CD Talk Tommie Interview satori pics Books video



What are your musical influences towards producing your album focussing on The Club Kids?

Quite simply the satori group looked at when Michael Alig was ruling the New York Club scene - 1990 - 1996, we listened to the music of the time, used that as a departure point. We didn't want to reproduce anything that was actually happening back then (it did happen in another century…) simply get the groove…

Tommie looked towards Roni Size and the whole drum n bass scene; Optical was another.

David (Lambert) was listening to big beats stuff, film soundtracks, Gomez and even Unkle; whilst Dave (King) was revisiting Leftfield and, as always his guitar hero, Joe Satriani! We know it sounds kinda bizarre, but that's why the album works; it's the eclecticism of it all!

David, when interviewing MA was there any point in which you felt intimidated facing a killer described as a 'twisted monster'?

I'd been working on the project for two years, writing the words, hooking up with Tommie and Dave, loosing weeks of my life in recording studios, talking, breathing Michael Alig and the Club Kids and then in January 2000 I received this letter from him at Clinton Correctional Facility! Well, I thought the guy's pissed off, heard about the project and is going to tell me to keep well clear. Infact, the letter went on about how he had heard about the project from a friend in Los Angeles and was basically offering his services in any way I thought best!

For the next six months we wrote weekly and got to know each other; Blueprint Productions began the monumental task of getting the US Correctional System to agree for me to interview Michael Alig! Which they finally did. So On 28 June 2000 I flew to Montreal, picked up a car and drove across the US border into upstate New York to meet Michael Alig. I can say I felt very weird driving through that wondrous countryside. Going to see, as some see it a 'twisted monster', although his letters didn't portray such a person, but he had not become the toast of New York without being manipulative….So I got to Dannemora and saw this massive prison, I'm telling you , it took twenty minutes to walk one side of it, and I asked myself what the hell was I doing here!

The actual interview was great. It took a while to get going, and the ever present guard was off-putting. But I set up two video cameras and a small recording studio right there in the middle of that prison and hung out with Michael Alig for five hours. Four thousand miles for five hours!

Your album is due out in March, but have you considered playing the set live?

It was never the intention to play live as the concept was dance focused, but just as Prodigy and Moby produced stuff out of their bedrooms with no intention to do it on stage, so as the album progressed the tunes took on a more live feel, if that makes sense? Things evolved and we now feel that if we found the right musicians it could be an option.

Lambert's about to embark on a lecture tour where he shows Party Monster, a 55 minute video all about Michael Alig and talks about the whole process of making the album. There's that amazing video footage he's captured at the prison, plus one or two freaky things he's not letting on to!

How does your previous music compare with the most recent album?

Well, Tommie's into drum n bass, although he'll point out that although the styles are different, the production used is much the same approach. He also goes under the moniker of Weaver. Check out his stuff on Wide Open Music.

Dave King is a rocker, always has been, always will be, and there's no one on the live circuit that can play a guitar like that man! Sorry to embarrass you Dave, but a fact is a fact.

Lambert's stuff is all about getting words juxtaposed with music. He's had a limited edition EP produced of a book he had published in 1991 (los angeles, you ain't that far from hell…); the EP had Ry Cooder guitar, with big beats, live bass and David's poetry and prose. The EP nodded to Kerouac and Bukowski, and even Jim Morrison. As we said ECLECTIC IS OUR GAME!

Do you have any plans for promoting the album? Where will it be available to purchase?

Actually, we don't want to promote the album at all, we wanted to spend three and a half years of our lives in a recording studio and then , in a stance to post-modernism burn every copy of the CD, but we were talked around to actually trying to sell a few copies if we didn't want Blueprint to sue our asses!

Blueprint are doing something we're really into; they've devised a totally on-line marketing campaign. The only way you can get the CD is to go to the website and give over you credit card details or send a cheque. It's the 21st century and we like the idea of not having to leave the comfort of your room to get 'a terrible beauty…'.

Where do you want to go from here? Are you planning a follow up album or are you moving onto a different project?

When you buy the CD you'll see that the blurb goes on about a trilogy, and that's the plan. Lambert has hours of amazing footage of the now bespectacled Alig and the stuff he's got on mini disc, stuff about the murder and all that, will blow you away, so to speak!

There's a track on the album The Epoch Of Belief, which has to be heard to be believed, as it has Michael Alig reading the first paragraph to Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities to a pumping trance track! You know the words…It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….' There's loads more of that stuff to come, and we've learned so much along the way.

How did you go about starting 'a terrible beauty….' And how long has it taken to produce?

Lambert read an article in the Guardian on 17 April 1997 entitled DEATH BY DECADENCE about Michael Alig and the Club Kids and began writing poems and prose pieces. Six months later he hooked up with Tommie and Dave King and from then until late 2000 the satori group have been researching, making the contacts, hitting the internet (put Michael Alig into a search engine and see what comes up), helping with the video and book (maybe we can come back some time and talk about that), and liaising with Blueprint on the production of the CD.

What the craziest thing that happened to you in the making of the CD?

Lambert opened up his email in the Summer of 2000 to find that someone had sent him the hand-written confession of Freez, the guy who was sentenced to 20 years alongside Michael Alig for the murder of Angel Melendez! There it was, five whole pages of it, straight from the 64th Street Police Precinct, New York! the satori group used it as the lyric for My Miranda Rights, the trip hop track of the album. (The confession can be found on the enhanced CD).

It's amazing how many sites and pages are out there talking about Michael Alig! the satori group are getting literally thousands of emails from people who want to know more about 'a terrible beauty…'. We go on line, we find a site that's going on about Alig, we post a few words and then it just goes wild!

We were finishing off what we call our 'country and western meets two step' track OLD SKOOL and were looking for a live feel; Blueprint were so pleased with what we had done so far that they gave us tickets to Morocco! Told us to take some gear over there and find a bar and record the vocals and get some atmosphere. So we flew to Tangiers, hung out in the Medina, pretending to be Burroughs and Ginsberg and Brion Gysin and found this fantastic café explained we were British troubadours and asked if we could play. And play we did right there in the middle of the Medina in Tangier, with all these old guys sipping mint tea and puffing on their pipes looking vaguely amused!

What do you say to those that accuse you of cashing in on the killing of Angel Melendez?

the satori group are not exactly doing anything new or revolutionary here. Artists have be inspired by life from the beginning. We don't want to sound pretentious about such matters, but our art is our art and we have been motivated by a terrible mess, an American Beauty, a terrible beauty.