Tom from St. Louis, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: What’s next for circus devils?
Dear Tom: An album is in the works for 2013. Circus Devils has recently become fascinated with new technology. The band also keeps in mind that whenever artists of the past have become enamored with new technology and have gone through a crisis of identity in the context of an ever-changing world, their creative output has always been of the highest caliber. Think of Neil Young’s TRANS.
Tom from St. Louis, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: What’s up with the I RAZOR movie? Is is turning out well? Will uncle Bob play a part?
Dear Tom: As of summer, 2012, the movie I RAZOR is being whipped into shape and should be finished for October viewing for the donor community. Be advised that NO members of circus devils appear in the movie. As to how it’s turning out, I would say it’s almost as good as Christmas on Walton’s Mountain.
Dan Thomas from Mayfield Heights, Ohio USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: 1) Was the puking sound in "Double Vission" really necessary? 2)Any chance you'll record another epic like "Sgt. Disco"?
Dear Dan: In the original version of “Double Vission,” diarrhea was a central part of the song’s unfolding drama. When we played the album (pre-release) for friends, they laughed uproariously during the section of Double Vission when the protagonist suffers from his affliction. This was NOT the effect the band was after, so the change was made in favor of vomiting. I would go as far as to say that the puking in Double Vission was as necessary as puking is in any situation where the body rejects food. Haven’t you found that to be true? With regard to the term “epic,” if by that you mean “long and drawn out,” it’s not likely that another album of that sort will be made.
Admiral Fatbottom from East BamBamBamington: Dear Sgt. Disco: Recently, I find myself whispering to strangers, "those boxes over there on the floor contain paralyzing secrets." This is not as well received by the strangers as you would think. Thoughts?
Dear Fatbottom: You seem surprised by the reaction of strangers to your remarks. I suggest you start with a simple “Hi.” Nobody wants to hear about that box. No matter if it’s sitting there in plain sight.
Chris Warner from Dayton, Ohio, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: Thanks to Circus Devils for writing such creative, spontaneous, scary and rocking music. My question is: How do they make the magic happen? Meaning, with band members in different locations, do the guys write the music first and then the lyrics? Or do they write songs based on the mood of the lyrics?
Dear Chris: At long last! A question about music!! If you don’t want to be disillusioned about what you call the magic, then please cover your eyes as you read the following description. Circus Devils has two distinct factories, so to speak. Both factories are in Ohio. Factory North produces the music, and Factory South injects the vocal melody and lyrics. These factories operate without knowing what the other is up to. To put it another way, the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing. For circus devils, this is the way things must be. This is what makes the creation of the albums exciting for the band.
In terms of the process, the music comes first. Sometimes Bob informs the music writing process when he has a particular concept prepared before work begins on the album. More often however, a large (usually very large) collection of instrumental pieces are written first, and then auditioned to Bob, who then makes his selections. The mystery involved is part of the excitement of making the records. The result is indeed magical to those involved directly with the process. We are glad that you have also found it to be magical. Some view this particular songwriting process as somehow less “authentic” than the conventional manner of writing. Say that to Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Gringito-San from New Zealand: Dear Sgt. Disco: When does the Capsized! tour start? Is it possible to book the Circus Devils for our company's holiday party? I believe the presence of the band would increase the awesomeness of said party googleplex-fold. Something to consider.
Dear Gringito-San: Any reason to go to New Zealand is a good one. But playing live has proven too risky for Circus Devils, in any context. From police balls to monasteries, it’s always been the same story. Hospital bills have far surpassed performance earnings.
Ruth from Cross Village: Dear SGt. Disco: It has saddened the children of many that the once fruitful and much beloved tales of the Sgt. and the Devils seem to have gone fallow. Is it all the newly acquired attention from the ladyfolk? Come back.
Dear Ruth: Pardon the inattention as of late. Ladyfolk have a way of making men believe that when they go to their basements and carry on with their hobbies -- whether it be ham radio operating, or music recording, or tinkering with models – that the men are somehow involved in activities less important than “real life.” This kind of thinking will never stop men from doing what they must do.
Fats from Texas, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: What is your take on 2012 as the end of time according to the ancient Mayans?
Dear Fats: The end of time is not a cinematic event. It is a slow leeching of our humanity over a period of decades, culminating in the rise of a programmed human race indistinguishable from the technology we have created. 2012 is the pivot year, where those on the path of darkness fall to one side, and those on the path of light fall to the other. Now is the time Fats to make your decision about which path you wish to take.
Here is a simple quiz to help you determine on which path you feel most at home. Question #1) Does the idea of going on a picnic or reading classic literature, or building something with your hands seem taxing and pointless when you consider the alternative (staring at screens, indulging your selfish appetites, or passively being entertained)? Question #2) Do you enjoy staring at screens all day, the way you are doing right now? Question #3) Do you smugly take the side of skeptics whenever something unexplained or mysterious is brought up? Question #4) When confronted with an apple and a cupcake, do you immediately go for the cupcake? If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then there is little doubt which path you are on.
Ian from Montreal Canada: Dear Sgt. Disco: Am I in Canada because I don't like circus devils, or do I not like circus devils because I'm in Canada? Thanks in advance, and I like the music even if circus devils is objectionable.
Dear Ian: Never thank anyone in advance. That’s a rule that even Canadians should follow. Now, do you like Circus Devils or don’t you? Your remarks are conflicting on this matter. Or has your Canadian imperative for politeness overruled all other considerations, including making sense?
Andre “Poodle” Lussier from Outer Syracuse: Dear Sgt. Disco: Are the Circus Devils also unreal?
Dear Andre: Yes. Everything that is real is also unreal, by virtue of its reality. On the other hand, purely unreal things can never be real. Nothing can be purely real unless time is removed as a factor in its examination. And as far as I know, no one has discovered a way to extract time from existence in any way, shape or form. We are stuck with time, so we are forced to confront the inherent unreality of all things which are real today, but were not real yesterday, and will not be real tomorrow.
The act of speaking about a thing and calling it unreal affirms its reality. Let’s stretch out this idea. To be unreal is the starting point of all real things, including the universe in the whole. Nothing is the starting point of something. To say that something is real is an affirmation in the face of eternal unreality. Unreality and nothingness can be seen as a cosmic negation and a horror in the light of a transitory human life and human creative endeavors. On the other hand, taking a less grim view, unreality can also be seen as an immense empty canvas upon which absolutely everything has been painted.
Cast your mind back into primordial time, to the very beginning of all that has ever existed. If you stretch your imagination that far, you will come to realize that Nothingness has made room for Something. Nothingness, as the foundation for all that has ever been or ever will be, could easily have prevailed, and remained true to its own absolute supremacy for all eternity. But instead, nothingness yielded and passively gave way for something to exist. We don’t know how or why this came to pass, but here we are.
We participate in the eternal life of humanity by proceeding from nothingness. We find ourselves here, a mystery within a mystery. So we take our small stake in reality a step further by making things ourselves. Being creative is how we struggle against the nothingness that underlies our existence, and at the same time, this is how we affirm and celebrate the nothingness back to which all things go.
Angry white male from Illinois, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: I have two words for circus devils. UNCLE TOM!!
Dear Mr. White Male: Okay. That’s not so bad.
Renny from Jersey: Dear Sgt. Disco: Are you like the equivalent of Colonel Tom (Elvis' manager) to the boys in Circus Devils?
Dear Renny: That is a fair comparison, yes.
Mr. Boh from West Slamerica: Dear Sgt. Disco: Do the Circus Devils support SLAMMING IT?
Dear Mr. Boh: Slamming what? A brew? A basketball? A finger in the car door? A face on the table? I mostly think these are good things, but you need to be more specific.
Braga from São Paulo Brazil: Dear Sgt. Disco: What about Todd, Tim, Bob and any drummer on a Gig, here in Brazil, in the next Rock In Rio?
Dear Mr. Braga: A splendid idea. Todd is the drummer. Any guitar player will do.
Neal from Close but Far Away: Dear Sgt. Disco: Capsized! Rules! Any truth to the story that Bob made the band take an ill-fated boating trip out on Enon Beach?
Dear Neal: never do this yourself. Your stomach will regret the decision.
Freeman Krauthammer from Crockett, California, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: FWIW, a friend recently asked me about prog and psych music. He bascially hadn't heard any of it or even heard of any of the bands/artists I mentioned, other than Jimi Hendrix. So, I pondered for a moment and came to the realization that the best place for a total noob to start would be with the Sgt. Disco album. It's like one long medley of the cream of the genres, with most of the naivete and inefficiency trimmed like extra fat. Then, one can delve into the past from there based on one's favorite tracks on the album.
However, this so-called "friend" wanted me to burn the album for him. I told him it wasn't corporate rock and he needed to actually go to the store or online and buy it. Long story short, I stood on general principles and you guys probably didn't end up with an extra fan. Plus, he probably thinks I'm a dick now.
Dear Freeman: Being a dick for justice is a sign of your nobility and integrity. Continue to stand your ground against parasitic, penny-pinching freeloading, miserly music consumers like your friend. Unpopular acts like circus devils need fans like you. As to your generous evaluation of Sgt DISCO, my humble thanks in particular. But I'm afraid the band members have resigned themselves to the fact that Circus Devils will not go down in history as contributors to the Psychedelic or Progressive Rock canon. Circus Devils is a lonely wanderer in the wasteland called modern music in the digital age.
John from Hartford, Conneticut: Dear Sgt. Disco: I need to know how to seduce a woman. Please advise.
Dear John: Which woman? How old is she? Did she have a happy childhood? Was her relationship to her father distant or damaged? Has she dabbled in same sex activity? Does she have a poor self-image? Does she exhibit spiritual leanings, or is she a common, everyday drone? Your answers will depend on the individual woman in question. Women are not like men (ie: predictable). Without detailed knowledge, your best bet is to perform a generic seduction. We advise that you leave this delicate work to a professional, but if your budget is tight, do the following: Write a discreet note to this woman and make her understand that you think of her night and day, and dream of nothing but cuddling with her long into the night. Statistically speaking, this message will likely hit the target in a sampling of women over the age of 30. However, for younger women, or women over 30 with an athletic build, you simply have no chance. All you can do is wait and hope that somehow you will catch her eye. Otherwise, we suggest you do the sensible thing and hook up with that nice girl you routinely overlook who actually enjoys your company. Good luck John!