Rabbitholes On the Moon

"Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves."
-Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures In Wonderland)

Our cryptographers have been hard at work on 3 Feet To Infinity, the new CD by the Woodstock-based perplexo-rock band, To the Moon Alice, who returns from a lengthy road tour to headline at the Tinker Street Cafe (where 2 of the 7 songs on the half-hour EP were recorded last June) on Friday, December 19th [1997].

The ciphers began to unravel as Selene Cramden, chief of our Coincidence Marketing Team, fresh from her triumph in tracking a series of James Bond films (currently airing on a particular tv network) to a promotional ploy for a forthcoming Bond flick (which coincidently opens the night of this gig) via an intercorporate launching system, pointed out that the recent movie 7 Years In Tibet (which only seemed that long) did not feature an actor named Brad Pitts without coded intent.

Since Brad now has a getaway in Woodstock's Hollywood East region, he might be considered fair game, I suppose, and Pitts is, of course, a plural synonym for "burrows" or, if you please, rabbitholes. Now, we must ask if it is really a marketing coincidence that a book by the Dalai Lama's sister describing the holy one's reincarnation into her family was published at the same time the film was released. Dr. Jung, are you out there?

Okay, since there is a clear cross-identification between Lee Harvey Oswald (whose marine buddies dubbed him "Ozzie Rabbit") and the rabbit which attacked Jimmy Carter's canoe during his presidency, a fact which Robert Anton Wilson demonstrated concl usively in his book The New Inquisition, we can look to Oswald's obsession with another tv series called I Led Three Lives, based on the life of Herb Philbreck, an "ordinary" citizen who infiltrated the Communist Party for Hoover's FBI. Other indications that Oswald thought of himself as a spy can be surmised from a study of the Warren Commission list of the books he checked out of the New Orleans Library System in the summer of 1963. The list contains 4 James Bond novels, including Moonraker. And "warren," remember, is a place where rabbits breed. Also, let's not forget that the letters column of Playboy magazine published a photo of NASA's space shuttle taking off and looking precisely like the magazine's logo bunnyhead. There's more, but...

Meanwhile, To the Moon Alice is a group that began to come together when Leslie Mills, a writing singer from Seattle met guitarists Brent Morgan of Connecticut and Brad Nagle of Pennsylvania in Wyoming and began playing together in Montana before mov ing to Austin. They soon sent a demo recorded in Kentucky to Grammy-award-winning producer Ric Wake in New York, where they recruited local drummer Mike Benigno and L.A. bassist Tim Gravelle, before moving to Woodstock and signing with DV8/A&M, a Polygram label based in....forget it.

The album starts with some B-52ish riffs on "The Spider," where Mills employs Donovan-like perched phrasing to sell the impersonal- instrument quality of her voice on her trademark dream-of-consciousness cryptic, bewildering and grooving lyrics. "I'll be the martyr/You be the burning bush/See if you can flag somebody down to help us push and pop the clutch," she sings as the band churns out a notably danceable flow.

On the catchy and breathy "Wind Chimes," guest harpist John Popper of Blues Traveler bends his harmonica into a sweet keyboard sound and, on another tune, Mills pointedly sings "You can be the pretty one and I will be the witty one." Since no one with their wits about them could say Mills is not a "pretty one," this might seem to be looking glass logic but, since she is also obviously a "witty one," we are being told here to look beyond appearances to find the rabbithole that will pigeon these tunes. It is not the Alice of The Honeymooners that we dig in these lines. It's the other one; the one that gets into burrows.

"I taught myself the language of lighter fluid/Talking to my Zippo," sings Mills to remind us of another writer's attitude toward words and lines. Rolling Stone eulogizes that writer this month as having "waged a lifelong assault on what he viewed as the tyranny of language itself, the inevitable tendency of words to serve the interests of power and social control." This is precisely the method of Mills' vaguely related line snippets; cut and coupled just as this writer ruthlessly formed his own narrative pictures. Situations in Mills songs are gathered from separate reality tunnels (as Robert Anton Wilson calls them) and making the kind of sense out of them that a language-conditioned mind compulsively tries to do, is missing the point of how the wor ds are being used as music here.

Allen Ginsberg wrote of this writer; "-we eat reality sandwiches./But allegories are so much lettuce (rabbit food)/ Don't hide the madness (under your hat)." Eerily, this bitchin' band rises in the same year as this writer's death and comes on as if possessed by his spirit just as the Dali Lama took the above mentioned author's brother. His name, of course; now brace yourself- was William S. Burroughs! Can this be coincidence? (Web surfers looking for a fine fun band check out www.universe.digex.net/~ttma/ ). [Gary, this link doesn't appear to exist any more. I did find a page http://ToTheMoonAlice.com, but there is nothing there yet]

-Irv Yarg