Thursday, June 12, 2008

william s. burroughs



paging dr. benway!

Jon mentioned somewhere that Burroughs was on a list of beatniks he met. I can't remember where, but drop in on his site Poetry Is For Assholes. It's an interesting visit.

The following track is from Gus Van Sant's 1985 release, "the Elvis of Letters", produced shortly before he dropped music in favour of film. Apparently, most of the original vocal recordings featured were culled from the 1966 "Call Me Burroughs" LP, which i've never had the pleasure of hearing.

Van Sant employed a similar "cut up" technique on this record to the one credited to Burroughs and fellow beatnik, Bryon Gysin in their pioneering early work. Burroughs, of course, subsequently returned the favour and delivered a significant cameo performance in Van Sant's "Drugstore Cowboy".

It works extremely well.

WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS & GUS VAN SANT: MILLIONS OF IMAGES from "The Elvis Of Letters" EP (Cutout/Tim Kerr Records) 1985 (US)

4 comments:

Matt said...

"Bless you my son. For That you deserve an indulgance." ... or something like that. I haven't seen Drugstore Cowboy in a long time. Great film, though.

I've got the box set from Giorno poetry sessions, and the hip-hoppy Spare Ass Annie and Dead City Radio. Also, a sampler that came with the hardback "Word Virus" compendium, as well as other singles here and there, but never heard this one, so thanks!

Lost, are my copies of "Call Me Burroughs" (I give it ** out of ****. Interesting, but not really vital) and Junky read by Burroughs (which is phenominal, if you can track it down). If you come by either of those, though, you should be a happy operator!

Jon said...

Somewhat stupid embarrassing story behind my meeting with WSB. I'll tell it some time, but you must be ever so good. When I was 16 I heard Allen Ginsberg read in his home town of Paterson, New Jersey. I literally sat at his feet. He took a break and we all went and stood around in the hall. I bumped into him. He said, "Oh, excuse me." I said something similar. I met Lawrence Ferlinghetti under similar circumstances. I was good friends with a sculptor named Pete Broom. Peter was not known as a beat, but he lived in The Beat Hotel in Paris and knew Burroughs, Kerouac, Corso, Ginsberg etc. He was an art student from Kansas who discovered heroin in Paris. He was a bit younger than the beats, but living in similar straitened circumstances.

ib said...

Matt: kind of a happy coincidence that this one is new to you. You look to have all of the bases covered! Interesting about "Junky" - the only thing I have is 103rd Street Boys (an excerpt from the album you allude to ?) from the buroughs & john giorno LP from '75 on GPS. This is just om MP3, mind you, not on original vinyl.

ib said...

Jon, you have clearly led an interesting life. I've only been to Paris once - which is insane, considering how close it is geographically - and it was a beautiful city, but much more costly, I suspect, than in the days when all those writers converged on the pornographers of Paris in order to get their work published.

Burroughs is that altogether rare old bird in that his life was just as rich as his writing. I think I got more of a kick reading his biography (a truly vast volume) than maybe any of his fiction and verse.