It seems like almost everything i'm interested in i've gotten into through music somehow. Whether it's clothes, photography, stupid haircuts, or skateboarding, they've all had a connection to rock n roll for me, and helped me become the multi-faceted smorgasboard that i am today.
For a while my preferred style of music was rockabilly, and that got me into old cars and motorcycles, (seeing the Stray Cats posed on the cover of "Gonna Ball" with those Harleys will do that), and they're two things i'm still obsessed with to this day. (And yes, that's the Airline Diner in Queens, just like in Goodfellas..)
And the hard rock band UFO had been one of my favorites for some time (after "borrowing" one of their records from Jimbo Wallace of Rev. Horton Heat, who i roadied for, for a short while), and i got into them because the Cockney Rejects wore their T-shirts in photos on the back of their records. SUBSEQUENTLY, i liked the UFO album covers, which were designed by an art team called Hipgnosis, and this exposed me to a whole new world, this time of art from the 70's.
Another case of connecting - the - dots comes from Motorhead, everybody's favorite band, and as everybody knows, Lemmy played bass in a space rock/hippie/stoner rock band (before that was really a genre) before Motorhead called Hawkwind. Hawkwind has a style that goes from heavy groove based songs (Brainstorm - eleven and a half minutes long!) to dreamy weirdness (Space is Deep) to short tight songs that almost could be confused for '77 style punk at times (Urban Guerilla, Ejection) except they were recorded years earlier. Alot of great rock and roll, just dont expect it to sound too much like Motorhead (except for the song "Motorhead", which Lemmy took with him when he left the band).
To continue, Hawkwind has a song called "Orgone Accumulator", which is about an Orgone Accumulator, and it made me wonder just what IS an Orgone Accumulator, and how can i get one? Of course, you might not care about an "Orgone Accumulator" until you've heard the song, so take a TEN minute break and listen to it here, with us, right now. Please.
Dr. Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst trained by Sigmund Freud, who believed that the universe was filled with a cosmic energy called Orgone, which was responsible for effects as diverse as weather, gravity, and human emotion. The term orgone took its root from the word orgasm, which both Reich and Freud took to be the fundamental expression of psychological health. His views were disagreeable to the Nazi party, and before it got too hot he fled to Norway, and boarded the last boat to the US before WWII broke out. Later, in the U.S. he encountered mixed acceptance- his focus on sexuality was offensive to the conservative American public, but intrigued such countercultural figures as Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, who, famous for both his writing but also heroin addiction, claimed that sitting in his home built orgone accumulator would ease his withdrawal symptoms.
Reich invented several devices such as these accumulators and cloudbusters that supposedly would cure cancer and other illnesses and affect weather conditions. The orgone accumulator is a basically a large box, made of organic materials that absorb orgone energy from the atmosphere, for therapeutic effect -
....and it works like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks up good energy and compresses it into whoever's sitting inside. Cloudbusters are another one of Reich’s devices, used to facillitate changes in weather. A series of pipes lined up next to each other, aimed at the sky like some kind of anti-aircraft gun, they supposedly could manipulate streams of orgone energy in the atmosphere, controlling the weather by causing rainclouds to form and disperse at will. There are several videos on Youtube of these in action - there isn’t much scientific data to legitimize these things, but as I watch the videos, I find myself wanting them to be real.
Hawkwind isn't the only band that wrote a song about his work - Kate Bush's song "Cloudbusting", off her album "Hounds of Love", is based on "A Book of Dreams" by Peter Reich, Wilhelm's son, and tells his father's story. Here's the video, starring Donald Sutherland..
Wilhelm Reich and his concepts were quickly denounced and he and his students were seen as a ‘cult of sex and anarchy” by the popular media. He was investigated several times for communism and was jailed after violating Food and Drug Act laws forbidding interstate shipping of orgone related products. One day before he was due to apply for parole, he died of a heart attack.
A sad demise for this man, but he's still got thousands of followers, and scientists recently have begun to re-evaluate some of his theories, conceding the possibility that not all of his concepts were mere quackery and mystical weirdness. And of course he's memorialized everytime someone aims a cloudbuster at the sky, or everytime someone sits in the accumulator, or plays Hawkwind's song at high volume in an Aston Martin Lagonda...
Next week we'll discuss more conspiracy kookiness such as chemtrails, contrails, and HAARP, so be sure to check back in for that!