Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Raggies- Videos & More




Who are The Raggies and why is their Singer Giving Me a Lap Dance? by Charles Honeywell 

First off, some of you may be wondering why we’re doing a rock and roll story in a gun magazine. It started off as run of the mill article on a gun collector, Jack Kilpatrick of Las Cruces, who owns a bunch of pre-ban full auto AK’s and SKS’s, as well as a serious collection of weapons previously owned by South American drug lords, such as a gold plated AR-15 with a tiger maple stock, previously owned by Pablo Escobar.

We were going to meet at a Las Cruces bar called El Patio for drinks and an interview. At the last minute, he told me that his band, the Raggies, had to take over a gig for another band who had canceled, and asked me if I wanted to see the show. I was 30 minutes from Cruces at the time and he offered free beer, so I figured, “Why not?” 

What I got that night was far beyond the limits of rock and roll. Half the band wore skintight spandex, something I hadn’t seen since the ‘80’s. The harmonica player, “Diamond” Dave Lavetts is reputed to be the world’s 6th greatest Jewish harp player. Kilpatrick wielded his Reverend Charger guitar with the same macho authority with which he aims his man-stopping autos. Last but certainly not least, is their ho-bag singer, “Little” Kim Foxxxe, who looked like she’d walked in off the set of a stroke film. During the band’s encore, the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself”, she came into the audience and gave me a lap dance that made me have to keep my hat over my fly on my way out the door. 

We ended up on this remote pecan farming compound where the band rehearses and records. Somebody whipped out some cheap Mexican tequila. The sun rose to find me in a field of trees in perfect rows. I was vomiting and my ears were ringing from automatic weapon fire. I never got to see the Escobar piece-he said it was at his mother’s house-but, by God, I rocked. The Raggies tour Texas from time to time. Check ‘em out. They’re our kind of people.

"The secret lives of Social Workers and the plights of their worst case studies"

It is with some reticence that I write these liner notes. For, while I enjoy this music well enough, and believe I had a good time at this gig, I can’t remember a whole lot about it. Guitarist Jack Kilpatrick lured me to the show under the ruse of having me help him dial in a new laser sight for his .357 magnum. He said I could come to the gig, stay at his house, etc. 

I worked on the sight in the afternoon while Jack broke in some new strings. He told me the story of the recent drummer swap: how Zeke had left the band due to dissonance between his fundamentalist Christian beliefs and the filthy content of Raggies music, and how founding Raggie, Chuck Manson had come to rejoin them a couple of weeks ago. Apparently Chuck had been living on the street in San Diego, and was discharged back to Las Cruces from a psychiatric hospital. He had had Jack’s phone number in his wallet and Kilpatrick, knowing he needed a drummer, was able to cajole a social worker into discharging Manson to the Kilpatrick household, where Jack was willing to “rehabilitate” him by harnessing Chuck’s love of drumming. I think there may have also been some forced confinement and stun gun torture, but I’m not supposed to talk about that. 

I was pressured into drinking a can of Cabron before the gig. Cabron is a sweet “energy” drink from Central Mexico, whose principal ingredient is the hallucinogen datura, or Jimson Weed. This is the well from which the Raggies’ inspiration springs. Listening to the playback of “Watching You”, I had a flashback of seeing the ourobouros, the mythological snake eating its tail. This would have been a beautiful vision had I not suffered it in the less-than-savory El Patio men’s room. 

“Diamond” Dave Lavetts charms a cobra from a jar with his harmonica. Jesse Gutierrez’s bass creates ripples in the earth like the quake that sends Hollywood into the Pacific. Gospel singer Mindy Bernal calls forth the wretched for salvation. Manson massages the drums in a way that offers wind and shadow to their desert landscapes. Kilpatrick’s guitar solos melt into the hungry ground like blood beneath an old rugged cross. 

I blacked out and then found myself nude in the desert near Jack’s subdivision, testing the laser sight with live ammo as the orange sun rose over the Organs (don’t know why the cops didn’t come). 

I’m a journalist for Texas Gun Monthly, a far-right gun magazine that’s little more than a newsletter. I know nothing about rock and roll. I don’t know why these guys keep asking me to review their work. I don’t know whether this music is good or not, but like Wallace Stevens’s crying peacocks, it exists, born from the fertile blackness at the heart of the world.

This Band is Doomed"
by Chet Smith, DIY magazine

"First of all, let me be clear in saying that this article is not an attempt at an impressionistic, new journalism take on the Raggies, a band I still do not fully understand. The honest truth is that I can't recall a lot of what went down during the day I spent with the Raggies at their rehearsal space on a pecan farm south of Las Cruces. Parts that I can recall lack what I would consider a natural narrative flow and seem to resemble what the aborigines call dreamtime. The reason for this breakdown in the chain of journalistic evidence has probably less to do with the band's mesmerizing music and more to do with the inspiration behind their music, an illegally imported Mexican energy drink known as Cabron, which comes in a black can emblazoned with the image of a demonic goat. The can's ingredients include "semillas daturas", the seeds of the hallucinogenic Datura plant, also known as Jimson Weed or Devils weed. The members of the Raggies inner circle suck this stuff down like gamers drink Mountain Dew. I spoke with my editor about this problem and he said we were desperate for copy and to check with the band. I asked Jack from the Raggies if they cared that some of my story might be inaccurate or hallucinated and he replied, "Cool man, go for it, but be sure and include the part where you pissed your pants."

Materially and artistically, the Raggies live in the wasteland between El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico, a place hysterically optimistic politicians call, the Borderplex. This is a cultural netherworld where Spanish is more common than English and you might find streets that look more like Juarez than Juarez does. They buy this Cabron stuff out of the back of a pawn shop in El Paso and started plying me with it as soon as I got off the plane and into guitarist Jack Kilpatrick's beat up truck. At first they told me it was an energy drink like Red Bull. I should have poured it out when harp player, Dave, added, "Its really helpful in that, after you do it, you won't be afraid to die." Not many soft drinks make that claim. We had a lunch of the best red chile enchiladas I ever tasted at a restaurant in Canutillo, Texas.

Their rehearsal space was a sheet metal shed on a pecan farm. Pecans, if you dont know, grow on trees, big trees. Pecan farms contain row after row of huge trees, all neatly and geometrically aligned. This curious alignment became important later, when I got lost in the orchard for a couple of hours before their manager, Cuco, found me. Cuco is notable for having made the papers as a suspect in the women of Juarez serial killer case. He naturally parlayed this press into band promotion. Apparently any of the bands he manages can get into the paper if he'll talk, a privilege he has not granted local police.

The Raggies gradually straggled into the dusty space: Diamond Dave Lavetts, the world's 6th greatest Jewish harmonica player; Jack Kilpatrick, who plays loud guitar, drummer Zeke X; and that supercute slice of Connecticut jail bait, Little Kim Foxxxe. This is where it starts to get a little hazy, the music sounded good. I was getting into it. Little Kim Foxxxe was wailing like a hellcat in heat and Dave was blowing the harp, not like a bluesman, but more like a snake charmer. Jack seemed intent on making surly facial expressions and torturing his amp to the edge of tonal Armageddon. This is where I started seeing snakes. I ran into a side room, where Cuco and some farm hands were drinking Cabron mixed with cheap Orendain tequila and playing Russian roulette. They offered me the gun. I stared at it for a moment and it morphed into a flesh-eating slug. I dropped it to the dirt floor and ran out into the orchard. Rows and rows of trees, endless, nameless...."

The Charles Honeywell article is excerpted from Texas Handgun magazine. The Chet Smith article is from DIY magazine, both have been re-printed without even a hint of permission by myself via The Raggies' MySpace Music blog.