by Jan R. Bruun
Musician, journalist, author and publisher/distributor of books and records. Michael Jenkins Moynihan has a lot of different «hats».
From '84 to '89 he worked under the name Coup de Grace, and put out two tapes of industrial music, so called «power electronics». His first book project was a luxurious edition of Nietzsce's «Anti-Christ», illustrated by Trevor Brown. In the summer of '89 he participated in NON concerts in Japan, along with Boyd Rice, Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade, Current 93), Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus) and Douglas Pearce (Death In June). These people also recorded the album «Music Martinis and Misanthropy», released under the name Boyd Rice & Friends. Moynihan has corresponded with Charles Manson for many years, and also got in touch with James Mason. Mason was a member of commander George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party in the 60's, but he was expelled from the "movement" after writing pamphlets extolling Charles Manson as a prophet and leader as important as Hitler. In '92, Moynihan published the book «SIEGE» which was a collection of Mason's newsletters of the same name, originally published during a six-year period. James Mason is now in prison after threatening a neighbor with a gun.
In the later years, Moynihan has developed a new form of musical expression for himself through Blood Axis. The debut CD «The Gospel of Inhumanity» was released autumn '95, and it's a little masterpiece of symphonic samples, industrial noises, march-music, war hymns and general misanthropy. Recently he moved from Denver, Colorado to Portland, Oregon to work with Adam Parfrey at his small book publishing company Feral House. He's also writing a book about Count Grischnack/Varg Vikernes and the norwegian black metal arsons and murders. In '95 he visited Norway to interview the (surviving) participants in the crimes. The book is researched and written in collaboration with norwegian journalist Didrik Søderlind.
In the summer of '91, while sharing a flat with Boyd Rice in Denver, Moynihan was visited by the Secret Service. They suspected his involvement in a plot to kill president Bush. This conspiracy was alleged to include Moynihan, Charles Manson, a prison buddy of Manson and Manson family member Sandra Good. The suspicion arised after Moynihan had corresponded with and visited Sandra Good, who is out of prison and still very much faithful to Manson. The mail had been monitored. Moynihan was supposedly "the trigger man". He didn't let the Secret Service people in, but agreed to submit himself to a lie detector test, which he passed, even though the agents at first claimed that he had failed it, and tried to put pressure on him. Moynihan claims that he never comes close to doing anything illegal, and that he couldn't care less about the president. Some of the Secret Service's paranoia can be explained by the fact that Manson family member Lynette «Squeaky» Fromme almost succeeded in shooting President Ford at close range in '75. Boyd Rice got arrested in '76 for trying to give the presidents' wife, Betty Ford, a skinned sheeps head...
Michael, did you ever have any other trouble with censorship or the police apart from your rendezvous with the Secret Service?
- I have had a few major instances of government intervention in my life. The first was actually in the beginning of '90, when I moved to Denver from Boston. I shipped a box full of photographs and other personal items to my new address, but it never arrived. This was one box out of about 40 total, and all the rest were delivered. The post office claimed the parcel must have been lost and they had no trace of it. However, about a year and a half later the FBI calls my father and admits they have the box, and proceeded to attempt to use it as a leverage to get information on me from him. This ruse didn't work since my father was not particularly worried or surprised by what they called the «disturbing and terroristic» contents of the box, but it did mean they eventually had to return the box to me. Of course they claimed it had «accidentally» broken open in transit, and when a postal worker saw the «possibly illegal» photographs et.c. inside, they naturally handed it over to the FBI.
Sometime later, after visiting Sandra Good of the so-called Manson «Family» and staying a few days at her house, another suspicious incident occured. Directly after leaving from the town she lived in, all my luggage disappeared from the bus I was on. The luggage contained not only my personal effects, but also the original entirely edited manuscript of «Siege» (the only copy that existed of it; I later had to re-edit the whole book from scratch), as well as numerous items, photos and books given to me by Sandy. I have never recovered any of these things to this day. While I have no proof of who took my bags, it certainly was very odd given the circumstances. Shortly after came the Secret Service visit.
I have reasons to believe my mail has been monitored and my phone tapped periodically for more than ten years, beginning around '84. Originally, some of this probably stemmed from my friendship with Peter Sotos. I recall that right after Peter's arrest Interpol police raided numerous people in Europe (mostly people I was in contact with, connected to the underground industrial/violent music scene) and on their list of objects to look for was cassettes by my old project Coup De Grace. Why these were of interest I have no idea. As for the present, I haven't had any serious problems lately and no one has attempted to stop me from publishing anything.
Moynihan spouts strong social darwinist ideas, so I wanted to know if he'd ever heard of the finnish philosopher/author Pentti Linkola, who is a strong supporter of war, famine and natural disasters as means of keeping the population down. Linkola is very popular in Finland, where his books sell up to 15 000 copies.
- I am certainly familiar with Linkola, and in fact have been considering the idea to try to publish some of his more extreme writings in English. I even have a friend in Finland quite capable of doing the translating and who has discussed the matter with Linkola. However the main problems are getting the rights from Linkola's Finnish publisher, as well as find the time and money to devote to the project. I like that fact that Linkola seems to go beyond either left and right politics, and while he's been accused of endorsing nazi-style sterilization/eugenic ideas, at the same time dedicated one of his books to the Baader Meinhof. I definitely agree with him that we need to free ourselves from the "syrup of ethics" before any real change will come about. (Since this, a piece by Linkola has been published in the Feral House book «Apocalypse Culture II» (2000).
Do you have any thoughts about the Oklahoma bombing?
- I do not have any particular thoughts about that, except for the simple reality that when the government turns against the interests of its citizens, it seems only natural the citizens will turn against the government. For a very insightful essay bringing up many questions on the bombing, I suggest people reading Adam Parfrey's article titled «Finding Our Way Out of Oklahoma» in his book «Cult Rapture».
Lately, we've observed phenomena as the Ebola virus and the japanese gass terrorist attacks. 1995 seems to be a good year for apocalyptic events, and many people has a feeling of the world coming apart at the seams. You don't mind, I guess?
- I'm not complaining about the present state of affairs, that's for sure. It's a fine time to be alive.
You're writing a book on norwegian black metal, and even came over to Norway to interview the main characters. What's so interesting about these people?
(This book, «Lords of Chaos» has since been published to great critical acclaim, and has sold out several print runs.)
- I'm intrigued by the Norwegian Black Metal phenomenon for a few reasons. Firstly, I've always thought that it was a bit hypocritical for people in violence-obsessed death metal bands (or industrial bands, or whatever) to claim how in reality they were «opposed» to such violence in the world. So on the one hand it's refreshing to see bands come forth who are not hypocritical in this manner. It is also somewhat amazing to see such an outburst of blood and fire in a social-democratic area like Scandinavia, and it indicates that there are many other factors lurking below the surface. In a sense this is how I intend to investigate the matter, by going much deeper than merely recounting the events. Also the fact that I have been involved with underground music myself has allowed me access to a lot of information which would otherwise be unobtainable. A friend in Norway who works for one of the newspapers there will be assisting me on the book as well, and I have already gained much cooperation from people in the Black Metal scene themselves, including Varg Vikernes, who is in many ways the pivotal figure in what took place.
How is it going with Blood Axis?
- The first CD was out in Europe (on Chtulhu Records of Germay) in September '95. It was recorded in Denver in the spring of '95 and contains contributions from myself, Bob Ferbrache, Charles Manson and a few others. Considering it is the first time I have ever recorded a proper «album» in my life (outside of working with other people), I am very pleased with the way it turned out.
You used to share a flat with Boyd Rice in Denver, and took part in NON concerts and on the LP «Music, Martinis & Misanthropy». Why don't you work with Boyd Rice/NON anymore?
- I don't have any contact with Boyd anymore, mainly because we just went our separate ways. I have more than enough to occupy myself with and it became more and more difficult for us to collaborate, so we decided to cease working together. Since then he married Lisa Suckdog and had a baby (Wolfgang), and I don't see much in common with our future plans. Besides, I've since moved to Portland which is a vastly nicer place than Denver for those of a Northern European disposition.
Oh. What heritage do you have, and why did you become so interested in runes and northern religions like Åsatru?
- My background is entirely Northern European &endash; Irish, English, Welsh, German. I am attracted to both Nordic and Keltic pre-Christian civilization, and in fact both of these are extremely similar. There is no doubt in my mind that all of these peoples are descendants from a more common root, thus the connection between their behaviour and culture et.c.
Do you believe that you're better than others? Why do you want 98% of the human race annihilated? Do you work for a fascistic revolution in the U.S.?
- Whether I'm better than anyone else is subjective, but it's also entirely beside the point. I don't much care about other people as long as they stay out of my way. I wasn't aware that I was working for a fascist revolution here, but then again, as the world seems more conspiratorial by the minute, anything is possible. The unseen hand is everywhere.
What is your plans for new releases on Storm?
- I'm mainly concentrating on releasing records. Three singles are now available: «Fire of Life» by Changes (a previously obscure acoustic folk band who used to hang around with members of the Process Church in Chicago; the group's singer wrote the essay «The Process: A Personal Reminiscence» for the 2nd, revised edition of «Apocalypse Culture»); «Freedom Through Ability», a 7" EP by another obscure group called Republic, who were a minimalist authoritarian electronic band which existed briefly about 13 years ago; and another EP with four songs by David E. Williams, a perverse composer/songwriter from Philadelphia who's due to have a CD out on Chtulhu later this year. As well I should be releasing an American edition of the Blood Axis CD, and I have plans to put out a CD by Peter Gilmore (Church of Satan magister and «Black Flame» publisher) of his «Ragnarok Symphony». There are lots of other plans under consideration as well, including a few books, but as I said earlier, time is in very short supply, and I'm already overworked as it is.
Michael was also involved with the release of the official Charles Manson 60th Anniversary CD «Commemoration» on White Devil Records, as well as two 7"s by Manson on the same label, and the double CD «Manson Speaks», of spoken word recordings made over the phone. The singles includes new versions of «Your Home Is Where You're Happy» and «Look At Your Game Girl» (also recorded by Guns'n'Roses) and the more recent compositions «I'm On Fire» and «Hallways of the Always». (This 7" had a color cover by Nick Bougas, only the other single only came in white sleeve test pressings)
Noise, body manipulations, serial killers and other extreme sides of modern culture are very quickly sucked into the mainstream. Anton LaVey's brand of satanism seems to get a lot more attention than it did ten years ago. The Summer of Love turned into the Summer of Hate at Woodstock II, where Nine Inch Nails (who recorded their «Downward Spiral» CD in the Tate house before it was torn down) performed, covered in mud. Any comments?
- I think we are merely witnessing the combination of an increasing mass-interest in supposedly «taboo» subjects along with the usual consumerization of everything in the capitalist world economy. I would see the example of Nine Inch Nails at Woodstock as nothing other than capitalism in action. I do agree however, that the summer of love became the summer of hate. The more that «peace» and «tolerance» are preached and shoved down the world's throat, the more hatred, violence and intolerance will be created. Expect the worst -- or the best, depending on your point of view!
This old interview has been printed in the italian mag HEALTER SKELTER, with some additional info & questions, and in the norwegian zine BOLT, with some updates. Moynihan has since moved from Portland to Vermont, and is still working on the second Blood Axis studio album. Feral House moved from Portland back to the Los Angeles area.
BLOOD AXIS DISCOGRAPHY (in norwegian)
"The Gospel of Inhumanity", the debut album of Blood Axis was sold out for years. Now Tesco can present the rerelease of this milestone. A blend mixture of military rhythms classical parts with traditional instruments and the strong voice of Michael Moyniham.
The live album «BLÔT - a Sacrifice in Sweden» is available from: Cold Meat Industries
FERAL HOUSE, publisher of «Lords of Chaos».