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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 82
Sat. April 20, 2013

“Yin and Yang (The Flower Pot Man)”
Love & Rockets

1986

“♫ But
beauty in
the hurricane’s
eye/ beauty/
beauty/ beauty/
beautiful
♫”

Starting off like some twisted off acoustic Spaghetti Western like theme and morphing into a more cosmic rock song, “Ying and Yang” perfectly reflected the internal dynamics of Love & Rockets. After the disbanding of Bauhaus, it was on very trippy night that bassist David J, decided to christen dropping acid at Daniel Ash’s house, with forming of Love & Rockets. While David J shares his Ying psychedelic acoustic mantra of “No New Tale To Tell,” Ash is the Yang of this sonic operation, bringing his “So Real” carnal Goth intensity to Love & Rockets. Together Ash and David J created some of the lustiest/psyche anti-pop songs, check out “Haunted When The Minutes Drag,” of the 1980’s.

Daniel Ash actually admitted to Love & Rockets to the creative internal dynamics of the band when he told Spin Magazine, “We’re interested in the black and white, ying and yang, good and evil. We’re trying to cope and suss out the big “What’s it all about.” We’re continually questioning existence. Not trying to sound pretentious, but looking beyond party politics to see things. We are talking to individuals rather than masses. We’re all in this together, but we are talking to the individual in the privacy of their living room.”

In case you’re wondering, David J explained how he, Ash and drummer Kevin Haskins came up with their famous band name when he said, “We took the name Love & Rockets from the L.A. comic book. It’s real-life soap opera. It conjures up zeitgeist, spirit of the age. We liked the connotations—love existing in the nuclear age.”

One of the strangest yet most undeniable aspects of any classic Love & Rockets video are the appearance of the legendary mysterious alter-egos The Bubblemen. David J explained the mystery of these costumed insect interterrestrial beings when he said, “They’re close personal friends of ours that come from another dimension of parallel universe and they sometimes make spirited cameo appearances during Love and Rockets’ concerts and inevitably upstage the band. They are creatures of enigmatic whim. You never know when the Bubblemen will turn up. They’re recognizable by their distinct black and white banded attire and their large, bald, white bulbous heads with antennae growing out. You can’t really miss them.”

Not only the spokesman for The Bubblemen, did you know the resident musical psychedelic mantra expert of the Love & Rockets, David J was the one member of the band that actually met Timothy Leary? David talked to Damien Orion from Acceler8or on how met the “Father of LSD,” when he explained, “No. I met Timothy Leary a couple of times, though. I was introduced to Tim by his personal assistant, Howard Hallis, who also did Tim’s website, and Howard does my website now. I actually met Tim the first time at Cinematic, this S&M bar in Hollywood where Psychic TV was playing. He invited me to a party at his house, which was a great event. I remember going to the fridge to get a beer, and next to the beers was a cryonic suspension tank for his head! I got to talk to Tim at length. He was interested in Love and Rockets. He actually really liked the lyrics of “No New Tale to Tell.”

According to Orion’s magnificent article, “All Aboard The Express Kundalini: Trippin’ Balls with David J from Love & Rockets and Bauhaus,” J invited Leary to one of Love & Rockets shows, David explained what happened next, “But he said, “I’ll be there in spirit.” And he died a couple of days later. We were on tour at the time, and at the gig that happened the day after he died, I dedicated “Yin and Yang (The Flower Pot Man)” to Tim. That song starts with an acoustic guitar, like a Bo Diddley rhythm. Daniel struck the guitar in a funny way and it just made the strings feed back in a way I’d never heard before or since. And this vibration just picked up, and I thought, [excitedly] “Let that go, Daniel! Just let it go!” And he thought the same, ’cause he did. I remember him holding his hands up in the air, just lettin’ this thing ring out and build up and up and up.”

David J shared the amazing conclusion to this cosmic moment on stage with Love & Rockets, eloquently captured by Orion in his article “All Aboard The Express Kundalini,” when he said, “He started doing this undulating rhythm, and it was echoing ’round this big hall. Kevin [Haskins, the drummer] picked up on it and started doing a bass drum beat to this rhythm, and then the crowd picked up on that and started clapping. We all started clapping in the band, and this tribal sound just grew and grew. It was really something! And at the right moment, Daniel went back to the Bo Diddley rhythm, and we crashed back into the song. The chorus of that song goes, “Beauty, beauty, beauty, beautiful.” Then I saw Howard, who was with Tim when he died. I said, “What were his last words?” He said, “His last words were ‘Beautiful. Beautiful.’” And then the last thing he said to me came back: “I’ll be there in spirit.”

I would have loved to have been there, thank you Damien Orion for sharing David J’s amazing moment of improvisational magnificence. The Psychedelic mantras of David J and Gothic carnal rhythms of Daniel Ash created this tripped out Pièce de résistance. In memory of Timothy Leary, I urge you to immediately spin “Ying and Yang (The Flower Pot Man). Experience the musical transcendence by finding some peace within this Love & Rockets timeless classic.

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