|The Morning Final Interview
|MF:||Tell us how BÖC came into your life?|
|JS:||Happened to hear them live just after their first LP came out (or just before?) in Central Park, NYC on a trip to NY before I actually moved out there. Bought the first album. Was impressed. Serious BÖC damage from the first three LPs especially (and the first live LP besides). Please note that I regard the early BÖC - and I do not mean by this the Soft White Underbelly, which is dripping with a regrettable Grateful Dead influence - as having been the real source and inspiration of bands like Metallica and Megadeth. Without On Your Feet or On Your Knees especially, those bands would not exist.|
|MF:||What made them attractive to you?|
|JS:||The intelligence of their metal and the resonation remaining of classical influence; interesting lyrics; their persona. Buck's guitar playing. Eric's vocals. I also like Buck's vocals he's more 'melodic' but Eric puts across the character of the tune very well. I liked the power in the music, the metal power that brings images to the mind...|
|MF:||The whole lyric story would be neat too, how you passed it onto them...|
|JS:||Gracie, a writer and BÖC fan who, with Zarkov, publishes articles now and then, whom I met through, I think "St. Jude" of Mondo 2000 magazine, knew that BÖC was looking for a new lyricist and knew I adored their music and that I was a writer of novels with themes and a mood that were not inconsistent with BÖC, so she made the connection through her connection, Sandy Pearlman, as I recall. I gave Pearlman, I think, the original set of lyrics and he said that some were 'appropriate' and passed them on, and those eventually became the songs in [the movie] Bad Channels, "Demon's Kiss" and "The Horsemen Arrive." There was a certain, ah, hastiness to how the songs were recorded, but they were also great interpretations not only of the lyrics but also, more importantly, of the musical ideas that seemed to be hovering around them. Of course the band may start with the lyrics (often do, I think) and then look for musical inspiration in them, or they may, almost as often, simply have some bit of half-formed music that fits and they collate that with the lyric and they build it up, layer on layer, from there. That's my impression and it's how it works in my band; though also, in my band, I hear music and then write lyrics to fit the mood of the music. Since Bad Channels I've written numerous other lyrics which BÖC is using (of course I write far more than they use; I'm too prolific for my own good, that is, for consistent quality) on the new LP. I often fax lyrics to Don Roeser (Buck) and he writes around them or fits them to something he has, or, perhaps, puts them in a drawer and forgets about them. Eric has written music to my lyrics too.|
|MF:||What's your favorite bit of BÖC? Favorite album and tune?|
|JS:||I tend to like the first three LPs the best, four if you count On Your Feet. I think that's when they were most unique and most in 'command' of what made them unique; this may be due to Sandy Pearlman's overseership and his classical (e.g. Bruckner) influences. Also his rather mysterious lyrics have a level at which they resonate with the occult and hermetic ideas in an intelligent way; most bands that deal with occult themes do so oafishly. Not the BÖC. Favorite LP is probably Secret Treaties but I also love "Before the Kiss" on the first LP, and "Dizbusters" on On Your Feet is a bit of rock 'n' roll history. That song on the live LP, together with ME-262 created bands like Metallica and THEY OWE THE BÖC!! I am NOT saying that later BÖC LPs are not great (they were pretty much always four cuts above everyone else). The post-"Reaper" BÖC LPs showed, perhaps, the greater influence of Don Roeser, less or no influence of Allen Lanier and Pearlman - though Imaginos is a strange exception: a brilliant experiment that doesn't always work but is very powerful. Roeser's work is gorgeous, of course, he's a very subtle painter in the colors of darkness...|
|MF:||Are you happy with the way they combine their music to your words?|
|JS:||Usually very much and of course I'm honored they used my lyrics at all. It happens that I didn't know they were doing a version of "Like To See You In Black," (thought they'd passed on that one) so I recorded my own version! I prefer my version, as it is what I had in mind, but they often do other things that are amazingly close to what I had in mind as in "Horsemen." I'm just honored to have my boyhood heroes sing anything I penned...|
|MF:||Can you tell us in detail about each of the songs? What are they all about?|
|JS:||Demon's Kiss - Mostly self explanatory but on some level it's about the dangers of going with the darker desires.
The Horsemen Arrive - It states that man is its own worst enemy - WE are the four horsemen of the apocalypse, referenced in legend and in the song: WE are the sources of famine, disease, war etc - We are responsible for our own apocalypses and the 'horses' may well be returning to us, the president seems to hear their hooves on the White House roof...
I'd Like To See You In Black - This is a sort of gothic vision: "I like to see you in black cause it makes me feel like your husband's dead." It's about a guy talking a woman into murdering her husband! But in fairness to the singer, the husband to be murdered beats her up so he's an asshole.
Power Underneath Despair - Something very real, that power. To be reborn, the gospels tell us (and other mystical sources) you must first die. In what sense do they mean die? On the surface the song is a story about a guy who was betrayed into jail by some gangsters; he focuses his will in jail, gets out, hunts them down and kills them - the way the BÖC does the chorus of this song is shatteringly powerful and is just what I had in mind.
The Cold Grey Light Of Dawn - This is a song about recognition of one's own mortality and limitations. growing up.
Real World - What is real, and what isn't? It's all subjective. Miracles are hovering in our peripheral vision; hiding just behind us, waiting just over the horizon.
Damaged - Pretty straightforward: I try to be a balanced, centered, understanding guy who doesn't party too much, run around and misbehave but I can't because I'm damaged and frankly, I LIKE IT. That's the 'character' created by the lyrics, that's not me. Many songs are like short stories to me, are about characters.
Live For Me - another story song, about a guy whose brother is killed by a drunk driver, and the brother says as he dies: Live for me. Do all the things I won't live to do, live life to the fullest - but do it smart, so that you survive - so that you can go on, to live for me... live for me... live for me...
X-Ray Eyes - What if you COULD see God? What if you COULD see beyond the veil of reality? You really think you'd want to? What do you think an OD on acid really is? You don't want to see some of those things, warns the man with the x-ray eyes - inspired by the oldtime low budget movie, with, I think, Ray Milland.
Hammerback - A classic metal paranoia song about that feeling that you got to be ready for action any time, because it's a dangerous uncertain world: another song "in character" and not representative of my viewpoint. My viewpoint on paranoia is that PARANOIA IS A SKILL. Useful, but any skill must be mastered...
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