Category Archives: Ray Manzarek





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Hello All! Hello World!

This here mix features two songs from Walter Martin‘s two fantastic records of children’s music (2014’s We’re All Young Together and 2017’s My Kinda Music). Martin was the multi-instrumentalist from what just might be my favorite “NY” band, The Walkmen (I’ve seen them live at least a dozen times) and these “family albums” of his are a real joy to listen to.

You’ll also hear two from the newest and likely last record by Richard Swift, as sadly he died this past July 3rd from complications due to alcohol addiction. This stunning album was released on September 20th, a date that would have marked his and his wife’s 21st wedding anniversary.

Richard Swift was only 41 but he had already amassed an incredible and diverse body of work; sadly he leaves behind as well a wife and three daughters.

I paid tribute to his genius with a mix of his songs in August.

I believe the two songs featured here–the title track “The Hex” and “Dirty Jim“–are more fine examples of what made so much of his art so brilliant: it could be both incredibly playful and yet devastatingly heartbreaking, simultaneously. Take “Dirty Jim” with it’s lovely, jaunty bounce, but despite this ebullient ragtime melody it can twist your guts and that jaunt turns to substance-abused jitters with lines like: “Every daughter in my home, every one I’ve left alone/ Sorry for the tears I gave to you.”

I’ve always admired a man that can take pathos and mutate it into POP.

Somewhat in the same dolorous mode, the closing track “Lullaby” by Rhiannon Giddens backed by the Kronos Quartet seems so sweet and easy until you begin to understand the heartsore and shameful relationships being presented to you. I really believe Rhiannon Giddens is one of the best things American music has going for it these days.

In addition to its hints of slavery and more modern racial tensions this berceuse also brought to my mind how the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes suggested in 1872 that the cuckoo bird replace the bald eagle as the emblem of the United States of America, writing:

“We Americans are all cuckoos. We make our homes in the nests of other birds,”

In his 2011 book The Old, Weird America (originally released with the title, Invisible Republic) music journalist and cultural critic Greil Marcus expanded upon Holmes’ thought:

“We Americans are all cuckoos,” Oliver Wendell Holmes said in 1872. “We make our homes in the nests of other birds.” This is the starting point.
As long as seven hundred years ago,the English were singing that the cuckoo heralded the coming of summer, and yet the bird was hated. Its cry was reviled through the centuries as oppressive, repetitious, maniacally boring, a cry to drive you crazy, a cry that was already crazy, benefiting a bird that was insane. The cuckoo–the true, “parasitic” cuckoo, which despite Holmes’ choice of it for national bird is not found in the United States–lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. It is a kind of scavenger in reverse: violating the natural order of things, it is by its own nature an outsider, a creature that cannot belong. Depositing its orphans, leaving its progeny to be raised by others, to grow up as impostors in another’s house–as America filled itself up with slaves, indentured servants, convicts, hustlers, adventurers, the ambitious and the greedy, the fleeing and the hated, who took or were given new, impostors’ names–the cuckoo becomes the other and sees all other creatures as other. If the host bird removes a cuckoo’s egg from its nest, the cuckoo may take revenge, killing all of the host’s eggs or chicks; in the same manner, as new Americans drove out or exterminated the Indians, when the cuckoo egg hatches the newborn may drive out any other nestlings or destroy any other eggs. As a creature alienated from its own nature,the cuckoo serves as the specter of the alienation of each from all.
Here is a mystical body of the republic, a kind of public secret: a declaration of what sort of wishes and fears lie behind any public act, a declaration of a weird but clearly recognizable America within the America of the exercise of institutional majoritarian power. […] Here everyone calls upon the will and everyone believes in fate. It is a democracy of manners–a democracy, finally, of how people carry themselves, of how they appear in public. The ruling question of public life is not that of the distribution of material goods or the governance of moral affairs, but that of how people plumb their souls and then present their discoveries, their true selves, to others–unless, as happens here often enough, the fear of not belonging, or the wish for true proof that one does belong, takes over, and people assume the mask that makes them indistinguishable from anyone else. But [here] that mask never stays on for long.
God reigns here, but his rule can be refused. His gaze cannot be escaped; his hand, maybe. You can bet: you can stake a probably real exile on a probably imaginary homecoming. Or you can take yourself out of the game, and wait for a death God will ignore; then you, like so many others, already dead but still speaking, will take your place in the bend of a note in “The Coo Coo Bird.” It’s limbo, but it’s not bad: on the fourth day of July you get to holler.

OK, I assure you it’s not all sadness on the mix nor a visit to Norton Juster’s The Doldrums.

[some of the landscape of The Doldrums, inhabited by the Lethargarians, as depicted in animation legend Chuck Jones’ 1968 adaption of Juster’s 1961 children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth.

 No, not at all. There’s Jack White with a song that sounds like it could have been assembled by Malcolm McLaren in the 80s.
There’s Judee Sill with one of her sweet sounding folk-tunes soaked in and thirsty for Christian mysticism; she categorized her own style of music as “country cult baroque.” 
There’s a pretty diddy off of Uruguayan singer-songwriter Juan Wauters‘ 2014 record North American Poetry. I recall reading somewhere Wauters’ music described as alegría melancólica (melancholy joy) and that is an apt description of the mood that colors a good deal of his songs, which are delivered in silly little knots. Just as in modern times “silly” is a mode or attribute of this bizarre, aggregate thing we are that is often all too easily denigrated and dismissed, in my world “silly” is one of the highest compliments I can give. As a culture we really need to relearn how to truly be at play beside the tower.

You’ll hear something fun from Bobby Charles‘ eponymous 1972 record. Charles first made a name for himself back in the mid-1950s  when he wrote the songs “See You Later, Alligator” (becoming a hit for Bill Haley and His Comets), and “Walking to New Orleans” (becoming a hit for Fats Domino).

There’s something from the sole album by P, a short lived project involving Johnny Depp, front-man of the band Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes, and others like Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers. This album is in fact the first CD I ever purchased through the miraculous finding machine known as the “internets.”

There’s something from Canadian composer Doug Randle off his 1971 LP Songs For The New Industrial State. This whole bizarre, jingle-like record seems like something that would have been released in the world set-up in Robert Downey Sr.‘s cinematic masterpiece Putney Swope.

Oh and despite the opening title in the sequence of “Mexican Loneliness” to “March Of The Swivelheads,” this is a segue I first committed to cassette tape back in 1997 and 21 years later it still makes me both give a smug chuckle at my own cleverness and want to play hookie.

so please press play and…


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A.M.O.P. Presents: __Open Boxes (Vol. 2)
  • Child, the Man Said – Walter Martin
  • The Hex – Richard Swift 
  • The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown – Judee Sill
  • Mexican Loneliness – written by Jack Kerouac; performed by Matt Dillon with Joey Altruda, Joe Gonzalez & Pablo Calogero
  • March Of The Swivelheads – The English Beat
  • Street People – Bobby Charles
  • What Was It You Wanted – Bettye LaVette (Bob Dylan cover)
  • Make Love On The Wing II – Nico Fidenco
  • Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I – R.E.M.
  • Michael Stipe – P (Gibby Haynes, Johnny Depp, Sal Jenco, Bill Carter, Flea)
  • Living Well Is The Best Revenge – R.E.M.
  • Escucho Mucho – Juan Wauters
  • That’s Life – James Brown (written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon)
  • Who Scared You – The Doors
  • Shut Paranoia – The Fine Machine (Oscar Lindok, aka Giacomo Dell’Orso; Proluton, aka Gianni Dell’Orso; Peter Donimak, aka Nico Fidenco; and Edda Dell’Orso)
  • Dirty Jim – Richard Swift 
  • Steam Heat – Barbara Moore
  • Vive la Company – Doug Randle
  • Corporation – Jack White
  • What We Gained In The Fire – The Mynabirds (produced by Richard Swift)
  • If I Were a Tiger – Walter Martin feat. Milan McAlevey, Nina Dhongia
  • Lullaby – Kronos Quartet & Rhiannon Giddens


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Child, the Man Said – Walter Martin

The Hex – Richard Swift

The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown – Judee Sill

Mexican Lonelieness – written by Jack Kerouac; performed by Matt Dillon With Joey Altruda, Joe Gonzalez & Pablo Calogero [photo by Michael Muller]

March Of The Swivelheads – The English Beat

Street People – Bobby Charles [photo by Michael Ochs, 1972]

What Was It You Wanted – Bettye LaVette (Bob Dylan cover)

Make Love On The Wing II – Nico Fidenco

Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I – R.E.M. [Marlon Brando, 1948, photo by Ronny Jaques]

Michael Stipe – P (Gibby Haynes, Johnny Depp, Sal Jenco, Bill Carter, Flea)

Living Well Is The Best Revenge – R.E.M.

Escucho Mucho – Juan Wauters

That’s Life – James Brown (written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon)

Who Scared You – The Doors [Morrison in the closet of his room at LA’s Chateau Marmont hotel, May 1968, (photo by Art Kane).]

Shut Paranoia – The Fine Machine (Oscar Lindok, aka Giacomo Dell’Orso; Proluton, aka Gianni Dell’Orso; Peter Donimak, aka Nico Fidenco; and Edda Dell’Orso)

Dirty Jim – Richard Swift [photo by Richard Swift, Sept 5 2016]

Steam Heat – Barbara Moore

Vive la Company – Doug Randle

What We Gained In The Fire – The Mynabirds (produced by Richard Swift)

If I Were a Tiger – Walter Martin feat. Milan McAlevey, Nina Dhongia

Lullaby – Kronos Quartet & Rhiannon Giddens


All the best to you and yours!—  –   ————-______-________ ->BOBBY CALERO[—+=-_________________If you dig the mix then please feel free to pass & post it along; if you dig an artist then please support them and go out and pick up some of their stuff. Oh, If you dig the blog overall there’s always the “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” button somewhere down at the bottom.



Hello All,

I’ve got a few treats here for you today to help you creep into the Halloween spirit!

  • First up, there’s quite a MixTape—October Creep—mostly pulled together from various soundtracks and other odds & ends. Now, it’s certainly not the type of mix your going to bump on regular rotation but give it a whirl and I’m sure it’ll give you the appropriate amount of heebie-jeebies this month demands. Oh, and I highly recommend watching the flicks these songs were featured in! They are definitely some of the best films of the horror genre.
  • Up next is both the “book trailer” my friend Rich Stambolian and I put together, and the review I wrote for Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist. This novel and the subsequent ones in the series truly are some of the greatest and smartest horror stories I have read in quite some time. So be sure to check it out.
  • And to conclude, I present a short story—All’s Hollow—which I wrote last Halloween for my own amusement. I hope you enjoy, so scroll on down to the end, and as always,

—Enjoy yourself!

Happy Halloween!

October Creep


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A Mouthful Of Pennies Presents:


• “The Horror, The Horror” Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando)

Ghosts 11Nine Inch Nails

Zombi (The Living Dead’s Voices!) – Goblin

“As You Walk In Forever” – Charles Manson

Halloween II Theme – John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

Guest Room – Priestbird

Horrorscope – Ralph Lundsten And The Andromeda All Stars

Suspiria – Goblin

The Lords Theme – John 5 & Griffin Boice

A Suite For Strings – Bernard Herrmann

The Purpose Of Existence Is? – Ray Manzarek

Walk Me Home -  Memory Tapes

Walk Me HomeMemory Tapes

Hellraiser – Christopher Young

“The Man in the Black Coat Had…” (The Graveyard Book) – Neil Gaiman

BabyDamaged Tape

• “Look Out There’s A Monster Coming” – The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band

The Pink Room – David Lynch & Fox Bat Strategy

Poltergeist Theme Song-Carol AnneJerry Goldsmith

Ai Margini Della Follia – Goblin

•  “…They’re All Messed Up” – Night of The Living Dead

“The House of Pain” – The Island of Doctor Moreau

Cherchez La Ghost – El Michels Affair

The Isle of Blood: chapt. 7 (The Monstrumologist #3) – Rick Yancey

The Curse of Margaret Morgan – John 5 & Griffin Boice

Cannibal Hunt – Damaged Tape

“Every Time I Met Him He Was Somebody Else” – Charles Manson (portrait by Joe Colemen, 1988).

Man That You Fear – Marilyn Manson

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Yancey, Rick. The Monstrumologist. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2009. 448 p. $17.99. 978-1-4169-8448-1

“Of Wolves & Worms: a review of Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist”

Tiger, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

While never explicitly stated, the sentiments behind the above quotation from the concluding stanza of William Blake’s 1794 Poem “The Tyger” run central to the elements of true terror in Rick Yancey’s The Monstrumologist. This “young adult” novel seamlessly knits the ominous tones of American gothic authors such as H. P. Lovecraft and Flannery O’Connor with the grotesque visuals of modern horror cinema. Despite the fact that graphic descriptions of the blood-and-guts variety are featured prominently throughout this book, these details are not given for the purpose of mere sensationalism. Through his apparent dexterity of craft when concerning the English language and narrative forms, Yancey has written a carefully constructed story of intellectual horror.

“These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me…and the one who cursed me.”

These opening statements of protagonist Will Henry’s memoir sets a macabre mood that is subsequently maintained by the horrific events that occur throughout the novel. The details concerning a fire serves as a tragic, if subtle mystery in regards to the reader’s grasp upon the two main characters’ histories and the dynamic of their relationship; this fire has left young Will Henry an orphan now in the care of Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, under who he toils as an assistant. Dr. Warthrop, whose vocation provides the novel with its title, is an exacting man who is fanatically dedicated to his scientific pursuits, although, these investigations tend to be a bit more esoteric than those commonly associated with the average scientist. His discipline is in monstrumology: a supposed turn of the century field of study that today would likely be labeled cryptozoology.

This tale is set in 1888 within a New England city (where, as anyone who has visited Massachusetts, or Maine knows that a story of horror such as this must take place) called New Jerusalem. This is a city whose hours seem to perpetually alternate between dusk and the dead of night. In fact it is late one night that the adventure begins as a withered grave robber arrives at the Doctor’s door with a horrific discovery he has made while performing the duties of his ghoulish profession. The recently buried corpse of a young woman is hauled into Dr. Warthrop’s basement laboratory. Dead, but still clutching this cadaver with barbed fingernails is a monstrous creature with no head, a black lidless eye upon each muscular shoulder, and row upon row of sharp teeth set within a rictus that gapes open at its abdomen. This creature is Anthropophagi: a man-eater.

The awful unearthing of this beast is made worse by evidence that it was in the process of breeding as it choked to death upon a pearl necklace that adorned the young woman’s body as he devoured her flesh. These monsters are granted a certain depth through the author’s use of both literary and historical references to their existence by presenting quotations from Shakespeare, Herodotus, and Sir Walter Raleigh. It soon becomes apparent that New Jerusalem is to endure an infestation of these monstrous carnivores.

Yancey’s settings create as much tension as his monsters do. One particularly disturbing scene takes place within the oppressive confines of a mental institution, where Warthrop and his assistant investigate how the Anthropophagi—indigenous to West Africa—have come to arrive on the shores of the New World. The account of their journey reads like a thrilling novella of all its own, and is reminiscent to Bram Stoker’s portrayal of Dracula’s voyage by ship from the Carpathian Mountains to the coast of England; although, in terms of language, Yancey accomplishes this with a bit more brute force. The Novel’s climax situated within New Jerusalem’s cemetery is equally powerful and unsettling.

The author’s narrative techniques are a sophisticated element that ultimately keeps the reader tethered to these pages until their conclusion. Through the eyes of a modern writer (which, I assume to be Yancey himself) we are reading the memoirs of a man who purportedly died at one hundred and thirty-one years old, who is recounting his life at the age of twelve. These narrative layers add a texture to the work that serves to lure in the reader, just as Joseph Conrad had accomplished with Heart of Darkness.

The Science of monstrumology is presented along with other methods of critical thinking and scientific disciplines that were emerging around the turn of the century, such as the works of Nietzche and the study of eugenics. The callous outlooks often associated with these theories are presented through Dr. John Kearns, the monster-hunter who declares: “The only truth is the truth of the now;” “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so;” and “There is no morality […] but the morality of the moment.”  In fact, it is this scientific approach to the villains that makes this a truly engaging book. Dr. Warthrop and his colleague Kearns consider these man-eaters to be just as monstrous as wolves and worms. They are simply part of the natural order of things. In terms of the predator/prey dynamic Homo sapiens just happen to fall under the rubric of the latter when concerning the Anthropophagi. Mature in its conceits, this book becomes all the more terrifying when the reader comprehends just how plausible these “monsters” truly are. As Kearns states, “ We do work ourselves into a tizzy about creatures like the Anthropophagi, but the world is chock-full of things that want to eat us.”

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The downpour had gone on for hours. As the afternoon lumbered on into evening and then further on into night, however, the storm had dwindled down to a steady drizzle, which served as a relentlessly irritating and tactile traveling companion to the bitter cold front that had suddenly swept through the city. That morning—after three pleasant weeks of abnormally warm weather—the temperature had abruptly plummeted. Terrence and Martin had both been waiting an inordinate amount of time for the bus—stepping side-to-side with the other damp commuters trying to get home but trapped by circumstance in the long line, moaning under tongue or sighing through the nostrils, periodically peering over their shoulders through wet, frizzy hair, down the long block in frustrated anticipation. More minutes passed. More minutes passed. More minutes passed. Each exhale was visible as a condensed mist, which made the curbside line resemble some human locomotive coming to rest at a train yard.

More minutes passed.

        When the bus finally arrived with an asthmatic whistle and dusty whine of the brakes, everyone shuffled forward and boarded one-by-one. Terrence could feel the itch of violence in his brain as the diminutive Guyanese woman in front of him paid the fare with a methodical toss of individual nickels and dimes fished out from the deep pockets of her blue raincoat. The diamond stud of her nose-ring glistened as she watched the final two coins slowly roll from her palm into the slot. Terrence and Martin squeezed their way to the back, past the obstacle course tangle of jagged umbrellas, obnoxiously large bags, and sodden people who would not move. The bus was redolent of wet, longhaired dogs and steamed broccoli-infused flatulence. They took the only two vacant seats, which faced each other.

Once it seemed that the bus was full and ready to go, they sat idling at the curbside. The driver emerged from the crowd at the back of the bus and inserted a key into the panel that operates the lift designed for wheelchair access. Many of the passengers permitted a plaintive “Shit! You gotta be kiddin’ me?” to resound within the polite confines of their minds, but not Terrence. He said it aloud. Other than a chuckle from Martin, no one reacted.

The hydraulic lift delivered an obese woman in her mid-forties. She had sweat and rainwater dripping as one solution from her short, sandy hair, rolling past her temples and down the curve of her ballooned cheeks. Dark stains where sweat had saturated the salmon colored fabric of her blouse adumbrated her fat breasts. Dragging her aluminum walker over to the three—now vacant—priority seats left her gasping for oxygen. The blue, plastic seats gave a creak of complaint beneath her girth. With a look of slack-jawed bewilderment and disdain Terrence turned to Martin, who was preoccupied with rearranging the sideswipe of his black bangs.

“Y’know Marty, this fuckin’ city…all it takes to totally ruin public transportation is a little bit of rain and fuckin’ fat people.”

Martin sucked his lips inward and raised his eyebrows, glancing over at the subject matter. She did not seem to notice.

        “Can you imagine,” Terrence continued with a grin, “what a man could do with an army of the obese?” He envisioned himself astride a black stallion with the cruel posture of some conquering Hannibal. Before the hooves of his steed, whip-driven hordes of corpulent soldiers with identical down-syndrome faces and imperial Roman armor waddled forward through a burning landscape.

Terrence laughed to himself as Martin said, “The entire campaign would have to be fueled on the promise of more sausages. A nitrate war!”

“Yeah, isn’t there some saying about how more important than any general in the army is the cook?”

Martin giggled out, “Isn’t that from a Steven Seagal flick?”

With a sudden jerk the bus lurched into traffic. The subject changed and they spoke idly of what programs they had watched on television the evening prior.

“…and then that pituitary retard goes back out with her…”

“…no idea why I still watch it. It’s like the eighth season and it’s terrible…”

“…she’s pregnant with a monster, so the black guy with the hammer…”

“…then he says, ‘I just work here, now let’s warm those bones of yours…”


Eventually they arrived at Terrence’s stop where they said goodbye with a finger-snapping pound.

“Aight, see you tomorrow,” Martin said as he fished through his bookbag for a magazine that detailed the newest releases in electronic entertainment.

        Terrence maneuvered awkwardly through the crowd to the stiff air-assisted doors. They slapped closed behind him as he hopped to the curb. Tightening the collar of his jacket against his nape in a futile attempt to ward off the cold and slow-descending haze, Terrence walked off through the wet, empty streets. They were hedged in on either side by brick row houses and community drives; the vapor overhead alternately lit by the red, green, yellow of traffic lights changing within their set routine—locked in an obstinate cycle of transformation which paid no regard to the uselessness of their own color-coded symbols along this desolate avenue.

After several blocks Terrence decided that he should stop to pick up a boil bag of ramen noodles to eat for dinner, as he knew that—other than an assortment of condiments, a wilted bag of lettuce, and an outpost for a burgeoning mold colony—the shelves of his refrigerator were bare. He turned left at the next corner and walked uphill. After turning down two more blocks he arrived at a bodega that was cattycornered off the street in an old stone building that seemed as if it had once been a bank or perhaps a movie theater, but now had been sectioned off and sold to comprise this corner store deli, a locksmith, a Korean nail salon, and a business whose primary means of income was creating t-shirts for children’s sports teams.

As Terrence pushed the door a small bell tinkled to announce his arrival. He dragged his feet across the mat and ran his fingernails along his scalp, through the wet kinks of his short blonde hair. He stepped forward into the seemingly empty store, and that little urgent voice that inhabits our nerve endings and pulls strings within our intestines, vertebrae, and the muscles of our jaws screamed for Terrence to get out, turn around, run! It was not that Terrence did not notice. However, as there was no reason, this shiver of instinct was not allowed to register. The modern world had reduced that voice—which once ruled us like  lightning—into a polite if uneasy guest attempting to get a word in to a busy host.

There was no one behind the counter, atop which sat a solitary pack of Newport cigarettes and a white book of matches. He walked down the aisle where he knew he could find the plastic packages of dehydrated sodium he planned on having for dinner. There was a whisper, followed by a whimper. At this point (with little intellectual recognition but a flicker of the hypothalamus and an ensuing spasm and squeeze of his sympathetic nervous system and adrenal-cortical system) Terrence turned on his heels and began to walk swiftly back down the aisle, past the pale and wilted vegetables, towards the exit.

“…fuck you goin’, muthafucka?”

        With nervous civility, Terrence turned to ask, “Excuse me?” He was staring down the barrel of a shotgun. It was a 12 gauge from Mossberg’s 500 series. Terrence did not know this. Nor did he truly observe the figure pointing it his way: other than the caramel complexion around the wide eyes, the facial features were obscured below a black hood and a paisley patterned blue bandana; the tall frame rendered somewhat shapeless by a dark-grey trench coat stained with ash, mud, and rain; black, leather gloves gripped the shotgun. All Terrence did know was that a big gun was aimed at his face.

Slowly, Terrence stepped backwards—inch-by-inch. His palms raised, the mechanisms of his jaw worked with determined, but imbecilic repetition: open, close, open, and close. No words were formed: only a low and broken yammering. Coming around the corner of the aisle, from behind soft blue and green packages of sanitary pads, a small man stepped up to Terrence and abruptly slapped him across the face. Terrence was nothing more than a rigid doll when this assailant gripped the two halves of his open collar and yanked him towards his partner with the shotgun.

“Getch yer ass over there, whiteboy!” Although the small man’s grey complexion was certainly much paler than his own, Terrence could not at that moment find any humor in this irony, nor a point worth investigating dialectically. With a voice that was muffled beneath the bandana, the man with the shotgun ordered the other to “go get more duct tape.” Before the small man disappeared down the aisle he slammed a knife flat on the counter alongside the pack of Newports. The blade was a dull slate-grey. Terrence’s face stung and there was a red welt swelling over his pale, freckled cheek.

“Let’s go, Barney Rubble.” Palming Terrence’s nape with his free hand, the man with the shotgun marched him towards the rear of the store. Urged forward, Terrence focused on each clomp-clomp of the man’s brown Timberland boots against the uneven linoleum tiles. The bandana about this man’s mouth had grown moist from breath, and he appeared rather uncomfortable as he wiped sweat from his eye with the back of his glove.

At the rear wall, someone was slumped in the corner between a red plastic rack containing various greeting cards and a glass-front fridge stocked with forty ounce bottles of malt liquor. Terrence recognized the slim, huddled figure as the Bangladeshi man who worked there. He looked up from under his blue turban with sodden eyes, his crooked, nicotine stained teeth jutting outwards as he gasped with anxiety. He appeared to have been beaten somewhat, as there was a trace film of blood and snot about a nostril as well as speckled on the black, curled whiskers of his thick beard and his teal polo shirt. Bound at the wrists with grey duct tape, he pressed his balled hands against his own ribs and sobbed, “please.”

Terrence averted his eyes and focused in on one of the greeting cards. It featured a cartoon bear in blue, denim overalls clutching a tangle of colorful balloons. The word bubble above its round, fluffy head read “I’m sorry that you’re not feeling well right now.” Just as the small man announced his return with the sharp, rupture sound of tape being peeled from the roll, Terrence was shoved to the floor alongside the employee. To others, Terrence had always referred to this man—or, for that matter, anyone who happened to be manning the store at any particular time—as his mugabi-guy; as in, “I went to my mugabi-guy for a cup of coffee this morning.” Under the menacing eyes of the man with the shotgun, the small man bent low and wound the tape violently about Terrence’s wrists and forearms. Terrence noticed that this small man’s limbs and fingers had a slight twitch to their movements, reminiscent of an insect’s. This likeness was particularly so when he occasionally swiped with a crooked index finger at the thin, disparate hairs of his moustache, which did little to conceal the scar that formed after enduring corrective surgery on a harelip.

“Aight,” the taller man spoke in his muffled tone, “let’s put these niggas in the basement, finish up ‘n’ get the fuck up outta here!”

        At this, the employee began to bellow and plead, “Please, no! No, please! Don’t put me in the basement! Don’t lock me in there! Please!” This plea’s rapid delivery, compounded by spittle and the odd angles his dense accent imposed upon the syllables, made one pause briefly before comprehension. He was panicked and attempted to scramble to his feet. For this he received the small man’s shell-toe between his ribs. He coughed, doubled over, and wheezed for breath. He continued with his entreaty, however, but now with only a shudder and a rolling whimper. Duct tape was placed over the employee’s mouth before the man with the shotgun hauled him up by the elbow while barking “Get up! Le’s go Papa Smurf!”

The small man opened the thick metal door that led to the basement and with a spastic wave of his hand motioned for Terrence to go down the steps. Terrence obliged, his head hung low and slick with perspiration. Behind him, the employee had to be dragged. He was flailing wildly and pawing desperately with sweaty palms at the wooden banister. Despite his mouth being sealed over, you still knew what his stifled, rough guttural moans concerned.

As he wiggled desperately under his captor’s grip, they both slipped. The man with the shotgun’s heel skidded and bounced off the edge of two steps before they both bowled forward and landed in a heap on the solid floor. Terrence slid down and remained still, pressing his back against the cold, cement wall of the basement.

It was dark down there; too dark to even begin to guess the room’s dimensions. The only light was that which descended from the open door above, and that served to illuminate the narrow steps and the desperate scene being enacted at their bottom and no more. Terrence was aware of the small man’s silhouette above as he shouted, “Yo D, you aight?” However, Terrence could not look away from the two men crouched before him at the cast light’s edge, where its periphery dissipated into the black: one, pleading with his hands raised, tears and saliva beginning to undo the adhesive gag; the other, rising, the bandana pulled free to reveal high cheekbones chiseled down to a scowling mouth, thick lips twisted with anger.

Sweeping his hands blindly along the floor, “D” retrieved his shotgun, raised the barrel high and slammed the thick butt into the forehead of the mewling supplicant at his knees. The employee’s neck and torso twisted hard before he slumped back with a wet smack to the floor. D paused, glancing over his shoulder into the palpable expanse of negative space. In an instant he whirled back to repeatedly batter the shotgun’s butt down against the prostrate employee’s skull. Each thrust was accompanied with a heaving grunt as viscous fluids splattered along the shotgun’s stock and across the cold ground.

Terrence could hear the moment when something solid cracked, splintered, and went wet. Even though that moment had come and gone, the grunts and thrusts continued. Eventually, with a final lunge and cracked growl, D stopped and allowed his arms to fall slack at his sides as his breath collapsed into a pant.

“Yo, D!”

The gunman turned his back to Terrence and appeared to be watching something in the opaque distance.


No. He was listening to something.

“D! C’mon nigga!”

        D turned around and calmly walked past Terrence and up the steps with the measured stride of a somnambulist. His eyes did not once flit in Terrence’s direction; nor did they seem to even notice the broken mess sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, spilling out within the shadows. Above, the door slammed, followed by the abrupt, metallic click of the lock.

Abandoned in the dark, Terrence sighed with a spasm to the muscles of his abdomen. His lungs felt constricted by his ribcage. Attempting to swallow the lump in his throat, he tasted the salt of his own tears, which rolled liberally from his blind eyes. Unaccompanied by the typical theatrics of weeping, Terrence was crying without making a sound, without moving a muscle. He felt cold.

Terrence heard something in the distance. A whisper? There was a clatter, as if a block of wood had been rolled along the floor at some far end of the room. Another whisper. Hushed and distorted through cracked static…a reply. Pointlessly, Terrence pressed his spine harder to the wall, as if there were a way through—a place safe.

He heard the clomp-clomp of heavy boots approaching, but they ceased inexplicably. No; they didn’t so much stop as they faded. Something lightly fingered at his ankle; or to be more precise, nothing lightly fingered at his ankle, for when he swatted down his bound limbs made contact only with the chilled slab of a concrete floor. Faint voices broken by a hiss. A nauseating gurgle, like a large cat gagging on a broken television. Inside, he felt cold; inside, he felt hollow.

With the brief, sharp jangle of a bell, the two thieves stepped to the sidewalk and began to walk briskly up the block. Although the drizzle still fell as an aimless haze, the cool, night air was welcomed. The small man swung a black, thirty-gallon trash bag over his shoulder as his little legs jerked forward towards their parked car—orange rust creeping up from around the wheel wells.  The bag was entirely too big for the little that it held.

As he pulled the keys from the pocket of his loose, wrinkled jeans, the small man noticed a young couple passing across the street. The woman was dressed as a slutty Little Red Riding Hood: her red-checked skirt ending abruptly to reveal the pink of thick, goose-pimpled thighs; knees peeking out from white nylons, which descended into little black shoes; her breasts ludicrously pressed up towards her chin. From her gait you could tell both that she had more than a few drinks and that her feet hurt. The man beside her was draped in a loose-fitting approximation of a foppish pirate. His oversized tri-cornered hat, warped with rainwater, sagged over the black patch that covered his right eye. Huddled within each other’s arms, they continued down the street engaged in drunken flirtation.

It took the police two weeks to tie the missing person’s report with the young man seen being accosted on the bodega’s security camera. However, as the footage obtained was of poor-quality and set at a limited angle, it provided little in the way of clues as to what had occurred. The body of Zubayer Rahman was discovered the morning of November 1st. His face had been reduced to an unrecognizable, pulpy mass, and there were numerous scratches of various length and depth all along his torso. The whereabouts of Terrence Hughes remain unknown.


————–(BOBBY CALERO)————


Yet another true gift to music has died: Ray Manzerek. Born Raymond Daniel Manczarek Jr. on Feb. 12, 1939, in Chicago, the keyboardist and founding member of The Doors died yesterday, Monday, May 20, 2013 at a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany. He was 74. As every member was, Manzarek was an essential element to what truly is one of the most idiosyncratic—and just plain strange—dynamics ever applied to the traditionally bricks-and-mortar art of Rock & Roll. But he always kept it in the pocket and he always let it simmer before he let it burn.

Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore of The Doors: Venice Beach, CA 1969 (photo by Henry Diltz).

Before, I’ve touched upon his creations with The Doors here where I described their sound with these words:

When at their best, what distinguishes this group’s sound

from the majority of their contemporaries is that they not

only sound extraordinarily alive and on a journey, but filled

with dread at the awesome wonder of being so; the sound of

there being “something not quite right.” It is that underlying

but persistent sense of creation confronting dread that has

bestowed their music with longevity despite (or perhaps as a

side-effect of?) our desperate-for-the-next-hit culture.

[…] I still believe to this day that together, keyboardist Ray

Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, vocalist Jim Morrison,

and guitarist Robby Krieger had one of the most singular sounds

ever created by a rock band. I’m not even certain they qualify

to be labeled as “rock.” Cinematic in scope and theatrical in

presentation, The Doors fluidly merged jazz associated time

signatures with Latin rhythms, the primitive stomp and lustful

swagger of the blues, and the sinister yet jaunty gait of a

vaudevillian circus—the whole sound given flight by extended

flourishes of flamenco, surf-rock riffs, and sharp apoplectic

convulsions of psychedelia. Inexplicably, this sound could still

urge the listener to tap his foot and sing along. Play any album

by The Doors and tell me what other group (even those that are

attempting to emulate) sounds like this? I suppose the only

appropriate genre label for this group would be “weird.”

Yes, they were a band of weirdos.

The Doors in 1968 (photo by Gunter Zint).

Take for example their rough performance of “Universal Mind” on the night of August 21, 1970 at the Civic Auditorium in Bakersfield, CA, where a showtune lament suddenly cascades to take on Mongo Santamaría’s “Afro Blue” (in an arrangement made famous by John Coltrane in 1963). Morrison and Krieger might be placed sinuous in the front and center by Densmore’s precision driven rhythms, but it is a turn on an evil tone from Manzarek’s combo of Vox Continental organ and Fender Rhodes piano (which he used to simultaneously “play bass” for the group) that steers the whole ensemble further out into other zones.

The Doors, live at the Civic Auditorium in Bakersfield, CA, 8/21/70 (photo by Patty & Spike )

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The Doors on December 17, 1969 (photo by Henry Diltz).

On a more playful note, I’ve always loved the cool-jazz demo version of “Queen Of The Highway” recorded during the November 1969 sessions for The Doors’ fifth LP, Morrison Hotel; the album would eventually be released on February 1st of 1970. Here, Morrison’s brooding mythology of regret and his relationship with Pamela Courson within an American vortex of fame, madness, and open roads is plucked up by the band (accompanied by session bassist Harvey Brooks) and dropped into the set of some lounge-act long-stranded at some slightly sleazy club on the Sunset Strip. Here, it’s been 3am for thirty years but they just can’t seem to feel anxious about it, not even the heart-broken singer. The piano player has never sounded more carefree.

(Photo by Henry Diltz).

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Like it? Buy It.

The Doors live in 1970

Another two fine examples of The Doors’ exceptional sense of musical communion in a live setting (which I feel is their true context, where they were able to reach out in unison and achieve something other) come from their August 29, 1970performance at The Isle Of Wight Festival: the certainly familiar,Light My Fireand the medley ofThe Endthat they used to close their set. It might beKrieger and Densmore who place the cinders under Morrison’s ass here, but it’s Manzarek who serves as both the steam that drives the engine and as the excess vapor spitting out the top so that the pressure does not combust the whole operation. As melodramatic and histrionic as the overall desired affect could be, the components employed are often actually quite subtle in their shifts: from the chug of a blues train to a Latin shuffle to the stock sounds of suspense from a radio mystery play to a raga drone to the slash of flamenco to the snippet of a standard or two to anywhere else from always as long as it works to serve the theatrics of the piece.

“Morrison required all three of us diving into his lyrics and creating music that would swirl around him,” Manzarek told Rolling Stone in 2006, “[…] The Doors was the perfect mixture of four guys, four egos that balanced each other” (Greene, 2012, May 20). Together these four would construct an intricate lattice to prop up some strange new sound of expression, something monstrous and funky, something sincere and more than a little kitsch.

God, can you imagine how irritating even the titles of these two songs could have been to them by now, shouted as they were incessantly by fans who desired to show up to the show for a greatest hit or two and then be on their way with their heads remaining more-or-less in the same order it was in when they arrived. And yet, The Doors live would tear into what could be a tired number, split it open to descend into the interior of the nautilus shell construction of the tune and arrive at its center, to search for a new angle on its essence to stretch, to tease it out and present it when they come out burning on the other side. Manzarek was quoted as saying in January of last year, “If you’re interested in knowing what existence is all about, I highly recommend LSD” (Appleford, 2012, Jan. 23) and it is something to this effect that The Doors were trying to achieve.

Light My Fire

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“The End Medley: The End/Across The Sea/Away In India/Crossroads/Wake up/The End”

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To leave off my little tribute to the exceptionally talented Ray Manzarek, about a year ago I acquired his solo debut from 1974, The Golden Scarab, and it really is quite stunning at times. Handling all the organs, pianos, and synths himself, Manzarek assembles a superb crew for the sessions helmed by Bruce Botnick (such as Jerry Scheff on bass, Tony Williams on drums, Larry Carlton on guitar, and percussion by Mailto Correa, Milt Holland, and Steve Forman). Here, Manzarek expands upon certain territories of mystic rhythm & blues first explored in his time with The Doors, and he maintains that band’s quirky sense of comedy and theater. The standout track for me here has always been the instrumental “The Moorish Idol,” which sets out on a journey and just keeps going:

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Like it? Buy it.

As one last bonus, here’s Manzarek showing his Chicago roots with that album’s take on Chuck Berry’s blues burner “Downbound Train

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Like it? Buy it.

Ray Manzarek, R.I.P

“But now we must descend for there is another side to this vision”—Ray Manzarek.

—————————————–BOBBY CALERO——————————


Appleford, S. (2012, Jan. 23). The Doors Rise Again with New Documentary and Unreleased Song. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from

Greene, A. (2013, May 20). Ray Manzarek, Doors Keyboardist, Dead at 74. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from