Archive for April, 2010

Caterpillar by Koji Wakamatsu

Posted in Japan with tags , , on April 21, 2010 by Jagged Visions

For my next zine I was writing a piece about the movie United Red Army by Koji Wakamatsu (who is still banned from US) and noticed he just released a new movie “Caterpillar” which seems to be quite interesting. Check the trailer:

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

In war human beings are violated, chopped up and burnt by other human beings.
Humans violating other humans.
Humans chopping up other humans.
Humans burning other humans.

Is there such a thing as a just war? Before the arrival of billowing mushroom clouds, falling incendiary shells or large-scale massacres, there were brightly lit houses filled with men, women, the aged and children— human beings. It was there that they ate and slept, ate and slept; living their routine lives.

What is the meaning of war? What is the meaning of people killing people for the sake of their country? Where in the world can we find a just war?

Don’t forget the stench of blood that covered the earth!
Don’t forget the smell of burnt flesh!
We must not forget… for this is what war is.

Over 140,000 people died in the Hiroshima Atomic bomb attack.
Over 70,000 people died in the Nagasaki Atomic bomb attack.
984 class B and C war criminals were sentenced to death.
Over 100,000 died in the Bombing of Tokyo.
Over 20 million died in the Asian continent.
Over 60 million died in World War II.

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Rob Fish interview (Part 2)

Posted in Interviews with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by Jagged Visions

So then you are sixteen years old or eighteen years old and you decided to live in a temple?

Sixteen, yeah…

It never really worked out for me the way most Krishna’s do it. Most people get in to all of it for some time. I was always kind of half out, half in type of thing, because certain things never set well with me.

Was that because there was still some kind of authority to follow?

Absolutely. I’m not a really religious person by nature. I’m not. So my faith was always like… I even don’t know if it is right to call it faith for me. It was much more like an inspiration.

I’ve really thought a lot about that over the last few years. Is it religious? Is it spiritual? Is it faith? Or is it inspiration? And I think it is probably inspiration more than anything else, because if it religious that means you should follow it by the letter of the law. If it faith, then it means that you really believe in it. Do I have faith that reincarnation and karma are absolutely positively true? I don’t really think about it and I don’t know that I can logically convince myself of that, but from an inspirational standpoint, I think it’s a deep meaningful thing. I guess the point I am trying to make is I have never been one to be interested in the truth, in some universal sense. I think truth is relative. I’m the kind of person who wants to feel happy and feel inspired. Whatever that is for me is whatever it is for me, and whatever it is for you, then that’s it for you.

How do you include Hare Krishna practices in your daily life?

I was involved in the social, religious context of Hare Krishna for some years but I just never really fitted in. Probably like, ten years ago I said: “You know what? I don’t want to do this anymore.” So I stopped chanting, I stopped meditating and I just didn’t care about it. Then after about six months I started chanting again but it was on my own terms. I was like O.K., I have got to do it because I feel like doing it and for no other reason. So, if I want to chant, I’m going to chant. Fuck it, I don’t care. This time I was doing it my own way. You know, and I went to India, spent time there and my appreciation for that part of my life really grew. So when I’m not on tour, then I live a pretty disciplined life. I get up early every morning and meditate for a few hours and I have a deity that I take care of.

What is a deity?

A deity is like a form of Krishna that was given to me by a guru. I worship him and take care of him. It is like you do this whole ritual, like bathing and taking care of him and I chant songs. Then I go to have my normal bath.

Do you do yoga as well?

No, not really. It is more like meditation, not like physical yoga. On tour it is all different. I try to chant a lot, but it is hard. At home it is more like a routine.

A couple of years ago in the Hare Krishna world there was a huge scandal. Children were molested and sexually abused by some so-called gurus and devotees on ISKCON schools in America. Did that hit you in the face?

You know. No. I don’t know. Again, I mean, people are fucked up and I wasn’t like the typical Hare Krishna who goes in thinking, he is a devotee so he must be pure. I never had that type of mindset. The fact that I was sexually abused as a kid, I never think I grew up thinking that bad people had horns on their head. I knew this person had probably been abused too and probably was pretty fucked up too. So, I don’t know. I never walked around the Hare Krishna world thinking they are all pure, they are all amazing, they don’t have any issues. It didn’t surprise me at all and actually one of my introductions to ISKCON was a book called “Monkeys on a Stick”, which kind of chronicles all that crazy shit. So it was never like a big shock to me.

You said that you were sexually abused as a kid. How did that affect your own sexuality?

Well, it made it more difficult to find comfort in sexuality and feel good about it. People have a hard enough time with it without being abused, so it certainly was difficult in some respects to understand it as a kid. To realize that sexual abuse and sex are two very very different things.

I reread Vic’s story “I was a teenage Hare Krishna” of some years ago again lately. He is really critical about the Hare Krishna movement. He also speaks about the role of Ray Cappo and the swami, seeing 108 as a tool to convert punk kids to the Hare Krishna religion. So, for a lot of kids the continuation of 108 years later was pretty unexpected. What is your thought on that and to what extent do you guys still carry out the Krishna consciousness?

How other people viewed 108 really has nothing to do with what 108 means or meant to me. I never did it to convert anyone because I wasn’t even converted myself. I did it because we had common spiritual interests and inspirations. It’s as simple as that.

You were in the hardcore scene way back and now you are coming back into it after ten years. Has anything changed?

Actually, I did music between that. I did a band called The Judas Factor. We did some records on Revelation Records. I don’t go to shows that often. If there are a band I quite like or a friend of mine’s band is playing that I want to see,I go to a show. It wasn’t like after 108 I just stopped being involved in music and I just came back.

I always stayed pretty much involved most of my time, not actively touring, but always writing and putting out records. I did some recording and touring, but it was more in the background of my life, just because I was focusing on some other things.

In terms of hardcore music changing, it’s more popular. It’s more like the heavy sound or look is more popular, a more impeditive popular culture. In terms of whether the kids or more or less sincere or whatever you want to call it, I don’t think there is any difference. I’m not one of this people who think the past was so fucking great. I was there, but it wasn’t all that impressive.

What things were young focusing on in the meantime? Do you have a family or do you have a job besides 108?

I have two sons, Ras and Chaitan and also a career which is important, so I can take care of them and give them the things I never had.

Is there any song, a hardcore song which you think of as your song or which is a kind of mantra for you?

One song?

It also can be a 108 song, of course.

Well I did quite few, but in terms what was a turning point for me with 108, a song that is really important to me is “Curse of Instinct” which we recorded right before we broke up the first time. That was the first song I ever wrote for 108 and I think it summarizes everything I was going through emotionally at the time. Obviously, I’m still going through it.

Today, even though it’s a song we never play, a song that I really feel is important to me is “The Sad Truth”. It’s on our new record but it wasn’t really written as a song. I just woke up one morning and kind of wrote up this long, really long ramble and we put it to music. So it is kind of a spoken word track over music. And I think it kind of encapsulates a lot of what I am inspired by.

In terms of general punk rock songs, it changes every day. A couple of days ago, when we where driving from Brighton to Manchester for a show and I really wasn’t feeling very well, I just had my Ipod on shuffle and it put on the song called “Antique” by Texas is the Reason. There was one lyric that said “I want you to smile, because that is what I like best. I need to be this far away from you to know that I can do this”…I just

started crying. I freaked out and there is different song like that every day. It not like “a song”, but I can hear something that all of sudden, fuck!

The last question: What are the future plans for 108?

Playing a lot more shows, writing new music, release a new record, and kind of taking it as it goes, but I’m really interested in the artistic side of it. I think I’m really happy with the record we just wrote. Especially considering that we did it in such a short time period. We all live in different parts of the country. We basically got together three different times and wrote the entire record. I think what we put together for this record is really, really good, but it is still like the tip of the iceberg of what we can do artistically. So I’m really excited about that.

Rob Fish quit 108 and is in a new band Eshas with some dude named Aaron Edge (ex-Himsa) and there is of course still the new 108 coming out end of April.  Just noted Doublecross also posted an interview Rob, so if you still want to read more. Check.

Rob Fish interview Part 1

Posted in Interviews with tags , on April 1, 2010 by Jagged Visions

A few ago Rob Fish announced that he left 108. This came as a surprise to me, because their new album “18.61” was about to be released at Deathwish records. The main reason for his departure was that 108 is always linked with Hare Krishna and he was always confronted by that.  I was one one of the people who questioned him about his life with Hare Krishna in  Jagged Visions zine #1.  So I thought it was a good time to put this  interview on my blog.

Vic Dicara’s time in Inside Out, Shelter and 108 has been well documented in his autobiographic story “I was a teenage Hare Krishna” . Rob’s version is a little less known, so how did Rob turn into Rasaraja the Hare Krishna punk kid? I had a chat with him in an alley way in the red light district of Amsterdam, during their second European tour in the new century. Here Rasaraja tells about his youth and his “inspiration”:

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Edison, New Jersey and lived there for 16 years, then spent some time in Philadelphia before moving to New York for about ten years. I’ve now been living in Northern California for the last six or seven years.

Tell me about your mom and dad.

Oh! My mother’s name was Fran and my father’s name Sam Fish. They were not very interesting, so I can’t remember very much about them that would be relevant… My father was the manager of the Fish department at a supermarket, which is kind of weird with my last name, and my mother was actually working as a butcher at the same supermarket when she met my father. A real classy family.

So, you had a pretty normal family life growing up then?

No, not really. My mother’s side of the family is really tragically fucked up. So, at a young age three of my uncles took their own lives. My mother had a disease called “Lupus”, which at the time they didn’t really know what it was, so it ultimately took her life. She became convinced that she was crazy. She had a lot fucked up things happened when she was young- Sexual abuse and other mental related issues.

She actually tried to take her life when I was young. I was the one who found her. I ran out of the house screaming and got people to help her and get an ambulance. So I guess I had a pretty fucked up childhood. I guess in that sense it was not a normal family. My mother was terminally ill and quite psychologically ill.

Did you already have spiritual influence or spiritual moments in your life at a young age? I guess what I want to ask is whether any supernatural things happened to you when you were a kid.

No, I have never experienced supernatural things. I was sort of anti-religious growing up. I was an altar boy at a young age.

I don’t know if there was anything spiritual about that. It was just something I felt attracted to, because all the things going on with my mother and as a kid I was sexually abused, so I guess I had an attraction to or interest in things beneath the surface. So I just didn’t believe in God because I thought why would God do this to me? So, if anything I was probably anti-religious as a kid.

Did you start listening to punk rock as a youngster?

No. First I was into hip hop.

Public Enemy and stuff?

Before that. I was into Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. By the time Public Enemy came around I was already into punk rock – Black Flag and stuff like that. I started getting into the punk scene around 1985, when I was 12 years old. Then I started going to punk shows.

What was the first show you were really blown away by?

I can’t remember, to be quite honest. There were two shows within about a week of each other. One was Corrosion of Conformity and the other one was Husker Du. I can’t remember which one was first. I want to say Corrosion of Conformity was first, but I can’t remember. It was actually with Ari, the singer of Lifetime, and I. We were really close friends and these were our first shows. We were recently talking about this, just before we came on tour, and tried to remember which one was first but neither of us could really remember.

Did you also start up your own band around that time?

Yeah. I started my first band when I was fifteen. I recorded my first record when I was fifteen and went on my first tour when I was sixteen.

Was that Resurrection?

No, a band called Release. It wasn’t a very good band. We toured, put together three 7″ records and then I lived in Ashram for a while. After I moved out of the ashram I started Resurrection with Ari and Dan from Lifetime.

What is an Ashram?

Sort of like a Monastery, but at a Krishna temple. After I moved out, I started Ressurection and then a couple of years later 108.

Were you already Straightedge before you moved into the Ashram?

I never drank in my life. Some things happened in my family.

Suicides or even just the dynamics of it early on, I was oppressed by it. I didn’t want to drink or do drugs. I never drank or smoked.

When I got into punk rock, one of the first bands, at least back then, every kid that gets into punk listens to is Black Flag, Dead Kennedy’s, Bad Brains, Minor Threat. So I got into Minor Threat and was kind of into the idea of Straightedge. Now I’ve been actively involved in straightedge for,like,22 years.

What was the turning point from being anti-religious into being Hare Krishna or into your interest in Krishna?

I think a part of it was I really wanted an answer as to why I have gone through so many bad things. The whole aspect of karma triggered something for me, because it gave some type of explanation as why I was going through what I was going through. That was the initial thing. So, in some respects it was a kind of an escape from what I was going through, but at the same time I really thought…[police on bikes come by asking what we are doing…]

So initially it was about karma. I kind of needed some help to work things out in my head.

Were you looking for some kind of healing?

Yeah, I was really depressed. I remember my parents found this stupid song I had written. I was like fourteen and whining about killing myself. You know, all that shit. I just needed something. So the idea of karma was initially the attraction.

Can you tell me something about karma?

The idea of karma is that every action creates a reaction. So if you do good things, you get good reactions. If you do bad things, you get bad reactions, but more specifically karma is not what happens in this lifetime, but it can also be in previous lifetimes. So, at least it gave me some type of psychological answer to why I had gone through so many things I had gone through.

So, do you still believe in life before life?

Do I believe in it scientifically? I don’t know. I think at least that if you look at the world and how you fit into it with that kind of mindset, it makes you a more compassionate and responsible person.

I grew up Roman Catholic and my father was a Jew. Religion for them was a very kind of primitive fire stone “do this”, then “you get this” and “this is going to happen to you”, but that didn’t really appeal to me. So the whole idea of personalism really attracted me, that everybody has an individual relationship with Krishna like Radharani had a relationship with Krishna. It was kind of like religion for the heart as opposed to religion for the moral code. So that was also attractive for me.

I don’t know that I really believed I had done something wrong in a prior life, as much as just that the idea that everything happens for a reason gave me some peace of mind.

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