Friday, February 5, 2010


Well, predictably, I've slacked up a bit here on posting. But I'm here again, so let's start off by welcoming Mike, and congratulating him and Tonya on the arrival of Geoffrey! Got the pic today, thanks, it's now on my fridge. He's off to a great start.

Also, let's welcome Jerry, glad to have you here. Hope the book is going well.

Nice to see the readership grow, I'm up to nearly half my listeners now!

OK, err...uhh....content, content, gotta have new content....

I got a CD in the mail today that I've been wanting for a couple of years now: "Not Of This Earth: The soundtrack music of Ronald Stein". This guy counts as a major influence on me, even just based on his work for "Dementia 13", Francis Coppola's first mainstream flick. My first memory of that goes back to around the age of 4, when they started to show it pretty faithfully on t.v. in L.A. I have early recordings I did with a couple of friends where I initiated a jam based on riffs inspired by that soundtrack. That's music that prepared me for things like "Lark's Tongues" and "Red". But not only is "Dementia 13" on there, but so is "Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman", "The
Terror", "Attack Of The Crab Monsters", "Not Of This Earth", "Spider Baby", and others. He worked a lot for American International (AKA Roger Corman and friends). So this guy's stuff was going through my ears and writing its way into my brain functions long before I knew who he was, and more frequently than I ever realized.

That was a nice thing about t.v. back in the 60s and 70s, you could usually see at least one decent horror or science fiction movie a day, especially if you were willing to get up in the middle of the night to do it- or were already awake. The t.v. was usually on in at least one room in whatever place we happened to be living in. (I lived in 17 places before my 11th birthday.) L.A. stations not only had a great library of Hollywood movies from the 30s on up, but we also got a lot of dubbed Mexican horror, some of which was great fun. "Brainiac" or "Curse Of The Puppet People", anyone? How about "The Aztec Mummy", who was so slow he made Kharis from the Universal pics look like he was racewalking? (The Aztec mummy's given name was Popoca, but to me he was, and shall remain, Slopoca.)

It's not just music I picked up from horror/science fiction/fantasy on t.v., but also sounds. They've been showing the original Outer Limits on a local station here late at night, and they recently had on the one with Barry Morse and Carol O'Connor, where they're undercover Martians going to witness a murder. They have a machine that tweaks time back and forth, so they can sort of rewind events, or watch them in slow or fast motion. The sound the machine makes when it's turned on can now also be heard on the Dog Neutral set, because I found out how to mimic it pretty closely on guitar. Obviously it was done in a totally different way originally- sounds like something with an interesting envelope and decay turned backwards. So many great sounds in these old movies and shows, things like the flying saucers stuttering and crashing in "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers", or the death ray sound in "War Of The Worlds". How about the ant sound in "Them"? At the Jr. College I went to, I used to hear something very similar to that coming from behind a locked door, but couldn't figure out what was making it. Then one day I saw it open, for maintenance. It was apparently some large cooling system, and what I was hearing was a very squeaky and large fan belt (probably 3 ft. from flywheel to flywheel). Great sounds are everywhere, you never know where you'll find them or where they'll turn up. But I'm probably more attuned to that than most because I grew up watching horror and science fiction on t.v., and those films, regardless of budget, had more inventive sound
designs than almost any other kind of picture. The content demanded it.

Would we have space rock without space movies and shows? Seems unlikely to me.

Listening to a lot of Le Orme lately. They may be my favorite Italian prog band. Great stuff. Back when I was first starting to play (drums), I had an 8-track of the English language version of "Felona and Serona" (English lyrics by Peter Hammill!). Played that sucker religiously, that whole first summer I had my kit. Looking forward to the arrival of my other mail order purchase, "Sync Or Swarm", a book about improvisation by David Borgo. Looks great. Currently making my way through "Modern Times", a book about the historical context of 20th century music. Well at least classical music. One day someone will take on a more comprehensive view, which I think is a must, but this is still very interesting.

Well, I'd best finish my evening- due up with the munchkin in the morning. Hats off to all.


1 comment:

  1. Love the comments about noises/sounds! I learned to listen for such things first through Andy sykora and then Paper Bag and have been doing it ever since. What a strange joy it is to be standing by my press at work and suddenly become aware of a really cool rhythm or a particularly interesting squeeeeeel...