This Week’s Terence McKenna Archival Haul (6/25/17)

It’s been another slow week of intake at the Terence McKenna Archives. Only one item came through this week. Check out our crowdfund if you’d like to see more weekly acquisitions coming in.

  1. Jim de Rogatis’ book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock contains a quote by and a paragraph mentioning Terence Mckenna.

    “The power of sound is almost an archetypal conceit of all theories of magic anywhere in the world. For us, magic means stagecraft and illusion, but for many people, it simply means another way of doing business with reality. Rave culture, to some degree, can be seen as a nostalgia for archaic and so-called primitive lifestyles….Music has to be percussive to address human physiology. I mean, you wouldn’t want to listen to too much Schoenberg on acid.” -Terence McKenna

    “Another hugely influential English act was the Shamen, who shifted gears in 1989 from post-punk psychedelic rock to more dance-oriented sounds while breaching the mainstream with the acid house hit, “Move Any Mountain.” In 1993, the group started a trend by recording Boss Drum with Terence McKenna, the American ethnobotanist who no less an authority than Timothy Leary called “the Timothy Leary of the ’90s.” The author of poetic pro-psychedelic tracts such as True Hallucinations, The Archaic Revival, and Food of the Gods, McKenna was the closest thing rave culture had to a guru. Although ravers failed to adopt all of his theories, he showed a keen understanding of the rock ‘n’ roll mindset with his central tenet that going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience is long going to the grave without ever having sex. Samples of such pronouncements delivered in McKenna’s lovably nasal voice would soon show up on tracks by Psychic TV, Coil, Youth, and the Orb, among other techno artists. One of the most lucid and enlightened authorities on the subject of drugs in the ’90s, he sadly died from brain cancer in April 2000.” -Jim de Rogatis

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Terence McKenna Archives – Random Item #13 – Terence McKenna’s Rave New World (Alternative Press, March 1994)

Ok, the random item of the day is back after a busy period. Today’s random item eluded me for quite a while. Terence McKenna was featured in the music magazine Alternative Press in 1994 for an article/interview by Eric Gladstone focusing on rave culture and Terence’s influence on the philosophical outlooks of many in that scene. Gladstone praises Terence’s Alien Dreamtime collaboration with visual artists Rose X (aka Ken Adams & Britt Welin), electronic musician Spacetime Continuum (aka Jonah Sharp), and didgeridooist extraordinaire Stephen Kent as “one of the most meaningful projects to come out of the culture so far.” For me, it’s always great to hear Terence explain things in words I’ve never heard from him before, even if it’s a familiar concept he has explained elsewhere time and time again. To my way of interacting with T’s output, it is precisely these alternate tellings of the same or similar concepts which really allow one to unpack his ideas. This is one of the reasons that I have focused the archives on print material as it is a whole (prolific) realm of Terence’s output and wordplay that doesn’t exist in the ubiquitous and readily-available online audio/video corpus. It is the print material that is most in danger of becoming lost and forgotten. I’ll continue to search and share for these things, and we value any support that you might be able to offer.

Gladstone interviewed Terence at his home in Occidental. One of my favorite bits comes in the concluding paragraph:

Sounding alternately pessimist and optimist, lighthearted and passionately serious, McKenna’s arguments, both in interview and in performance, show a rare level of contemplation. But not, he insists, much planning. “No, no, none of these things are rehearsed. It’s all ad-lib. We’ve been doing it right here. We can send this to the Shamen and release it! No, it’s called ‘not being stupid!’ Amazing! Miraculous! Line up at the door, folks, a liberal college education displayed for your astonishment! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

And, here’s Terence’s advice on appropriate drug use in the rave scene:

“Raves are a good place to do pot and take smart drugs, and dance, but I think a psychedelic dose that is effective is too high a dose to be 1) out in public, and 2) trying to negotiate transportation.”

Terence also describes, in this interview, how he ended up collaborating with The Shamen on ‘Re-Evolution’:

“They came to one of my old-style, pitcher-of-water-and-chair onstage lectures in London and said they wanted to sample me. And, we got together in the studio the next day and basically just talked for a couple of hours.” Straight to DAT, the result appeared on the album Boss Drum and single “Re-Evolution,” hits which brought McKenna to the attention of Spacetime Continuum. Collaborations with Zuvuya (a.k.a Jason Grey, a.k.a. Juju Midget) on the U.K. Flow Sound label and another with Coil are due soon.

The only version I’ve been able to locate is the super low-res digital scan that appears below, but I also just (after years of searching) found a copy that was finally posted on ebay and have ordered it. So, I should be able to add a physical copy of the magazine into the archives very soon.

 

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