Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The topic of this interview is The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll, but Scott and I went a lot deeper looking around at the cultural quagmire we find ourselves in today. How did the record industry squeeze the artist out of the equation and take total control? What is the role of ritual and rite in a healthy society? What role did the connection to the natural world play in the art and culture of the ancient world? Is materialism the cancer that is killing our culture? We really get down to it, struggling to diagnose the stultifying malaise we're trapped in. Do you feel it too?

Given the crippling space limitations I faced in writing this book I resolved myself to dig deeper into the issues raised when promoting it. I imagined the book as a piece of hardware and various interviews and podcasts as apps, or plug-ins. I want the book and these interviews to be part of a kind of meta- or hypertext, a multimedia conversation. I had no intention of going on the air and reciting the talking points like a zombie. I want every conversation to be a unique experience and chapter of the metatext.

I hope this interview does you good- it was a very positive experience for myself, and Scott as well, apparently. Check out more of Scott's shows here.


  1. Speaking of stultifying malaise, have you seen Patton Oswalt's new Wired essay? "Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die

  2. I could only listen to 20
    minutes of the 'cast but I
    agree with your points.

    I add that shamanism is an
    archetypal role among the
    tribal structure, and will
    manifest over and over again
    so there are creative groups
    in both music and visual arts
    that will show a variation
    in the shamanic persona.

    Lady Gaga is one example,
    even though she is cursed
    as unoriginal. I think she
    is hybridizing a bunch of
    different ,"shamanic",
    artists from the mid 20th
    century, and even earlier
    by tapping into Josephine
    Baker or Isadora Duncan.

    We know Lady Gaga will be
    the real thing if she dies
    young, or becomes a recluse,
    transitioning into the
    ,"crone/oracle", subtype of
    the shamanistic role.

    Madonna has done this rather
    than overdose on drugs or

  3. Great interview Chris! One of your best. You really nailed it when you spoke about corporate "music" not giving people something authentic to believe in.

  4. You know, I was at a Bowling Alley yesterday, while it pouring rain outside, at the cafe, and the complex was blasting Techno, Light Hip Hop, Lady Gaga, and one decent Michael Jackson song, I was thinking about the state of music, and it genuinely ticked me off, it just means nothing, and how can people just settle for it is beyond me. It's been like this for at least five years now, and when is it going to stop? Just sad.

    That Patton Oswalt piece is indeed great.

  5. Is that what these God Incarnate Music Experience guys are getting at? Mystic Punk, indeed...


    Great Interview, ordering your book on Nook tonight, looking forward to it.

  6. That Patton Oswalt interview is very interesting, anony. Very relevant to the discussion. Everyone should have a read.

  7. good stuff chris. at first i couldn't believe how much scott cluthe talked; but he was very interesting and i liked the conversational style.
    couple of points, when you talked about tom petty, you said he remained successful because he stuck to his guns and he realised "there ain't no easy way out" had me singing 'heeey baaaby';
    it is one of his lyrics? was that intentional or just evidence of the holographic universe. also the image of a tree pulling out its own roots,very psychedelic.
    my own humble opinion about the explosion of classic songwriting coinciding with the availability of good quality lsd; and the current drought of both; may be relevant.
    keep up the good work chris.
    there are many links worth a look in the oswalt article;thanks for the tip anonymous 1:19.

  8. I've freeloaded off your blog long enough. The Secret History of Rock and Roll sounds like a great post Christmas stocking stuffer for - me.

    -Jon Spring

  9. just a latest pickup...
    thought i'd zap it in..

  10. I like the diversity of music that we have today, although it would be great if rock and roll came back round, plus raw talent is great. You can't beat a good band and it's not as though there aren't great bands around it can be hard to find them. I love old soul, funk and rock and roll.

  11. 119- Interesting. Reminded me of the "Death of Hippie."

    Pete- I can say with a fair degree of certainty that Gaga is not the real thing. It feels like she's over already, don't you think?

    JIm A- The same goes for most of what's out there, not just music.

    Matt- And everything sounds like 80s synthpop rehash. I hated that stuff the first time around and now I have to put up with the regurgitated version?

    Beel- Cool tune- thanks for the link.

    Dboy- Well, LSD is a funny thing to me. It's like a modern rite of passage but not something I would every recommend habitually. I think it becomes pretty redundant fairly quickly in fact.

    Jon- You don't hear me complaining! Hope you like it.

    Kikz- I'm going to watch that. It actually looks like it's anti-secret society but hey- you can't sell advertising space to Visa and McDonalds that way, right?

    Wotie- Everything is cyclical. It will come back when kids get sick of video games!

  12. I know it's hip to bash the record industry. But how much control they do really exert? In a capitalist society, no matter how "evil" and "powerful" the company, they still require millions of people to buy the product.

    There are no shortage of great local artists. There are no shortage of free newspapers which promote these artists.

    The record industry, the freemasons, the fill-in-the-blank organization. None of them are responsible for the fact that 25,000 people show up at the Justin Bieber concert, and 50 for fantastic local bands.

  13. Long live Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Also check out Blues for Allah by the Greatful Dead. Dennis

  14. Roddenberry's Nine?

    New movie trailer features 9 alien children arriving on Earth with superpowers.


  15. i couldn't agree with you more, chris.alan watts said when you get the message hang up the phone.
    i would not want to come across as advocating any drug use , especially entheogens, but it is the perspective from which i percieve the 'turgid miasma' of experience; for better and for worse. so the second part of my thesis was flip, and better left unsaid. however i think that the main hypotheses is worth kicking around.it might just be cause i'm old(er) now(45),but i think everyone can sing dozens of songs from the 60's,70's and the same cant be said of the naughties.in fact i think that it has resulted in the transformation of our culture.
    thats why i love your blog chris; it allows people to explore these aspects of our conscious experience in a safe, structured environment.no casualties.

  16. Transformers. Skyline. The Thing. Third trailer this month where actor encountering the aliens says "My God".

    Subliminal or perhaps unconscious suggestion of exogenesis? Aliens as our true creators?


  17. The embedded audio is the latest channel interview not the interview you did. You should be able to fix that though blogtalk is not the most collaborative of embed interfaces to get working.

  18. The stultifying malaise, such as it is, comes from Western everything's denial of its fever-dream nature, of its refusal to accept that burning through EVERYTHING at 20th-century speeds wasn't going to be a viable strategy much beyond then. Shamanism is tied to the land, and America's covenant with it is flawed, exploitative.. the sharp rise hid the need for a very strange and lonely dive. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/237942