Tag Archives: books

California Deathrock – The Photo Book

 Mark Splatter circa 2003 at a Release the Bats photo session with Amelia G and Forrest Black 
2000-2005 was a particularly relevant time in deathrock culture. I had just moved to California from New Jersey, as the proprietor of Deathrock.com, a webzine that served as a sort of beacon for the dark-minded music aficionado. Part reference guide, part webzine, it was a place where bands like UK Decay, TSOL, and The Mob first got more than just a mention in a collectors’ trade list. I was a young zine publisher who’d taken up web design in its infancy and was eager to share my love for anything remotely Misfits-esque, or even darker, more somber sounds like Southern Death Cult and Kommumity FK.

The New York presence of adherents for such sounds was lacking, apart from a small corps of gloom rockers like Charlie the Slut and Paul Morden, who took me under their wing as an aspiring DJ, and our close friends. When I visited California to meet some of the Los Angeles correspondents I was blown away by the packed floor of a club dedicated to just such sounds at Release The Bats. NYC always stood apart as too homogenous and sophisticated in its tastes to cater to such a niche and outmoded (although beloved) style. It was a no-brainer that the West Coast was where I wanted to be, where deathrock, as many argue, was born. 

Six months later I packed my bags and arrived, a 21-year-old devil lock-wearing deathpunk, and a postage stamp-sized record distributer with a case of music and a pair of DJ headphones. There it was not that it was still going strong, as it was ground zero for a full-on rebirth. New bands were evolving and converging, local bands coming into their own distinct style, Cinema Strange and The Deep Eynde pumped all sorts of energy and fishnet into our veins, and local legends were showing their faces again. Kommumity FK, Dinah Cancer and Gitane Demone resumed their positions as luminaries. Release the Bats was our Mecca, facing west. Bands from all over the globe were sending their energy into it too. Crews from further north and south were getting in touch. First the San Francisco synth-damaged Phantom Limbs with The Vanishing one on top of the other. Frank The Baptist and Diana Death from San Diego.

In that motley crew of deathrockers, gothpunks, dark new wavers, postpunks and horrorpunks were Amelia and Forrest, of Blueblood fame—one of the only established alt-porn names of the day. With their camera savvy and eye for the exotic black-clad, they managed to capture in brilliant gloss the blackest the Sunshine State had to offer, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Now their work has been collected in this deluxe photo book, California Deathrock.

It reads without words like a yearbook of the era. Looking through the photos brings “ooohs” and “aaahhs” of recognition; the friends, acquaintances, strangers, lovers, and adversaries (if only for their makeup flair or record collections!). Fishing names and memories out of a golden era is just one of the perks of this book. The first of all being the gamut of styles, the theatrics, the glamour, the variety and poetry of appearance that this book represents, a jewel in the collection of anyone who finds beauty in the creativity and expression of the gothic style.
http://californiadeathrock.com for more info:


http://ameliag.com/cadramzn.php to order!



Tannhäuser Gate

Today was one of those C-Beam days, I thought to myself. I love my bike. On a biketrail through Brooklyn, passing by dozens of attractive little streets, acquainting myself with new neighborhoods and upping my bistro, gallery and studio vocabulary. I stopped for an espresso at a little cafe in Dumbo. Dusk was just coming on when I found my trail at the base of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the sun sank patiently ahead of me and ever to the right, creating brilliant colors on the puddles of the pavement, and drawing out extra tones of reds and oranges from the brick houses dashing by. This was definitly the wrong week to take up epilepsy, as spoked iron fences made the sun a giant strobo. With C-Beams on my mind, I recall how I was only a few months ago before the gates of Elsinore. Now, I’m passing by Tannhäuser Gate.
I haven’t been getting my usual dose of travel, clearly. In it’s stead I’ve been losing myself in books, and as usual, films. Sketching out allegories and scribbling away dreams and fragments. A mountain of fragments. One of my favorite authors lately has been Ferdinand Céline, first with ‘Guignols Band’ and ‘Death on the Installment Plan’, while I wait for ‘Journey to the End of the Night’ to pop up used in one of my favorite NYC bookshops (East Village Books, The Strand, Mast Books) I stumbled on ‘Wagner The Werewolf’ (speaking of Tannhäuser…) by George Reynolds, which reads like a cheap, outdated serialized romance novel. Which is exactly what it is, and I’m loving it – one of the first tales of werewolves in the modern (Victorian) era. Certainly no Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley, it does have a certain appeal, and it runs better than Glenn Duncan’s recent ‘The Last Werewolf’ which lost its ground trying to fuse the werewolf mythos with the inevitability of modern technology, but moreso in the crossover of preternatural sub-society, in addition to the sappy vampires. Still a worthwhile read, but only three out of 5 stars, one star being awarded purely on the horror point. Another of those stars goes to the graphic sex; playing up the hormones of the lupine race managed to hit to bell on the pinball machine on multiple and rapid successions. The sequel to ‘The Last Werewolf’ just came out, called ‘Talullah Rising’, Talullah being the lycanthropic successor to the until previously thought, *last* werewolf.