Monday, August 22, 2016

Read Us the Book of the Names of the Dead.

If the Aquarian spirit of the late Sixties essentially kept its sunny disposition in California New Age mysticism, its East Coast counterpart found a distinctly darker expression, with the OTO (or more accurately, competing OTO sects) rising to pole position among the welter of witch cults that popped up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.

New York was like a theme park of dysfunction and chaos in the late 1970s, and blackouts and bankruptcy merely punctuated the sense that this was a empire about to fall. 

Times Square was a cesspit of porn, pushers, prostitution and worse. Yet just a few blocks away was the glitz and glamor of Studio 54, where the jetset came to play. And the New York Yankees were the dominant force in professional sports. 

But these only added to the deep and abiding dissonance that was New York. And it's within exactly this kind of profound strife and discord that the occult truly thrives.

Nearly like a tulpa came David Berkowitz aka the Son of Sam, a serial killer who claimed he was in league with leftovers from The Process Church, a Scientology spinoff that that included Lucifer and Satan in its Holy Quadrinity along with God and Christ. 

It was if an avenging demon had been summoned from the deepest pits of Hell and given human form.

Out of this frothy witch's brew would emerge The Necronomicon, the pseudepigraphal grimoire that drew heavily on tar-black Sumerian texts like The Maqlu. Alongside the occult ferment was the burgeoning punk rock scene on the Bowery, which was a no man's land of junkies and homeless, many of whom were damaged Viet Nam vets. 

"The Magickal Childe was ground zero for the occult explosion in New York City in the 1970s." - Jon, Magickal Critic
The Magickal Childe- the occult shop that would publish the initial editions of The Necronomicon- acted as the focal point for the more apparent occult activity taking place in the city. 

The Childe was founded by a gay couple who began their career operating a small store called The Warlock Shop. With interest in witchcraft swelling, the duo raised enough cash to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, specifically the midtown neighborhood known as Chelsea:

At the Magickal Childe, there was enough space to dramatically increase the merchandise offered, and since Herman had the cash and the connections, the new store became, in effect, the one-stop-shop for any and all conjuring needs. 
In addition to herbs, oils, candles, books, robes, swords and other accoutrements of the Art, one could find human skulls, dried bats, mummified cat’s paws and a wide variety of unusual jewelry, a large portion of which was created by Bonnie, my ex-wife-to-be. A room in the back of the store served as a temple and classroom for the various strains of wicca that began to gravitate to the place.
The Necronomicon was rumored to have been found during a book heist of rare manuscripts and presented to Slater for publication by translator Peter Levenda. It was credited to one "Simon" and readers and scenesters immediately began to speculate on who Simon really was.

One of the suspects was Sandy Pearlman, who I just recently found out passed away in July. This was one of those moments, when you recognize something important being lost, something that was an important part of your own history and your own development.

Who was Sandy Pearlman?

Sandy Pearlman, a producer, lyricist, manager, executive and college professor who was a herald of developments from heavy metal and punk to the digital distribution of music, died on Tuesday in Novato, Calif. He was 72. 
He had suffered a debilitating cerebral hemorrhage in December, and died of pneumonia and other complications, Robert Duncan, his longtime friend and conservator, said.
Mr. Pearlman was one of the first serious rock critics, writing and editing for the pioneering rock-culture magazine Crawdaddy. He claimed to have been the first writer to use the phrase “heavy metal” to describe music. 
But he was best known as the producer, manager and lyricist for Blue Öyster Cult. He produced and co-produced albums for the band from 1972-1988. 

Pearlman entered the cultural lexicon through the now-ubiquitous SNL skit (where he was misidentified as reissue producer Bruce Dickinson), "More Cowbell":

He was described by the Billboard Producer’s Directory as “the Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision” and was gonzo enough to be played by Christopher Walken in Saturday Night Live’s infamous skit on the making of (Don't Fear) The Reaper (which Pearlman produced for Blue Oyster Cult).
Pearlman didn't just manage the Oysters, he managed a number of other prominent acts:
Mr. Pearlman was Black Sabbath’s manager from 1979-1983, and he also managed other bands, among them the Dictators and Romeo Void.  
But Pearlman didn't just manage and produce Blue Oyster Cult, he essentially created them:
Mr. Pearlman met musicians in Stony Brook, N.Y., who, he decided, could become his idea of a rock band.. after some personnel changes, Mr. Pearlman renamed them Blue Oyster Cult.   
Blue Öyster Cult combined hard rock with concepts out of science-fiction and apocalyptic fantasy and a hint of tongue-in-cheek humor, with songs like “Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll.” Its collaborators on lyrics would eventually include not only Mr. Pearlman, but also (Patti) Smith and the novelists Michael Moorcock and Eric Van Lustbader. 
Speaking of Christopher Walken (who portrayed Whitley Streiber in Communion), one of Pearlman's best-known lyrics for the Oysters was "E.T.I. (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)", a personal favorite of mine in junior high school:

I hear the music, daylight disc

Three men in black said, "Don't report this"
"Ascension," and that's all they said
Sickness now, the hour's dread

All praise

He's found the awful truth, Balthazar
He's found the saucer news

I'm in fairy rings and tower beds

"Don't report this," three men said
Books by the blameless and by the dead
King in Yellow, queen in red

From daylight discs to fairy rings to The King in Yellow. Are you still wondering why I'm writing about this guy?

Pearlman wasn't just a music industry figure, he was a true renaissance man.

In the 21st century, he became a consultant and professor, exploring how the music business could adapt to the digital era. He was a professor at McGill University in Montreal and then at the University of Toronto. There, he taught and created courses in the departments of music, English, religious studies, law and management.  
Pearlman with Jones and Strummer

But we're not done with his music career yet.

Pearlman was also involved with the punk and new wave movements early on (indeed, the Oysters were part of that twilight generation of underground rock bands that bridged the old wave and the new, bands like The Stooges in the US and The Pink Fairies in the UK).

With his longtime business partner Murray Krugman, he produced one of the earliest albums considered to be punk rock, “The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!” released in 1975, and he produced the second album by the Clash, “Give ’Em Enough Rope,” in 1978.
Now this bears further analysis. I found out about Sandy Pearlman's death only on Sunday, when researching the death of boy band impressario Lou Pearlman (Sandy's opposite in every conceivable way). 

But his death ties into my Stranger Things series, since it was Pearlman who produced the album that first introduced me to The Clash. And that begins to tie some of these strands together:

A strange confluence of events entered my life at the same time as The Clash: my (divorced) mother was teaching at a public school and befriended a Wiccan art teacher, my first exposure to this lifestyle.   
Then I got sick. Really, really sick.  Some kind of bacterial infection. I was running 105/106º fevers for more than a week, couldn't move from the couch and I'm not exactly sure how I didn't die. 
And then as longtime Secret Sun readers may remember, my own living room became a doorway to another dimension.  
And I had a ...visitor. 
I didn't realize it but there was also a UFO flap going on in the area at the time. I'd only find that out in the past couple years.

The Clash, by future
Backstreet Boys photographer Andre Csillag, 1978

It was Pearlman's version of The Clash- an auditory encapsulation of the Dadaism, dystopian sci-fi and delusional radical politics that animated the band- that remained my definitive Clash. 

Pearlman understood the antecedents behind their music --as well as the work of authors like Anthony Burgess and JG Ballard-- far better than the band did themselves, who in fact never again seemed able to get their sound on record after Rope:

On Rope, Pearlman did nothing less than light a barrel full of audio TNT underneath the Clash, adding stagger-producing sheets of radiant, radioactive guitars to the Clash’s previously shoebox-sized sound; he also introduced them to the verby, springy drum sound that was to become one of their trademarks.
Give ‘Em Enough Rope is the Clash’s second best album, and still an absolute stunner to listen to; virtually never before—or again—in the history of rock would recorded guitars sound so much like a weapon (if you don’t think Pearlman harnessed the Clash’s potential to add maximum sonic impact to their hoarse and heartfelt preaching, listen to anything the Clash released prior to November 10, 1978..) 
Indeed, it was Pearlman's makeover that redefined The Clash and it was his sound that they'd put out onstage (literally- he replaced the band's rag 'n bone punk gear with all new equipment and taught them how to use it) until the bitter end, even if they could never get it together in the studio (compare this with the studio forgery).

It was Pearlman's vision of The Clash that I saw in concert on the London Calling tour, not the Stonesy simulacrum you hear on that album (my ears rang for a week). It was Pearlman's Clash (effects-drenched flamethrower guitars, gate-reverbed drums, everything played at peak intensity) that blew my brains out in 1983 with the Casbah Club live set (and all the cowbell you could ever ask for). 

It would be Pearlman's Clash that I'd spend the next 25 years or so chasing after in the form of bootlegs, not the mellow, stoner Clash of the studio albums. It would be Pearlman's Clash that would haunt my dreams ( I mean, just the other night I dreamed that he produced Combat Rock and it actually sounded like The Clash, not Adam Ant covering The Police).

Little did I realize- until today- how much sense this all begins to make.

The parallels are just too rich: just as Clash manager Bernie Rhodes created that band to fulfill his vision of the perfect rock band, so too did Pearlman create the Oysters. And just as Rhodes oversaw an ersatz Clash album featuring Joe Strummer and a bunch of studio musicians, so too did Pearlman instigate an ersatz Oysters album with a member of that band. 

In 1981, he began collaborating with Blue Öyster Cult’s drummer, Albert Bouchard, on what was originally supposed to be a concept-album trilogy based on “The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos.” After years of work it emerged as a Blue Öyster Cult album, “Imaginos,” in 1988.

That's where the similarities come to a dead stop, however.

The pseudo-Clash's Cut the Crap is a moronic disaster filled with rudimentary beatbox blips, farting synths and scuzzy barre-chord guitar filth and the Blue Oyster Cult's Imaginos is a posh, symphonic, prog-metal cult classic with one of the most remarkable backstories this side of a Grant Morrison graphic novel. 

Which it may well have influenced. Read on:
Although often referred to as a dream, the concept behind Imaginos is what Pearlman described as "an interpretation of history – an explanation for the onset of World War I, or a revelation of the occult origins of it", which he crafted on elements of mythology, sociology, alchemy, science and occultism. 
OK, now we know we're dealing with something entirely different here. "E.T.I" was not a fluke.
This "combination of horror story and fairy tale" cites historical facts and characters, and is filled with literate references to ancient civilizations in a conspiracy theory of epic proportions, the subject of which is the manipulation of the course of human history.
OK, now the Grant Morrison bit? Yeah:
Central to this story are Les Invisibles (The Invisible Ones), a group of seven beings worshipped by the natives of Mexico and Haiti prior to the arrival of Spanish colonists in the 16th century, identified by some fans as the Loa of the Voodoo religion. The nature of Les Invisibles is left unclear, though it is hinted that they may be extraterrestrials, or beings akin to the Great Old Ones in the works of H. P. Lovecraft. 

Bear in mind this is the same band- or brand, more accurately- that gave us "Joan Crawford Has Risen From the Grave." Well, without Pearlman, that is. 

With him?

An interpretation of the lyrics of the song "Astronomy" by some fans suggests that the star Sirius is of particular astrological significance to Les Invisibles, with clues identifying it as their place of origin; it is during the so-called Dog Days of August, when Sirius is in conjunction with the Sun that their influence over mankind is at its apex.

Getting back to the Morrison angle- this sounds vaguely familiar: 

By subtly influencing the minds of men, the beings are said to be "playing with our history as if it's a game", affecting events in world history over the course of centuries. For the three centuries after European discovery of the New World, this game plays out as the desire for gold is used to transform Spain into the dominant power in Europe, only to be usurped by England in the 17th century and later, through technology, by other nations ("Les Invisibles").
As does this:
The principal story begins in August 1804, with the birth of a "modified child" called Imaginos, in the American state of New Hampshire. Because of the astrological significance of the place and time of his birth, Imaginos is of particular interest to Les Invisibles, who begin investing him with superhuman abilities while he is young.  
Then the story moves from Morrison territory to Alan Moore's neck of the Northhamptonian woods:
Having by this time spent several decades studying mysticism and astrology, Imaginos discovers that Elizabethan England's rise as a superpower coincided with John Dee's acquisition of a magic obsidian mirror from Mexico, which serves as a bridge between Les Invisibles' alien world and ours, and the means to spread their influence on Earth. 
Apparently, the lyrics to this album have set off a cottage industry of speculation:
Some fans see Les Invisibles' actions in favour of England against Spain as a sort of vengeance for the extermination by the conquistadores of their worshippers in Central America, while others view their intervention as only part of the mysterious scheme carried on by the alien entities through the centuries ("In the Presence of Another World"). 
Now, I had no idea of any of this. I just knew that Pearlman's work with The Clash (not just Rope but also the epic "Gates of the West") seared itself into my brain in 1979 and changed my life thereafter.

Now I understand that conjunction of witchcraft, UFOs, and The Clash wasn't as random as it seemed to be for oh-so-many years.

Brian Eno often chafed at the relentless focus rock critics put on lyrics, arguing that guitar and keyboard parts were meaningful too. Now I understand the mind behind that sound that made such an incalculable impression on me a lot better and understand that the sound itself is drenched in meaning.

And now Sandy Pearlman's name is written into the Book of the Dead. Here's an fitting epitaph:

There have been—and will be—many great rock producers. Some are musical geniuses, like George Martin, or startling conceptualists, like Brian Eno or Dan Lanois; others, like Steve Lillywhite or Nile Godrich, are astounding collaborators who make magic out of band performances and magicians out of bands. 
But few rock producers are visionaries, fewer believe that a part of their job description is to act as a cultural instigator, and fewer still take it upon themselves to completely envision a new kind of rock, a new role for rock in the minds and hearts of its audience, and then figure out how to encode that hypothesis masterfully and vibrantly onto audio tape.


  1. I once did some half-hearted research into Joe Strummer's spirituality. There isn't much to report. He was a pothead and can be seen "communing with Jah" (as Johnny Green captioned a photo in his book) probably best seen in the "Safe European Home" segment of "Rude Boy" concert footage. Totally in trance, he was there. There was an interview where he seems to reference themes in "Cosmic Trigger" but there was nothing specific and what little details there were escape my memory (sorry). He also embraced Native American culture (and who knows maybe embraced "The Great Mystery" as well), thus the campfires he would have people come sit around at Glastonbury festivals. That's why the campfires in the "The Future Is Unwritten" documentary. Nice post

    1. Joe's spiritual journey was long and winding and often quite strange. I recommend folks check out Chris Salewicz's biography on him to get the inside story.

  2. Imma let you finish but the George Hay/Colin Wilson/Dave Langford/Robert Temple Necronomicon is the best fake Necronomicon of all time. Of all time.

    (Colin came up a lot for me this morning: both in the context of his & AE van Vogt's 'Right Man' syndrome re. online discourse and non-apologies of powerful men, and as a result of the idiocy of New Statesman's chief editor disparaging the idea that working class people should be encouraged to create without a 'proper education' - Colin being famously working-poor autodidactic.)

    But you bet your ass I'm off to listen to Imaginos right now!

    1. I've not read that one yet but you've piqued my curiosity to be sure. The Simon Necronomicon really leans on Sumerian texts I was reading while doing the Lucifer posts. Someone should compose a grimoire working from those texts...

  3. And here again, we have several appearances of Lovecraft's influence many decades past his death. I'm leaning more and more towards Moore's allegedly fictional thesis in _Providence_, that the man was created or shaped in some way to inject - restore? - some (under)current of energy back into the Western world, perhaps as a balance following the scouring of it by Enlightenment/Industrial impulses. Less a desire to make us all Cthulhu worshipers, than to keep us all from sitting on a one-legged stool.

    I was unaware of Pearlman's involvement with the Simon book, or his Imaginos concepts. Very informative, thanks!

    1. Kenneth Grant wouldn't argue with you! (I'm sure it'll come up next time I spend time with Alan - only had brief chat so far, but we plan a proper sit down soon.)

    2. I was reading Providence before I got busy. I think it's time to dive back into that. I have so much reading to catch up on. Beardy's been making noises about quitting comics but I can't see that happening. You have to quit before you really start (like I did) or you have to get thrown out. The former is impossible and the latter is unlikely- I think he'll always have enough of an audience to make it worth his while to publish. Maybe he thinks Jerusalem will be his ticket out but I don't know if I agree.

    3. Last I saw Alan (giving an interview with John Higgs - who you all should be reading - in Brighton a couple of months back) Alan said that after Providence is done, he's got about 150 pages of comics left in him. But he's talked about quitting before...

      Most importantly for me was the good news that as soon as the publicity binge for Jerusalem is over, he will be finishing The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book Of Magic, which was delayed by the death of his best friend and co-author Steve Moore. In theory, we should finally see that late next year.

  4. It is wonderfully strange how these elements from rock music, our personal lives, and those behind the scenes have connections that you can only put together years later in perspective. I was always a little esoteric in my preferences for rock music growing up (I'm about 8 or 9 years older than you, Chris), but the things that drew me in I find now to resonate with many of the people I never knew working behind the scenes. It just makes me humbly aware of just how much I don't know and how this is a place where very little gets resolved and everything expands awareness. Go figure.

    Great article and your penchant as zeitgeist is as strong as it ever was.

    1. Oh, I could get pretty esoteric too. I was listening to a lot of punk and postpunk and some electronic stuff, and listening to all kinds of stuff on college radio, a lot of dub reggae and such.

      As far as the zeitgeist goes this post seems to be getting a lot more traffic than I expected. I guess you never can tell what's going to hit that button.

  5. I didn't really notice music much until I was around 12. It was at this point that I discovered one of the first songs that I fell in love with --"Don't Fear the Ripper." This marked the beginning of my obsession with '70s heavy metal.

    While Black Sabbath was certainly heavier (at least musically), BOC was darker. The black and white albums, through a combination of lyrics and artwork, painted a dystopian future littered with psychic wars and alien gods bent on enslaving humanity --Heady stuff for a band that people weren't supposed to take seriously.

    "Imaginos" is quite a fascinating work whose occult angle has intrigued me for the past several years. I believe Pearlman first got the idea for it in mid-1960s and would incorporate elements of it in lyrics throughout BOC's 70s and 80s work. It seems like this was a long term project of Pearlman's that he carefully seeded in pop culture until it was finally unveiled in 'Imaginos." Unfortunately, BOC wee considered to be has-beens by then and it flew over most people's radar.

    The "Secret Treaties" album is another occult gem as well. The title is an allusion to both the collaboration between the Allies and the Nazis after WWII as well as suspected treaties with "E.T.I."s. "Flaming Telepaths" was their first stab at depicting a psychic war, and it leads into "Astronomy," which as you indicated, may have references to Sirius in it.

    I'm pretty sure lead singer Eric Bloom's outfit on the cover is supposed to be a reference to the Process. The Process was very active in New York City during the early 1970s, and with Pearlman's interests, its hard to believe he didn't encounter them during this time.


    1. Yeah, BOC were an interesting band. Very eclectic. Not the heavy metal mutants they were stereotyped as at all. I have to give Pearlman a lot of the credit for that. That was a heady time for hard rock. A lot of strange and esoteric ideas were being taken from the fringes and brought into the mainstream. It created an enormous backlash later with the satanic panics and so on, and Blue Oyster Cult were always cited by the witch-hunters.

    2. Albert Bouchard probably deserves some credit for the band's musical vision and translating Pearlman's ideas into workable songs. He co-wrote 22 of the 36 songs on their firsts for LPs (the classic era) including several of their biggest hits and many of the fan favorites. They really went to shit after he was booted out of the band after the "Fire of Unknown Origins" album for reasons that were never properly explained. It was around this time Pearlman started developing "Imaginos" with him as a solo album. "Incidentally," it ended up being BOC's last strong album.

      Yeah, that whole '68-'74 era was a true Golden Age for heavy rock that has never quite been equaled. I've been collecting a lot of complications from obscure, garage bands from that era recently -- i.e."Warfaring Strangers" and the "Brown Acid" series --and not only is it great, but littered esoterica. The "Warfaring..." one is especially choice in that regard --a "Nuggets"/"Pebbles" for hard rock and proto-metal.

      As an artifact, its interesting to see how these ideas traveled down from groups like the "Big Four" (BOC, Sabbath, Led Zep and Deep Purple) to the regional underground acts (i.e Pentagram) and finally, to the garage. Heady times indeed.

  6. Hey. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate your blog & your work in general. "Our Gods Wear Spandex" was a real eye-opener. Also, regarding this blog post, I got to see BoC about 6 years ago in Enfield, CT during a big outdoor July 4th-type celebration. Foghat opened for them if you can believe it. They...tried. Not quite the glory days. I remember the 1st time I heard "Don't Fear the Reaper" at age 9, on the headphones, volume cranked. Blew the top of my young head off! They really were tapping into something back then. But that period, late 70s/early 80s, as you've noted here & elsewhere, was a very potent time for a whole lot of things. & the high weirdness was very much in evidence. I wonder if we'll ever see such a time of creative ferment again. Also, the Grant Morrison connection is an interesting one. (Just started reading his graphic novel "Nameless") But then again, his work tends to be a massive collage of whatever he's into at the moment. Thanks again for one of the best blogs on the internet!

    1. It's hard to see guys pushing 70 trying to recapture their wild and crazy youths, especially when it's a country fair lineup with one or two original members left. I was tempted to see Jane's Addiction this summer since they were playing Ritual in its entirety but I was too busy. And I saw a video of them in Brooklyn and they were awful. You could really hear the years bearing down on them- they played "Stop" at a fraction of the original speed. Sometimes you can't go home again.

    2. I saw FWWM this morning, speaking of 'going home again'. Also got first confirmation of 'high strangeness' - you heard it first. 'The game is afoot' - so going forward (sometimes laterally) is the only way - once in a while a step back is right, if it means two more forward. What a wonderful, weird, wild, and worthy 'whirled' we populate, CLK. Glad you missed a 'suck show'... I missed Modest Mouse last year at Boston Pavilion when he was so drunk he was flashing a real lobster on stage talking about his dinner later. Or was he demonstrating with a prop to a crowd of something much more 'edible' on a higher level - all those audience lobsters in a pot/pit. Maynard used to 'baa' and bleat to beleaguer and bemoan and bemusingly belittle... Who knows what the exo and the eso is there. Like 'Stop' needs an exposition... They didn't 'Fear the Reaper' -enough-, from the sounds of it. Maybe too much Volante in their Disco.

  7. The syncs are coming too hard and heavy (metal) to not spill this over right quick. First, this for when you will --> --> that said, woo. Where to even start. I can't. Like Mr. Burns and the amount of diseases that should kill him but can't, it's blocking itself, clotting like a scab. But Grant Morrison is part of this syncstream, as is so much more but - here's my parting jewel if it may turn to one - BOC is a metaphor for a phallus worship religion - blue, expanded, erected, elongated, yea, oysters are the aphrodisiac known to improve sexual desire/performance, etc, and cult is... well, not quite Occult, izzit? I'll have a more coherent comment next time, with more succinct and demonstrative points - however, '(Don't Fear) The Reaper is the next video in the playlist I shared with you, for a reason mentioned in the video, and just yesterday I finished Sinister Forces III, so there's that sync, but uh, if I channeled my music, CLK, do I have to credit it to the entity I channeled it from? Or is that just for books, by ones named Simon?

    1. Interesting. I don't think I've ever heard that interpretation before. Oysters have a sexual connotation but I don't know if its phallic (remember the snails and oysters in Spartacus?). Sinister Forces III, eh? I gotta get that one...

    2. Ya that is just my 'newbie' interp. I told OMF Mr GW that, at that time, I was 'baby-turtling'. Seems like -oh, fitting- that I've stepped in to TMNT level. Still much to learn - but notice that Master Splinter was a rat w/ wood name - coz 1984 in to 85 Gregorian was the year of the wood rat, like we're in fire mo(o)nkey right now. Hope you're day is swimming with lightness and rightness. WBV

  8. Because of Stranger Things and your blog, Chris, I'm rediscovering the Clash a bit and I have to say, the studio version of Magnificent 7 as well as that live version are both excellent. As usual, the syncs are popping up all over the place. My sister turned me onto both the Clash (I LOVED Radio Clash) and BOC (her first concert). I remember proudly wearing the tour shirt underneath my St. Francis school uniform in Manchester, NH. Oh, and I just picked up a used copy of Morrison's The Filth over the weekend. As an aside, I got your X-Files book last week and am really enjoying it. Thanks!

    1. Yeah, I often wish the Clash and Pearlman stuck together. They were going for the total hardcore sound on Rope but Pearlman was more than able to handle their more eclectic stuff. When I think about how exhausted and enervated they got by the end with all the Combat Rock stuff I can't help but think what a real producer who wouldn't let them get away with all those half-assed performances could've made of it all. Even Sandinista- the production fails the songs time and again. It's the strength of the material- about a third of the total- that lifts it all above the murk. Even the sainted London Calling doesn't have the gusto they were capable of. They saw the studio as a place to get high and goof off. Pearlman wasn't having any of that. They could have made some truly astonishing records had they put their minds to it.

    2. Thanks for the kind words, by the way.

    3. If you really want to hear Magnificent 7 sound like it was recorded for Give 'Em Enough Rope, check out this version:

      Terry Chimes really brought out the hard rock instincts in the band with his caveman backbeat.

  9. Thanks for posting this entry just as I'm half finished reading Dead Names, by Simon. I also think it's interesting that there's a Peter in this story (Levenda), and a Simon as well. Echoes of Simon Peter, the Apostle? Or of the same Peter, and the Magician Simon to whom Peter was opposed?

    1. The possibilities are endless, aren't they? A new kind of Kabbalah is forming all around us.

  10. Once you or anyone else sees it, it's there.

    Is it Levenda, or Levanda? Berenstein or Beranstain?

    I honestly don't *like* the direction you've moved my attention, but I've cooperated with it, and what has been seen cannot be unseen.

    1. Oh, I always knew it was Berenstain because I thought that was such an odd name. And that was forever ago...

  11. I don't think something could BE more relevant to my interest. Connecting Sandy Pearlman, Levenda, is catering to my particular brand of weirdness in a major way. Hell, Pearlman is one of the reasons I am so weird in the first place. The whole Imaginos mythology caught my attention at a failry young age.

    1. Yeah, it's easy to forget how the channels of information were back then. How things that got by the gatekeepers could really burn themselves into your brain. I feel for kids today, who'll never know that passion.

  12. Speaking of the Magickal Childe, wasn't Chris Claremont of X-Men fame part of that scene? If so it would make total sense, & connect the dots in a lot of other ways too. (Not least of which him being acknowledged as a huge influence on Grant Morrison.)

    Also, was wondering if there was any verifiable info on Pearlman's possible occult connections. Since he wrote for Crawdaddy, he probably knew William Burroughs, who also had a regular column in it & who was living in the Bunker on the Bowery by that point. Burroughs was in the IOT & was enthused enough by the Necronomicon to write a blurb for it. & of course, Burroughs was a big influence on Morrison as well. Funny how everything always seems to come full circle when you dwell on it.

    1. I'm trying to get some more information on Pearlman's connections. I may try Peter Levenda- he might have some information. Sadly, we're losing a lot of those folks now. If I find anything interesting I'll do a followup.

  13. thanks so much for that tom synder mag 7 performance on youtube. i had no idea. incredible. btw your our gods book is great. ive been reading you and Visup for awhile now any other similar stuff out there? thanks again and keep it up!

    1. There's, if you haven't found it already. Thank you for the kind words- I appreciate it.

  14. I'm fascinated- is there anything published by Pearlman? I love the BOC lyrics, but have always hoped there's more of that brain churning stuff somewhere.

    1. Apparently he was working on some books on music history. I'll have to see if any are out there.

    2. Found this chat on Youtube. Very interesting guy:

  15. I'll be responding to comments later today- just wrapping up some work here. This post has gotten a lot of traffic, which I never expected. You never know what's going to resonate. I'm very happy though, because Sandy Pearlman is one of these individuals who did a lot of good work behind the scenes and let other people take the credit. He came to a very sad end and it's past time he got his due.

    1. You are awesome CLK. :3 I hope you're enjoying your day!

    2. Thank you, kind sir. It was a busy one. Now I have a lot of reading to catch up with...

  16. Found this archived from an interview Pearlman did with Kerrang some years back, hope it helps:

  17. A big inspiration for a piece I just posted, linking some of your info here, Chris.