At the last Positive Feedback editor’s meeting which was held in the rain forest of Brazil, Dave Robinson walked into the center of the fire pit completely barefooted and dance around it doing the Funky Chicken, in his own magnificent way, while we all clapped and chanted. Our friends and hosts, the Jivaro Indians, played their flutes and handed us their home made beer.

Dave then asked for volunteers to make an offering to the One Harmonic Which is Many, and before he could finish the last syllable of volunteers I was standing on his shoulders, my beautiful perfectly hard coconut oil covered body glistening in the fire, completely tattooed with the magic symbols of the Jivaros, and with long pointed feather clad stick piercing my nose, I bellowed out, "Me, First, Me First". There was much grumbling and rattling of skulls and jaw bones from my fellow PF editors sitting around the fire pit. Scott Frankland shook a hand full of pig guts at me. Lynn Olson, who was eating a yummy platter of monkey brains didn’t even look up, and really hurt my feelings.

I knew I had to convince them that it was my job as thermionic techno-shaman to go first, so I began to sing to the night forest. I sang not as a man, but I magically changed my form into the rarest of rare song birds, The Red Breasted Chubby Thermionic Techno-Shaman Bird of Paradise from Brooklyn. No sooner did my song reach the top of the trees that the whole forest joined me in my song of ecstasy. The jaguars, the tapirs, the monkeys, all, and I mean all of the birds of the rain forest joined in. But my greatest honor was the snakes, including the giant river anacondas began to sing along, which is something they rarely do. (Have any of you ever heard a snake sing?) Gentlemen, we are taking about the entire rain forest responding to my offering to the creator harmonic. Can you be there with us and imagine the music? Can you hear the sound emanating from my bird heart while standing on Dave’s shoulders while the night glowed with the fire of the Jivaro Indians, and all of the forest was alive with music? (I must add that I thought it was terribly rude of Lynn Olson to continue to suck on the monkey skull while all of this was going on)

So here I am about to take you on a trip to the fringe, which I think is the best place, the best perspective, from which to look at the audio arts.


Those of you who followed my advice about home made silver wire cables will trust me, others will have to take a leap of faith and let me prove the effectiveness of some of eccentric Triode Guild teachings. If you follow my advice I will help you create the single biggest improvement in your experience of music in your home, and you will do nothing to your equipment; you will not spend one cent on any new equipment. How much is it worth to you that you can vastly improve your experience of music....for under $5?

Can you imagine any other suggesting you take a very dangerous psychotropic plant, that will, at a very low cost, dramatically expand your experience of music? This is very risky, and this radical strategy has never been suggested before and may get me black listed, and I may fail, so be sure, before you read any further, that your Medicaid is full paid up. And yes, I will visit you in the hospital. But be assured, that no matter the outcome, I shall not abandon you while you fight off attacking legions of one hundred pound spiders with Rastafarian curls wearing tie-dyed T-shirts and singing Bob Marley tunes....if you are in straight jacket.





If I haven’t lost you on the steep trail, you are now ready to start using a dangerous powerful psychotropic plant as a way of enhancing and expanding your experience of music in your living room. This plant is more addictive than cocaine, and has been used for over six thousand years. I am sure that most of you, like our President, have "puffed, but did not inhale" and I am encouraging you to continue this practice because inhaling is suicide. You are all aware of the cigar craze sweeping America, but few are aware that this renaissance of authentic tobacco is directly connected to our need for a more authentic relationship to music. Both trends are about authenticity and mind expansion. We are talking the artification trip, which means your active/imaginative participation in the process, which means your active/imaginative participation in the process, which means your active/imaginative participation in the process...get the point of my stuttering?



Let’s smoke a cigar, which is one of the best ancient mind changing rituals known to man. That’s right. No cables, no tube dampers, no new amps, new speakers, only a frail ancient brown leaf torpedo of transformation. To make sure you use this powerful mind altering plant in a positive feedback way, I must initiate you and be sure that when you smoke your cigar, you are tuning into the right harmonic, so I will create for you an expanded tobacco metacontext

Most don’t know the origins of cigar smoking, and by that I mean the central role that the tobacco spirit played in Native American’s spiritual cosmology. Because I am going to continue my discussions of cigars for the next few issues of PF (which is another good reason to subscribe), we need to start at the beginning. This means I have to start six thousand years ago when the natives of Mexico first discovered the wild tobacco plant’s power to change their mind. As the tobacco culture/plant was brought north by native traders it became a cultivated plant and soon it was a central religious totem for the American Indian tribes, including the tribes living in the Caribbean.

To put this in perspective, American natives were using tobacco rituals two thousand years before the Egyptians built their first pyramids. When Columbus’s gang first encountered tobacco use in 1492, never having seen tobacco smoking before, they thought that smoke was coming out of the heads of Indians. This magic leaf was so frightening it was banned in Europe as an evil charm of the devil. Don’t forget that the Inquisition was going on during the Age of Discovery.



The first Americans, the varied tribes that we call the American Indians, correctly believed that every surrounding object to be filled with life, like themselves. Trees, the wind, the river ( which was often named "the long person"), all possessed life and a unique conscious spirit and power. The trees moan and rustle, therefore they speak, or are perhaps, the dwelling place of powerful spirits. The winds are full of words, sighing, warnings, threats, the noises in the forest, without doubt, from wandering spirits all about, both friends and enemies. The water moves, articulates, prophesizes, and tells many stories, home to the fish spirits who possesses great wisdom and vision.

Even abstract qualities were possessed of the qualities of living things. Light and darkness, heat and cold, were regarded as active participants in the outcome of events. Obviously, the sky was looked upon as the All-Father from whose union with Mother Earth all living things emerged.

If inanimate objects and natural occurrences were endowed with the qualities of life and thought, the animals that shared the Mother Earth were placed on the highest level. Living close to these animals and being dependent upon them for survival, each unique animal power and personality; every minute eccentricity of their ways were understood and woven into the framework of how Indians perceived their world.

American Indians admired all animals for their unique qualities. Obviously many possessed greater cunning and power than himself. These animals were better at hunting and surviving and seldom suffered from the conditions of nature. They were faster on the ground. They could fly and climb to places out of reach even to the most skillful warrior. In short, the Indian considered animals his superiors, and he admired them and held them in high esteem, and he mimicked them.

Animals were teachers and models. The fox was proverbial for craft, the wild cat for stealth, the deer for swiftness, the bear for power. In such a world a wise man would imitate the attributes of animals so as to take on their skills. A name that included an animal, or an animal as a protective spirit, or a tribe describing itself in terms of an animal all reflects the American Indians hierarchical view of creation, where animals are the source of human power.

Animal totems became intrinsic to creation myths, where tribes believed that they originally descended from a particular animal. Dreams were filled with animal spirits, and it was common during the dream for the Indian to be transformed into his animal totem, and thereby able to obtain the needed wisdom and power to face the challenges of life. In effect here the tobacco plant is the Pope of the plants spirits.

The offering of smoke was not only a form of prayer, within this metacontext, the smoke became the spirit of the tobacco. The rising smoke was road upon which the smoker’s spirit could climb up to Wanatanka, the Great One Spirit. Tobacco was medicine for the body and the soul, and every important event became consecrated with the tobacco offering. The sharing of tobacco was the most sacred of bonding between men. The tobacco ritual compelled integrity, courage, truthfulness, deep religious respect for all of nature; all of the values we so highly value in the American Indians.

For the American Indians tobacco rituals were ways of opening, of becoming more sensitive to the subtle harmonics of life, from all dimensions of reality. Tobacco was the road to other times and places that a man needed to travel to acquire wisdom, power, and courage. Need to make contact with long gone relatives? Smoke was a spirit WEB connecting the smoker to the whole network of life, and what could feel more comforting than that?

This is why I am certain that the current cigar craze is not about men acting like real men, because it is all about men knowing they need help, and doing the right thing...being completely pragmatic, and reaching for what works, what provides deep spiritual support. The kind of support that the authentic American Indian tobacco spirit always offered. And remember, you can’t make contact with this spirit when you smoke cigarettes. Because we need to change our minds about lots of subjects, we are again smoking cigars.....and listening to directly heated triodes. Can you imagine what smoking a cigar and listening to music felt like if you lived in the world of the American Indians? Which is what I am asking you, the gifted listener, to do.



The rank and file audiophile will treat his cigar like he treats his music. Golly Gee, isn’t it pleasureful. But you are different, because you can experience more from your cigar and your music system. It is the same SOUL demanding more from both. It is the mind that needs to go beyond the beyond and to where the begin starts beginning; almost to the end so it can start all over again. It is our questing for pre-linguistic; the primal human reality before there was "I" and "You", when there was only IS. It is the ancient journey into the oneness of tobacco. It is the ancient journey into the oneness with music.

Which is why years before the cigar craze started in , The Search for Musical Ecstasy, Chapter 15 entitled, Rituals on page 113, when describing the appropriate listening ritual, I suggest a " cigar smoking pause". Smoking a finely tuned hand made cigar while listening to music is a better way to expand your aural matrix than taking a bubble bath with my rubber ducky and Cindy Crawford, while Tara Banks (cover of Sport Illustrated Swimsuit issue) gets ready to give you a back rub with hot coconut oil. If your mind is properly tuned the combination of a cigar and music is a rocket assisted ride to the Nth Dimension of Music Hyperspace, because when you take two awesome mind altering substances: tobacco and music and mix them together you have created a witches brew of such gigantic magical power, you may never be able to put on a three piece suit again. Tobacco is the can opener for our "mind in an industrial sardine can". And don’t the American Indians drum, sing and dance during their tobacco ritual? Music and tobacco are lovers from before time, and we gladly have a menage a trois with them. Even for us alienated dysfunctional industrial white guys, cigars are tuning forks which aligns our harmonic with the One Harmonic.


In closing, let me tell you about two nonnormal listening experiences from the Nth Dimension of Music Hyperspace: During the summer 1968 I was driving across America, and one star filled night while driving through the corn middle of Kansas I heard my mother, who was in New York City, call out to me. I actually heard her voice. It frightened me so I stopped at the first phone booth and decided to call home, in spite of the fact it was 3AM. I discovered one half hour earlier my mother had been rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Or, one night while I was in London on business I was awakened by my father’s voice. I called home to discover that he just had a heart attack.

Now we all know that these "voices" are very common occurrences. Many people have similar "nonnormal hearing" experiences when their loved ones are in danger. The question I leave you with is, "On what dimension of reality are these people speaking to us, and on what dimension of reality are we listening to these people?" Get my drift sailor?

Of course my next challenge is to convince you that your audio system is a living organism; a thing alive with spirit; your spirit. On the other hand this may not be that difficult a task because I shall continue to guide you to this non-normal territory with one of the best guides known to man: a finely tuned cigar.