Best known as the long-time drummer for the world's greatest living punk band The Dwarves, Vadge Moore recently moved on to devote more time to his two other bands, Chthonic Force and Neither/Neither World, as well as doing a heck of a lot of writing on the topics of "sick road stories" and Aleister Crowley. Intrigued and not a little confused by Vadge's dark individualist philosophy, I was very pleased when he agreed to an email interview focused on the topic. This is the sort of interview I'm not used to conducting (mostly non-music-related), but I think a lot of interesting ideas and questions came out of it so I hope you enjoy it - AND that you go out and buy every Dwarves album ever made! Thanketh be to my friend who explained Jung and a few other things for me. My questions are in bold; his answers are plain text.
What were you like as a kid? Were you always kind of a punk loner?
Yeah. I always spent alot of time alone in my room reading comic books and listening to music or just sitting in silence. The presence of other people annoyed me from a very early age. Later, the reading material changed and the music changed but today I'm still essentially the same. When friends would come to my house to play with me I would tell my Mom to say I wasn't home or was asleep. I still do that, except my Wife tells them to go away, now.
What music did you grow up listening to, and what band made you realize hardcore and noise was where it's at?
When I was really young my Mother would play the Andrew Sisters or the Dave Clark Five. Later I would listen to the Jackson Five or the Osmond Brothers(believe it or not!). In 1976 I discovered Kiss. That was a revelation! I didn't know what the songs were about but I loved the sound. After that it was Cheap Trick, AC/DC, Aerosmith... the usual. The early Rolling Stones were a big influence(there's your Satanism!) Then later I saw the Sex Pistols on the cover of Creem magazine and that changed everything!! They were the coolest looking degenerates I had ever seen. I wanted to be Sid Viscious('cept without the death). Immediately following would be the Black Flag Jealous Again e.p.. The sound of that record and the noise from Greg Ginn's guitar totally changed my life. This is how I segue-way into the Noise influence: Ginn's guitar solos turned me onto dissonance and noise. After listening to him I could liste! n to Throbbing Gristle and NoN and really get into it. I listened to TG and NoN and loved it! Whitehouse came afterwards. These three groups influenced my decision to form my own Noise band called Chthonic Force.
What are your fondest memories of being in the Dwarves? What did the experience mean in your life?
Fondest memories? There are so many. My fondest memory is every night stepping onstage with them and hearing the roar of the crowd or the breaking of glass from the bottles being thrown or the sound of a groupie choking down my spew. What did it mean? A little bit of me left in the hearts and especially stomachs of all of you.
One of the things that so impressed me about the Dwarves (one of my very favorite punk/hardcore bands of all time) is that every single album you released had a different feel from the one before it. There was never any sitting still, even for two albums in a row. Do you personally have a favorite era of the band or favorite album? A mood that really captured exactly what YOU love most in music?
There are two recordings that I love the most. The first is the cd/ep of Underworld with the song Down By the River. The second is Young and Good Looking. That record is fucking flawless! From beginning to end it kicks ass.
I'm totally with you on "Down By The River." I love the version of "Lies" on that single too. Are you at liberty to discuss when and why you decided to leave the Dwarves?
I left the Dwarves 'cause it was no longer fun for me. Simple. I did not want to pretend and force it. It was not a good time for me for various reasons. I am a libertine and if I don't like what I'm doing then I am out. I am very selfish. I am not a "company man." I now enjoy the Dwarves as a spectator and I am quite happy with that. They are still the greatest band on the planet!
Are the Dwarves finished? Do you still speak with Blag or HeWho at all?
The Dwarves are absolutely not finished! They keep touring, they keep making records. They could go on for years. Blag and HeWho are just as creative now as they were twelve years ago. I speak with and see those boys every couple of months. All good.
I understand that you just wrote the intro for a book on "sick road stories" called Gigs From Hell. Without giving away any trade secrets, would you be willing to share any "sick Dwarves road stories" with us? The sicker the better!
Oh, man. I've described so many over the years. So as not to repeat myself I guess I could describe a general thing that would happen to me over and over. After becoming extremely inebriated with a young lass I would procede to fuck her in the ass. After a good half hour of this I would pull out to cum on her tits. Apparently without remembering where my dick had been(her ass!) she would commence to sucking on it 'til I came down her throat! Maybe these girls had remembered from whence it had come and liked the taste of yesterday's digested lunch, or maybe they were just too fucked up. I kinda hope it was the former.
You used to also play in a band called Phoenix Thunderstone, correct? What was that band like?
Phoenix Thunderstone was a great band I was in (drums) for about 3 years. It featured me, Wendy VanDusen, Hugh Yarburough, Lemon DeGeorge, and the pure genius of Sean Heskett on bass and vocals. It was alot like the Cramps meet the Dwarves. Lots of violence and nudity.
How would you describe your solo-noise band Chthonic Force? Do you ever do U.S. tours? Any CDs on the way?
Chthonic Force is a vehicle for my sickness. I've released two cd's. One is self-titled and the second is called "Agathadaemon" There is a single called "Mouth Pigs" that features my friend Peter Sotos from Whitehouse. Chthonic Force performs in the U.S., Europe and soon in Japan. It is not rock n roll. It is noise. Dwarves fans might not like it. As I've mentioned, I love noise music and CF is a vehilce for expressing that obssession. You can listen to Chthonic Force on MP3.com.
What about Neither/Neither World? Tell me everything you can about this band too!
I've been in Neither/Neither World almost as long as I've been in the Dwarves. N/NWorld is headed by my old and dear friend Wendy VanDusen who is also my partner in CF. N/N World is kind of a Goth/Satanic band. It sounds alot like Mazzy Star. Definitely not something Dwarves fans would be into. I play drums and we tour Europe and Japan every year.
You mentioned that you are publishing a book on Aleister Crowley soon. How did you come to be involved in this?
I have been obssessed with Crowley since I was twelve. He was a productive degenerate that accomplished more in his 72 years of life then most people could imagine doing in two-thousnd life times. Many people have written books about him but I want this book to be very personal. How has Crowley effected my life as a degenerate and as a musician? That's what I'm going for.
You're also writing for various Occult/Satanic magazines like Dagoberts Revenge and SouthBound? What sorts of subjects do you cover in these articles?
For Dagoberts Revenge the subject matter was very specific; How did the Blood Line of the Holy Grail connect to Crowley and the O.T.O.? I wrote a couple of articles that explained this. For SouthBound I am exploring the Lycanthropic tendencies of the poets Lautreamont and Rimbaud.
What exactly is the form of Satanism that you follow?
First of all; I'm not a Satanist per se. I don't belong to any group or Order (though I did, briefly). But, I have been greatly influenced by the writings of Anton LaVey, the life and works of Aleister Crowley, and the books of Crowley-disciple Kenneth Grant. The spirit of those three men permeate everything I do. What I'm interested in doing is dredging up images and feelings from the primordial unconcious or the id. I've always been interested in the rebel, the loner, the outsider,and the anarchist ,in the true sense; meaning the non- joiner, the true individual. All of the best rebels found inspiration inside themselves, in the dark caverns of self where most people refuse to go. This is why I have been drawn towards Satanism and Satanists. For our Judeo-Christian society Satan is the ultimate outsider, the ultimate rebel. I revere the true individual and I respect the dark side of the psyche.! That about sums it up.
I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I don't know all that much about LaVey's ideas (especially embarrassing considering that a friend of mine copy edited one of his books!). But I know that a lot of people are really into them. This idea of the "true individual" -- In this scene, do you run across a lot of people who desparately WANT to be "true individuals" but end up just imitating Crowley and LaVey with no ideas of their own? Or are those people kind of just ignored? I know there are a lot of people like this in the punk scene ("Be an individual! And grow a mohawk!") - is the Satan-esque underground similar?
The Satanic Underground is very similar. Unfortunately. As a religion dedicated to non- conformity and elitism Satanism is filled with idiotic, conformist sheep; as is every movement. As the popularity of Satanism grows the amount of morons grows, too. What can 'ya do? The sheep are everywhere. They will never go away. Also, fortunately, the few intelligent individuals will never go away either.
Who would you say is at the forefront of the movement now, with LaVey having passed away?
Peter Gilmore is now the High Priest of the Church. LaVey's widow Blanch Barton over- sees things. LaVey's son Xerxes, if he so chooses, will carry the mantle when he's old enough. Again, I'm not a member but most of my friends are.
What are the reasons for your rebellion? Do you find mainstream society to be hypocritical and harmful to the individual thinker? Or dull? Or a little of both? ;7)
I have no reasons for my rebellion. My rebellion comes from my instincts; completely non-rational. I can't help but be the way I am. There is no free-will. We are like robots following our instincts. I would not want it any other way. It's a catch twenty-two. My freedom comes from my complete inability to act any other way. Ya' gotta let the Beast ride! Mainstream society does what it does. Again: instincts. The sheep run with the sheep. Yes, I find it dull. That's why I'd prefer to read a book on Modigliani or Munch or Neitzsche instead of Madonna or J-Lo. Hypocritical? No. I think mainstream society is very honest and follow what they believe is truth. Stupid? Yes. They can't be any other way.
Why did you come to believe in no free will? You don't feel as if your every thought and action comes from you and you alone? Or do you mean just our "overall" experiences are predetermined? For example, do you mean "I didn't choose to eat that bowl of cereal; I had no choice" kind of micromanagement predeterminism or just like "My instinct told me to join the Dwarves - it was going to happen. It was my destiny" like in a larger sense? And does your belief mean that you don't buy into the "will to power" argument that some serial killers claim as their influence?
What I mean is; humans are controlled by instincts that come directly from our DNA. For instance-- humans can't help but form societys with a hierarchal order and then go to war with other societys. We did it when we were chimps and we still do it today. On a more personal level;our minds battle with these instincts and with emotional connections that we have formed since childhood. Between these two things(and a myriad of other influences) we barely have what is referred to as "Free Will". I'm not a big fan of the Russian mystic Gurdjief but he said that we are asleep. This means we are so ruled by our instincts and passions and emotions that we are like walking zombies. He sees that as a bad thing. I say- embrace it!! That's what makes you an individual. The different shades and colorings is who you are. But that does not give you so-called "free will". As for destiny; sometimes I allow myself the irrational indulgence in be! lieving such a mystical concept. Was I "meant" to join the Dwarves and live this kind of life? Perhaps. My instincts and my up-bringing drew me towards the situation. I just grabbed the opportunity when it presented itself. As for the Will to Power all that is is the instinct(very base and primordial) to dominate. Either another person or a situation. The Will to Power is one of the most basic instincts in Nature.
I'm not familiar with Modigliani or Munch, but isn't Neitzsche considered mainstream at this point? I know a lot of people who consider his writing a major influence. Or do you just mean you prefer his writing because he deals more with images and aspects of darkness than light?
Modigliani and Munch were painters and extreme individualists from the early twentieth century. You might know Munch from his famous painting-"The Scream"? I would never consider Neitzsche main-stream. You don't see his philosophy discusssed on the Real World. Nietzsche expressed ideas that had been long repressed. In that sense he brought ideas out of the darkness into the light.
Is Satanism mainly a rebellion against Judeo-Christian culture? Again, I haven't done any reading on this topic at all - if it's a stupid question, just tell me it's a stupid question! Is Satan a part of other religious beliefs? Like would a Buddhist or Moslem be as threatened by it as the Judeo-Christian culture? Or is Satanism basically the same as atheism? What are the differences? I just find it really interesting how LaVey's "Satanism" is so much different from what we're all taught is "Satan worshipping" when we're kids!
Every culture and every religion has the "bad guy" or the outsider. No where in written history or religion is the "bad guy" absent. The difference is that most religions incorporated the "bad guy" into their myth as a necessary part. He(or She) was the dark to another god's light. The "bad" to anothers "good". There was a balance. In the Old and New Testament of the Bible it is either one or the other. I'm really much more of a Gnostic. Gnostics; especially Jungian Gnostics, understand that there must be a balance between dark and light. The "bright and lighters" have had their time. Now is the time for Darkness.
Okay, I remember at least a bit about this from a couple of religion courses I took in college. From what I remember (and I could be wrong, believe me!), Buddhism and Hinduism don't have that "bad guy" element. Don't they kinda consider good and evil to be illusions? I just recall finding that interesting - that unlike us, most eastern religions reject that kind of dualist view of nature entirely. "Good" and "evil" don't really exist, except in terms of being mired in materialism instead of striving to rid oneself of individual personality.
Buddism has what are known as the "Wrathful Dieties." These are demonic beings that are supposed to scare you back into existence. If you are frightened of them then you are still connected to your ego. Hinduism has Goddesses like Kali. She has the nurturing Mother aspect and the dark, violent murder and death aspect. They do reject the dualist view. That was the point I was making. Neitzsche wrote about going beyond good and evil. That is a very anti-dualist concept. You have the dark and you have the light and one can not exist without the other.
And I know there are tons of interpretations of the bible, but I always interpreted the new testament as Jesus telling the Christians that they must be outsiders. "Unless you hate the world, you cannot be my followers" and all that. At least that's the interpretation I get out of it - that Christians will necessarily be hated and mocked by the world, and the minute people start accepting them, there's something wrong. Having said that, I want to stress that I am not a Christian!!!! I'm Agnostic, as far as I know. I sure as heck don't know what's true and what isn't!
Jesus(if he actually existed) was an outsider. I think you can glean more of his true philosophy from the Gnostic Nag Hammadi texts then you can from the New Testament. The Bible is a tool for controlling the masses. It was a millenial television set if you get my meaning. Christs real philosophy can be found elsewhere.
Maybe I'm just being negative, but I have always seen a hell of a lot more darkness in the world than brightness. A lot of it is hidden, but that makes it even darker. Between all the murders, kidnappings, rapes, child molestations, natural disasters, famine, poverty, corruption and all-around complete unhappiness that has plagued all of society since day one, I can't help but think that darkness has already had its day! I personally could use a little bright and light myself. And I don't mean Judeo-Christian bright and light -- I think history proves that they are responsible for more true darkness than anybody. Or if not complete light, then at least a better balance that doesn't result in so much pain and despair for so many people! Or am I misinterpreting what you mean by "time for darkness'? Do you mean something different? Again, I know something about some religions, but not so much Satanism -- it not being taught in my college courses ;7)
I think the Hell on earth that we see today comes from people not confronting the darkness. They reject in themselves what they see in others. If people could be more honest about their instincts and motives and allow others to feel more comfortable about them then things might not be so bad. That is about as idealistic as I allow myself to be. There are other things that I believe. For instance; I think all societies reach a peak at some point and then start to crumble. Rome? Rome is burning and I'm fiddling, basically. Islam? They're the Barbarians from the East helping to kick over that which is falling.
And isn't Gnosticism mainly about transcending the evil material world through Christian ascetism? And Jung, who I honestly don't know jackshit about -- I asked a friend of mine and he said he thought that even Jung's writing included the idea that the soul can conquer evil. Is this inaccurate? I just really like the idea of people getting the chance to be happy, so I'm trying to get a better sense of why you feel it's okay for Sotos to praise child molesters and whatnot. Does "darkness" mean pain to you? Or just freedom for all rather than just freedom for Christians?
About Gnosticism; you're right. There are groups that believed what you describe. The thing about Gnosticsim, though is that it relys on the individual to interpret things for himself. There are many different branches of Gnosticism. As many branches as there are Gnostics. Also, Jung does not promote conquering ! evil, he advises one to incorporate it into the psyche. You must embrace the Shadow. As for Peter Sotos; I can in no way pretend to speak for him. This I can say; Peter does not praise child molesters. He has very specific tastes and obssessions. He is the most honest person I have ever met. Would that more people could be that honest. As for darkness; darkness is just that which is un-acknowledged and hidden. It's everyones fears and secret obssessions. It feels good to acknowledge that.
I was reading an old interview with you on the web, and saw that you had met Peter Sotos and are friends with Boyd Rice. Now these names I AM familiar with because I read so damn many Feral House books (except for the LaVey ones -- but I AM going to buy "Satan Speaks" soon. Seriously!). And although I don't know much about them, the stuff I read by them REALLY troubled me. Which is likely where our philosophies don't match! I'm definitely ALL for people taking all the drugs they want, having as much sex as they want, doing as much stupid fun crap as they want -- but when you get into Sotos and his child porn thing, and Boyd Rice and his "dumb people should die off, Superman rejects emotions" social Darwinism stuff, that's a bit...ehh... well, it at least SEEMS at first glance to be a lot less humane than I personally would be. Where do you stand on THAT sort of thing? The whole "satisfying your individual needs" thing? Interestingly, the people who seem to do this the most are businessmen!!! Kenneth Lay, George Bush, all those fucks. They DEFINITELY have that philosophy down.
Boyd Rice and Peter Sotos are two individuals with their own, personnal vision. They are exemplary individualists that will not allow anybody to force them to stray from their paths. I respect that. Yes, they are challenging mainstream ideas of what is "right" and "wrong." That is what artists have been doing from day-one! It may seem disturbing and it may seem "sick" but this is the role of the true artist. As soon as concrete "truths" stiffen; that is when true iconoclasts emerge bearing a hammer-- in order to smash the hollow ideals that have grown old and tired.
What hollow ideals are you talking about here? The idea that people should be nice to each other because that is the only way that a social species can survive? Or do you just mean the ideals that we should all get married before we have sex, go to church, etc? Because there's a big difference there. I'm totally with you that a lot of really bad conservative ideas have got to go. But I also feel compassion and try not to hurt anybody -- I even try to help people when I can. I may think Sotos is a creep, but if I saw him about to get hit by a car, I would still push him out of the way. Boyd Rice would probably say this emotionalism makes me a weaker person, but I don't feel weak for trying to be nice. I feel like it's the "human" thing to do. Does this go against what you believe?
The hollow ideas are those that promote the belief that people are intrinsically good and that society makes them bad. People are intrinsically both "good" and "bad". If that were accepted maybe we could actually make some head-way in the whole "civilization" thing. I doubt it, though. Again, this is about as idealistic as I allow myself to be. Also; believe this: Peter Sotos is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He did pull me out of the way of a car once as I was drunk and crossing the street. He is honest with himself and he is honest with other people and because of that he can acknowledge all sides of his persona. If you try to be nice out of some guilty reflex 'cause the Bible or your parents told you to; that's bullshit. If you're nice and it comes from a true impulse; fine.
When you talk about dredging up dark images from inside you -- what kinds of things have you discovered about yourself?
I've discovered that there is an animal inside me that is a true source of strength. I've tapped into a part of my ancient DNA that reminds me of where I have come from. That is much more personnal then any gaseous "god" that may or may-not exist.
One of the main fears that Christians have about Satanists is that supposedly Satanists are into death, murder and mayhem. Is this the case? Or is that just the sociopaths who are into that? For example, what was the general response among this crowd to the World Trade Center getting destroyed? That happened in my hometown, of course, so I was dealing with a lot of weird emotions for a long time afterwards, seeing all the innocent people in pain and whatnot. What was your reaction to it?
Most of the Satanists I know were horrified by the 9/11 incident. It confirmed in them a patriotism that they only felt dimly. For me; I saw it as the continuing saga of a violent race of primates that follow their natural instincts toward competition and a territorial imperative. This is what humans have been doing for thousands of years. Nothing has changed. Bigger weapons, more complicated technology. That's it. No change. Expect more.
Intellectually, it's hard not to feel that way (more evidence for my belief that darkness has already had its day!). But did you have an emotional response? For example, did you think about how you would feel had your wife been in the building? That's what was upsetting me so much. Knowing exactly how these survivors must feel -- helpless, hopeless, suicidal.... To have their best friend in life taken away from them in the blink of an eye.
I had two reactions. One was emotional and one was intellectual. Emotionally I feared for my safety and the safety of my loved ones. Intellectually I saw it as a inevitable product of what happens when you have alot of primates on one, small ball of rock.
Is it possible to completely rebel against society? Everybody's favorite self- congratulator (ha!) Jello Biafra has said that the only person he can think of who managed was Ted Kaczyinski. Stuff like dealing with record labels and buying groceries in stuff kinda forces us to take part in society. What are the most feasible ways that people can rebel and let the world know that they're not buying the traditional birth-school-work-death routine (that I adhere to so strictly because otherwise I wouldn't have any money to buy albums!!!!). I'm honestly looking for suggestions here, for anybody reading who is interested in living a different lifestyle but isn't sure how to go about doing it.
It is not possible to completely rebel against society. The best you can do is remain as far apart from the herd as you can. If you are truly an individual, you are already doing this and will do it 'til the day you die. If you want to express yourself artistically then you need the things that society gives to you. If you wanna paint then you need the guy that makes the paint and the canvas and the brushes and you need the janitor that cleans up after those guy and...etc..etc...etc...get the point? Just do your best to follow your instincts. That is all that matters.
But how far apart from the herd can you be when so many Satanists purport to believe the same things? Knowing as little as I know about the philosophy, it's still true that every time I read something about it on the Net, the same names always pop up -- even the guys in Tool talk about their collection of Crowley books and so on. How do your beliefs differ from those of LaVey's, Nietzsche's, Crowley's, etc? Have you taken bits and pieces of their philosophies to mold together your own? Or did they just give you the idea that you can be who you want to be -- and you developed your own philosophy from there? I am not at all doubting that you are an individual - that is absolutely clear by the way you live your life! I'm just interested in understanding to what level that individuality is self-created. As for me, I kinda just go to work to earn money and then come home and listen to a lot of music. I'm told that my writing style and the songs I write have an "individual" quality to them, which makes me feel good, but I still, again, cherish the ideals of light -- the idea that people should be able to suck, fuck, smoke, drink and rock every bit as much as they want without having to worry about serial killers and self-centered powermad rapists coming around and invading their happiness. What are your thoughts on this whole thing? Am i a sheep for feeling this way?
I was drawn to those philosophies because that was how I already thought and felt about things. Those guys just repeated what I was already thinking, and lived like I wanted to live. My philosophy differs from them to the extent that I am a seperate person with my own experiences and reactions. I hav'nt drawn up a Manifesto or anything; I just am the way I am. I resonated to those people 'cause their ideas just seemed right for me. As to you being a sheep; I don't think so. You think and question too much. Sheep like to chew cud and mosy around the barn. You're far too intelligent for that.
Just as an aside: You wanted to live like Nietzsche?! Wasn't he kind of sickly all his life, and never had sex with anyone, and died in the insane asylum? That hardly befits a Dwarve! ;7)
I was actually referring to Crowley and LaVey. Crowley took copious amounts of drugs, screwed thousands of women(and men) and generally lived like a king. Later this libertine lifestyle caught up with him, but-hey! What a life he had led! It appears he never took a second of his life for granted. LaVey rejected the drugs but he lived extremely well, too. Both men were severely influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche. Nobody would desire to live like him; although, his sickly condition did help to spurr him on to formulate his philosophy.
Just one more - then I promise I'm done! Obviously, the Dark is firmly in control of the White House. What's so great about that? Being EVIL, they're against individuality, including yours and mine. Being selfish, they'll crush on anyone who interferes with them, you and me included. Yet you don't seem to be opposed to them in theory; in fact, they represent the logical conclusion of Nietzsche's philosophies. God's dead, so you can get away with murder. Life's a struggle for resources, so it's OK to kill anyone who threatens your quality of life. The masses are sheep, so they need to be controlled...by force, if necessary. Certain elite men are born to be rulers of these sheep...such as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger, Ashcroft. I'd just like to hear your thoughts on this.
Nietzsche was just describing a fact of Nature. One can no more get away from these truths then one can avoid gravity. The "darkness" I keep describing is that which most people refuse to accept as natural. That might make it all the more pervasive. Maybe the next "step" in evolution is an ability to accept these truths and alter them. I severely doubt it. This ain't no fucking Utopia and I don't think it can ever be so. Just because you don't like something doesnt mean you can change it. I don't like shopping malls or the people that frequent them. That doesnt mean I can get rid of the sheep that inhabit them. I might be able to take a few of 'em out with a grenade or an AK. I just follow my instincts and try to be hasslled as little as possible.
What's in the future for Mr. Vadge Moore?
More of the same. More records, more writings, more of the usual stuff. My entire life is dedicated to this shit. And it will be 'til the day I die.
Life is yours to live take your tools and build the best meme you can.
Dont wanna lay to much Gurdjief and chaos theory on ya here...but if reality is transient and subjective then you may as well do as you please, some find happiness via means that sicken many but who are we to judge what is good and what is evil (thanks N) there is only the known and the un-known (Thanks C) and the balance between.... you. Accept your reality like Vadge(??Who can ever understand the true individual in a subjective universe??)) and let go(Thanks F.C)..accept the flawed individual you are and realise the God/ubermensche(??) within,living in your black lodge with your white brotherhood if thats what floats your boat
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