Our friends at Cutty Sark recently invited us to capture an evening of ecstatic happenings at Brooklyn Bowl as part of the inaugural Cutty Presents Series. There was booze, there was bowling, and most importantly, there were bands. Incredible bands, actually, each bringing their own unique offering of electric energy to the stage.
In our final installment of the series, we trained our cameras on the smoldering chemistry between Sean Lennon (son of John and Yoko...yes, that Lennon), Charlotte Kemp Muhl, and their band. The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It's a partnership that's producing some of the best psychedelic rock out there.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. What's up? This is the biggest venue we've ever headlined so thanks for coming. She doesn't wanna have to move to Xanadu She don't wanna lay in bed all day with you She'll do anything you tell her not to do She's gonna paint your white picket fence all black and blue She won't drive into the Grand Canyon with you She already knows you went and got her name tattooed She's a lipstick anarchist She don't wanna bake No birthday cake for you She don't wanna watch Twin Peaks Again with you She already saw the director's cut On Pay Per View She's a lipstick anarchist She already knows you went and got her name tattooed She's a lipstick anarchist Everywhere you go, you're in a microscope You're living in a fishbowl and your mind's under control Say a prayer for the internet billionaire A solar flare will burn the hair of man and polar bear Oh, oh, oh Oh, oh, oh, oh Animals have escaped the zoo Coming down Fifth Avenue Now there's nothing left to do Start running away Start running away Do you believe what you read in the tea leaves? Messages from Jesus in the grease upon the grilled cheese Do you agree with the man on TV Evidence that aliens brought Elvis To the Pleiades Oh, oh, oh Oh, oh, oh, oh Animals have escaped the zoo Coming down Fifth Avenue Now there's nothing left to do Start running away Start running away Lost in the Milky Way, the very first light wave Is boring holes in space like a glowworm in a grave Animals have escaped the zoo Coming down Fifth Avenue Now there's nothing left to do Start running away, start running away Animals have escaped the zoo Coming down Fifth Avenue Now there's nothing left to do Start running away, start running away Start running away, start running away Start running away, start running away Start running away Start running away Missed my flight to Johannesburg In this heat time seems absurd Long shadows pantomimes my skin Nostalgia wants to be my friend No one can you hear me I've pieced you back together Of sex linen and weather Clover teeth and string No one can you feel me I made you out of feathers Minutes, pennies and leather Show tunes and cavities Ah, ah Ah, ah, ah, ah Elephants can cry salty tears While I haven't wept for seven years My crow's feet walk across the mirror It's only tomorrow who gets old here So I'm mailing a letter To the Port of Cassis Oh I intend to let her Get the best of me Sky is split with lightning Like my personality The royal we sips Darjeeling And talks politics with trees Ah, ah Ah, ah, ah, ah Ah, ah, ah, ah Ah, ah, ah, ah - We've been torn for, like, a year and a half on Midnight Sun on our album with this wonderful band of ours, and we finally decided we wanted to try some new materials, and this is a new song. It's called Meteor Eaters. We've never played this shit before. All the billion stars in the Milky Way All the billion neurons in your brain A million children home by 6 p. m. But not enough of the statue keepers Before you go Gonna run in place to reach the top Gonna start to tell Honey, honey go long I will rise up Money, money, do you surf In this gasoline? I could shed for hours Does it fit little sister Gonna run in place to reach the top Two-hundred fifty sets until the day That the thousandth chimes and all the rain Dinosaurs are dying beneath the Earth Humans are the new improving leader Gonna run in place To reach the top Gonna start to tell Gonna run in place To reach the top Gonna start to tell - I actually thought that sounded good. I mean we've never played that before, so thanks for listening. That's our first song we ever wrote that just plays the same thing over and over again. We're really trying to be more transient so we don't have to remember so much. I'm getting old and I can't... All the gentry are counting plebs To fall asleep A murky scene Time magazine A virgin's dream The devil you know The devil you don't The devil on the phone When it was mysterious, everything seemed a shade of gold on green The beauty queen Was not foreseen To be unclean She didn't know The cable tow Was round her throat The devil you know The devil you don't The devil on the phone When it was mysterious Everything seemed a shade of gold on green The devil on the phone When it was mysterious Everything seemed a shade of gold on green After all is said and done Gonna crash into the sun After all is said and done You know we're gonna crash into the sun After all is said and done Gonna crash into the sun After all is said done You know we're gonna crash into the sun - You know, every moment is precious, right? I mean, we're probably gonna have, like, Donald Trump as our President soon so we should just enjoy ourselves now. I know. It's pretty grim, right? I think I'm more scared of Donald Trump being president than the meteor impact that could destroy the planet, because at least that would be, like, a cool light show. - So, you know, we're just sort...we're just considering every moment a blessing. I think he's actually taught us all a lesson that we have it really good now, because things could change. Charmed like a fly by the artificial light Going round in circles we are creatures of the night Moths to a flame Fluttering in vain Girl, you know I can't refrain Sitting in your room Sadly spinning your cocoon All the magistrates are waiting for you to bloom The silk menagerie you weaved is bursting at the seams Girl, your colors can’t be seen
The Goastt is two people, Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. It is, in itself, a chimera; a fabulous creature made with parts of two distinctly different creatures. It is also an acronym, as you might guess from its being capitalized like that. By virtue of being a friend to, and fan of, both the zygotes in this organism, I know what its letters stand for, but it's not mine to reveal. I expect they will do so at some future point.
Having driven my Ducati to Sean and Kemp's house through the darkened October streets of 4 am New York to type these words, I realize the absurdity of my task. If I wrote a novel and gave its protagonists stories of origin like the ones from which the two parts of GOASTT arose, people would say I was a fabulist in need of a hyperboectomy. Or an artless sophomore. But life is allowed a liberty with plotlines that novelists are not. Take these two:
Sean Lennon is a man of many hats. Like an alien who fell to earth and had to quickly assimilate humanity, he is a vast rolodex of accents, facts, farce, a myriad of motor skills (from archery to sketching) and can play any musical instrument (as if all undertakings are merely transposable keys to a song he knows by heart). Hyper-aware, there's almost nothing he isn't good at... This may be the result of his legendary genetic endowment, or simply the enormous pressure of his parentage; his father was perhaps the most accessible and experimental songwriter of his century. But, just as he reached the age of 5 when his father might have reared him with the milk and honey of nurture rather than the iron fist of nature, Sean's father was assassinated. As a consequence of this huge event and other shadows, Sean's life has been strangely both circumscribed and exaggerated. To the insouciant improvisational "Art is a Verb!" nature of his parents was added a welter of natural anxieties that would have made Woody Allen feel at home.
When I briefly encountered Sean's mother as an avant garde artist at Wesleyan University in January of 1966, I thought she had the most original mind I'd ever met. Later as she was dragged across the yawning screen of American hypercelebrity, I didn't know what to think, save that she, and all around her, seemed improbable.
And improbable was the first word that came to mind when I met Kemp Muhl almost exactly 40 years later.
Though her background was as unlikely as Sean's, hers was as private in its peculiarities as his was public. And her origins as the Georgian daughter of a military lieutenant colonel who had been nipped off to be a supermodel in New York, at about the tender age improbably beautiful girls are usually abducted - which is, chronologically at least, almost criminally young - did not in any way explain the fact that she has the other most original mind I had ever encountered.
After meeting Kemp, I followed her around- to the extent that I could move quickly enough- not, like most others, for the scenery, but because I found her casual triple-entendres, her "Kempisms," to be so improbably delicious in my mind...
She is such a free-running spring of cool creativity, that it didn't surprise me much when, shortly after she paired off with Sean and began to experience the musical ecosystem that is his unique mind, she revealed herself to have an utterly original sense of melody and lyrical realization as well. Her lines are like Borges short stories. I might have known.
As a symbol of her transformation for Sean, she now goes by Charlotte (her first name), much like a Native American who gets a new name upon having killed their first buffalo. Erstwhile Sean, (since his past chapters of turmoil and Shakespearean tragedy,) has shed the dark scales of his brooding artist skin for that of a newfound composer and puckish poet of an invincible fiber.
My great fortune lies in being an audience very close at hand to the gestation, birth, and early being of The GOASST. It is beautiful and strange and new. Let us watch it grow together.