Sutja’s Metaphysical Circus: Moondog’s Self Titled Album Revisited
I swear to god I've never felt more alive before. The more I observe the more I recognize darkness, fakeness and hate. It's all about understanding that not everything is understandable (or even lovable or enjoyable). The human being is the most abstract thing i've ever seen in my entire life, but that makes it even more interesting, don't you think?
We are constantly in search of the perfect combination of character, personality and figure, and we constantly fall in disappointment. We try new things and very often let those things take control of our body and mind like a contagious virus. That's because we all want to be loved and adored, but we certainly loss the capability of being ourselves by playing all those roles and combinations. We need to balance and find the better way to shape our persona. I know it's not going to be easy and I know It feels cold like a gun in your head, but I also know that it's possible and you have to do your best to find the right way to get to that point.
This is the beautiful story of one of the greatest figures of the 20th Century, Louis Thomas Hardin also known as Moondog.
“Upstate hermit, Manhattan composer, blind Viking poet, he's… Moondog!”
This is how they presented Louis back then in 1969 when his second homonymous album came out. The cover was mind-blowing, he looked exactly like a real Viking and the most important, he was true to himself.
He was born in 1916 in Marysville, Kansas. When he was very young he accompanied his father to the Arapaho reservation in Wyoming where he sat on the knees of a Chief Yellow Calf and played tom-tom at the sun dance ceremony (which was outlawed in America by that time, but still practiced in secret).
At the age of 13 his father sold the ranch and moved to Missouri where he started to play drums in a high school band. Short after that, he lost his sight in an accident with dynamite at the farm while he was celebrating the Independence Day. In 1933 he began to learn braille, during that period, his sister used to read him books one of them was The First Violin, a book that encouraged him to start learning how to be a composer. He began to study classical music, violin, piano, pipe organ and percussion at the Iowa School for the Blind. In 1942 he obtained a scholarship to study music at the Memphis Conservatory of Music. A year later he moved to New York where he became friends with different well known personalities of the Classical music world such as Artur Rodzinski, Leonard Bernstein, and Arturo Toscanini, and also met a few Jazz legends such as Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman. He atended every single rehearsal of the New York Philharmonic and frequently went to the jazz clubs of the 52nd Street.
In 1947 he began to use the name of Moondog in honour of a dog he had in Hurley, “who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of”. He started to dress in his iconic Viking garb. His aspect was unusual and made people feel uncomfortable. When Rodzinski left the Philharmonic he was no longer allowed to watch the rehearsals because of his outfit.
He started a new way of life during the next thirty years and spent most of his time inventing his own instruments, writing poetry, rebelling against all fashion doctrines and sleeping on the streets, cheap motels and also store floors. He was known as the Viking of the 6th Avenue.
"I would tell people I was born in Sasnak …. and when they would ask where it was, I would reply that it was a mysterious place.”
During the first years of the fifties he released various 45” and 78” and somehow thanks to some of his friends and being constantly mentioned on various newspapers and magazines in 1956 he managed to release his first album Moondog (1) on the label Prestige. Two more albums were released during the next years (“More Moondog” and “The Story Of Moondog”).
He spent the next decade on the streets of New York, specifically in front of the Columbia Recording Studios dressed as a Viking and giving some of his music and poetry to the executives and talent scouts who worked at the building. In 1969 Columbia decided to release his fourth album under the name of Moondog (2).
Interesting facts about Louis:
– Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin) covered the his song All Is Loneliness taken from the album Moondog.
– He appeared as The Prophet on the Conrad Rooks film Chappaqua.
– In 1951 the deejay Alan Seed was sued over the use of the name Moondog and and Louis won the case.
– In 1977 someone spread a rumour of Moondog's death in New York. Even Paul Simon comunicated the notice at his tv show Paul Simon Special.
– He had a deep interest in Nordic Mithology and created an altar dedicated to Thor while he was living in Candor.
– He invented several music instruments such as the “oo”, the “ooo-ya-tsu”, the “hüs” and the “trimba”.
– In 1970 George Metzger got inspired by Louis and created a blind bearded mystic character named Moondog who appeared in a four issue series of Underground Comix.
Moondog was an amazing and truly inspiring character. I hope many of you get to know him well and get as much inspired as I am. I also encourage you to create and develop your character and give zero fucks about what people says.
The perfect recipe:
A bird lamentation, an ode to loneliness. Imagine a march of hobos searching for a tiny butterfly. Happiness was never invented, neither the wheel. A Kafkaesque expedition alongside Nero's, both of them under the fearsome effects of Ketalar. Why do I spent one last night with my ex-girlfriend before she left my life forever? The eternal war of love. You are the only one who knows my secret. Sweet little child – we're all lost & found. I just woke up from a coma and looked around.
Franz Kafka once said:
"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."
Never stop learning and testing in order to develop your character/persona. Don't be afraid of yourself and don't be scared of the unknown, staying in the safe zone for your entire life is such a stupid decision and also the most boring thing you'll ever experience. A wasted life is a waste of time.