Turn Off Your Mind and float deep into the occult sixties: an interview with writer Gary Lachman

by admin  23rd Mar 2021 Comments [0]

By David Holzer

LONG AVAILABLE ONLY in rare, overpriced second-hand copies, Gary Lachman’s essential Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius (2001) is in print again in the USA, with 100 extra pages of material, as Turn Off Your Mind: The Dedalus Book of the 1960s (2021), just in time for its twentieth anniversary.

From Jimmy Page and David Bowie to lesser-known figures like Graham Bond and American band Coven, to pick a couple at random, plenty of sixties and seventies rock &rollers were fascinated by the occult. But I can think of only one who has abandoned rock & roll for a career writing about the secret arts and major figures in its history.

Formerly known as Gary Valentine, Lachman became famous as Blondie’s bass player. He also co-wrote their debut single “X Offender” with Debbie Harry and, by himself, UK top 10 hit “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear.” The latter was inspired by “paranormal experiences” Lachman was having with his girlfriend.

Lachman first acted on his curiosity about the occult when, as a 19-year-old, he borrowed Alistair Crowley’s Moonchild and Colin Wilson’s The Occult from band co-founder Chris Stein.

By the time Blondie set off on a major tour in 1977, Lachman’s fascination had blossomed. In New York Rocker, his 2006 account of his rock and roll years, Lachman tells the story of a porter at JFK asking him if he’s got bricks in his tour bag. By then, Lachman writes, “My magic studies had become quite serious and my bag was filled with books on tarot, kabbalah, astral projecting and the Golden Dawn.”


Tina: New HBO documentary and a 1975 interview

by admin  17th Mar 2021 Comments [0]

By Harvey Kubernik


SINGER/PERFORMER and author Tina Turner will be the subject of an HBO documentary from the filmmakers who were behind the acclaimed Searching for Sugar Man and Whitney. It’s directed by TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay, and produced by Simon and Jonathan Chinn’s Lightbox. The feature-length film Tina debuts March 27, 2021. Turner’s documentary coincides with her nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021. Tina is already an inductee as part of Ike & Tina Turner.

Left: Tina Turner at the Whisky A Go Go. April 27, 1970. (Photo: Kurt Ingham)

According to the HBO press release, “This unvarnished, dynamic account features insightful interviews with Turner herself, conducted in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland, and with those closest to her. It also features a wealth of never-before-seen footage, audio tapes and personal photos, telling a deep and absorbing story about the queen of rock ‘n’ roll in all its complexity.

“In addition to archival footage spanning 60 years, the documentary includes interviews with Angela Bassett; Oprah Winfrey; journalist Kurt Loder who co-authored I, Tina, which inspired the feature film; playwright Katori Hall, who scribed Tina – The Tina Turner Musical; and husband and former record executive Erwin Bach, among many others. The documentary draws to an emotional conclusion with Tina Turner taking a bow at the opening night of the Broadway musical about her life.”

On her official website, Turner displayed a statement about Tina: “It’s really important to me to have the chance to share my full story. This musical is not about my stardom. It is about the journey I took to get there. Each night I want audiences to take away from the theatre that you can turn poison into medicine.”


Johnny Cash: Live at San Quentin returns and a 1975 interview

by admin  17th Feb 2021 Comments [0]

By Harvey Kubernik


Amazon Prime and the Coda Collection are launching a new company programming rare concerts and music documentaries, along with exclusive premieres for films and music documentaries. The Prime Video channel debuts February 18, 2021 and during 2021 Amazon Prime members will be able to access dozens of their library acquisitions exclusively streamed in the US. Some of their first titles announced for broadcast are the streaming premieres of The Rolling Stones On The Air, Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix in Maui, and Johnny Cash at San Quentin.

I thought it was appropriate to examine the Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin album that celebrates its 52nd retail anniversary on February 24. Johnny and I share a February 26 birthday.

In 1965 I saw a Cash Shindig! taping on Prospect Avenue in Los Angeles at ABC-TV studios, and in 1968 when he guested on The Summer Smothers Brothers Show at CBS Television City. I later caught Johnny and June Cash at The Anaheim Convention Center, The Troubadour and The House of Blues in Hollywood. I must have seen their act over a dozen times in 25 years.

“A Boy Named Sue,” written by humorist, poet, and singer/songwriter Shel Silverstein became a popular hit record during 1969 by Johnny Cash. On February 24, 1969, two days before he turned 37, Cash recorded the song live in concert at California’s San Quentin State Prison for his Johnny Cash At San Quentin album produced by Bob Johnston, issued on Columbia Records June 26, 1969.