Flashback 8-8-88: Interview Excerpts from forthcoming book 'Phantoms: The Rise of Deathrock from the L.A. Punk Scene.'
Flashback to 8-8-88:
Today marks thirty years since Zeena's first public collaboration with music group Radio Werewolf, which led soon after to her becoming co-director as composer, musician, lyricist, singer, artist and art director.
Music historian Mikey Bean interviewed Radio Werewolf for his forthcoming encyclopedic volume, 'Phantoms: The Rise of Deathrock from the L.A. Punk Scene.' The Radio Werewolf chapter covers a vast amount of yet unknown information about several key points in the bands development, from all members involved.
Thanks goes out to Mikey Bean for granting permission to share a peek of this book, prior to release.
The following passages are specifically in reference to the 8-8-88 rally at the Strand Theater in San Francisco.
To follow updates on the 'Phantoms' release, go to this Facebook page:
Phantoms: The Rise Of Deathrock From The La Punk Scene https://www.facebook.com/mikeys.book/
Original, Vintage Radio Werewolf Merchandise available on this site under:
VINTAGE, ORIGINALS & COLLECTIBLES
Radio Werewolf begin working on The Norse Eddas shortly before 8-8-88
Zeena: In Summer of '88, a couple of months after we'd met, Nikolas mentioned that he and Kirby were planning on doing an album of the Norse Eddas.
Nikolas Schreck: …on rehearsing the adaptation of the Elder Edda, which formed the centerpiece of Radio Werewolf's second album Songs For The End Of The World.
Zeena: He said, “I'm looking for a strong woman to play the role of a Valkyrie and you just might be the one I've been looking for.”
Nikolas Schreck: Her artwork and creative writing, which she read to me, and her skills as an improvisatory keyboard player with a gift for haunting medieval melodies, her experience in theater as ritual, these were the many things we had in common as far as the mutual artistic approach that blossomed into our collaboration in the next phase of Radio Werewolf.
Zeena: He knew I'd done theater pieces and had acting experience, and asked if I'd be interested. Now, the funny thing is, between '87-88, I'd been having a pleasant dalliance with King Diamond. Right around the time Nikolas asked me to participate in the Eddas recording, Kind Diamond said he'd like to find a way to bring me on tour with him but in order to do that, he would have had to work me into his act to justify my travel expenses. At that time, King Diamond had a stage act that involved a haunted house story with a scary old grandmother character and he asked if I'd consider wearing a latex mask to play the grandmother. Well, given the choice between playing a Valkyrie or playing an old grandmother in a latex mask, which would you choose?! (laughs) So obviously Nikolas, Kirby and I began working on what would become Songs For The End Of The World fairly early on. We were artists who would’ve collaborated as equals on something anyway, regardless of whether or not we got romantically involved, and regardless of Nikolas's then involvement with the first cast of Radio Werewolf.
8-8-88 rally at Strand Theater SF
Nikolas Schreck: Then in August, the 8-8-88 concert happened, the anniversary of the Manson murders. Zeena came to San Francisco from LA at my invitation, to do a reading at this concert to which Boyd Rice and I had agreed to several months before.
Zeena: I was supposed to arrive at the venue with Boyd and Adam Parfrey. I wanted to get there a little early, as I usually do, but they wanted to wait until the last minute and opted instead to kill time eating dinner in Japan Town. Meanwhile, Nikolas and his girlfriend were still running around getting everything together for the performance, obviously with no help from the three of us.
Zeena: The 8-8-88 rally was the only time the old line up of Radio Werewolf and the yet-to-be new line up of Radio Werewolf worked together. It would be the only performance that Nikolas, the original percussionist Wilhelm, and I ever performed live together. That marked the transition point spanning three phases of Radio Werewolf: 1) the Nikolas Schreck/Evil Wilhelm collaboration, 2) the solo Nikolas Schreck/The Fiery Summons, and 3) the Nikolas Schreck/Zeena collaboration.
Zeena: During the performance my cue was a particular organ chord that Nikolas would play; Boyd's part came before mine and when Nikolas played the cue Boyd was to step away from the podium to make room for the next in the line-up, me. When the time came for my part Boyd just stood there, I kept looking around wondering when he'd get it, his part was finished, but he stood there an interminably long time, just sort of zoning out. Judging by Boyd's and Adam's jitteriness that they expressed at dinner over the Geraldo crew filming it, I think that must have been what panicked him, they weren't yet used to that level of national attention.
Nikolas Schreck: When the Geraldo Rivera [U.S. TV show] film crew had arrived at the theater they asked me in all seriousness if they could film my Satanic wedding ceremony with Zeena LaVey; they were very disappointed when I told them there was no such wedding planned!
Zeena: Because of Boyd's stage fright, it left me about half the time I needed for what we'd planned for me to read…so I just hurriedly did my part and moved on. It was also tense during the performance because shortly before we went on, we learned of a call-in threat from someone with the intention of stabbing the participants on stage with syringes filled with AIDS infected blood.
Zeena: I was not at all comfortable with the atmosphere immediately after the show and wanted to immediately leave, as was the original agreement. There was supposed to be a car waiting for me, which never materialised so I was stuck in the backstage area with a bunch of dips wanting to ape for the camera. There were some group photos taken and if you notice I'm at the far outer end…why? Because I didn't even want to be in the photos at all. I was the only one standing off to the side watching the others take photos but the ‘Anton LaVey fan-club’ all whined that I should be in the photos with them and that's why I'm actually half in, and half out, of those shots.
Nikolas Schreck: Me and Wilhelm gave an interview to Geraldo, and if you watch the interview you can already see the tension that comes across from us sitting together.
Evil Wilhelm: During the show I looked around in disgust and said “this is just not fun anymore…”.
Zeena: You could cut the tension with a knife, because on the one end of the spectrum you had these goofy newcomers to the CoS, getting off on their 15 minutes of media high, and then on the other end of the spectrum you had this silently smouldering Radio Werewolf drama between Wilhelm and Nikolas unfolding behind everyone else's drunken giddiness…as for me, I just wanted to go home.
Fastforward 30 Years
Zeena: Although we haven't collaborated on musical projects since Radio Werewolf ended in 1993, there are still a lot of similarities in theme and content to what we both do.
Nikolas Schreck: These days, Zeena and I focus on solo performances and individual writing/art projects; we purposely don't attend each others' gigs for a variety of practical reasons, mostly having to do with maintaining respect for each artists' autonomy, and to dispel the moronic ‘Mommy and Daddy of Satanism’ idea which originated primarily from both the US Fundamentalist Christian AND Satanic factions.
Zeena: We live and work entirely independently of each other these days. On a practical level, we learned long ago that it's very difficult for two very focused artists, who are always working on a continuous stream of projects, with unpredictable schedules, to attempt to live any sort of conventional co-habitation or ‘coupledom’ lifestyle. In addition to that, I've taken Buddhist Bodhisattva vows and am a yogini, which also necessitates specific ways of living.
Nikolas Schreck: I’m flattered that [more than] thirty years after I started [Radio Werewolf] people are still enthusiastic and excited about it. I saw from the beginning that it’s something beyond…I can’t get away from it, but it isn’t ‘me’; I feel like I have a younger twin brother who did all this stuff and I have to deal with the consequences, that it’s like a child I brought into the world and I have to accept the responsibility of it.
Zeena: For me, the most powerful, valuable and enduring lesson of all that came out of my Radio Werewolf years is the message of our final album: Love Conquers All.
[End of excerpt]
The Occult Influences of Sympathy for the Devil
Den of Geek online journal explores the mystique and back stories of the 1968 cult anthem Sympathy for the Devil, by The Rolling Stones in this in-depth article. Exclusive interview with Zeena throughout the article, recalling her first-hand experiences with and magical interpretations of the song and its influences (excerpted in parts below: Full article, HERE and again at end of this post):
Zeena Schreck, a Berlin-based interdisciplinary visual and musical artist told Den of Geek [...] “I'm sure they didn't mind the controversy that came with the dark associations from 'Sympathy,' or the previously released 'Their Satanic Majesties Request.' I'd think the more sinister reputation would have been, for the Stones, a welcome delineation from the 'I-wanna-hold-your-hand’ Beatles [...] generally, it seemed they were tapping into the overall Zeitgeist of the times, of the overwhelming pop-culture focus on occultism, witchcraft, and Satanism,” Zeena explains. “Specifically, the theme of that song seemed more a literary reference, influenced by the Russian novel The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. I doubt there were any intentional sinister motivations.”
Rock has been called the devil’s music since it began to roll. This is both overt bigotry and inferred spiritual racism. There must be real power in those jungle beats that pump out real magic. “Possibly one of the reasons that particular song developed such an aura surrounding it is due to the consistent, shamanistic-like percussion and chanting,” says Zeena. “The quality of the rhythm in ‘Sympathy’ is similar to magical drumming played to induce trance states. That type of hypnotic rhythm is a traditional method of inducing altered states of consciousness. Combine that with the copious amounts of drugs and psychedelics that everyone was taking those days, while invoking a (conventionally understood) malevolent force, then obviously the effects would be quite epic.”
Invoking a Demon Brother: “Sympathy for the Devil” was captured in two takes, the first one Richards declared a disaster, before hitting on the perfect alchemy. The recording was filmed by French new wave film icon Jean-Luc Godard, who renamed his film One Plus One in honor of it for its 1968 producer’s cut. During the five days of recording, as the stories go, a film lamp started a fire that laid waste to the band’s equipment. The tapes were protected, another clue to the possessed nature of the noise.
The band’s mythic satanic alliance was further cemented by their association with American underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, a former child actor who wrote the tell-all book Hollywood Babylon. Anger was a Crowleyan who called his movies Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Scorpio Rising, and Fireworks “visual incantations” and “moving spells.” Jagger played the synthesizer soundtrack for his Invocation of My Demon Brother. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin scored one on Crowley. Anger met the Stones through art gallery owner Robert Fraser and asked if they would work on a film called Lucifer Rising. Anger wanted to cast Mick as Lucifer and Keith as Beelzebub.
Zeena says that, during the 1960s and 1970s, the filmmaker “transmitted the influences of Curtis Harrington, Jean Cocteau, and Maya Deren [to her],” adding that her own art “was influenced early in life by the mentorship of her godfather Kenneth Anger.” During her childhood and adolescence, Zeena “was privy to Anger's conversations about his involvement with such contemporaries as the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page and Anita Pallenberg.”
“Occasionally Kenneth Anger would mention his involvement with the members of the band,” Zeena says. “When the subject came up, he'd say they'd brought destructive energies upon themselves. Ironically he, himself, helped facilitate that, being their magical mentor. Despite the Stones' backing off from the 60s’ dark occult influences around them, there can be no denying that Anger was a strong influence for a time, as witness Jagger's soundtrack for Invocation of my Demon Brother.”
But Zeena, who was teaching magic and sorcery at the age of 16, “never agreed with Kenneth's admiration and proselytizing of Aleister Crowley and Thelema. It's a very destructive and misogynistic philosophy which has brought a lot of harm to people who take it seriously.” Zeena severed ties with her father and his Church, and is now a teacher of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, where the music of the Rolling Stones is more welcome.
“Although Kenneth Anger was befriended with both the Rolling Stones and my father during the same years, you definitely would not hear ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ playing at Church of Satan headquarters,” Zeena says. “The simple reason is that the High Priest had very rigid, idiosyncratic interpretations of what he considered ‘satanic music.’ Rock music, heavy metal, or any other kind of popular music, were definitely not part of his satanic jukebox.”
The British band might also have stopped dropping quarters into the American director’s nickelodeon. “Kenneth Anger they thought laughable,” Faithfull wrote in her memoirs. “Mick and Keith were utterly contemptuous of his satanic hocus-pocus.”
“However, a more direct magical influence, aside from Kenneth Anger, influencing the group during the making of 'Sympathy for the Devil', would have more likely been Anita Pallenberg,” Zeena says. “She openly practiced black magical rituals and never hid her fascination for the darker side of life. She not only performed backing vocals but also had a creative influence on the music and style of the group, being their sort of 'resident witch.' I know one of Pallenberg's cousins who confirmed she was always into the black arts and a little 'witchy.’”
Because Swinging London in the '60s only really ranged a few blocks, both the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were loosely connected to the sixties counter-spiritual group, the Process Church of Final Judgement, but mainly because they all went to Pink Floyd shows. “The Stones' playing with popular satanic themes and imagery may have begun superficially at first but ultimately a malignant seed was planted and the conditions for destructive consequences ripened,” Zeena says, referencing another tragedy that played into the song’s morbid mythology.
The legend of the “Sympathy for the Devil” took more sinister turn during the Altamont Free Concert in 1969. Though Meredith Hunter was killed by Hell’s Angel’s bikers who were working security while the band was playing "Under My Thumb," the fight that killed him interrupted the band as they kicked into their rhythmic satanic anthem. "We're always having—something very funny happens when we start that number," Jagger said before the band restarted the number. Because of the public outrage, the Stones didn’t play the song live for the next seven years.
Brian Jones was played out during the recording of Beggars Banquet, but he was not silent. Richards worked double and triple duty, but Jones did the wonderful slide work in “No Expectations,” and played the sitar and tanpura on "Street Fighting Man." The album would be the last with Jones, who was discovered drowned in his Sussex swimming pool on July 26, 1969. His own musical exploration propelled the band to take the lead in many major musical movements. “Speaking only for my years composing with Radio Werewolf, I wouldn't say ‘Sympathy’ or Satanic Majesties Request had direct influence on my music within Radio Werewolf,” Zeena says. “But I did have a strong affinity with their music produced in the Brian Jones years - their music when it had a more medieval flavor. That sound is what I'm naturally drawn to and often create.”
Vintage clip from Radio Werewolf's 'Songs for the End of the World' 1991 German tour.
Music video clip from the Zeena Schreck/Radio Werewolf Archives: Concert footage from early 90s.
More vintage Radio Werewolf from the Zeena Schreck/Nikolas Schreck European collaborative years will be featured regularly on this site and Zeena's YouTube channel.
Genre categories: #performanceart #postindustrial #soundscapes #experimentalmusic #avantgardemusic
#darkambient #neoclassical #postpunk #darkwave #nikolasschreck #zeenaschreck
Zeena's Magical, Musical, Mystery Reunion with Legendary Swiss Event Promoter Arnoldo Steiner of 'Magic Circle'
A Message from ZEENA:
"After twenty six years, I'm thrilled to have just reconnected with the very dear Arnoldo Steiner, who was the event organizer of Radio Werewolf's final concert "The Zürich Experiment." He recently posted a collection of his images from that night and, with his permission, I'm featuring them in my Photo Gallery on my website as well.
My memories of the event are entirely positive and wonderful. Without a doubt, Arnoldo was the most gracious host I'd had in all of my music experiences.
Arnoldo has always had, and still does have, an Old World charm which one expects of the Goth sub-culture, but in recent years is often lacking. A true emanation of Shelley-Byron style Romanticism at its best. As a result, his events' decor, his personal presence and classic style had a positive influence on the Zürich Goth scene which, to my recollection, were an ideal audience that particular night! It's safe to say that Arnoldo has had a longstanding reputation as 'The Source' for such alternative entertainment as what Radio Werewolf represented. Best described in the advertizement of the Radio Werewolf performance he organized (also in English below):
' GOTHIC OPERA
The commitment to youth culture of Zurich's Arnoldo Steiner dates back to the 'Halbstarken' era of the 1960s [Halbstarken def: Americanization of post-WWII Europe via pop culture].
In recent years, he has organized unusual gothic and rock parties, with fans from all over Switzerland. This will also be the case on 30 December, the day before New Year's Eve. For the first time, the cult group Radio Werewolf from L.A., based in Vienna, will perform in Switzerland. These prophesies of doom offer more than just an ordinary concert. Their performance is an opera, a ritual, a magical work of art. Before and after the midnight spectacle, the original -Big Apple- DJs Walky, Andy and Arnoldo will spin wave and gothic rock classics.'
It was wonderful to have had an organizer who not only totally got what we were doing musically, but also made everything so pleasant! (In 1991, being a vegetarian was not an easy thing to add to the rider! )
Many thanks to Arnoldo for providing these images and fun memories from Radio Werewolf's past !"
Go to PHOTO GALLERY for the images from RADIO WEREWOLF's final concert courtesy of Arnoldo Steiner - thanks again Arnoldo !
An Excerpt from a 1992 film by Zeena Schreck originally titled "GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins". Filmed 25 years ago today at crossover from Walpurgisnacht to May Day, at the top of the Harz Mountains in Germany, home of the original Walpurgisnacht.
In this clip, the personification of the May Queen ushers in Springtime with a speech of rejuvenation for the Pagan New Year, the day after Walpurgisnacht.
The raw footage of "GERMANIA: The Theory of Ruins" is being digitally rescued from old VHS master tapes for re-release in a series of theme-oriented short films and sound art recordings by Zeena Schreck.
The subject matter will focus on the history of German music, cinema, art, pagan lore, natural landscapes and architecture.
For more info, sign up to the mailing list on this site
Twenty-five years ago today, Radio Werewolf ceremonially concluded its seven year sonic-magic cycle with The Zürich Experiment, held at the historic Kaufleuten concert hall, Zurich, Switzerland at Midnight, December 30, 1991. The live track in this post is from that event, digitally remastered in 2012, for The Vinyl Solution - Analog Artifacts: Ritual Instrumentals and Undercover Versions. Video collage by Tony Sokol.
Text to "Prologue: Turn Off, Tune In, Drop Out" :
[Voice: Master of Ceremonies Wolfgang]
Willkommen beim Zürich Experiment.
Sie sind hier zusammengerufen worden, um an einem historischen Experiment in akustischer Magie teilzunehmen. Während der nächsten Minuten wird Ihr Verstand von vielen Jahren Programmierung, Fehlinformationen und gesellschaftlicher Kontrollmechanismen gesäubert und befreit werden.
Heute nacht haben Sie aus freiem Willen eine andere Dimension des Denkens betreten. Am Ende des Experiments werden Sie nicht mehr dieselbe Person sein wie bei Ihrer Ankunft an diesem Ort.
Welcome to the Zurich experiment.
You have been summoned here to participate in a historic experiment in acoustic magic. During the next few minutes, your minds will be cleansed and freed from many years of programming, misinformation and social control mechanisms.
Tonight you have voluntarily entered another dimension of thought. At the end of the experiment, you will not be the same person as you were when you arrived at this location.
[Voice: Alpha She-Wolf Zeena]
Good Evening. You've tuned into Radio Werewolf, the Voice of Terror, broadcasting at a frequency of 666 megahertz. The following is a Transmission of the Nightmare Network.
Prologue: Turn Off, Tune In, Drop Out
The Vinyl Solution
Live at The Zurich Experiment, Dec. 30, 1991
Vocals: Zeena & Wolfgang
Sound recordings: Zeena
Copyright 1991 All Rights Reserved
Visual Choreographer: Tony Sokol
Vintage Radio Werewolf & Other Items Newly Added in Featured Products on this site!
Get 30% off everything in Featured Products beginning now until Sunday night (Nov. 27) when using this code: blackweekend16.
We've added many original, rare and hard to find items, including ORIGINAL Radio Werewolf Vinyls: The Lightning and the Sun, Bring Me the Head of Geraldo Rivera, Boots/Witchcraft, The Fiery Summons. ORIGINAL CDs: Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues and Other Villains, Love Conquers All, George Montalba Fantasy in Pipe Organ. Radio Werewolf Vintage memorabilia: Original Radio Werewolf Fenris Wolf Patch, Original 1991 Radio Werewolf Poster. Plus there are only a dozen 2017 ZEENA Calendars remaining.
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THANKS TO CLAUS LAUFENBURG for these rare and legendary concert stills from Radio Werewolf's early '90s European "End of the World" concert tour . These stills are from concert footage Herr Laufenburg filmed for Video Werewolf music documentary videos.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS ON THIS THEME: A massive video-to-digital transfer project is currently underway to save many of Zeena's archived VHS video cassette tapes for posterity. Plans are to re-release the videos that the stills in this gallery are from, as well as many other vintage Radio Werewolf videos and formerly lost TV and film appearances of Zeena from the 80s and 90s! This will be a laborious, time intensive project. So please have patience. We will keep you posted as new additions to the archives are available.