Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Around The Gay Blades, watch your back. Find a way to grow two more eyes in the back of your head and use them fer chrissakes. It is imperative that you do this around Puppy Mills and Clark Westfield or you will be paying the piper and the piper will probably cause you to go deaf with all of the piercing cackling emanating from just behind your ear lobes. This is an important tip to remember when the lights have been eerily dimmed and the guard has been pulled back just enough to make it an ineffective guard against two men who are dead-set on showing you that they cannot - or choose not to - be merciful. They, like the Mexicalis that they sing about will do what they want, when they want and the theory of stopping them is flimsy. It just does not happen - this halting of their will.
These two men will sloppily call you baby and will call you man, whether you're a man or a baby, or someone who could be a baby. They sell bodies and ask for theirs to be sold and there's something sort of legendary and epic in the way that they can come off as being the equivalent of falling down drunk or high as a kite every single second of the time spent in their company. But they keep it all together when they're playing their glamorous, punk rock - the kind that came out of a nasty, filthy CBGBs, that lived with the leather and jean jackets and the stinking rats in the gutters of the New York City streets. They bring the ruckus everywhere they go, as if it were their scent, the trail of dead that they throw out in the tracks that they've already laid, the smell that gets locked in someone's nostrils in passing and ignoring that it was ever there is futile. The ruckus that they blast all over the place like acid rain and just good old fashioned acid, the kind that looks like forever stamps and communion. Two men shouldn't be able to destroy homes and puncture lungs the way that Mills and Westfield do with impunity. They just tear through people - and their heads and their girls and their carpets and their boundaries - and leave something that sounds like it was every bit as fun as they make it out to be.
What they do live and on their latest album, Ghosts, is they slap a baker's dozen of pork chops to your body - raw and bloody ones, soaked in a juice that is not able to be refrained from if you have the teeth for red meat - and keep them in place with a liberal use of duct tape. Then they blindfold you, performing these steps in utter silence, spin you around a few times and lead you to an enclosure. Seconds before they remove the blindfold, they turn up the heat and you hear the barking of wolves in the distance, far off, but interested. You can't move and then when the charging animals get closer, a full out sprint is the only thing left to do. With the body trying to leave itself, and the heart forgetting that it's hardly the running type, this is when the guitars come in and the climate fits what they're going to play.
Most of the sticky hot and blazed out songs that Westfield rockets at us carry more of an urban persuasion and a cocksure vivacity that's found in people who need to live a steaming existence rather than one that just lies there, flat and lazy. Westfield is the polar opposite of that mock-up, more of a dirty playboy, who will make up raps on cue, fake thuggish behavior for the comedic value, sound like Hendrix getting impersonated by the Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt in "Fight Club," not the one played by Edward Norton. He's the one who would take another man to a point enough to make that guy beat him to a pulp only to turn the tables and hang over him shaking the red all over him and saying, "You don't know where I've been." It's like Westfield snaps every time he decides to write or sing and Mills is a supportive henchman, giving everyone reason to turn the music up, but to keep peeking over the shoulder.
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