ISSUE #1         OCTOBER, 2000  
 page 3 of 8

BIG SHIT ABOUT HERACLITUS I've been reading the crap out of Richard Meltzer lately. It's not the first time I've gone through a phase like this, having pretty much exhausted everything I could get my hands on by him a few years ago, reading each book or article once all the way through and then rereading parts of it over and over again. (Meltzer can be very good on second, third, fourth, etc. readings, because you have license to skip the 'frustrating' parts and go straight to all the insight.) However, before even, say, '97 had rushed to its close, the rereadings were finally-inevitably-amicably becoming routine, and I cooled it, a 'zine-y chapbook with a so-so long essay on golf and some good enough zennish short poems that I got for $4 in Portland being my only 'relapse' until today's current 'reading the crap out of' situation, brought on solely by my purchase of A Whore Just Like The Rest: The Collected Music Writings of Richard Meltzer, a 591-page book recently published by Da Capo press. Now I've got lots more to chew on. Lots and lots - I could write books about the book he just wrote, ya know?
           But what I'm focusing on here is his preoccupation with Heraclitus. The Greek philosopher. Meltzer's a bit of a fan of this guy, you might say. I had already gleaned this from my readings of The Aesthetics of Rock, Meltzer's very first readable/unreadable book (I'll admit that one I've never read all the way through), in which he references Heraclitus as well as a few other pre-Socratic philosophers. He discusses Heraclitus in the new book too, in excerpts from Aesthetics, and in this fine paragraph on p. 549:

           'The last time I thought about it, my favorite philosopher was Heraclitus. "You can't step in the same river twice" - I'm sure you know that one. "The way up and the way down are one and the same." A bunch of fragments, aphorisms. "Nature loves to hide." One that I've always got a kick out of, and a shitload of writerly mileage from, is "Consult thyself," translated also as "I consulted myself." I don' know Greek, it's oke either way, but meaning what: "Empiricism starts here"? Spotlight on the subject (before Western philosophy even had a subject-object split)?'
Here's a pretty current picture of Mr. Meltzer. Wow, he looks like he could be in Pelt. Also kinda (dare I say) Gary Snyder-ish?! Reading this new book got me dusting off some of my old Meltzer, such as his 'novel' The Night (Alone), and a bunch of computer prints I made of some of his essays that are on the web. (For awhile this online rock magazine called Addicted to Noise ( was reprinting Meltzer's columns for the L.A. Weekly and The San Diego Reader.) One such essay was a great one called "Another Superficial Piece About 176 Beatnik Books," in which he writes a sort of casual racounteurish critical summary of every writer who was ever associated with the Beats at all, from Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg at the top (a few pages each) all the way down to, um, Jack Micheline and Anne Waldman (a few sentences each). Somewhere in there, a little towards the latter half of the spectrum, Meltzer has good things to say about the poet (and ordained Zen Buddhist monk) Philip Whalen. I know that I have some Whalen poetry in my house somewhere, so I decide to pull that off the shelf and dust it off. Let's see, I know he's in The Beat Reader (ed. Ann Charters, A Penguin Book), and he's in The New American Poetry (ed. Donald M. Allen, An Evergreen Original, one of my favorite poetry anthologies of all time). So I'm looking up his poems and reading 'em and they're pretty good all right (Meltzer's zen-liner description: "Reading Philip Whalen may not be as easy as falling off a log, but it's close."), and of course I can't help but notice a name from the past that Whalen quotes at least three or four different times: Heraclitus!           
           Well, that's neat but it's not exactly surprising; Meltzer appreciates Whalen, and they both appreciate Heraclitus, an appreciation they arrived at independently. What IS surprising is that today I was wandering around downtown Lincoln, going to my favorite shops which I rarely go to, and at A Novel Idea bookstore I pick up this book on Italian Futurism for $2.50. It's a neat little book, published in England in 1986 by the Art Data imprint. It's a small little paperback, with lots of color reproductions of crazy futurist paintings, photos of the artists from back in the day, photos of Luigi Russolo himself playing his noise instruments, and more, and I'm flipping through it, and I take a look at the introduction, and right there on page five, is this:

           Marinetti's conception of Futurist action was close to the Nietzschean interpretation of Heraclitus: "United, we must attack! We must create with absolute faith in the imperishable richness of the earth! There can be no nostalgia! No pessimism! There's no turning back! Boldly, let us advance! Forward, faster, farther, higher! Let us lyrically renew our joy in being alive!"
           So there's Heraclitus again, and on a totally different tack here's Meltzer digging deep for answers from a 'national soul' to a question that has puzzled and pained me as well:

               And what, pray tell, is the Ameri-Christian beef with homosexuality?
That it is, bottom line, from their tightassed perspective, prima facie sexual--the very word conjures up images of sex acts--sperm flying all over the place--while the fact of Donnie Osmond, say, as a professed heterosexual evokes nothing.

           A-frigging-men! Read the rest of the rant this is culled from while you can; it was published by an online boxing zine! (Be sure to check out the rest, it's a pretty cool boxing zine!)




"It may be revolting to a lot of people, but at least it's an alternative to the garbage that's been around for ten years," he said. " I've had it up to here with Crosby Steals The Cash. I need another group like that like I need another dick. I'd rather listen to some young kid in a leather jacket singing a song like 'I want to eat out my mother' than to hear some of these insipid guys with their cowboy boots and embroidered shirts doing 'Six Days On The Road.' I like Mink DeVille."   WHO SAID THAT?
(from Creem Magazine - March 1978 - by Clark Peterson) SOURCE PAGE

"The head getting shaved happened while I was livin in the hut doin ACID. Me and Divine happened to be in the mental experimentation phase of our lives. Once we did a couple of demos with Muggs and we had a couple of Lethal's demos, all of a sudden we had another record deal. It was kind of bizarre. I already had the look: I had the head shaved and the goatee because I was on some kind of bumy shit. [sic] We took some pictures like that and people lost their minds, like "Whoa, who the fuck is this guy? he looks insane."  WHO SAID THAT?
(from The Irish Pub website) SOURCE PAGE

Jack Kerouac in On The Road on the people of Chicago: "...semi-Eastern, semi-Western..." Thanks Jack, as a onetime resident of Chicago, I know what you mean! I'd also add, if I can use your template, that from my experience people in Ohio, a couple more states East, are 'semi-Eastern, semi-Midwestern.'

You've heard of "Top 10 of 1998" lists or whatever (how boring?), or "staff picks," (who cares?), but here's something that actually matters a damn in this shill-dense global culture we're all breathing right this 'fucking' second:

Six Organs of Admittance Dust and Chimes
His second full-length, CD only, after a landmark debut LP. Both self-released with hand-made covers. After the LP the CD sounded more 'commercial' of all things, but a few listens to the CD as ' the CD' and not 'the LP' remedied that. "Blue Sun Chiming" is a heartrending melodic spaced-out folk song (not even three minutes long) that will reverberate forEVER once you've learned to recognize it. Track Nine, "Journey Through Sankuan Pass," is a tangled post-Basho post-whocaresIdo acoustic folk improvisatory ramble that goes for six or seven welcome minutes. And those are the only surprises I'm gonna give away.
Roscoe Mitchell Sound
For the entire aleatoric 26-minute title track as it appears on the CD reissue. Recorded in 1966. Shit, for the cover too, a glorious black and white design with a mandala move. The young welterweight Mitchell is pictured in the center.
Leonard Cohen Songs of Leonard Cohen
Nuff said. I first heard it on the soundtrack of McCabe and Mrs. Miller. One of the all-time greatest LP back covers.
Talk Talk Spirit of Eden
Believe the hype. "Heaven bless you." "Everybody needs someone to live by." "Desire..." "I've seen h****n for myself."
Blue Oyster Cult Blue Oyster Cult
Believe the hype. "By silverfish imperetrix, whose incorrupted eye / Sees through the charms of doctors and their wives..." "She's as beautiful as a foot..." "We're pain, we're steel, a plot of knives / We're Transmaniacon MC." And sheez, speaking of mandala-move LP cover art ...
Angus MacLise The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda
See the name of this magazine. And the followup, Brain Damage in Oklahoma City, is just as good. I know MacLise was a poet and a "shaman" and all that, but the way he plays those hand drums for 46 minutes straight, for all I know he might also hold some old Middleweight Boxing Titles from Syracuse University or something. (Before he moved down to NYC to be a "shaman." Just speculating here.)
Various Artists Soundbombing
From Rawkus Records. Hip hop and rap music that isn't about sloth and villainy, at least not by default. I'd call it 'intelligent hip hop' but then everyone would get self-righteous about how 'pretentious' that is. Better to put it like Evil D himself does on the album: "This is goin' out strictly to underground heads. Commercial niggas could never understand this." Hey man, I'm just quoting. To paraphrase Q-Tip, Rawkus Records feature black children (and Eminem) that are (almost) 100% intelligent. (I'd say they're scoring at least 93%. Puff Daddy? Snoop? Dre? DMX? Ruff Ryders? Etc? Etc? 70% and lower.)
Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra Visits Planet Earth / Interstellar Low Ways
It's 'swing era' Sun Ra, but after a few listens reveals many hidden pockets of whuh, such as the tortuous extended lead melody of "Saturn," the slowly drawn out misterioso landscapes of "Interstellar Low Ways," the long a capella arco bass and piano bits that break up supposed 'novelty song' "Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus," the slooowww blues of "Space Loneliness" (and its great aleatoric 'clickety' sound from some Arkestra member), or how about the GREAT sound-of-joy electric piano solo on album opener "Reflections in Blue"?

to h*ck with label addresses, if you wanna connect with any of this shit just go to and do a search on the band name and title too if its different (using "__" + "__" format) . that's honestly your best chance of buying any of this stuff, it's just not economically feasible to stock it in most record stores..

I was just looking at this web page right here and at a glance I thought "Cut The Cake" by Average White Band said "Cut The Coke" which makes sense too, because you know Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stuart and the boys was doin' some coke at the sessions. You can imagine them originally writing the song as "Cut The Coke," presumably because they were jamming on blue-eyed funk/soul harmony while gathered around the mirror cutting up lines. Then they 'toned down the lyrics' for pop radio when it came time to record. You can imagine it, but I don't think that's really what happened. I don't think the similarity between "cut the cake" and "cut the coke" (only a one-letter difference!) is a coincidence either, just the rare collision of two parallel lines on the sex/drugs/gusto/song metaphorical axis.

I always love it when I stumble on someone's 'homepage.' You know 'homepages' -- it's a genre of web page all unto itself, made by honest-to-gosh EVERYDAY PEOPLE, who don't have anything specific to put up except things about themselves, things like where they live, things they like, what they do, what they look like -- you could say it's a weird sort of 'meat (meet) market,' but it's different than that...I don't know, I just love homepages. Like that guy from Turkey or whatever who said "I KISS YOU!!!" That was just a homepage. I've got a few sites linked below that aren't quite that histrionic but are always just about as revelatory. Homepages are just about the most honest presentation (because it's self-presentation) of everyday everyman-rube-genius culture that's left.

Walter Vogel
Ta'Wayne Davis
Totton Heffelfinger
Chris Moon
Ritchie Blackmore
Jess the Metal Chick

Johnny Tattoo

those aren't even the good ones....

Then there are home pages from people like Jim Loy that are kinda impressive. He says "I have been called a 'Renaissance person.' I think the correct expression is 'middle aged'." Jim Loy doesn't seem to be a rube at-friggin-all. He might, however, be a weirdo, but I think a lot of non-rubes end up that way.

Then there's the page at that offers "Totally Unique Thoughts...because thoughts become things!" I liked it better the way George Clinton explained it: "Every thought felt as true/Or allowed to be accepted as true by your conscious mind/Takes root in your subconscious/Blossoms sooner or later into an act/And bears its own fruit/Good thoughts bring forth good fruit/Bullshit thoughts rot your meat/Think right, and you can fly/The kingdom of heaven is within/Free your mind, and your ass will follow."

Hessian Love is where some folks pulled a big prank on one little pocket of rube subculture. Visit and participate in that great 90s pastime: observing the patheticness in others. As rewarding as finding a dozen goofy homepages.

Hey man, tonight I went to have beers and nachos at Lazlo's Bar and Grill, a surefire hangout for all the beef-eatin' football-cheerin' Nebraskans, and I was blown away by the music playing there. It wasn't the usual testosterone-pandering diet of Def Mariah Leppard, instead it was all the zoned-out hits from late-night FM radio that I remembered from my youth: "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" by Traffic, "You Never Give Me Your Money" by the Beatles, "Dreams" by Allman Brothers (their single most palatable (as in 'tasty') moment IMHO), "Dirty Work" by Steely Dan, even "Main Street" by Seger sounded perfectly mellow and dreamy. My date suggested that maybe they had it set on the "drug rock" channel, and I wholeheartedly agreed.

The only time I drink milk other than when I eat breakfast cereal is if I'm drinking a White Russian. And that has only happened about once in the last year. Not that I don't like White Russians, I think they're delicious. A very tasty way to catch a buzz. I'm just not a mixed drink person. If I'm at a bar, I drink beer. If I'm at home, I drink beer, though I will have an occasional screwdriver. The reason I don't ever have White Russians is that it necessitates buying two bottles of liquor, vodka and kahlua, and it's hard enough for me to spend the ten to twenty bucks or so on one, let alone two. I buy a bottle of vodka maybe twice a year. In fact, I've got a bottle of vodka sitting in my house right now, and it's still over half-full, and it's been there for about five months. Part of the reason it's still so full is that it's a fairly rancid kind of cheap vodka, Barton. But, when the higher quality 'hangover-free' vodkas like Skyy and Absolut cost about twenty dollars a bottle . . . it's not so much that I'm a cheapskate, more that I prefer not to invest in quality alcohol when there are plenty of inexpensive beers on the market that are a good solid taste, such as Red Hook, Old Style, Miller High Life, Cortland Wheat, Leinenkugel's, and the most unfairly neglected beer of them all, Pabst Blue Ribbon. Even mildly 'upscale' beers like Sam Adams and Boulevard are a better investment for me than the Skyy/Absolut/Knob Creek/Maker's Mark/Canadian Club axis. (Jim Beam is perhaps the only possible exception to this rule, though it is still a rare occasion, because drinking whiskey to me is like taking LSD is to some - a generally gratifying but always challenging experience, and only to be undertaken when 'in the mood.')

Favorite beer right now: Red Hook ESB. Runner-up: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Best "nice price" beer: Pabst Blue Ribbon. Runner-up: Old Style.

Yeah, yeah, I noticed that most of my 'inklings' and my 'musings' had something to do with drugs like beer and etc. All I can say is...everyone likes to get blasted in one way or another....and if you're gonna get blasted, you've gotta have a good blastitude about it. Think of it as my own careful investigation of, you guessed it, Rimbaud's 'derangement of the senses.' Or, like LaMonte Young himself said in the first issue of Halana magazine: "I want to say that I think that each drug has to be thought of as an instrument, a tool that has a very specific purpose, and to use it properly, you have to be a master of that particular instrument, and that in the same way that one person may be able to have a glass of wine with dinner and get very inspired, and another person can ruin their life with alcohol, drugs can not really be used by everyone....Yes, certain drugs can create spiritual states, and certain drugs can give strength, and certain drugs can give precision, and certain drugs can give an ability to hear intervals, and drugs have many different characteristics and psychological states and physiological results that they can produce, but they can only do this productively in the hands of somebody who is really a master of them." Now that's a good blastitude!

                                      Brad Sonder is a writer who lives in Lincoln, and presumably does nothing but sit at his computer and listen to records -- no one knows anyone who has seen him. Don't miss his dense 'new records' column, So Much Music, So Much Time as published in Nougat. Brad also writes a column about the Lincoln music scene for

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