Feb 222012
 

 

 

Chain D.L.K.: Let’s start with some questions about your work and the book you are writing about Christian Death singer Rozz Williams. I understand the book will be called “And what about the Bells?”. What will this contain?  Where will it be available in the U.S. and Europe?  What is the cost and what website address can we obtain copies? What rare piece never before seen poetry, artwork, letters, are new?  Can you describe what will make this different from the other book “The Art of Rozz Williams” what will make it better and fresher than the previous?

 

Ryan Wildstar: The book was released in November of 2010 through the French Publishers, Camion Blanc and may be purchased in Europe through their website,www.camionblanc.com. An English translation of the book is in the works right now with Malaise Music. The book is in two parts. The first part of the book is a biography by Sebastien Michaud called “Le Theatre des Douleurs,” which is comprised of many interviews and quotes from some of the people who were closest to Rozz, including myself, all talking about his life. The second half, “And what About the Bells?” is a book of his poetry, which I edited and compiled and wrote a very personal introduction for, of never before seen poems, many of which are the original pieces that later became song lyrics. It was something that we had always talked about doing, publishing our writing together. We wanted to start a publishing company called R&R Productions and put out both a book of his poetry and a book of my poetry and then another book of our collected writings. I still intend to release both my own book of poetry as well as our collective writings sometime in the very near future.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Does it make it more special and sentimental to you since you put it out and you were closer to Rozz than the others were? Is it more heartfelt? Do you feel this was necessary to keep is art alive?

 

Ryan Wildstar: It was definitely a labor of love. I felt that it was important to let some of his closest friends and collaborators give their impressions about Rozz the person, not Rozz the artist. I also think that it was important to publish the poetry because it was something important to Rozz, to be taken seriously as a writer, not just a musician and artist. He really wanted a book of his poems that would stand on its own. I believe it does.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How did you meet Rozz and Where at?

 

Ryan Wildstar: We met in Los Angeles in 1989 or 1990. My boyfriend at the time, Erik Christides, was interviewing him and Eva for an article he was writing. We went to Paris’s house (the keyboard player for Shadow Project at the time) where Rozz and Eva were living. That is where it all began. About 2 months later, he was living with us!

 

Chain D.L.K.: How was Rozz as a roommate?

 

Ryan Wildstar: He could be totally wild and raucous at times and then very quiet and introspective at others. His moods also changed a lot depending on how much he was drinking. He was fastidious and loved to decorate the house as well as cook. He was definitely a homebody. He loved being at home and hosting parties.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Did you get along well with Rozz and did you record in your apartment

 

Ryan Wildstar: We got along extremely well, but we had our difficulties like any friendship or two people who live together for a long time. I mean we lived together for 8 years. He was a brother to me, one of my dearest friends. We had a deep bond and a love for one another that is one of the greatest I have had in my life. We did not really record in the apartment but we made many mix tapes and we did a lot of collages and cut-ups and writing together. We also sang along, loudly, to a lot to our favorite songs.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Did you have a hand in “Le Invitation De Suicide” such as booking Rozz’s shows and promoting him?

 

Ryan Wildstar: No. I did not know him then. I was never involved with Rozz on a business level at all.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Did anything specific happen, that stemmed from lyrics from his songs, personal experiences, thought processes, dreams, loss of loved ones or friends?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I know he wrote many of his poems, which later turned into lyrics, from his dreams. He always kept a dream journal. Certainly, love and the pain of existence were two of his major themes.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What was one of your most special moments that Rozz and you experienced?

Ryan Wildstar: I think one of my favorite memories was getting up on Saturdays and watching the TV show Absolutely Fabulous together, it was like a ritual for us. We would go to the market, get Champagne and Vodka, drink along with Patsy and Eddie, and laugh our asses off. We laughed together so much. That is what I miss most, his laughter.

 

Chain D.L.K.:  What music other than Rozz’s did you listen to at the apartment?

 

Ryan Wildstar: We really did not listen to our own music very much at home. Occasionally. For the most part, we listened to A LOT of T-Rex, Bowie, Sparks, New York Dolls, The Germs, X-ray Specs, Martin Denny, Nico, Kate Bush, Peggy Lee; The Cocteau Twins…the list could go on forever. Let us just say that between the two of us, we had a crazy amount of music from every genre and every period. We were very diverse.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Did any musicians ever play in your apartment?

 

Ryan Wildstar: No, we did not record at home. We wrote a lot at home.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What travels were the most favored by you and Rozz?  Places, cities, countries, continents and states?

 

Ryan Wildstar: We never traveled abroad together, but one of our favorite places to go was to the beach at Malibu. We had a favorite secluded beach were people rarely went and it was shady. There was an underpass there that was like a big tunnel under the highway and we used to do performances there. That was always a great time down at the beach. Sometimes there would be 20 or 30 people down there having a big party and playing music.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What was a favorite tourist attraction that you and Rozz favored visiting?

 

Ryan Wildstar: One of our favorite places to go was Houdini’s Magic Castle in Hollywood. It is a private club but our friend Cecelia worked there so she used to get us in. We always had a blast there.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What were a few of Rozz’s favorite things?

 

Ryan Wildstar: He loved to read, literature was certainly one of his favorite things. He loved to drink; vodka was definitely another one of his favorite things. He loved animals of all kinds and they loved him, especially Raven, he and Eva’s cat that lived with us for a while too. He loved shows about serial killers and social deviants. He also loved antiques- furniture, trinkets, jewelry and oddities. I do, as well, so our house was like a crazy museum.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What vices did you and he have in common such as habits, hobbies and interests?

Ryan Wildstar:  It was certainly drugs in the beginning. We did pretty much any we could get our hands on, but primary Heroin, which was the primary impetus for The Whorse’s Mouth. Fortunately, we both quit in 1995. One of the main things we had in common was our love of French writers like Artaud, Genet, and Cocteau. That was one of the first things we bonded us together. Of course William S. Burroughs.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What symbolism did you hold dear between yourselves? “1334” and inside jokes and riddles? For example I always wake up to 11:34 does the numbers on the clock do the same for you?

 

Ryan Wildstar: As far as symbolism goes, I would say that we both certainly had an affinity with the Swastika. We both felt, and I still do, that it is such a powerful symbol, present in so many ancient cultures around the world, that was misappropriated by the Nazis. Rozz used the symbol a lot in his work and it always unsettled people. I think he was trying in many ways to take the symbol back from Hitler and restore it to its proper place of respect and spiritual potency.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How has his death changed things you believe on the Death rock community now, that he coined?  How do you feel about the new Death rock movement now?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I cannot really say much about that. It is funny but Rozz never really considered himself part of the death rock/goth community at all. He just saw himself as a musician. If anything, I think he identified much more with the punk rock scene.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What was Rozz to you? Was he a Prophet, ahead of his time, a forerunner, eternal soul everlasting?

 

Ryan Wildstar: To me, Rozz was a brother and one of the best friends I have ever had.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I understand you and Rozz worked on the “Whorse’s Mouth” together, what inspirations were drown from you all in the making of this album? Artistically, poetically, philosophically, certain stimuli, such as surroundings, and musically?  Do you feel this CD was on of the best since it was more up close and personal?

 

Ryan Wildstar: As I mentioned before, the album really began when we were completely addicted to Heroin. Rozz, Erik, and I were living together, we were strung-out, and I think we all really wanted to get free from it. I used to keep my typewriter on the kitchen table and one day I got up and started typing the first few lines of a poem, which later became the song “Raped” on “The Whorse’s Mouth” and is now called “Hemispheric Energy” on my new album, Ryan Wildstar- A City of Brittle Stars. Anyway, Rozz heard me typing and when I got up and went into the bathroom, I came back to find him typing the next few lines of the poem. Moreover, that is how it started. We just left the typewriter there for about two years and wrote back and forth to each other. It was one of the most amazing writing experiences I have ever had with anyone else. Sometimes afterwards, neither of us could tell who wrote what. It was essentially one long cadavre exquis, like the Surrealists used to do. The Whorse’s Mouth was definitely one of the best pieces that came out of that collaboration.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How has your music changed, since working with Rozz?  I am interested in the progression, direction and the future insights as a new regime to forerun this new age deathrock community out there? What do you feel is your uniqueness and strengths?

 

Ryan Wildstar: When I started the band EXP with Paris back in 1991, it really began as a soundtrack to a performance piece I had written for the theater called Unnatural Habitat. I did not think of myself as a musician at all. Little by little, I think Rozz helped encourage me to think of myself as a singer and I think EXP, because so many of the songs were experimental spoken-word pieces, actually encouraged him to put out his own spoken word albums and think of himself as a poet. It was a symbiotic experience and we all very much encouraged each other. EXP was one of Rozz’s favorite bands and he asked to join the band, playing bass, in 1995 when we finally recorded our album. I think with my last album, A City of Brittle Stars as well as with the album I am currently recording, I am exploring my singing voice more and blending the lines between spoken word and song. I do often hear the pieces and think that Rozz would really be proud of me. I think he would like what I am doing now.

 

Chain D.L.K.:  What art have you released?  What inspires your music and your art?  Do you paint, watercolors, charcoal, what other mediums do you use? Any other substances you use that are different from other artists?  What techniques do you use that differs from others if there are any?

 

Ryan Wildstar: My artwork actually began when I moved to Paris in 2000. I really began doing art because I felt like I could no longer express myself with words. I wanted to try to express myself by combining charged objects, collage and organic materials into assemblage art. It is really very psychological and theatrical for me. My pieces are like little worlds that tell their own story. It is rather hard to describe but you can see many of the pieces on my website, www.ryanwildstar.com.

 

Chain D.L.K.:  Your lyrics follow in the vein of true spoken word like Rozz, do you feel he is helping you push the pen to ink speaking from the beyond and helping you write with him in some sort of ethereal eternal bond?

 

Ryan Wildstar: Absolutely not. I started writing poetry when I was 10 years old. Most of the lyrics on my new album as well as the ones on EXP were written long before I ever knew Rozz. Aside from the material, we wrote together, like the Whorse’s Mouth, I think we have different voices and styles. I totally respect Rozz’s writing but my writing and lyrics emanate from my own soul and really come from my own experiences, thoughts and feelings. They are my own personal scream of life. As I said, though, I certainly feel his encouragement.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Is your music dedicated solely to Rozz, or other dead or alive dark romantics out there. If so who and why?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I cannot say my music is dedicated to anyone, unless it is my beautiful husband, Ryan O’Connell-Elston. He certainly gives me the most encouragement and support. Not to mention that all the music I am currently doing is composed and played by my musical collaborator, Jacen Touchstone. He is an incredible soundscape artist and mastermind and without him, none of the current material would exist. We have an amazing collaborative relationship. In addition, on a City of Brittle Stars, as I mentioned before, I have a re-interpreted version of the song “Raped” from The Whorse’s Mouth with its original lyrics re-titled “Hemispheric Energy.” Therefore, if you are a fan of The Whorse’s Mouth, you should definitely check that out. I also have a couple songs that pay homage to two of my favorite poets. One is the opening song of the album called “Apology of Genius,” which is a poem by the late modernist writer Mina Loy, which I have put to song. Definitely check her work out as well if you are not familiar. She was an amazing poet and artist who was way ahead of her time. The other is a French rendition of the poem Horus by one of my favorite writers of all time, the French symbolist writer, Gerard de Nerval.

 

Chain D.L.K.: As Bowie was the reason, Rozz wrote and honored all the time. Do you feel the same that Bowie still moves your music as it did for Rozz?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I would have to disagree that solely Bowie inspired Rozz. I think he had a multitude of influences, as do I. Bowie was definitely one of his favorite artists and I think inspired him to make music in the first place, as he did for an entire generation of musicians. Moreover, while I absolutely love Bowie (except for the Lets Dance shit), I cannot say he has much to do with the kind of music I create. I think I was originally inspired to do more spoken-word-driven music by people like Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, Jim Morrison and William S. Burroughs.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What classification do you call your music? For example “Cinema Strange” calls there music “art rock” do you classify it at all? Do you pay attention to the new artist that are coming out or do you stay old school and true to the roots?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I will leave the classifications for everyone else. I guess you could call it Wildstar Transmissions. I listen to everything and anything I can get my hands on. I have pretty vast and voracious tastes in music. A play list on my computer might have you listening to Captain Beefheart followed by IamX, Cindytalk, Nina Simone and Judy Henske. You just never know. But yeah, I try to check out the new artists as much as I can.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What are a few of your favorite things?

 

Ryan Wildstar: Unbridled Nature. Great old-world wines. Great Literature. Great Food. Great Films. Great Music. Great Art. Great Sex. Love. What else is there?

 

Chain D.L.K.: Who are your heroes?

 

Ryan Wildstar: Wow, way too many to name, but I will throw a few at you just for the hell of it. Antonin Artaud, Jean Genet, Jean Cocteau, William S. Burroughs, Mina Loy, Gerard de Nerval, Nina Simone, Iris Murdoch, Mary Renault, Elizabeth Fraser/Cocteau Twins, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Salvador Dali, Joseph Campbell, Julia Child, Oscar Wilde, Voltaire, Paracelsus, Gandhi, …the list could go on for ages.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What message to the masses do you feel you are portraying to the masses?

 

Ryan Wildstar: I think I am really just trying to communicate what is inside my soul, inside my mind, the scream of life, what it is like to be Ryan Wildstar. I do not think there is any overt message. I guess I could sum it up with a line from one of my poems, “peel back the skin and let the whole chaotic vision of existence ooze in.”

 

Chain D.L.K.: Would you ever want to go back in time, meet Rozz once again to record, and write more albums?  If you could, what would you do differently?

 

Ryan Wildstar: No. I wish Rozz were still here, very much. However, I never want to go back, only forward.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What are some tips to surviving starving artist out there?

 

Ryan Wildstar: Learn how to cook.

 

Visit Ryan Wildstar on the web at:
www.ryanwildstar.com

 

[Interview: Michelle Russo]