Monday, December 08, 2008

S. Clay Wilson Update!

I just got off the phone with S. Clay Wilson's longtime ol' lady Lorraine Chamberlain and she graciously gave me the latest update on his recovery. The good news is that Wilson was transferred from San Francisco General Hospital to a rehabilitation center last week and at this point he's feeding himself and chatting periodically. The bad news is that he has significant brain injury and can't recall what year it is or where he is or even his own name. He suffers from aphasia, which is an inability to comprehend language or recall correct vocabulary. The frustrating part is that he knows what he's trying to say and understands that he's saying the wrong words. Lorraine said it's like talking to someone on LSD because he speaks in random stream-of-consciousness babble. I like to think the old beatnik in Wilson will appreciate his new "poetic" abilities someday. The most amazing news is that Lorraine brought a sketch pad to his bedside and after refusing to draw in it all week he finally opened it and signed his old signature exactly like he has signed his drawings for more than 40 years! Remember, last week he couldn't even pronounce his own name so this is a huge improvement! He also walked past an easel today and drew a crude face of a woman. This is the first post-coma doodle that he's produced! Just a few weeks ago it was uncertain if he would live, much less ever hold a pencil again. At this point Lorraine is bracing for life after the hospital and they are facing rapidly mounting medical bills. Wilson has medicaid, which covers about 80% of his bills, but Lorraine estimates that their debt is quickly approaching a quarter of a million dollars! She's set up a PO BOX in case people feel inclined to send donations. Checks and money orders can be made out to Lorraine Chamberlain or S. Clay Wilson. Send 'em to the address below:

S. Clay Wilson
po box 14854
San Francisco, CA

S. Clay Wilson circa 1969

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman (R.I.P.)

Every time I log onto the computer these days it seems like I'm burying some childhood icon. This week it is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the founder of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, Forrest J Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman, or "Forry" as he liked to be called, died of heart failure on December 4th at the ripe old age of 92. Forrest Ackerman was the quintessential fanboy collector and patron of the arts; obsessive, thoughtful, supportive, & financially endowed. He loved horror and science fiction with unrivaled passion and devoted his life to championing and archiving these maligned genres. In fact he is credited with coining the term "sci-fi" and for discovering a young teen writer named Ray Bradbury. He also founded Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1958, which quickly garnered a cult following for its stunning Basil Gogos covers and cornball horror-humor that has influenced bands from the Misfits and the Cramps to Electric Frankenstein and Ghoul. I remember stumbling on my brother's tattered copies of Famous Monsters when I was a kid and I spent hours drawing crayon portraits of the monsters on those yellowing pulp pages. Years later I met him briefly at a horror con when I was a teen and he seemed like some eccentric old grandpa that knew how to have a good time. Nearly every Saturday morning for most of his life Ackerman opened up his Los Angeles home to any pilgrim who traveled to view his legendary personal museum of monster & sci-fi memorabilia. He remarked to the Associated Press on his 85th birthday, "My wife used to say, 'How can you let strangers into our home?' But what's the point of having a collection like this if you can't let people enjoy it?" Ackerman embodied a spirit of generous enthusiasm and sheer joy that sometimes seems lacking in these days of instant gratification and high-turnover pursuits. Where are the great patron saints of horror? Where are all the guffawing stewards of sublime stupidity? To paraphrase the great Canadian speed metal band Razor, who have absolutely nothing to do with any of this, I sure hope some rabid fan steps up to the plate and takes ol' Forry's torch! He's gone but his bad puns are not forgotten.

Monday, November 24, 2008


"There's no presents, not this Christmas!"
~King Diamond

Just in time for the holidays...MY LAST CONTEST OF 2008! Black Christmas (1974) is coming to Portland's Bagdad Theater this Saturday on glorious 35mm! Bob "A Christmas Story" Clark directed this seminal holiday horror flick and laid down the blueprint for the entire slasher genre. Archetypes such as the deranged maniac calling from inside the house, predator's point-of-view camera angles, psycho-sexual undertones, and subverted holiday themes were all popularized by Bob Clark's Black Christmas. This movie is genuinely creepy and holds up surprisingly well considering it is more than 30 years old. Fun fact? Distributors were afraid it would be confused for a blaxploitation flick so it was retitled Silent Night, Evil Night for dumb American audiences. It was a box office flop until they re-marketed it with its original title. It also features John Saxon so wear your denim and leather! The contest? Just post your name as a comment here and I will leave a pass for you at the theater. That's it. Santa is coming early this year. Happy Holidays, Gorehounds!

Black Christmas
Bagdad Theater
November 29

"If this picture doesn't make your skin crawl... It's on too tight!"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

S. Clay Wilson Update

Here is Last Gasp founder Ron Turner's account of his recent visit to S. Clay Wilson in the hospital. As Turner suggests, S. Clay is slightly improved but still not out of the woods. Keep him in your thoughts...

Sun and warm air dropped over everyone's roof and head on Sunday. I kept the window rolled down as the full Alemany Flea Market appeared on my port side. No shopping for treasures today, I was going to say good bye to a friend of 36 years. S Clay Wilson's ventilator had been removed and it was expected that he would soon pass. Visiting ICU's is always a grim adventure. The ward is full of hope and folks hanging by one fingernail to our world. Wilson was napping and his hospital bed was inflating and deflating in a slow silent wave under him, keeping bed sores at bay. He had been cleaned up and was breathing quite well on his own. A brace on his ankle was switched daily to make sure his tendon did not deteriorate from lack of use and give him a drop-foot condition. He seemed peaceful napping. Lorraine and I began to say hello to him and he woke slowly, and batted open his eyes. The tube was now out of his head and the head had returned to almost normal size. A few scabs on his head and a two week beard growth were all that seemed different about Steve. We started giving him news and greetings from his friends. He turned his head to where Lorraine was standing and then back to me when I talked. I told him a bad joke and he responded not unlike most people I tell bad jokes to. He didn't change expression. He was able to cough a bit, and moved his legs several times. The oxygen absorption was at 100%. This was remarkable I thought. I touched his arm and told him that when he got better we would get him out of there. He responded with a facial expression that seemed to say: "what's stopping you". Paul Mavrides saw him today and confirmed that his attentiveness was much greater and that he was improved from last week. Wilson is not out of the woods by a long shot. Recovery will be a long time, but breathing on his own is a big step. He is able to hear people and some response is clear. They will have to move him soon and perhaps he can get into a facility like Laguna Honda which took care of Gary Arlington for a year and a half. Gary is now living by himself down by the ball park. I came to say goodbye to Wilson, but said see you later instead.
~Ron Turner/Last gasp

Friday, November 21, 2008

...And He Makes House Calls!

There were some good guesses but we now have our winners for the Dr. Butcher contest! And the answers? Snuff Maximus is the name on the tombstone during the opening credits. Salvador Dali is the famous artist whose likeness was swiped for the poster art. Check it out below. There will be one more contest in November so keep your eyes peeled for another chance to tickle your gray matter. See you Sunday night for DR. BUTCHER M.D. on 35mm at Portland, Goregon's Mission Theater! Show starts at 11pm. Get there early!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Welcome To The Jungle!

"Do you know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby!
And you're gonna die!"
~Guns N Roses

Round Two, Gorehounds! I admit, the last contest was too easy so let's see if this one stumps any of you. Speaking of stumps, it is my profound pleasure to welcome one of the most maligned, misunderstood, and mutilated gore epics of all time to Portland's Mission Theater next Sunday November 23: Dr. Butcher M.D. (Medical Deviate, naturally)! Originally released in Europe as Zombie Holocaust and utilizing the sets, locations, co-producer, and cast of Lucio Fulci's Zombie, this glorious mindfuck of a film features cannibals, zombies, tits, maggots, eye gougings, disembowelments, Alexandra Delli Colli, tits, brain transplants, and of course, mad doctors. The film was distributed in America as Dr. Butcher M.D. and featured a hilarious publicity campaign that included vomit bags and real-life "doctors" displaying "victims" of Dr. Butcher's insane experiments! The American version of the film was itself butchered by Aquarius Releasing, presumably to appeal to yankee tastes, and included an opening sequence taken from Roy "Street Trash" Frumkes' unfinished 70's horror anthology Tales That'll Tear Your Heart Out that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film but features classic EC Comics imagery and enough fog machines to suffocate a cave full of SUNNO))) fans. So what exactly is the contest? There is a tombstone during this opening sequence that the camera lingers on for a moment. What is the name on that tombstone? Be the first to post your answer here as a comment and win 5 passes to Dr. Butcher M.D. at the Mission Theater on Sunday November 23! Extra question for the diehards: what famous artist's likeness was swiped for the American poster art? Answer correctly and I'll throw in a huge signed print of my 'Dark Crusades' drawing! Locals only, I ain't shipping the print. Good luck, Gorehounds!

Dr. Butcher M.D.
Mission Theater
November 23

"We must have a psychopathic deviate in the hospital!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Party With God!

The invocation of Azmeroth is complete and November Fire can now announce the official re-issue of Sacrilege B.C.'s debut LP Party With God! Normally I would use expressions like "highly anticipated" to herald a killer release like this, but I don't think many people anticipated it. In fact I don't think many people have ever heard it. Which is a damn shame. And here's why:

Sacrilege B.C. descended upon the 1980's Bay Area thrash scene like a napalm death strike...and disappeared in a cloud of booze, dope, and brimstone just as their name was finally drawing international attention. Perhaps they were just too unbridled for the headbangers and too shredding for the punks (both guitarists were trained by Joe Satriani and they were known to encore with 'Love Gun' by Kiss). During the industry feeding-frenzy to sign the "next big thrash band" it was inevitable that this quintet of teen hellraisers out to have a good time would fly under the radar and, unlike many of their East Bay peers, Sacrilege B.C. was clearly unhindered by lofty musical career goals. They thank beer on the credits of their debut LP. Twice. Oddly enough, the raw energy and D.I.Y. approach that probably resulted in Sacrilege B.C.'s premature burial is exactly what has aged these songs so well and this reissue slides nicely into the annals of speed somewhere between Possessed and Cryptic Slaughter. Sacrilege B.C. initially emerged in 1983 with the hulking Strephon Taylor providing his unique rapid-fire rasp and Tim Howell swinging the 6-string axe (incidentally Strephon & Tim continue to jam together after all these years in their new band Slob). By 1984 they had recruited Matt Filmore on drums, Gary Wendt on guitar, and Musashi 'Moose' Lethridge on bass and this line-up recorded two demos before 'Moose' was replaced by Sean Smithson for the 1986 Party With God recording for Alchemy Records. They would soon be cursed to replace bass players in Spinal Tap fashion for the rest of their short-lived career. As if to further confuse their own legacy, they also unknowingly shared monikers with a certain band of English crust-thrashers who were rapidly gaining underground popularity. In an effort to assert their own identity they added 'B.C.' to their name- for 'Berkeley, California', among other inside jokes- but would ultimately be overshadowed and scarcely referenced as the other Sacrilege. With this re-issue Party With God finally emerges from obscurity as an overlooked mid-80's classic and a raging thrashterpiece that delivers in spades on the promise of TRUE metal/punk crossover! From the opening drum-roll belch of 'Azmeroth'’ this fucker grabs you by the flannel and doesn't let up until you're ‘Victimized' and dead on the floor! If you're not stagediving off the kitchen table by the second verse of 'Fun With Napalm' you should check your pulse and start listening to disco again. 'Skinned Alive' condemns cruel seal hunters to hell, an unusual stance for a bunch of beer-drooling delinquents, AND kicks speed metal ass with dueling squeal-like-a-pig solos. 'Judge Death' is a blitzkrieg rant that barely comes up for air during the skank breakdown before launching into a tongue-tying finale- and it's about Judge Death! And then there's the scream-along gang chorus of 'Death Toll' and moshpit-pleaser 'Crucified'. Party With God rips and it's about time these forgotten grenades of adolescent aggression were dusted off, re-mastered, and reintroduced to a new generation. No one is safe from the shrapnel spray that is Sacrilege B.C.! Let’s hear it for the other Sacrilege…
~Dennis Dread (2008)

Friday, November 14, 2008


"You may bury my body down by the highway side,
so my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus and ride..."
~Robert Johnson

S. Clay Wilson remains unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit nearly 2 weeks after being discovered face down in the pouring rain between two parked cars near San Francisco's Delores Heights. It is still unclear exactly what transpired in the hour or so between storming out of a friend's house that night and being found by two pedestrians who immediately called 911, but he was definitely very drunk and it looks as though he was severely beaten but not robbed. Regardless of the events, his brain is badly damaged and I'm just hoping he'll pull through somehow. It's a fucking tragedy to think he may never draw again. For more info keep your eyes on Steve Duin's latest reports for the Oregonian which feature rare images provided by underground art historian Patrick Rosenkranz.

Monday, November 10, 2008

S. Clay Wilson

S. Clay Wilson is unconscious and in intensive care at San Francisco General Hospital this week after suffering a severe brain injury last weekend. S. Clay's girlfriend Lorraine confirmed rumors that were circulating at Wordstock this weekend after fellow underground artist Spain Rodriguez announced that his long-time pal was not doing well. For any sad saps that don't already know, S. Clay Wilson is the undisputed Godfather of underground comix and the guy who single-handedly "liberated" Robert Crumb from the fetters of etiquette and lame self-censorship. Many of you will recognize his art from the cover of The Accused LP More Fun Than An Open Casket Funeral. S. Clay Wilson is also a tough bastard so we're all hoping he's just too stubborn to die. Any artist who has ever drawn a zombie, a demon, a pirate, or a perverse sexual act (and that's pretty much every slob reading this) owes a staggering debt to the subversive genius of S. Clay Wilson. Send your thoughts to the man this week. We're in your corner, S. Clay! Get well soon...

S. Clay Wilson at the APE Expo in San Francisco last weekend just hours before he was hospitalized. Photo courtesy Jim Blanchard.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Contest on Elm Street!

I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't want Halloween to pass. And why should it? Why not celebrate the horrific all-year-round? In this macabre spirit I am launching THREE more spine-chilling CONTESTS this month! The first contest announces the arrival of A Nightmare On Elm Street to Portland's Bagdad Theater on glorious 35mm! This is arguably the most terrifying mainstream film of the 1980's and if you're under 30 you probably missed the opportunity to experience Freddy Krueger on the big screen before he degenerated into a lame franchise. Chas Balun hailed A Nightmare On Elm Street as a "violent, gory surreal thriller...a compelling treat for the conscientious horror afficianado." So here's the contest: what movie does Nancy watch on TV to try to stay awake? The first person to correctly answer this question wins 2 PASSES to A Nightmare On Elm Street on Saturday November 15th. Just post your answer here as a comment. Extra points for true horror nerds: why did Wes Craven reference this particular film in his movie? If you answer this extra question correctly I will personally buy your first beer. Good luck. And whatever you do...don't fall asleep!

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Today is Bobby BeauSoleil's 61st birthday and I wish him all the best from outside the cold "Hallways of Always". Bobby has been in prison for murder since 1969 but there is much more to his legacy than mayhem and Manson. The definitive 4 LP boxed-set of Bobby's complete Lucifer Rising soundtrack is nearing completion. This has been an epic labor of love spanning many years and I am thrilled to herald this project's impending arrival. Expect updates soon from The Ajna Offensive. Happy Birthday, Bobby!

Monday, November 03, 2008


Hope everyone had a fun HallowThe outstanding underground writer Todd DePalma just posted a sprawling new interview with me at Left Hand Path webzine. We spent some time on this and I really like the way it turned out. Read it for yourself at Left Hand Path.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Just in time for Halloween...100 FEET is premiering in Portland on OCTOBER 30th! 100 FEET is written & directed by Eric Red who also wrote the screenplays for two of my favorite 80's flicks: THE HITCHER & NEAR DARK (the latter co-written with Kathryn Bigelow)! His new film is a ghost story described as "a crisp, rocky chiller with moments of wracked emotion". Will it suck? I don't know. But THE HITCHER & NEAR DARK rule! So here's the contest: what is the Cramps song that is playing on the jukebox in NEAR DARK during the bar scene in which the vampire outlaws decimate the local rednecks? The first person to correctly identify the song title wins 2 PASSES to the Portland premiere of 100 FEET. Just post your answer here as a comment with your name & address. Good luck!


35mm print

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Eugene-based artist Sean "Goblin" Aaberg just published his interview with me on the collective art blog Eaten By Ducks. Read the interview here!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Welcome back, pilgrims! For this fifth installment of Gross Anatomy we're heading to the infernal fields of Necrohell, Norway for a glimpse at my new cover art for the mighty Darkthrone! It was nothing less than a total honor to work with Nocturno Culto & Fenriz once again and I'm stoked on how this turned out! I hope you'll agree. Ok, without further ado let's set out on the endless seas of gray...

I start with a pencil sketch that contains everything I need to keep me focused on the big picture. This drawing is 15" X 15".

In the shadow of the flies! Now I've dropped in with the ink and started the meticulous process of laying on the details...

Here's the final image! This is a raw scan of the drawing, cropped into a square and desaturated. Fenriz specifically requested the Nocturnal patch on the jacket but I also added a patch above the pocket. You can barely see it but the initiated should recognize that specialized pentagram. The first person to identify the patch above the pocket wins a double-sided Destroying Angels shirt! Just post your answer here as a comment and include your address and shirt size. Good luck! And be sure to order 'Dark Thrones and Black Flags' now from Peaceville Records!

Until next time...BANG YOUR HEAD & BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Deathlike Silence

I regret to announce the passing of original SODOM drummer Chris Dudek (a.k.a. Witchhunter) this week. No further information is available but I'm guessing from recent interviews that he probably died as a result of alcohol related complications. Witchhunter had been out of the music scene for many years until recently but his barbaric drumming on Obsessed By Cruelty and Persecution Mania inspired generations of kids to bash on things with sticks. After all these years that devastating sound is still hard to capture. Thanks for the bleeding ears, Withchunter! Bombenhagel!

Witchhunter (R.I.P.)

Monday, September 01, 2008


My credo for the coming year is "hipsters out of metal"! Ironic impostors and smug pretenders to the throne...throw 'em all to the fucking lions. This sentiment is really just an extension of my previous credo, "suffer no fools" (which I borrowed from Ryan who probably borrowed it from Green Goblin). That said, forgive me as I endorse one event this week which will undoubtedly feature hipsters galore. The show is this Wednesday (9/3) at the East End in Portland, Oregon and the band is Vermont's mighty WITCH (not to be confused with Witchcraft from Sweden). Below is a review of their debut LP that I wrote a few years ago for a local zine. I've spent months playing air-guitar and air-drums to this unlikely gem and I still feel as strongly as I did when I first penned the following words in 2006. After this indulgence the hipsters can get the fuck out for good!

(self-titled LP)

I hate to bum anyone’s trip, but I’ve never cared for Neil Young and his whiny coke-nosed guitar noodling and I never got the appeal of his proto-grunge disciples like J. Mascis and Dinosaur Jr. They had one pretty cool drugged out ballad called ‘Bulbs of Passion’ a long time ago but as far as I’m concerned they also helped ruin flannel. So I wasn’t too excited about the prospects of a “heavy rock” band featuring J. Mascis, now older and more burned-out looking than ever, on drums. But the album cover art caught my eye and they’re called WITCH! I have a total fucking weakness for witches and album cover art that looks like it was drawn with crayons by a 6th grader on acid. Look closer at the cover and you’ll see a motorcycle riding through a kaleidoscopic dragonfly’s eye of sound waves and angels. You can almost smell the incense. They’ve already got me under their black magic spell. So I drop the needle down and out slithers the majestic sounds of my new favorite rock band! Witch is the real deal, brothers and sisters. They didn’t invent anything new here, but they’ve gone and harnessed the fuzzed-out heaviness of St. Vitus and Led Zeppelin to the ethereal flights of fancy made popular by prog and space-rock bands like Rush and Hawkwind (actually they sound like Mistreater from Cleveland, Ohio but who remembers them?). They even wrote a song about Rip Van Winkle that will knock you on your ass! Rip Van Winkle! The guy that fell asleep and…oh, never mind. Guitarist Asa Irons gets my vote for shredder of the year (note to Asa Irons: if I ever meet you, please don’t turn out to be a pretentious “guitar god” *). Asa and fellow Witch guitarist/vocalist Kyle Thomas also jam with an entirely different, though equally enchanting, project called Feathers which conjures earthy psych-folk not entirely unlike Steel Eye Span or In Gowan Ring. But I digress. This LP rips! If I smoked weed I would totally roll a Hells Angels joint, throw a mama on the back of my iron horse, and get lost in some desert with Witch blasting in the background. Hail Witch!

Dennis Dread

* See you Wednesday, Asa!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

DEUTSCHLAND 2008 (part 4): Full Metal Jacket!

The heavy metal "patch-jacket" seems to be a distinctly Teutonic phenomenon. Sure, other nationalities indulge in the patch-jacket tradition but not with the fanatical enthusiasm and obsessive stitchery of the Germans. These are just a few humble examples of the patch-jacket when I was sober enough to remember my camera.

Patch-jacket with first-aid fanny pack.

The patch-jacket is largely a thrash metal institution but this fan proves that it can also celebrate other genres. Behold the Black Metal Patch-Jacket!

A slight variation on the patch-jacket is the Heavy Metal Club. At first glance they resemble traditional biker gang colors but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that these brothers are not bonded by iron horses and the open road but by their unwavering devotion to TRUE METAL! These guys will kick your ass.

Bow before the crowned and conquering Patch-Jacket Champion! I wouldn't want to hang out with this guy but he clearly wins. Sorry guys, better luck next time...

Friday, August 15, 2008

DEUTSCHLAND 2008 (part 3): W.O.A.

Jeff Walker of CARCASS!




...Black Metal Magic!






DEUTSCHLAND 2008 (part 2): Iron Maiden!

The Trooper invades the beer garden!

Storming the stage!

Front row for Iron Maiden at Wacken! I had to kill women and children to get this close and, miraculously, I found this photo on some German festival site. I'm the guy at the bottom right wondering how I'll get a beer...

"Torches blazed and sacred chants were phrased666...THE ONE FOR YOU & ME!"