AUG 18, 2016
You've asked me some interesting questions:
"Do you think there are sins that cannot be forgotten or forgiven? You must know this better than anyone. And also, is the moment when you can forgive yourself for the sin the moment when the sin is absolved? Since it is the God in us that suffers for our sins, isn't it? I think when God is in a good mood he says there is no sin at all."
In the most ancient of Asian spiritual traditions God (Brahman) is said to be changeless and immovable. In this understanding God would not be subject to moods, and certainly untouched by sin. Would God stand in judgment of God?
The very notion of "sin" is a human invention. Any forgiveness or absolution required must, therefore, be the responsibility of the human sinner. What human culture has come to think of as sin, that of sin being some sort of black mark on our soul or some violation written in God's book, misses the point — literally. Sin is a most unfortunate error that has been perpetuated by biblical scholars and clerics for millennia, an error that has wrought great strife and needless suffering in the world, the result of an incorrect translation of scripture.
The Holy Bible we know today was originally written in Greek. The word sin in Greek in literal translation means "to miss the mark", as an arrow shot from a bow may miss the target. So the term was never intended to refer to some stain on the sacrosanct, unblemishable soul. A sin is simply a poorly aimed shot. We sin when, either through ignorance or forgetfulness, we fail to connect ourselves properly in the consciousness of God. It may be necessary to forgive oneself for making a mistake, by admitting it, but the only absolution necessary is to correct one's aim.
Purity is inherent in all of existence. No misbegotten notion of sin can make us impure, and there is no devil that has the power to come between us and our own divine nature. The only satan or adversary is the ego that wrestles incessantly in the mind to perpetuate the error of believing oneself to be separate from that purity — to keep one missing the mark. The devil is a make-believe character in a story told to children in an attempt to make them obedient, and sins are merely tricks of this devil used to throw off our aim. The sooner we disabuse ourselves of such silly notions the sooner we will know the unfettered freedom that is our birthright.
AUG 15, 2016
Just out of curiosity I wanted to ask you if you ever heard the Velvet Underground play in San Francisco or L.A. in late sixties? I’ve read that they performed a couple of times on the east coast in -68 or -69. What are your thoughts about the Velvets music? Of course, I’m an old velvet-fan myself, so your assessment would be really interesting.
I also would like to tell you how deeply impressed i am by the artistic career that you have pursued while in prison for decades, this is so encouraging. I wish you all the best for your future and in particular with upcoming parole hearing.
As far as I know, The Velvet Underground did not gig in San Francisco or the bay area. Pretty sure I would have heard if they had. However, I did meet Nico in San Francisco. This was in '67, just a chance meeting in the apartment of a friend where she was a guest. A rangy sort of woman, and she seemed a lot warmer than her stage persona.
The Velvet Underground came to L.A. with Andy Warhol's Plastic Inevitable. Appropriately, they gigged for a week or two at a short-lived cheesy nightclub on the strip (Sunset Blvd) called The Trip. I saw several of their performances there. This was in '66, when I was 17. They were unlike any of the L.A. bands, dark and spooky, but definitely worth seeing more than once. They were too weird for many people in the L.A. scene at the time. Weird has always appealed to me, however.
Thank you for your kind remarks about my work.
AUG 13, 2016
With profound gratitude to its builder, professional luthier and longtime friend Tim Jagmin, I am happy to share these photos of the electric-acoustic guitar Tim recently made for me.
I first became acquainted with Tim back in the mid-1970s when he was making custom electric guitars and pickups for The Silver Bullet Band, fronted by singer Bob Seeger - a great motor town rock band. At the time I was building electric guitars too, and that's what brought us together. Tim made the radical blade pickups for the doubleneck guitar I played during the time I was recording the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising.
This is a large guitar, Tim's first jumbo acoustic. The neck and body is birdseye-figured bubinga with an oiled natural finish. Except for the Schaller tuning machines, Tim made every piece that went into the making of this guitar, including the stainless steel frets. At present the guitar is in safe keeping with my late wife's son, John Freeman, who plays it regularly. John tells me the instrument has a rich, warm tone with a satisfying low end thump. Fate willing there will come a time when I can play it and hear what it sounds like with my own ears.
Many thanks to Nicole Freeman for taking these photos.
MAY 20, 2016
Just wanted to drop a line and say that I just purchased the Lucifer Rising Suite CD set. I'm a big fan of the original release, so I really look forward to hearing all of the rest that heretofore has been unavailable. No offense to Kenneth Anger, but I have always thought the soundtrack was better than the film.
You manage to capture such ambience in your work. As a fellow musician, I am interested in how your writing process works in regards to that, if you are willing to discuss it.
Since you already like the film soundtrack, my guess is that you're really going to enjoy listening to the Suite as a whole. There is a common theme in all of the recordings that are in this anthology. Although I began the project with the intention of producing a good soundtrack for the film, the scope of the project enlarged seemingly of its own will to extend well beyond this original premise. Even so, from the beginning I wanted the music to stand on its own, independent of its service to the film.
The ambient quality of the soundscape is an integral part of my music composition process. Of necessity I usually compose, record, and mix using headphones. This is not usually considered the best way to produce music. Studio monitors are recommended but that option has not been available to me. One advantage that developed out of the limitation is that it led to finding or devising techniques for placing the instruments and sound components into distinct locations and distances from the middle, that being the apparent location of the listener. Sometimes I will make a single note move in location or distance over time. Why not? - it's all virtual space anyway. I'm happiest with the result when the musical performance seems to live in a space that exists in defiance of the distance between the ear cups of the headphones or the space within one's skull.
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