Monday March 13, 2023
Taking Signs of Apocalypse in Stride, Mephiskapheles Prepares for Busy Spring
NEW YORK -- It's been an interesting year, so far. For the first time ever, Los Angeles had more winter snowfall than New York City. Additionally, the Sun recently entered a new, 11-year cycle of electromagnetic activity
Down here on Earth, the geomagnetic poles have once again decided it's time to migrate and switch places. According to scientists, the process might take a little while, but they aren't too sure; the last time it happened was 780,000 years ago.
Along with theories of a mysterious, dark-matter planet alleged to be encroaching on our solar system, and a needle-shaped asteroid that flew by Earth in 2021, UFO sightings have been sharply on the rise -- and that was before the government started shooting down high-altitude balloons.
And, as if all that isn't enough, there's the near-constant threat of nuclear war, and the mayhem of commuter traffic and the subway. And, last but not least, there's that really worrisome, rapidly melting shelf of Antarctic sea ice.
Mephiskapheles' April Tour: The Dark Lord expects to see you there. (Art by A. Worrell)
With all that universal entropy going on, clearly the conditions are becoming just right for the mighty Mephiskapheles to launch its latest US tour. As part of the tour, the band has planned a three-day studio recording session for what is projected to be the band's most significant release of new music (as yet untitled) in more than two decades, since Might-Ay White-Ay. That album, from 1999, which due to extenuating circumstances was pulled from stores within months of its release, finally saw reissue in 2020 in a Satan-approved, remastered version.
With plans for an ambitious, new full-length already underway, Mephiskapheles hopes to avoid so much intrigue and skullduggery, this time. Much as it did in the post-God Bless Satan era, the band is making it a priority to reach beyond the ska scene to the larger music industry, hoping to stimulate wider interest in the band. There is growing sentiment among longtime fans and band members alike that Mephiskapheles and its music shouldn't be kept a secret. After all, there are billions of people in the world who still haven't heard of Meph nor skanked to Satan Stole My Weed, let alone The Bumble Bee Tuna Song.
Mephiskapheles will be hitting the road with this lineup in April, 2023.
L-R: Greg Robinson, Andre A. Worrell, Wayne Dunton, Adam X, Mike Bitz, Greg LaPine, Eric Molina
THE DARK LORD COMMANDETH IT!
Mephiskapheles Masterclass Videos Make a Return to The Seance!
NEW YORK -- One popular feature of the video webcast version of The Seance, that ran on Zoom from October 2020 through December 2022 (before it was succeeded by the newsletter you are reading right now) was the inclusion of instrumental masterclasses from the band members. Particularly popular was the "Rudiments with Wayne" live segment, in which Meph's master drummer, Wayne Dunton, would break down rhythmic techniques, from the super basic to the super advanced -- usually all in the same five-minute lesson. All the other band members, seen in the old webcast waving sticks around, vainly trying to copy the rudiments being taught (why they aren't drummers), requested that this feature continue to be included in The Seance. Of course, fans agreed.
If the new album ultimately can serve as a bridge for people who previously weren't aware of the band to become Meph converts, then it will have served its purpose far beyond being a vehicle for the band's creative songwriting. To that end, the band is currently seeking new connections with agents, producers, label owners and other typical music industry types. Partnerships are sought that could help to advance Mephiskapheles' music globally.
And so Mephiskapheles will hit the road, then go in the studio, in late April. Building on the foundation of thirty-two years of dedication to the highly original style that has brought the band worldwide fame, Mephiskapheles has intentions of making a masterpiece. More in next month's Seance!
This is actually a double scoop of masterclasses. This month, we proudly feature tutorial videos from both of our resident rhythm maestros, Wayne Dunton and Mike Bitz. Great each on their own, of course, but when these two get together, it's the sound of satanic wedding bells. The simple reason for that is that neither of these guys is a dabbler. No dabbling allowed. That, and possibly the fact they're both from New Jersey, where they first played together as kids.
Book Review: When Is It Okay To Be An A******?
The Asshole's Guide to Everyday Living by James Pravasilis. Manhattan Book Group, 2022. $12.99
With the arrival of James Pravasilis’s first book, The Asshole’s Guide to Everyday Living, New Yorkers have their very own Voltaire of the Van Wyck and Kierkegaard of the Cross-Bronx. Finally! Someone has published a manual, free of therapist-speak and yet full of philosophical suggestions on how to deal with all the raging narcissists, compulsive virtue signalers, victim cosplayers and other assorted strivers and connivers who keep things interesting in the real world, not to mention under the social media dome.
One thing we can all agree on, one of the biggest asshole moves one can make nowadays is to gratuitously waste someone’s time. Providing the world with thoughtfully provocative reading material, as Pravasilis has done with The Asshole’s Guide…, is the opposite of that. This book is laugh-out-loud funny as well as providing a much-needed alternative perspective that keeps the philosophical arguments human-, street- and life-centered and avoids entirely the political swamp gas that has a fatal effect on common sense.
With a satirical flair worthy of Gulliver’s Travels or 1980s Mad, Pravasilis chronicles and criticizes the ever more-pixelated tapestry of contemporary America, hauling in for questioning the odd tribes of characters whom he finds guilty of upholding the nonsensical status quo. They range from bosses and functionaries of the corporate world to politicians lacking in courage or willpower, to the scads of scammers, self-appointed experts and assorted Karens, who seem to derive a special thrill from expressing their sociopathy online.
Pravasilis’s observations and classifications ring true, such as when he funnily introduces the concept of the “ass soul” and breaks down the assholes of the world into two main categories, those who may seem like jerks but are actually acting in service to the common good, versus the other type who are, well, just assholes, usually out for personal gain, if they're putting any thought into it at all.
Pravasilis’s advanced amateur anthropological research, which included growing up in New York, attending various schools and jobs, being a musician and music teacher, racing motorcycles, driving on US roads, and taking the subway, has uncovered numerous subspecies of asshole. All of these, as he emphatically explains, are important to know and keep straight, in order to be able to avoid them in daily life. Encountering some asshole types throughout the day is inevitable, but Pravasilis has the prescription.
Snaps of Mephiskapheles from our fans across the Web. If you see your pic here let us know and we'll credit you in a later issue.
We are happy to be able to bring you, our Patreon supporters, exclusive streaming media every month via The Seance. Streaming links are valid for at least 30 days. This month we bring you a super rare, unreleased instrumental track from the Might-Ay White-Ay sessions, entitled "McCookbook," composed by Greg Robinson. The solos are by Dave Hahn (guitar), Ian Hendrickson-Smith (alto sax), Greg Robinson (trombone), Dan Jeselsohn (bass) and Wayne Dunton (drums). Band personnel also includes Nathan Breedlove (trumpet), Bill McKinney (guitar), and Brian Martin (keyboards). Enjoy! <LINK>
Thanks, as always, for supporting our music. See you Apr.13th !