"...At one point I was half tempted to ask Danny to beat on drums, gongs, metallophones and trash can lids - anything to frighten away the monster which threatened to devour the moon... and by monster, here, I'm not referring to Earth's shadow, but to that thing dangling just above the wrought-iron gate, it framed by a pumpkin-orange moon..."
If the light of the moon can fail...
EXORDIUM FOR THE GLITTERING
The members of the band and their guests would like to thank all those in the Tool "Collective" who participated in the Blood Moon chat Wednesday night, October 27th. As the Harvest Moon turned an eerie crimson that was in times past interpreted as an omen of disaster, I would have to say that, much to the contrary, things up at Danny's manse went really well during the total lunar eclipse, with the guys taking time to enter the various chat rooms where they answered hundreds of questions and responded to as many comments for several hours at least. And while we're handing out thanks, I would personally like to thank Jello Biafra, Buzz and Dale of the Melvins, Mike, Peter and John of Pigmy Love Circus, kaRIN and Statik of Collide, and Aloke Dutta for joining in on "the feast of reason and the flow of soul." Also, a special thanks to Ann Chien for her lightning fast typing, as well as to Chris Graves for whipping those damn machines into shape.
THE DEVIL INCARNATE IN ITS GLISTENING PLEXUS
Although, as I said, things went rather smoothly, it didn't start out that way. When we first arrived at Danny's that night in Camella's Jeep, I found myself face to face with my worse nightmare. In fact, in a scene reminiscent of Jurassic park, I remember frantically shouting for Camella to put the Jeep in reverse and to quickly back it up, all the while my eyes were riveted on an unimaginable evil glinting in the headlights.
At the time we were stopped just outside Danny's gate on the steep, narrow driveway lined with green shrubbery. Camella was leaning out the window, punching in the # on the call-box when I first caught sight of it. Paralyzed with fear at first, I finally managed to shout for her to back up. In the very back of the Jeep, Camella's black Great Dane, Diablo, looking rather spiffy on this night in a pink shawl, lifted his enormous head and began barking. "Roll up the windows! Roll up the windows!" I warned both her and her nephew Joe who was sitting in the backseat. Not knowing what was going on, Camella put the Jeep in reverse and started to back up, when she, too, saw it. "It's just a garden spider" she said in a calm voice, peering at the dangling monstrosity through the windshield. "No it's not!" I shouted back, pointing to the eight-legged terror gliding down a satellite dish-sized web, rapidly descending just above the Jeep's hood, close enough now for me to see its forbidding countenance.
"I don't see any f***ing cross on its f***ing back, do you?" I said, quickly pulling my seat belt off and shutting all the AD vents just in case the thing wound up on the hood. "It's just a garden spider" she repeated. "It's the season for them. There are dozens of them in our backyard." She was attempting to ease my apprehension, but was probably more concerned about Diablo, who was still agitated, barking even louder now - barking as loud as he dared bark in that pink shawl of his.
Before I could stop her, Camella opened the door, got out and walked over to a creature/sentinel that any arachnophobe worth his/her salt would certainly describe as formidable. "It's beautiful" I could hear her say as she poked at the web, gently coaxing its builder to climb back up its intricate threadwork. Maybe it was my imagination, but I could now hear an eerie choir of children; their ghostly sing-song voices repeating: "Will you come into my parlor said the spider to the fly." "It's beautiful", Camella kept saying, almost appearing to be in some kind of a trance. "Will you come into my parlor ..." "Just leave it alone and get back in the Jeep!" I pleaded with her, but to no avail as she continued to gently poke at the web of this freakin'model of industry. And then, as the pumpkin-orange moon appeared from behind the clouds, for whatever reason, the repulsive specter climbed back up its sticky ladder and disappeared in a bush (or into some intra-spatial voids).
The children's sing-song voices suddenly stopped, and so did Diablo's barking as Camella climbed back into the idling Jeep. As the creaking wrought-iron gate slowly opened, I still felt a little nauseous, but as we pulled up to the house... goddamn right - I looked for more of the ghastly aberrations.
"Either Dagdagiel has broken through the fourteenth tunnel of Set or there's one humongous arachnid blocking out the blocked out moon by the gate, I warned Danny as I entered the kitchen carrying several bags of groceries. "How big was it", He asked? "Too big to be locked up in a walnut shell" I replied, "but nothing's going to ruin my chat/party, even... deviled eggs." Chef Rynne was making her celebrated deviled eggs, but as tiny purple lights flickered around the picture windows, I felt myself calming down, calm enough now to make myself a calming drink.
8 TO ATE AT 8
Maynard was already in one of the chats, so after making my drink and then setting the heavy bags of groceries down, I walked over to the computer to check out what kind of questions people were asking him. Among the colorful lines of rapidly appearing text, a member of the "Collective" had asked if he had ever hallucinated? "Yes", was Maynard's quick reply, "In fact he was hallucinating right now. He was having a vision of a relevant question." I smiled and walked back into the kitchen, confident that he'd tell the kids to stay in school, and to remember that the square root of 69 is... 8.30662386.
BLUE RIBBON CARNE ASADA
It was good to see that Danny was on top of things with regards to the carne asada. We'd been on the phone several times during the day coordinating who was going to pick up what. There were lots of things we needed if we were going to do this right: Hand-crafted tortillas from here, a special marinade (base) from there. Lemons, limes, oranges, etc. As I began the complex marinading process, Rynne (after putting the finishing touches on those precious gems) was still busy chopping a variety of colorful peppers. Placed on the counter before me were bowls of sliced purple onions, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and... sour cream! Goddamnit! I was just one power-outage away from getting that nauseating goo on my fingers again. Putting the raw carne asada in a large silver bowl, I looked over at Rynne and explained to her that what I wanted was carne asada so goddamn f***ing good that the guy behind the counter of any given carneceria in east L.A. - one with pastel-colored stucco walls, painted burros and all - would lower his eyes in shame, and then hand me his trophy with its gilded pair of tongs holding a gilded slab of beef. And then we can talk about four and twenty blackbirds* baked in a pie."
*The windows of a trapezohedron that was to be discussed later that night.
About that time, kaRIN and Statik of "Collide" showed up and were going to visit the chats on another computer that had been set up in the living room. But not before kaRIN handed me a bottle of tequila and asked if I'd make her and her partner a margarita. "You make the best margaritas" she conceded, or maybe she was just using some magnificent psychology. "Not without Cointreau" I told my favorite "Goth babe", "but I'll do my very best." It was while doing so, my very best, peering into Danny's Sub-Zero, that I remember thinking that I didn't like the ice situation. "Somebody needs to call somebody to tell them to bring more ice. Without ice you have - I don't know: What? Wine? Shots? Beer? Not necessarily outright chaos... but why take that chance?
JZ arrived next, pulling from a brown paper bag some hot smoky brauts and a couple of six-packs of Shiner Bock. But he'd also brought some cookies sprinkled with orange and black witchery. Evidently the Pigmy and Volto! guitarist has a softer side! I gave the bear a hug, and, not to be out done, pulled out two packs of Boar's Head skinless beef dogs, asking him where Savage was and, more importantly, my green cobra-skin boots? Looking around, I saw Buzz, Biafra, Benny, Brisley and Canadian Brian - a lot of B's, but... And speaking of orange and black witchery, the plastic plates Danny had bought for tonight's affair were... red, white and blue. I wonder if anyone saw my good old-fashioned P.U.P. Lodge cringe? We'd an ensanguined moon, the devil incarnate in its glistening plexus (or, at the very least, a horrific substantiality at the gate) and bonfires on the surrounding hills, but no orange and black plates. Hello! Set design counts! It should be raining candied corn! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to be overly critical, so, instead, in an imitation of the dour one, I just mumbled something about wondering if there was a presidential election special at CostCo.
A half hour later, while carefully transporting the carne asada down to the grill on the "Egyptian deck", Maynard was still patiently answering questions and addressing comments from members of the "Collective." kaRIN and Statik were typing away on the other computer while sipping their margaritas. Had there been an in-between round, I wondered?
Chris Pitman (that or Freddy Mercury's ghost), Mike Savage, and Peter Fletcher were holding court on the Egyptian deck. Seems that Chris and I (if you don't count Diablo's pink shawl) were the only party-goers that went in a Halloween costume. Pitman with his "dick broom" and I was Frank Grimes (although not intentionally - hey, whatever happened to that guy anyway?). Once the Kirkland grill had reached an optimum temperature, by the glow of an ornate lantern, with golden skulls staring at me from turquoise benches, I began grilling the carne asada, squeezing the juice of fresh lemons, limes and oranges on the sizzling meat that was covered with variegated peppers, all the while dreaming of that blue ribbon.
Danny's magic propane tank held out, and it wasn't long (about half of a double margarita) before the carne was cooked to heathen near-vegan perfection. I put it on a platter and set the spatula down on the marble surface of the patio bar, leaving it there for others to use while grilling their hot smoky links of mystery and other potentially mortiferous ingestia. In this glorified home movie, HOLD THE CAMERA OF YOUR MIND'S EYE for a second CLOSE on this seemingly irrelevant cooking utensil.
Passing the bronzes of Szukalski and a gamelan quadruped (hippopotamus?), I proudly carried the platter of carne asada through a triumphal arch of my own imaginary devising, winking at the Clowns of Turin before entering the kitchen where Rynne was playing first fiddle with her rapidly disappearing deviled eggs. Brandy arrived with more ice just as deglutition was about to commence. Before joining the festivities of carnivorism, I poured some Maker's Mark over Brandy's frozen diamonds and took the drink over to Ann who was now typing for Justin. And then I remember seeing something rather disturbing. Unrelated to this, someone commented on how good my "barbecue" was, holding up a rolled tortilla with what I presumed was filled with carne asada. There was carne in it all right, but when I got a closer look at it I had to do a double take, for I also saw that stuffed into this warmed flour blanket was not only one of the Boar's Head skinless beef dogs, but also one of JZ's charred brauts. Festivities of carnivorism or not, this guy wasn't fucking around. "Jesus Christ on Rye, what is this? Pink's" I said? PETA just called. They want their tee-shirt back." Speaking of which, ever wonder why PETA never talks about Mananann's Pigs???
Jello, Buzz, Dale and Adam had entered the chats. The questions were now coming in a rapid-fire barrage of colors, but Ann, with or without her Maker's Mark, was up to the challenge. I looked over at the phone. What happened to MissKippy? Did that lumping terror drop from its gossamer lair and attack her in her Mercedes? Red, white and blue plates of carne asada. Purple lights. I was enthroned upon an oyster shell, but...
With mustard-stained fingers, I walked out of the room and down a flight of stairs that leads to Danny's psychomantium. When I arrived, much to my disappointment, I saw that it was being remodeled. I therefore went into the library to behold the drama in the mirror:
OPALSECENT SHIFTING IN THE BLACK SPECULUM
In the vision, I was looking at the Tool "Collective" site on my own computer. After reading a posting in the news section about more guests being added to the Blood Moon Party, I clicked on the "respond to this" button. Strangely enough, the message was a review of the chat by a member of the TA who thought that they had "dropped the collective ball" with regards to not asking/getting any specifics as to the release date of the live DVD and new CD.
Had I actually been sitting in front of computer as opposed to seeing this through the opalescent drifts in the black speculum, I would have responded that, as I've maintained all along, there is no release date as of yet, but just as soon as there is, it will be posted on the various sites with a flourish of golden trumpets. To those I would add, again, that I only mentioned the live DVD while writing about the band's live Ueidden' track, "Fiaap de Ovid", which would be included on it. This was not the case of a carrot on a stick, for what purpose would that serve?
Then the images in the polished depths of the skrying mirror clouded over with a shroud of sorts. Was this crimson veil the moon plunged into the earth's shadow? As I continued to gaze at it, swirls of various colors appeared - drifts and shifts of opalescence acquiring definition. Through the churning colors, written in plain English in brilliant gold letters were the following words: IF THE LIGHT OF THE MOON CAN FAIL... Seconds later I was looking at myself driving my silver Eclipse. From the road signs, I could see that I was heading north on the 101. From the expression on my face, I appeared to be troubled by something. Did this have something to do with the words I just saw? Before I had time to ponder the message (if, indeed it was a message) in the heart of the black mirror a series of lightning-fast visions flashed before my eyes:
Santa Barbara sunset... Headlights on a billboard advertising a barbecue shack ... Fireworks exploding over green fields... Chevron mopglop. A Comfort Suites motel near the San Francisco Airport.. Planes taking off. Trains clacking away. I can't get to sleep. Above my head what sounds like a horse counting out a simple math problem. A beetle on the wall, but NOT a spider. Midnight. A pizza topped with poker chips and tadpoles (I don't understand - did I finally fall asleep)? Morning. Blue. Taxi. Looking at a copy of The Equinox of the Gods in my favorite book store. Adam, Camella and Buzz in a Japanese toy store on Haight. Joe and I arrive, and we all walk to Masonic. Gilded Buddhas and Tibetan dorjes. The ice skater with her devil's horns is looking for a parking place. Wes Borland enters, joins us for lunch. Camella and I are both thrilled with our salads. Adam opening boxes of - I don't know what they are - things from the Japanese toy store. The ice skater with her devil's horns is still looking for a parking spot. Good bye burrito I was saving for her? Drinking a snifter of Remy Martin and a Heineken. Strawberry cheesecake (not mine) on the crowded sky terrace. Dusk. Wintergreen certs and sugar-free Red Bulls. Halloween parade in the Castro. A kaleidoscope of phantasms. Camella taking lots of photos. Shots of Patron in a dingy bar near the street carnival. 333 11th Street. Jello Biafra, The Melvins and Adam Jones performing at Slims. What's Buzz wearing? Danny dressed like a hillbilly. Party in his hotel room. Coronas and cheeseburgers (not mine). Adam hands me an Oreo. "What are you going to write about" he asks? "Hopefully there will be another show on New Year's Eve", I say. A Communion' mask. Tool bumper stickers. Morning. Mopglop Chevron. Green fields along the 101. No billboard advertising a barbecue shack. Santa Barbara sunset...
When I walked back into the kitchen, I saw that Danny had entered the chats. Chris asked if I wanted to get on the other computer. "People are asking where you are." "I'll go in later, let others go first" I told him as I made myself a drink and wandered into the living room. On the coffee table, next to a few miniature pumpkins and equally miniature ears of Indian corn, I saw a copy of DRUM MAGAZINE with Danny on the cover. I knew that the article was mainly about Danny's drumming with the Pigmy Love Circus, but did the interviewer finally get him to reveal his secret, I wondered? Flipping through the pages, the answer was - evidently not.
But, in that I've had a few drinks, I can now tell it to you. I can tell you that it has little to do with the sigillum aemeth, or the summoning of the angelic hierarchy from the Enochian tables. Nor is it goety from mold-empurpled leaves of some dusty book. It has little to do with a melted down Knights Templar artifact in his kit. And it wasn't just patterns of sacred geometry of Masonic sword rituals in ancient esoteric fencing manuals. It also has little to do with placing stands in the right ratio of the Golden Section (see the February 97 issue of Modern Drummer), or a kit arranged in such a way as to take advantage of his height and energy. No, it was Quake, the purple-robed (subterranean) miner with earthquake-like power.
For me it was Quisp, an alien from planet "Q." Well, look at the prizes!
ENSANGUINED MOON & XANTHOCHROIC STUFF
I think I was the last person to go into the chats before Graves pulled the plug. After which, I smoked a Cuban cigar and watched the smoke drift away. I was enthroned upon an oyster shell, but...Some people were beginning to leave, Camella and my ride among them, but Frank Grimes decided to stay a bit longer (hey, whatever happened to that guy anyway?). "And when the pie was opened, the birds began to sing." From the windows of the trapezohedron I learned about the true resurrection. The teachers were the angels, or rather the angles of light - the fire of Venus drawn by the moon, reflected in the twenty four equal trapezoidal planes - called by some The Devil's Lantern.
Without an amethyst with which to sober up, or other way to get home (Aloke had left on his flying carpet), I called a taxi. The Harvest Moon was shining brightly when I walked down the driveway. As my friend Joe and I approached the wrought-iron gate, perhaps thinking about being ensnared by Dagdagiel, he looked at me with a somewhat concerned expression and said: "I think I'm more worried about the spider than you are." He was right. I wasn't even thinking about it. It's just garden spider. It's their season. Camella has dozens of them in her back yard. If the light of the moon can fail... but, as noted, its light was now restored.
Several days later while sitting alone in the sun on Danny's Egyptian deck, a friend of ours came down from the house, walked up to me and said "You should have seen the huge spider I saw down here the other day. It was under the spatula when I picked it up.