By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
Question: What do you think of the music?
Answer: It's much too loud. Amused by audience. How they dance around and push one another up. Amusing to us. We don't understand why they do it.
Q: What else do you think about the audience?
A: They are free. They stand in the shower tent and spread mud on one another and then walk around covered in mud. In China they would be taken to where all the lunatics are.
And so on. They only had about 15 minutes to chat, but I managed to learn that, last month, the monks were staying in a hotel in Manchester, England, 150 meters from ground zero of an IRA bomb attack. The hotel management evacuated the building shortly before the blast (a threat was phoned in), but the monks didn't understand the intercom announcements to get the hell out of there and were still in their rooms when the bomb exploded (none of them was hurt). I wasn't able to get a clear answer on what the interpreter was doing at the time.
I asked if the monks were scared. "No. They have inner calm."
I also learned that the abbot (the old dude) is a Ramones fan, or at least he recently walked out onto the stage, unannounced and unexpected, during the protopunk band's set at a recent Lollapalooza show. Evidently, he wanted the security guards at the foot of the stage to take his picture with the guys in their leather jackets.
Lastly, I learned that the monks have been unable to perform their chi demonstration--in which they supposedly direct all their life energy to one part of their bodies, then do things like crack iron bars over their heads or shatter blocks of marble with their elbows--at some tour dates because they find it hard to meditate on tour. "They spend so much time on the bus and people all around. There is not enough time to prepare and properly concentrate."
My last question was a standard--"Aren't you worried kids will try this stuff at home?"
Chatter, chatter. The interpreter gets back on the line.
"They say, 'It seems obvious that would not be wise.'"
David Holthouse is now wired.
The Web site is Mothership. The address is http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/extra/holt/index.html. The options are myriad (multigenre criticism, archives, rave data, freak links).