Resonance: No Need to Argue by The Cranberries

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A question of propriety regarding its remembrance, I thought about a retrospective type review. To revisit pivotal inspirations from my youth, nothing was more appropriate than the album, No Need to Argue by the Cranberries. It was one of the first five albums I owned independently as a youth. It was one of those special albums whose relationship no one else understood. The album begins, the first three tracks, a mature and familiar continuation of the album’s predecessor, Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We? Dreamy music ushered by sweeping guitars and the angelic crooning of the despondent and affirmed, fans of The Cranberries could rest assured the alternative rock act maintained a signature style albeit for consistency’s sake. “Ode to My Family,” a heartfelt track soft with acoustics, hypnotic synths and O’Riordan’s heart-pitch vocals, followed by the upbeat if not lyrically sorrowful “Be With You” and capped off by the nostalgia tinged, acoustic reverie “Twenty-One,” reprises the pensive yet verdant fields of the bands freshman creation before rising its fan base with the austere strumming of the guitar that opens the smash single “Zombie,” the track not only made the Cranberries household in the United States, it added a new dimension to the nature and artistry the band presented. It is a feral gift, a sonic missile the band uses conservatively, more reliant on the melodic crisp ambiance of natural sounds versus distorted. “Zombie” was as effective a rock song, as a metal song, a power pop song, and a female powerhouse Rockstar anthem all in one. It was heavy, it was catchy, it was raw. It was sexy. I recall being captured by its force and aggression, its nigh grunge aesthetic, its awareness of the world around it. I was captured by its art. And as the song closed in a sting of sharp resonance, we return to the ease of pianos and violins as the song “Empty” takes us away, pulling us deep on its strings and weeping vocals, a deep resonance showering from O’Riordan’s soul. The album continues on this way, a complex mix of dreamy guitars and wispy percussion. Dolores O’Riordan  moves from song a gossamer of emotional nostalgia. There is a definite sadness to her lyrics:

“Cause if I die tonight,
would you hold my hand?
Oh, would you understand?

“And if I lived in spite,
would you still be here,
No? Would you disappear?”

~~  “Everything I Said”

Perhaps there is something to it. Why in this period were popular, and even underground artists and musicians so responsive to the deep? As the music of tracks like “Dissapointment” and “Ridiculous Thoughts” are indeed inspirations reminiscent of elmements utilizied by the Cure and the dark and driven tracks talented by acts like Echo and the Bunny Men or Morrissey, and the ancestral twang of the Cocteau Twins.  O’Riordan’s voice an entity all it’s own, she tells a story via the emotion she imparts aurally rising from siren calls to demure retrospective. Coupled with the music, they create a dimension of realness, something you can hold to. As a fan from my youth, of course I was saddened at her loss. Stunned to know at 46, with such shining prospect, Dolores O’Riodin would depart. To date, I had believed she removed herself as had been reported she attempted before. Instead, she parted much the same way another renowned singer did, accidentally in the bathtub of her hotel room. Not to diminish the talents or the memory of Dolores O’Riordan, passing in the same manner as music icon Whitney Houston, leaves footnotes to a story yet to be told, but perhaps to be told soon.

As one of the largest things to come out Ireland, creatively speaking anyway, the nature of this band is important to a global story unfolding slowly. One whose roots extend deep into art and culture. It is the shadow of a ghost seen by these troubled artists and their auric record. The heaviness and emotion represented by the four members of a now iconic 1990s rock act, stand present to represent the forgotten talents, and the reverence to the artistry music still wielded to this point in the industry. But specters aside, the mastery of song and presence presented in No Need to Argue by the Cranberries is worthy of another listen, and of appreciation for talents shared and talents sacrificed.

The Cranberries – No Need To Argue 
1994, Island Records

Tracklist: 

  1. Ode To My Family
  2. I can’t Be With You
  3. Twenty-One
  4. Zombie
  5. Empty
  6. Everything I Said
  7. The Ic9icle melts
  8. Disappointment
  9. Ridivouous Thoughts
  10. Dreaming My Dreams
  11. Yeat’s Grae
  12. Doffodil Lament
  13. No need to Argue

This review of No Need to Argue by the Cranberries is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

 

Art As Much As Comedy – A Review of Sticks and Stones by Dave Chappelle

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Dave Chappelle’s “Sticks and Stones” on Netflix.

When it comes to Hollywood people like Dave Chappelle, I learned about him just like many teens were introduced to him in the mid 90’s, by way of a jeering comedy all about the one taboo that mattered at that time: weed. Half-Baked, an instant cult-classic about cannabis culture lambasted joke after recklessly high joke. It’s all the guys seemed to care or talk about at school, so naturally it would become part of my library of reach when referring to Chappelle’s work. Fast forward nigh on twenty years, and the showman’s landscape has changed. Of course there is the “Cancel Culture,” which is relevant to many stars,  but there is so much more. The #metoo culture, the racist culture,  the PC police, and the phantoms of white supremacy, global warming, conspiring Russians, and Nazi Hitler. Regardless of all these sexy, racy (no pun intended) topics, there is no way an audience member does not feel even slightly awkward and uneasy as Chappelle traipses through the topic of pedophilia and Epstein. In fact the opening salvo just vomits Epstein all over the audience, forcing them to refamiliarize themselves with that faint memory of a name spoken once or twice on the cable news networks. And what now? This name is falling out of Dave’s mouth? What comedian starts a show talking about a serial child rapist that “committed suicide” while gleefully hopeful for a sentencing deal when finally faced with real justice. It makes no sense. Either way, Chappelle does not side with or incite anything by talking about Epstein. The punch line, a thought-full and particular narrative, rounds out to the stoic topic of convo in a quip so sardonic it had me loudly laughing!

Anyway, pedophilia, top of mind. He talks about Michael Jackson, Epstein, R. Kelly. Some of these jokes are quite controversial, and, yet, somehow it seems that there could be nothing more so controversial than talking about the “alphabet people.” The LGBTQ…. I’ve oft heard that there is some sort of Gay Mafia, you know that some one like Kevin Spacey may have been associated with. But, in the end, there seems to be a mafia for everyone. So whatever or whomever these individuals supposedly are, one has to wonder why the myth prevails. So much so Dave must retaliate. Some of the jokes he told about the dynamics and personalities of the “alphabet people” were nigh spot on from my personal experience, but the ones that didn’t land, I could understand where he’d get the idea. As a member of the “Alphabet People,” I didn’t find anything offensive or hurtful in his show. Perhaps the most controversial, though, was the way he laid into the “T”s, as we know: transexuals. Nevertheless, the most important thing that stands out about this comedy act, to me, is the way Chappelle takes his listless audience from topic-to-controversial-topic, in the most lewd, politically incorrect, rampage, ushering them from genuine laughter, to edge the of discomfort, through thought-provoking and fleeting enlightenment, to fits of applause.

I appreciate that Chappelle is able to take on such major topics in a way not many comedians can or do (a la George Carlin or Bill Hicks). Dave is, obviously, no stranger to controversary, and has stayed away from Hollywood for many years, most recently from what I understand, the second time he’d been away in as many years. Still, I can’t help but feel that Chappelle doesn’t just get in trouble with minority groups and descent people, he probably gets in trouble with producers, politicians and the likes. He ambles in and out of topics like racism, abortion, and even Trump all while jarring the subconscious. Speaking of haranguing the people in power,  in one of the epilogues to the show, where Dave lets audience members ask questions, he goes into this story about how Chris Tucker visited with him and brought his ‘friends’ over, namely: Kamala Harris, the then governor of California, and some important news anchor.  Barrack Obama was a focal character of this yarn, and again appeared later in the show to round out the punchlines. Albeit many of these individuals are now mixed up in some stuff in Washington, the Epstein case being among one of the primary leads. But even addressing a topic like gun control can go either way at the dinner table, and ultimately, leave a bad taste in ones mouth. And let’s face it, as funny as his solution to gun control is, it’s still controversial to the virtuously sensitive. Anyway, this is masterful art. I think one of the most brilliant comedic pieces ever written that addresses present societal conditions in a remarkable commentary the audience can’t believe it agrees.

 

Sticks and Stones by Dave Chappelle, an Netflix Comedy Event, is available for viewing now.

“Comedy As Much As Art: A Review of ‘Sticks and Stones’ by Dave Chappelle,” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

 

2019, Half Way On

Hello, dear readers. I hope you are well. I’m dropping in a personal letter, to say hello, thank you for your sup20190424_125310port, and share a bit of news about my work and upcoming releases. The readership of The Root of Many Returns keeps growing, and trust me, when I say I can’t wait to get to one hundred subscribers, its said with humility and sincerity; there is no room for sarcasm here. It’s been quite some trip we’ve been on it seems. Much poetry, to my surprise, has been published. I’m surprised my engines began running again. I have a few short fiction pieces I’m developing,  and I’m grateful to share.

I am happy to create something that one wants to stick around and see what happens. The biggest developments will most likely be in fiction. With the second book in the Nicholas Duke in the works, and the kick off of the fantasy series I’ve harbored for years, I think you’ll be interested if not somewhat shocked at some of the things I have planned for the site. Some may have noted the tag “Max Caufield” on the post of short fiction. This marks the beginning of a brand new series of stories for me to write. While I am gearing these tales to be short fiction ala the vignette, or something five hundred words or less, the story will be about an openly homosexual individual and some of the exploits he faces in dating and sex life. Ultimately, the Max Caufield line of short fiction will address many topics of the LGBTQ and, specifically gay, community. I recommend discretion as these stories will be descriptive in content both sexual and mature.

There is also a planned release of my newest collection of poetry. The last one I published was in 2011, so this is by all means long over due. The collection will be called “The Vanishing Poet” and will contain  several dozen poems that wvanishingpoetpromoartere originally published in the Virgogray Press chapbook line of poetry. These chapbooks published more than a decade ago are long gone and rare to the public as print quantity was severely limited. So, for the years these writings were read of the chapbook, these writings were lost, until now. The poems, of course, are not without repair. To cast a glance over the shoulder is to see the errors of the past. As these poems will be relatively new, there may be no note of revision or modification, but for the poems published in literary journal both online and in print, there should be a slight explanation. Some of the poems sucked as was, and are much better now. The choke in the developing voice unhindered by the lack of resources or fear to seize their passions, left creations slightly unpolished, and less than perfect. I am pleased with the new text. And I assure not all were revised. Some only had small editorial misses, and not complete overhauls. I wouldn’t say any poem changed its original meaning from when I first wrote, but definitely clarified them.

As current subscribers to the blog, I’m offering a free advanced copy of my book in exchange for a review, a sketch, or a blurb on what you thought of the work. Just send me a message via the contact page, or comment below and I will get in touch. I may also publish any feedback given in the final edition of the book. In fact, any reader that subscribes to my Patreon account will most likely be included in the acknowledgments page should they remain at least through book’s publication. And lastly, get ready, especially if you’re in Texas, because I will most likely hit the road with this book and see if I can’t do some book readings for support and exposure. It will be fun times. I haven’t toured a book in a long time. I know I could tackle Texas immediately. But perhaps soon I will be able to expand my footprint and tour a book throughout the U.S. All things looking forward, barring some crazy, world altering event, I’d say the only way to look is forward.

I challenge a lot of view points in life, offer some interesting angles, black mirrors to peer into, whether in my writing or my day to day. Sometimes the work is too abstract, and sometimes pretentiously blunt. I’ve been working on the balance of these in a concise and calculated form. To make my words count. It makes me happy to know I will not be alone as I discover the path we make. But know as long as I may dream up a universe, I may dream up the entire existence of what we are now, a piece of cosmic space dust glittering, the distant glow of a central star; and as long as the creativity flows I will form this dust into fully evolved worlds, whether by story or verse. Happy reading.

 

 

The Art of Remembrance

Every now and then he comes to visit. What affinity towards, I do not understand. We understand each other. But there is much more in his solace-locked art and candor than I could ever dare to express. I never knew the man. It is safe to say I could have. Had I awakened to his craft, had I sensed him sooner, I could have. In this world of single degree separation, I may have known the man. I may have experienced his art live. But I never did. One September evening, I did meet his successor, an artist of his own vision and scope, Valor Kand.

And now the initiated know.

I actually interviewed Valor (unpublished and possibly difficult to obtain now, oh dearest technology) and manned the merch table when he brought Christian Death through Texas sometime ago. That in itself was an experience to have, and just in time for birthday season. I also had the opportunity to speak with Zara Kand, Valor’s daughter. Zara is a magnificent artist in her own right, not falling far from the family tree. Long time friends of mine, too, have toured their music with some of Rozz’ brood and relations, right down to the matriarchs themselves, Eva O. and Gitane DeMone. All this name dropping, you may say. But my point: we’re always one or two degrees from separation. It could just be small world syndrome. Or the specialized sub-culture all these beautiful people inhabit. Still, in the absence of his being, and beyond his musical creations, I sought to engage the late Rozz Williams in poetry.

Rozz Williams, born Roger Painter, was known greatly as an underground icon for the American goth and deathrock scene. He was iconographic, as many photos of him may prove. He was influenced by great artists, Bowie and Roxy Music not withstanding. But for most, the fascination of Rozz Williams ends with the seminal album Only Theater of Pain by Christian Death, a band he founded in the early 1980s. A listen to the follow-up, Catastrophe Ballet, gave fans a much deeper, and melancholic sound that took the frenetic energy and dark, punk sentiments of Only Theater of Pain and subdued them into rock and roll art that was layered and thought provoking. The combination of music and lyric let listeners know a much more substantial work was at play here. It was as if the heart of the Parisian, surrealist artist had jumped into the body of this youthful expressionist, and channeled their darkest moments through his work. Considering some of his literary influences, Jean Genet and Baudelaire included, I wanted Rozz’ poetry.

 

But for most, the fascination of Rozz Williams ends with the seminal album Only Theater of Pain by Christian Death, a band he founded in the early 1980s.

 

Readers of this blog may recall the four poems I shared at the beginning of National Poetry Month. They were tributes to Rozz and spotlights on his work, in memoriam. Rozz became physically removed from this realm on April 1, 1998, in his apartment in West Hollywood. I found him a few years later. And years since, I have discovered the various facets of his art. The man, though life short lived, was productive, a prolific artist; and a theme with most in his circle, Rozz was an artist of all trades: visually, aurally, literarily. To date only one book I am aware of exists that collects the poetry of Rozz Williams, and that is And What About the Bells? or “Le Theatre des Douleurs,” because it’s in French (I don’t own a copy, personally. It’s a trite expensive at import). It was published by Camion Blanc in 2010. The book is a biography and poetry collection. Supposedly, an English version was rumored to be in the works, but that may have been just a rumor. I can say for certain that it is a shame there is not an English version, or an American release, at that. He was, after all, an original American artist.

The Art of Rozz Williams: From Christian Death to Death, was released by Nico B. and is a collection of Rozz’ artwork. The book contains some verse, though they are presented as original copies, rough drafts, and visual art (this I do own, first edition; the second edition is hard cover and I want a copy of that). It was inspiring to see the hand-written texts, the sprawled out messages seeped from pen to page. The engaging work produced by procuring and interweaving the art of others (collage). But, again, this is a collection of his visual art, with some discography, photos and text, but by no means substantial for a deep, lengthy read of his verse. So, what then? All we have is a hard-to-get, foreign publication, and an artbook, the two providing a mere tease. There was some reprieve in Rozz Williams’ sound recordings. He had many projects, and spoken word was definitely an artform he dabbled in. He released two formal spoken word studio albums, Every King a Bastard Son and The Whorse’s Mouth (the latter being a personal fave). Visions of Bowie and Morrison and Burroughs and Ginsberg abound. Countless more, I’m sure, but my scope is limited. It is always refreshing to me to experience poetry in a different way. Spoken, is definitely one I enjoy. Spoken set to sound track is even better. Audio adds another depth to the work. It may strip the listener of free-roam interpretation by providing a focused tone or tempo, but enriches the piece nonetheless.

 

…readers may ask (and some have), about the content of the work. It’s heavy stuff. But, only a shard of the crystalline spectrum that is the art of Rozz Williams. In the case of The Whorse’s Mouth, the spoken word album dealt with heroine addiction.

 

The pieces I shared come from the album The Whorse’s Mouth, and, I believe, are some of his strongest literary works. The sophomore spoken word album was less experimental and the poetry was elevated, crafted. The writing while aligning with the music and soundcraft, does not feel like a reaction to it, or secondary, as I felt it did in Every King a Bastard Son.

As I will reblog the four poems, readers may ask (and some have), about the content of the work. It’s heavy stuff. But, only a shard of the crystalline spectrum that is the art of Rozz Williams. In the case of The Whorse’s Mouth, the spoken word album dealt with heroine addiction. He frequently looked inward at personal demons and experiences as substance for his creations, but also, as artists do, he gave an outward view, and provided perspective and commentary in regards to social issues, the metaphysical, and in a couple instances, became semi-political. These ideas swam in the deeper end of the soul, and truly there may have been some torment there. But, again, I never met the man. And in lieu of sharing the information provided by others regarding his personal and emotional state, I’d rather not say anything. While it is understandable the type of energy and emotion that his work taps into is not the most desirable feeling to linger on (as one dear friend once said to me, “But why would you want to feel that way all the time?”), it is a part of the human experience not many address, and not many are equipped to express. To take a look at his body of work, one would consider this man to be a brave artist, with bold expression, and ahead of his time.

I will disclose that I edited the four poems (structure only [and some grammar]), but not the content. I, unfortunately, do not currently own a copy of from The Whorse’s Mouth (don’t get me wrong, at one point I owned two copies), but this gem has become increasingly hard to find. Most of his work is becoming rare. Still, these were procured from the inter-webs. And if memory serves, the poems were included in the insert of the album. So these may be reputable, yet, but that’s the editor in me coming out. Enjoy the poems, start a discussion, look him up. Rozz Williams was an American, gothic icon, a pillar of the underground, and a forefather of shock and abstract rock. Still, he may yet provide something you’ve been missing or looked over, like that small, dark corner waiting to see the light.

 

“The Art of Remembrance” is an essay written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

Maggot Drain by Rozz Williams

This is the end of the line/road come to a close.
Muted vision of the dead blends exhaustively
with the wretched night that binds it,
blinds us in wanton light—
a flight not so easily ignored
by those in whose arms death waits, enthroned…
These are the nights of wasted bones,
traced footsteps in mud, the dull thud
of laughter caught in leprous waves
crashed without mercy as a reminder
of a spent future, lost past, a void existence.
Time and again.

Wind blown
Sky scatters
Embryo in flames

But will it always incur so much unwarranted pain?
Clouds ripped open by a band of sleepless souls
intervening from the other side of life.
Throats cut like sacrificial lambs at the demon’s altar.
The seemingly endless invasions by huge, staring monsters
(those who go nameless among the largely unwanted masses)
occur every day.

I pass them by,
those gayly painted runners
in this mad dash to nowhere fast.
At last a slight relief from those
strangely demented eyes…
Seething, beaming wildly
in lonesome sunset to down.
Maggot-drain-brain-crabs/insect-larvae-sex-death strutter.
In the same breath, dusted nectar of heart’s blood gone to rust.
And I trust you’ve felt the same sharp, telling pinpricks
as our minds digress/regress.

Transformation into a new you must take place
like a pelt worn over milky skin and alabaster sheets
rolling off an unmade bed in bliss and the
Devil’s shattered kiss.
You gyrate for a dead world,
try to raise erections from its corpse.
Roll over and bite hard on that dead meat.
Beat it over and over again.

Well it has been a conscious decision on my part
to betray those digressions, although as you can see,
I sometimes fail, and lest I forget what brought me
to the first and last, it was orgasmic rush, hope, and trust
like flies with wings removed.

Paralyzed parasite that I have set my gaze upon,
how quickly you lose what I was craving,
raving mad and pleased to meat you.

…….Catch as catch can……..

 

“Maggot Drain” was written by the late Rozz Williams. This poem and other selections from his spoken word album, Whore’s Mouth. All rights reserved.

Who’s In Charge Here (Beneath the Triumph of Shadows) by Rozz Williams

Old ass monkeys swivel in the discuss/fiscuss lovers
yahtzee style. Circle of viral disease spent in whirlpools
of light hatred, beginnings of the new world…
“Jimmy trick,” the space captain moaned from beneath
the cosmic red rays of radioactive dead curl.
“You make my heart sing.”
A homosexual antibiotic
for no sex in venereal hallway sleaze.
Cross its path if you must.
Return head-burn, separate the vile
scent from a misspent youth
uncouth elders sent these children
to their demise, unrecognizable limbs
sway in palm shadow.
Rigorous waves that I ride on, endless (so it seems),
corrupt crawl, withdrawal – bent on trembling knee prayers,
thrust up, thrown to sky, eyes torn out and tattered rags of emotion.
Devotion often squandered on a heap of melting flesh, mesh,
teeth, howl aloud, “Forget me not!  Forget me not!”
Recognition blurs and spurs me on to further acts of degradation.
No boundaries, no limits, no space beyond acceptance
of the mass genocide to come.
Squealing for a fat tomorrow never known.
A quick infliction and the last convulsions of life into death begin
and while you may think it morbid, the reality will not hide repulsion.
It breeds like a plague-ridden flea from carcass to carcass,
door to door parasite, sign your name to the list of those dying.
Get a hold, grip tender with your organ…
Sugar sex on a bed of holy whoredom.
There is no bill of sale with this love.
Let it all be known.
In false dedication, I defile all before me.
Medicate the shell of a body you thought was alive.
Hobby-horse-goat… gloating/bloated,
candy cotton’s spun its web of sickening, sticky rush around you –
nothing as it seems.
Apocalyptic memory soon come true,
Riding the pale horse which taunts you,
haunts you with its wholesome/precome illusion.
Suck you fuck, and suck until I cum!
What might it entail to flaunt you as the hustler you’ve become?
Hole in the head, dreading the next image:
A haystack needle mile, descending mend-tack pile ‘o skin
and we cannot escape the inescapable.
How could they?

“Who’s in Charge Here? (Beneath the Triumph of the Shadow)” was written by the late Rozz Williams. All rights reserved.

Dear Skin by Rozz Williams

Electronic babble,
shove off with thine elastic attitude.
You condescending fuck hole, you tiny little prick,
you don’t have the persuasion to crash down my power
of hope with rationalization.

Tower of rubble,
shovel dirt back in that open hole.
My soul residing?
Hiding there.

A devilish grin of rich desire,
more fire devouring flame,
and shame on you, rust beggar,
the one I’ve longed for.
You splendid whore.

No gift perhaps to reason
on the lips of this sad, mad man.
Overtaken by a vile dream in which
I tumbled to earth on my disassembled feet,
and you must not treat me like the others.
We are not one in the same.
Removed, proved to be of higher honor,
least the trumpets wail.
Fail to find release from this anchor,
rancor of bullshit ties, these drownings.

Electronic babble,
tower of rubble,
shovel dirt back in that open hole.
No gift perhaps to reason
on the lips of this sad/madman.
God forgive my slightly shifting lines
in thought disfiguration.

Meat as meat…
defeat the source of that which spurns thee.
As for me, do not mistake my misgivings
as indifference to this madness
that surrounds me.
Often time, I flee
from this torturous
mindstyle/deathstyle
reunion.

Just another onion head.

Polished meal of spine
structure and jaundiced horns.

All the endless fragments
of this distorted view of life.
My soul, sold.
My being? Maybe.

Toss, turn, burn
the smile that tries to waste you.
There is no hope
in repetitive warfare/nightmare
but then again,
who the fuck am I to care?
Let us take heed of memories foretold,
dear skin.

 

“Dear Skin” was written by the late Rozz Williams. All rights reserved.