NO-VEMBER, 2003 E.V.

 

 

TOOL DVD EMAIL
(a few examples of hundreds deleted)

"I think you made a mistake in your newsletter because you didn't quite finish one of your sentences: "Nevertheless I finally do have some information about the release date…"

BMB:
Actually that wasn't a mistake as even rotting elephants (sorry E.E.) should be acutely aware. I do have the tiniest bit of information, but I was waiting for the right person to ask about it in the proper manner. You see, there's a certain way to go about this that will guarantee results.

EMAIL:
"Man, you pulled quite the swifty in the last newsletter concerning the release date for the DVD. I laughed quite hard (then cried)… In all seriousness, when the f*** is it going to be released?

BMB:
Nope. Not the proper manner (and not just due to the thinly-veiled profanity)…

"PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS…

I can't wait for the Tool DVD any longer. All I want for Christmas is my Tool DVD. Of course I will have to wait until it is released. That is the only way to get it in my possession. Waiting impatiently."

BMB
The only way to get it? Doesn't show initiative (how about getting a job at the DVD manufacturing plant?)… and, besides, what about your two front teeth or world peace?

EMAIL:
"When's the DVD being released… seriously… enough already… joke's over… don't you want to cash in on Christmas?"

BMB
Think about it?

EMAIL:
"I gave this a whole lot of thought and made the decision that I'd give you a money order in the amount of $1.06 (one dollar and six cents) for the tiniest bit of information about the tool DVD."

BMB:
Although this question wasn't phrased quite right (I could give the person the tiniest bit of information about the older Salival DVD and collect my $1.06), it nevertheless is what I was looking for. So here goes: There is NO official release date yet, and it should be very VERY very obvious even to rotting elephants (sorry yet again E.E.) that IT WILL BE POSTED ON THE TOOL WEBSITES IN ALL ITS MAGNIFICENT GLORY AS SOON AS THERE IS AN OFFICIAL OR SEMI-OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE. I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT AND FOR THE LIFE OF ME CAN'T THINK OF ANY REASON WHY WE WOULDN'T MENTION IT ON THE SITE ONCE THERE IS A RELEASE DATE. NOT TO DO SO WOULD BE CRAZY crazy CRAZY. (E-mailer, I will send my address so you can put the money order in the mail... or post if you happen to be from England).

EMAIL:
" Any chance you could clear up an issue for me and the other TA members? The new voice at the log in page is a big topic for discussion as of late and I think people are a tad confused. I say it's Maynard James Keenan but others insist that it's Adam or someone else. Anyway, could you clear this up for us?

BMB
People are a tad confused alright. Sounds like MJK to me. Even rotting elephants should know that's MJK talking about the release date of the new Tool DVD (just kidding, non TA members - he's talking about something else… or is he?)

EMAIL:
I just discovered the alignment coincidence by inserting "The Power of Beef" cover artwork into the first page of the "Lateralus" cover art. Amazing! I showed Danny and the rest of the PLC boys this the other night and they were blown away. They say it's a coincidence and it was the first time they'd seen it. Seriously, go check it out if you haven't already. Let me know what you think.

BMB:
Believe it or not I hadn't already… but I was just about to do so… it was my list right after… But, who am I to argue with the members of PLC. But a coincidence?… Really? With that kind of precision? If that's a coincidence then I guess so is the whole "Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz" thing. (NOTE: Actually, I watched the Hollywood X-Mas parade [from a tattoo parlor sympathetic to my penchant for drinking Coronas whilst watching polished red fire engines and such] with Mike Savage of the Pigmys and he commented on how bizarre he thought it was).

E-MAIL FROM KAT:
"Blair, your pumpkin beer arrived."

BMB:
Nice! Be on the look out for a money order for $1.06.

THE WOMEN OF SPIRALEYES
(in a strange meeting at the pub)

Miss the green kiss, but after all it's only a Monday. I'm sitting in my favorite pub with Camella Grace, Robyn Breen and Camella's black great Dane, Diablo (who I affectionately call "Chick-Magnet.") The girls each order a couple of Stellas and I a fancy bottle of iced tea (which is why I said that it was a STRANGE meeting at the pub). Before I continue, I feel that I should probably explain about the iced tea. Glittering Iceland returned to L.A. and for the last few days we had been doing our best to get into trouble (including sleepwalking through a surprise birthday party for Tool manager Pete's wife Trana. (NOTE: Some people thought that by wishing Trana a happy birthday on the site that this meant that I'd finally watched an episode of Star Trek. Let me assure those who might be concerned that I didn't and still have never seen a single episode of that series in any of its various incarnations, including the original show from the 1960s). Therefore, given the fact that I haven't had any sleep for a couple of days, and that I don't own one of those portable voice recorders, I decided not to order a golden delicious beer. Okay? So don't worry, everything's alright. The Stellas arrive and the girls decide that they'd also like an order of hot chips (as is there habit). With this, Diablo lifts his rather large head and rests it on the table (is it the Stellas or the idea that hot chips are coming I wonder?) Besides the beers and one very surprised fancy bottle of iced tea, we have gathered to talk about the girls… I mean women of "SPIRALEYES" fine art photography and about the various Tool-related projects that the two have worked on for many years.

BMB:

(frustrated)

Damn… that beer looks pretty good what with that glass and all… Okay, Camella, just what the hell happened out at AREA 51? Why didn't we get the world's first shot of naked ladies standing in front of the NO PHOTOGRAPHY SIGNS at the perimeter of America‘s most famous secret base? You know, those signs that also warn that the "USE OF DEADLY FORCE is AUTHORISED?"

CAMELLA

(explaining the situation to Robyn):

"Because it was freezing cold out there… and as Kat was peeling away the various layers of clothes she had on, she froze like a deer in headlights when suddenly this really bright light hit us from one of the security patrols who were watching her strip…"

BMB:

Yes. Yes. But are you ready to give it another try?

CAMELLA and ROBYN

(in unison or damn close to it):

"Yeah!"

CAMELLA:

"It just depends on how many brave souls we can recruit."

(NOTE: It's now been nearly a week since I interviewed Camella and Robyn and I can't read the notes (meaning the answers to the questions or even the questions for that matter) on my yellow note pad. What I really needed was one of those portable voice recorders. Well it's around noon and I've got one of those "what god did I offend" hangovers. So, for what ever reason I'm staring at my phone when it rings. It's Camella and she tells me that there's a band meeting today and wants to know if I'd like to go over the questions for Justin's interview with him. I tell her that I need "one of the things that you talk into" and that I want to ask Robyn and her the Spiraleyes questions again because I was hung-over at the pub last Monday and I'm hung-over again this Monday (Sunday - technically Moon-day is Lodge night, and sometimes we drink ourselves to oblivion… I believe it's called). Camella says in a very slow, compassionate voice: "Do you mean a voice recorder?" "Yes" I reply. "Do you know where I can get one?" "At Radio Shack" she tells me. Silence on my end. "So do you want me to take you there?"… "Yes", I answer." Silence on her end. "I'll come get you in a few minutes." Dial tone: "I love you" I say in a feeble voice…)

A few minutes later I'm in Camella's (or Adam's) Jeep on our way to a Radio Shack. Camella looks at me and asks if I'd had any sleep? "No." "I don't think today's a good day to go over questions with Justin" she says. "I can take a shower… put on a purple sweatshirt and do anything" I tell her. "That's why I love you. Aren't you going to tell me what you did last night so I can live vicariously through…" "No." I tell her. "It's already December" she reminds me. "Are you yelling at me" I ask? "Screaming" she says in a whisper. I'm glad to see that she's smiling. "Do you really think they'll have that thing?" I ask. "Yes. You've never been to a Radio Shack have you?"

Monday night. I'm up at Adam and Camella's house. When I walk into their "office/computer room" Adam is examining something that he's holding with a pair of tweezers under a photo magnification device. "Do you want to see a tick that was on Diablo" he asks me? I recoil in mock-horror. "No, it's okay… it's not a spider" he quickly reassures me. I chuckle at this because, well even if it was a spider, it was only the size of… a tick… and even I don't fear spiders THAT small (don‘t like ‘em, but don‘t fear ‘em). So I look at the hideous thing writhing under the heavy magnification. Hideous to be sure, but I've got some questions to ask Robyn and Camella, and then I want to go home and order some Indian food. Adam leaves with the tick, most likely to dispose of it, although I'm not exactly sure of its fate… it could wind up in an art project of sorts.

BMB:

(into my brand new Radio Shack voice recorder that's

going to change the world we live in)

What I want to know is… how did you two meet and decide to work together?

ROBYN:

"I came in to help Adam do "Stinkfist" (the Tool video) and met Camella. We didn't work together right away. The first time that we ever did anything together was when she helped me edit Wham! Zap! Pow!, my short film… and then we started talking about doing stuff together… and…"

CAMELLA:

"And then we made a bunch of footage for the Tool live shows… and we decided to work on it together, and so from then on… we started having sex regularly (laughter).

BMB:

Okay, that's good. Robyn, while you were working on "Titantic", you also were working on the "Aenema" video?

ROBYN

"Yes, I did some pre-production work on it with Kevin Willis."

BMB:

So how'd you choose the name "SpiralEyes?"

CAMELLA:

"Actually I was studying Japanese and looking for Japanese names when I got the domain name "Spiraleyes" and Robyn was immediately excited about it. You could see those themes in Wham! Zap! Pow!, the theme of the spiral. And the visual language, iconography goes all the way back to RetinaLogic. I mean it was kind of the same premise that we had back then for RetinaLogic… the visual language… that iconography is the most powerful language. A politician doesn't win you over with speeches; it is through images and propaganda.

Timothy Leary used to say "The eyes are the windows of the soul; who controls the eyes, controls the brain."

ROBYN:

"There's something about that name that is infinite. Spirals are very infinite."

BMB:

In the bio on your site (www.spiral eyes.com), Kat writes that "Spiraleyes dares you to glimpse what you believed in when you were little and what you may not know yet.

ROBYN:

"You don't have the judgment that you have as an adult. Everything is new and fresh. You don't look at things tainted by experiences that you have when you‘re an adult.

CAMELLA:

"The language of dreams… the language that we try to capture… the surreal language… the idea of youth is just the idea of being vulnerable… being open to experiencing something without over analyzing it. We try to capture emotions and vulnerabilities. I definitely think that's what we try to do."

Adam walks in plucking on an acoustic guitar and eyes my small recorder. A bloodhound slimes me as Diablo watches. Adam goes back into the living room playing his guitar while I try to read the notes scrawled on my yellow note pad…(Should I get Vindaloo or Chicken Tikka)… notes scrawled on my yellow pad…

BMB:

I remember asking you something about the models…

CAMELLA:

"We feel really blessed every time we do a photo shoot. Almost everyone that volunteers presents their insecurities to us right away. We usually don't work with professional models. We feel really honored that we are able to share an experience and the experience is very transformative. When the person comes in and they are willing to take off their clothes and explore painful… intense emotion, it really changes them… and it changes us. Almost every person that has walked away from a photo shoot has said "thank you… That was great… That was amazing" It's very therapeutic… for us too. It's emotional for us. too."

ROBYN:

"It's very freeing."

CAMELLA:

"And people can work through stuff."

 

BMB:

Let's talk a bit about your photography with women as religious figures. What can you tell me about "Crusifiction" in the "Nightmare Gallery?"

CAMELLA:

"It's part of a series that's yet to be completed. Buddha is next. We're just waiting for the pregnant woman to get fatter… It's interesting growing up as a woman in this society. If women are virgins, they're martyrs. If they're whores nobody likes them…"

ROBYN:

"We're also planning on doing Shiva… Vishnu."

CAMELLA:

"We're trying to figure a way to do Mohammed without getting killed. Mohammed as a naked chick! By the way, in our store on the website we have a happy holidays "Crucifiction" scene… card… with the female Jesus"

ROBYN:

(laughing)

"And we also have a Crucifiction X-mas ornament! And don't forget about the 2004 Spiraleyes calendar."

BMB:

Robyn, you've now co-produced a couple of Tool videos including Schism and the most recently the video for Parabol/Parabala. So do you want to reveal the identity of those record company executive types in the beginning? Those three dudes wearing masks.

ROBYN:

"Okay. Maynard is the first one. The main "suit" with the mauve scarf who cuts the apple in half. And you (Blair) and Lilo are the other two guys. And Henry (Evans) did some insert stuff."

(NOTE: I'm the guy who scratches his nose per Adam's direction, not so simple with the mask and stuff and not being able to see anything. )

CAMELLA:

"Robyn is organized and creative… (laughs) but she can be kind of a bitch when she's a producer. (sincere) It's a rare quality… to be both organized and creative, but that's what she is."

ROBYN:
"Working on Tool videos have been some of the most intense experiences in my life… I was the production manager on "Stinkfist" and I'm in it."

(smiles)

"I'm wiggling in a bathtub in a cocoon. I was the stand-in.

It was supposed to be Minori."

BMB:

And Kevin Willis is that flocked fellow in Stinkfist.

ROBYN

"Right."

Okay, I'm now able to read some of my notes from the pub a week ago.

BMB:

How many hot chips has Diablo had?

CAMELLA:

"Only three."

BMB:

How would you compare the live visuals of your band Butcher (sans the umlaut) with those you've done for Tool?

ROBYN AND CAMELLA:

(laughing)

"Butcher rules!"

CAMELLA:

"First of all, I want people to know that there are other people involved with the visuals besides us. We shoot a lot of stuff but others are involved. Chet Zar… and Breck designed the system. And of course Alex Grey, who is a huge inspiration. And Adam has created a lot of it… and the company "Hydraulix" that worked with Adam doing post-production effects on the video and wanted to do some stuff… computer animation for the live show. We edit it… decide the placement of it… But to answer your question I would say that the Butcher visuals are a little darker than Tool.

They're raw… and go with the lyrics… the darker subjects we write about. Butcher as an art project is about exploring the dark well-spring in human history -"

ROBYN:

"Raw… much darker. Honestly shocking -"

CAMELLA:

"They're not intended to be shocking for shock's sake."

ROBYN:

"They're shocking. They're intense."

(NOTE: They truly are. When Butcher opened for The Melvins in San Francisco this past summer, some people in the audience were pretty freaked out by the imagery projected onto the screens .)

BMB:

(indicating Diablo who has just helped himself to another hot chip)

Now that makes four.

CAMELLA:

(lovingly)

"Nooooo, Diablo! Nooooo."

BMB:

You do a lot of under water stuff. Tell me about the difficulty of working in that environment?

ROBYN:

"Shortness of breath. Camella has a great capacity of holding her breath under water. Camella has more lung capacity than most humans. It's more difficult for me and a lot of the models we have. (laughter) We realize - Oh, they're smokers! They can't hold their breath that long. Working under water is very difficult. Keeping makeup on. Appliances. Focusing. Everything. We've literally had to use cement blocks to weigh ourselves and models down in the pool."

CAMELLA:

"There's bubbles… And everybody panics under water. They don't realize that it's really hard to drown.

BMB:

I know you get lots of email from people asking about your background and education in photography, etc.

ROBYN:

"So many people say they don't do stuff because they're restricted by money… by their resources.. But you can do so much with the most minimal equipment and budget. Have an idea and do it."

CAMELLA:

"Do! Do! Do! No matter what your budget is, you do it anyway. Dream big… but break it down and do it. There's a real magic when you're under pressure… without help and certain resources. We call ourselves hacks… we are always jerry-rigging things… we build the sets, do the makeup… the lighting and take the photographs. We definitely have imaginary cute photo assistants. Sometimes get help from our friends. The artist Heather Borland has been doing some makeup for us that‘s kicking ass lately. She worked on "Shell" and the new one. And Diablo is our mascot.

He comes on pretty much all our shoots."

(NOTE: I can attest to the low budget statement, as I once helped out myself. This was a shoot with my friend-girl Sara as the model. As they shot numerous underwater photos of Sara (a non-smoker, by the way), I had the task of holding a projector that was illuminating her body and the water with psychedelic colors and patterns. I remember that Camella kept telling me to make sure that I didn't drop the thing in the water as I leaned over the pool or they'd all be fried. On that same shoot, when not holding the heavy projector inches from the water, I also grilled up a Southwest feast of steak and chicken breasts marinaded in oranges, lemons and limes to be served on warm tortillas with salsa from the Coyote café (my favorite). And I also made (and drank) margaritas, this after having just driven back from a Crowleymas celebrated in the Luxor pyramid in Las Vegas with the little hor…ticulturist (surfer girl/Sorror Mystika Petallpynx).

BMB:

Tell me about the last shoot with Kat?

CAMELLA:

"It was very spontaneous. We were awestruck by the amount of land burned by the fires. It was surreal. Kat is such a trooper… and she just loves to get naked. Just try to keep her clothes on. She was there for magical stuff."

The waitress comes by to tell the girls that they're out of Stella draughts and only have it in the bottle. Not a big problem, really, even if I was drinking.

BMB:

So what's new with Spiraleyes?

CAMELLA:

"We're doing book… and we're going to do another show… when we finish the book. Hopefully in the spring or early summer."

ROBYN:

"The book will contain new photos… that haven't been seen before in combination with the ones on the site."

BMB:

Who are some of your favorite photographers and major influences?

ROBYN:

"Diane Arbus. Sally Mann. Jan Saudek. Francesca Woodman."

CAMELLA:

"Connie Imboden. Peter Beard. Pierre et Gilles. That‘s really hard because it changes all the time. It's hard to limit it to photographers."

(NOTE: I wanted to ask Camella about her friendship with Timothy Leary, but I could do an entire interview about that alone, so, instead, I just mentioned his name.)

BMB:

Timothy Leary?

CAMELLA:

"He was a good friend and a great man. Everybody should read "Flashbacks" to start off with so that they know their psychedelic history."

BMB

Thank you, ladies. Now if only I can read my notes.

A pretty blonde woman in the pub comes over to pet Diablo. It never fails.

The Spiraleyes website is www.spiraleyes.com.

HAPPY TRAILS

BLAIR
JUSTIN
DANNY
MAYNARD
ADAM

 
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