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Valhalla Hospital: The Art of the Moody Wallen Band

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Jefferson Market Library's Summer Art Display, Valhalla Hospital: The Art of the Moody Wallen Band, exhibits over 50 line drawings, watercolors, acrylics, and oil paintings throughout the entire building, as well as a visual installation display and rotating video program every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. through August 18, inside the program room.

The Moody Wallen Band formed in early 2004 to collectively pursue the various music and art activities of its members. The group's idiosyncratic sound developed quickly amid spontaneous collisions of eccentric classic rock reinterpretations and improvised explorations of the uncanny. Demolished forms (and living spaces) and headlong plunges into the unknown are the hallmarks of hundreds of recording sessions and live performances. Offending common order and the civil authorities, the group continuously produces noisy hymns to God's daughter, unhinged rock and rant, and speculative drift through the discourses of psychoanalysis, theology, magic, psychiatric medicine, stand up comedy, and love. While the apparent disorder of the band's work defies easy assimilation and represents for some a disturbance of the peace, adherents of the dream world and ontological anarchy will recognize in the fusion and confusion of The Moody Wallen Band fearless adventures in the realms of the body and the realms of the mind.

The following are interviews conducted with the group's three core members:

 

An Interview with St. John the Divine: 

NYPL: Who are your musical influences?

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Nicks, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Fleetwood Mac; and Jesus Christ and Sacred Heart of Mary and Anu God of Heaven, and that’s it.

What inspires you?

The love of God, actually, God chose a wife for me: Anu God of Heaven.

When did you start playing guitar?

Seven years old, actually, I dreamed about being a rock n’ roll star because I saw how easy it was playing guitar and I started playing guitar at seven years old. I tried taking guitar lessons at seven years old.

Is that how you learned, you took guitar lessons?

Yeah, I took guitar lessons. I used to play a lot better, but now I’m fighting microwave and human mechanism torture. So, I could of played in Fleetwood Mac or the Rolling Stones or the Beatles probably, but actually they call me a lazy guitar player because I'm not willing to fight the satellite or sell my soul to the devil.

How would you describe your music?

An inspiration that takes you into the Heavens, actually, if you love God, you love my music. It’s the inspiration of Revelations into the Heavens. Inspiration of Revelations. Inspiration of the Revelations of St. John the Divine into the Heavens.

An Interview with Mitchell Weissberg:

NYPL: Who are your artistic influences? 

Oh, Miró, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh.

What inspires you?

Nothing.

How did you start painting?

Using acrylics — hold on — let me think of that one more time, uh, yeah, using acrylics and then advanced to oils. Then I went into drawing, sketching.

Were you trained, or are you self-taught?

Self taught.

How would you describe your art?

Expensive. 

An Interview with Peter J. Robins: 

NYPL: Who are your artistic influences?

All of the Impressionists.

What inspires you?

What inspires me? Oh, the fame, the glory, the history, and the money of the art industry. All of that inspires me, that's always inspired me about painting and drawing.

How did you start painting and drawing?

Well, I was in public school and they had, you know, they had art classes in the public school. That’s where I started and then when I was, uh, about 19 I took a painting course at the adult education program in Sayville and they gave oil painting lessons and I painted one really nice painting there and it lasted about eight weeks or something like that. And then, when I was about 23, I started painting in watercolors. All together I painted about 800 paintings, but only about 300 still exist.

When did you start playing guitar?

When I was 19.

Did John teach you or?

No, I just started buying chord books and, you know, I would listen to popular songs on the radio with the chord books.

How would you describe your art?

My art is all Impressionism; I want it to be hallucinogenic, psychedelic, and hypnotic. It’s all intended to be that — the paintings, the drawings, the music. And it’s all Impressionism, the paintings, as well as, the music, the music I consider Impressionism too. I like it because I’m a particular fan of Impressionism. When I was living in Florida, I used to go to the Orlando Public Library and they had a section that had like 10 books of Impressionist painting and there was one in particular that had 500 paintings in it itself and I would go see that book all the time while I was down there. While I was down there. I was down there for four or five months at a time, maybe two or three times, and I would always go to the library and look through this book in particular and at these 500 Impressionism paintings that were all just incredible. And they were all, that was like, the biggest influence in my painting. You know, I can’t really say more about it than that. I’d like to, it seems like there are thoughts formulating there but they're not really coming clearly to mind right now.

What kind of connections are there between your art and your music?

What kind of connections? Well, like I said just a moment ago, it’s all supposed to be the intent for it to be hypnotic, hallucinogenic, and psychedelic — for it to be all that, you know? It’s suggestive, it’s all really like, suggestive. You know, it’s the intent, the entire intent is the biggest coincidence of it all.  

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Kudos to Marie for trying to

Kudos to Marie for trying to promote the exhibit but man, I hope the group's work is more interesting that their responses to these interview questions! They sound so inarticulate and egocentric. Too bad for the Manhattan library.

special little freak

special little freak out creature the future space leader of the world

The show sounds charming and

The show sounds charming and anti-material and anti-rationalistic, which is just what we need at this time. I'll be in to see and hear it.

they sound totally high

they sound totally high

viva la paranoia!

viva la paranoia!

they viva la sound paranoia

they viva la sound paranoia totally high!

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