Story Time w/Rob Vilar: The Sadies

The Sadies
Darker Circles

While driving under and through a Roman aqueduct on the city’s main scenic strip, I ride shotgun with my main contact guy Tito behind the wheel.
“I’m really glad you’re able to take this job, Vilar,” says Tito as he cruises his Opel through the afternoon traffic. “I know when you get this done, it’s gonna be a beautiful thing.”
“Well, thank you for getting me here,” I reply to him. I take out a USB drive, hold it out towards the stereo and ask, “You don’t mind, do you?”
“You go ahead, Vilar. The road is all yours,” he answers.
I plug my USB drive into the car’s stereo and load the Sadies’ new long-player Darker Circles onto it. The swirling reverberation of opener “Another Year Again” blasts into this furnace afternoon with its tubular amp rattle. The sizzling heat from passing palm trees and national monuments assimilates itself onto the song and the narrative. I tap my foot on the car’s floor. I know this is good. I take a glance out my side window and notice a legless man pull his belongings up the street on a kiddie sleigh. I close my eyes. Not all sights are pretty.
“Do you think scoundrels like us ever make it to heaven, Vilar?” Tito asks.
“I think scoundrels like us only make it to the gates… to eventually set it all on fire,” I respond.
“Yeah bro, I hear you. You speak the truth,” Tito confides.
Continue reading “Story Time w/Rob Vilar: The Sadies”

Weird Shit with Kent Davies – The Case of Levitt vs. Coward

By Kent Davies

Just in case you missed it, a few months back members of noise bands Teeth Mountain and SHAMS set the internet on fire with their appearance on TV courtroom show Judge Judy. Kate Levitt of Teeth Mountain spun the horrific but nevertheless amusing tale of SHAMS frontman Jonathan Coward drunkenly killing her cat with a TV in front of a less-than-impressed Judge Judy. Although the appearance by Levitt and Coward was brief, the clash between the two weirdo noise artists and the crusty no-nonsense Judge is surreal, hilarious and of course just plain weird. From Judge Judy’s inferred accusations regarding Levitt’s fidgety behaviour to the leather-clad, long-haired Coward refuting the accusations of feline homicide, the show had it all. Even noise-punk Brian Blomerth a.k.a. Narwhalz (Of Sound) makes an appearance as a character witness for Coward, calling the Judge “Mama” and accusing Kate of the crime of leaving her underwear on the counter.

Continue reading “Weird Shit with Kent Davies – The Case of Levitt vs. Coward”

Label Profile: War on Music

By Kent Davies

War on Music isn’t just a label or a store. War on Music is a political movement. Much like Organic Planet Worker Co-Op or Mondragón Bookstore and Coffeehouse, the principles guiding the War on Music organization are that of participatory economics. Through a committee structure there are no bosses, no managerial hierarchy and no purveyors of lame-ass corporate music. All members of War on Music maintain an equal share of equity in the business. The worker co-operative is located, as member Charley Justice says, “halfway to hell”—or the basement of 93 Albert St. here in Winnipeg. As a local metal store, WoM also serves local bands, offering high-quality in-house merch for cheap and sometimes even acts as a venue for shows. Aside from row after row of quality, reasonably priced metal and punk albums, top-notch metal merchandise and vintage arcade machines, the most alluring feature of War on Music is their in-house label. War on Music the label is leading the way in Canadian metal releases on vinyl. With over a dozen releases, including re-issues of classic metal and punk albums, 7” singles of Canadian metal and hard-rock acts and the number-one-sellling metal album in the country, WoM is a force to reckoned with. Stylus talked with label rep and co-op member Charley Justice about the label, the store and the future of vinyl-driven metal. Continue reading “Label Profile: War on Music”

Rob Vilar’s Story Time – Beach House

By Rob Vilar

02:37 a.m. On a seaside pier, parts unknown.

With a splash of some unknown abrasive alcohol awakening me out of my stupor, I find myself bound to a straight jacket on a seaside pier. A foreign-looking Henchman and two of his goons look me over.

“You were gone there for a while,”  says the Henchman in his thick South African accent.

“Yeah tell me about it,”  I reply.

“Rob Vilar,”  he says while taking a shot of the rough stuff from his flask, “You don’t know me but I know  you. I am the man who is about to change the course of your history. Months ago we were running illegal MP3s on music blogs for advertising revenue from California Apparel. It was a great windfall for us… the money, the skanks that would sleep with us for publicity. It was a dream. We also ensured no artists got any cash for their original compositions. Anyways, it was all running perfectly, until you had to come with your Story Time reviews, and try to be funny, call our shit out and everything. Fuck you, Vilar. But you know what? Now you are alone. All your colleagues dead, except that slut partner of yours.”

“Well, knowing her, I’m pretty sure she has someth-”

“SHUT UP!” He screams as he pistol whips me across the face. “You see that house burning on the beach?  That was your home, I presume. Well, just think in the morning when there’s nothing but a smouldering ash of what was once your house, you will be laid to rest at the bottom of this ocean. Fully intact and preserved for the rest of time. Our way to honour you Vilar. But your partner, once we get ahold of her…”

“You son of a bitches!” I yell while struggling to get out my straightjacket.

Continue reading “Rob Vilar’s Story Time – Beach House”

Label Profile – Midori Records

midoriIn the documentary People Who Do Noise, one noise musician says that the genre has “stripped all of the musicality from music.” But does that make it any less of an experience to catch one of Winnipeg label Midori Records’ acts live when the rare opportunity arises? Hell, no. The experience is all they’re concerned about. Sigmund just played an improv set at Element Sircus, horrifically backing for a self-mutilator. In the summer, Krakk sometimes lays all their electronic gear on the street and blasts the ears and minds of passers-by in guerrilla shows. And a couple years ago, label owner Fletcher Pratt played at Send + Receive festival, to recreate sounds from his Mind Gunk series. Stylus recently met with Pratt, who is also a member of Krakk and Sigmund, to ask a couple of label-related questions.

Stylus: How did Midori Records start?
Fletcher Pratt:
In 2003, I was jamming with a couple of guys in a band called Roof Bunny, and I just recorded and mixed it. Eric Gallipo, he was one of the guys in the trio, he was a music school grad, and he got into noise music—and Roof Bunny was a trio, and the other guy graduated from music school too, and I thought that it was ironic. We jammed different noise, like a lot of rhythmic noise, and a lot of drone. But I had these recordings, and I didn’t know what to do with them.

Stylus: How many releases does Midori Records have?
Fifty-five, although the label only started in ’04. But that has to do with quality control, even if it’s just 20 copies that I’m releasing. It’s a cross between half of my own projects, when I can be critical as I want, and when people send songs into me. Most of the time it’s really good, but sometimes I have to say, “You need to redo this track, or that track.”

Stylus: What’s the furthest you’ve been sent songs from?
I received some from Vluba, they’re an Argentina duo, and I did 15 copies of their record.

Stylus: And how does everyone find each other?
Well I guess the short answer for that is the Internet. A good way to get a dose of a label is to do mail trades, contact a label and send five releases to each other.

Stylus: What’s the Winnipeg noise scene like?
It has blossomed a little bit, but it’s only something like five guys, and there isn’t much of one, they do it in their basement. But it’s a good time. [On Midori] there’s Sigmund, Krakk, and my Fletcher Pratt Mind Gunk series. And Auntie Dada—but I heard there was some drama there. And lately there’s been a couple other guys who have been starting up their own label—White Dog, that’s Chris Jacques, and Cole Peters who plays under Gomeisa. They’ve just started putting tapes out. [Their label is called Prairie Fire Tapes –Ed.] So it seems to come in waves of inspiration.

Stylus: How often do you play live?
Only once every couple of months. We do those guerrilla shows a couple times a year, and those are really haphazard, but people always show up. They seem to bring people out of the woodwork a little.

Visit Midori online at

Weird Shit with Kent Davies – The Rocker Code

By Kent Davies

“Rock has always been the devil’s music.” – David Bowie

darkloreFrom the time legendary blues musician Robert Johnson supposedly went down to the crossroads to make his deal the devil the occult has been a predominate feature in modern music history. Now Greg Taylor, expert in esoteric phenomena and creator of the blog Daily Grail (tagline: Exploring the fringes of science and history. Caveat lector!), attempts to chronicle the strange and fascinating historical connection between rock music and the occult. In the second volume  of the DarkLore anthology, Taylor examines how the supposed “dark arts” influenced some of the most important musicians of our time.

From the rare Zodiac symbols found on Zeppelin records to David Bowie’s obsession with keeping possession of his hair and fingernails clippings to avoid dark spells being cast against him, Taylor is a rock ’n’ roll Dan Brown, revising rock history to suggest what alarmist Christian preachers have been telling us for years: rock music has hidden messages, pagan symbols and is probably promoting sex. While some of the Taylor’s revelations are nothing new to music historians, such as the influence of voodoo ritual in early blues, he does manage to link the dominate feature of a coded lexicon in some modern rock and metal bands. By deciphering symbols, relationships and sometimes eccentric behaviour, we gain insight into the artists and the supposed truth behind their material. While Taylor deals predominantly with artists from the past, newer acts like Tool and the Mars Volta (who wrote their album Bedlam in Goliath using a Ouija board) are also included. While these carefully-placed symbols and occult references may be nothing new to some fans (especially metalheads), Taylor’s foray into rock’s occult underpinnings may be prove fascinating for others. You can check out an excerpt of Taylor’s essay at

Paper Cuts – Penny Ante

By Patrick Michalishyn

I read on some music blog that Oh Sees guy John Dwyer was contributing to some book coming out on some imprint in the U.S. Being the geek I am, I checked out the site, got in touch and ordered not one, but all three volumes of Penny Ante, a “mag/book” out of California . What a gateway I walked though. In Three, John D. only has one page; a picture of him at a young age and a piece of art, and it took me all of ten seconds to absorb it. But while I was looking for the Dwyer page, I saw that there was an interview with Billy Bragg that I went back to and read, but not before I happened across of few pages of artwork by Jad Fair (of Maryland rock outfit Half Japanese). There’s a goofy self-portrait of Mission of Burma’s Roger Miller, followed by a good five pages of his writing and some art. Robert Pollard and Billy Childish answer an interviewer’s questions and load me up with music trivia tidbits which I’ll be able to hack up on the spot when trying to out-nerd one of my own. That only covers maybe four percent of this book. It’s full of artists, photographers, and musicians that a lot of people probably never knew existed (but I’m glad I found), like: Julian Hoeber with bronze busts of gunshot (headshot) victims, the kaleidoscope head-trip of owleyes’ collages and the bloody, morbid photography of Dawn Kasper. I could go on and on listing works that made me stop and think, or stop and smile. Flipping through, something will always catch your eye and keep you going back and forth, giving a Choose Your Own Adventure reading experience. After I flipped through Three (as well as Book #1 and Book #2), I started carrying these books around in a backpack and showed anyone I exchanged more than a sentence with. The cliché “something for everybody” couldn’t apply more. These books are portable art-houses, not a page wasted on filler garbage. I recommend picking up all three since they’re pretty much continuations of each other. A world opened up through a looking glass and enough bathroom reading to last a good third of a year. If that wasn’t enough, Three includes a bonus CD of some-unreleased material from three issues’ worth of contributors; Jad Fair, the Chills, Mount Eerie (covering Old Time Relijun), Robert Pollard (surprise), Billy Childish, TV Ghost and a whole load more. Now that’s just spoiling us. Go, buy now! If enough of us do, we might just get a Four.

Patrick Michalishyn

Label Profile – Lovepump United

2100244By Taylor Burgess

While attending Vassar College in New York, Jake Friedman and Mookie Singerman used to play in the band Glitter Pals. They released their own record under the name Lovepump United, and then started releasing other artists. It became a balancing act between school and Lovepump: Friedman built a loft in his dorm room to hold inventory, they used the school’s copy machines for their records’ inserts, and they subverted the college’s money for shows. They were first noticed internationally for AIDS Wolf’s Lovvers LP, and then for the HEALTH and Crystal Castles split 7”. Despite their growing killer catalogue, they still laugh about how people consider them a real label, like when Stylus contacted them for an interview. We sent them some questions via email, but it took a couple weeks of badgering them to get them back. They’re busy guys, managing the label and a handful of bands each, so we were constantly met with “We’ll get it to you tomorrow!” Our print deadline loomed closer and closer until we gave them the good ol’ “Today-or-never” ultimatum and they coughed up this wonderful, extremely long response. We couldn’t possibly fit it all on a page, but on a webpage, it’s just the right length.

Stylus: Some of Lovepump United’s releases could be seen as troublesome or not easily accessible, like AIDS Wolf or Indian Jewelry. What do you see in your artists that other people might not?

JF: Music’s too boring. Everything’s too boring. We started the label when we were young enough to take risks. At a certain point it’s hard to take risks. There either isn’t enough support or it seems selfish and naive. But when you’re a selfish, naive, weird kid, it makes perfect sense that the strangest, most exciting, new shit would become your entire life. And that’s what happened for us.

MS: Not to sound immodest, but in most if not all of our bands (especially the weirder ones) we see the possibility of them pushing independent and underground music in new directions.

JF: We kinda started the label from the point of view that too many of our favorite bands never got heard by anyone and that all the shit that did get heard sounded like music for moms and not dangerous or edgy.

Stylus: Whenever you do put out a record, what kinds of personal requirements does it have to meet?

JF: We put out so few releases that we have an unspoken understanding of what makes a Lovepump band. Mookie and I are best friends so a new artist on the label will consume our professional lives and our personal lives. We’re spending all our energy and time and love and opinions. So if we had any doubts about the musical or personal integrity of the people we worked with–we wouldn’t be able to work with them and the label would fall apart. If we didn’t love and support everything about an artist like AIDS Wolf or HEALTH or Clipd Beaks, it would be hard to get people on board. Records don’t exactly sell themselves anymore. But we still need to take risks so we find an artist… and we obsess about them.

MS: We have to be 100% behind a band—both of us. We usually end up taking up a lot of the managerial duties for our bands, so before we sign a band, we have to be prepared to spread ourselves even thinner than we are now.

Stylus: Schoolmates often talk and have pipedreams together, but then they get distracted, get girlfriends or boyfriends or whatever, and then delude themselves by always talking about their ‘great’ ideas. What made you two actually start releasing records and keep releasing records?

JF: If we had sat down and said, “Let’s start something that will change our lives in every way (good and bad) for the next 15 years with no escape hatch and unbelievable time, resource and financial burdens,” I’m sure I would have spent a little more time thinking about everything. But we took a risk and this label has been the most exciting thing in my life… and the worst, the most frustrating, hateful, stressful, etc. I can’t leave town without thinking about it. I can’t move apartments without bumming out my housemates. I piss off the local post office and UPS center.

MS: We kept (and keep) going because we’re still putting out records we’re proud of. It’s not a moneymaking thing. That’s for sure.

Stylus: Was it an easy transition from being in a band together to working on a record label together? I don’t imagine they’d be very similar processes.

JF: We had ZERO idea what it meant to start a label. We had nowhere to turn to for questions or guidance or even a model; every record label bio reads like “By the time we released The Jesus Lizard’s 3rd album we moved to a larger office.” So from the beginning we assumed everything we were doing must have been wrong and our “label” status always a step below legitimate. It’s fair to say, even now, Mookie and I are surprised by how much everyone is fooled into thinking that we’re a real label and things are working… This interview for example! We’re broke. Shit sucks! But we love it… We’re (almost) a record label!

MS: I mean, first and foremost Jake and I were friends. I think a more appropriate question would be: “Was it easy to go from being friends to running a business?” Yes, and no. Whenever we hang out talk alwayyyys turns to the business side of things and that can sometimes be unfortunate any friends/girlfriends that are hanging out with us.

Stylus: Your catalogue’s focus has shifted from noise-rock like aforementioned bands AIDS Wolf, Glitter Pals, and Indian Jewelry to electronic-based rock like HEALTH, Pictureplane and Deradoorian. Has that change been a conscious one?

JF: I listen to Mayyors, I listen to Emeralds, I listen to Eat Skull, I like Julianna Barwick, Phoenix, Converge… My tastes are always pretty broad but finding bands for Lovepump is a different kind of process. I think there are artists and bands we work with really well simply because no one else would be able to work with them the way we do. For example, next year we’ll be doing new records with both Child Abuse and Dynasty Handbag… I don’t know how those two fit together ‘musically’ but their attitude, to me, is totally on the same level so in putting out release the vibe is on a consistent Lovepump-wavelength that I don’t understand except that it makes complete sense and I know it when I see and hear it.

MS: I wouldn’t say that LPU broadening our sound was a conscious thing. We’ve never really pinned ourselves with a genre, and the records we release are a reflection of what we’re listening to at any given time. Both of us are constantly seeking out new and different sounding stuff, so some less noisy music is bound to get released on LPU.

Stylus: What kinds of releases can we expect from LPU in the near future? More electronic-based rock? A return to noise rock?

JF: Probably my favorite band ever is Throbbing Gristle… We’ve met this guy who has an unreleased Throbbing Gristle master tape. It’s an instrumental score for a shitty student-horror-film recorded in the early ’70s. You can see clips online of the film and the music but the complete score exists on this master tape and I want it so bad. I want it to come out on Lovepump. I’m working on that. But in 2010 we’ve got new release from Small Black, Washed Out, Clipd Beaks, Child Abuse, Dynasty Handbag, HEALTH and maybe more!

Stylus: Although you’re based in New York City, you don’t release many records by bands from there. How would you define your connection to the city?

MS: I grew up here and I find that born-and-raised in New York types like myself are a very rare breed here. It seems everyone is a transplant; so to define ourselves by a place that’s constantly changing seems kind of silly. It’s just never really interested us really…

Stylus: Although LPU’s output is great, it’s pretty infrequent. When do you decide to (and when do you decide not to) approach an artist for a release?

JF: If we could put out four records a month we would. We don’t have the money or time. But I think that makes for better release. We only have so many variables to work with–we can only put out so many records per year and work with so many bands. It sucks. I get tons of shitty demos. But sometimes you get something that rules. 15 piece teenage-rock band from the UK or a band punk band from Chicago who can’t stay together long enough to play one show… one day.

Stylus: How old are you guys?

JF: In my 20s.

MS: Apparently Jake is very sensitive about his age, but I have no shame in getting specific and saying I’m 52. [Really, Mookie? –Eds.]

Stylus: What were you in college together for?

JF: Who knows. I wrote a thesis about a faux-chess playing automaton and their role in the 18th vs 17th century.

MS: I majored in Film.

Stylus: Did you finish college, or did the record label take priority?

JF: The record label certainly took priority but I still finished college. I built a loft in my dorm room to hold inventory. We used the school copy machines and printers for inserts, found ways to subvert school money to put on shows and festivals. No one really cared at the time.

MS: My parents would have killllllled me if I hadn’t finished college. Had no choice.

Stylus: How would you describe Glitter Pals?

JF: The best years of my life.

MS: Undersold.

Stylus: Why did Glitter Pals break up?

JF: Genghis Tron? Girlfriends? Other bands?

MS: All of the above plus my awful guitar playing.

Stylus: I know Mookie is in Genghis Tron, but what do you do outside of Lovepump, if anything?

JF: I was a kid magician and after college I worked in music promotion, which really wasn’t for me at all. But thanks to my job, I was able to move to NYC. I’ve also worked for a bunch of movie theaters. I manage the label now. I also manage a couple of rock bands both on and off the label.

MS: I edit TV and manage a couple bands.


CKUWho? TwangTrust with Stu Reid

Stu is on the right.
Stu is on the right.

Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m. on CKUW 95.9 FM or online at

Stylus: Can you tell us about the origins of the TwangTrust?
Stu Reid:
It was originally my friend Gaylene Dempsey’s show. She applied to do an alt-country show shortly before CKUW first came to the FM airwaves [in 1999], but because she was frequently out of town for work, she thought she should have a permanent co-host as a back-up and she asked me. Initially, I was scared to death of the idea, but I soon grew to love it. Gaylene lost interest a couple years into it and I’ve been a lone wolf ever since. I doubt I’d ever have done it without her, so I’m indebted to her forever.

Stylus: You’re known as “The $3000 Man” because you consistently raise that amount of money during your FunDrive show. What’s the secret to your success?
Bruce content! No one else on CKUW plays Springsteen as much as I do. Coincidence? I think not. Seriously, though, while it’s not a “my music is better than your music” kind of thing, I think the kind of music I play has a deeper personal connection to the people who enjoy it than that of most other genres. Also, I don’t just throw together a bunch of songs that I like. Most everything I play gets played for a specific reason, whether it’s a local gig preview, a set of music with a theme, be it conceptual, historical or a common musician, songwriter or whatever. There’s something to learn on the show if you’re prepared to pay attention, and regular listeners appreciate the work I put into it.

Stylus: What can you tell us about TwangTrust listeners? Who are they? Where are they?
International, good-hearted folks, all. Ever since CKUW started their podcasting feature, TwangTrust has been the most downloaded show. That’s on top of the dozens of folks who listen to my show each week via my own website ( That number ranges from 30 to 300, depending on whether a particular episode gets mentioned or linked on someone’s blog somewhere. Still, I spent months playing Elliott Brood’s first album, begging people to check them out at their first Winnipeg show and there were three of us that showed up. And I know the other two weren’t there because of me. So that puts things in perspective.

Stylus: Can you talk about the importance of Bruce Springsteen to the show, and to your life in general?
I do have a personal relationship with Bruce Springsteen that I’d like to tell you about. My musical tastes aren’t as myopic as you might think, based on my show, but Bruce has been special from early on in many ways. To paraphrase the website (no, I have no idea what that’s about) [Ed note: He’s serious—our Stu Reid is in no way connected with that site. Weird.], “None of us are Bruce Springsteen. All of us are Bruce Springsteen. You are now Bruce Springsteen.” I learned the history of music from Bruce, through artists he would cover or talk about in interviews—everyone from Duke Ellington to Suicide. I started a fanzine, Bruceness, dedicated to him back in the prehistoric age of 1981 and even met my wife through it. I do often feel weird playing an established classic-rock artist on a campus station, but I have to. It wouldn’t be an honest show otherwise. The first time I heard Bruce was on the original CJUM back in the late ’70s. I have been in Bruce Springsteen’s dressing room before, and Bruce once stood on the actual boardwalk in Asbury Park and said “Yeah, I met that dude last night,” talking to a friend about me. Plus, I once insulted him to his face. His wife Patti was there and she peed herself laughing.

Stylus: What is the StuDome?
My living room. My wife and I throw house concerts whenever the opportunity presents itself. We’ve had Mike Plume, Jim Bryson and Leeroy Stagger through twice each, as well as Pat DiNizio from the Smithereens. The coolest show ever was C.R. Avery and his string quartet. Three violins, a cello, a conductor who played guitar and snare drum and C.R. doing his thing.  A friend who came without ever having heard of him, said it was among the ten best shows of his life. And this was a guy who’s seen a LOT of shows. Mike Plume christened it the StuDome. It was originally the Stu & Kathy Reid Theatre for the Performing Arts. Many StuDome patrons are just folks who listen to my show, who I don’t really know that well. And I should add there are many listeners who have become people I DO know very well. I’m very picky about who I book at the Dome, but as dream-come-truey as it is to have my fave bands playing in my living room, sometimes there’s something too polite about the whole thing. There’s only room for so much politeness in rock ‘n’ roll. I may soon require people to break things when they come to a StuDome show.

Stylus: Do you ever see a day when you’ll hand the reins of TwangTrust over to someone else, permanently? (Your daughter, Britt, perhaps?)
Yes, I’m old and will be dead soon, it’s true. That was certainly the motivating factor in raising a child. Five-year-old Britt is coming along great, playing music for the whole family on Mud Puddle Radio every third Saturday at 9 a.m. (I occasionally tech for her). However, we may soon need to consider a second child as a backup. This past May, just before going in to see her third Springsteen show in St. Paul, we asked her if she was still a big Bruce fan. Britt said, “Uh… I’m actually more of a Tchaikovsky fan.” Damn kids and their classical music…


Rob Vilar’s Story Time – A Place to Bury Strangers

A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS - Exploding Head (Mute Records)
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS - Exploding Head (Mute Records)

By Rob Vilar

“The Gravitron is one of the best thrill rides on the midway.  With the use of centrifugal force, the super spinning motion lifts riders off the floor for a feeling of weightlessness.” –

A carnal love story set in a carnival, present day.

With my water pistol at my side, I wait for the siren’s call to commence the contest. I stare at the clown target. With the shrill ring of the siren to initiate the bout, I immediately draw my pistol and discharge fully onto the target with all the poise and rigour I can muster in this defining moment of carnival games. At the end, when it is all done, I stand there, drenched in the autumn night’s air. The carnie leans over his counter and says to me, “Sorry son, looks like you’ve come in last.” I then hear a familiar voice.

“Nice try sport. Maybe you should give it another go?”

I turn around and there she is—black jacket, black pants, white shoes, and dark shades, smacking her bubble gum. Baby’s in black.

“Sorry I didn’t win you a fucking bear,” I reply, pulling myself together.

“No matter. I’m getting a little anxious here. What you say we go for a ride?” She points to the midway.

I take a few steps towards her, seize her hand, and say, “Let’s go.”

We enter the midway grounds and we’re immediately hit by an onslaught of glitter and din of noise.

“Makes you blind,” she whispers.

We slog through the throngs of nervous parents and idling thrill addicts. We make our way past the mirrored halls, horror houses, and roller coasters to… the starship. Silver and loaded with jewels, it’s lit above with a sign that reads “GRAVITRON.” We watch as it decelerates to a gradual stop and opens its door, emancipating a fog of holiness into the night. She then breaks from me, fires her cigarette, and asks, “Blast off?”

“Space is the place, babe,” I answer and we enter the starship.

Once inside the intergalactic spindle, we notice a DJ sitting at the black hole centre of the ship. Heavily bearded with a dark pair of sunglasses, he leans into his microphone.

“Fellow travellers, take your positions… for tonight’s voyage you will be taken to the stars. There will are no refunds. There will be no looking back. The controls are set to the centre of your soul and the new A Place to Bury Strangers joint Exploding Head is set to spin.”

As we take to our individual seats, the opening psychocandy guitar riff of “Deadbeat” initiates the starship’s revolution. With a burning surge of distortion ripping into the cabin, we begin to feel gravity’s pull. As the drone intensifies, a feeling of weightlessness subverts itself under our feet and we begin to rise. We lift higher and higher with each passing spin, until when we hit the top; then the DJ eases the throttle and mixes into the next track, “Lost Feeling.”  The interior lights twinkle on, and it’s heaven. The DJ looks at us and knows he’s got us exactly where he wants us. I notice her singing along. “The feeling is gone, the feeling is gone.”

“I take it you’ve heard this before?” I ask.

“I have, and on vinyl, no less. I don’t go for cheap.”

The DJ goes into a new track, “In Your Heart,” and the ship’s lighting goes from soft to strobe, the perfect prescription. I close my eyes and take in the moment. The song revolves and blurs as images of her smear the foreground of my mind. My rib cage tenses up as I feel my heartbeat rubbing up against the bone. I break into a slow sweat, open my eyes, and then turn to face her. She looks at me and says, “It’s a real shame. I want to touch you, but I can’t.”

“I know what you mean,” I respond. “It’s like when I DJ for the kids, sometimes. They want to touch each other, but somehow, they can’t.”

“How does a situation like this get amended?” she asks.

“DJ’s got to drop it,” I reply.

The starship’s DJ drops “Ego Death,” which kills the BPMs, slows the starship down, and loosens our joints up as we peel ourselves out of our seats and tumble to the floor. We lie there, bruised and sweaty, until she rolls me over onto my backside. She crawls on top of me, readjusts her shades, goes into her purse, and pulls out a pair of plastic fangs. With guitars heated for re-entry and fangs in place, she lunges for my shoulder. A spurt of blood shoots to the moon.

We rest there in a state of bliss, the starship’s deckplates covered in an ever-expanding pool of my blood. It’s only then that I realize that rock ’n’ roll isn’t dead—it just goes round and round…