Here's some local sleazy rock journalism I bashed out a decade ago. I don't know what happened to Sticky, but she's probably still hot. Rock City Crimewave broke up, Roadsaw's still together, and it's still not a good idea to talk about the Masons....
"I don't pray in churches, baby" - Iggy Pop
"Rock and Roll tried to ruin my life." - Supagroup
"Well, we were all in the same church group, it was a beautiful thing. See, my dad, he started the first snake handler church in Massachusetts. He got bit by a copperhead snake in the backyard while gardening..."
So, your dad is a snake handler?
"No, my dad is a Presbyterian minister. But I was in this bar once, and I was really loaded, and I started the snake handler myth, and I went into detail about, like, the folding chairs, and I was going on and on, and I couldn't let myself off the hook, and it was Rob from Quintaine Americana's girlfriend, and...."
At some point, we eventually got around to discussing the inspiration for his rather cryptic art.
Hey, my editor said not to mention the Masons.
Well, why did he say that?
"Because whenever we're at a party together, Joe and I get to talking about how, when I was young, I visited a Masonic temple. My dad was a grand knight in the Knights of Columbus and he took us to an Ecumenical pancake breakfast one morning. My sister and I were bored, so we snuck into the temple. There were things that I saw there that related to events that transpired later in my life. And I don't think he can handle it."
Wild. Does Masonic imagery crop up in your artwork?
"Absolutely. The Rock City Crimewave logo is a good example. It's pretty much all Masonic symbolism. The skull and crossbones is from the Knights Templar, and in a lot of Masonic rites the skull is there to represent secrecy, but also in a deeper sense, it symbolizes rebirth. So it comes from this encoded myth, where one of the Knights Templar supposedly had sex with a corpse, and came back to the body to find the head of a baby between the crossbones of the legs. And it's supposed to represent some ancient cult's belief in resurrection..."
That's deeper than I thought, man. I figured you just jammed as many tattoo cliches as possible in one logo.
"Well, the whole thing is structured like that. Even the angles of the thing are symbolic. It's Hermetic, in fact."
Is any of it so secret you can't even talk about it?
"Yes. I'm letting all this stuff out slowly, so that I don't blow too many minds at once."
I slapped a pseudo-provocative title on the thing (Fuck Art, Let's Fuck: Ian Adams on the aesthetics of lesbians with machine guns), and everybody was happy. Until the week after the piece ran, when the following letter to the editor appeared in the next issue:
"To those parties affiliated:
I have been reading your publication for some time now and I find it quite enjoyable. However, I have noticed a trend in, shall we say, "esoteric hearsay." In this weeks issue, the article "Fuck art;Let's fuck" caught and held my undivided attention. Clever title aside, "Sleazegrinder" and Joe of the Weekly Dig, and artist musician Ian Adams should be forewarned. There will be - and always have been - those that oppose your views and will try to silence you.
The organization, of which you speak, Mr Adams, go far deeper that even you may realize, regardless of your father's involvement. I am pleased to note that you are knowledgeable when it comes to this particular subject matter. Well informed, you are not. The Grand Order of Masons, the Knights Templar, the Knights of Columbus and any other ancient society of this nature may not appreciate you speaking freely in regards to insider information. Perhaps when Joe told "Sleazegrinder" not to mention the Masons, the interviewer should not have pressed the topic. The question was even raised as to whether some of this information was "so secret you can't even talk about it." Perhaps, Mr Adams, you should have stated your assent to this idea much sooner during the interview and left your audience to wonder in ignorance.
I am aware of at least two members of the Weekly Dig staff being involved with said organizations. Being something of a researcher, I know their status, their affiliations, and even their particular areas of expertise. However, I am one of impeccable decorum and will not reveal any connections or identities here in this correspondence. Nor will this information ever be used for malevolent purposes. Nevertheless, because of these particular affiliations, I find it necessary to suggest that no further mention be made of this topic. My Organization does not mind the offhand arcane reference, but we would greatly appreciate the same level of decorum from you that we have shown those on your staff involved with us.
Please understand that this letter is in no way to be taken as a threat to yourself or anyone affiliated with your publication. One of your staff, actually, has proven themselves highly valuable to our efforts. Because of this, I am writing merely to caution you with the age-old adage: "Loose lips sink ships."
Respectfully yours in esoteric pursuits, Illiel "
A couple of days later, I'm at work, when I spot my arch nemesis, Norm. I won't get into the specifics of why I don't like the guy; let's just say that he's a jackass on many levels. He also happens to be 33rd degree Mason. He's not nearly hip enough to read the Dig, so I knew it wasn't him that actually wrote the letter, but it was, after all, one of his people. So I harassed him about it. Two weeks before, Norm and I were standing in the middle of a Mercedes dealership parking lot, waiting for a ride. It was so hot, the asphalt was bubbling at our feet. To distract myself from the nagging thought that I was going to die from heat exhaustion waiting for the stupid van, I started up a conversation with him, with typically disastrous results. I was talking about how the Masons had killed Kennedy, a half-baked theory I picked up from the book "Apocalypse Culture" when I was a teenager. That's when he causally mentioned that not only was he in the brotherhood, he was, in fact, a grand poobah. Which did nothing to bond us. So here I was, with this weird pseudo- threat hanging over my head, when I confronted him. "Hey motherfucker, you better call off your dogs in that secret society of yours." He claimed to not know what I was talking about, so I showed him the letter. "Listen", he says, "In any group of people there's going to be renegades, people that go against the established order. I don't know who this guy Illiel is, but I wouldn't worry about it." "So", I say, "the Masons don't really have any interest in me?" He smirks. "Oh, I wouldn't say that." The next day, Norm hands me an email that he'd gotten that read, in part, "Subject 18999435, Ken McIntyre, observed on Saturday, 7.14 at 5:20 p.m. on Mass. Avenue in Cambridge, accompanied by unidentified blonde female, approx. 5'9". Step up observation on female subject?" I laughed it off. I mean, I'm easy to find, after all. Norm laughed too, saying it was some greasy joke, but who really knows how far the tendrils of the Masonic conspiratorial octopus stretch? Meanwhile, Ian was conducting his own spin control, and the next week, his rebuttal was printed in the 'Dig':
"In response to the letter that appeared in your last issue [ the strange potentially veiled threat potentially from a Mason or member of another secret order]:
Dude, Any of the Masonic, Hermetic, or otherwise esoteric beans I may have spilled can easily be found in your local library. Please try to remember the purpose of the brotherhood is to enlighten, not to threaten outsiders. That's precisely why organizations like the AFAM, AMORC, Templars, etc get so much heat. As a matter of fact, years ago, the worshipful master of the Tri-town temple suggested that I start my journey with the book "Born in Blood", I think it's a good one for anyone interested to start with. Above and beyond that, chill out.
Ian Adams Grand Archeteuthys, CC "
So far, no black cloaked assassins have dragged either Ian or myself into the nearest alley to silence our cult busting derring- do forever, but the night is young. I only hope that with all our efforts, Tim scored with the chick in the leather pants, and that it was delicious.