Sunday, May 6, 2018
A Ripple Conversation With Gideon Smith Of Cosmic-Rock.com
Let's start with your name and your site. Let's have it.
Hail and how’re you? Gideon here and my online magazine is Cosmic-Rock.com. As you were hippie.
Start at the beginning, how did you get started with this crazy idea of spreading the music?
I started the website to support all kinds of cool and interesting artists, musicians, authors, photographers and more. It’s fun and it’s a gift to help out with the good fight and also to know you’re helping people get some recognition. It’s fun and we try to keep it interesting.
We're all the product of our musical past. What's your musical history? First album you ever bought? First musical epiphany moment? First album that terrified the hell out of you?
The first records I ever bought were a Jethro Tull 45” and later the David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust” album. So magical. First musical epiphany, maybe hearing my family members playing the records they loved before I ever bought any. Carole King, Allman Brothers, Bowie, Doors, 60s and 70s music. My brother liked KISS, Queen, BOC. He had 8 tracks in his car of cool 70s rock. My sister liked 80s music turned me into a fan of 70s and 80s stuff. First concert was KISS and Nantucket. I didn’t go to shows for years and finally I went again and saw Cult/Billy Idol on the Electric Tour and they were both totally awesome. First epiphany I guess was hearing the musical power crack off the turntable from those greats. People like Bowie and the greats from those eras were just supernatural. First album that was creepy was the day I walked into a very small record store and it was the chance day in 1983 “Shout At The Devil” was released by Motley Crue. There were records and promo posters all over the store and I wondered what the hell was all this crazy? Look at me now. Help me Nikki Sixx you’re my only hope! Later my friend from Honduras, who was my best pal bought the Cult album “Love” upon release and he was like “this is the best”. We were quietly listening to it in his room in this old house and it was totally this secret we uncovered, this mysterious thing, laying on the floor listening to that album it was pure magic swirling around the house in 1985. The first time I saw the Cult and they played ‘Phoenix’ I heard Billy Duffy playing those riffs and Ian was holding his hands up in the air and it was the epiphany. Me and my friends Mike and Beese went to see Motorhead/Alice Cooper a few years later and oddly by chance we met Wurzel in a guitar store called Reliable Music. He had dropped his guitar at soundcheck and cracked the neck, so he came to the store looking for a new one. Wurzel asked us if we were going to see the show and we said we didn’t have any tickets and he put us all on the guest list. So awesome of him. I remember he was so dirty, like Pigpen wrapped in leather jacket and leather pants and wearing red sunglasses. His accent was so thick it was difficult to understand and I am no stranger to having a weird accent. That was so gracious and kind of him, the total way to treat your fans. Weird poor metal fans in a guitar store who run into Motorhead’s guitar player. So we busted down to the show at the old Coliseum in Charlotte and it was 80s metal super power, Alice and Motorhead. Lemmy was a metal pirate king with Wurzel his right hand man, it was awesome.
What's the last album to grab you by the throat and insist you listen?
In recent days I have been really into old jazz. I chill and listen to Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” album from 1959. It’s a complete masterpiece. John Coltrane, Chic Corea, stuff like that. Baby Huey’s album is a true classic, 1971. War “Why Can’t We Be Friends” from 1975. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh classic reggae. I really enjoy these styles and find them relaxing. It’s amazing how music will open up to you as a musician playing or as a listener at different times in your journey. I really encourage anybody to not limit what music you can enjoy. Keep it wide open with no apologies. Here we have already talked about Miles Davis, Motley Crue, Motorhead and Chic Corea, so there ya go.
What do you see happening in the music scene today, good and bad?
I think the business can be a very arduous and treacherous undertaking in a million ways people do not see from the outside unless they choose to jump into the river. The business was always a potentially dark and rough way of life but I think since the internet has so greatly changed the music business I would say now it’s way harder for artists of all types. Because it’s so much harder, artists and some of the people entailed are desperate and frustrated during the process from the smallest things to the big stuff. The frustration, desperation, eager desire, egos, all cause a stain on the music community because very few are able to have a carefree journey which is the way music should be: magical, healthy and awesome. The times and the environment make it harder for the artist and the people who strive to support and help the artists. Fans need to respect the bands and the bands need to hold the fans high and respect them at the same time. Social media stirs up so much tension, misunderstanding and drama in our lives between people, let alone the lives of creative people which are crazy anyway. People are so wired to lash out at things which don’t need to hold any meaning but they fixate on nonsense. They’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dog to react and say something bad on a computer, for a fleeting reward emotionally and sense of odd affirmation. It’s unhealthy for the world at large for it to be trendy to spout weak hate like that. News pieces on anything, people’s personal lives and really anything out there. But yeah what I mean is artists are creating and then gibbering goblins savagely attack people online 24/7. They don’t have any power but it’s still a shameful cacophony of lowly behavior. Thank the Gods for the good people who stand above it all who use it in a positive manner. It’s a great tool but as far as influencing the times, the net and social media constantly shake up the climate and can create an urgency about the lack of stability, security and loving support network for any kind of artist can make them anxiety ridden and angry. New bands struggle to get people out to see them, support their records or get any recognition in the sea of it all. The key is to do it because you love music and have the right heart about it. Be determined and bad ass, make people recognize it. As far as good there are great people like yourself and the guys at your label and website, genuine fans of music, who showcase great talented artists all over demonstrating what it should all be about. But yeah above it all is the real like the ones we mentioned, Miles Davis, old artists who are revered, their work is timeless. Cool musicians, there are always new ones coming out of the gates so for the music as a living entity it is vast, exciting and welcome friend that’s always there.
What's the hardest thing you encounter in spreading the music?
For me the journey has had some uphill difficulties, unhappy events and bizarre foolery at times but it’s dissipated since I learned so much about doing it and why I love it and want to continue over the years. I’m able to smooth out the hard times and proceed with not much upheaval. It’s also how you define them. The hard times are just temporary distractions that only have the power you give them from you own energy supply. The great people with awesome attitudes and love for music, what I do, bands we all love, overshadow the negative aspects with their love for it all which is rewarding back to you for giving so much. Music is about everything awesome, so the weakness and trappings of the flaws of mortals don’t hold sway on the power of rock.
Give us three bands that we need to keep our eyes out for.
I think the new JIRM album is great. I dig Green Desert Water, Freedom Hawk. A few more are Sonic Wolves, Red Beard Wall and Disenchanter.
Tell us about your personal music collection. Vinyl? CD? What's your prized possession?
Cds, vinyl and cassettes. Hard to pick most prized but I would say a vinyl copy of the Cult “Dreamtime” album signed by the Holy rock union of Duffy and Astbury, a gift from my good friend Robert years ago hangs on my wall.
What makes it all worthwhile for you?
Many things. Hearing from people that all of it somehow makes a difference and enriches their life. I am really fortunate and thankful to receive so much love and respect my way for my music, my efforts and daily life as a person. I feel truly wealthy and I’m thankful. Many of the examples like hearing people love your music and feeling great, hearing from fans that care about you as a person, playing shows, meeting people who know you and want to meet you and hearing from artists that they appreciate what you do or them. I see people sometimes cover my songs, or have tattoos from my music, or etc. I’m really honored. Knowing that I mean something like that to people is such a gift to my life. I hope I never let them down.
How would your life be different if you weren't spreading the word about music?
I think about this often in the last year or so. I believe I would have focused more heavily on other parts of my life that are important because I definitely put years of time, heart, effort and blood sweat and tears into my music at the expense perhaps of other things that are really important to me. But we make choices and do the best we can with the knowledge and abilities we have at the time, you have to apply it somewhere whatever you do. I would have spent more time and energy on so many things but I would still have played music, but with more wisdom about it all that took time and experience to develop. But yeah perhaps I would have followed other dreams more and yeah it would shape eras of my life in ways but I know I give people music, which as a life element is sacred. I’m honored that my music means anything to anybody. If I hadn’t played music my life would have been mad different in all kinds of places. Like that butterfly effect theory of small moves on one side affecting others in great ways. I wouldn’t have met key individuals who mean the world to me, had the sacred priceless experiences. At times I have had some dark haunting regrets and you wonder if the bad outweighs the good. But the magic of the good is so powerful in the big picture the difficult parts are fading shadows when you stare at the bigger light. Decades ago I wanted to start a psychedelic, bluesy, biker rock band and I did. I’m psyched the music lives and echoes across the years. I have a lot more to give. Like the Allmans said ‘The Road goes on forever..’ and JRR Tolkien ‘The Road goes ever on and on, Down from the door where it began, how far ahead the road must go?’. Once you put your foot on the path and follow with the next one the only thing you can do for the rest of the journey is keep walking ahead. Rock and roll is such a mighty pagan tribal thing, like those people who were down on the Beatles were right after all. We all got swayed by those ancient Druid drum beats. Ringo Starr herded the world like a jolly pied piper to Page and Plant’s hippie fields of flowers with Plant urging people to remember laughter. Come find me cause I’m there brother.
Ever been threatened by a band or a ravenous fan?
Haha no threats. Have had the occasional ravenous stalker but nobody troubles me really. I’m the lone wolf walking a path around the music scene in the middle, so everybody focused on the yapping crowd in the middle area pretty much leaves me alone. People that come to me tend to be authentic and genuine cause they know what time it is.
In the end, what would you like to have accomplished, or be remembered for?
I think about this sometimes lately too. Don’t all men carry this question inside their heart? Like that quote that is attributed to Odysseus before the Trojan War “Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?” That kind of sums up the soul of all true men who struggle ever onward and carry fire in their blood. They realize the world is made through struggle but blessed by beauty. What people may say about me when I leave this world is up to them. For haters to re-write and cater to their agenda of how they wish to attempt to paint me as a man or musician? Or for people who see and know the real with their own eyes? For those who ‘get’ you, know what you’re all about to lay down the hammer of truth? But yeah I ask myself: what is my life about but beauty and music, the thrill of the battle and the power of the sacred Goddess’ love? To the strongest, let the stones fall where they may, what is carved in time is not easily washed away. If people remember me at all use what I tried to be an example of, apply it to your own journey and walk like a tiger.
What's next? Any new projects?
I have a doom metal side band called Cemetery Crows which had a four-song ep called “Wolves of Desire” a few years ago. The C.Crows stuff is doom metal with ambient death metal vocals, kind of like early death metal vocals over traditional doom sludge metal. The vocals are buried in the mix and effects heavy for atmosphere. I started a second ep but it faltered with the lineup and remains unfinished probably for good. It was sounding excellent but it was not meant to be at the time. I made the mistake of waiting around and trying to involve too many people even if all had good intentions you could never wrangle them from their conflicting schedules to even get in the same room at the same time for a solid year. Every time anything was set up at all, at least one person or more could not make the same day. It just wasn’t the time to record it. I have a few pals I will call again to recruit when I start it back up. I have other side bands, a few recorded already and more to come down the line. I look at it like the more music the better, side projects are fun. People ask for the follow up to ‘3o Weight’ or new music and for sure I will get back to my music as well in time. These days I have been digging helping other artists by running my website. Its rewarding to encourage other people’s creativity, give them props they may not often get and put them out there for people to recognize. With the Cosmic-Rock.com, it’s a determined statement to lift people up and shine a light on them.
Finally, other than the music, what's your other burning passion?
I’m definitely an eccentric individual and I’m all into all kinds of things outside of music scenes so really these days it’s a less busy part of my social life. I love world religions, anthropology, archaeology, parapsychology, stuff like that. I spend a lot of time dedicated to my spirituality. I love archery, martial arts, yoga, cooking. I’m a big reader always surrounded by books. I dig spending time with animals and going to the ocean and forest. I focus my time on people who enrich my life and enjoy my family and friends. Music is a method to the magic and a beautiful element to the universe so like all forms of passion it is pure and righteous. Thank you Ripple for the interview, much love and respect to you guys.