold those gross bones in. It looked pretty amazing when it was finished. That night during the concert I watched him repeatedly hit the stage with the jacket. Well, yeah, if you beat the jacket against the stage, those bones aren’t going to hold forever, dumbass. But it did hold that night and for subsequent other nights. I never really got paid or even thanked for fixing that jacket. All in a day's work, I suppose.
I was saddened years later to hear about Stiv's death. It didn't surprise me, though. He wasn't very good at paying attention to his surroundings, think gross nasty KFC chicken bones!! ( He was hit by a bus in San Francisco= correction I found out recently it was in Paris France..Thx Aleck)
Still he always did "live for today."
** if you scroll back up to the picture you will see the boney jacket on one of the other band members...then you will understand!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Hey all so let me introduce my partner in blog crime..well not crime exactly..More like bookseller blog crime.
John (aka johnnie_cakes on twitter) has been a long time bookseller in both chain and indie stores. John and I will be discussing in future blogs some of the issues booksellers face on a daily basis such e books, author signing etiquette and fan bookstore etiquette..(aka don't face that book!!)
In the meantime I thought I would ask John a few questions so that you all could get to know him, and love him like I do..
Tell us a little about yourself
When I was in high school, I started taking honors English classes
because I wanted to be around other kids that loved to read. It
didn't work. I was still the kid who always had his nose in a book. I
read too much for even the "smart" kids. I've spent the last 7 years
of my life working with books, so I finally got to find the other kids
that loved to read. I was born in Delaware, but Houston is home now.
I spent a couple of years selling model trains, did some time in a
fast food restaurant, and worked in several cafes as well.
How did you get into working in bookstores?
I've always wanted to work in a bookstore. For a couple of years I
ran a cafe in an independent bookstore, and after it closed I applied
to work at Borders. I loved the old cafe, but had initially applied
hoping to get to work on the book side of the store. So when I applied
at Borders I was very adamant about being a bookseller. At Borders I
did everything from merchandising, to new hire training, and
eventually was running my own store. Earlier this year I was offered
the amazing chance to work at Murder by the Book. I loved the seven
years I spent at Borders, but working at Murder by the Book has been
like coming home. I feel like I've found bookstore heaven.
Do you have a favorite genre?
It turns out that I do. I've gone through phases where I read nothing
but African-American fiction like Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston,
read nothing but books like Valley of the Dolls and Peyton Place, and
I had a Victorian Sensation fiction phase too. But, the one genre I
keep going back to over and over again is urban fantasy. Over the
last few years, urban fantasy has started to really take over my
library at home.
What are you reading right now? What did you just finish?
I just finished Patti LuPone's new memoir last night, and today I
started Double Cross by Carolyn Crane. I thought Mind Games, the
first book in her series, was fantastic and I'm really excited to see
what she does with the new book.
Lately I've had Florence + The Machine's album on repeat. Their
performance was the only part of the VMAs I could stand watching, and
loved it. I've also been listening to When Everything Breaks Open by
Matt Morris. Matt's album came out in January, and it's been an album
that I keep going back to over and over again.
If you could have a dinner party and invite 5 people living or dead who would they be?
Daphne Du Maurier
Do you write? do you have a WIP sitting on your desk?
I used to. The last time I really wrote with any kind of consistency
was when I moved to Houston and was trying to find my footing in a new
city. I've kept everything, and always say I'm going to try to write
again. We'll see if that actually happens.
Next week we talk ebooks and the different effect they have on the major chains vs indie stores.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In between music posts I am going to do a series of interview discussions with my friend and fellow bookseller John.(Johnnie_cakes on twitter) We will talk about what we are reading, fan bookstore etiquette and also author signing etiquette. Fear not we will also talk about bookseller etiquette, as I am often made aware that not all booksellers care or are kind to authors. To start with I thought I would give you a little background on myself.
I was born in Los Angeles California.
I have had many many jobs, I have been a newsstand lead, lighting designer, roadie, production manager, stage manager, tarot card reader, astrologer, esoteric bookstore owner, vet tech, cat sitter,author wrangler, personal assistant, journalist, and most currently jeweler and bookseller. Whew!
I have been working in a brick and mortar store for the last 9 years as first the music department manager (8 of those years) and more recently retired and took a book job in same store. I love handing people books I'm passionate about, it's so rewarding.
I feel similarly about my jewelry designs. It is so very rewarding to create a piece that touches another person and helps their inner spirit shine a little bit brighter.
I have two cats and live in the Pacific Northwest, I read, write, create jewelry and search for the perfect cupcake.
Exciting isn't it?? Ha ha
Next up getting to know John.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Throughout my music career, I worked between tours at either my friend’s bead store or a Native American Gallery in Old Town San Diego. Both were locally owned by people who understood my career choices and gave me hours when they could.
One of my co-workers at the Gallery (Kathy) had recently moved from New Jersey. As we got to know each other, Kathy talked about her sister Susie and her sister’s boyfriend, who was apparently in a notorious punk band. His name was Glen and he was the lead singer of the Misfits. Yep, I had heard of him all right.
The first time I met Susie she was convalescing from a breast augmentation, a birthday gift from said boyfriend. I was aghast, yet I could see the irony. A gift for her...riiiight. She mentioned that Glen was coming in a week to look for a place to live in Los Angeles and to visit; she thought we should all have dinner together. I thought, “Sure. What have I got to lose?” I also thought this could go so very wrong.
The day of our meeting Kathy tried in vain to prepare me, "Glen has a temper, Synde. Oh and he's kind of um…short. Please don't make jokes." Honestly the more she warned me the more I looked forward to the EVENT.
We met up at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, a serene little place in North Park. When I arrived, Kathy and company were waiting for me. Now, I am NEVER LATE…EVER! I am compulsively early!! ALWAYS!!!
Before I could even sit down or greet the party, the mutton-chopped dude looked through his bangs covering one eye and announced, "You're late." His disapproval hung in the air.
I smiled my best "fuck you" smile and noted that I was actually 10 minutes early. Susie cringed and apologized and said that she might have "forgotten that the Misfits were playing the Spirit that night and we had to rush a bit."
Being the polite person that I am, I asked Glen about the Misfits, moving from New Jersey and his high-heeled boots. The Misfits are known for their blend of serial killer/horror themed music, and Mr. Danzig was doing his best to make me quiver with fear over his "intense evilness and knowledge of serial murderers"
Each time he gestured, moving the air with his meaty hands, his ginormous...(wait for it...) belt buckle would get caught on the table, starting a cataclysmic shockwave of tumbling glasses and sliding plates. It was awesome. It happened 3 or 4 times until he finally got frustrated and gave up. Slowly, his bad humor grew until he was absolutely furious with my ambivalence. He became completely quiet, glowering in silence like a sullen child. (To this day whenever I see Danzig's video Mother, I still fall into hysterical fits of laughter).
We finished our in meal in tension-filled silence and Glen paid. He shook my hand and said he would see me at the show...but what it sounded like was, "I will slit your throat in your sleep."
Kathy was not phased by the whole discourse, as if this was a common occurrence.
We went to the Spirit, drank a bit, (read-- A LOT) and waited for the show.
To be completely fair, they were awesome. All that sullen glowering had turned into complete rage and intensity on stage. I was pretty shocked. My favorite song is and will always be AngelFuck. I know it's silly and immature; perhaps that is why I love it so. That night a fallen angel sang it.
After the show, I let him know that the band was great; he accepted the compliment well. I left thinking that I had been unfair.
Two weeks later, he broke it off with Susie in favor of some Los Angeles Stripper. Apparently stripper poles are the new Boob Jobs.
So much for feeling like I was unfair.
In my time in and out of the music biz, I’ve run into Glen quite a few times. He has always been kind. He even lets me tease him about his age, height, and addiction to working out. I say it's because he has muttonchops, and as we all know... everything is cooler with muttonchops.
I have to say that maybe some guys get cooler with age. I think he has. Still...I leave you with this link...
It will ease the pain.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I realized that I was blogging uplifting stories where a person helped me make a hard life decision. I know that's kind of boring, so this one will be Synde fail--one where my big mouth got me in trouble. Shock, right?
My relationship with Van Halen is a love/hate kind of thing. I love to hate them. OK. That's not really fair. I do like "Jump." But only if David Lee Roth does it!
They came from the same area of California I did and my brother knew them well. I didn't know them at all. I was busy listening to the Ramones, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell and the Void Oids when they were breaking.
One of my more steady gigs was with Magic Mountain during their concert series as either a lighting technician or assistant stage manager. I piggybacked a ton of gigs from the shows that went through there.
So, one night they were having this "rock" band called Autograph play..Yep the ol' tragic hump was getting desperate. They had begun to book talentless “hair” bands. They had a hit at the time but it was so godawful I refuse to even Google it to give you the name.(OK. OK. It was called “Turn up the Radio”). Anyway my boss, one hell of a guy by the name of Don Burgess, told me that David Lee Roth was coming to hang with the band and he needed an escort. Guess who??? Yep. Me.
When I was informed that "Mr. Roth" was waiting for me at the gate, I took my time getting there, a million thoughts racing through my mind.Wonder if he'll be as difficult as I’ve heard? Wonder if he'll be wearing spandex?
When I arrived he didn't ask my name or anything friendly like, but announced he wanted to "ride rollercoasters, eat food, and then see the band." We did exactly that. He didn't really speak to me, unless it was to inform me of his next desire. During my time with him in the park, he wore a hat..no chance at getting a gander at that infamous mane he had? Or did he really have one? Maybe he was bald on top? Maybe he wore a hair piece?...maybe?
When we arrived back at the theatre I thought I was finally free of David Lee Douchebag.But, no...he needed me to kneel right next to him the entire concert so no one would approach him. (Like anyone would?) Just to make sure, he kept his foot on my hand and applied pressure any time I tried to pull it away. Neat! Just what I wanted to do be crotch level with DLR and a bunch of sweaty metal guys. Not even cute ones...or well endowed..It stank of sweat and colonge and puke..no fun folks. BTW he wasn't wearing a hat in the evening, but his hair looked um.. too full if you will. I know you get what I am saying here.. heh heh
Finally, I asked him through gritted teeth to remove his foot before I removed it for him. Oddly he did without even a protest. I believe he was testing me. Once foot left hand, Synde left David. He was on his own the rest of the night. I don't do abuse, especially when paired with the worst kind of metal band. I gave the "delightful" job to one of the Magic Mountain technicians who was ecstatic to be near DLR, and went into the office to complete the evening's paper work.
The next day my boss called and said DLR's manager had called and asked for my phone number. He told Don that they needed some help on a video shoot. I was ambivalent, but when they called I took the job.
Cut to the next week. I was in a big warehouse setting up the "Just A Gigolo" lights with 3 other dudes. DLR pranced and primped around, giving orders like Mussolini.Twice he "accidentally" bumped into the 8-foot ladder I was balancing on. Clearly, the D stood for douchebag.
I had had enough. I had almost lost my footing on the last bump aaaaannnd I swear I heard him giggle..Nice masculine gesture Dave, just like a little girl.
When the lights were hung, I went to the sound board to help check the levels.While most often in videos, the musicians aren’t singing at full voice, they usually aren’t lip-syncing. They sing with themselves, so we had to blare the recorded track over and over. So, this is what I used to check levels--and I preface it by saying..MY BAD...LOL--"D-A-V-I-D WEARS A HAIRPIECE" (Heavy pronunciation on the D). It took about 3 times before everyone heard it. David was yelling; the dudes were laughing. It was awesome.
One of the video producers came over, smiled, and said, "I have to fire you now, you know, but that was pretty funny. Still, you’re fired. Oh, but here is your $200 for the day."
I left quite happily.
So the moral of the story...Synde keep your damn mouth shut! My editor however thinks it's sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do, so you decide..
Oh yes, one more thing. I can't say if he really wears a hairpiece, but you know what??
When the end comes I know that I’m just a gigolo
Life goes on without me.