Sea Level Drive on Bandcamp

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Sidewalk Camp

This was a poem I wrote in response to political candidates using the homeless as a scapegoat in their pursuit of wininng votes. As someone who was once homeless himself I wanted to say something about this.

By the way, if you like what you hear please follow me on SoundCloud.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Sea Level Drive Spoken Word Album Available Now on Bandcamp

Halloween 2022 marks the release of my second album Sea Level Drive. A definite labor of love, it’s my continued foray into spoken word recordings with soundscapes created by me and helped with by my two friends, Sad Boy and Robodyke.

Tracks from Sea Level Drive can be listened to on Bandcamp (Bandcamp.com/andysevenltd) and a few will remain on SoundCloud (Soundcloud.com/andysevenltd), too. Definitely a “try before you buy” deal, none of this Amazon/Apple nonsense of hearing a twenty second byte of a song and then zip, it’s over. You get to hear the whole plane crash on yer speakers from start to finish.

Not only do you get to hear me read my own poetry but I also read two pieces by the legendary Maxwell Bodenheim, Death and The Ballad of Jack Rose. Let’s go straight to the beginning and talk about the album:

Sea Level Drive begins with Ghosts of Hustlers, an abandoned gay horror novel I started years ago about a young man moving into an apartment off the Sunset Strip where his evenings are haunted by ghosts of murdered young runaways. It wasn’t bad but concepts are hard to sustain over 160 pages. I made it a poem instead. That wah-wah sound you hear is a trumpet, not a guitar. Too much!

Velvet Candybar comes next and I went for a sweet English melody while chanting about making love in a graveyard. The goth boy can’t help it!

The Hardcore Kid is my poem about the hooligan who refuses to give up the hardcore ghost long after the riot’s ended. “He tied a rag around his boot, spare changes for his loot, still lamenting the dead of Sid, he’s The Hardcore Kid.” The legendary 1-2-3-4 countdown runs the gamut from Johnny Thunders, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, and Sir Paul McCartney.

Disc Over America (DOA) is a political song about murder in the name of church and state. This country feels more and more like a drug store that’s quickly going out of business.

Sea Level Drive finishes the first half of the album. It’s a small road on the extreme end of Malibu right after you pass Zuma and before you enter Ventura County. You could say it’s technically the very end of Malibu. It’s right by Lechuza Beach, which might be the narrowest beach in Malibu. It’s a poem about a couple strung out on drugs who have nothing but the ocean singing for them at night.

The second half of the album begins with Teethgrinder, a poem about the tension, anger and anxiety pouring out on the internet from all sides. People are angrier than ever, exhibiting not a single note of sensitivity or sympathy for each other. Savaging one another for the sake of winning a worthless argument, and most arguments are worthless in the long run. Everybody’s wrong.

The Ballad of Jack Rose by Maxwell Bodenheim features my Ibanez electric mandolin with a strong delay on my voice. It’s a pretty intense poem about a drug dealer who falls in love with an addict’s sister. This poem reminded me of The Panic In Needle Park and some Hubert Selby prose, too.

All The Madwomen is based on the Sam Fuller film Shock Corridor, specifically the scene where Peter Breck wanders into the nympho ward of the insane asylum he’s committed in. Naturally there are soundbites from the film floating all through the track. The original poem appeared in Horror Sleaze Trash Quarterly.

Sometimes people ask me why there's no guitar on my records, and it's like this: once I saw Allen Ginsberg on a TV show reciting his poetry backed by a punk band, and in theory it should have been awesome, but it was horrible. Poor old Ginsberg read his poetry with all his heart and this band behind him were playing so loud, especially this douchebag guitarist cranked so loud like he was Shitface Ramone and ripping out a solo while Grandpa Beat was trying valiantly to have his prose heard. A real shitshow, but lessons learned. Leave the fucking guitar in the corner, preferably in the garbage bin.

In Bed With The Bomb is about the early days of the atomic bomb, its development and testing. “I’m in bed with the bomb, I’m about to kingdom come, Drop it now! Stop it, how? Duck and cover, my atomic lover”. I enjoyed adding the “Andy, are you okay?” soundbite from Happiness.

Oh, My Love Is Like A Rose is a small abstract piano frisson with some sped-up saxophone and trumpet tracks for the Frank Zappa fans. That sound never gets old.

Death by Maxwell Bodenheim is the first Bodenheim poem I ever read, and I was immediately hooked. Goth to the max with its reference to Death’s longing for me and silver braids of hair, well...I laid down some backwards synthesizer for extra death texture. I also made a video of it, which you can see here.

So that’s my new album, Sea Level Drive. Give it a listen either at the SoundCloud or Bandcamp addresses listed above. If you’re going to listen to poetry/spoken word give it some electronic skronk with some free jazz horns and some lovely mandolin-driven folk to boot.

The tracks:
Ghosts of Hustlers
Velvet Candybar
The Hardcore Kid
On Her Bed of Roses
Disc Over America (DOA)
Sea Level Drive
Teethgrinder
The Ballad of Jack Rose
All The Madwomen
In Bed With The Bomb
Oh My Love Is Like A Rose
Death

Sea Level Drive is available for download or CD format via Bandcamp.com at https://andysevenltd.bandcamp.com/album/sea-level-drive. Meet me there.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

On Her Bed of Roses

Many years ago – I won’t say how long - I went to a theater on Hollywood Boulevard that only showed vintage exploitation films, mostly from the Fifties through the Seventies. It was curated by Johnny Legend and Eric Caidin, long champions of cult, exploitation and lowbrow cinema. The films were screened in a small theatre which used to show X-rated films but eventually vacated the premises. There were two separate screening rooms, and both rooms were small with small screens, as well.

Some of the films I saw there were movies like The Gruesome Twosome, directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, the cult classic Night Tide, and the cinema of Ray Dennis Steckler. But there was this one film that got under my skin: Psychopathia Sexualis aka One Her Bed of Roses, directed by Albert Zugsmith.

Albert Zugsmith was more renowned for being a movie producer, his credits including High School Confidential and the noir classic Touch of Evil. But here he was directing a sleaze classic and a highly disturbing one, about, well let me see if I can adequately describe it:

Melissa Borden’s madly in love with her dad, but he’s so busy swinging he can’t be bothered with his daughter’s daddy complex. Meanwhile, her next-door neighbor Stephen Long has the opposite problem: his mother can’t stop climbing him and pawing him.

The only obsession Stephen has is his garden of roses by his gazebo in the back yard. Cutting to the chase, Melissa crushes on uptight Stephen, and the only way she can get him to make love to her is if she lies down in a bed of rose petals in the gazebo. What follows next is a tragedy of epic proportions, but you’ll have to see the film for yourself to find out.

The film was so nightmarish that I couldn’t get it out of my mind, so much so that I had to find out where I could find this masterpiece on VHS (DVD was not yet a thing). I went to Eric Caidin’s store Hollywood Book & Poster and saw the film sitting on the shelf, almost waiting for me like the demonic roses in the film. The tape was released by Something Weird Video, and I was about to take the ride of my life courtesy of the legendary Mike Vraney.

Mike Vraney first achieved prominence as road manager for punk bands like DOA, TSOL and The Dead Kennedys. He migrated to collecting endless reels of grindhouse and exploitation films, renting out several storage spaces to keep his enormous collection of movies – he collected comics and vintage radio shows, too, but that’s another story.

Something Weird Video became the primary home for exploitation video, even topping Rhino Video which had a hold on the scene for a while. Vraney had authorization from the filmmakers themselves to release their work – artists like Doris Wishman, David S. Friedman, and Herschell Gordon Lewis, among others.

After sending away for the Something Weird Video catalog, I found myself obsessed with everything in the catalog, films as obscure as you can imagine: films like She Man, directed by Bob Clark of Porky’s and A Christmas Story about a returning vet forced by blackmail to become a transvestite maid; Bummer, a Seventies exploitation film about a rock band with a homicidal bass player who kills groupies; and tons of Al Adamson classics like The Female Bunch about a gang of Raquel Welch-clone bisexual drug dealers, filmed near The Spahn Ranch.

I eventually met Mike and found him to be a great friend, and unfortunately part of our friendship was based on our love for smoking (I quit a little later, but sadly enough it took his life). I don’t know if this poem/song warrants this much of an introduction, but I always wanted to give props out to Mike and his wife Lisa because they brought so much entertainment to my life. I always had this title buzzing around in my mind, and here it is as a song:

On Her Bed of Roses

Her house screamed death in the night
the long grass grew oh, so wild
bones creaked right under the muddy dirt
all she did was smile and smile

On her bed of roses
On her bed of roses
On her blood red
Flaming bed of roses

She tore my face off every photograph
in her dusty, leather-bound book
the twisting, hissing snakes on her head
cried, slithered, shivered, and shook

On her bed of roses
On her bed of roses
On her blood red
Flaming bed of roses

She slayed sailors with her sad, sad songs
every lyric every line was cursed
not enough menfolk to quench
her bloodless, insatiable thirst

On her bed of roses
On her bed of roses
On her blood red
Flaming bed of roses

©2022, Scuzzbuster Music (BMI). All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

In Bed With The Bomb

I recently watched my DVD of the great documentary The Atomic Café, a stunning compilation of newsreels, television broadcasts and other mixed media about the birth of the atomic bomb and tests conducted in the West Coast desert for its development.

The soundtrack to the film is a fascinating combination of country swing and folk songs all concerning the threat of communism, the bomb, and the threat of an impending nuclear war. I normally sandwich this film in between viewings of Kiss Me Deadly and A Boy and His Dog, but that’s another story.

I wrote a poem about the film and while it’s not as contemplative as I’d liked it to be, it’s close to expressing the anxiety that ran through every American at the time. I call it In Bed With The Bomb.

In Bed With The Bomb

I was just a gleam in a physicist’s eye
the final solution from a 12 o’clock high
blowing to bits to a teeny weenie
no people atoll in my radioactive bikini

I’m in bed with the bomb
I’m about to kingdom come
drop it now, stop it how?
duck and cover, my atomic lover

Then I lost my nuclear virginity
on a hot summer’s day in a place called Trinity
caught the atomic dose
in Los Alamos
a sleepy hollow
like Castle Bravo

Got the Manhattan Project in my pocket
hydrogen, neutron, can you fuel this rocket?
shield your eyes and drop the bomb
radiation bath fries in the napalm

Waving it around like a loaded gun
take a look around now everybody’s got one
you think the answer to it all is a mushroom cloud
I’d rather see your corpse wrapped up in a shroud

I’m in bed with the bomb
I’m about to kingdom come
drop it now, stop it how?
duck and cover, my atomic lover

Well, it’s not Phil Ochs but it’s not The Weirdos, either (“we don’t really want it but we got it anyway”). Since there was so much bluegrass in the movie I decided to play my mandolin hardcore punk style to give it an urgent, bluegrass tempo. Here’s the link to the “chune”:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Ghosts of Hustlers

In the rubble of the brickbatted city
you will find
ghosts of hustlers
dead queerlust action
killed by cops, rich old men with silver hair, and or laboratory microbes
phantom fandom apparitions on streetcorners
waiting for the man
the man with the money, the man with the screwball eightball
the boys in their denim vines
dripping down their wiry wily bodies
dreaming of tomorrow
tomorrow that never comes
tomorrow that doesn’t belong to them
in my little white room
off the sunet strip
i can feel them drifting
spirits drifting
drfiting across my hopeless homeless apartment room
now i'm turning over in my grave

kenneth anger dreams
of dead sex machines
BJs for a tenner
as soon as my crazy friend began collecting SSI
blew it all on hustlers
blondes built like Frankenstein
The Incredible Hulk
and the ever popular Creature From The Back Hankie Lagoon
the ghosts of hustlers came to say hello last night
slamming doors
knocking over picture frames
throwing my beach towels on the floor
the only way I quieted them down
was by lighting a cigarette
and blowing
the smoke
in their pretty little ghost faces