Spindrift
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Spindrift

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Nov
06
Spindrift @ Johnny Brenda's

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Nov
04
Spindrift @ Rock and Roll Hotel

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Nov
03
Spindrift @ Barley's Taproom

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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Music

Press


SPINDRIFT: JUST ONCE IN THE NUTS

Spindrift wrote the soundtrack for their hallucinogenic western The Legend Of God’s Gun and then starred with friends in the film (directed by Mike Bruce) that followed. They also put together this weekend’s Clean Air Clean Stars festival. Pictured members Dave Koenig, Henry Evans, Julie Patterson and Marcos Diableros weren’t present for an interview at the Reno Room.

Jason ‘Plucky’ Anchondo (drums/noise): If it’s a small gig, we do it acoustic.
Kirpatrick Thomas (guitar/songwriter): None of our own songs—old folk and blues. Cowboy songs and Lightnin’ Hopkins. A little do-si-do and squaredancing.
J: The way the band is—years ago, he was doing merch for us in Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I was living with Frankie from Jonestown at the time, and that’s how I met him. He never talked to us on tour and never said anything. He was kind of scaring people from the merch table—he just smiled at them and wouldn’t talk.
K: Doing the same thing I’m doing now.
J: He came over to the apartment one time super-late and brought beer and pizza and said, ‘I got this thing—I wanna do psychedelic spaghetti-western shit.’ So the three of us got together to jam it out and our first show—with like twenty people in the band—was at a warehouse on Third in 2002. Then we got a little more serious and we got really serious when I got back from last time the Warlocks went out.
K: The band has been going on for fifteen years, so you could really say it’s been serious for a long time. But you could also publish a book called How Plucky Saved Spindrift.
J: Are you being serious?
K: I’m serious.
How did Plucky save Spindrift?
K: He likes to move quick, and he won’t do something if it gets any slack on it. That’s just the way the guy’s brain works.
J: Like I do speed, but I don’t do speed.
That’s what we call a work ethic.
J: I got the work ethic but I don’t got a job! When I got back from Warlocks, I said, ‘Fuck it, man, we got good songs—we can do something with them.’ Everybody started putting in their part. We went to SXSW and did like seven shows in 24 hours.
Did your arms burst at the joints?
J: We headlined the Amoeba party and they had all the bands playing forever. We were on at four in the morning. I went to sleep in the van and woke up and we were playing for a huge group of people. And we played with Charlie Louvin! He played at like 1 AM—went up and did, ‘Ahhhhhhhh like the Christiannnnnnnn life!’ It was probably one of the best things in the world. Here’s a guy we cover when we play acoustic! I told him and he shook my hand—said ‘thank you’ and gave me the grandpa nod, like, ‘I’m just gonna agree with you because I can’t hear shit!’
K: And then we played a pizza parlor.
And got paid in pizza?
J: Pizza and beer. He still does delivery—hot and fresh to your door since 1994.
Have you ever been fucked with?
K: I’m surprised I’m still alive and I still have a car.
You should do flower delivery.
K: There’s probably things of more value I could deliver. I know all the roads around the whole Hollywood area—every little back road and nook and cranny and every hidden mansion where all kinds of people live. The best is Mt. Washington—that’s where I live now. I’m roommates with Crooked Cowboy. We live in a huge haunted-looking barn—we got haystacks in the yard.
Did you ever feel in danger on your trips into the desert?
J: It felt like going home.
K: The desert is an inhospitable place. It’s not to be fucked with. A lot of city folk go out to the desert to have a good time and trip out and next thing you know, you’re getting mauled by wolves! Or stepping on cactus and it’s going through your feet and you’re wondering what went wrong? ‘Why am I getting raped by this methhead?’ Don’t fuck with the desert—it’ll fuck with you! I wanna tell people—stay hydrated and bring sunblock and don’t spend too much time in the heat.
J: And don’t be dumb—I had a friend get bit in the nuts by a rattlesnake. It happened twice!
Twice in the nuts?
J: No, just once in the nuts. I grew up in Pasadena and this kid lived above the school, and we’d go hop over the fence and there were always rattlesnakes. So the first time, he hopped over and landed and got bit on the hand by a fucking rattlesnake. And a year later, the same fucking kid hopped over the same fence and landed in pretty much the same spot and there was a snake between his legs, and it jumped up and bit him in the fucking crotch. He survived both times, though I’m sure his nuts swelled up like a watermelon.
Where do you get such affection for the desert?
K: From spending most of my life on the eastern seaboard. When I moved here six years ago, I was amazed how big the sky is.
J: I lived here my whole life. My whole family is a bunch of old bikers—my grandfather was in the Sharks, and The Wild Ones is about when they went to the town of Hollister. So we used to go out to the desert a lot for dirtbike riding. Then K.P. moves out and go - L.A. Record


L.A. Weekly - Young Guns

Spindrift, Crooked Cowboy and how the New West was won
By RENA KOSNETT
Wednesday, July 25, 2007 - 5:00 pm

Sitting on a hay bale next to a fire pit, staring at smoldering branches and trying (somewhat fruitlessly) to keep the flying embers from singeing my skirt, I listened to Bron Tieman, leader of the band Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians, tell me how he broke free of a decadelong life as a hermitic touring backup musician after encountering Spindrift, a local spaghetti-Western concept outfit. He explained, outside his converted goat-barn home, that he had finally heard something in that band that he thought was exceptional — his posse had arrived.

Spindrift front man Kirpatrick Thomas had met up with Tieman while sharing a bill at the Echo. Tieman’s burgeoning band, which can have anywhere from six to 12 musicians on a given night, is the fleshing out of the music Tieman says he has been writing and stowing away since hearing Ennio Morricone’s score to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the first time, at 5 years of age — it played as the musical accompaniment to one of his sister’s cheerleader routines. Crooked Cowboy and Spindrift stage experimental, epic, cinematically inspired music more akin to the textured, symphonic layers of Portishead than the chaps and 10-gallon hat–wearing Riders in the Sky, even though their roots lie with the mysteries and folklore of the West. (As a point, Tieman tells his band not to stop playing during sets, so that the audience can be transported without interruption to another world that lies somewhere between the deserts of Spain and the Mir space station.)

Together, Tieman — who looks as though he should have tumbleweeds rolling at his feet while he walks — and Thomas are at the hotbed of the New West psychedelic-cowboy vibe now pulsating through many Highland Park and Echo Park songbirds. And for the past six months, they’ve been rooming together in Tieman’s historic home, which sits at the base of the Mount Washington hotel currently occupied by the Self-Realization Fellowship. Crooked Cowboy bandmates Neil Schuh and Tyler Thacker (also of the art-rock party bands Totally Radd!! and the Hot Tramps) are among the Highland Park–based musicians constantly flowing in and out of the barn, which is chock-full of pianos, organs, drums and recording equipment, to develop ideas or just to sprawl out on a blanket and nurse a cold beer.

This kinship is the fortunate expansion of the talent I first encountered when I saw Spindrift in the fall of 2003, when my beautiful keyboardist friend, Cameron Murray, lyrically beckoned, “Come out to the desert with me. I’m playing with a cowboy band.” She needed someone to chat with on the drive out, so I agreed to the trip, expecting to sit through a sorta blues, kinda garage rock, somewhat annoying yet tolerable band. But in the cramped, darkened quarters of Highway 62’s Beatnik Café, what I heard was completely unexpected. The way the myriad instruments and stable props are woven together to create Spindrift’s sound masterfully manages to steer the music clear of being cheesy, even while the musicians scream, “Tie them up, whoa!” Instead of feeling like you’re on the set of Maverick, you feel like you’ve been granted access to the distant memories of a two-bit-saloon harlot as she watches her nameless lover ride off into the sunset. In other words, it makes you feel like you’ve just been made love to by a handsome stranger, a genius visceral experience. Kirpatrick Thomas, a Delaware native who blew in from the East Coast as a solitary stranger in 2000, had wrangled a few musicians together, some borrowed from desert dwellers Gram Rabbit, some just taking five from touring with the Warlocks, dressed them in potato-bag ponchos and sombreros wrapped with Christmas lights, and amazed the crowd at the desolate desert café with the performance of his concept album The Legend of God’s Gun, which Thomas described as a soundtrack, even though at the time there was no movie to go with it. The 2003 prototype version of the album (it has since been remastered) that I commandeered from an intoxicated Thomas later during that evening in the desert, liner notes stained with red wine, plays as a Morricone-drenched homage to the West and all that this coast entails: surfer music, psychedelics, movies and cowboys.

After treading water for a few years in the overwhelmingly saturated L.A. music scene, Spindrift have recently been receiving some of the attention they deserve, getting coverage in local media, and credit for their part in the resurrection of the phenomenal love affair with the Wild West currently sweeping Southern California hipsters. Even the high-altitude honky-tonk Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace seems to be getting its fair share of acts like Jonathan Richman, the Watson Twins and Dengue Fever, but when Spindrift play at Pappy & Harriet’s (still mainly a - L.A. Weekly


SADDLE UP WITH THE PSYCHEDELIC ROCK WRANGLERS SPINDRIFT AS THE COSMIC COWBOY RIDES AGAIN

by Shana Ting Lipton
photos Aaron Farley



Disheveled and anonymous, a shadow of a man makes his way through the mosaic of landscapes, heading West-always West-across the land. Weary and gritty from his journey, which is a pilgrimage of sorts, he rides alone away from his past, into a vague and distant future. Guitar in one hand, six-shooter in the other, he is the cosmic cowboy-the ghost rider on his dogged and hunted trek, seeking freedom from the bonds of the world-a rock’n'roll Western archetype founded in the psychedelia of the ’60s, and most recently resurrected from the dead with a vengeance by a posse of local musicians and filmmakers.

Kirpatrick Thomas, the founding member of Spindrift, a self-dubbed “psychedelic Spaghetti Western” band, made just such a journey-in true cosmic cowboy fashion-from Delaware to Southern California in late 2001. He was already heading up the experimental post-punk incarnation of a band called Spindrift when he took off. His fuel: fragrant dreams of the Western mystique rooted in the stylized ’60s cowboy movies of Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone (often grandly referred to within the burgeoning L.A. ‘neo-cosmic cowboy’ scene as simply “Sergio”).

Like any self-respecting musician on the road, Thomas stopped by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, on his way. It was on this fateful day, in front of the John Lennon exhibit, that he literally ran into the Brian Jonestown Massacre guitarist Frankie Emerson pushing singer/guitarist Anton Newcombe around in a wheelchair. The latter, whose rowdy antics were made public in the 2004 rockumenary Dig, had broken his leg in a fight during a riot at a gig the previous night.

Thomas-who sings, composes, plays guitar and keyboards-got to know the BJM guys very well. He credits them as a source of inspiration, collaboration and assistance in Spindrift’s California reinvention and activation as a spaghetti Western band. He later ended up playing guitar on tour with the band. That was when the Western bug first bit him hard. Thomas fondly recalls listening and jamming to the music of Ennio Morricone-the prolific composer who pioneered the haunting surf-guitar soundtracks on Leone’s ‘Spaghetti Westerns’-while driving cross country in the tour RV through the deserts.

As if prescient to the next zeitgeist, Thomas’ spontaneous fascination with the West closely coincided with a greater nationwide passion and rekindling of all things western and cowboy related. In mainstream circles, Western-style music, culture and fashion (both nostalgic and present-day) are everywhere. Wim Wenders’ fallen cowboy film, Don’t Come Knocking, starring Sam Shepard is set to hit screens this month. The non-traditional gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain racked up its share of honors. And HBO’s gritty, hard-nosed and extremely popular Deadwood is heading into its third season. America has fallen in love with the cowboy all over again. But something’s different this time. It’s as if, as a nation, we are having a mid-life crisis and looking back on our early days with a mix of longing, disgust, hopefulness and perhaps an altered perspective.

John Hawkes, who plays “Sol Star” on Deadwood, believes that the Western revival is due to today’s conservative political climate, but not in the way that one might think. “We’re at a political time where we’re so bankrupt of morals and truth that there’s something exhilarating about seeing a way of life that’s full of honor, albeit a twisted kind of honor,” he says.

Where mainstream America might choose to embrace this outlaw character despite this twisted honor, Thomas and his musical cohorts are creating a scene that embraces the outlaw because of it. He calls this shady hombre the “spiritual vigilante,” adding a psychedelic ingredient to the mix. It is in the old films and music of Leone, Morricone and the general spirit of the Wild West that he and other neo-cosmic cowboys have excavated an essence that seems more relevant today than ever before, a surreal and dark cowboy anti-hero for a spiritually and ethically decaying world.



TIP OF THE HAT

The dusty mystique of the classic American West has seduced artists of every medium for more than two centuries, and Bron Tieman-whose experimental fusion band Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians has shared a bill with Spindrift-is no exception. For him, this inspiration came in the form of the now almost stereotyped music of Ennio Morricone. “Ennio was dropping in harpsichord, banjos, all of that; he’s the inventor of this music.” Tieman says he was first blown away by the myth and the music at age 5 when his 8-year-old sister performed a cheerleading routine for him to the theme song from, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which topped the charts at the time.

If Morricone - L.A. Alternative


L.A. Times
Buzz Bands
by Kevin Bronson
July 5, 2007

Weekend in Pioneertown may get you psyched

Psychedelic rock and Joshua Tree go together like tie and dye.

So it's no surprise that this weekend's Clean Air, Clear Stars Festival in the High Desert showcases the trippier tip of L.A. bands. The three-day gathering, which, beginning Friday, features more than 20 bands at the legendary Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, is a benefit for Global Inheritance, a nonprofit that creates educational programs promoting environmental awareness.

The first-time event, held in the backyard of the increasingly fragile Joshua Tree National Park, is the brainchild of L.A. music scenesters Mary Patton, Tommy Dietrick and Jason Anchondo. Besides the music, there will be the usual desert frolicking, with after-parties, a bowling outing and campground activities.

Among the bands on the bill: Gram Rabbit, Spindrift, the Tyde, Sky Parade, Lion Fever, the Flash Express, the Moon Upstairs and a band whose album release party I caught last week, Xu Xu Fang. Let there be stoner rock.

Road trip, anyone?

||| Side note: You'll find some nice downloadable music by clinking on the links above to Gram Rabbit, the Flash Express and the Moon Upstairs.

Photo of Spindrift by Melanie Leigh

- L.A. Times


Summer of Love: Clean Air Clear Stars Festival

The California long-hair hippie vibe lives on. Jeaneen Lund documented the July high desert festival featuring bands such as the Moon Upstairs and Spindrift

Saturday, September 1, 2007

http://www.laweekly.com/index.php?option=com_slideshow&type=1&gallery=624&Itemid=565

- L.A. Weekly Online


SPINDRIFT
A talented group of musicians based in LA who produce post-galactic western shoegaze music.
Drummer Jason Anchondo and singer Kirpatrick Thomas speak to SOMASOMASCENE about their latest project

Meeting The Warlocks almost two years ago made a lasting impression on me. Their spectacular stage performance, their hypnotic
sounds, their wicked sense of humour, their enthusiasm for fanzines, their depth as genuine people and musicians...On hearing about
drummer Jason Anchondo's latest project Spindrift, it was time for a much needed catch-up and enlightenment on this intriguing new
band who are concerned about films and global warming as well as their music. It is this honesty, visionary thinking and musical
acumen which makes Spindrift the most relevant band in the world today. They are aware of their community, environment and their
actions respect the individual as well as society. A great example for other bands to learn from. Sit up and take notice.
What does the name 'Spindrift' mean?
JA: Well it's a kind of wave, but I believe our singer, Kirpatrick Thomas named the band after a book.

When did Spindrift form? How do you know the other members?
JA: Kirpatrick had the band for sometime back east, he moved out to LA and was our merch guy for The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Frankie Emerson
(BJM) and I were asked to do a west coast version of the band and so here it is.

You are about to go on tour in California. Do you have plans to tour the rest of US and come over to London/Europe?
JA: We're about to go out with The Black Angels & Vietnam for a west coast tour, as for the UK or overseas - I don't know. We do everything ourselves
so it takes a lot of time and money that we don't have...So we're just trying to get the word out.

You describe Spindrift's sound as 'a psychedelic shootout in a Western town on a distant planet.' I can't think of a better explanation for
it! Name one film and one band that influence your music.
JA: There really isn't one. It's more about the music that was in those movies. All those movies that were coming out of Italy back in the 60's are a
huge part of our sound, but we all bring our own to the table.

Again, you are in a band with many members! How does the Spindrift song-writing process work? Does someone write the song and the others
improvise their parts?
JA: Well I never really know who's going to play a show. It's mainly KP, Dave Koenig, Henry Evens, Julie Patterson and myself. Sometimes our friends
Marcos, Dan Allaire (BJM) and Frankie Emerson (BJM) join in if they're not on tour or working.

Tell me more about the concept behind 'The Legend of God's Gun'. It is an amazing idea - has the film been premiered yet? Are you planning to
bring it to London?
KT: I came up with a soundtrack album to a Western after becoming inspired by my move to the west coast. Spindrift fleshed out the soundtrack and
eventually a story to the music was developed. After meeting director Mike Bruce, the script and film became more concrete. Our mutual love for
Western soundtracks and film is what inspired this movement. What came out was a Spaghetti Western style, Rock and Roll Psychedelic version of
Dante's Inferno. We are looking to premiere it in Hollywood in August, it will be distributed through DVD and we will try to do as many screenings and
festivals as possible. We did this movie from the ground up - without Hollywood's help - guerrilla style, so everything about it is a new experience to us.

Tell me about the CLEAN AIR CLEAR STARS festival. Spindrift are playing but are you also helping to organise it?
JA: CLEAN AIR CLEAR STARS is me and my friend Tommy Dietrich. We were sick of all the bullshit going on in the world today. Not a lot of people
believe that global warming is real. So we wanted to tell people what's going on. All the bands and people doing this are doing this for free. All the
money that's made from this event, we will be giving to www.stopgloblewarming.org to help the earth. Hopefully we can raise enough and make it
bigger next year.

What makes you want to be a musician?
JA: It's just in me....

Which current US bands do you like?
JA: Dead Meadow, Comets on Fire and Gris Gris. I'm also listening to The Moon Upstairs, Crooked Cowboy & Freshwater
Indian plus 2 bands on Teepee Records: Entrence and Assemblehead In Sunburst Sound.

Name 3 achievements you wish to accomplish by the end of 2007.
JA: Hopefully get Spindrift out there, get Clean Air off the ground and have a good time while doing it.

Which do you prefer - the desert or the city?
JA: I love them both. I was born in Los Angeles and lived here my whole life with the desert just down the road, so to speak. So I spent a lot of time out
there. It's nice to get away when you want to.

Today Bobby Hecksher announced a new deal for The Warlocks with Teepee records - will The Warlocks continue with the same line-up?
JA: Well fo - SOMA SCENE


Cool bands to fight global warming in High Desert heat

01:46 PM PDT on Friday, July 6, 2007

Vanessa Franko

Video: Audio File

The gas prices were getting to Jason Anchondo. And last winter, when it was pretty much 80 degrees all around, that bothered him, too.

"I'm not really a big fan of global warming," the drummer for bands the Warlocks and Spindrift said.

The Los Angeles-based musician joined forces with friend and fellow musician Tommy Dietrick (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sky Parade) and Mary Patton to organize a festival with independent bands to fight global warming.

The first Clean Air Clear Stars festival will take place today, Saturday and Sunday at Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown in the High Desert.

Anchondo isn't naïve enough to think this concert will stop global warming immediately, but he and the other organizers are hoping to get a few hundred people out for the show and to kick off what will hopefully be an annual festival.

[SPINDRIFT PHOTO
Special to The Press-Enterprise
Members of Spindrift are Henry Evans, left, Marcos Diableros, Frankie Emerson, Kirpatrick Thomas, Dave Keonig, Jason Anchondo and Dan Allaire. ]


Anchondo assembled an impressive list of musicians, including Joshua Tree's Gram Rabbit, Flash Express, Lion Fever and 25 other bands to play the event.

He said he came across a couple of skeptics at first but as he started calling more musician friends people started signing on.

Anchondo said he had wanted to do a benefit like this for a couple of years but didn't feel ready to do it.

All of the proceeds will benefit nonprofit groups Global Inheritance and stopglobalwarming.org.

Anchondo said it was just a coincidence that the festival is taking place during the same weekend that Live Earth is combating global warming with concerts in eight countries.

I have a feeling the bands at Clean Air Clear Stars are way cooler than some of the Live Earth artists, ahem, Enrique Iglesias and the Pussycat Dolls.

Don't worry about wilting in the desert heat, either. On Saturday and Sunday the daytime acts will play indoors at Pappy & Harriet's. And once it cools off a bit the party will move outside.

"I'm pretty stoked," Anchondo said.

Tickets are $12 per day. Music starts at 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Pappy & Harriet's at 53688 Pioneertown Road in Pioneertown.

For more information, check out www.cleanairclearstars.com.
- The Press-Enterprise


The Legend of God's Gun

Entertainment value: [GREEN LIGHT]
Technical Quality: [GREEN LIGHT]

Cowboy up with this acid western...part psychedelic rock video, part spaghetti western, part hallucination - all art and cult, with a knockout tag-team of delirious sights and hip sounds. Well worth the effort to hunt down and watch.

Review

Now here’s a wonderfully weird chimera, a film of many parts; part music video, part homage to spaghetti westerns (and part pastiche), part delirium, part cult film. And with so many parts sutured together, it’s inevitable that a few things escape through the seams. Characters developed beyond one-sentence summaries, for example, or hard-hitting, suspenseful drama driving the film forward to its climax. This tale of a man looking to avenge the death of his woman by seeking out the culprits in the debauched town of Playa Diablo doesn’t quite demand emotional investments in the characters’ plights.


But the absence of gravitas doesn’t mean “The Legend of God’s Gun” is an empty cinematic experience. Far from it; the film is an aesthetic surgery of sorts, one that dissects and plays with the rich filmic and graphic design vocabulary that makes spaghetti westerns so unique. From the opening titles onwards, “The Legend of God’s Gun” demonstrates a highly kinetic kind of drama; a drama of cinematic form. While director Mike Bruce could be accused of occasionally indulging gimmickry and neglecting the value of quiet moments to give the characters and settings room to breathe, the imaginative direction and visual effects, including the film’s hallucinatory colouring, are for the most part stunning examples of how to take ordinary scenes, put bullets to their feet, and make them dance. A gunfight - two men, two guns, a space between – becomes a tense, nerve-wracking affair defined by quick edits, changing camera angles, and spiffy graphic enhancements. A church becomes hell on earth in a blaze of smoke, fire, and the bullets from a crazed gunman’s attack, courtesy of dynamic visual and editing distortions. A bounty hunter’s desert trek becomes a heat-stroke induced phantasmagoria of strange colours and lensing effects. There’s no shortage of mind-blowing manipulations to chew on, some of which surprise by simultaneously satirizing and dramatizing key scenes. Example: a well-populated standoff to the death recalls the infamously endless staring contest wrapping up “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” by split-screening multiple pairs of staring, scanning eyes. Tense? Yes, but funny too considering Sergio Leone’s classic film and the conventions of the western showdown.

Granted, “The Legend of God’s Gun” is rarely subtle. Instead of insinuating the moral depravity of Playa Diablo, for example, Bruce and collaborator Kirkpatrick Thomas offer a double-barreled shotgun blast that, in a darkly comic fashion, includes everything from the sport-beating of an old man to even less savoury practices. For subtlety, one has to turn to other parallels between the film and the spaghetti westerns it takes its cues from. Case in point: faces. Sergio Leone’s films have always been striking for fascinating faces that often fill up the entire frame – not necessarily pretty or ugly, but unquestionably etched with character. So it is with the capable cast of musicians populating “The Legend of God’s Gun.”

When taken as an experimental art film rather than a conventional narrative film, bold and direct are actually superb qualities to have – preferable, in some instances, to understatement. There’s a certain postmodernism at play, which in part explains (without excusing) the narrative’s literal simplicity by favouring meta-narrative and multi-sensory qualities. Obvious manifestations include flashbacks accompanied by the sound of film projectors, an effect that complements the overall look of the film – scratchy and filled with artifacts, as if we’re watching a movie of a movie. In this vein, “The Legend of God’s Gun” isn’t so much a western in itself, although it is, but a western about westerns. The characters are extracted and drawn from familiar archetypes – the Sheriff, the Bandit, the Bounty Hunter, the Gunslinger – and placed in the sparsest expression of good versus evil’s brutal mythology. The result is a wonderland of western themes distilled into their most concrete, basic elements. Call it an acid western.

And then there’s the score; Ennio Morricone, of course, by way of a hip and unique psychedelic update courtesy of phenomenally talented local band Spindrift (of which Kirkpatrick Thomas is a founding member) with equally electric support by Gram Rabbit and the now-disbanded Low Flying Owls. (Speaking for myself, I sense new additions to my CD collection in the near future…) As much the film’s raison d’etre as anything else, the music is perfectly tuned to the film’s surreal western world but also fully capable of standing on its own. No surprise there: the music was orig - Ink [and] Ashes : Film Reviews and Commentary


It’s an interesting time for the once dead film genre known as the Western. Ever since Clint Eastwood snagged an Oscar for his “revisionist” revival of the spiraling cinematic favorite, post-modern moviemakers have embraced a more deconstructed version of the oater. In their mind, the standard element of black hat/white hat, good vs evil no longer holds sway in a society far more ambiguous and ethically unsure. While recent horse operas have tried to trade on those wholesome, old fashioned values (the recently released 3:10 to Yuma), others have actually tried to dig deeper into that dilemma. The 2006 Australian hit The Proposition was one such example, as is the upcoming Brad Pitt ‘epic’ The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Both movies see the stereotypical symbolism inherent in the category as a means of making larger, more metaphysical points.

It’s the very reason the spaghetti interpretation of the material made such a splash 40 years ago. Treating the genre as a combination of considered iconography and classical tragedy, the mannered, manipulated imagery created by these foreign films generated a whole new emblematic appeal. Unlike the Hollywood way of the sagebrush saga, which used character as a catalyst for its bigger right/wrong dynamic, Italian directors like Sergio Leone skipped the personal and went right for the problem. They elevated disputes into wars of karmic calculation, and blurred the lines between villain, victor, and victim. It’s no wonder the western faded away after the influx of the Mediterranean influence. With the exception of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s brilliant El Topo, few could find a way around the contrasting combination of clipped heroics and glimpsed Hell. That is, until now.


To call it genius would be a gross understatement. To label it a homemade homage to an equally endearing artform would also be too simplistic. For filmmakers, musicians, and friends Mike Bruce and Kirkpatrick Thomas, the Once Upon a Fistful fabulousness of the pasta prairie parade is merely a jumping off point for a combination lampoon and love letter to the works that rewired their cinematic sensibilities. The result – the magnificent Legend of God’s Gun, a shot on video fever dream filtered through the latest high tech post-production optical candy factories to produce one of the most original and unforgettable films of the newly crowned “noughts”. While it may seem like nothing more than a copycat compilation of Leone, Corbucci, and Barboni riffs, with just a little sidewinding psychedelia thrown in for gonzo measure, the opposite is actually true. What Bruce (director/actor) and Thomas (writer/actor/composer) manage is nothing less than a brilliant distillation of everything the reformulated artform stood for.



The story is devastatingly simple. A one time gunslinger turned Preacher (his woman was murdered by a band of ruthless outlaws right before his eyes) wanders the desolate desert countryside, seeking salvation and revenge. He’s after the scorpion poison drinking desperado, El Sobro. Along with his gang of craven killers, the villain has cut a trail of death and destruction all across the West. Sought by a Bounty Hunter desperate for recognition – and financial returns – these divergent individuals will eventually face off in the small town of Playa Diablo, a place where the Sheriff senses his wife is cheating on him, and the Deputy is the dog doing it behind his back. Of course, there’s some sacred gold involved, and more than one personal vendetta to settle, as gunfights turn into glorifications for everything the winning of the Wild West ever stood for or signified.

Sadly, such a description doesn’t do The Legend of God’s Gun justice. It’s one of the most artistically accomplished and visionary self-made movies since Cory McAbee’s The American Astronaut and Jim Van Bebber’s The Manson Family. Not only does it flaunt our expectations of spaghetti worship, but it takes the era in which the cinematic revolution occurred and channels it through the genre formulas as well. The results rip through your brain and sever your synapses, shredding what you know about film and replacing it with a brand new celluloid language. There are moments here of visual grandeur that top the most accomplished moviemaking recreationist. There are also sequences of significant reinvention that speak to Bruce and Thomas’ talent both in front of and behind the camera. This is not just some celebration of cinema. It’s a bow to all the media this duo dig – comics, the music of Morricone, pop art, action movies, and the always systemic image of a poised gun.



In its mannerism and make-up, The Legend of God’s Gun plays like a series of climaxes waiting for the context to catch up to them. Backstory is hinted at and inferred, while characterization is kept to costuming, quirk, and straightforward sonic signatures. This is not the Penny Dreadful style of shoot ‘em up that m - PopMatters - Beyond the Fringe


The Legend of God's Gun
August 25, 2007
Review by Bill Gibron

The Product:
One of the joys of reviewing DVDs for a living/hobby/obsession is the occasional discovery of something really outstanding. It doesn't happen often enough, and most of the time, a reviewer sees nothing but mindnumbing, skull soaking sameness. It's a miserable mantra - nothing is great. Nothing is awful. It like a flatlining EKG - no emotion...no excitement...no life whatsoever. So when we witness something new and novel, there is a tendency to go overboard, to praise the perception right out of the evaluation. This newly discovered gem may not be the second coming of cinema, but we react so simply because we've been lulled into a sense of substandard complacency, and latch onto anything that seems real, inventive, or original. It is safe to say, however, that The Legend of God's Gun is not just one of these kneejerk joy-fests. Instead, pals and filmmaking partners Mike Bruce and Kirkpatrick Thomas have managed a miracle. They've made a celebration of the spaghetti western that both deconstructs and immortalizes what made this movie format shine. And they do so in a way that creates an astounding entertainment experience.

The Plot:
When his woman is killed by dire desperados, a gunslinger turned Preacher disappears into myth. Meanwhile, a Bounty Hunter is chasing scorpion poison drinking bad man El Sobero. During a desert shoot-out, he manages to capture one of the bastard's accomplices. Without a horse, our ersatz lawman must drag the body all the way back to the small town of Playa Diablo to collect the $1000 reward. In the tiny burg, the Sheriff suspects his wife is having an affair with his Deputy. Before he can confront the couple, he's in a showdown with El Sobero. After the bullets have settled, our hombre decides to destroy the village. Little does he know that the church he is burning down belongs to the man who's Missus he raped and killed long ago. With his trusty Bible in hand, and a very itchy trigger finger, we are about to witness the final standoff between good and evil. On the one side is a scruffy, sinister outlaw. On the other is a man of the cloth, and The Legend of God's Gun.

The DVD:
Like El Topo on even more peyote, or a spaghetti western as directed by Kenneth Anger channeling Federico Fellini, The Legend of God's Gun is an absolute masterpiece of style over surreal and slightly stereotyped substance. A homemade horse opera, shot of video and put through a millions different digital and post-production elements to create a cacophony of illustrative explosions, the result is a mindf*ck as episode of the hallucinogenic death metal version of Sugarfoot. With as much in common with the works of Jodoworski and Leone as those of Dennis Hooper (especially The Last Movie) and Sam Raimi (the quirky The Quick and the Dead), the end product is something so invigorating, so jam--packed with implausible pleasures that we really don't mind the inconsistent acting or lack of linear storytelling. Sure, some could argue that this is all arch artifice subbing for art, people role playing the Fistful films for the sake of some specious post-modern homage. But because of the loving care director Mike Bruce takes with the overall look of the action, and the numerous knowing beats provided by screenwriter Kirkpatrick Thomas, we get something more than just a glorified geekville serenade. Instead, this is inventive eye candy poised as categorical creativity, a fascinating cinematic case study given a whole new technological shimmer thanks to the 'anything goes' availability of amazing aesthetic tools.

If you want an illustration of how much tweaking this title has taken, quickly fast forward to the credits. After some cool actor title cards and a music video, we witness a selection of outtakes and gaffs. Captured in their original camcorder conceit, these sequences look amateurish at best. The substandard acting and less than successful framing feel just like a hundred other homemade movies. But the minute Bruce puts the footage through his PC, manipulating the compositions and adding ancillary pizzazz, the movie magic arrives. Colors are washed out and bleached, the basic backdrop rendered hot, arid, and sinister. Instead of performers plodding around a set, we see sinister shadows and iconic silhouettes. There is a stellar use of artifact elements like split screen, the fish eye lens, psychedelic kaleidoscope effects, radiant glare, and freeze framing, creating an old school sense of time and temperament. And since the story is told in snippets, providing ample room for spectacle and bullet sprays, an overall conceit is created. It's clear that Bruce is a fan of the '60s revisionist variation on the oater, but he's also a clear cut fan of comics, the music of Ennio Morricone, experimental artists like David Lynch and Luis Bunuel, and Hong Kong action films. He also has an exceptional ability to combine disp - dvdtalk.com


Discography

Currently Available:

"The Legend of God's Gun" - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

"Songs from the Ancient Age"

COMING IN 2008:

"The West"

Photos

Bio

“Truly out-of-sight, the seven-piece band celebrates the outlaw spirit with spooky, tripped-out variations on Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western tradition. Live, they swirl and tremble like a lucid dream, banging a gong and shaking their tambourines for rattlesnake effect, jamming until the audience feels engulfed by a sandstorm.”– Salt Lake City Weekly

“Spindrift stage experimental, epic, cinematically inspired music more akin to the textured, symphonic layers of Portishead than the chaps and 10-gallon hat–wearing Riders in the Sky….makes you feel like you’ve just been made love to by a handsome stranger, a genius visceral experience.” – L.A. Weekly

“…saddle on up for the Spindrift experience, which is sure to feel like wandering out of the sun-baked dunes of Death Valley while clutching a Flying Burrito Brothers LP and gumming a mouthful of peyote.” – Portland Mercury

“Thomas and his musical cohorts are creating a scene that embraces the outlaw…adding a psychedelic ingredient to the mix…he and other neo-cosmic cowboys have excavated an essence that seems more relevant today than ever before, a surreal and dark cowboy anti-hero for a spiritually and ethically decaying world.” – L.A. Alternative

“Spindrift’s songs meld the classic Western sound with ‘60s psychedelic rock.” – Monterey County Weekly

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The mists of Spindrift began casting their hypnotic haze upon the eastern shores of the United States in 1992. For the next decade, the captain of the mothership, singer/songwriter/guitar-slinger, Kirpatrick Thomas (a.k.a. “KP”), sailed the sonic sea, letting the music carry him and his band to faraway places to perform for audiences around the world. Eight records later, Kirpatrick felt the undeniable pull of the west, and ventured into the sunset in search of a new world.

On his journey, he met up with the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who took him out on tour with their band – a detour that would set the stage for the next incarnation of Spindrift. Ultimately landing in Los Angeles, Kirpatrick became fascinated by the history and heritage of his newly adopted home. Desert landscapes inspired new musical sound-scapes that paid homage to old western movies. For a time, KP bounced from sea to sea, simultaneously working on his classic psyche-pop album “Songs from the Ancient Age” with his east-coast band members, while also recruiting his gun-toting west coast contingent. L.A. musicians and desert dwellers embraced his bluesy psychedelic shoegaze and experimental explorations, and soon, Spindrift “west” would be born …and a new psychedelic western revival movement would begin.

By 2006, the east coast band was no more, and the west coast band had grown into a 9-member ensemble featuring current and former members of Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, and other Los Angeles psychedelic veterans. The band performed often at high-profile shows throughout Southern California, building an ever-growing fan base, and soon caught the ear of musician and DJ, Steve Jones, who began spinning the track “Red Reflection” regularly on his popular radio show, Jonesy’s Jukebox on L.A.’s Indie 103.1 FM. National tours followed, sharing the stage with bands as diverse as The Seeds, Dead Meadow, Vietnam, The Black Angels, A Place to Bury Strangers, Hopewell, John Doe, and even country legend Charlie Louvin of The Louvin Brothers, among others.

In July of 2007, the band co-produced a three-day benefit concert called, “Clean Air, Clear Stars” in the rustic, former-old-west-movie-location in Pioneertown, CA, located near Joshua Tree National Park in the high Mohave desert. The event, which was meant to create awareness to the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the delicate desert ecosystem, was a smashing success, bringing much needed revenue to the historic town.

Fans and critics alike began to rave about the signature wash of sound created by these sonic storytellers, which transports their audience through new dimensions of time and space. As the music carries their congregation to the constellations, the peyote-swirling sounds ignite movies in one’s mind.

With Spindrift's penchant for creating epic cinematic soundtracks, it comes as no surprise that the band has also embarked on a vision quest of their own, with the creation of the feature film, "The Legend of God's Gun." At the heart of the artfully shot independent feature film directed by Mike Bruce which was inspired by the '60s era spaghetti western movies, is the psychedelic sounds of SPINDRIFT.

Both haunting and hallucinogenic, "The Legend of God's Gun" soundtrack takes the listener on a cosmic journey through the desert as a preacher-turned-gunslinger sets out for vengeance.

With a guitar in one hand and six-shooter in the other, neo-cosmic cowboy Kirpatrick Thoma