Guitarist & Bassist for the Heathen Apostles, The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes

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“Black Hawk” Video Shows Southern Gothic Influences

Heathen Apostles - Southern Gothic Influences

Filmed during their inaugural 2023 Summer UK Tour, the Heathen Apostles’ video for “Black Hawk” serves as a closing chapter of sorts for the band’s Bloodgrass Vol. 3&4 release in anticipation of their forthcoming album The In Between. Showing their Southern Gothic influences by using the stark solitude of the thirteenth century St. Bartholomew’s Church in Shapwick, the video offers a visual complement to the moodiness of the introspective track with the Heathen men in their signature spectral mourning garb and Mather paying homage to the song’s transformational themes through the use of moth wings. 

Chopper Franklin - Southern Gothic InfluencesSpeaking upon the song itself, singer Mather Louth states, “Black Hawk is by far one of the most personal songs I have written to date. While I prefer to leave specific interpretation up to the listener, I will say that the lyrics speak to offering yourself grace through the sometimes challenging process of growth and metamorphosis. The song is sort of an incantation and a personal hymn, and so, it seemed appropriate to perform it within the hushed calm of an ancient house of worship.”

Special thanks to Nathan Demsden for assistance with filming, and to Hawkeye Houlihan for location scouting and filming arrangements.

BLACK HAWK

(Mather Louth / Chopper Franklin)

I ran from the loss
I ran from the grief
I ran from the dark
That called from the deep
Leviathan beckoned
I fled from the shore
Spent all those years running
I can’t run no more

CHORUS
I do believe I’ll be taking my time
Already grieved for what’s no longer mine
Granted reprieve from what no longer aligns
Walking the line and trusting the signs for
The timing’s divine

The years I kept struggling
Inside of my head
My feet kept on running
Inside I was dead
I welcomed my shadow
Embraced with a kiss
My sister of midnight
No longer submiss

Peeling back layers
And honoring scars
Shining a light
On the depths of my heart
I tend to the fractures
And fill them with gold
Imperfect perfection
A new leaf unfolds

CHORUS

BRIDGE
How many days lost to anger and shame
How many nights holding myself to blame
How many links till I’m breaking the chain
Piece by piece and link by link

How many years did I make myself small
How many tears did I have to watch fall
How many swings til I’m breaking the wall
Brick by brick and swing by swing

Heathen Apostles 2024 Follow Up to Southern Gothic Tour of UK

The Heathen Apostles (Mather Louth, Chopper Franklin, Thomas Lorioux and Luis Mascaro) have just announced the final dates for their 2024 UK Tour, it is the follow up to their Southern Gothic Tour of the UK in 2023. Here is the social media release they have posted today:

Here is the poster announcing the dates for our 2024 UK tour; some venues we played last year, as well as several new ones. We’ve also been fortunate to be invited to some great festivals this year as well: three nights at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival @edfringe, two days at Dorset’s Camp Bestival @campbestival, the Endorset in Dorset Festival @endorsetfestivalofficial and our last show of the tour at a festival that has yet to announce their line up.

Thanks to our booking agent Dana McDonald Oxaal for putting this together, and to Hawkeye Houlihan for assisting us in many ways that only he can. And to all the Heathens who have shown up to the shows, no matter what the weather and conditions; we can’t wait to see you all! Also a shout to Vince Ray for the awesome poster artwork; you can also get this design on a T shirt at our merch booth!”

Southern Gothic Tour

Heathen Apostles 2024 UK Tour Dates

Wed. 17 July Reading, The Face Bar 

Thu. 18 July London, The Lexington

Fri. 19 July  Canterbury, The Anchor Inn

Sat. 20 July Norwich, The Reindeer  

Sun. 21 July Brighton, The Hope and Ruin

Tue. 23 July Hastings, The Jenny Lind     

Wed. 24 July Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms

Thu. 25 July Bournemouth, The Bear Cave

Fri. 26  July Frome, The Tree House

Sat. 27  July Lulworth, Dorset, Camp Bestival

Sun. 28 July Lulworth, Dorset, Camp Bestival

Wed. 31 July Bridgwater, Cobblestones

Thur. 1 Aug. Dorchester, Endorset Festival

Fri. 2 Aug. Birmingham, The Victoria

Sat. 3 Aug. Manchester, Castle Hotel

Mon. 5 Aug. Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms, Fringe Festival

Tue. 6 Aug. Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms, Fringe Festival

Wed. 7 Aug. Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms, Fringe Festival

Thu. 8 Aug. Glasgow, McChuills

Fri. 9 Aug. Newcastle, Cluny 2 

Sat. 10 Aug. Festival (Not Yet Announced)

Southern Gothic Tour

Heathen Apostles – Among Bands at Fringe Festival

Heathen Apostles Among Bands at Fringe FestivalToday’s UK tour announcement is a unique one; we’ll be doing a three day residency (August 5th – 7th) at Edinburgh, Scotland’s Fringe Festival. Unique in that most performers during the 25 day festival are usually actors, dancers and comedians (among others); we are very pleased to be among the few bands at Fringe Festival. Many thanks to our agent Dana McDonald Oxaal for arranging this.
We’ll be performing at Voodoo Rooms, tickets go on sale at midday UK GMT on 7 March, hope to see you there:

Mon 5th 8.30pm: Get tickets HERE

Tues 6th 10.30pm: Get tickets HERE

Wed 7th 10.30pm: Get tickets HERE

Here is some history of the Fringe Festival:
The Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. With the International Festival using the city’s major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions. Seven performed in Edinburgh, and one undertook a version of the medieval morality play “Everyman” in Dunfermline Abbey, about 20 miles north, across the River Forth in Fife. These groups aimed to take advantage of the large assembled theatre crowds to showcase their own alternative theatre. Although at the time it was not recognised as such, this was the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
This meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the very beginning – the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues. Originally, these groups referred to themselves as the “Festival Adjuncts” and were also referred to as the “semi-official” festival. It was not until the following year, 1948, that Robert Kemp, a Scottish playwright and journalist, is credited with coining the title “Fringe” when he wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival:
“Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before … I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings!”

Heathen Apostles - Among Bands at Fringe Festival

#fringefestival #heathenapostles #gothicamericana #darkarts #southerngothic #bloodgrass #edfringe

2024 Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK Tour

Today the announcements begin for the dates for the 2024 Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK tour; the band was asked back to many of the venues they played last year, as well as several new ones. We also have a very special festival announcement upcoming, so stay tuned! Here are the postings as they were made, along with the tour poster:

Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK Tour Our first show of the 2024 Heathen Apostles UK tour is on Wednesday, 17 July at the Facebar in Reading, we played there last year and as you can tell by the moody photos (by Andrew Merrit) it was quite a dark and mysterious night. This is a great night to start the tour, let us know who is going! HERE is the ticket link, (we’ve been told they are moving rather briskly already). 

Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK Tour It is our pleasure to announce we will be returning to London at The Lexington on Thursday, 18 July. Also appearing is @messagefromtheravens, this is going to be quite a night, see you there!
From a review of last year’s Lexington show: “As if plucked from a surreal spaghetti western, Mather Louth and Chopper Franklin made quite the spectacle, striding down London’s Pentonville Road in full regalia… The Heathen Apostles had etched themselves into our dark hearts, ensuring their spectral melodies and mystical storytelling would stay with us long after the last note had faded into the night.”
Ticket link HERE

Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK Tour On 21 July we’ll be back in Brighton, but this time around we’ll be appearing at the Hope & Ruin, a grassroots music venue and pub that strives to support the independent live music scene in Brighton. All of their bar products are plant based to compliment the offerings from Beelzebab who provide fast food from a caravan in the corner of the pub.

Heathen Apostles Gothic Americana UK Tour We are very happy to announce our return on 24 July to Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. It is a top notch venue and we were well taken care of last time by Ken Brown and Square Roots Promotions. The event sold out last year so grab your tickets while you can HERE.

#gothicamericana #outlawcountry #bloodgrass #heathenapostles #wedgewoodrooms

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub No. 1” Reviewed

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub No. 1” Was The Album I’d Waited Over 40 Years To Hear – by postpunkmonk.com

Chopper Franklin’s "Spaghetti Western Dub
Mather Louth + Chopper Franklin © Justin Rosenberg

Let me begin the tale in the following way. It was 1981 when listening to WPRK-FM the college radio station that I kept my ear glued to in the holiest of musical years. Slipped into the playlists was a single by a band new to my ears: Theatre Of Hate. The single was the stentorian fusion of Post-Punk and Spaghetti Western ethos and most importantly, the 12″ version was the song mixed into a massive dub concoction as produced by The Clash’s Mick Jones. I’ve had that 12″ single and the “Westworld” album for over 30 years.

Then a few years passed and at the decade’s midpoint, I was enamored of the 4AD band Colourbox. I bought everything I could get my hands on. In 1986 there was a CD compilation simply called “Colourbox” and it had another tantalizing glimpse of the mesmerizing fusion of Spaghetti Western music and Dub in “Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse/Shootout.” I couldn’t help but think that the two disparate styles of music got on like a house on fire. So when was someone going to really deliver the Spaghetti Western Vs. Dub goods that made all the sense on the world to my ears? As it turned out, I had to wait another 37 years, but ex-Cramps bassist turned Gothic Gunslinger Chopper Franklin has dared to venture in the dusty arroyos of the Spaghetti Western genre and has fused it with Dub to deliver a cinematic musical vibe chock-full of wild hybrid vigor. Ladies and gentlemen; we present “Spaghetti Western Dub Vol. 1.”

Moreover, he’s dared to create mostly vocal songs in the styles we’re talking about. I was astonished because the Spaghetti Western genre was primarily an instrumental groove. I love great guitar instrumental music, so I have a few Spaghetti comps I picked up in the 90s on the heels of the resurgence of surf rock I was enjoying at the time. These songs sported narratives every bit as evocative as the films of the genre itself, with antiheroes riding to their doom in a desperate moral vacuum not unlike the one in Film Noir… only set in the lawless West.

As Mr. Franklin has been helming the Gothic Americana group The Heathen Apostles for years, he wisely enlisted his vocalist in that group, the multifaceted Mather Louth, to sink her teeth into these songs. There were also male vocals courtesy of The Phantom Of The Black Hills, a Gothic Desperado band also on Franklin’s Ratchet Blade Records label [the man is a one man industry unto himself!]. When I pressed the play button I was rewarded with an album that I had high hopes for that easily surpassed my expectations.


Chopper Franklin’s "Spaghetti Western Dub
Ratchet Blade Records | US | CD | 2024 | RBR 752

“Blood, Tears, And Thunder DUB” featured the intro to the song rising in the distance like a cloud of dust as synth drones and reverberating vocal snatches came into focus like a whipcrack as Ms. Louth provided the omniscient narrator role to the tale of desperation and violence over the Dub Reggae rhythms that afforded Franklin a spotlight for his powerful bass work. Power which was absolutely matched by the verve of Ms. Louth who was blissfully, surprisingly, channeling the bold, brassy delivery of Dame Shirley Bassey on these songs! It was not enough to merely mix Spaghetti Western and Dub in this cauldron, but the element X of the vocals came in at a third angle to create an absolutely spellbinding fusion of genres. Gleefully mashing up wildly disparate vibes from the sixties and the seventies. Listen here.

The first song had been a pre-release single. So too was “The Scorpion Says DUB.” The interplay between the dubbed out, skittery rim hits and the rolling bassline was an evocative foundation for which Ms. Louth added the cream of her intoxicating vocals. Damnation has never sounded so luxurious! And while I think of Spaghetti Western, and Dub, for that matter, as instrumental music, the incisive lyrics from Mr. Franklin’s pen slice right to the dark heart of the genre with such poetic examination of the ripe themes we find in the Spaghetti Western genre. “Cowards and maggots” indeed!

Then the fever peaked on “The Day The Men Died.” The dubbed out melodica added a mournful mien as subterranean bass drone painted the bleakest of pictures. The only glimpse of hope in the soundstage was the subtle mandolin that was almost trampled under hoof. Throughout it thus far, Ms. Louth had been the dispassionate narrator, but the stakes got really high on this track and she was spitting out the lyric like Grace Jones in dominatrix mode. Eventually crossing the line into seething instead of singing. Biting down with violence on the lyric. The heartless reverb of the Dub mix only salting our wounds further. And then, in a masterstroke, the second vocalist entered the song.

The Phantom Of The Black Hills sang the point of view of a condemned prisoner of the song’s title. Here he reminded me of Zodiac Mindwarp’s grizzled delivery as he sang the tale of a vicious and unrepentant man of violence as he profanely spat in the eye of propriety to his very last breath. What a song and what performances! The singers here were singing like they meant every word.

Chopper Franklin’s “Spaghetti Western Dub Vol. 1”
The Phantom Of The Black Hills and band with Mather Louth © CS Fly

The next track gave the spotlight to The Phantom Of The Black Hills after his, uh, arresting star turn in the previous song. The dark energy of the last song receded somewhat as “Gold In Every Hand” proffered The Phantom singing the verses in a very lazy Lee Hazelwood fashion as a world weary narrator before roaring more defiantly on the song’s chorus. Tar pit bass and vocal samples from actual Spaghetti Westerns pulling us along for the ride.

A dialogue sample of “String him up, muchachos!” opened the instrumental Dub of “You Can’t Drown Your Sorrows In Blood.” Mournful peals of tubular bells added their desolate vibe to the melodica that took the tuneful lead here in the absence of a singer this time. This track was along the lines of what I had been expecting up front by the project, but I hadn’t know what singing we’d be in store for on the album when I first was looking into it.

Chopper Franklin’s "Spaghetti Western Dub
The edition of 200 CDs comes signed in a screen-printed package

The perfect point between a vocal and instrumental number was reached on the haunting “The Ghost Of A Believer DUB” where film dialogue of a woman was given counterpoint by the mournful refrain by The Phantom Of The Black Hills, barely there in the mix as indeed, a ghostly presence in the song, singing “lay me down, in fields of stone.” Crafting a hook that gets caught in my mind for hours at a time.

The final “The Return of Revenge DUB” gave the bass guitar the last word on the album for an instrumental coda before the album had two bonus tracks added to the mix. It had been a radical tactic for Franklin to offer dub mixes of vocal songs in the first place, but the methodology of the album called for each track to gradually give way to Dub dissipation by the end of the cut as the version energy took over. On the last two tracks, we got to hear what were the “straight” Spaghetti Western versions of the first two tracks in all of their defiant majesty. All strings, horns, and rolling tympani. Does it work? Absolutely! But the world has no shortage of Spaghetti Western compositions already.

The great leap here was not only in making Dub mixes of such material, but then putting strong and charismatic singers in the songs. Giving me three different vectors of pleasure every time I listen to it. Marveling at how my wish for a full album of Spaghetti Western in Dub has finally been granted; magnificently, by Chopper Franklin with Mather Louth and The Phantom of the Black Hills. There are 200 signed and numbered CDs of this one in the band’s Bandcamp store with rich screen-printed artwork just begging to be taken home. And there’s an international version CD that features affordable postage to Europe! They have thought of their audience! If you’ve ever thrilled to a Spaghetti Western soundtrack, or chilled to a Dub version, then brother, have they got the album for you! You know the score. DJ hit that button!

Posted on  by postpunkmonk