Clinton from London, Ontario, Canada: Dear Sgt. Disco: What is the best Circus Devils album to start with?
Dear Clint: SGT. DISCO, of course.
HOWEVER, to properly answer your question we will need to launch into an egg-head discussion about Apollonian verses Dionysian musical expressions. For those who need refreshed, where Apollo strives toward harmony and balance and higher thought, Dionysus delves into the unconscious and gives over to dream and sometimes to frenzy and mayhem. This dichotomy can be used to categorize many of the bands, artists, and albums you are already familiar with. By the same token, a listener can also be classified the same way. Are you an Apollonian or a Dionysian listener? Maybe it depends on your mood on any given day. For example, in an Apollonian mood, you might enjoy Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony or the Beatles' Abbey Road. And if you're in a Dionysian mood, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring might be good, or Tom Waits’ Bone machine. So your question regarding which circus devils album to start with depends on these factors as they apply to you and/or your current mood. Here is a list of circus devils albums, classified with the following letter abbreviations.
A= Appolonian / D= Dionysian.
- GRINGO (2009) A : The most accessible album tune-wise, and for this reason, maybe the best introduction. A good preparation for the more challenging material on the previous albums.
- ATAXIA (2008) D : Manic and dark. The best introduction if you are naturally gravitated toward the D-side of life.
- Sgt. DISCO (2007) D + A : Something here for everyone. Chock full of listening adventure.
- FIVE (2005) D : Pure id music, so much so that the band does not recall making this album.
- PINBALL MARS (2004) D : Gut level rock and lullabies sung in half-sleep. Full of characters and danger and good fun. Not bad for a first pick.
- The HAROLD PIG MEMORIAL (2002) A : Measured and sober. A full-fledged concept album. For serious listeners.
- RINGWORM INTERIORS (2001) DD: This album represents circus devils as a primordial creature climbing out of the muck and toward the light, and then back into the muck. Not the best introduction. But rewarding for those who enjoy a jarring ride.
I hope this summary will help you make an informed decision, Clint. Thanks for giving circus devils a try. We recommend listening to each album from beginning to end. The albums are written as albums, and can be approached the same way you might approach a film, or a trip to a foreign land, or a night of sleep. And one more thing. It may require patience on your part. Everyone tells us that it takes multiple listens to "get it." We don't understand what they mean, but they all say so.
Scott from Duluth, Minnesota: Dear Sgt. Disco: What will I expect from Gringo? Should I expect something a little different than circus devils’ previous efforts?
Dear Scott: Yes you will! Gringo is an album that proves that a band can rock without electric guitars. Well, maybe that's going too far. But folks tell me it's an enjoyable, breezy listen compared to the other records. Gringo is an acoustic song cycle, and as always, in terms of content, there is a trip. The action takes place during an unspecified time period (probably the past, and probably the late 20th century, and probably the 1970s and 1980s, and probably the American Southwest), and it follows the life of a single character . . . Not you, Scott, but some other guy that you probably never met. His name is not Harold Pig, by the way.
The Bringer from British Columbia, Canada: Dear Sgt. Disco: What will be the next Circus Devils album after Gringo?
Dear Bringer: The next album will be titled GRONGO. It will be sung entirely in the language of the Shfarg people, a prehistoric tribe recently discovered living in remote areas of Greenland. It will be the first ever rock album sung in a formerly-extinct language.
Newsworth Oaf from episode 3 of the prisoner series: Dear Sgt. Disco: It would be cool if, on the next "pellet" that there would be a story on the gatefold sleeve, much like Genesis' THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY. I would like to see Circus Devils take on The Lamb Lies Down. What the hell is it about? I have my own opinions, but c'mon! Nobody ever wants to talk about it.
Dear Newsworth: I got Peter Gabriel on the phone this morning and asked him your question about the LAMB. He says he doesn't want to talk about it. Maybe he doesn't know what it means either. Pete reckons that we should just listen to the songs and look to our own impressions for meaning. Maybe he's right. Sometimes we should let sleeping lambs lie.
H. Dog from Alamogordo, New Mexico: Dear Sgt. Disco: I thought Ataxia was never gonna come out. It was like waiting for Guns and Roses Chinese Democracy. But all of a sudden, under a chilly twilight tinged sky there it was. In my mailbox. I put it on. Played it twice. For the next month or so my dreams will be plagued. Note to self: never listen to Circus Devils while making a sandwich. Arguments ensue that end up in broken plates. Anyway--im gonna play this album for friends, then they will say "is it in surroundsound? Is it gonna be remixed (in some f*&king bullshit way) so I can play it in my blu-ray player? Quadrophonic? When I say no, my friends will laugh me off as a charlatan. Thats OK though I guess.
Dear Mr. Dog: Circus Devils can be heard in life-like Stereo. Your friends ask too much. The band’s recording budget is the same as their budget for mouthwash.
Freddy from Madison, Wisconsin: Dear Sgt. Disco: Are you related to Sister Disco? Or perhaps a distant cousin of Disco Duck? What about Disco in your mouth?
Dear Freddy: I believe your question is rhetorical and fashioned in an attempt to be cute and funny. This will not be tolerated.
Sven from Erie, Pennsylvania: Dear Sgt. Disco: Is politics a concern of Circus Devils?
Dear Sven: Circus Devils proudly supports any candidate who willfully abandons tradition in order to create healthy turmoil. Even unhealthy turmoil is better than what we have endured so far this century. One day Circus Devils hopes to see the first non-human elected President of the United States. You may think this is a joke, but it's not. The future is a strange place only because you haven't been there yet. There will be no end to the wonders and horrors found there.
Wulf from South Florida, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: Is Ataxia going to kick my ass like it says in all the pop magazines?
Dear Wulf: We don't know what will happen to you, friend. I can pretend to know what will happen and say "Yes it will kick your ass hard." But that would be arrogant and presumptuous. So I will not say it.
Buddy Love from Greeley, Colorado: Dear Sgt. Disco: em> Hey fella, I need to ask if circus devils music is inspired by real devils or by THE DEVIL himself?
Dear Buddy: There is no room in this band for another devil. If you don't believe me, consider that any rock band in league with Lucifer enjoys immense riches and the allegiance of tens of thousands. Consider that circus devils doesn't have a single human groupie. The truth is, Satan hates circus devils because their music is better than anything he can do.
W.B. Treves from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: What is a good circus devils make out song?
Dear W.B.: The best circus devils make out song is Rose in Paradise. It will make you and your lover clutch each other and weep hard. Your intense wish to console each other’s anguish will get out of hand to the point where you have no choice but to smother each other with sofa cushions. I’m just saying. How can you get more romantic than that?
Billy Mumpwater from Sacramento, CA (a future salt lake): Dear Sgt. Disco: The album bearing your namesucked the first time I listened to it, except for two songs. It sucked the second time I listened to it, except for four songs. It kinda sucked the third time I listened to it, except for about every third song... Now that I'm on my thirtieth or so listen, it's one of my top ten favorite albums ever. Good thing I listen to albums that suck enough times to give them a chance to change my mind (written as I make another probably futile attempt to get to know and/or like The Jam's 'In The City')
Dear Billy: This is an inspiring story. It illustrates a truth that is not often admitted by music critics, who must work with deadlines, and lack the time to explore a record and allow it to grow on them. The records that stay with us are often those that were difficult to take at first, or that seemed to alienate us by not giving us what we expected. We hope that others will take your example, because the kind of patience and sense of adventure you exhibit are not common in an age when music that one has been trained to enjoy is obtainable on demand.
Robert from Los Angeles, CA: Dear Sgt. Disco: Circus Devils makes me want to move. I want to pick up my things and move because I think Circus Devils’ albums sound better outside of Los Angeles. Can you explain or pontificate?
Dear Robert: Everything sounds better away from Los Angeles. Even the crickets and the nut hatch. If you want to enjoy music then just get out of there. But I heard that some things look better in Los Angeles . . . some things with names like Cindy and Ashley.
Jack from Muncie, Indiana: Dear Sgt. Disco: Does circus devils love America?
Dear Jack: Here is a better question: Do we love Americans?
We love most Americans. But we must answer no to this question when it applies to two distinct groups of Americans in our midst. The first group is the fundamentalist religious / pro-violence / anti-love set who are proud in their ignorance, and seek the herd for safety. Remember, their vote at the polls is equal to yours, so be cautious before you dismiss them as country kooks. Such Americans can be seen at their feed troughs at the buffet in the local shopping plaza on a saturday, or at the tractor pull, or worshiping on Sunday morning at one of those mega-churches where they display the flag and preach of a Jesus who promises to make all our American dreams come true.
It may surprise you to learn that the Americans we hate the most have been to college. Yes, the second group of Americans we speak of are members of a secret club called the SONS OF DRACO. These so-called "educated" men are the privileged sons of certain wealthy families who deem it part of their offspring's pedigree to be a member of this club. They meet in underground grottoes scattered across the country. One of these underground clubhouses is right here in Ohio! Members include almost every famous American who is NOT in show business, except one. Van you guess his name? Know them by their beady eyes and thin lips.
Because we love America, we must do everything in our power to protect it from both of these groups mentioned above. Both the working class, flag-waving, fundamentalist church-goers, and the lipless, WASP, ivy league elite must be resisted if our great nation is to survive and retain its soul.
Kirill from Moscow, Russia: Dear Sgt. Disco: Yesterday I played "Outlasting Girafolo" like 12 times in a row. I'm a seminarian and supposed to pray all day but now I'm only able to hum "Girafolo" to Jesus. Bob's his favorite!
Dearest Kirill: Jesus knows what is cool. Trust Jesus.
Valerie from Manchester, New Hampshire: Dear Sgt. Disco: I read somewhere that the world will end on December 21st, 2012. Is this true? I am worried about this because I'm 13, so I will still be a teenager when the end of the world comes. Do you realize how much that sucks?! Well anyway, circus devils rules! Did I say that right?
Dear Valerie: High marks for you. Circus devils is singular. Hence, it rules.
The world as we know it is ending all the time. If you want to worry, then worry about all that has already been lost. For all we know, the collected fruits of mankind's imagination are like shining jewels in the crown of our galaxy. Then again, it may be the case that all of humanity's achievements amount to a hill of rotten beans. Whatever the case, as humans we should bear witness to all that has come before as the bounty of mankind's collected imagination, and strive to decorate our souls with it. Rejoice young lady in your youth. Don't waste energy fretting about the approaching end. Observe the following excerpt from the essay entitled "the Library is On Fire" by Steve Five:
Art is ephemeral. Life is ephemeral. Man's feeble attempt to make his mark on history throughout the ages reflects these facts. A prime and literal example of this is the destruction of the library at Alexandria, Egypt in ancient times. Man had spent the ages of his intellectual dawning fighting against the ephemeral nature of art and history, creating cuneiform and whole documented systems of communication - only for these recordings to be lost forever for future generations. Laughable or sad? You decide.
Geronimo Mason from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, USA: Dear Sgt. Disco: I am in possession of sound recordings of myself and others behaving scandalously; do Circus Devils have a mailing address where I can send them? Why did Oswald have to go home to get his revolver if he had already smuggled his rifle into work? Wouldn't he have just taken the revolver with him as well?
Dear Geronimo: If you want to email circus devils, it's easy. Just write to firstname.lastname@example.org. What kind of scandalous things are you and your friends doing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base? Could it be heavy petting with aliens? Yes, I mean the kind captured from crashed spacecraft.
We have no quarrel with those who dredge up the past, because we don't wish to repeat the mistakes of history. But why continue to struggle with the lone gunman theory? Even if your aim is to prove the theory wrong, the fact that you still give credence to it is a sign of a constipated imagination. Forget about Oswald. The men who planned to kill JFK would have made certain that the last connecting dot in the investigation would not land on them. How could it be otherwise? In other words, conspiracy is a given when men commit high crimes and don't wish to be caught. This is a matter of common sense. Anyone who says otherwise is either stupid or gripped with fear.
Now carry on with your important government work interrogating those captured space men. But remember, just because a space alien has no rights under the law doesn't give you and your friends the right to make sexual sport of them. Even if you deem it payback for the anal probe the aliens forced you to endure, remember, that was done in the spirit of science. What you are doing is depraved and reflects poorly on our species and our planet.
Heinrich Wang from the Land of Plenty: Dear Sgt. Disco: I tried and tried but I can't turn my friends on to circus devils. After they hear a few bars of music, they say it's the worst thing they ever heard. What does this mean? Do you think I should seek help? Or get new friends?
Dear Heinrich: We believe there is an inner mutant in every one of us. Circus devils music will coax out the inner mutant, but this process is often met with fierce resistance, especially by smug individuals who seek the middle of the road. So don't be surprised or discouraged by the reaction of your friends. Remember Beauty and the Beast? (the story, not the TV show) Circus devils is like the beast. Upon your first encounter, your impulse is to run away, or fight it back. But with time, the beast is discovered to possess a human soul! The trouble is, we can only ask nicely for this crucial period of time needed for people to warm to the music. Things would be different if we could capture people and make them listen to the music here in the enchanted castle. That task is left to you, Heinrich. Now press on with your crusade, and I guarantee that some of your friends will come around.
One trick you can do is give smokes to your friends before playing the records. If they still think it's the worst music in the world while they are high, then they are probably right, and the band members are just addled creeps.