El Terrible What Rough Beast
by Walter Price
Showing influence from significant luminaries Jesus & Mary Chain, Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy San Francisco’s El Terrible (Terry Ashkinos, Scott Eberhardt, Adrian McCullough) have a thriller new 7 track album What Rough Beast (out 12 May Breakup Records) that creeps in and out of the shadowed recesses. Haunting and conscious tales of life’s realities in chainsaw delivery and fuck be all honesty. What Rough Beast’s stories aren’t sweetened pop by any means but I believe there to be a thread of hope woven in its cautionary layers. (Speaking of sweetened, listen closely and you may just hear backing vocals from bed.’s Sierra Hager.)
If the album’s title sounds vaguely familiar frontman Terry Ashkinos explained, “Taken from a line in a Yeats poem called The Second Coming in which Yeats reflects on WWI. We liked it because it has this element of “perhaps the savior of the world is not at all benevolent but a fucking monster” sort of vibe. “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned”. Anyway, I like spooky.”
Before you head over to Bandcamp to order your copy check out the track by track Ashkinos was kind enough to do with me.
This is written from the perspective of a teenager on ADD medicine. As a teacher I often see students who have been prescribed medication to keep focus and they work to an extent but there is always a crash and it’s so hard to know how much is too much. The idea that you are breaking your mood swings down with science (ones and zeros) seems very science fiction to me. There is so much emphasis on focus to the point that we create designer children and worker zombies. What’s wrong with multi tasking math with drawing pictures of flying cars with flirting with Stephanie with navigating social hierarchy with cookies for breakfast with the book your currently reading verses the one your teacher wants you to read anyway? Isn’t that what growing up is? The idea that we take drugs to keep us straight seems Orwellian. I think the line “it’s the song that’s sad, not you” captures what I’m trying to say.
This song was written after I read the book, Life of Pi. Pi makes up a story to cover over the trauma of another story and everyone gives him the benefit of the doubt because the new story is so much better. Hogwash. Quit lying to yourself.
When I was in Berlin a girl told me this crazy story about a blind date she went on through one of those dating sites. It was literally insane and quite dangerous to say the least but she refused to walk out on it because she wanted to show the guy that he was a loser by going through with it and in doing so; ridiculing him. She refuses to be shocked by this maniac and so…here’s the story.
A call to arms. You’ve been fucking with us for too long but we’re keeping score and we know where you live and we know your name. The reasons for not kicking your ass have whittled down to a puny pile and your time is limited. “Reasons I don’t need to know, keep on leaving me for Yoko.”
Old people are always saying, “One day you’ll be just like me,” but what if we’re not? What if we’re always confused and confusing and unsatisfied and pissed off and wallowing in wanderlust? Weirder things have happened. “Burning airplane, which way to crash? No message, no map.”
This song is about how everyone suffers in their own way and it was almost called “suffer”. It is both about cutting away the shwag in your life and the physical action of cutting yourself to get noticed. I’ve been up close to this phenomena of “cutting” and I’m not sure there is too much difference between these two explanations. And by the way there is no Jennifer. That name just fit the line.
This is a song about growing up and finding all kinds of contradictions and disappointments about yourself and life in general and about how that’s ok. Its basically about howling at the moon and that’s why the chorus is just one long howl.
GTC Track x Track w/ El Terrible
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