ARTHUR'S ASTROLOGY by Ian Svenonius (Arthur 9/Mar 2004)

by Ian Svenonius

first published in Arthur No. 9 (Mar. 2004)

Question: Why are you, an air sign, “the water bearer”? Answer: Air “bears” water during rain, I suppose. A drag… no one likes rain. Except for Ronnie Specter, who enjoyed “Walking in the Rain.” This was probably because the umbrella provided anonymity and she was embarrassed to be going out with a psychopath like Phil Specter. I guess John Lennon professed that he liked the rain too, in the Beatles song “Rain.” And… Yoko Ono is an Aquarius! Wow… Astrology is true.

Pisces is the Fish. Fish supposedly developed before mammals in the primordial muck and then slowly clambered onto land in the form of tadpole-type creatures which eventually grew legs and started slithering about until they developed into “man” who, through the cumulative labor of hundreds of thousands of years, created what we know as “modern civilization.” Pisces: I just wanted to say that, through that entire time and all through those changes, I think it’s awesome that you stuck to your guns and stayed a fish!

The Ram. In popular American songcraft of the twentieth century there is a mythical creature evoked, called Rama-Llama; half Ram and half Llama. This is, for a particular sect, the spiritual rebuttal to the Buddhist’s head honcho, the “Dolly Llama,” who is the merged progeny of a llama and a kind of push cart. The Rama-Llama sect is called “Aries.” A trivial part of the world’s population, I’m happy to note. To the Aries: playtime is over. Stop trying to convert the world to your personal vision of Shangri La. Who but you would feel entitled to poison the water supply? Congratulations anyway, it’s more than anyone ever thought you would achieve. Maybe all that acid will free our minds and end the war.

The Bull. There is a legend of a bull in a “China Shop.” The bull charges about the china shop and destroys precious commodities therein, which can’t withstand his legendary girth. This is supposed to illustrate the clumsiness of your breed in gentile and rarified circumstance. It is evoked usually as an insult, but perhaps it is an allegory. Maybe the “shop” is capitalist or colonial China and you are the peasant army, smashing it to pieces under the guidance of Mao! And maybe this legend is just another insipid bourgeois slight against revolutionary movements.

You are, at times, tautological and inane. When you speak, the world feels like a character from Edgar Allen Poe: they can’t believe the thoughts that creep into their minds! Do you see them reaching for their knives? As you speak, each word sounds like a deafening tom-tom drum in the jungle, being played by cannibals. They are hypnotized into a state of frenetic fear driven blood lust! For your own sake, maybe you should take a vow of silence for about a million years… Or at least until the cannibals are done eating.

You’re always whining about what’s on the TV. Well, most of the TVs I’ve seen were equipped with a knob that switched channels; even one to turn it off. Maybe you should go to some uncharted island where they don’t have soap and razors.

I guess your species must be going extinct cause you’re trying to procreate with an old dessert mix. In your imagination your genitals are crown jewels… best displayed on Liz Taylor’s bosom. In reality they’re like Nazi gold in a Swiss account: laundered, but with a sordid history.

You are always kneeling on beans and ruminating about matters spiritual and ontological. It’s OK; just tell god you were “researching” all that internet porn.

The Scales. You’ve been thinking about just closing up shop and shutting down for good. You feel that your sign hasn’t been given a fair shake. That maybe it was an afterthought, tacked onto the astrology wheel just for the sake of symmetry. You are the only sign which is an inanimate object for, example, while the other signs are wild animals or heroes or hybrid creatures out of myth. Cosmologically, you feel like the kid who was picked last for the team; just standing at the fence for eternity. Don’t worry though, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When the inevitable nuclear holocaust occurs and the oxygen is pried from every living thing’s lips in a ghastly storm of fire and ash, non-breathing objects will have the only chance of surviving. Then you will have your day!

When you enter hell, there will be two doors. Behind the first, there is an IKEA and behind the other there is a mega mall featuring a Pannera, a Starbucks, a Crate & Barrel and other such shops. The doors will be marked accordingly, and I suppose your choice will be determined by what you’ll need to make your stay there most comfortable.

Though you are a centaur, you’ve really gotten into Brazilian-style hot-wax treatment on your entire lower half. So, instead of being half-horse, you’re more half-dinosaur. You should collaborate with Steven Spielberg, who loves dinosaurs and other creatures he can cast as enormous metaphorical phalluses. There’s apparently a lot of money in blockbusters and I think it would be better than running around with a bow in the woods trying to fornicate, but be warned: your character will probably be a metaphor for a penis.

The sea goat. You should be given an award, or made king of the world. I always thought you were just a poseur, a put-on, that you’d gotten your persona from watching some dumb Scorsese movie. But when you had your chef executed just for using cumin, I had to give you props. You are totally real.

About the astrologer: Ian Svenonius is the acting chairperson for the Rock N Roll Comintern and an auxiliary member of the group Weird War.

“New Orleans Soul Red Beans, Rice and Corn Bread” recipe by DAVID CATCHING (Arthur, 2004)

Here’s an old “Come On In My Kitchen” column from Arthur’s March 2004 issue (No. 9.) Our star chef that issue was Dave Catching, gentleman guitarist of Joshua Tree, California…

This issue’s chef: David Catching of Joshua Tree, California

David Catching is currently a member of earthlings?, Yellow No. 5 and Mondo Generator and appears on The Desert Sessions Volume 9 & 10 (Rekords Rekords/Ipecac). Take it away Dave…

Hey y’all, Mardi Gras season is here and I hope you’re lucky enough to be celebrating it with me in New Orleans. If you are, you’re probably drunk, still drinking, dancing, chasing members of the opposite or same sex all night, and will be pretty tore up tomorrow. Here’s a little recipe I learned from my friend Jimmy Ford at the Jimmy Ford Clinic (thanks for showin’ me the way) and my friend Chef Big D, of the now-defunct Harbor Bar and Restaurant (R.I.P.), both of New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s easy and oh-so-cheap, which will be helpful while your scrambled brain tries to figure out what you spent all your money on. I’m giving you the vegetarian version here, but it’s also killer when cooked with smoked sausage. It ain’t my fanciest recipe, but it is great and will cure the meanest of hangovers for pennies. Regarding Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice: if you can’t find it in your neighborhood stores, I would recommend a trip to New Orleans. That means you’re probably overdue for at least a weekend there anyway…

New Orleans Soul Red Beans, Rice and Corn Bread
feeds six tore-up folks

one pound dried red beans
two cups white rice
one yellow onion
one half red onion
eight cloves garlic
two vegetable bouillon cubes
two tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun spice
three pinches salt
two pinches black pepper
one pinch white pepper
one cup water
one box Jiffy cornbread mix (I know, but real soul food restaurants really do use this mix)
one jalapeno pepper
six ounces grated cheddar cheese
one egg
one cup milk
optional: one pound smoked sausage cut in one-inch length pieces

Wash and soak red beans overnight and rinse. Add water and boil beans until cooked, then simmer on low. Saute onions and garlic, with spices. Add onion, garlic and spices to simmering red beans and cook a few hours to taste. Follow rice cooking instructions. Follow Jiffy cornbread mix directions, then add chopped jalapeno pepper and most of the cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cook per Jiffy cornbread mix instructions. Serve a mountain of beans (with or without the smoked sausage) on a nice thin bed of rice.

My first taste of this particular recipe was at the Harbor Bar and Restaurant (the best soul food joint anywhere, ever) on Mardi Gras Day, 1993. This was without a doubt one of the best days of my life. I marched with the Lions Carnival Club, starting at 6am, with our second line brass band leading the way, from the sparse uptown gatherings, through to the thousands gathered at Lee Circle with Rex and Zulu, finally reaching the unbridled revelry of the French Quarter at 3pm, our costumes and masks obscuring the awe and joy we all were experiencing, some of us having imbibed many brands and colors of hard alcohol, psychedelics, prescribed and non-prescribed medications, marijuana and, from what I can gather through hearsay and gossip, stimulants of all kinds. In the madness of Frenchman Street at sunset, I met a beautiful stranger, who led me to the Harbor Bar and Restaurant. There, I was saved by the red beans and rice…

….and a double turkey and seven.

TEN OUT OF 5: A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist (Arthur, 2004)

photo: Leni Sinclair

This guide was originally published in Arthur No. 9 (March 2004) as one of a set of articles on the MC5 in that issue that ran over several pages (see two of the section’s two-page, 22×17-inch spreads above.)

A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist by Seth “The Seth Man” Wimpfheimer, James Parker and Ian Svenonius

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HEAVY RIFFING: An interview with WINO (Arthur, 2004)


Legendary doom metal/stoner rock lifer SCOTT “WINO” WEINRICH lays some typically heavy thoughts about politics, music, hallucinogens and life on Joshua Sindell.

Photo by Brian Liu

(originally published in Arthur No. 9, March 2004)

For a musician whose music has earned him such respect from his peers, the elusive, grim-faced figure known as Scott “Wino” Weinrich has always existed in a zone far apart from even the darkest cult spectrum of rock’s unsung heroes.

Wino grew up around the Washington D.C. area, and became well-known among the hardcore-punk-loving kids in the early ’80s as “that amazing guitarist” for Warhorse, a local metal band, later to be known as the Obsessed. Wino stood out in any crowd, not only from his formidable rep as a musician, but because he was an imposing, long-haired, denim ’n’ leather-wearing dude who, appearances aside, expressed solidarity with the burgeoning D.C. punk scene, led by such bands as Minor Threat and Bad Brains. In return, Obsessed shows were routinely filled with short-haired fans who wouldn’t have been caught dead at an Iron Maiden or Judas Priest concert. Black Flag’s Henry Rollins, Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye and Nirvana’s Dave Grohl were diehard Obsessed fans, reverently viewing Wino out of a sense of awe and fear in equal measures. “Wino plays guitar with that up-all-night-drinking-Clorox sound,” Rollins once said admiringly.

In 1985, Wino accepted an invitation to sing for Californian stoner-rock forefathers Saint Vitus. They were his sole focus of musical attention for the rest of the decade as the band released several albums and EPs on SST Records, home to so many of the ’80s’ best bands. Joe Carducci, author of Rock and the Pop Narcotic, and Vitus’s SST producer, explained the appeal thus: “What I hear in Wino is a natural who’s not like other musicians. He always has a trailing shimmer on all of his playing, and when he is just doing downstrokes to mark the rhythm, he’s shaping that as well—dragging the rhythm from the guitar.”

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