I don’t vote. Never have, and probably never will. I don’t do politics, and yet I consider myself a very political person. I don’t buy food from large supermarkets. I don’t eat at chain restaurants. I buy bicycles from independent companies and buy record albums from small record labels. These are my politics. My money is my vote. We all work too hard in life to just piss away our money to companies that don’t care about our well-being. Trust me, Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse don’t care if you live or die (in fact, I could make an argument that they’re trying to kill you). It’s important to me that farmers can stay in business and that small record labels can release my music. Independent businesses are the heart and soul of our world. These businesses foster vibrancy and creativity in an otherwise robotic world of Wal-Mart soccer moms. Homogenization is the enemy.
And then there are guitar amplifiers… From the wild, wet, and scary land of the Pacific Northwest comes Verellen Amplifiers. The land of big bears, big timber and big beards. A land where rivers flow thick with fallen lumber and those fish that dare come to the surface of the water are often met with quick deaths at the claws of the Olympic Black Bear. A land where guitar amplifiers are being made by real men with very large forearms.
Ben Verellen makes amplifiers and he is proud enough to bestow upon them his surname. So proud, in fact, he has literally burned said surname into the grainy fibers of their wooden enclosures. He does not use circuit boards. He does not use plastics or tolex. He does not use mass-production to maximize his profits. But these details are less important than what Ben Verellen DOES do: Small-batch amplifier production that is informed by his vast knowledge of electronics and his love of loudness. Amplifiers producing sounds and tones that don’t “move” air, but rather amplifiers that face-rape the air with a hug on the back-side. Amplifiers that are hand-built to maximize overall awesomeness with high face-melting capabilities. Amplifiers that combine tried and true technology with a lumberjack’s sensibility.
Making amplifiers that are sturdy, loud, unique, and hand-built is not a smart or cheap endeavor. In fact, beside starting a search engine to compete with Google, starting an amplifier company might be the second most risky business ventures a man can embark upon. Ben is not a rich man, but he is a passionate, talented and intelligent one. He is educated about nerdy electronics and he has a long history of making and playing music that destroys humans. We live in a world flooded with Guitar Center’s mass-produced, generic amplifiers. This is also a world where vintage amplifiers are readily available to any doom/sludge hipster fanboy with access to mommy’s Paypal account and her Ebay password. Somehow, some way, Verellen Amplifiers is emerging as one of the newest and more-successful boutique amplifier companies in America. And I mean “boutique” in a good way.
One year ago, I sold all my guitar amplifiers and purchased a Verellen Loucks amp. It has changed and simplified my philosophies on guitar amplification. I spent my money with someone who is a musical peer and a talented (and handsome) gentleman. I feel good about that decision. I sleep well at night. Please support small American companies. The United States might suck at the money, car and war businesses but at least we can build some quality goddamn amplifiers.
Ladies and gentlemen: Benjamin Verellen speaks with the Indie Spiritualist.
The Ben Verellen Interview (more…)
If you’ve ever been to a show at Cherry St Station, or any of the other Wallingford, CT area venues (and I use that term loosely), chances are you’ve found your way over to Redscroll Records. If you were trying to find an album from Bloodlet, The Jazz June or Rorschach, and didn’t feel like waiting for it in the mail, chances are you’ve been to Redscroll Records. Or if you live in CT and give a shit about independent music, then you’ve been to Redscroll Records.Josh Carlson has been dedicated to providing hard to find releases to the residents of CT since he was 15 years old, running a distro out of his SUV. He personifies the word dedication, as he now owns and successfully runs Redscroll Records, CT’s definitive independent record store.
An Interview With Josh Carlson Of Redscroll Records (more…)
In the few short years CT Indie has been around, it has established itself as the “go-to” site for all things independent related in CT. Jason Devin, creator of CT Indie, was kind enough to take some time to share a bit of his story, and vision of CT’s independent music scene.
The Church Of Satan Is looking For A Few Outstanding Individuals: An Interview with Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest
Satan. One of the most feared names in the world. The word conjures up thoughts of Slayer, devil horns, and an array of various other imagery for me. For others, it may be thoughts of evil, sacrifice or horror. I can now say, after taking the time to research The Church of Satan, that I find both thought systems equally as ignorant as the other.
Throughout the years, there have been many atrocities carried out by individuals in the “name of Satan”. At the same time there have also been many atrocities carried out by individuals in the “name of God”. I’m not here to say whether Satanism is right or wrong, just as I’m not here to say whether Christianity or other religions are right or wrong. I am here however to discuss the many misperceptions of The Church of Satan.
The Church of Satan was forged from a group of individuals known as the “Order of the Trapezoid” and established on April 30, 1966 by Anton LaVey. The church was created in opposition to what LaVey called “the stagnation of Christianity”. According to Blanche Barton’s “The Church of Satan- A Brief History”, “LaVey saw there must be a new representative of justice, someone who understood the torments of being human, who shared our passions and foibles yet was somehow wiser and stronger”. Blanche goes on to say of LaVey “He began to realize that most of our progress in science and philosophy had been achieved by those who rebelled against “God” and the Church, or the dictates of conventional society. We needed a representative for that revolutionary, creative, irrepressible spirit within us. The single figure who fit the bill was clear to LaVey from an early point in his life; a deity whose rebellious, passionate nature had been described, either in awe or fear or both, from the dark beginnings of time”.
The Church of Satan has received much press throughout the years for things such as public Satanic Baptisms (which was first performed in 1967 on LaVey’s daughter Zeena), Satanic Funerals & nude female alters. Even the film “Rosemary’s Baby” (which was a loose depiction of The Church of Satan) received much public backlash and had churchgoers passing out small buttons which read “Pray for Anton LaVey” in response to the films promotional buttons which read “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby”.
Anton LaVey died on Oct 29th, 1997 leaving the church to be run by High Priestess Blanche Barton, LaVey’s biographer, lover & mother of his only son Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey. In 2001 Magistra Barton appointed long-time administrator & LaVey associate Peter H. Gilmore as High Priest and in 2002 appointed Peggy Nadramia, wife to Gilmore, to succeed her as High Priestess. Magistra Barton remains chair of the Council of Nine, editor of The Cloven Hoof, and mother of LaVey’s son.
The following is an interview conducted with the head of The Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, via email. The church does very limited interviews, so I’m grateful to Peter that he took the time for mine. I urge the reader to keep an open mind while reading the following. As I told Peter in our email correspondence, I may not see eye to eye with him on all of their views, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep the lines of communication open in a forum such as this.