master musicians

Today’s Best Tips on Music Production

10 essential tips… 20 mistakes… 30 production secrets and so on, such lists seem to be really popular these days. Although many of them are just full of crap. Especially forget about the longer checklists – even if you could find some good advices there, most tips are just nonsense, like “don’t mix bass with headphones”.

Anyway, to you aspiring producer, here’s a few things I think you should care about:

  • Limiting yourself can help drive creativity. Don’t use all of your instrumental arsenal at once, don’t try to cover all music styles in one track.
  • Listen to different styles of music and try to identify what you like and what you dislike.
  • Analyze your favorite artists’ work in great detail. Theorize with both feet on the ground.
  • Go ahead and copy other artists, but don’t settle there – tweak and add your own style and flavor.
  • Cover, remix and remake your favorite tracks, it’s a good and fun way to learn about music.
  • Use reference tracks, compare your shit to others, but don’t get paralyzed when your track doesn’t bang as loud as them.
  • Learn about synthesis and learn how to sound design different kind of instruments, e.g. strings, plucks, percussion (make synthetic drums using waveforms, a noise generator, filters, envelopes and such).
  • Check your music productions on several systems; from high-end studio monitor speakers to iPhone earbuds.
  • Sleep on it. Let your track mature over night and return to it with fresh ears.
  • Go hardware, get tactile if you are growing tired of a software-based environment. To actually play an instrument or to turn a real knob is really something else.
  • Get inspiration from collaborations with other artists. Just reach out to people you admire – this is globalization, this is the time of teh internetz.
  • Try to keep passionate about creating music, but don’t be afraid to make some demands of yourself, just to push things forward.
modern soc au

inej: 

  • loves to dance !!! esp ballet but she can dance to whatever tbfh, she’s that good 
  • likes to wear caps, esp backwards. really loves bomber jackets too. 
  • has a couple, small tattoos dedicated to her saints 
  • is that one kid who loves to do parkour (both ironically and unironically) for instance is really good at it but sometimes just yells PARKOUR and steps over a rock
  • usually found eating lunch with her pals on the roof of the school 
  • is amazing at hide and seek like holy fuck ????? hid for 2 hours once and wasn’t found, came back the next day and was like “y'all losers SUCK" 
  • loves to study other people’s cultures, as well as history and is great as p.e (never has gotten a bad grade in the flexibility tests) 
  • likes to read poem books 
  • has a black cat as a pet named “saint" 
  • pronounced meme as "mehmeh” the first time she read it 
  • only has snapchat and instagram. is that kid who ALWAYS posts the sunset every day, esp from weird/high places and the comments are always “HOW THE FUCK DID YOU GET UP THERE" 
  • cried the most during fox and the hound 
  • always braiding nina’s hair. Knows how to do all the super advanced onces as well
  • "I don’t know, CAN YOU?" 
  •  the best one at pushing people on the swings 
  • AMAZING AT JUST DANCE WITH JESPER 
  • "sorry I ran out of fucks to give try again later maybe?" 
  • gives the nicest presents. always knows what a person wants for christmas/their birthday 
  • the one who’s really into photography and is always taking aesthetic™ pics of Nina for her social media accounts 
  • Prefers tea over coffee

wylan:

  • bullied for not being able to read (at least up until high school), so is super shy 
  • loves drawing. the artistic™ one who takes anatomy to be able to draw people better 
  • MASTER FLUTE MUSICIAN. On the school band. Jams hard af when he plays it 
  • is in gem math and AP chem with kuwei. 
  • loves sweet. addicted to blue jolly ranchers. his tongue is always blue 
  • constantly pushing up his thick rimmed glasses (even if they ain’t on, which causes him to poke his eye)
  • looooves all the superhero shows on the CW 
  • V neck sweaters. always
  • always has his trusty satchel
  • only has tumblr. has like 10k followers because of his artwork. 
  • ”‘illuminati’ ? is that a band?“ 
  • cat person even though he’s allergic to cat fur. absolutely adores inej’s cat. settles for owning a horned lizard named "shrek" 
  • secretly a huge fan of memes 
  • really gay for tom holland and ed sheeran (calls him "ginger Jesus”) 
  • gamer with jesper. they always play overwatch together, wylans better tho. a genji and Ana main 
  • cried the most during big hero six 
  • wylan, with blank eyes: “I like my coffee how I like my men” // jesper: *spits out his drink* 

matthias: 

  • sports fan obv. On the schools hockey team bc his fav is hockey. is extremely competitive when he plays it. Is constantly checking but never gets penalties (aka slamming the other players against the walls)
  • played basketball against jesper and surprisingly lost. jesper won’t let it go 
  • dog person. owns a pet pomsky (Pomeranian-husky) with nina who’s name is “bub" 
  • “long hair don’t care”draws inspiration from Harry styles 
  • really philosophical. takes all the philosophy/ethics classes available 
  • kind of sounds like Thor (thick and deep accent) 
  • a good™
  • "you’re all horrible trash”
  • “do we really have to be doing this now? I have to finish my homework" 
  • loves baking. bakes everything for the love of his life 
  • grey sweatshirts and adidas shoes 
  • wears contacts Because he hates how glasses look on him. only wears them when he’s home 
  • oblivious to all the women in love with him
  • "CAN YOU EVEN LIFT BRO? BECAUSE I SURE AS FRICK CAN” (doesn’t curse) 
  • real 👍🏻🤘🏻👌🏻life🤰🏻👼🏻🌱student📚✂️✏️athelete🏃🏼🥇🏆🥅🏒
  • has Facebook and Twitter only
  • cried the most during bambi and dumbo 
  • little spoon™ 
  • has a couple tattoos with very deep meanings

jesper: 

  • dancer with inej. dances like those ppl who look like robots ??? the ones who look like they freeze parts of their body while the others move. AMAZING at it 
  • loves jazz but also dubstep/edm and rap/r&b. Beyoncé is MOM/QUEEN. 
  • sometimes djs parties 
  • again, huge gamer with wylan. he’s a lucio and junkrat main for overwatch. loves like every video game ever 
  • loves all the marvel movies, in love with black panther (was team cap) 
  • dresses like a hipster but also sometimes a fuck boy (tank tops and shorts with a backwards cap style) 
  • favorite subject is business and debate. great negotiator 
  • cried the most during the lion king 
  • A+ cosplayer (especially his lucio cosplay) 
  • big supporter of human rights (LGBTA+, feminist, black lives matter, poc representation). Will LITERALLY get into fights over anyone who thinks otherwise. Fist fights, always supported by Kaz and Matthias. Got suspended for 3 days for breaking a kids nose who thought LGBTA+ people should **** ** ****) 
  • that one kid who has 50 fidget spinners and can do cool tricks with them. also manages to sell all of them 
  • skateboard pro™ 
  • always sends the blinking face meme, even if it’s out of context 
  • all the social medias. 
  • one tattoo only of a gun with a ‘bang’ flag coming out of it 

nina: 

  •  PROFESSIONAL👏🏻 MAKE 👏🏻 UP 👏🏻 ARTISTS 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 HAS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FOLLOWERS ON HER INSTAGRAM AND THE SAME FOR HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL 
  • Speaking of YouTube, she always does cute videos. Baking/cooking tutorial videos featuring Matthias, 'i do my boyfriends makeup’, 'my boyfriend does my makeup’, 'my boyfriend buys my makeup’, does make up tutorials obviously, challenges with her best friend inej like the 'whisper challenge’. everyone loves her and says her and Matthias are their otp 
  • loves fashion design, takes that class. 
  • loves horror movies/creepy things but also Disney 
  • great at roller skating 
  • always wins the best dressed awards ad school 
  • also huge fan of ed sheeran. loves little mix more than 5h. 
  • cried the most during 'up' 
  • Can speak like 4 languages (English, french, Latin and spanish) 
  • loves traveling and learning about new cultures too 
  • dancer!inej’s biggest fan and hockey!matthias’ biggest fan 
  • always breaks snapchat streaks 
  • likes to (friendly) debate with jesper, especially over stupid things 
  • amazing with kids. babysits all the time. calls “bub” (the dog) her and matthias’ baby 
  • big spoon™ 
  • notes are so fucking pretty. buys the most expensive stationary and notebooks 
  • also huge supporter of human rights. runs the feminist club. (Jesper is the Vice President) stresses loving yourself and your body, and makes sure to design comfortable yet GORGEOUS clothes for “"plus sized people”“ 
  • wins 'dynamic duo’ award with inej 
  • always eating lollipops 
  • has a few very small tatos of cute things like roses and crowns. has one quote written in cursive on her rib

kaz: 

  • prefers black coffee as well 
  • loves crime shows, whether they’re real or fake. for instance loves both 'Dateline’ and 'Criminal Minds’ also loves 'House’
  •  favorite class is psychology, learning how a person thinks and acts and feels
  • has the dregs tattoo on his arm * edge lord 9000™ * such a drama queen and diva like damn 
  • *deep sigh* "I think I’d rather go take a nap” *gets up and leaves* 
  • also loves computer science. knows how to hack shit like a pro 
  • always rough housing with jesper. broke a table once 
  • does walk with a cane. likes to slap matthias’ ass with it 
  • “bow down you fucking peasants" 
  • only types in lower case with 0 emojis and no punctuation marks. CONSTANTLY leaves people on read 
  • only has Twitter and snapchat. His posts on snapchat never have captions, yet somehow has a 200 day streak with Jesper and a 250 day streak with inej 
  • loves watching horror movies with nina 
  •  *in a fight* "oh I’ll sHOW YOU SOME DIRTY HANDS” *swings* 
  • gets second place for best dressed award 
  • always sending memes with no context in their group chat, as well as vines 
  • indie and alternative rock fan 
  • “does it look like I care because I’m sorry if it does I didn’t mean to give you that impression" 
  • head over heels for inej Ghafa like wow 
  • likes to read a lot of mystery books and non fiction books 
  • cried the most during finding dory 
  • can solve a Rubik’s cube under a minute and won’t let you forget it 
  • The one asshole who picks either Kirby or metaknight in super smash brothers brawl
  •  hates seeing the notification bubble so he always has all chats muted and notifications turned off for apps 
  • kiss ass to all the teachers to get them A’s

Kuwei: 

  • SCIENCE NERD. ALWAYS singing the bill nye theme song. Loves ASAPScience on YouTube. Master at chemistry and biology 
  • "hey did u know bill nye is, like, my dad" 
  • nina treats him like a baby 
  • loves everything to do with Star Wars while wylan loves star trek more. Fighting ensues. 
  • has a pet Siamese cat name sparky 
  • Used to have a huge crush on jesper and everyone knew it except jesper. 
  • knows the intro to the bee movie ("according to all known laws of aviation-”)
  •  jesper in the group chat: “gonna go shower be right back” // kuwei: “without me ;)?” // wylan: “KUWEI SWEAR TO FUCK” // kaz: “watch your fucking language wylan" 
  • obsessed with Pokémon go even if it died out (chose team instinct) 
  • "fight me on this" 
  • has Twitter, snapchat and instagram 
  • Always drinking ginger ale 
  • master at bop it 
  • the one kid who always forgets to pay you back for stuff 
  • is also into the CW super hero shows, so him and wylan are constantly talking about it 
  • loves cartoons and anime 
  • speaks fluent fuckboy 
  • God awful at comebacks 
  • "let’s take a selfie guys !!!” // “kuwei no-” // *snapshot sound* 
  • talks !!! Like !! This !!!! for,,, some reason ???????? 
  • huge nerd for other things too like lord of the rings and Harry Potter and game of thrones 
  • cried the most during inside out
  •  "do you think planes are scared of heights?“ // "for fucks same kuwei it’s 4am”
7 Things INFPs Should Stop Doing if They Want to be Successful

A lot of things determine how successful you’ll be: the career you choose to pursue; the company you keep; the things you love doing; whether you possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription. This is good, because we all define success in different ways.

For idealistic INFPs, success often means having the freedom to live a moral, beautiful, and virtuous life. Success in the conventional sense (power, prestige, money) doesn’t matter as much as pursuing your passions, expressing yourself creatively, and growing without restraint.

Unfortunately for INFPs, these idealist qualities can be difficult to manage in the real world. The career fields you are naturally suited for (the arts, counseling, education) aren’t always respected, and others may not understand the “higher goals” you seek to achieve. In work and in life, you are acutely aware that others are judging you against standards that clash with your value system, which cheapens the experience for you. Even if you are objectively successful, you might not feel it because success, for an INFP, feels like an all-or-nothing event. You are notoriously hard on yourself for not always living up to the standards you promote.

So how can INFPs feel successful and satisfied with their careers and lives? The answer lies in doing less, not more. Here are seven recommendations which could help you lead an authentically successful life, whatever your goals.

1: Stop living according to the expectations of other people

If you want to shape and live your own successful life, you will always end up disappointing someone. Parents, partners, bosses, colleagues, friends - at some point, they will all tell you to knuckle down, get a secure job, go for the promotion, or go for some other outcome that doesn’t feel right to you. Trying to meet other people’s expectations is a sure-fire way to get drained, disconnected, and lost in the crowd. INFPs experience success by focusing on their own ideals, not by becoming something they’re not.

It’s horrible to disappoint others, especially if you are wary of conflict. But remember, it is simply not in your nature to conform. You will always be much happier being true to yourself. Dare to stop living according to other people’s expectations and start living it your way instead.

2: Stop going wide (go deep)

Being successful in life has a lot to do with clarifying what really matters to you and giving those priorities the time they deserve. You have to focus, otherwise there’s a risk you will get distracted by multiple endeavors. INFPs in particular have a tendency towards the dilettante, always trying new things and getting restless easily.

While it’s great to leave the door open to new possibilities, it’s equally important to narrow the focus onto the one or two areas that you really care about. Successful people don’t experience specializing as a restriction, but as a permission to go into the depths of a goal. Whether you have a business idea, an interesting hobby, or a potential relationship that you’d like to nurture, if you are completely dedicated to it, you stand a better chance of being successful than if your attention is scattered over several playing fields.

3: Stop waiting for the perfect moment

Waiting around for the perfect timing to go after your goals is counterproductive and hostile to your success. That’s because holding out for a stars-aligning “perfect moment” is a type of procrastination; it’s a stall. As Neil Gaiman once said, “If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.” That piece of advice applies to anything. A bad job won’t get better just because you wait around for a new boss to take over. A bad relationship won’t turn into a great relationship just because you tolerate your partner’s inadequacies, giving the relationship more effort than it possibly deserves.

Procrastination is an untamed beast that rages wildly in INFPs, but the fact is, you’re going to have to work for your success. Why wait to start that journey? For tips and insights on dealing with procrastination, check out the Ted Talk from master procrastinator Tim Urban.

4: Stop believing in miracles

Believing in fate or miracles is really the desire to sweeten one of life’s bitterest lessons: that if we want something to happen, we’re going to wake up every day with purpose and make it happen. Success overnight is a myth. It involves a lot of hard work and effort.

Rare talent and extreme giftedness does not spare you from this unpalatable truth. Even Mozart went through years of rigorous, tedious practice before he became a master musician. If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to take the game of success seriously. You’ll have to go all-in at 100 percent.

5: Stop trying to control so much

Some things in your life you can control. Most of it, you can’t. That’s a difficult message for an idealist INFP to handle, since you feel compelled to make the world a better place. There’s a tendency to believe that you raise other people to your own high standards or control certain situations that simply cannot be influenced. And the frustrating thing is, you feel safe when you are in control and utterly exhausted when you are not. That sets you up for disappointment, because control does not really exist, except perhaps in the mind.

If, like many INFPs, you have a tendency to behave like a backseat driver, you probably need to work on balancing your high ideals with the realities of everyday life. You can certainly control your own independent destiny, but you can’t control people or the minutiae of situations for your own sense of safety and worth. Without resolving this conflict, you will never feel happy or successful, and you may become paralyzed and confused about what to do with your life.

6: Stop giving all your time to people who will not take you further

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. No matter how much you try to live life your own way, sooner or later, the people with whom you spend most of the time contribute to what you become.

For idealistic and value-driven INFPs, this presents a major problem. You tend to choose your friends carefully, looking for people whose values are very similar to your own. Like-minded people can certainly offer wise counsel and make you feel safe, but can you learn from people who share your views, opinions, and values? Will these people challenge your decisions or push you out of your comfort zone?

What you really need, is a connection with people with different perspectives whose ideas rub up against your own. These people can pressure-test your choices and nudge you off the path of least resistance towards a place where you where you can learn, grow and make a bigger difference.

7: Stop mistrusting your instinct

As an INFP, you instinctively know when something you’re doing feels wrong. You may not know why something is off in your life, but you definitely know that it is. This level of self-awareness is the reason why you learn so quickly, and why you are so open-minded and flexible in all aspects of your life. It’s also the reason why you feel so out of place when ploughing a path that wasn’t made for you.

The only thing that separates a successful INFP from a less-successful INFP, is that the first person figured out when she was flogging a dead horse and trusted her gut instincts enough to try something else - even if the change seemed unfamiliar and crazy. When INFPs take action, they know immediately if their instinct was right. Your intuition is a strength that can often lead to better consequences, so give it the respect it deserves.

Final Thoughts

If your life isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be right now, there’s always an alternative. You can always choose to do something else. For INFPs, that usually means living in congruence with your values. Of all the types, you have the strongest need to act authentically and will never be happy unless you are true to yourself.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that your options are discouraging - at certain points, we all face moving from one set of problems to a different set of problems, none of which are particularly exhilarating. But the fact remains, you have a choice. If you stop believing that you have a choice, you automatically become a victim and feel helpless. INFPs in particular have to be careful that their idealism does not turn against them. If it does, you will never achieve goals or make changes for fear that you will never find the “perfect” career, lifestyle, creative endeavor, or person.

Ultimately, success for INFPs depends on you finding ways to honor your deeply held values while managing the constraints of everyday life. Accepting that life is full of shortcomings and compromises is difficult when you hold such lofty ideals, but it will help you to feel more effective and fulfilled. You have plenty of success qualities - self-awareness, intuition, empathy, adaptability, curiosity, open-mindedness - how you choose to apply them, is up to you.

Straight Outta Bedroom

So I’ve had this blog for a year and a half now – yay! I’ve primarily focused on music production methods and tips. If you’re into that, making music, then here are a few (not all) old posts that could interest you. Now, did you ever wonder… 

You’re welcome.

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[VID] #MoonHyuna - “Cricket Song” MV Teaser 

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Bedroom Studio Tips Revisited

Three years ago I posted a list of some music production methods and tips on my blog that still gets some attention. Now, here’s some other good read (I hope).

Moreover, you really should check out the most popular post on this blog about the best tips on music production that I can think of.

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Head to this video for today’s #FenderProSweepstakes post. #AmericanPro

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In honor of #FenderCustomShop’s 30th anniversary, original master builder J.W. Black returned to create this Founders Design #Stratocaster. Watch to learn about this unique instrument. 

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“Bowie once had a conflict with Jimmy Page at his Manhattan townhouse, and since then he believed that Page had put his soul in peril. He was convinced that Jimmy, who owned the home of black-magic philosopher Aleister Crowley, was in cahoots with the witches and they were out to get him. Hence he stocked all his urine in his fridge to keep it safe from them.”

Rock’s Sympathy for the Devil

April 12, 2012 By davidjones

By MICHAEL HOWARD (1948–2015)—

It was popularly believed in the 1930s that the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, who inspired Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his musical gifts. It was believed Johnson had the ‘Evil Eye’ and was murdered because of his alleged power over women. He seduced the wife of a beer hall owner who in revenge laced the musician’s whisky with arsenic. Many moralists saw his fate as a punishment for dealing with the powers of darkness.

Johnson is said to have sold his soul to Old Nick during a midnight ceremony at a crossroads. However, that story did not originate with him. In the 1920s and 1930s there are numerous tales of black musicians and gamblers signing a pact with a mysterious ‘man in black’ at the crossroads. Famous examples are the black singer Clara Smith and Robert Johnson’s namesake Tommy Johnston, a decade before him. The dark stranger has been identified by some writers as either the Christian Devil or the West African trickster god Eshu, worshipped in voodoo and taken to the southern states of America by black slaves.

While there is little evidence of modern pop and rock musicians actually ‘selling their souls’ to the ‘Devil’, the link between popular music and the occult is a strong one. Christian fundamentalists have predictably seen the widespread use of magical and occult symbols in rock music as evidence it is the work of Satan, but the truth is far stranger than their religious fantasies.

Sometimes the alleged connections of famous rock musicians with occultism surfaced in apocryphal showbiz gossip or rumour. For example, everyone knows that ill-fated glam rock star Marc Bolan studied as a sorcerer’s apprentice with a magician in a French chateau (in fact he actually admitted it), that the late pop diva Dusty Springfield allegedly belonged to a satanic group called the Temple of the Prince in Manchester, and that Jim Morrison of The Doors married a Wiccan high priestess (which was true).

Then there was the 1970s British musician Graham Bond, accused by his fellow R & B artist Long John Baldry of sacrificing his pet cat in a magical ritual. Bond told his groupies he was one of the illegitimate sons of the infamous ‘black magician’ Aleister Crowley, and that his musical output was designed to contact “higher forces.” Bond also believed he had been cursed by a fellow occultist. When in 1974 the musician fell in front of a train on the London Underground in mysterious circumstances, many thought the curse had worked.

The Beatles & the Rolling Stones

The Beatles are well known for flirting with Eastern mysticism and transcendental meditation during their psychedelic hippy stage in the late 1960s. They may also have had darker interests. For instance, the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley, is featured (top left corner above) in the photomontage of “people we most admire” on the cover of the Fab Four’s famous album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Antiquarian bookseller and Crowley bibliographer Timothy D’Arch Smith relates how the Beatles attended an exhibition of rare books on witchcraft and the occult he held in Swinging London. Jane Asher, Paul McCartney’s then girlfriend, had suggested the visit to him and, according to D’Arch Smith, encouraged him to buy rare books as an investment.

If the Beatles were mildly interested in the occult, then their main rivals for the pocket money and affection of teenage girls, the Rolling Stones, were definitely involved in a more dramatic way. Despite their respectable middle-class backgrounds, in the Sixties the Stones were deliberately promoted as the ‘bad boys of pop’. It now seems this was a marketing ploy by their then manager Andrew Oldham, and is summed up in the famous newspaper headline, ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?’ If the parents of Middle England had known about their dabbling in the occult, the answer may have been in the negative.

Lucifer Rising

The so-called ‘satanic’ influence on the Stones was through the avant-garde filmmaker, Luciferian and Tinseltown gossip-queen Kenneth Anger. He had become interested in the band’s career and particularly in guitarist Brian Jones and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, a German film actress and model. Jones had some unusual interests, and both he and the pop singer Robert Palmer were fascinated by the master musicians of Joujouka in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in North Africa. These musicians claimed to be still practising the ancient rites of the goat-footed god Pan. Jones went so far as to travel to North Africa to record an album of the tribal music performed by this pre-Islamic cult.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine Robert Palmer described how he had witnessed one of these rites to Pan. He said the dancing tribesmen appeared to be in an ecstatic trance with their eyes rolled back in their heads. Palmer said that when “the power came down” the dancer was suddenly “not there.” In fact “something else” was looking out of his eyes, which began to “glow like ruby lasers” (Rolling Stone, 23 March 1989).

Kenneth Anger believed that Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones, who was to drown in mysterious circumstances in the swimming pool of his Sussex mansion, were witches. Allegedly, Jones showed the filmmaker an extra nipple he had on his inner thigh and told him: “In another time they would have burned me [as a witch].” Extra nipples were regarded by witch-hunters as a sign of the Devil’s Mark. A friend of Anita Pallenberg, Tony Sanchez, believed she kept her drug stash hidden in an old carved wooden chest in her flat. One day he looked inside. Instead of drugs he found it contained bones and pieces of fur and skin from “strange animals.” Mick Jagger’s one time girlfriend Marianne Faithfull described how she and Pallenberg used to sit for hours reading aloud passages from Robert Graves’ book The White Goddess and studying the ancient Celtic tree alphabet.

In her autobiography Marianne Faithfull claims the gay Anger had a crush on the bisexual Stones’ singer which was not reciprocated. When the filmmaker’s sexual overtures were rejected he became a bit of a nuisance. One day he turned up at the couple’s house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea and bizarrely threw several books by the 18th century poet and mystic William Blake through the window. Jagger responded in disgust at this stunt by burning all the copies of the occult works that Anger had given him by Crowley and the French occultist Eliphas Levi.

Despite this, Marianne Faithfull got involved in Anger’s experimental movie Lucifer Rising, allegedly financially sponsored by Anita Pallenberg, and with a score originally to be composed by Mick Jagger. Initially the Stones’ singer was to play the leading role in the film, but he got cold feet and backed out of the project altogether. In the first version, made in 1967, the lead was taken by his brother Chris Jagger. Marianne Faithfull became involved in the second version filmed in 1972 and she agreed to take the part of the demon-goddess Lilith.

Faithfull described the baby-slaying Lilith as one of the classic female archetypes and compared her with pagan goddesses such as Diana, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite and Demeter. However, she added: “From the view of patriarchy, of course, she was the pure incarnation of evil” (Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull with David Datton, 224). Interestingly, the part of the ancient Egyptian god Osiris in the film was played by Donald Cammell, son of Charles Cammell, a friend and biographer of Crowley. The younger Cammell made his own films including the controversial Performance in co-operation with Nic Roeg. It starred Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg and the archetypal English actor Edward Fox. Donald Cammell committed suicide in the 1990s.

The shooting of Lucifer Rising took place in Egypt and Faithfull claims that as soon as the crew and cast arrived in the country it was obvious Anger did not know what he was doing as either a film director or a magician. At that stage in her life Faithfull was seriously addicted to heroin and admits she did not know what she was doing on the set either. The whole thing was a recipe for disaster. The last sequence of the film was a winter solstice rite shot at a Neolithic site in Germany. During it, Faithfull managed to fall off a mountain. She somersaulted and landed on her feet without sustaining any injury. This convinced her that her magic was stronger than Anger’s. In her autobiography she dismissed him as a “kitsch occultist” and “a witch out of a Hollywood tabloid.”

Marianne Faithfull claims that both Mick Jagger and the Stones’ lead guitarist Keith Richards were also sceptical about Anger’s “satanic hocus-pocus” and did not take any of it seriously. However, after an incident involving the magician at the house in London now shared by Richards and Anita Pallenberg, Faithfull became seriously spooked out. As a result, she believed she was under psychic attack. Allegedly, she wore a clove of garlic around her neck and slept in a circle of lit candles for protection. Whether this paranoid behaviour was connected to her heroin addiction is not known.

One of Marianne Faithfull’s tracks on her comeback album Broken English is called ‘Witches Song’. She dedicates it as “my ode to the wild pagan woman I know and have always around me.” Faithfull says she got the idea for the song after she and Mick Jagger visited an exhibition in Madrid of paintings on the theme of the Witches Sabbath by the Spanish artist Goya. Her autobiography also describes an incident when she and Jagger took LSD before visiting Primrose Hill in North London “where the ancient ley lines are supposed to run” and where modern neo-druids hold their seasonal ceremonies. Under the influence of the acid the couple saw “a great face in the sky” they were convinced was the head of the Celtic giant god Bran. This seems to fit with Faithfull’s professed pagan beliefs. In her autobiography she says she believes not in God the Father, but in the Great Goddess and her consort Pan.

Jimmy Page & Aleister Crowley

In 1969 the satanic aura around the rock mega-group Led Zeppelin reached such a pitch that, in echoes of Robert Johnson, rumours circulated in the Los Angeles music scene that its members had signed a pact in their own blood with the Devil to gain fame.

James Patrick ‘Jimmy’ Page’s well-known interest in the occult fuelled these rumours of the group’s alleged satanic activities. Described by the magazine AllMusic as “one of the all-time most influential, important and versatile [rock] guitarist and songwriters,” Page had been interested in alternative religions since childhood. While a member of the Yardbirds, he had hung out with Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg at their studio flat in South Kensington. Page has never hidden his interest in Aleister Crowley, and Led Zeppelin’s famous album Rune has a photograph of the Great Beast on its cover. In an interview with Soundsmagazine in 1976 Page is quoted as saying that Crowley was “a misunderstood genius of the twentieth-century.”

Jimmy Page purchased as many artefacts and first edition books belonging to Crowley that he could find. In 1969, Kenneth Anger rented Crowley’s old (seriously haunted) house Boleskine on the shores of Loch Ness where he lived in the 1900s for a few months. When it came on the market for sale, Anger suggested to Page he should buy it. This he did and hired an occult artist called Charles Pace to paint suitable atmospheric magical murals in each room. The Led Zeppelin guitarist could be seen driving around the area like a Scottish laird in a Land Rover with a stack of stag’s antlers on the bonnet. Page also visited Sicily and contemplated buying the old villa where Crowley established his ‘Abbey of Thelema’ in the 1920s.

In the early 1970s Page opened an occult bookshop in Kensington called The Equinox. It was done out in a futuristic style with glass bookshelves and display cabinets and chrome steel pillars. Under its auspices, Page published a facsimile of Crowley’s 1904 edition of the medieval grimoire Goetia.

Kenneth Anger approached Jimmy Page and asked him to provide a soundtrack for his ongoing film project Lucifer Rising. Unfortunately, the two men fell out when Page only managed to produce 23 minutes of music and Anger wanted 28 minutes. The filmmaker accused Page of being a mere dabbler in the occult and a drug addict so out of his mind he could not finish the film score. However, in 1976 Page lent Anger the basement of his London house for film editing purposes. Again, the two men did not see eye to eye and Page allegedly cursed the filmmaker. Page later branded the incident as “silly and pathetic” and said he still respected Anger as an occultist.

There has been a lot of debate about whether Jimmy Page ever belonged to one of the modern versions of Crowley’s magical group the OTO (Ordo Templis Orientis or Order of the Eastern Temple). In fact, the jury seems to be out on whether Page is an actual magical practitioner at all. In this respect New Musical Express journalist Nick Kent dismisses rumours the guitarist spends his time with “his head in a cowl ritually slaughtering various species of livestock.” Kent instead says from his experience Page is “just another seeker after esoteric knowledge, a collector of dusty old books, and committed student of the ‘magical’ information that was supposedly contained in their yellowed pages.”

Although Jimmy Page’s interest in Crowley and the occult is well known, his Led Zeppelin colleague Robert Plant also has esoteric interests. These manifest in a study of folklore, Norse and Germanic mythology, and reading ‘sword and sorcery’ novels. Plant spent most of his life living on the Welsh Border and in an interview with the rock music magazine Kerrang! he said he often visited the Black Mountains in South Wales. There he rediscovered his roots in the local Celtic culture. Using an ordnance survey map, he wandered the hills visiting Bronze Age sites and places where the Welsh had battled with the Saxons.

David Bowie

Another famous rock star who openly admits an interest in the occult, magic and Crowley is David Bowie (born David Robert Jones). In the 1970s he says he studied the Kabbalah and “Crowleyism” and more recently became interested in Gnosticism. On a practical level the singer used Tarot cards and a crystal ball for divination, an ouija board to contact spirits, and performed magical rituals for exorcism and psychic protection. His early album Hunky-Dory features a song called ‘Quicksand’ that references both Crowley and the Victorian magical group Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

According to David Bowie’s wife Angie in her autobiography, her husband’s interest in the occult was due to his desire to outdo Jimmy Page. Allegedly, he saw the Led Zeppelin guitarist as a magical rival. Bowie eventually decided, possibly because of Page’s interest in him, that Crowley and his works were “small shit.” For that reason he began studying Tibetan magic which he claimed was far more powerful than anything the Great Beast or Page had ever done.

In an interview with New Musical Express (February 1997) David Bowie admits he had been into “old fashioned magic” in the 1970s, and said he always believed Crowley was a charlatan. He reveals that Arthur Edward Waite, a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Welsh-born occultist Dion Fortune, author of Psychic Self-Defence, have been important to him. In fact, Bowie used Fortune’s book extensively when he believed he was under psychic attack. Talking of a house he rented in Los Angeles in 1975, Bowie said he decorated it with ancient Egyptian artefacts. This was because, “I had this more than passing interest in Egyptian mysticism and the Kabbalah…” (Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, 235).

Angie Bowie says the musician was heavily involved with occult activities in 1975-76. This coincides with a period when he used cocaine and she believed this made him paranoid. Apparently, Bowie stored bottles of his own urine in the fridge and carefully disposed of his nail and hair clippings. This was in case magical practitioners obtained these personal items in order to cast spells on him. He also set up an altar in his sitting room with black candles on it, painted occult symbols on the walls, and performed magical banishing rituals for protection. Angie Bowie once witnessed him exorcise a swimming pool he believed was haunted.

When the couple were viewing properties to rent or buy in Hollywood they came across an old house with a pentagram of five-pointed star painted on the floor. Bowie freaked out and said he could not live there as the building had been used for black magic rites. One day he phoned his wife and told her witches were trying to steal his semen. Allegedly they wanted to create a test-tube baby and then sacrifice it in a satanic rite. It turned out the ‘witches’ were just some innocent groupies he met in a bar.

At this difficult point in his life Bowie also flirted with neo-Nazism. He explained in an interview with the British rock music journalist Tony Parsons in 1993 that this was only because he was fascinated by the use of occult symbols like the swastika by the original Nazi Party in Germany. He was interested in their quest for the Holy Grail because he was also searching for its meaning (Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, 235-236). Bowie once said that it might be a good idea to have a fascist dictatorship in Britain, although he later denied he was serious and claimed it was a joke.

Black Sabbath & Heavy Metal

Partly as a reaction to the hippy ‘flower power’ and ‘peace and love’ movement of the late Sixties, heavy metal bands began to appear using violent satanic imagery and playing loud over-amplified rock music. Groups such as Warlock, Saxon, Venom, Motley Crue, W.A.S.P., Slayer, Iron Maiden, Incubus and Bathory put out albums with covers decorated with human skulls, pentagrams, hooded figures, gravestones, goat-headed demons and vampires. One of the most famous and pioneering heavy metal bands Black Sabbath came out of Birmingham in the industrial Midlands of England in 1969. They combined heavy guitar riffs with satanic inspired lyrics and an obsession with the gothic dark side that soon gave them a dedicated, if rather odd, fan base.

The band’s distinctive name was taken from an old horror movie starring English actor Boris Karloff, famous for his movie interpretation of Dr. Frankenstien’s monster. Originally, Black Sabbath started out as a jazz-blues band until they became influenced by the ‘black magic’ novels of the thriller writer Dennis Wheatley and books by Aleister Crowley. Their leader ‘Geezer’ Butler was lent a 16th century grimoire or book of magic. Its contents so freaked him out that he locked it in a cupboard before going to bed. During the night he had a spectral visitation from a dark shadowy figure who stood at the end of his bed. In the morning when Butler opened the cupboard the grimoire had vanished and it was never seen again.

Butler claims the band was invited to play a gig at a Witches Sabbath at Stonehenge, which sounds like something out of a Dennis Wheatley novel. When the boys refused the chief “warlock” of the coven ritually cursed the band. Geezer says he consulted a “white witch” to get the curse lifted and was told the band had to wear crosses to ward off the evil forces directed at them. Apparently, lead singer Ozzy Osbourne’s father, who was a bit of a handyman, made the crosses for each of the band members to wear.

Ozzy Osbourne always denies he was seriously into the occult, although he did have his Tarot cards read – twice. Famously he said the only evil spirits that interest him are whisky, gin and vodka! He describes the strange people attracted to the band, who habitually wear white face make-up and black hooded robes, as “freaks.” Ozzy says the only good thing about all the satanic stuff is it gave the band free publicity increasing their record sales and bank accounts.

Some of the heavy metal bands took their interest in witchcraft and magic more seriously. One of these, for a while, was Black Widow who played a mixture of progressive rock and folk music and used demonic imagery in their act based on serious research. In 1968 the group’s manager approached Maxine and Alex Sanders, the so-called ‘King and Queen of the Witches’. He wanted to know if the couple could recommend a nubile young witch with dancing skills to take part in their new stage act. This featured a magician played by one of the band’s members conjuring up a demon who was once an ancient goddess called Ashtaroth.

Several professional dancers auditioned for the part of the demon-goddess. Each one suffered fainting fits during rehearsals and felt they were being possessed by an evil spirit. In desperation the band wanted to hire a real witch who would not be fazed by the magical goings-on. Black Widow’s manager said the Sanders were happy to help and he described them as “clever business people” only interested in making money in any way they could.

A member of the Sanders’ coven volunteered for the role and the rehearsals were successful. Unfortunately, on the day of the first performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London, she fell ill. Alex Sanders volunteered his wife and the high priestess of the coven Maxine as a suitable stand-in. When the lead singer of Black Widow playing the sorcerer invoked the demon-goddess and accidentally stepped out of the protective magical circle, she was supposed to attack him. In her autobiography Maxine Sanders says the singer complained afterwards about the bruises he suffered from the physical assault by the ‘Queen of the Witches’.

Danny Carey

Another more contemporary band called Tool and its lead singer Danny Carey are well known for their interest in all things magical. Carey collects rare limited edition publications by such modern occult practitioners as Crowley, Kenneth Grant, Austin Osman Spare and Andrew D. Chumbley. During their recordings of albums, Tool use magical banishing rituals to get rid of unwelcome influences left in the studio by previous performers. They have also been known to employ talismans and occult sigils used by the Elizabethan magician and astrologer Dr. John Dee in their gigs. During a South American tour, local Christian workers refused to handle the band’s equipment because it was “satanic.”

The 1990s saw a sinister link established between rock music and Satanism with the rise of the so-called ‘black metal’ or ‘death metal’ groups. These new bands were committed to an anti-Christian philosophy of anarchism, nihilism, violence and an obsession with death that made Black Sabbath stage appearances look like a vicar’s tea party. Possibly the most dramatic and violent manifestation of this new trend was in Scandinavia. A new cultural trend united satanic beliefs with atavistic forms of neo-paganism and extreme nationalist right-wing politics promoting racism and white supremacy. This deadly combination was to lead to arson and murder.

In 1992 an ancient wooden stave church was burnt down in a firebomb attack. Rumours began circulating that hard-core black metal fans were responsible for the outrage. It was alleged they were pagan Viking revivalists who expressed neo-Nazi views. Further church burnings and graveyard desecrations took place followed by murders involving rival groups of black metal fans and biker gangs. Media reports said that self-styled teenage satanists saw neo-Nazism and rock music as cultural stepping stones to a revival of Aryan-based paganism. Because the historic Christian churches were built on the site of pagan temples, they had to be destroyed before the heathen ‘old religion’ could be established again.

Today the number of rock bands using satanic and occult imagery is increasing. The new ‘high priest’ of the Church of Satan in the USA, Boyd Rice, is himself a musician. Critics have dubbed his musical output as “sonic terrorism as an art form.” Strangely enough, his satanic master, Anton LaVey, who found the Church of Satan in the 1960s, preferred Gershwin and Cole Porter with his bedtime cocoa.

It seems certain that in the future wherever and however rock music is played, there will always be those who claim, quite literally, the Devil has the best tunes.

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Bibliography

Heavy Metal Thunder by Neil Aldis and James Sherry, Mitchell Beazley, 2006

Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie by Angie Bowie and Patrick Carr, Orion, 1993

Stage Fascination: David Bowie the Definite Story by David Buckley, Virgin Books, 1999

Robert Plant: Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page & the Solo Years by Neil Daniels, Independent Music Press, 2008

The Lives of John Lennon and the Beatles by Hunter Davies, McGraw Hill Books USA, 1985

Hammer of the Gods: Led Zeppelin Unauthorised by Stephen Davies, Pan Books, 1995

The Book of the Beast by Timothy D’Arch-Smith, Mandrake Press 2010

Faithfull by Marianne Faithfull with David Datton, Michael Joseph, 1994

No One Gets Out of Here Alive: Jim Morrison and the Doors by Danny Hopkins and Sugarman, Warner Books USA, 1980

Apathy for the Devil: A 1970’s Memoir by Nick Kent, Faber and Faber Limited, 2010

I Am Ozzy by Ozzie Osbourne with Chris Agnes, Sphere, 2009

Firechild: The Life and Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’ by Maxine Sanders, Mandrake Press, 2008

Bowie: Loving the Alien by Christopher Sandford, Little, Brown and Company, 1996

When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall, Orion Books, 2008

Led Zeppelin: From Early Days to Page and Plant by Ritchie Yorke, Virgin Books, 1999.

MICHAEL HOWARD (1948–2015) was an English practitioner of Luciferian Witchcraft and a prolific author on folklore, paganism, and esoteric topics. From 1976 until his death he was the editor of The Cauldron magazine. The author of over 30 books including Pillars of Tubal Cain, The Book of Fallen Angels, Children of Cain, and Secret Societies: Their Influence and Power from Antiquity to the Present Day, Michael Howard was an exemplary practitioner and teacher of traditional craft.


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