Monday, May 1, 2023

Interview with author Ryan Bartek (Return To Fortress Europe, The Big Shiny Prison Volume III) by Dave Wolff

Second interview with author Ryan Bartek (Return To Fortress Europe, The Big Shiny Prison Volume III)

In conjunction with Anomie Press, you released “Return To Fortress Europe”, the third volume of your series “The Big Shiny Prison”, following “The Big Shiny Prison” (Anomie Press, 2016) and “Fortress Europe (The Big Shiny Prison Volume II)” (Anomie Press, 2016). It's been a long time since I interviewed you in 2015; what have you been up to and what motivated you to write the third volume?
It's crazy to think we are this deep in the future already. A lot has happened since then. In 2015 I was doing the grind-death-thrash band Vulture Locust and helping run a house venue in Portland. Once that ended I set my sights on launching Anomie Press to put out all my works. In 2016 the first print editions of “The Big Shiny Prison”, “Fortress Europe” and “Anticlimax Leviathan” all came out. 2017 came and I began living on the road permanently, even though just in Portland. Basically to fund everything -- sending the books to libraries worldwide and my extreme metal band SkullMaster + our album -- I said fuck paying rent and simply lived in a van. Upgraded to a school bus eventually. Then put out another book called “To Live & Die on Zug Island”. Three years of working full time and dumping all my money in these projects led to 2020. Covid hit. I was homeless through the entire pandemic. Managed to put out the new record in July 2020. But was all about survival at that point. I'm immune compromised and Covid could mean death so I was totally isolated living in a tent. I was 100% homeless. Couldn't work, couldn't risk it. I finally got housing and a full time job again fairly recently and I was in the clear to release this new book, the finale to the "Prison Trilogy." It has been complete since 2018 but only available as a free PDF download. I just had to wait for the stars to align. It comes out Tuesday October 10th. Review copies have been sent everywhere possible. Now it's just wait and see what happens. I'll be shipping copies to libraries in September. All my books are wildly different but I think this new one has some of my best writing I ever accomplished. It's not as vast as the others in the series, it's slimmer and sharper. It is more about the travel aspect whereas the other two were heavy with band interviews. This one goes straight to the source of my Beat Generation influence. It makes perfect sense in context to the other two books in the series. It works as a standalone title too.

I remember you participating in Vulture Locust around 2015 as well as writing your Prison Trilogy early volumes. Do you know how much material they released before you started SkullMaster? Do you still have any of it available?
With Vulture Locust I was the main guy so I feel comfortable resurrecting it in the future. Did vocals and guitar. I have 60+ guitar only demo songs ready to go when the time comes. It's basically just me and whatever drummer I work with, I handle bass on the records. The live lineup fell apart by 2015 -- by the end it was a two man show. The last drummer had issues I won't delve into. I don't hold anything against him but can't work with him anymore. It was a mix of death, thrash and black with a grindcore basis. You can find all our albums on or posted on the Facebook page. I put out a live record of Vulture Locust in 2020 called "Pandemic Destiny." SkullMaster was a group effort and we recorded and released our debut album "VoidWalkers" as a free download in July 2020. It's the best produced album I ever did. A mix of death, black, thrash and classic heavy metal -- no grindcore involved. The band had its run with many live shows but the drummer quit and moved to another state. We were a three piece and decided to let it die. The bassist is now in a heavy metal band called Manthus people should check out.

What was the impact of being homeless and living on the road on the release of SkullMaster's album, the writing and publication of your new books, and the operation of Anomie Press? Did you find it difficult to juggle all that work?
In order for everything to happen I had to somehow fund the massive bill, and the only way was avoiding rent. I was able to keep my scant possessions at the band practice space and just live out of a van for quite some time -- May 2017 until January 2020. Every paycheck I kept funneling into the endless money pit. Kept just enough for myself to function and still go to concerts and movies. By 2020 I was finally saving up again to rent something, and then Covid erupted. I couldn't work, had to stay away from people and keep outdoors in the fresh air. Couldn't use public toilets, was handling cash and coins with gloves and spraying them off with bleach water. Eating only canned goods and spraying them off with bleach water too. Had to mask up and wear a scarf around my face like a ninja. I wasn't taking any chances. People thought I was excessive and paranoid but for me it was life or death. I made it to the vaccine by the skin of my teeth financially. Covid killed my aunt and I was left with a little bit of an inheritance I used to avoid working as long as I could. All of 2020 and 2021 was spent living in a tent or a vehicle. I was full blown homeless through the lowest points of Covid. Portland is known for its rugged street world and I was trapped in it. Luckily I had a tent spot away from all the addicts and street crazies. Right near private property where no one came. Had my own tiny slice of nature. In that Gulf of time I read every book and saw every last movie I ever wanted to see. Started a YouTube channel in late 2021 to talk about Magick & the Occult. Produced 100+ videos, then things got kind of weird. I had something of a nervous breakdown out of the blue. It wasn't very pretty to say the least. But by February 2022 I started piecing myself back together. Started working again, saving money. Realized I had a book to put out but had to get my mental health in shape first. All of 2022 was like self rehabilitation. Returning to the world now that Covid was over -- or at least everyone was vaccinated, I mean. From August 2022 until early 2023 I was searching for a place to live. Every day on Craigslist and nothing comes. Drove me up the wall. You're never really homeless until you desperately want to go back indoors but there is nowhere to go. I had taken all I could -- years of this, literally. Soon as I got housing in March 2023 I started plotting the release of this new book “Return to Fortress Europe”. Worked like mad on a final draft revision, set it up for publication, sent review copies everywhere. And here we are today. Still have indefinite housing and full time job is holding fine. Back to the world, back to concerts. No more street.

Having spent so much time traveling to interview for your series and experiencing so many hardships, how does it feel to be living in your own home again?
It feels weird to be honest. I'm so used to absorbing the natural environment and climate that being in a controlled temperature setting seems more artificial than ever. I became so used to sleeping outdoors in below freezing conditions that I never even considered what I was doing anymore. I felt more natural than ever. The first book I was on the road for nearly a year and never once got a hotel or hostel. The second book in three months of Europe I think maybe two days of hostels. The third book was the same, except for when I became gravely ill because I contracted West Nile Virus. I crawled to a hostel at that point. I should have been in the hospital honestly, but there I was in a foreign country with no insurance. I'm not sure what Slovenia would have done with me...

As you mentioned, your third volume of "The Big Shiny Prison" is shorter but sharper than your previous volumes. What are the ways in which this is the case? Who did you interview for volume three and what did you personally learn from them?
This new book is shorter and sharper in terms of page length. It covers a longer period of time than “Fortress Europe” but I compacted the story. Truth is so much more happened, but much of that was a private story I felt should stay unwritten. You could say these extra tales were more romantic in nature, haha. Also protestor shenanigans... The things I learned from people were intense as far as their countries were concerned. Mainly about how their societies were crumbling, the huge gap between the young and old, the massive gap between the youth on the internet and the youth without. It was a reinforcement on how the Internet has changed everything. This time I stuck with tons of bands few have heard of outside their own countries. The most well-known band in there is probably Corpus Christi from Portugal. He gave a classic black metal sort of interview. No shortage of Satan there, haha.
Many of the comments you find are dialogue from random people I met along the way. I found it kept things more realistic to get totally unknown voices from the man on the street, you could say. As for other bands that make an appearance in Romania I met with experimental death metal band Krepuskul, classic heavy metal band Heavy Duty and the more metalcore Deliver The God. In Portugal was black metal band Corpus Christii but also the doom band Process of Guilt. In Greece I wandered into the thrash band Convixion, also Sakis Fragos the former executive producer of Headbangers’ Ball MTV Greece. In Italy I spent a chunk of time with Gabbo from Orange Man Theory and Mantra. Got a great crusty anarchist interview from Cedro of Post Fata Resurgo. The topics all these people detail are so varied it is difficult to summarize. But the overall theme all of them spoke of was the intense decay of society. How all their countries were collapsing in so many ways, how the European Union itself was a mess of a construction. 2012-2013 were intense times of protest and sparks were flying everywhere. The Occupy wave and the Take the Square protests were still very fresh. Everyone has political and social opinions to address in the book, and we got to the nitty gritty of so much. It is quite eye opening the things related. I don't want to spoil it all for the potential reader. Greece is among the poorest and most problematic countries in the European Union. Examining what has happened there as a microcosm shows the greater issues of the EU by proxy.
I also say the writing is sharper and slimmer in that I found ways to better express myself. Now I can compact in one brief sentence what may have taken me paragraphs to describe in the past. Sometimes less really is more.

Which common ideas, if any, did most of the bands and other individuals you interviewed for your series share regarding their view of their society and the world around them?
The common theme I found among all the people I interviewed was that their art was the one thing they believed in and, in many cases, the one thing keeping them sane. It did not matter the mode of expression, they all clung to their craft as an exit from mundane existence. Every artist seems to understand that they are trapped in a labyrinth. Some have found their exit point while others still search for the glowing exit sign. It is through art that their struggles are redeemed. Another common thread amongst everyone is that not a single person trusts their government. Everyone knows they are subjected to a rat race. From the artist to the common man, everyone realizes they are being played. Not everyone believes in the same solutions, but everyone instinctively knows they are pawns of a rotten game. I think this understanding holds the underground community together more than the types of music they play or the kind of media they use to express themselves. We are all seeking a way out. Some excel at this, others burn out or lose their minds. I am grateful to have met so many brilliant individuals throughout my travels. Their collective refusal to give in only added to my own fire.

During the period of 2012 to 2013, how intense was the atmosphere of protest in Europe? Tell us about your experience visiting Greece and investigating the Bohemian Grove while researching volume three.
The atmosphere of protest was fever pitch. There were actions and demonstrations going on in every city. Occupy started in late 2011 and I was extremely dialed into news reports, websites, Twitter, blogs, etc. Wild things were occurring all over the world. I really wish I would have just kept a log to record everything, but it was such a vast enterprise. Even though the Occupy encampments were broken up after a short period, it's not like the people went away. They just adopted different slogans and independent approaches. Smashing up the camps just created autonomous individuals. Talking about the Bohemian Grove is a mouthful. To even try explaining what it is to someone who does not know is like a two hour conversation. In the new book is a chapter called “Welcome to Monte Rio” where I travel to its front gate and get chased away by the cops. That was a wild weekend where I met many groups who were actively going to be protesting it that summer. I also travel to Occupy Oakland and San Francisco, and write about the final eviction of Occupy San Francisco. When the time came it was I and four people holding down the fort. The Grove protest ended up being a success. The day of the Cremation of Care ritual about 1500 protestors showed up, made a presence and held an impromptu match. Russia Today did a story on it and millions of people saw it. You can find the story on YouTube. Of course it is Russia Today, the propaganda arm of the Kremlin, so they are pushing the more fantastical rumored elements of The Grove. If people really want the true story of The Grove, it's all detailed in my “Welcome to Monte Rio” chapter. As for Greece, I consider the chapter about it in my new book one of the best slabs of writing I ever accomplished. It's another mouthful that's difficult to relate in a few sentences. Athens was one of the most magickal places I have ever been. It has an atmosphere all its own that you just soak up as part of your own being. It's like a gritty, rotting New York glazed over with a touristy sheen that's built to look like the ancient world. The entire place is alive in a special way. Henry Miller wrote a book called “The Colossus of Maroussi” about his eight month travel there during the early days of World War 2. I must recommend this book to anyone reading this interview. He nails it better than I ever could. Most people consider that book to be exaggerated remembrances, but Miller speaks the truth. The magick of Greece is all consuming. You simply want to get lost in the country for years. I seriously am considering going back there to do one final travel book, but solely on Greece. Then I'm sure people will say I'm ripping off the Maroussi book, but oh well. I can't imagine never returning, and I'm getting old. I feel the itch to travel again, but it's Greece or nothing. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather explore. Like always, I'm sure I'll end up doing it alone. Oh well. I'm used to it.

In the wake of your research for volume three, what have members of Occupy and other activist groups been doing? By your experience, how would you rate Bohemian Grove in comparison to what Russia Today and Alex Jones have said about it?
There is a lot of misinformation regarding the Grove out there. The main cause of our concern is that the rich and powerful are holding secret meetings, talks and seminars at a clandestine campground. Every summer this goes on for two weeks. To even begin explaining what else goes on there makes people look at you like a madman. Reality is stranger than fiction. Alex Jones and Russia Today push the narrative that the Cremation of Care ritual is literally a satanic cult activity. It is extremely creepy and audacious, but it's the last holdover of what the camp initially was. It was a live action theater camp created by writers and poets in the late 1800s. The owl statue and the Care ritual were part of the play. These days it's all that's left from the origin. The mega rich stumbled into it and by 1900ish effectively bought it out for themselves. Imagine something like a Burning Man festival stolen for the power elite. So what they are up to is extremely damaging to them politically if the average person were to find out. Controversy drives people out of office. Especially bible thumping politicians who are very homophobic yet are hanging out at a place notoriously ripe with gay prostitution. The goal of these protests was to shine a spotlight on this strange party and demand answers. But it is very difficult to get people to wrap their heads around. You start talking about a 40 foot owl statue and the Bush family and Rockefellers burning a human coffin while wearing KKK looking white sheet uniforms and people think you're insane. All I can say is research this yourselves. As for Occupy it spawned an entire generation of activists and endless activity. Black Lives Matter is the most recent example. It's the same wave. Last I checked it had the White House surrounded by tens of thousands. Washington DC renamed a major street leading to the White House as Black Lives Matter BLVD. Whenever I see BLM somewhere what I really read is OCCUPY. It changed the social discourse in this country. Now we're moving into new territory, mainly the social discussion on LGBTQ+ rights. That's the new powder keg. Wait until some homophobic cop bashes some drag show queen and they perish from their injuries. There you'll have the new George Floyd and Derek Chauvin.

Do you think occultism plays any kind of a role in what’s happening in today’s world as some people claim, or are these stories meant to explain what most of us don’t understand about what goes on behind closed doors?
What is interesting about Magick and occultism is you will get a different definition from anyone practicing it. I guess we have to talk about the "current" of occultism practiced, when it comes to pinpointing things. I think a lot of these bible thumping politicians are actually well versed in occult principles and many of the power elite are well educated. What really motivates them though is money, power, greed, status and narcissism. They will use any device at their disposal to keep these motivations growing. Do I think some of these people might have strange cults unto themselves? I wouldn't be surprised, to be honest, but I cannot say for certain. I think they are literally a cult unto themselves just by their interconnected tribes. They proceed like old world royalty would; they intermarry and make familial ties. They don't need to go through the trappings of Ceremonial Magick to get what they are after, which is chiefly money. But I'm sure many of them are studying this stuff and have interesting private book collections.

When musicians address what's happening in the world around them, do you see the artists leaving an impression on music fans in their countries?
Yes I believe this is true, so long as there is a message. I think everything you take in affects you. The underground is full of rehash, but every once in a while we get a lyricist like Jello Biafra, for example. The best lyrics crawl under your skin and blast hypocrisy to pieces. When a song inspires you to change your way of thinking, or change your behavior, we see this in action. Art always transforms. But it's a question of reach and exposure. I think every live show transforms someone ever so slightly. Sometimes it's a magnified process. This is why I always encourage artists to never give up, never surrender. Even if only a small handful are affected, you still are making an incremental change. Sometimes the greatest successes in history came from a small, amoebic start. Being an artist is like being a gardener, and music sows seeds.

I was also wondering what you thought of the murder of Sophie Lancaster, and any other hate crimes you may have heard of in which the victim was someone who looked different.
Yet another horrible, totally unnecessary event that never should have taken place. It's amazing to me the endless human stupidity out there. No matter how long humanity has existed still we have people who will assault others based on their dress. Running people over with cars for having colored hair. What I do know for certain though is that this has calmed down over the years. Having a colored Mohawk in the 1980s was wild and created extreme controversy. It just begged a fight to start. These days the kids are like “seen it, so what?” In the 90s when I was a teenager if we dressed weird we had to always be prepared for a fight. Now the jocks and preps are so used to seeing it they don't bat an eye. Like here in Portland, every kid has funny colored hair. So I think it's cooled out. But still, there's always some asshole looking for a fight. And mean rednecks and cruel jocks and terminal preppies haven't gone extinct. I'm just thrilled high school is over for me and I live in a place where no one cares what you look like. In Portland, no one is shocked by anything. Can't say the same for the rest of America, but at least the West Coast is more like this.

What are your thoughts on the January 6, 2021 riot at the White House? And your thoughts about how much or little a catalyst Donald Trump was for it?
I think Occupy was the catalyst for it. Without the huge wave of protests it kicked off and the examples it set, the right wingers who enacted January 6th never would have had the idea. I think that was the moment they picked up the left wing's “playbook”. Or at least their dim understanding of it. Trump was really the perfect guy to coagulate all these individuals together. I don't know who else could so expertly become their figurehead. He fed them what they wanted to hear while giving no solutions for years, and when his ego refused to admit defeat he sent them off like pawns to enact his wrecking ball. And a bunch of angry, duped, half-educated people swallowed his swill and attacked the White House for him, believing he was leading them on. But he wasn't, he was just hiding somewhere watching it on TV and posting about it on Twitter. He didn't even have the decency to lead them in person. It will be hard for these people to ignore that he simply walked away and left them to their fate, then distanced himself from them all. I think he lost a whole lot of faith that day. He broke their hearts. Was I surprised? Hell no. Why would you ever trust that guy?

After taking on the enormous task of writing these volumes, how do you feel about being compared to authors such as Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson? In your opinion, does your work have the same potential to make an impact as those by those authors?
I was inspired by all three, so it's hard to pretend their influence isn't prevalent in my writings. The difference though is my work is 100% real. Thompson and Miller exaggerated or lied about a great deal for the sake of making an exciting story. Kerouac was the most honest of the three, but by my age he was a conservative Catholic who hated hippies. It was Kerouac's trance writing and fascination with life that inspired me the most. He writes about the ecstasy he experiences internally more than the actual experiences he's having. Not to toot my own horn, but you are going to find far more exciting adventures in my books then you will in most Kerouac's work. He pretty much quit the road in his late 20's. I'm 42 now, in many ways I stayed on the road indefinitely. I'm ready for another long adventure too. By my age he was very closed off, hermit-like and seriously alcoholic. I'm more extreme now than I ever was as a teenager, or even in my 20s. I don't look very punk rock. I don't stand out in a crowd, don't have funny colored hair, but my ethos is hardline. I still have all these wild anarchic ideas and perceptions where others have mellowed out. Thompson was also burned out by my age too. Miller though, he ran away to Paris around 40 years old. It was in his 40s and 50s that he found himself. It's a pity so few know about him. Academics do, literary professors, college kids studying to be English majors, but not teenagers. He never had a movie though, that's the thing. And I think if he had that awareness he would be on the cancel culture chopping block right now. I think Tropic of Capricorn is one of the best books I ever read. I think Miller is the king and few measure up. Do I think I'll ever get the notoriety of these guys? Maybe one day when I'm long dead. If you put my stuff in front of its intended audience, they do read it. You know, I run an independent small press, all the news coverage I ever got was from zines like yours, or as a news blurb on the margins of bigger webzines. I've made it into print magazines here and there, but it's not like anyone is jumping up from the New York Times or Rolling Stone. I got my works into libraries all over the world, people have downloaded and read my books worldwide. I'm often surprised by how many people have heard of me when I do travel. But I've never had any big rock stars or major authors talk about me in interviews. It's when I croak and the word gets around that I'll get a bunch of tribute articles and obituaries. That's the moment I'll get accepted in some big way. I don't plan on dying anytime soon though, so I guess it's just underground until I kick the bucket. This new book has been sent for review everywhere possible. So let's see what happens. I don't expect to explode in popularity overnight anytime soon. I'm just going to keep doing what I do. Ignore the haters, stick to the positive. Plus I got way more music up my sleeve then just another grindcore record as Vulture Locust. The next band I do I will be lazar focused. I have an extreme metal album all worked out, a solid 15 tracks. I also have a 40 song punk album fleshed out. Plus another 60+ song Vulture Locust. Right now it's just get this book out and get my life in order. I've had quite a bumpy ride these past several years.

Have you ever considered writing a fourth volume of The Big Shiny Prison once everything else is in order? If you have, what sort of a book would it be? Would it be like the previous three or something different? What can you tell the readers about the next Vulture Locust project?
I ask myself this question a lot. Now that I have three books complete to showcase what I do, it makes things much easier when trying to book a writing tour. The support is there because people can see with their own eyes that I'm not a flake or a phony. When I was actively doing the first one, a lot of people ignored me or just didn't understand what I was doing. Having the first completed while booking Europe for its sequel made things easier. So I could literally go anywhere in the world and do another if I just wanted to interview metal and punk bands. But it's kind of “been there, done that”. Still, if I were ten years younger, I'd probably be eyeballing South America / Mexico for a metal book. I thought about doing a travel book interviewing Magick / Witchcraft / Occult people, but I'm not so sure how exciting it would turn out. I entertained doing one on Pro Wrestling, but what can I say or present there that hasn't already been done? If anything, I really want to do a full book on Greece as I mentioned earlier. I don't know if it would fit the motif of a fourth “Prison” book. Never say never though. I'm starting to feel the urge to want to travel again. Unlike the old days, I don't really have a place to go work on a manuscript afterwards. Finding somewhere to rent is harder than ever, especially if you don't have a job or car. I'll just end up broke and homeless somewhere. My network of key people got old, got married, had kids, or died young. The street is more street than it ever has been before. So the question is what is really worth it? What I know is that I am most hungry for performing live music again. But starting a band is a serious commitment and I don't want to waste anyone's time. I also do not feel like Portland is the place for me to do so. All my main people moved, my social circle is pitifully small these days. Lots of dumb drama through the years really poisoned the waters here, you could say. The last band I had SkullMaster was kind of my swansong for this town. We did quite a few shows and put out one solid, diverse album. I ask myself where to go? I want a fresh start somewhere. I'm kind of stuck here though. Despite everything, there are people I don't want to leave behind. Anyway, if it ends up being myself and a drum machine, so be it. I have 60+ tracks worked out for Vulture Locust with song titles. Continuing the same content as before -- protestor logic, conspiracies, grindcore staples. But a heavy emphasis on Sci-fi and technology turned nightmare. The theme is a glimpse into the future. The other music I have worked out is for a multi-genre extreme metal band and a punk rock project. The extreme metal band -- all the songs are five minutes or more, and the lyrics are like “Tales From The Crypt” stories about historical atrocities, monstrous creatures, torture devices. Think the lyrical urge of Iron Maiden but musically like a mix between Carcass, Immortal and Death. The punk project -- Lurking Strangers -- is a cursed band. Anyone ever attached to it has died or something horrible happened to. Or they moved to some other state. It's like if you took Dead Kennedys “Frankenchrist” and mixed it with Circle Jerks and The Dwarves with a touch of GG Allin. I really want to do this record badly. One album only -- 40+ tracks. I am confident it will live forever. I just need to find the right guys to pull it off.

Regarding the possibility of a fourth book, with cancel culture out of control and another sort of satanic panic happening in which religious communities are trying to stop local metal fests from being held as one did in Tennessee recently, I imagine more people would want to hear about it from a fan’s point of view etc.
Cancel Culture is a byproduct of technology. When all the little nobodies realized how to wield the power of social media, what was their major move? To delete people they didn't like. Funny how it wasn't to end starvation or help the homeless, or create a mutual aid society. It was take down the celebrity they hated. If my following were big enough I'm sure I'd be on that chopping block too. My books are filled with all kinds of statements & sentiments that would certainly enrage that crowd. But guess what? You cannot cancel someone like me. I have no record label, no book publisher, no TV show, no movie studio, no agent. I'm just a lone wolf, and I simply do not care what anyone thinks. In Portland, many people know about me and what I'm up to. I'm very misunderstood. I have people on my side, but I also have backlash. People who do not understand what I'm all about, or take issue with my work for whatever reason. My haters don't bother to read my books, they just hear one or two things and jump to conclusions. Yes I get dirty looks from would be Cancel Culture types. I've had overzealous punk rock kids try to claim I was some secret fascist. I got accused of being some wild sell out capitalist for putting my books in print. I've had bleeding heart hippies point their fingers at me like The Devil in their liberal West Coast Paradise. I got accused of this, that or the other. I got turned into a rumored Marquis de Sade, a reputed Black Magick Witch, and a homeless drug addict. At one point they even claimed me to be a hardcore Juggalo! Of course I am none of these things. I'm simply a guy who found out the bigger you get, the more they hate. The more you speak, the less they understand. The second money is involved, you become an instant sell out (never mind you never made a dime and dumped 40 grand into your career and gave it all away for free). But here I am, still standing after all the flack. I am so impervious I create a new word -- uncancellable.

What sort of an impact would you most like to leave on music and literature with your writing and your bands? What else do you have out worth mentioning?
I hope that my work continues to light a fire under the asses of those encountering it. I hope I inspire them to travel, to explore more kinds of music, to recognize the underground as the vast interconnected community it is. I hope I somehow am able to show there is a way out of their personal prisons. What I want for them is to escape. I want them to bust out and run. I've known many who tragically committed suicide or destroyed themselves. These books are created for those sort of folks -- to show the alternative. A better world is possible. As for the music, I just want to deliver the real deal. Say my peace through the lyrics. When a new Vulture Locust arrives it will have stellar production. Same with all the other bands. No more basement recordings. The other thing I wanted to mention -- two other books I did. "Anticlimax Leviathan" and "To Live & Die on Zug Island." I consider "Anticlimax Leviathan" my best book. It's about my life from 2002-2011. "To Live & Die on Zug Island" is about my life 1981-2002. They both connect like two halves of the same humongous work. You can find these books and everything else I've ever created on -- just search my name, or band names, you'll find everything. It's all free download. Thanks for reading this interview!

-Dave Wolff

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