Peter S. Beagle described one of his characters, Joe Farrell, as being a magnet for Ancient Mariners — the eccentrics and oddballs who just walk up to you and tell you about their habits of swallowing glass/building Pietas out of toothpicks/receiving radio signals on their bridgework. I seem to have a knack for that as well. I may have inherited it from my mom, who was the sort to whom total strangers would unburden themselves.
I count among my friends and acquaintances over the years cops, crooks, a meter reader who took me to the basement of a sex shop to see what was there, a young woman who worked at a different such shop (of the famous clamp episode), someone who suggested that I help her kill her husband, a curator of bizarre films, some hippies named Levi and Bluebird who sheltered a transgender Puerto Rican “freedom fighter”, and at least two otherkin. And of course, the usual assortment of folks you meet in bands, writers’ workshops/public readings, and college communities.
But there are other folks I think I might like to meet one day, and I discovered such a person yesterday, via the CD store in Real City. I saw a used Promo Copy of an album from a band I hadn’t heard ofbefore, called Plastic Crimewave Sound. The artwork reminded me of Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum and I noticed credits for instruments including sitar and something merely called “the Device”, so I figured it was worth six bucks.
Listening to it on the way home, I decided it isn’t for the fainthearted; it’s comparable to a jam session between Ozric Tentacles and Ministry, or Hawkwind in a vacuum cleaner showroom. There are elements of Krautrock, Japanese scree and skronk, and the screamy parts of “Careful with that Axe, Eugene“. So I think it’s pretty cool. And as I decided to find out what I could about the band, I discovered that Plastic Crimewave is a guy in Chicago:
Crimewave has been called a modern guru of psychedelic art, music and culture of the 1960s and ’70s, as well as a “freelance mind-wizard”. Regarding his artwork and music, British musician and musicologist Julian Cope has called Crimewave, among other things, “a Futuretro freak”, while Crimewave himself says he pulls inspiration from the “vibrationally bizarre.”.
Sounds like my kind of guy.