Influences from beyond the veil
Terri Kennedy spoke to Rapunzel of the now defunct Dead China Doll e'zine and the interview is now reproduced in a new form for the readers of Sordid.
Stone 588 are a band that could reasonably be called haunted. Not only does their music have an unearthly feel, but several members of the band have in fact had experiences with existence beyond the veil. The band recorded their first album in a studio that was supposedly haunted by the spirit of a young child. This mischievous little sprite had the annoying habit of disconnecting jacks from the band's amps when no-one was looking. The delay in recording their new album, which was due to be released last spring (it's been 4 years since their last release "Door in the Dragon's Throat"), may have something to do with similar problems in their current recording endeavors.
"Both Dave and I have experienced flashes of light, briefly visible out of the corner of the eye."
These sightings are not restricted to the recording studio; Terri says that a few years ago she encountered the spirit of a co-worker with who died in a motorcycle accident. She woke up to find him standing by her bed. He disappeared when she shouted, "Go Away!" Dave Rhine, the band's guitarist has tales of several meetings with spirits, including seeing the ghost of a kid leaning up against a car and another of the time the specter of a woman maternally stroked his head, when he was sick as a child. Eileen Bowe, the band's bassist, has no stories of seeing things herself, but she has a tale of her cat's strange behavior towards an unseen presence. One of Terri's experiences could have been more useful than it was.
"Last year, I acquired an old house where several of us have heard the sound of washing dishes and whispers. We think is the spirit of the previous owner, but unfortunately, she doesn't actually clean up our kitchen!"
The affinity spirits feel towards the band may have something to do with the band's own affinity towards the distant and mystical past. The inspiration for the band's name comes from an urn that was discovered under a stone circle in Southern Ireland, which contained evidence of an infant sacrifice dating back to 588 BC. This attachment to an unclear history infuses their music.
"The lyrics I write for Stone 588 are always from a deeply personal view, which can be interpreted personally by the listener. Relationships inspire me to write emotionally, and I use metaphor to universalize the meaning. The goddess subject matter stems from my personal belief system, and ghost stories and supernatural treatises from experiences I have had. I am also inspired by historical events like the persecution of women accused of witchcraft during the Inquisition. Lately, I've been exploring alchemical and mystical texts, along with religious texts and philosophies, which oddly always seem to involve the enslavement and annihilation of other cultures to achieve greatness."
Terri is particularly interested in the origins of pre-Christian rituals that have been assimilated into modern religion and the genuine history, which was so expertly rewritten by the Church. She said that the songs, which focus on historical injustices, are not intended to preach, she simply wants to expose the listener to the subject. As a band, while they have no central philosophy, they share similar interests in topics like the supernatural.
The influences that come into play in the band's music are just as eclectic, in some cases coming from through the distant mists of times, in others, from the not so distant mists of the early 80s. Terri gained her broad taste in music from her parents, who exposed her to classical, ethnic, old jazz, 50s lounge singers, ragtime, and big-band music.
"I also used to sing Latin masses in church choir and do musical theatre in school. In the early 80's,what may be called my formative years, I was a big fan of Lene Lovich, Ultravox, the Birthday Party, and Lydia Lunch. I've done a lot of different types of music in bands and am still evolving. I would have to say all of these things combined have influenced me, perhaps citing Judy Garland and Grace Slick as my vocal goddesses."
Dave's musical mind was also influenced by his family, who exposed him to 50s rock and jazz at an early age. He grew to love Black Sabbath in the 70s. However, his main influence came from the latter end of punk rock and the early post-punk sounds.
"He was inspired to use effects on the guitar by John McGeogh, the guitarist for Siouxsie and the Banshees. His other influences include the sound and stylings of Killing Joke, Joy Division and other early eighties bands."
Terri was especially happy to meet and work with Dave, because of what she describes as his non-egotistical approach to guitar playing.
"It left room for me to apply more melodic and complex vocal structures and I didn't have to scream to be heard!"
Eileen's musical history is more prominent, having grown up in the 70s rock era; she gravitated towards punk and darker music in the 80's. She was co-producer of The Alternative, a cable television show in the late 80s and has remained in contact with a lot of the bands she showcased, including Mephisto Walz. She was one of the founder members of another band in the atmospheric Goth scene, Dichroic Mirror, with whom she still plays.
Stone 588 got together after Terri was asked to audition as vocalist for a reformed version of a mid-80s Goth band, called Guts on the Floor, for whom Dave had played drums. The two of them knew each other from the 80s punk scene and decided to work together as Stone 588, along with the Guts' former bassist, Jon McFerson. He left to go to school, and Terri met Eileen.
"I met Eileen at my store, Ipso Facto, when she was delivering tapes of her band, Dichroic Mirror. Eileen befriended the band, engineering half the tracks on our CD, "Door in the Dragon's Throat", and now plays keyboards and bass in Stone 588."
Terri had quite a bit of experience before Stone 588, having been in 17 different projects, playing in punk bands, namely Humane Restraint, HKA, avante garde and folk bands, Borogoves, and recording some solo material.
"I also went on the US Procession Tour in 1995, as a backing vocalist for Faith and the Muse. It has helped that I have known a lot of the people in the LA scene for a number of years by chance and through my store. But I couldn't say any were influences with the exception of Eva O from the days I roadied for the Superheroines and Shadow Project."
Terri is almost as famous on the Goth scene for her shop, Ipso Facto, as for her music. After working in the fashion accessories industry as a wholesale sales rep in downtown LA for a few years, she got tired of working for other people and conforming to everyone else's image of what she should be.
"People are very judgmental about your appearance in the fashion industry and can treat you very badly based on their first impression. I guess a lot of people will relate to this! I had been a bank teller before that and in the early 80's there were not a lot of black clad gothic-looking tellers! The management wanted to fire me because my hair hung in my eyes! I went into the fashion industry with the assumption it would be better, but it wasn't! So I left the comfortable pay and stability of those industries and struck out on my own."
A lot of her friends donated their time and energy to help set up Ipso Facto. Jason Jewell, who is now a high profile body piercer and a performance artist in his own right, worked for years for free. After around four years of what she calls "literal starvation", the US economy improved and more customers started finding out about them.
"Ipso Facto has played an important role for Stone 588 too, as we have practiced there since the band's inception. In fact, all of my bands in the last 8 years have. It serves as our contact address for people wanting to contact us for shows, purchasing band merchandise, cross-promotion, etc, which has definitely given us a higher profile."
Stone 588 are still hard at work on new material, which should hopefully be coming out sometime soon. They plan to feature some songs with traditional drums, voice, bass, guitar and others which are more experimental, more keyboard/drum machine-oriented with live percussion and acoustic guitar.
"Most likely there will be a good balance between atmospheric pieces and Goth-rock styled songs."
Stone 588, and the shop, Ipso Facto, can be contacted over the 'net, or you can write to them at:
517 N. Harbor Blvd,
Fullerton, CA 92832 USA
Rapunzel (rewritten by Girl the Goth)