31 July 2009

New High On Fire

The new HIGH ON FIRE album is slated for an early 2010 release. When asked for comment, Pike states, “We look forward to sharing the dark seas of our new riffs and tragic stories. Soon the next saga of High on Fire’s world will be known.”


Shrinebuilder Live

This is actually all I can think about, so you may just be getting Shrinebuilder updates only until it comes out. Seriously.

11/14 - The Empty Bottle, Chicago

According to Scott Kelly.

23 July 2009


Continuing our series of informational posts here on PTV: Shrinebuilder has released the track listing for their debut album.

01. Solar Benediction
02. Pyramid Of The Moon
03. Blind For All To See
04. The Architect
05. Science Of Anger

That's Scott Kelly, Al Cisneros, Dale Crover, and Wino, by the way.

Here's Al: "It`s gonna sound like when you have to lean down into your knees, to the space between your knees with a matchbook and a chilem, in the front seat of your car. And after having done that, you get outside of your car, close and lock the door, and you`re walking across the parking lot and your throat is absolutely burned. And it`s still worth it. It`s gonna be straight matches and resin."


22 July 2009

Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Guitar Player Magazine, Nov./Dec. '72

The following is an interview taken from an issue of Guitar Player magazine from 1972. On a recent trip to my parent's house, my dad gave me a bunch of his old magazines, and they are all amazing. Thanks, Dad.

Arranging an interview with the great guitarist, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is no easy task. Fo a year and a half GP was after him to sit down with us and discuss his life with the guitar. At one point in 1971 McLaughlin even offered to write an article himself. Then he entered a period of serious self-introspection, a time whch would not allow him to permit interviews, one in which he was to establish a negative position toward discussing things ike tunings, strings, scales and such.

But McLaughlin finally agreed to meet with our writer during an afternoon sound check prior to the night's concert with his Mahavishnu Orchestra. He has been opening up more to the press during the previous few months, and was more outgoing. Still, he was not interested in talking about certain technical aspects of his guitaring, thngs that regular readers of GP have become accustomed to finding in our interviews. It was to be left to the writer to uncover, on his own, whatever could be learned about equipment and the like.

I was to meet Mahavishnu, whom I first addressed as John, at 3 PM, but since he hadn't arrived I began looking over his equipment whch had just been set up. He would be playing through 100-watt Marshall Super Lead amp and three Marshall bottoms, all thrugh the PA system. On the floor was a DeArmond 602 volume pedal, the only pedal he would later use.

Violinist Jerry Goodman was theonly musican to arrive on time. McLaughlin was next, thought, and proceeded to sit down and play drums. He said he was happy to do the interview, but wasn't interested in discussing technical matters. But as the time grew later, Mahavishnu grew more and more cnerned over the whereabouts of the rest of his band, so we agreed to meet after the evening's show.

At 9 PM the musicians were in place and McLaughlin walked on stage with his double-necked Gibson. The group mostly played tunes from the Inner Mounting Flame album, sounding amazingly like the record (natural fuzz on the guitar). Mahavishnu played most of his leads on the 6-strong neck, and most of the arpeggiated chords on the 12-string neck. He played one duet with the drums that sounded amazingly full, because he was playing in the same key to which the double bass drums were tuned (two roots).

Following the five minutes of standing ovation and a final encore, I met McLaughlin in the dressing room where he was relaxing, eating fruit.

How long did it take to put this band together?

It took me about two months to find all the musicians. I knew the drummer and the violinist, and I'd heard of the others through friends. Like Miroslav Vituous (bass) told me about Jan Hammer (piano).

Wasn't Vituous on Spaces, your first album after you broke with Miles Davis?

I haven't broken with Miles, in fact we've done other sessions together. I was never with him in the sense most people think. And I wasn't with Larry Coryell on that Spaces album. It and Devotion were both studio recordings.

With all your playing experience, what do you find yourself falling back on the most?

Everything! I grew to where I am, and I use everything in balance. As I grow more, my playing will change as my being changes. I draw on all present things, and on what is beyond me.

When you solo, is it total self-concentration or is it open concentration on the entire band?

Open. You open yourself to the things around you. Of course, it depends on the state of consciousness you're in, how deep and how high. I've been in states of consciousness where I'm not the creator. Then I just play, thats all.

What do you think of your solos on Jack Johnson and earlier albums?

Those were a long time ago. That was me then, but what I'm doing now is what best represents me. Of course, my development is well represented by those albums, because music is the only language I speak. I am learning the language of silence and meditation, the highest of languages.

Is communication what you want to do?

Yes! I want to move people. When I play I want people to feel what is inside them. Those people tonight were clapping for what they feel inside themselves. And that's what I want to do, only deeper--purer and purer.

Many people consider you a rock guitarist. Do you?

I don't care what people call me. I don't care what they call the music. We just get up there and play. It's like, people ask me what kind of music we play, and I say, "You listen, then you can call it anything you want." There are people who consider themselves Mahavishnu Rock and Roll Freaks, that's great, I'd rather play for rock and roll audiences than jazz audiences anyway. Jazz listeners are too narrow, too purist for us. Rock audiences are more open.

How do you approach your improvisation?

When there is a desire to express something, there is a need. And out of that need it is born. Like, when you're carving and you say, "That's not right!" You take away some, you add some. The total sound is the concern. But sometimes you don't carve out the right amount, because you can't always have great performances. Like meditating, you don't always have an incredible meditation every time. It would be like having a sumptuous feast every time you ate. You have to eat a little bread and water, be a little frugal. Frugal soup.

Is the desire to utilize this approach of yours born out of a need to?

It is born out of your dissatisfaction with your lot, your dissatisfaction with what you're doing and your lack of fulfillment. Most people don't fulfill their desires, let alone their aspirations. But they can if they want.

But what if you feel your desires are being hampered by th musicians youre playing with?

If you feel you're being dragged down by them, then your attitude is too passive, for a start, with negative overtones. It's your duty to inspire your fellow musicians. It's your duty to inspire your fellowman, because the inspiration is within you and within me. And, toinspire you have to aspire.

Did your spiritual involvement begin after Jack Johnson?

I think I had just become a disciple in New York when that was recorded. You might say I was just born.

Would you explain "Mahavishnu?"

When you become a disciple you have a master. Mine is Sri Chinmoy. At some point he gives you a name, and that name has a very strong spiritual significance. It relates directly to the soul, and defines your existence and your whole body. Like you have certain qualities in your personality that are dominant, another person has other ones. These qualities must manifest themselves in your Being. The name embodies thee qualities, and the more you are called the name the more you use the name, and the more the name helps you. Mahavishnu is an Indian god; Maha the Creator, and Vishnu the Preserver.

Do you feel more satisfaction from your playing now than before?

I have been evolving, growing all the time. As I evolve more, my music evolves more, and I feel more fulfillment. It's a constant process.

Does meditation help eliminate distractions while playing?

It helps my entire life. But, to eliminate distractions you have to live for something else, God ideally. By doing that you don't become self-oriented, but become selflessly-oriented. Once you rid yourself of the false ego, you lose your self in the music. And the moment you lose your self in the music is the moment you are getting somewhere, and the moment you are getting somewhere is the moment you begin to find your self. Losing your self.

On a good night, when you lose your self, do you perform unconsciously, listening to your fingers play?

Sure. Of course. Music is way beyond the mind. You're conscious of what you're doing, but you're being moved by something greater. When I'm completely lost is when the music is the most incredible.

To what can a person listen to hear musicians like yourself?

Indian musicians! I am more and more influenced by Indian culture. I surround myself with their music and ideas.

What can a guitarist study to better understand and appreciate your music?

I'm not a musician for musicians. I'm a musician for non-musicians. That's what I want to be, and that's what I'll always want to be. What is a musician for if he isn't for the non-musician? I'm a musician, I'm the ears of humanity. I listen on behalf of humanity. Most people's roles in this divine drama on earth is to do something else, but they love music so I am here for them. Musicians are here for people who can't hear, and painter are here for people who can't see--so they canlearn to hear and see.

17 July 2009


Get to one of these places. Your health depends upon it.

9/17 - Neumo's, Seattle
9/18 - Biltmore, Vancouver
9/19 - Doug Fir, Portland
9/24 - The Independent, San Francisco
9/25 - Echoplex, Los Angeles
9/26 - Casbah, San Diego
10/7 - Bottom Lounge, Chicago
10/8 - Magic Stick, Detroit
10/9 - Wrongbar, Toronto
10/10 - La Salsa Rossa - Quebec
10/11 - Europa, Brooklyn
10/12 - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
10/13 - Bowery Ballroom, New York
10/14 - Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia
10/15 - DC9, DC
10/16 - TBD, Chapel Hill
10/17 - The Earl, Atlanta

I forgot to mention at the original posting of this, OM will be supported by Lichens and Grouper. You'll want to arrive at the venue early enough to see them, too.

I'll be at DC9 on the 15th for sure. Peace and heaviness.