Monday, November 3, 2008

Interview with Zecheria Sitchen

The Return of the Cosmic Farmers
By DNA


My Dad never really let loose with his thoughts. Every now and then he would launch a bauble of a parable that would either anger or confuse, but very rarely enlighten. It was him I credit with such beaut’s as: “In every women there can be one good thing, your penis,” and “Life is a burning candle, when you die, the flame goes out,” and “always work for yourself, you set your own hours and you’re never late” and “Never trust anyone, including me!” One time though he gave me a gem, a gem that I still contemplate today: “There are only three things that are worth thinking about, where do we come from, where are we now, and where are we going?”

Those three questions have become my measuring stick for seeing the relevancy of what I do. In fact, these lines of reasoning have guided me throughout my adult life. With that in mind, witness the amazing tale of the Sumerian’s as told by Zecheria Sitchen.

To date, Sitchin has deciphered more then 2,000 clay cylinders from that ancient land on the Persian Gulf that existed some 6,000 years ago. Some of these fragments, which date to 4,000 B.C., are in museums around the world.

One fragment in particular, presently in Germany, indicates that Earth is the seventh planet, counting in from Pluto. The time frame here is four millennia before modern astronomy confirmed the existence of Pluto as an actual planet in our solar system.

So how did an ancient race of people know this fact? Sitchin says it is because these ancient people did not come from Earth, but from Nibiru, the Twelfth planet. Zecharia Sitchin - whose work challenges everything we thought we knew about human civilization, is considered by many to be the greatest historian of all time. Sitchin is one of a small number of orientalists who can read the Sumerian clay tablets, which trace Earth’s, and human events to the earliest times. He has a profound knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew and of other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament and the history and archaeology of the Near East. His Earth Chronicles series of books (in 13 languages) combine advances in modern science with textual and pictorial evidence from the past to form a cohesive and fact-based story of what had really happened on our planet in the past 450,000 years. His mind-stretching cosmology is a preparation for the return of the Nibiruans, our creators, who, he says, will be returning soon. Although incredible, this body-of-work appears unchallenged academically.

It pays to read his books if you have a interest in the parallels that occur between all the world religions. The name of the Gods in antiquity holds clues and solutions to today’s problems. So let’s get out the lawn chairs and look up at the skies as DNA takes us one step beyond and a little past that…………


DNA
The Sumerians seem to be the base for the ideas of Evolution and Creationism. What is their tale?

Sitchen
You must distinguish between the Sumerians, who were peole like us except what they knew, what they witnessed and what they wrote down on clay tablets, took place 5 or 6000 years ago Besides the gap in years, they were people like us, humans. Distinguish between them and the so-called gods who were their teachers and gave them the knowledge.

So when the Sumerians said there are so many planets in our solar system, and the sun was at the center, and that Uranus looked green, etc., it was not their own acquired knowledge, it was what they were told.

They were told by the Anunnaki, which means ‘those which from heaven to Earth came down.’ So according to the Sumerian records, about 450,000 years ago, the Anunnaki came to Earth and started travelling between our planet and their planet. They named their home planet Nibiru, which comes to our vicinity every 3600 years.

So one of the questions I asked myself before I even started the books, was where is the planet, what are they talking about? I found out that at the turn of this century, scholars who were both astronomers and who had read those tablets, were arguing among themselves. Some said Nibiru was another name for the planet that we call Jupiter, because there was a text that said there was a conjunction, there was this, there was that. Another group said it couldn’t be Jupiter because there was another text that disagreed and said that it had to be Mars. The assumption of these scholars was that when they read names of planets in the Sumerian tablets, that they are always talking about the seven known celestial bodies which were the Sun and the moon and the five planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The human eye cannot discern planets beyond that. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were only discovered with the aid of telescopes and the aid of other advanced instruments.

So whenever there was names of more than those seven, including Nibiru, the scholars assumed that were duplicate names for those seven known celestial bodies. Nobody ever mentioned that the ancient people might know more than them. One day I found an actual depiction on one of the cylinders, of the solar system with the sun, not the earth, at the center, surrounded by eleven celestial bodies. I learned to read the texts for myself and they kept saying that the number of the family of planets, including the Sun and the moon, was twelve. Now, with the aid of telescopes we know the number of planets is nine, with the farthest out being Pluto. So with the Sun and moon, the number is eleven, there is one missing, the twelfth member. The depictions show a twelfth planet. The title of my first book was shortened from The Planet which is the Twelfth Member, to The Twelfth Planet. That was twenty years ago. The planet is also known as Planet X and its symbol is the cross.

Planet X was this other planet which invaded our solar system billions of years ago. It was captured in the gravitational pull of our Sun, and now it orbits between Mars and Jupiter. That planet is Nibiru. All this information about Nibriu’s travel into our Solar System, it’s capture, it’s collision and other things that explain many things, such as the asteroid belt, it’s 3600 year rotation, was not knowledge acquired by the Sumerians on their own. They had no telescopes. It was knowledge given to them by people who shared some of their knowledge every 3600 years.

They were capable of space travel half a million years ago and they had as much knowledge as we do today. When they came here 450,000 years ago, we did not exist yet, there were only hominids. The Sumerian text and the Book of Genesis, which is based on the Sumerian text, acknowledge and recognize evolution. Homo Sapiens did not exist, Modern man was not here, there were only ape-men and women, if you like. The Sumerian text says that when the Annunaki came here that they needed workers,man power, and through genetic engineering combined their genes with the hominids. That was 300,000 years ago, which scientific studies suggest is when our species, Homo Sapiens, first appeared. They jumped the gun on evolution and brought us half a million, a million, I don’t know, years ahead. Evolution would have brought us around anyway, but not as fast as they could have through genetic engineering.

DNA
Is the Annunaki DNA based also?

Sitchen
DNA plays a major role in this whole thing. There are literally tens of thousands of Sumerian tablets, which is the written records of the Sumerian, and it is immense. The Egyptian text’s that were left behind are meager compared to the Sumerian. What I tell people is that if they follow the daily news, through the papers, or the internet or whatever, then follow all the recent discoveries in space and in Astronomy, such as the discovery of other solar systems with planets around it, the possibility of long term orbits which confirm the possibility of a 3600 year orbit, they will find that all the Sumerian cosmology is being corroborated on a weekly basis. At the same time, all that we are finding out about DNA, about genetics, about chromosomes, all that we are finding corroborates the detailed Sumerian text that speaks of how the genetic engineering took place. The texts are very specific. But I am not an Astronomer or a Microbiologist, if we were to get those people to study the texts they would really be ahead of the game.

Everything I say is directly from the texts that are in museums all over the world. I do not make any of it up. So when I say what I say, is it so? Well yes, there is a text that exists, and it does say what I say it says.

Many scholars like to say that it’s all a myth, it never happened. Like I said, the Sumerians make it clear that in the tablets it is not them speaking, it is what the Gods told them and they dictated it down. If this were to be treated not as myth, but as actual knowledge that was handed down to us over hundreds of thousands of years, imagine how much sickness we could get rid of and how much healing we could obtain. This is the point I wish to make. People say to me, “OK so the Sumerians knew that Uranus was blue-green and that Mars had water on it, what does it mean to me.?” What it means is that if the texts were treated as actual knowledge and not as mythology we could have the clues to a better life, a better health and a better understanding of where we are from, and therefore a better understanding of where we are going.

DNA
I studied the Epic of Gilgamesh in college and the parallels between it and the stories in the Bible struck me. It was amazing to see that the same stories were being told thousand of years before Genesis was written.

Sitchen
Well many Priests and Rabbi’s speak favorably about my books. The Vatican is very well aware of the truth. A year ago the Pope said he “doesn’t say there are no UFO’s.” He put it in a double negative.

DNA
How does the recent excitement over Aliens and UFO’s play into the return of this Twelfth planet?

Sitchen
I don’t see any other explanation of all these reported phenomena except to say that the cycle is returning.

DNA
So you could say that our creators are returning.

Sitchen
Yes you could say that. It’s a nice way of saying it. It’s irresponsible though to give dates. I would rather talk in generalities.

DNA
What about the idea of Panspermia; the theory that our planet was seeded with DNA?

Sitchen
That’s a Sumerian tale. Nibiru brought life into our solar system. But in Panspermia, life was brought to our planet by comet and the Sumerians said not by comet, but by another planet.

DNA
It’s interesting that we are almost at the point where we have the technology to go to other planets and seed them with DNA, it’s gone full circle.

Sitchen
We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there. I have no doubt that we are destined to repeat what was done to us on our planet, to others, on other planets. I think that we are part of the celestial cycle. We are not just here alone on this speck of dust we call Earth, we are part of an on going cosmic drama, and we will play our role in it.


DNA
Well kids, I’m just blowing off steam here, but could it be that another planet will be entering our skies in our lifetimes? Will this planet really harbor our creators? Could it be that Sitchens translations are accurate? What if they are? What would this mean to you? I leave with you with this tale that Sitchen likes to tell…..

“Two travelers were going from one town to another and they reached a crossroads, they saw that the poles indicating the directions of the way to the town had fallen to the ground. One of them said, “Uh oh, we’re in trouble, now we won’t know which way to the town.” The other traveler said, “No, don’t worry about it.” He took the sign and stood it straight so that the one sign that had the name of the town that they came from was pointing in the right direction. And in this way they were able to know which way they were going. So you see, in order to know where you are going, you have to know where you came from.”

Interview with Bruce David

(Originally published in my rag HUMP somewhere in the 90s)

Guys, how many times have you been looking at magazines at Tower when you hear the uneven breath of a pasty faced pudge ball next to you? You look up and see that a fifty year old yupster is gawking at the newest issue of Big Booty as he unhurriedly looks for his car keys in his pocket. “You freaking pervert,” you think to yourself. You remind yourself “I am above that cretin. I do not feel the need for pornography. I do not need to look at naked pictures of women showing me their vulvas.” Suurrrrreee!!!

This month I achieved one of my life goals. I got my picture in a porno mag. Yup, in the November issue of Rage, a Larry Flynt publication, you can find my ugly mug on the contributors page. Perhaps it’s the DNA kiss of death, or perhaps it’s other factors, but the day the new Rage cam out, I got word from editor Bruce David that Rage had ceased publictation.

David sees it this way; “Larry Flynt had us do up promotional material which suggested the magazine was going to be soft. When the first issue hit the stands with a girl jamming a gun in her twat, retailers and distributors freaked. Many sent the book back unopened. 75% of all future issues were polly bagged, which meant you couldn't see our covers or coverlines. Nor could you peek inside. But then we could no longer get on most newsstands anyway and the ones we did get on placed us with titles like Cheap Sluts and Hot Hotties, so we missed our demographic.

Regarding ads: we had no ad force. The only reason we got any "straight" advertising is because a girl in the production department took it on her own to call the skateboard companies and such. It was hard selling them, though, when no one could find the mag on the newsstands. Compounding that, most legitimate advertisers won't advertise in a mag with dicks in it. That's what happened as I see it. Others might see it differently.”

In any case, being printed in Rage was definitely a highlight for me. The magazine was the toast of the underground as it combined interviews with White Zombie, Social Distortion, Korn, Tool and Motley Crue with interviews with Cyber genuises. Rage also included strong anti-corporate pieces and a strong tendency for humor. But what would you expect from a guy who ran Andy Warhols Interview magazine, Larry Flynts Hustler and wrote ALF’s famous lines.

Spread ‘em and HUMP as we look inside Bruce David’s mind……………………



David- You sent me some girl copy and it was about monkeys and I got confused. What was that about?

HUMP- It was from a book that was published in 1951 called Monkeys as Pets.

David- Was it a book that seriously dealt with the issues of monkeys as pets?

HUMP- Yeah it was a complete monkey manuel, their habits, training and care. I just thought it was funny.

David- Did you change the text at all?

HUMP- I changed the sex of the monkey from him to her.

David- I’m concerned about copyright, but people who wrote a book about monkeys forty years ago could all be presumably dead. So what’s with this new publication of yours.

HUMP- Well the conservative periodocals are on the rise in Chico and I’m getting pretty sick hearing about the great legacy of Ronald Reagan.

David- Oh it’s terrible, it’s all a nightmare. I keep asking myself how we got here. The situation is so absolutely perverse that I walk around saying “this is all wrong.” I’m a little older so I’ve witnessed the progression of at least my time-span. You know we al grew up just accepting this stuff and the younger generation gets stuck believing even more of it. Things seem like they always been the way they are, so it’s hard to even question it.

HUMP- I figure the least I can do is give a differing voice.

David- Well I don’t know if you get The Nation, but it’s a great source of information. But the latest is that the Chrysler Corporation has sent out notices to all the magazines and newspapers that they advertise with. They request they get to see any advance articles that mention the Chrysler company, either negatively or positively. If the magazines don’t give them an advance look, so they can obviously censor it, they will pull their advertising. And, they may no apologies about it. Although the news didn’t cover it, when questioned about it Chrysler said “hey we’re just doing out front what everyone else is doing under the table.”

HUMP- Even smaller publications have to bow to their advertisers. My goal with HUMP is to have an agreement with my advertisers that we reserve the right to say whatever we please. So.. did you have a hand in the Larry Flynt movie? Were you a consultant?

David- Actually my participation was to have my lawyers send Oliver Stone a cease and desist letter, threatening litigation if I was portrayed in any manner whatsoever. So the character would have been me was Arlo. You’ll notice there was no mention as to what his Job category was, or his history. In the original draft he was clearly named the editor and was given some bogus history that had nothing to do with my life. That just bothered me right from the start. That was even before they added the twitchy eye.

HUMP- Did you go to see the final product?

David- Of course. I was at the West Coast premier. It was totally accurate. Everything that happened in the movie according to my own personal knowledge actually happened. My quibbles with the movie were more deeply personal, like the fact that I didn’t have a twitchy eye. I saw myself in a much more glorius role in the day to day success of Hustler Magazine. I brought a lot of talented writers into the pages of Hustler. But quibbles is all they are. The movie was about Larry’s life not mine. If I ever get the opportunity to make a movie, then I’ll be the hero.

HUMP- When they showed the Larry Flynt building, is that the real building.

David- Yeah, it’s where I’m sitting right now. It’s like a massive boat on Wilshire Boulevard. It’s literally shaped like a boat. Of course it’s not the building that Larry and I first worked in when we moved Hustler to Los Angeles. At that time we were in the twin towers. To toot my own horn a little bit, I was working in New York as a journalist and the founding art director of Interview magazine, Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. I was writing for publications like Screw and Penthouse and I was producing a TV show that still runs on cable called Midnight Blue. Larry appeared on the TV show, but before that I had written a review of Hustler in the pages of Screw in which I said that “Hustler has just edged out Refrigerator Monthly as the most boring magazine in America.” Larry read the review and agreed with me and offered me the managing editor position. The masthead was Larry, Althea and then me.

HUMP- Have you ever had any qualms about getting into the industry that you’re in?

David- Well you know that I always saw myself working at the New York Times, but the New York Times didn’t share my vision. I came up through the underground press, which means I had one foot in pornography to start with. First of all it was never an issue with me, secondly I was excited by the idea. When my sister and I had just graduated from college, she asked me what I would like to do with my life, and basically because I’m a shallow person, I said “ultimately I’d like to be the editor at Playboy magazine. But when Hustler came along, I saw that it had a lot of potential and when he offered me the job, I jumped at it. I could see that Larry was pushing the envelope but that he needed someone like me who knew how to write and knew how to get writers. It still annoys me to this day that people still make such an issue out of sex.

HUMP Did you ever wish that you went mainstream when Larry would end up in jail and before the Supreme Court?

David- Well it was very exciting. When I got out of college, I was young and na├»ve and I’m sure I entertained some vain glorious ideas about the Times. It didn’t take long to realize what a conservative environment that would be and that I wouldn’t fit into an environment like that. It would give me no comfort level because that’s not the kind of person that I am.

HUMP- With Rage, are you shooting for a new demographic?

David- Well even more than that we are trying to redefine what men’s publishing is all about. We tried to get rid of all the predictability of Playboy and Penthouse. Those magazines are so staid in their layout and their text. Mike Salisbury who is the designer of Rage, is the guy who created Joe Camel and the logo for Jurassic Park and about a 100 american icons that you would recognize immediately. When we sat down to talk about Rage, we wanted to change everything from the way it’s photographed, to the way it’s designed, to the way it’s written, to the type of things that are addressed in the pages of the magazine.

HUMP- What made you revert to the Adult advertising in the back?

David- Well, we’ve been under pressure from the beginning to take the ads for the 900 numbers. Larry Flynt was great about not forcing the issue. But there comes a time when you’re still in the red where you have to make the decision about breaking even on all the money that was put into the magazine.

HUMP- Rage features the leading technicians and cyber-gurus who will be affecting the future of our county and culture, do you have a Rage Web site?

David- That’s really embarrassing, next question please.

HUMP- Rage is very anti-capitalism.

David- Yes. We are very anti-corporate. Capitalism didn’t just kill Communism it has killed Democracy in the process. Just the fact that Westinghouse and General Electric own NBC and CBS is frightening. I mean along with all the other nefarious things that they are up too, their shooting plutonium into space. If there’s a mishap on the launch pad, we can all wave goodbye to Florida. Of course, if it blows up in the atmosphere, that’s the end of 5 billion people. It’s obvious NBC and CBS are not going to deal with this issue on their newscasts, they have no motivation to get people inflamed with the sheer madness of it. In essence the American people are being lied to.

HUMP- You got involved with Hustler in 1975. Did it seem that the lines were more easily defined between the counter-culture and society at large then they are today?

David- I don’t think that the lines are mixed today at all, it’s all so clear. To simplify things, to distill it down to its most basic form: corporations are evil. Multi-national corporations have seized control of our government. They have bought and paid for all our politicians and they have destroyed the two-party system. No matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat that gets into office their the same beast with two heads. No matter whose in the White House, the same people pay him for. Even if he did try to get the truth out, what news station would allow it? They might let him make his statements, but he would be so ridiculed by the press, which is owned solely by the multi-nationals, that the American public would lose all respect for him. The pro-corporate press very easily manipulates Americans. I can’t believe when Rush Limbaugh says the press is left-leaning when it’s so obviously right-leaning.

HUMP- Isn’t the Larry Flynt empire a corporation?

David- Under the FCC laws conglomerates or multi-nationals can own as many radio and television networks that they want. The problem is that the same people who own the sources for news and information are the same people who own nuclear power plants. So when there has been up to a 50% sperm reduction count over the last thirty years, you might hear a 10 second byte on it. And as my father says “it’s quieted to death.” I think that the purpose of the entertainment industry today is o keep the American public calm and distracted from what is really happening. Listen to what it says her in The Nation:

“ Even before PatCo stilled the hand of union busters, Business Week whined it’s newest mission, quote “ It will be a hard pill for many Americans to swallow, the idea of doing with less, so that big business can have more. Nothing that this nation or any nation in recent history compares in difficulty with the selling job that must be accomplished to get the American people to accept the new reality.””

That was written twenty years ago. The thrust was already in motion.

HUMP- When Larry Flynt takes over like Blunt or Big Brother, skateboard magazines, how does the editorial content change?

David- Well I’m not involved with those publications, so I’m not there when Larry talks to the publishers. My guess would be that there is no agenda, I’m sure Larry leaves them to do whatever they want
No other publisher in this country would have let me do what I have done with Rage magazine. I have taken a political position that is anti-press and anti-corporation and have not had to worry about advertisers and kissing their butt. Granted, because we are a men’s publication, many advertisers do want to advertise with us anyway. But it all comes together to allow me the ultimate goal in publishing. I am not answerable to anyone except Larry Flynt and Larry doesn’t care what I put in the pages of the magazine. The girl part of it is his focus and he’s very concerned about the photo features.

HUMP- Is there censorship in what can happen in the girl copy?

David- Well of course I can’t say that they are a minor becaue they must be over 18 years of age and I can’t say that they have been screwing their pet dog because bestiality is illegal, but you would think I would have the right to report on that. So even though, by the letter of the law it is legal for me to write something like that, you end up with distributors and retailers freaking out and perhaps even getting busted by conservative prosecutors in back water counties in Georgia.

HUMP- So when Larry was involved in all the court hearings were you running Hustler?

David- Yes that’s true. And during part of that time I was running Hustler from the courthouse. At the Cincinnati trial for instance, I think Althea was one of the people originally charged and although she was second in command, I was running the magazine for them. It was always from the first day I got there Larry, Althea and me. Althea was always actively involved with the magazine. I could always count on her to represent the best interest of the magazine.

HUMP- Were you in Georgia when Larry got shot?

David- Actually I was going to go to Georgia where he was shot, but Larry said “don’t worry about it, nothings going to happen there.”

HUMP- In the movie it appeared that after Althea contracted AIDS, that respect for her dropped from the other staff members.

David- I left Hustler right before any of that happened. I began to write for television shows like Family Ties and ALF.

HUMP- How was it going from issue driven content to fluff?

David- I hated it. I don’t think that I fit anywhere but in the world of porn. It’s the only place where I find people that are not uptight, not inhibited and who are free and easy with their speech and don’t mind a good debate. I still to this date have dinners with Al Goldstein. This guy is a great iconoclast. You can sit at the table and discuss anything and take any position pro or con and it won’t poison you’re relationship with him. He’s guided by free thought. In the entertainment business there is huge amounts of money and everybody is afraid that the next guy coming up will get his job.

HUMP- At what point did you realize that ALF wasn’t cutting it.

David- I think I was becoming more and more concerned with what was going on in the world. I would watch TV news and I wouldn’t see my reality on it. I was becoming very aware that something was wrong and increasingly frustrated that I didn’t have a platform to express my views. I noticed that all the jokes that I would put in the show that were based on social commentary would inevitably get cut out. So I went to Larry, knowing his dedication to the first amendment and free speech with a proposal and Rage is what came out of it.

HUMP-- Wasn’t Rage out years ago as a test issue.

David- Althea Flynt at one time started a rock magazine called Rage. I’m not sure if it really ever came out, but it was Altheas intention. But LFP still had the name. We tried many names, but Rage kept coming up. We almost went with Bravo though, but there was a copyright problem with it.

HUMP- Bravo seems more like a theater review magazine. Do you feel like there is a certain age where kids shouldn’t be exposed to nudie magazines. When I was 12,I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Playboy.

David- Well I don’t think there is anything wrong with sex, nor showing pictures of naked women and naked men having sex. On the other hand I have twin boys who are six years old. And while I am very relaxed on the subject, I don’t leave the magazine laying around where they can find it. I think if they did find an issue they would be mildly curious and then they would quickly forget about it. Sex is a non-issue for them. But I’m not a psychiatrist, so I don’t know what the long range effects of that might be. Besides it’s a social taboo. I don’t want my ids running around on the streets saying that they saw daddy’s naked pictures. It’s a practical decision. But by the time your twelve or thirteen, if you’re healthy, you’ll want to get your hands on a men’s magazine. It’s normal and I can’t believe that society would frown and make such a big deal about it.

HUMP- Do you still get harassed by the Christian coalition?

David- Well Jerry Falwell still does his same old number. But even more so, the feminists always through Hustlers name into the mix. For the A&E biography on Larry Flynt, Larry asked me to participate for a couple of minutes and I reluctantly agreed. Of course the set-up to my talk was Gloria Steinem saying how disgusting and revolting the piece of meat cover was and then they cut to me saying “oh yeah, that was my idea.” I think that pornography or x-rated material is a non-issue, that war, that battle was decided by Larry Flynt back in the seventies and eighties. The religious right and the feminists can piss and moan all they want, but their not going to change anything. By and large the American people don’t care. The news is happy to print controversy about Larry Flynt, it keeps the public distracted from the real problem that the corporations control the American government.

HUMP- I would imagine that working for Hustler you probably saw just about everything under the sun. How was it when Larry hooked up with Ruth Carter?

David- That was disturbing. But by that time I had learned that not only is Larry unpredictable, he was also capable of making connections and links to people in areas that you would never expect, and that is part of his genius. To him the normal demarcations don’t apply. He was constantly establishing connections and seeing similarities in things that you would think had nothing in common. But still, his thing with Ruth Stapleton Carter was just too much. It was a problem for me terms of how I saw reality, but it wasn’t a problem for me in terms of how I saw Larry. I always knew it was his magazine and that he could do anything he wanted with it. I never questioned that or resented his choice of directions. Although the Christian slant in Hustler I did think was ludicrous and embarrassing, I had my name removed form the books shortly after that. And then I left the magazine entirely somewhere around 1981-82.

HUMP- One last question Bruce. If not Crispen Glover, who would have picked to portray you in the movie.

David- Brad Pitt.

Interview with Weird NJ

Goin’ Jeresy
Weird New Jersey

Often treated like the red headed stepchild, New Jersey has been the target of ridicule of other states and contemporary conversation. And yet New Jersey has defined our current culture. From the light bulb, to the phonograph, to Motion Pictures, New Jersey has been a mutant gene in the double strand of America.
If anything, Chico, California deeply resembles the feel of Jersey. There is a certain brashness and authenticity of the people that seems to define the character of it’s citizens. And while Chico doesn’t get the severe winters of NJ, there’s something in the air that reeks of Jersey. Maybe it’s all the transplants. While we all struggle through the transition of summer into winter, I can only hope that people keep their wits about them.
I recall one time in good old NJ when I visited my friend Chuck. I was getting ready to move to California and had one more night in town. Most of my friends were in college and so it was off to Chucks for the last hooray. I was about halfway there when I realized that my bike had a flat front tire. Luckily it was all downhill from the point of the realized flat. I suppose I could have walked my bike the last mile but I threw reason to the wind as I shredded my rim on the descent.
At Chucks, I was back in the prototype Wayne’s World basement. As one friend slept groggily on the couch, we poured Tabasco and chili peppers down his throat.
Since he was awake, we all moved outdoors for some air. With a little help from my hand, my beer emptied its contents down my throat, and it was back into the kitchen for a refresher. It was right around that time, alone in a big old NJ house when I heard a strange noise from the attic. It sounded like someone rummaging through a silverware drawer.
I looked out the window and counted my friends, yup, they were all out there. I strained my ears and sure enough there was more metallic clanging from upstairs. As the hair on my neck stood up and started doing a little dance, I raced outside, and told the boys what I heard. Chuck said that both his grandparents died upstairs and that the attic was haunted.
I still like to think that someone was getting one back on me for a prank I might have pulled.
Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran of Bloomfield NJ have taken the folklore of NJ and put it together in a monthly magazine called Weird NJ. Within the pages of Weird NJ you get to hear more than ghost tales. This months issue features the fate of abandoned mental hospitals, a rail car graveyard, a host of strange cemeteries, the elephant house, an interview with a guy who saw something very strange in the skies of Paterson, weird NJ animals and more.
Always ready for a new adventure, the two Marks are more than modern day Ghostbusters, they are your travel guides to the local legends, modern folklore and sites throughout the state of NJ that are previously unrecorded. If you are subject to the bizarre side of life, take a trip with HUMP through Weird NJ.


HUMP- I got a copy of Weird NJ while I was visiting the East Coast this summer.

Sceurman- Well it certainly is causing quite a stir around here. I’ve been doing this for eight years now. I started off by doing it just for my friends. At first the weird things were just a sidebar, but as time progressed, the weird places you can visit became the highlight.

HUMP- I remember at sleep away camp there was always stories of creatures that lived in the Pine Barrens.

Sceurman- We’ve encountered about twelve different devils in New Jersey, from the Bigfoot sightings up in the Northwest, to the Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens, in Somerset there’s the Big Hairy Man that is seen wandering around in the great swamp area.

HUMP- Why are these creatures referred to as “devils?”

Sceurman- I think it came out of Puritan instincts. The first sightings were in the 1700’s and they thought everybody was the devil back then.

HUMP- when does the MTV feature come out?

Sceurman- it’s on November 30th. MTV gave us the cameras and said shoot whatever you want. We shot about five hours worth of film and it will probably be edited down to about seven minutes. But it will be action packed.

HUMP- Have you become a magnet for weird stuff?

Sceurman- People always stop me on the street and say “your that weird guy.” Somebody always has a haunted house they want us to go look at it and investigate it. That is not really what weird NJ is all about. We are set up more like a travel guide to odd places, just telling ghost stories doesn’t cut it.

HUMP- My dad used to take me to gravity hill.

Sceurman- Yeah, one is in Franklin Lakes and one is in Howell and one is in Hopewell. The one in Hopewell has a big X on the road where you’re supposed to stop, put your car in neutral and be amazed as it rolls up hill backwards. It’s really just an optical illusion. The thing is, that this magazine will always be around, because somebody always has a weird tale about their neighborhood, or something they remember being odd in their town. Really what we are after is stories that are not told outside the perimeters of a town and there is an abundance of tales in NJ.

HUMP- Why is NJ so weird?

Sceurman- I can’t really say, but we’ve found the more sparsely populated the area is, the stranger the stories get. People will tell us stories with very sparse directions and we head off to find them and photograph them. Usually people will say “go like twenty miles, past five telephone poles and hang a left.” Half of the fun is finding the places. With urban legends, you can say whatever you want, but in Weird NJ, there are tangible places that you can go visit.

HUMP- Did you go to school for journalism?

Sceurman- I always was into publishing. I started a zine called the Bonzo Dog Band Fan Club. It was based on the most obscure band we could find. We actually got to meet them and stay at their house in England. And that fizzled out and I went to this.

HUMP- Oh. How is the music scene in NJ?

Sceurman- Well there’s about 3 million bands with everyone trying to find their niche.

HUMP- has anyone ever come up to your office and blown your mind?

Sceurman- We interviewed this guy who has a time displacement machine and lives in a town that used to be called Sodom. He claims that he can displace time for up to two years. He also says that he has a car whose radio reports the news two days before it happens. The car I built out of wood and he claims that it can travel up to 350 miles an hour. We also received a letter form the celeberty stalker, the one who stalks Kathy Lee Gifford.

HUMP- Is he a stalker or a hero?

Sceurman- Well he’s in Virginia now and he wants me to pick up this time elliptic resonator he has to get him out of jail.

HUMP- What’s the latest great story you did.

Sceurman- We found the wallet man of Morristown that we’ve been looking for five years. When I say we, I mean my business partner, Marc Moran. There was a famous murder in 1833. Anton Le Blanc was a hired worker for a farm and he thought the owners had money so he killed them all and took off. The law found him in Jersey City the next day, brought him back to Morristown and hung him. While he was hung, they did experiments on him. They hooked up an electrical current to him to try and reanimate him. After that failed, they skinned him and made wallets and ladies handbags out of his skin. The legend was that that the handbags got into the possession of the very wealthy in Morristown. After five years of looking we finally found someone who had a wallet made out of Le Blanc. They also had his death mask. He found it at an estate sale. It just came rolling out of a box.

HUMP- That’s right kids, only in New Jersey!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Write to Weird NJ at POB 1346 Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Or e-mail them at HYPERLINK mailto:markatWNJ@aol.com markatWNJ@aol.com
And tell them HUMP sent ya!

Interview with Apollo 12 astronaut Edgar Mitchell

Do The Right Psychic Stuff




Interview with Apollo 12 astronaut Edgar Mitchell


Let me lead you down the path of the unusual and the strange. A short stop in the field of screams reveals a glimpse of unnerving dreams. Look under that rock, isn’t that a three headed salamander? Well, it’s more than a genetic mishap, it’s an omen. See the shadow of the raven on your heels? I know it means something, but what? Feeling the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end yet? Feeling psychic yet? Break out the Ouija board and get in touch with your psychic powers. Remember the time you weren’t sure who was moving the plastic thing across the board. Well what the hey was that about? What about the time you were going to call your friend and when you picked up the phone they were already on the other line? Yikes!

Many of us have experienced weird odd freaky things that we couldn’t readily explain. We knew someone was staring at us and they were. OooooooHH. We knew a letter would come in the mail and it did. AAAhhhhhhh. Sure the skeptics say “look, you think about the phone ringing all the time, it’s only a matter of time before it rings at the same time you’re thinking about it.” But you and I know it’s our psychic powers. We’re starring in our own personal Twilight Zone episode.

As much as we love the creepiness of knowing something is going to happen, very rarely do we blurt out that we can read others peoples thought. If you’ve paid attention to our rabid society you know that if you are truly psychic, desperate fates await you. Psychics always end up locked up in a padded cell as a nutball, or, stowed away in a government lab like a psychic La Femme Nakita (the movie, not the series), or, return to kill everyone in your High School Class ala Carrie, or begin to think that their Jesus. Believe it or not, but psychic powers are still considered to be a precious commodity by society and governments. But is it really worth getting locked up for?

Me, I’m not afraid of some shrinks Diagnostic Manuel. I’ll say it loud and proud I’m telepathetic and I vote. I’m telepathetic, I can see the future, and it’s all bad. Don’t believe me? Well I’ll prove myself. Pick a number between one and ten. Multiply it by 9. Add the two digits in the number together till you get a single number, like if it’s 24 then 2+4=6. Subtract five. Take that number and find it’s letter equivalent like a=1 b=2 c=3 etc.. Take that letter and think of a country that starts with that letter. Take the last letter of the country and think of an animal that starts with that letter. Take the last letter of the animal and think of a fruit. Good going……………… you passed.

At this point you probably feel ridiculous that you just obeyed some random commands in a paragraph. For those of you who know me, you can begin to feel scared that perhaps I am indeed willing my telepathetic powers over you. For those of you who know me not, feel lucky.

Imagine a world where we could see each other’s thoughts. Frankly it worries me endlessly. I barely like to hear what people are up to, let alone see their every thought. Unfortunately for me, a total breakthrough between humans psyches will occur and soon, according to sixth man ever to walk on the moon, Dr. Edgar Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell’s Institute of Noetic Sciences explores the scientific principals behind ESP, telepathy, psychokinesis and other ‘powers’ he considers part of the natural evolution of humans and the universe. His new book “The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronauts Journey through the Material and the Metaphysical Worlds,” is a brilliant look at Mitchell’s life.

If you really dive into this interview certain ideas should present themselves to you. You might think something like this:
You-“ Wow, this astronaut dude is really into ESP. He used to do experiments with Uri Geller, that Israeli Psychic who used to go on talk shows in the seventies and bend spoons with his mind. Weird. Huh? Edgar Mitchell thinks that because of an experience he had in space he was going to devote his life to trying to prove ESP is real. And he’s done it. Cool.”
Others of you probably won’t understand a word of this interview and probably didn’t get Kangaroos eating Oranges in Denmark either.

If you ended up with Cats eating Strawberries in the Dominican Republic, or Dogs eating Strawberries in Deutsche Land, you’re far too analytical for your own good.

Rev up the engines, hit the boosters, start the countdown, feel your throttle, tilt your head back, engage warp drive and put your, hand-built to scale, pyramid on your head (to recharge your brain cells) and let Spaceship HUMP take you to the moon and back with Edgar Mitchell.


Ever since I was ten I’ve been fascinated by books such as “Psychic Discoveries Beyond the Iron Curtain,” “Surgeon of the Rusty Knife,” and of course the Uri Geller books. As an Astronaut and a mainstay of our society, how did you get involved in such fringe culture?

Well, let me simply tell you the experience then let you know of the “wow” that occurred to me. I had a PHD in aeronautics and astronautics before I went The experience was a sudden realization that the molecules in my body and the molecules in that spacecraft and the molecules in the bodies of my friends were manufactured by an ancient generation of stars out there. Suddenly instead of an intellectual exercise in how stars form it became a very personal experience and that became kind of a “wow.” I realized from that experience that our scientific cosmology on how we came to be and how the universe formed was incomplete and flawed. The religious cosmologies and esoteric cosmologies were archaic and flawed and we needed a new story about ourselves. At some point in human life people always ask the questions “who are we,” “how did we get here,” and “where are we going?” It seemed to me as a newly minted space herded civilization that we needed to re-ask those questions. I experienced the Universe as interconnected and an intelligent process yet neither were described nor understood in any of our official ways of knowing. It is mystical experiences that are the basis for all religion. I began to ask myself “what is this brain. Why am I beginning to feel this exhilaration?” It was enigmatic and I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to resolve those issues.

Did you at one point on the re-entry of Apollo 12 turn to Alan Shepard and say “dude, I’m having a religious experience.”

No, it was too powerful for that, too personal, too much wonderment. I did look at my colleagues and wonder if the y were experiencing any of this but they seemed to be busy doing other things. Many Lunar Module pilots like myself after the lunar surface activity was complete had a light workload on the way home. We were systems engineers flying the command module home on a well functioning spacecraft, we didn’t have to pay that much attention to what was going on. There was time to be contemplative and meditative and gawk at the universe. Most of the LMP had a heightened experience, but for most of them it took many years to acknowledge it and talk about it, which was also true for me. When my duties with NASA were done I formed the Institute of Noetic Sciences and set out to understand what my experience and what all this means.

Did your contemporaries see you as a heretic?

I’m sure some of them felt that. Interestingly enough, I did an ESP experiment on the mission from the moon and you would be surprised how many state conservative engineers furtively slipped into my office, closed the door, and asked me to tell them about it. Once it became public that is. So yes, I was seen as different, but I had too good a reputation as an intellect to be dismissed out of hand. There was a certain measure of respect that went with all of it.

If it’s true that Russia had been working on paranormal experiments since the fifties did you ever learn of what our government was up too? Was NASA involved in the pursuit of telepathes?

Well NASA had no such agenda, but our intelligence community, the CIA had a lot of work going on in the late sixties and seventies just like the soviets did and I happened to know about that, although I wasn’t on the inner circle of that. Nearly all of that work has been declassified in the recent years. Some of my colleagues, who I worked with at SRI with Uri Geller back in the early seventies have written papers on it. The work focused primarily on remote viewing.

If you could get a kid who could see across country into someone’s file cabinets, that would be a pretty powerful weapon.

That was the idea they were working on.

Uri Geller seemed promising, was it just that he didn’t have the control?

Well, he didn’t have the control he would have liked to have. The problem was that if a person is put in an environment that isn’t conducive to relaxing, they have great difficulties in utilizing their capabilities. The mental environment and the environment of acceptance either help you along or hinder you. After 25 years of research I understand pretty darn well how this works. My new book that I’ve been working on for the last three years explains the theoretical properties behind the experience.

In a world where any half bit actor or actress establishes their own Psychic network, it does seem that, based on supply and demand, people really do want to believe.

I always try to set out and show what is real and what is not real. I have good physical science and brain neurology to show what happens and how it happens.

Are some people more prone to ESP than others?

Yes, but it all has to do with early training. If you grew up in a home where it was allowed and encouraged, it becomes developed like a muscle. If you exercise it becomes developed if you don’t it atrophies. By the time were nine or ten, if we don’t exercise that muscle the brain starts pulling out those neurological circuits. There is a neurological component to it. What we are dealing with here is a very basic way that the universe has organized itself. There is nothing supernatural about it. The institute trails behind my own work, independent schooling and research.
People have been having these types of experiences forever. They call them Mountaintop Experiences or Eureka Experiences or Epiphanies. I just happened to choose going into space to have a really powerful one. I assimilated information in a new way. For me it was looking at my Universe from a new perspective that gave me the experience. The intriguing question is why does the brain do that? Why does the brain reorganize ideas? It’s an evolutionary cosmological fact that nature does that. We’ve been overlooking something that is very natural and evolutionary. I try to explore why and to have it make sense.
It turns out that all the psychic effects are tied to what is called in physics as quantum non-locality. This was discovered years ago, but only proven in 1982. It ties right in to many of the parapsychological studies. I don’t use the word “para” anymore. It’s all psychological to me, science. It’s the way nature works it has a non-local component that quantum physics has talked about for 75 years and that’s what we are seeing, that information is ubiquitous in the universe.

In Village of the Dammed, a generation of kids become psychic and the adults destroy them. Aren’t there many people who profit from secrets and wouldn’t it seem that destroying telepathy would be a main goal of theirs?

Well, now you’re getting to the evolutionary component of all this, we live in a trial and error universe and it’s one that is constantly developing. We have 400 years lived under the classic Newtonian and Cartesian worldview, or system of thought where everything is separate and discreet. We have built a whole civilization in the west under those ideas. It turns out those ideas are wrong and flawed, that is not the way that the Universe is structured and we are just now realizing it. People have a lot vested in the old order of things. Cartesian duality and separation of religion and science have been the dictum, the sacred cow for four hundred years, they don’t want to see that order changing, but in an evolutionary universe it’s going to change anyway. So the answer is yes and that is exactly what has to change. The religious community has always said these things are true they just happen to be supernatural and the scientific community has always said that they are not true because they don’t have a model that explains them or theory that explains how they work. I have to say sorry your both wrong, it does work and it is very natural if you understand how mind and matter are related. I have done physical experiments that prove my theories but it’s a slow process getting them accepted by the scientific community.

Even psychology wasn’t accepted for quite a while.

The BF Skinner school of behaviorist thought and the Pavlovian notion of how learning takes place dominated it. In the seventies transpersonal thought and several other things transcended those ideas. So now we are finding ways to how it works. We explain through Quantum Holograms, which is a non-local portion of matter, it carries the information about the event history of every object in the Universe. Since a Quantum Hologram is non-local it is available to any human or object that can tune into it.

Aboriginal tribes supplement their rituals with hallucinogenic materials in order to transcend locality. Does your institute ever work with those types of factors?

Well, those earlier cultures all seemed to use hallucinogens of one kind or another. By and large what this does is gets the left brain out of the way so that you are perceiving through the primitive more emotional right part of the brain, and that’s all well and good, but it’s unnecessary. The evolutionary leap, in my opinion is a better integration of the left and right hemispheres of the brain into a more holistic way of learning. We know how to train peoples how to do that. Ancient meditative techniques help people to do that.

What is the breakthrough that you see coming in the next couple of years?

What I’m talking about is he a better understanding of the Quantum Hologram. We now know that it is a basic part of all nature and it is responsible for what we perceive as mystic, spiritual, esoteric insights. It is firmly rooted in the way matter is structured. The mystics have always said that Universe is interconnected and this is exactly what the Quantum Hologram proves.

The story goes when my mom was pregnant with me when she would walk in front of the TV the station would change. Where doe this fall into the realm of things you’ve seen.

Well I’ve never heard of that one before, but it doesn’t surprise me, we have seen with people like Uri Geller and hundreds like him that these are ubiquitous human capabilities centered around what we call intention. The way we think and the way we choose does have an effect on the physical world and if you have any doubt about that look at this century and the way human intention have changed the face of the planet. It also works on a much deeper level than that as well. Our intention does affect physical reality and that is demonstrable.

What about the story where Uri Geller manifested your tie clips that had been missing for two years?

Was it good science, no? Was it a good a awakening experience that anchored for me that we are dealing with a powerful real phenomena here and the question is how do we explain it and that of course is what I have been able to do. The Institute is a very powerful organization and we have 50,000 sustaining members and we are a potent force for how we bring the spiritual and the scientific together into a common understanding. We are currently trying to refocus on how we should go in the next twenty-five years.

When you build a bridge between eastern and western thought you realize that the Easterners understood all along what he nature of the universe was while the westerners have had to have the truth almost kill them before they caught a glimpse.

It was the Cartesian duality in the West that allowed science to arise. The intellectual power at the time and the investment in the inquisition and the Roman Catholic Church allowed intellectuals of that time to look at science because it didn’t threaten the church’s position. So physical science was capable of rising and doing all the wonderful things its done n the last three hundred years. Now we realize that it was an artificial division. Hegel said that thesis; antithesis and synthesis make progress. We’re at a point of new synthesis where we are capable of putting it all back together again where science and the mystical experience must be understood within the same framework.

So whereas Maslow said only some people could achieve peak experiences, you are saying that it is available to all?

Maslow was right as far as tradition and our evolutionary path, but what we are talking about is an evolutionary future in which these capabilities are available to anyone. It is a matter of choosing, it is a matter of training, it is a matter of cultural bias and if we train people and it becomes an acceptable worldview in our culture then these capabilities are available to everyone. If people open themselves to the knowledge I think they will choose it. Especially if we find ourselves in world crisis like we do at this moment where civilization is in peril there is no insurance that we are going to survive and we won’t unless we change our minds a little bit.

In your own family have you fostered the psychic muscle in your kids?

I have tried yes. My older children are adults; my eldest daughter just turned 44. All of my children are open to these ideas and are experimenters themselves. There are groups raising their kids this way.

Doesn’t the church see your ideas as the work of Satan?

I call it the death road of the dinosaur. The dinosaurs were a successful species for a couple of hundred million years but then they failed to be able to accommodate to changing times. Maybe they were helped along by an asteroid impact by its no matter, we are in evolutionary universe and we will either evolve or we will perish. There is always resistance to change but nature has a way of kicking us in the but when we get too complacent. Things move along in spite of our desires not to evolve. If we don’t evolve willingly we will evolve out of sheer necessity.

Interview with Peter Gorman-Mister High Time

I don’t know why I started doing what our society leeringly call’s “drugs.” Smoking pot was totally frowned upon in Suburbia, but in 1976, the “hip” dad’s were doing blow and the unhappy housewives were fuzzed out on the big V, Valium. Pot seemed nondescript and innocuous compared to what the adults were doing. On the East Coast, in the Metropolitan area, green bud was a rumored whisper. What us 15 year olds were able to find was QP’s of Oaxacan Red and Acapulco Gold. These bricks of stick, stems, rocks, seeds and marijuana, cost about $400 and were easily divided up between the Valedictorian, Football, Track, and Soccer stars (and me, the loser).
Every now and then we would get some sort of green looking weed that was tied around a stick and was supposedly from Thailand, but who knows? Looking back on it, it was probably from Newark. My boss at the bagel shop, would allow me to cash my paychecks and trade them to him for vacuum sealed bags of Thai weed. It was a novelty along with the opiumated Nepalese hashballs and Hash oil. At the time, it didn’t matter what it was as long as it was accompanied by the promise that it would get you high. The hash oil was interesting because this was before anyone had even heard of Crack, so there was no smoking apparatus available for it. We would just strike a flame under the aluminum foil it came in, and when it started to smoke,, 7 heads would rush forward, knocking each others noggin, like the stooges, and sucking at the air like tracheotomy patients.
Good Old Jimmy Carter gave the thumbs up to spraying pot fields with the chemical Paraquat. So us kids got the thrill of harshing our lungs out for a season there in the 70’s. But even government sprayings couldn’t stop us from trying to get high. We would smoke banana peels, eat nutmeg, swallow ounces of morning glory seeds and chew on Hawaiian Baby Woodrose Seeds. Whatever it took, we would try it, at least once.
A lot of my High School buddies were into popping pills. Ludes (real 714’s), placidils, Phenobarbital’s and other assorted vials would often go around the circle. I hated pills they made me gag. I think it was genetic because my dad couldn’t take pills either. To this day, taking an aspirin for me is a traumatic experience, accompanied by voluminous retching noises.
Even within the drug culture, I was an oddball. I wasn’t into it for the kicks. I thought there was something more to it all. I thought that changing consciousness was somehow very important to humanity and me in general. Of course, any weak attempts I made to express those deeper sentiments, were instantly mocked and ridiculed. God, how I miss those days and wish I was back in High School. Not.
Amidst my adventures and deals came a magazine that was considered the scourge of our generation, High Times. True, the adrenaline kick out of seeing dripping wet buds was a big reason to buy the mag, but it often offered more information than was available anywhere else. There was even a High Times Encyclopedia that had pictures of 100 types of bud to compare and contrast with. And there were stories and articles about Psychedelics as healing tools, Hemp as a crop that could save the world and the Drug War as being evil. Finally, I found a voice of reason. And at the helm of that majestic ship was Peter Gorman.
Gorman was recently featured on the Art Bell Show and his wit and sincerity came through like a charm. So what’s it like running the forerunner magazine of the subculture? Well let’s find out as we HUMP for victory with High Times own Peter Gorman…………………


Hey Peter, this is HUMP. Whaddya doing?

Just waiting for the Giants game, looking at some kayaks.

You going to the game?

Forget about it. This is NYC, it would cost you $50 just to get to the stadium. I’d have to rent a car just to get there.

Were you the managing editor of High Times?

I’m currently the editor-and-chief, and Steve Hagan is the editorial director. But he’s bigger than me. In terms of the day to day of the magazine, at the moment, I’m the guy running the magazine. Steve was the editor-and-chief for twelve years and for the last several, I’ve been his executive director, beneath him. So if he goes on a trip, then I substitute for him. That’s the technical chain of command at the mag. Steve has stepped up to editorial director, which means, that he’s doing so many outside projects, publishing books, putting on weed festivals, Cannabis Cups, making videos that he can’t do it all and run the magazine. So he is set up at home and doesn’t come in to open letters and the everyday humdrum stuff. So I’m the one who has to ask for six more pages, because we sold too many ads, and trying to get the mag to spend another $15,000. Since Steve had so many outside projects, they moved him upstairs and said “you have the input, but you don’t have the day to day responsibilities.”

When I used to get High Times as a kid, my mother thought it was the foulest piece of trash. It seems that society has matured enough to realize High Times just might be a source for information. Do you feel that mainstream America is finally catching up with the message of High Times?

When I look back at the first issue of High Times ever published by Tom Forsad, it was intended as a one shot legitimate mock of Playboy. Our centerfold was going to be some beautiful marijuana. You can tell by the contents of the first issue, that Tom had some amazing visionary qualities. He had a piece on Hemp paper revisited, he had a piece on medical marijuana, he had a piece by Tim Leary on the spiritual use of cannabis and he included three or four articles on the recreational use. So whether he understood it or not, those are the same issues we’ve been harping on since 1973. I don’t think that society has caught up with High Times. There were years where we felt like we were trapped in an empty oilcan banging at the sides wondering if anybody was hearing anything that we said. While we didn’t invent medical marijuana or Hemp or resisting the drug war, I don’t think it would have ever become an issue if it weren’t for the magazine. When we write about forfeiture, then mainstream journalists use us as a source. I would say that every mainstream Drug War story written in the last ten years had the writer coming to High Times saying “give me the background I need.” We rarely get credited though, because who would want to be associated with us. From the New York Times, to Peter Jennings, to the Atlantic Monthly, to Bill Buckly, we’re the place where people come for this type of information. Our credibility among reporters around the country is accepted. They know by and large that we are using government figures, we’re rooting them out, we’re getting the original documentation of materials. I’m glad to say that we are no longer the only source. NORMAL, which was in disarray and impoverished to the point where it couldn’t keep up with the demand, is back in full swing. The Drug Policy Foundation, seven or eight years ago was just an idea. Well it became a real solid place for people to get information. Ethan Nattleman who was a antidrug crusader when he first went to Princeton and was working for the US Government has become the national spokesman for the foundation. He’s the one with the PHD. We always felt it was worth it to get this information out there. But has society caught up? No, we’re still left out of the New York Time stories. We’ll get thank you letters from Atlantic Monthly, but that’s all the credit we’ll get.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon wrote “Marijuana Reconsidered” back in the mid-sixties. In it he predicted prohibition being lifted in twenty years. Obviously it hasn’t happened yet. Do you see change coming anytime soon?

Ya know, here’s the thing. It would be nice and optimistic to say yes. But I don’t really think so. I think there was a chance of it throughout the sixties and most of the seventies. But everyone in the goddam movement back then fell in love with cocaine in 1973. We didn’t realize it was going to cost us so much in the court of public opinion. We didn’t realize how powerful it was. So by the eighties, the public was ripe for a real movement against marijuana. Along with Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” movement in 1984 there was laws of such severity against marijuana, that Drug War machine really grew. At this point we need more than public opinion to dismantle it. The Feds spend 14 billion dollars on the War on Drugs. Marijuana is more than a percentage of that budget. Marijuana allows the Feds to keep that wall between us and Mexico. You’ve got to have a border to check for bulky products. The prison system is so huge that it must continually grow. If we yanked a 100,000 people out, they would have to stop building more prisons. What would the police around the country and the DEA do if there were 640,000 less arrest’s each year. To dismantle a self-perpetuating machine, you have to ask grown men and women to give up their jobs for the good of the people. Grown men and women who are raising kids do not give up their jobs, they will fight for tooth and nail. Even if their jobs are harming other people, they will continue to believe what they need to believe in order to continue to do their work. The DEA guy doesn’t have another job. He doesn’t get absorbed in the FBI or the police department. If he really is effective wiping out drugs, or if the drug war ends, he’s out on the street begging nickels. So with that kind of entrenchment, whether it’s the building of prisons, the privatization of prisons or local law enforcement, there are people up and down the ladder of society who are involved in perpetuating the War on Drugs. Public sentiment will have to reach a critical mass for things to change. It will have to reach the same point as things were during the Vietnam War. In ’67, ’68, when we went to Washington and marched against Vietnam, the TV cameras showed 200,000 scruffy dope-smoking hippies. The public would say “see their all cowards they don’t want to go fight the war.” By 1973 the TV cameras showed scruffy hippies and a whole lot of grandmas and nurses and nuns that it began to impossible to call anyone cowards. One grandma standing up against the War on Drugs has the value of about 10,000 copies of High Times at the newsstand’s. She’s got credibility. That’s who has to get involved if we want to end this thing. That’s the kind of critical mass I’m talking about.

How’s the market for pot these days?

If your paying more than $300 an ounce for High Times Cover quality bud, you’re an Okie from Muskogee and you don’t know enough people. Most commercial growers these days are doing what is called ‘futures.’ They have a top-notch product and when they plant it, they take their orders, so it is sold before it goes out of vegetative stage. You pay $200 and you take the chance that if he gets busted you lose your $200. Most commercial growers give their leaf to Cannabis Clubs, personally, I prefer trim to bud.

Do you the standard of $50 an 1/8 is too much money?

I understand that the grower is risking going to jail for a long time. I’m not going to fault somebody saying “I want X amount of money for the chance that I’m taking.” Now the California grower may think he’s not risking as much these days, but the FEDS can step in. Take the case of Osborne in Sounthern California. He’s facing 13 years for being busted on a Marijuana Buyers Club grow. The problem is that he was giving his stuff away and now he doesn’t have any money for a lawyer. He was driving an old car, living in an old rented house and some snitch drops a dime. If had charged money, he might have been able to afford a good lawyer that could get the whole case dropped. But by being Mr. Nice Guy, he faces going to jail. Whether a grower is nice or not nice, they’re all taking a chance to give us what we want, or to give some people what they need.

In your Bud Stock Market page, do you ever not print peoples reports of prices from around the country?

Sure. Those pages are frequently brought into court to show what the value of a particular person’s crop, or what they were busted with, would be. If some ass of a reader spends $800 on an ounce and we printed it, it would affect the subculture greatly for the next 20 pot trials. That’s the only thing I would tamper with. It’s the same way someone will show us a bushy plant and say I got 12 pounds out of it. Bullshit. You couldn’t twelve pounds out of an Oak tree in a year. A pound, two pounds from an outdoor plant that’s allowed to be tied down. There is one legendary plant in Humboldt that actually yielded nine pounds. No ones ever come forward and said that they smoked it, but they’ve all heard about it. Sometimes readers just like to show off, but we know better than that.

What about the importance of Psychedelics?

I’ve written most of the Psychedelic stuff in the magazine for the last ten years. If I didn’t write it, I commissioned it and edited it. So I’ve had my finger on it. Psychedelics are an invaluable tool for the human mind and spirit. The first time you do LSD in the right place, at the right time, with the right person that can hold your hand and walk you through it, your life is changed forever. You come out the other side and you are not the same, and you will never be the same. Good rich psychedelic experiences always involve temporary disillusion of the ego. It’s hard to see yourself as a tiny part of the universe. Now some people just don’t need that experience. But for most of us, certainly for me, the first time I did 1000 mics and saw myself as a speck of the Universe, it was difficult. I realized I am nothing, I don’t affect change, I am zero. That’s where most people lose it because they haven’t taken care to be with the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Now the ego rebuilds itself, but when it does, you’re not quite the same. The experience allows you understand that there is life in everything. You don’t think the wall is alive, you see it breathing. You do it through yoga and meditation. You reach an awareness of self in a living world. But the right dose with the right person etc.. can get you there in eight hours, instead of twenty years. The experience won’t solve any problems, but it will give you a place to work towards. The important thing is to take what you learn and learn to live it. If I were king, the whole world, once a year would dose. But I’m not king. But if I had my druthers, I think the world would be a better place for it. If we all took three deep breathes and ingested a healthy dose of psychedelics, the Drug War would end tonight. Racism and Apartheid would cease. The Serbs and the Bosnians would be embracing and saying “Oh my god, man, you’re glowing. I realize your not just some skunk, you’re me and I’m you.” We’ll never get to that point without the LSD and that is the tragedy of the human race. One of the solutions is here and available.

Tell me about your experiences in Peru and specifically with the Ayahausca Vine.

The indigenous people that I’ve associated with are primarily the Mochas Indians. When I met them in 1985, they were in the midst of change. Now they’ve changed so much that they wear better clothes than I do. Unfortunately, I feel that the change is not for the better. They were fully aware of the world outside them when we first met. But when you have missionaries coming in, archeologists from the Peruvian government and just a lot of outsiders, it’s easy to get burnt down. The culture has undergone radical change in a rate that is not normal for it. 1500 years of change in 5 years. None the less, a lot of these people are going to be tattooed people in a non-tattooed world. I’m sure a lot of the kids will be embarrassed that their dads are walking around with tattoos on their face. The Mochas, Ahinas and the Boras use substances to aid in hunting, relaxing and to communicate with the spirit world. At least the elders do, not the youth. None of those groups use Ayahausca. The ones who I know that do are the Mestizos. Generally river communities, or people who within the last generation lived on the river. Generally, fishers, hunters and a large part of the population of the Amazon. For them Ayhausca is a very simple clean medicine. It’s called Apurga, it makes you vomit. Anyplace where you have the potential for bacteria in your food supply, you’re going to occasionally need something that will clean out your intestines. Boom. So physically it helps enormously. It is also a curative on other levels. Many people who live in the Amazon region believe that not only are things imbued with spirit, but the spirits can cross over to the this world. So if a guy is having bad luck on his farm, but the guy next to him has good vegetables growing, it wouldn’t be seen in the sense of “maybe my soil’s too acidic.” It would be seen as someone has given me the evil eye. The farmer would go to a curandero and the curandero would take the ayahauscu. He would then, while in the spirit world, see who made the attack and who provoked the attack and how to undo the attack. It’s also used in a very traditional way, although the traditional people are very reluctant to talk about this. My mother-in-law I’ve known for years, and she scoffed at anything I said until I married her daughter. And then I found out she knows 45 house painters and cab drivers who are really curanderos in and around curitos. It is a part of their life, but it’s a part that’s very difficult to access. The traditional Peruvians use Ayahauscu to talk to their dead relatives. It is a channel to the world of the dead. They also use it to visit people in other cities instead of a phone. So, Ayahusca is very important, but not as a hallucinogen, is used very specifically. The curanderos who make it are treated with high regard. They are real healers and that is their job in the village in which they live. There are Ayahusceros who just treat the tourist trade, but it’s because it’s so easy to make the damn thing.

I read a story you wrote about a vision you had of a pack of wild boar. The tribe excited by your vision woke you up early the next morning and had you lead them to the spot in your vision. And sure enough a pack of wild pigs came running through. My question is this, in indigenous cultures, visions appear as places to gather food or other resources, what would a modern man, in modern society see that would benefit him?

In our civilization, we would have visions that we’re supposed to have a house. You would have a vision of a job that pays you enough so that you can save some money. I think that when I say that the Indians are not better off now because their becoming more integrated, it’s precisely for the same reasons the Irish, from where I come, are not better off for being integrated. When we lived in a more stable community, our safety nets were a lot higher. We’ve reduced ourselves to tawdry visions of “If I work harder, I can have a car.” We never envision what we want, so visions no longer come to us. In a more communal society, I would get together with my brothers and we would envision things together. One of the things the indigenous people used to say very openly is that there is genuine accessible life force, which they call, A spirit, in everything, from an empty Coca-Cola bottle, to the Coca-Cola within that bottle. It’s like when Tim Leary would say “take acid and you’ll see God.” Within an accepting community that might hold true, but outside that group you’re seen as crazy and a weirdo. Certainly Timothy Leary suffered from being considered an oddball, of course he was embraced b all the other oddballs, so he got through it all right. Of course when Leary laid that message on us we had already gone through three generations in America, where we thought a white picket fence was the best goddam thing you could come up with. And I don’t want to put that down, but it may not be the only thing worth coming up with.

How long have you been taking people to Peru?

I’ve been going to Peru since 1984, sometimes annually, sometimes twice. Always for a couple of months a year. I’ve done writing about my trips and ended up collecting things for the Museum of Natural History in New York. I’ve collected herpetological specimens, particularly some frogs and a few years ago I was asked to collect some medicinal plants for a small experimental pharmaceutical company on the West Coast. Last year the Indians turned us onto bone fossils that are 15,000,000 years old and “of interest.” Every one of these aspects has been a gift from the Indians. I’ve always, till know, not gone out with other people. People who come on my trip will see Peru like no other trip will show them. We’ll go shopping at the Market that all the cops say stay away from, it’s a crazy Market. Not only that but we’re going to have beers as we watch the sunset on the Amazon. Those are the kinds of things that I like to do. Since I’m taking a leave of absence form High Times, I have a certain fear that I won’t be able to feed my family. So suddenly, economically, the idea of taking people on trips made sense. I’m only going to do three trips and I’ll see if it’s something that’s enjoyable. Our first trips in March and then one in April. Anyone who goes with me will find a trip like no other. If you want to be whisked away from the airport and put on a boat sipping champagne form the comfort of your own room, that’s lovely, but that’s not what I’m offering. If you’re willing to get slightly dirty, slightly scared, occasionally terrified and never actually in danger of dying, then my trips for you. I want to take people night fishing, which doesn’t mean you have to fish, you don’t have to kill anything. It means getting into a very unstable dug-out canoe and scooting along the edge of a river bank for a couple of hours, a couple of times, and looking at the marine life, by holding a flashlight at the banks. I’m not taking people to protected ponds, we’ll be on the real river. I’ll be real disappointed if we don’t see several crocodiles, and you’re supposed to be terrified, we’re in an unstable boat for God’s sake. I want to expose people to the real color and culture of the region. When we get on a riverboat, we won’t get on my river boat, we’ll get on a real river boat. 120 feet long, 30 foot wide and packed to the gills. Two floors of hammocks and spider webbed insanely. I could get a nice boat, but other tours already do it that way. I want people to see things that they will never forget. And by seeing it with me, their seeing it with someone who has enough friends in the region to make it safe. People are going to come back with the smell of jungle in their noses and their going to have a gas and a half.

Strange as this sounds, if it weren’t for High Times, I probably might never have gotten to Graduate School. Growing up, High Times was the only source for the strange ideas I had. Any hopeful vision you’d like to say to your fans out there.

No. Not really. I think each individual makes choices and they start every morning when you get up. You make the choice if you’re going to get drunk at night or stay sober, you’re going to write that letter to your friend or you will choose not to. For those of us who have been touched by something as awful as the Drug War, you wake up every morning with a choice, do we fight again today? That choice is often a difficult one. You get laughed at more than you get patted on the back and there’s no financial remuneration in teaching people. Even in public schools, teachers don’t make very much, so forget making a living off teaching people tat the drug war is evil. I think that the hope is in each one of us being willing to take a little more of the burden than we are given. But when you do fight the good fight, your sleep, if you can sleep is a very rich sleep. We all don’t have to have a heavy cause, but these are things we live with, and you either contribute and become vocal, or you remain silent. If there’s any hope at all for the drug war or any of the other terrible things that humans inflict on each other, that hope lies in the heart of each individual human. Wake up and say, “Today I will affect change, somehow, and I will make the effort.” That’s the hope. I have no hope that someone will come down and fix it all, it’s up to us. It’s a hopeful sign when you say that High Times affected you in a positive way. That means in 1979 someone was writing an article and was going to sluff off and write a second rate one and instead said, “shit, let me give it another rewrite.” He or she didn’t know that was actually going to touch somebody and maybe that was the one that got ya. So there was hope created in your response, but it started with that person saying, “I’ll do the extra two steps.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Melvin Seals Interview

Better Dead than Red.

Jerry Garcias favorite keyboardist Melvin Seals schools us through an evolution of the blues.

For those of you who missed the bus, The Grateful Dead were the most adventuresome pioneers of American rock and roll of the 20th Century. Their acid-laced antics led to progress in colossal sound systems for arenas, streamlined maneuvers to move a circus around the country and novel ways in how to deal with a loyal deadicated fanbase. At the core of this electrified exodous was lead axeman Jerry Garcia. During the other 100 or so days the Dead weren't thrilling the masses, Jer's sideband, The Jerry Garcia Band (known as JGB) played more intimate venues. Since Garcia's untimely death in 1995, JGB has kept the flame burning.


DNA: This Is DNA.

Melvin: Alright. How's it going?

DNA: Great. Hows it going with you.

Melvin: I can't complain.

DNA: You just got back from Canada with JGB?

Melvin: Yeah, over the weekend. It was pretty good.

DNA: How are those Canadian Deadheads?

Melvin: They treated us real well.

DNA: It's been a while since I saw a show in Canada. I always acted like an American diplomat when I was there. Trying to ward off our image as the retarded cousin. You're coming to Santa Cruz in a couple of weeks. The first shows you did after Jerry's passing were in Santa Cruz.

Melvin: Yes, with John Kahn.

DNA: And that was more of Kahn's band?

Melvin: Yes, Kahn's band. That was his first stab of trying to do something after Jerry. It was definitely his deal.

DNA: And then John passed like nine months later?

Melvin: It's absolutely amazing I know.

DNA: I watch the Discovery Channel, and I've seen a show on wolves, and when mates die the partner often dies not soon after that.

melvin: They was the best of friends and that was the case. I hate to think that someone would give up their life and let-go because a partner, or a friend like that is gone. Ya know, maybe it does exist, because he sure did die.

DNA: But you kept going keeping the music of JGB alive.

Melvin: That's because when we did the dates down there in Santa Cruz, JOhn had a different point of view about what he wanted to do. But what I saw was those fans wanted to see JGB even with Jerry not onstage. When I saw that I thought, "OK, this could live on." And if John Kahn made a mistake the only mistake he would have made is he didn't do the Jerry tunes, he did his own stuff, what he wanted to do. And all night long the fans were screaming out the songs they wanted to hear, which were songs with Jerry.

DNA: Deadheads are not that subtle.

Melvin: So when I saw that I was like, "Oh my god, they still want to hear these songs." And when John Kahn died, I decided to go out and give them what they wanted to hear. So I called everybody and asked if they wanted to try and make it work, and I found an agent, and I was like, let's do this.

DNA: And still going strong. You brought Jackie and Gloria to the band originally?

Melvin: That's right.

DNA: That was always something to see those two ladies up onstage, looking somewhat apprehensive, not quite afraid, but wary, and then somewhere in the midst of the show it all kicked in, and they were smiling along with everyone else. Thank you for that.

Melvin: Jackie and Gloria went out with JGB for two years after John died, and it was a struggle for them. With Jerry everything was high on the hog, we stayed at the Fairmont, ya know five star hotels. But afterwards we didn't make that kind of money and had to stay in Best Westerns and Holiday Inns. They felt it as a downgrade, which it was. What you got to understand is that Jackie and Gloria came straight out of the church and never were in a band. Most people who begin in bands, know that you have to go on the road, sleep on the couch in peoples living rooms, sometimes you don't get a room. They never went through the struggle of trying to make it. They went straight from the church to touring with Jerry. That's why they looked a little scared, because they didn't know what was going on. They would be onstage thinking, "Is this real, what's going on here?" When Jerry died, we were back in the real world of trying to survive. We didn't make Jerry's money, nowhere near the money, not a fifth of the money. And yet, there was the same expense of trying to go on the road. So we couldn't stay in the best hotels, we couldn't fly in Lear jets, or first-class. We would be on a tour bus, or would have to drive ourselves and they just couldn't handle it. Because they never went through those days and understood that this is what it like in the real world.

DNA: You went from working with Elvin Bishop and being in the rock and roll world to working with Jerry, it wasn't straight out of church.

Melvin: Even before Elvin Bishop, I had played with a lot of bands. Buddy Miles, a bunch of people, Broadway shows. I knew that the Jerry world was not realistic, it was like a fairy-tale that would end one day, and don't get comfortable living on that level. I knew better than that. It was great, but I knew that the next thing I would get in, wouldn't be that! And it hasn't been that since. That's where the struggle came in and those were part of that. The salaries couldn't be what they were, because we weren't making that kind of money.

DNA: You performed in Broadway shows in San Francisco?

Melvin: I did a show called Evolution of the Blues for six years. John Hendricks on Broadway Theatre for six years. That's where Elvin Bishop saw me. And from Elvin I went on to Jerry. In theatre, the show is the same every night. Yes, there are levels to the performance, but essentially it's the same every night and matinee. How do you as an artist reconcile that kind of work. Did you enjoy it? Same cues, same songs, every night. You might get to try a little something here and there, but Broadway is about doing the same thing at the same high level, every night. Financially it was steady money. Stable. I had to join the musicians union. But quickly got bored of playing the same thing every night.

DNA: But then you had five more years to go. . .

Melvin: Right, right, right. I got saw by a lot of folks doing that show. Elvin is the one who took me to another level, but a lot of celeberties came to visit when they came to town. Redd Foxx. Bill Cosby, ya know, and they all came backstage, and I had a chance to meet a lot of people. Then Oscar Brown Jr. came through and I was able to do some work with him! It was a good thing.

DNA: This event coming up is an Obama Rally. Have you in the past endorsed candidates?

Melvin: This is a first and even though I am backing him, this is a concert. I was hired to do a performance. We're hired entertainers. Regardless that we are involved in the rally we are performers in the rally. That is how I am looking at this one.

DNA: But you personally are backing Obama?

Melvin: I think so, yes. I don't like for things to be written, I just do my little thing and thats what it is. Sometimes entertainers will stand out and say things, but I believe as individuals, we should all do what we want to do.

DNA: Coming for a church background, what is it that is so special at JGB shows?

Melvin: First off, when I can see a bit of unity and a bit of joy in the world and I'm a part of putting smiles on peoples faces, whether they are smiling or crying tears of joy, I feel special. People come to our shows to relive the moment, if they can, of what they liked. When I hear an oldie but goodie of something that was on the radio when I was in High School, I immediately go back to who I was then. And I like those moments. And if those artists come to town, if the are still alive, thats who I go see, but thats because what I want to relive. So at JGB, people all wear theeir tye-dyes and gather and dance and listen to theor favorite songs and savor the moment. Even though Jerry is not onstage, we try to make so that if you close your eyes, it sounds like he's there. And for a few moments, drop the world, come have some fun and great times, then pick up your burden and leave and go back outside. We were part of seeing people laugh, smile and have a great time and we were a a part of that. And that is what is important to me. I think that more laughter is needed in the world, more happiness. And that is kinda what we bring.

DNA: Thats why I dedicated my life to stand-up comedy. If you don't like my jokes blame Jerry.

Melvin: There ya go, there ya go.

DNA: How do you like working with Stu Allen?

Melvin: There's only two guys in all my travels and meeting people that got Jerry down. Stu is one of them and the other is the guy from Dark Star Orchestra (John Kadlecik) The guy from DSO is number one, he really has the tone down. Stu doesn't have the tone down, but he has the licks. Kadlecik has the tone, the licks, ya know, but Stu sounds more like Jerry with his vocals. John don't really sound like him. But as far as playing, John is a carbon copy of Jerry Garcia and then comes Stu. I found Stu back east, playing in a band called Jones Band. He wasn't as good as he is now. But he was smatr enough to hook up with Melvin Seals and the guys from JGB and arise to the occasion and he has. Hes holding his own quite well.

DNA: What are your tours like for JGB?

Melvin: I don't do tours like for six weeks or a month anymore. We go out every weekend, three days here, two days there. Four days sometimes, every now and then a week. But pretty much every Friday, Saturday Sunday, sometimes Thursday, those kinds of things.

DNA: Are you in the studio doing work?

Melvin: I'm working on a number of projects in the studio, and another solo album of my own.

DNA: Can you give me any release dates or titles?

Melvin: Oh no, I'm nowhere near that. Just working in stuff...

DNA: Are you ever in touch with the other members of the Dead? Are you ever invited to play with them or join events?

Melvin: Not really, and if I had to give a reason, it's that those guys never really liked the Jerry Garcia Band. It's no secret. They didn't like us because towards the latter five years, we rained on their parade, you might say. A lot of folks was saying that they didn't like them as much, and were liking us better, and they knew this. We were doing venues that they were doing and they didn't like that. Madison Square Garden and Nassau Colesium were being filled by JGB. So they didn't like the members of our band and tried a number of ways to get Jerry to drop the band. So long story and I'll make it short, we were the band they didn't like. And they probably even today don't like the fact that it's still going, probably because of me, so they don't touch me. They got every keyboardist in the world....

How can you not like Melvin?!!

Melvin: ...they go all the way around me, but they don't touch me.

DNA: And thats a long way to go around!

Melvin: It is what it is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mickey Hart Interview

What’s That Up Ahead?: An Interview With Mickey Hart
By DNA


It was with anticipation and deep honor that I got to interview Mickey Hart. There isn’t much that I can tell you about the man that you don’t already know. I mean what can I say, Mickey is one bad-ass mofo!! I do remember two distinct stories about Mickey that might help you understand my fondness for the guy though.
The place was Nassau Coliseum, Long Island during the early eighties. It was that phase of tour when many, and I mean many, people would go in the hallways during drums. Yes fans, you know it’s true. There was a long stretch you treated drums like you treat Dylan. You split till it’s over. (By the way, Dylan rules!) I worked my way to one of those killer seats right behind the drums that always seemed to be open, but yet was one of the best places to watch the band in the Coliseum. Mickey just finished a drum solo that was godly. Parish placed a towel on Mickey’s shoulders and led him off the stage. I realized that this I had just witnessed the best drum set ever, the most tapped in primal rhythm I had ever seen. Of course for Mickey, it was just another night on the road.
The second story actually shows me to be a crazy man. It involved a later eighties show at the other receptacle of huge shows, Oakland Coliseum. I found myself during drums, in the midst of a gigantic DNA strand that was running in opposite directions into infinity. And inside that cockpit of genetic material was Mickey Hart working his magic and keeping it real. Whew! Lock me up and throw away the key. I am certified.
It’s officially one year I have been writing for you all at Jambands.Com, and I want you to know that I think of you all as my friends and that even though I am supremely opinionated in my head, that in my heart, I’m all about “One Love.” With that disclaimer out of the way, let the opinions begin. The Dead were the most important band of the century. They were a group of musicians who wrote awesome tunes, jammed better than anyone since Smuckers, and were brilliant and interesting each in their own right. They were also more than a band. They were midwives to change, they were cheerleaders for weirdness, they were a tribal syncopation that allowed transcendent splendor. These facts are irrefutable and I will openly debate anyone who disagrees. So, bring it on!
Since Garcia died, I have been reticent to make many comments on how I feel about the scene. Basically, if The Dead were a signpost to new space, then the future awaits us beyond the signs, pointing fingers and remnant parts. On that note, enter this interview with an open mind, as I seek to explore the weirdness of it all with Mickey Hart.
http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif


I was testing the equipment to make sure the tape deck worked.
DNA: Mickey I’d just like to say it’s an honor to be talking with you, I’m a big fan, I’ve always been a big fan and I will continue to be a big fan.


“Well I ain’t often right”

My phone rings:
Mickey Hart: DNA this is Mickey are you ready?
DNA: I thought it was at noon.
Mickey: Well what time is it?
DNA: Uhm, 11:30. I was just writing down a bunch of questions
Mickey: Well that’s close enough--do you want me to call you back?
DNA: No, I’m ready, I’m excited how are you doing?
Mickey: Good, let’s rock.
DNA: Briefly, I followed you around from '78 till '92 and saw about 500 dead shows and side projects.
Mickey: Oh my god, holy Jesus.


“But I’ve never been wrong”

DNA: I was dedicated. I ended up getting my Masters from Sonoma State in Transpersonal Psychology.
Mickey: Do you know Stanley Krippner?
DNA: I happen to have a signed copy of Song of the Sirens right here in my hands. So my first question would be about the ESP experiment that the Dead were involved with at the Capitol Theater back in 1971. And I know that shows get a bit fuzzy over the years…..
Mickey: NO, I remember it quite vividly.
DNA: How was it you got involved in that exactly?
Mickey: Well at the time Stanley was the director of the dream laboratory in Brooklyn in New York City. He was conducting studies in dream telepathy and he was using psychedelics in that research. This was before '71 though…
DNA: It started in 1970 with Richie Havens.
Mickey: Richie was one of the sleepers.
DNA: And the Holy Modal Rounders.
Mickey: That’s right. So Stanley was working there using mind expanding drugs, working Kirlian photography and all kinds of stuff. Stanley was a pioneer, a circumnavigator and he was fond of the Grateful Dead. I met him at a party for the great Indian drummer. That is where we met and we became great friends. Eventually Garcia, Stanley and I got into a conversation where Garcia proposed the experiment. A plan got formulated where there would be a group of sleepers at the Dream Lab and we would ask the audience to concentrate on an image that was presented behind us. Our idea was to send that imagery to the sleepers via telepathy. We did the experiment for five or six nights and got like five direct hits. The sleepers accurately described the image that was behind the wall during REM. It was a very powerful night. The images were selected at random by being pulled out of a hat. It was a great moment.
DNA: Did you ever do anything like that again?
Mickey: No, we never repeated that experiment again. I know that other people have done similar events, but you’ll have to research that one.


“Seldom turns out the way it does in the song”

DNA: I did an interview with Uri Geller (Israeli Psychic) yesterday so I’m on an ESP kick right now.
Mickey: Well it is fascinating. Our main focus was the idea of group mind. We saw the Grateful Dead as a group mind and one in which were able to share with the audience. We were able to take an image and project it into the audience and send it to receptive receivers. It proved a lot on a lot of levels.


“In the strangest of places if you look at it right”

DNA: I attended the Ritual and Rapture lecture that featured you, Garcia and Joseph Campbell. I recall a Deadhead asking Garcia about telepathy at Dead shows. His question was something like, “There are times at a show when my friends and I will think of a certain song and you will play it, and we know you know.” Garcia’s response was, “That’s pee-pee.” (anyone out there have a tape of this?)
Mickey: He said what?!
DNA: He said that people who he knew weren’t crazy had told him similar things. But it had never been proven to him beyond satisfactorily. He said it was pee-pee.
Mickey: I happen to agree with Garcia, though I wouldn’t call it pee-pee. I would call it unproven. My hypothesis is that it’s not impossible, it is within the realm of possibility. And certain people that are connected on one level or another can receive messages, synchronicity, entrainment or being in the flow. I believe that when people’s rhythms are locked they have something deep in common it happens. My question is this, “I know it happens, but can you prove it?” There’s just no conclusive proof. All through my life I’ve had people where I’ve called them up and they have picked up the phone without it ringing. I just had an interesting thing happen with Jean Campbell, Joe Campbell's wife. I hadn’t talked to Jeanie for a year and half or two years, and I just called her up a couple of weeks ago. I was like, “Hi, Jean, this is Mickey.” “Mickey, I just dreamed of you last night.” I was like, “Jean, has that happened before,” and she said, “No.” These are the kinds of things that make you wonder. She said, “I had a dream last night that I should call you.” We just kind of hung there for a moment. It just isn’t that unusual for people that are connected.
DNA: That’s a grounding experience, bad science, but a good anchor.
Mickey: Hunter and I once wrote a song once, completely separate. He wrote the words and I wrote the music, but when we put them together they were completely identical. There was absolutely no way that either one of us could have heard the other's composition. He never played it in front of anyone and I never played it front of anyone. He swore that I stole his music, but we looked at it and it would have been impossible to ever have either of us know what the other was thinking. Things like that happen all the time in a world where people are connected.
DNA: Grateful minds think alike.
Mickey: Definitely Synchronous minds.


“Once in a while you get shown the light”

DNA: I interviewed Apollo 12 astronaut Edgar Mitchell. He said he was having lunch with Uri Geller and was telling Uri that he was disappointed that Uri resorted to trickery so much to prove that ESP existed. When all of a sudden there was a plop in his soup and it was a tie clip he had lost ten years before halfway across the country.
Mickey: I mean c’mon, Uri Geller is a real guy, he definitely is a showman, a circus performer but you cannot deny his psychic powers. That psychic stuff has been totally proven. I met him once and he was a bit of a jerk. Though that does not take away from his talent.
DNA: Would you consider Uri a contemporary Shaman? Or, where do we find people in our society that can link up with the spirit world?
Mickey: He has Shamanistic powers, but does he use it for the betterment of the world, I don’t think so. Mostly I see him as a vaudeville performer. I don’t see him making a better world, do you?
DNA: Not unless he reads my mind and mails me a million bucks. That would make my world better.
Mickey: Is he a healer, a medicine man?
DNA: In his new book, he talks about how his castle in England is often filled with kids from a cancer ward of hospital. Apparently he performs healings on them.
Mickey: Well there you go.
DNA: Where is the contemporary of Rolling Thunder? Is there a war on Shamanism?
Mickey: There has always been a war on Shamanism. It is an edge science, and anybody who is on the edge is always suspect. For the individual who is there, it doesn’t always work. It’s living your life by the seat of your pants. Whenever you deal with non-scientific experimentation you’re going to find Shamans. The word connotes “thinker.” It’s part of the lexicon, he doesn’t have to be a healer, he could be a faker.
DNA: Was Rolling Thunder genuine?
Mickey: Rolling Thunder was the real deal. I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes so there is no question about it. Of course he surrounded himself with a lot of Mumbo Jumbo as well, as all Shaman. So much of Shamans is the show, the act. You have to prepare. Belief is such a big part of Shamanism, you have win the persons confidence to heal. Or invade if it’s surgery, or even if it’s a mental healing, you must prepare the person for induction. Typically, rhythm, song or vibration, or magical charms do it. It’s mental and physical and there are many different approaches to doctoring and each one of them has their own tool kit. Rolling Thunder for the most part was herbal based and it worked. I picked herbs with him and he was a genius in that field. Stanley and I were also good friends with Rolling Thunder.
DNA: So where is the contemporary Shaman?
Mickey: Everywhere. Women are taking a big step forward and coming on strong. Musicians and artists or anyone who deals with the spirit world has potential. We haven’t cracked the code of DNA yet. Sorry, I hate to say that word.
DNA: That’s all right, I get a dime anyone says it.
Mickey: Science is starting to weigh in on this topic though. At a recent conference in New York on Music on the Brain, there was work done on what a brain looks like before and after an auditory driving experience and how vibration effects brainwaves. There is a scientific study being done in Santa Cruz called the Heart Math. What they are finding is that the heart isn’t just an organ that pumps blood, but it also pumps emotional content. And when you find pure science starting to study the physics of vibration, it isn’t long before they find the metaphysics.
DNA: So Science is mapping the human body in how it relates to environment, but also in the way it relates to consciousness.
Mickey: Yes, science is reinforcing and codifying the shaman way. It comes down to how do we create trance on a daily basis. What is the rhythm, what’s the rate? We’re trying to tune into the frequency so we can duplicate the experience and do it twice. Again, at the moment we’re doing it by the seat of our pants, but this century will crack that code.
DNA: If technological advances are often co-opted by the government for the purpose of war, do you see trance being used in that way?
Mickey: I don’t think so. It will be a war all right, but it will be a war of the minds and fight for the spirit world. There will be battles fought, but nothing we’re used to. I see the first application being used for medicine and therapy.



“Rings on her finger and bells on her toes”

DNA: If we presuppose that the Drum is an instrument that elicits trance and can create the environment for time travel, in the sense that it could physically move you to another time, where would you put yourself.
Mickey: I would go back to the Paleolithic. I’m a big fan of first man; I would have liked to have seen what it was like when we first came together as humans. I’ve already experienced the fifties and the sixties; I know what that’s like. Either that or the turn of the century, those are two times that hold great interest for me: The dawn of the Industrial age and the dawn of man. I would also like to go back to Congo Square at the turn of the century. About 1890 New Orleans, that is a fascinating time, for it is the birth of music in our country. Ya know, I would really like to see some Temple caves about 9000 BC as well.
DNA: What I find interesting about Congo Square and your thought about it being the birthplace of our music. Couldn’t’ it be argued that at that time there was great divine intervention and that all our music, Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll comes from the Spirit World.
Mickey: Absolutely. It was where the Spirit Music of Western Africa came and hit our shore. At the end of the Haitian Revolution at the end of the 1700’s, it ended up in Congo Square, and that was it, baby. That’s where it all started. That’s when the slaves were given back their instruments to play on Sundays. That was the only day they were allowed to go into trance. Where do you think we got Rock and Roll, Big bands and Jazz? It all that came through Haiti and eventually to New Orleans. The birthplace of the cool.
DNA: Is cool more than attitude?
Mickey: Attitude is a big part of it. But they also brought the instruments and the most powerful rhythms on the planet. All of the vodon stuff came with it.
DNA: I find it interesting that if you see divine providence in the thousands of year preceding New Orleans, whether Mohammed, Jesus, Moses or what have you, spirit came in words. But then suddenly it descended through rhythms and it is music that has been the backbone of the last 110 years.
Mickey: Words do not entrance you on a physical level, they can on a mental level. It’s about the vibration.


“The sky was yellow, the sun was blue”


DNA: Well let me ask one final question here.
Mickey: This is the strangest interview I’ve had for while, but it’s nice. I’m OK with it.
DNA: Well I followed you around for so long, this is my shot. Twilight Zone episodes, when are they coming back?
Mickey: Shit, I have no idea.
DNA: I know you pioneered 3D holographic sound for those episodes and now with DVD and home sound systems, the full effects can really be seen.
Mickey: I spent three weeks in a row at the University of Illinois, at Northwestern, trying to make sound move in mono. We had a giant computer that did create sound that had movement in a holographic way. After I did get vertical and horizontal movement, CBS didn’t follow through on the transmission, so it became a mute point. Wow, I had forgotten all about that. I spent three weeks in this little room. Every time I made an update, it took all night for the computers for the main frame computers to crunch it. I had to do it all in little pieces. The theme is actually holophonic. It works great in 5.1.
DNA: When it was first on, I would sit an inch away from the TV set and listen for the sound to move.
Mickey: For a while there we got it to the point where the sound seemed like it wasn’t coming out of the speakers. It was so time consuming and costly back then. It was the first of it’s kind. I really like the episode called Grandma, written by Harlan Ellison. I was the music designer and the set designer on it. I worked on 79 of those episodes. Wow, man thanks for reminding me, we should re-release those suckers.

(all lyrics from Scarlet Begonia. Author Robert Hunter. Copyright Ice Nine Publishing)

DNA is an International Journalist who lives in Northern California with his wife and three cats. He is currently running for Mayor and getting involved in the Green Party.