” What makes a man but tiny little spirals/ Read my palm, read my blood/ Torn apart and slowly reassembled/ Flip my switch start me up.’”
Dodging ghostly fingers along winter heavy forest trails, The Old Ceremony dances with the mysteries that hold us together. So instantly winning are their songs that careless ears may miss all the subterranean activity going on below. That’s often the best way for truth and wisdom to seep into our pores; the direct assault too easily dismissed and deflected.
This Durham, NC group’s list of “likes” in their Facebook profile – Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, The Beatles, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan – show the creative company they’d like to keep, and an honest reading of their catalog since 2004 shows their melodically charged, instrumentally lush, cerebrally stimulating work deserves a seat at this table more often than not. Nestle inside their warrens and hills and one finds music with long, strong tendrils thrown into folklore, pop culture, and bedrock psychology, yet all handled so gracefully one might never know they’ve stumbled into a most pleasant kind of enlightenment – a sensation felt most acutely on their current long-player Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide (one of DI’s Favorite Albums of 2012).
Chief songwriter-lead singer-guitarist Django Haskins agreed to entertain DI’s lighthearted philosophical roundtable. Haskins once sent the Impound a short note that simply read, “Thanks for giving a shit.” We absolutely do, and if you’ve got a heart able to be broken and an ear for sophisticated pop-rock then you should give a shit about The Old Ceremony too.
What’s the first thing that springs to mind when you see the word “God”?
Plastic Ono Band. That song used to really kill me, especially when he sings, “I was the walrus/ but now I’m John.” That must have been a cold splash in the face for Beatles fans when it first came out.
Which has the better cosmology, Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?
I’m not that familiar with Star Trek’s cosmology, but I did grow up on Star Wars, so I’d go with that. I appreciate the whole Joseph Campbell mythology stuff that plays into those movies, and I appreciate how it’s based on a spiritual struggle rather than scientific advancement. Also, I always loved Boba Fett. I don’t recall him having any actual lines, but he was the baddest.
Name one album that has spiritual resonance for you.
Whenever I put on Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left, the room fills with an ethereal, spiritual fog. It’s not exactly a gospel album, but it contains so much ancient-sounding mystery that it seems to be speaking from a deeply spiritual realm.
Woody Allen once said, “I don’t know the question but sex is definitely the answer.” So, what’s the question?
If I knew the question, I could stop wasting so much time bathing to keep myself presentable to the opposite sex (specifically, my wife).
You can have a dinner party with any three people throughout human history. Who do you invite, what’s on the menu and what intoxicant do you share for dessert?
Initially, I thought of Teddy Roosevelt who is a dynamo, but he’d probably bluster his way through the whole thing and keep everyone else from talking, so that’s no good. I’d invite Leonard Cohen for the quiet, wise commentary, Benjamin Franklin to keep things lively, and Julia Child to instruct us on cooking the meal and to be her charming, goofy self. We would drink very old scotch.