On Tour with David J and The Hot Place
by Lisa King | Saturday, July 8, 2017
Lisa King of The Hot Place, joining David J (Bauhaus/Love and Rockets) on “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” at The Chapel, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah. Photo by David McDaniel.
“The word that would best describe this feeling, would be haunted…” I could hear it in my head, echoing, ghostlike; the opening lines of the familiar song by Love and Rockets, now made all the more potent as I drove into the old historic district of Savannah, Georgia, my passenger none other than David J himself, who had penned the lines. I admit, I shivered for a second. We were driving into the city for a two day stay, in which David would play a private Living Room Show, followed the next day by a very special performance at The Chapel in Bonaventure Cemetery, which my band The Hot Place would open. In 2002, I interviewed Mr. Haskins , backstage at the Echo Lounge in Atlanta. It was an unconventional exchange, as I was heavily immersed in the idea of Surrealist automatic writing, Jungian word-association, the trance states of Aleister Crowley, in which spirits would speak to him, and also the way Andy Warhol carried a cassette recorder around, and recorded fascinating people just talking. I would ask David to respond immediately to words and phrases, mostly things that were relevant to me such as titles of my paintings, songs, or snatches of poetry. In that sense, I felt that it was a sharing of artistic energy. One of the things I tossed out for a reaction was, “I’ll let my sweater figure it out.” He tilted his head to one side, and said, “That makes me think of ‘Haunted When the Minutes Drag’. ‘I touch the clothes you left behind that still retain your shape and line.’ And that was really about an obsession I had about this girl who was in art school. And I was so nervous…to speak to her…I couldn’t do that. But she used to leave like, her clothes, like a cardigan or a shirt or something, and I remember touching this piece of clothing that still somehow retained her shape and her line.”
A young version of myself, 1989, and the charcoal drawing I made of Peter Murphy. When it entered a state competition at UGA, it would land me a scholarship at SCAD. Parkview school newspaper.
You see, I was an art school girl. I attended The Savannah College of Art and Design in the early 1990’s. The irony? I received a scholarship from a charcoal drawing that I had made of Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. My high school newspaper took a photo of me and the drawing, and I was actually wearing a Bauhaus t-shirt on picture day. Thus the Spiral began. The city of Savannah was very different in the early ’90s. A bit lacking in nightlife for youth, there were not many places that college kids could go, and well, just be college kids, especially gothy ones with blue hair, so I found myself bored, free from parental observation, mischievous, and quite frankly, a little drugged up. The course load was heavy: Drawing I, Intro to 2-D Design, Art History, and English. I stayed in the Oglethorpe House dorm rooms, an old 6 story-hotel converted to student housing. It had a required meal plan, and the refectory food wasn’t great, especially for a vegetarian. Truthfully? It was oppressive. It felt like an outdated, gloomy Ramada Inn from the 70’s, where prostitutes and drug dealers may have frequented. My room-mate was mean and a bit suicidal. I did not like her at all, and they had policies against changing room-mates. She allowed her shady friends into our room one evening while I was out, and they stole half of my exotic post-punk clothing that I had worked so hard and saved up for, and had ordered from Bogey’s in New York , Lip Service in LA, or BOY in London, (including my thigh-high Siouxsie-style leather boots!) They took many of my record albums, which were rare 4AD or Beggars Banquet pressings, also from a trip to the UK, and even nicked a lot of my punk rock silver jewelry. Though she admitted it, I never got my my stuff back. The school was ambivalent, and they did nothing to help retrieve the stolen items. There were even cameras in the rooms, and in the halls. We had to get dressed in the bathrooms. You were forcefully told to wear your school ID clipped on your clothing at all times, around town, or you’d get demerits. You had to sign a logbook and check in and out of the dorm rooms at the old hotel desk every time you left, as if you were somehow a bit criminal just for being a student.
The SCAD offices on Bull Street, on my recent 2017 trip
The faculty, at that time, were a bit bizarre. They spoke a lot of “art-ese”, and were very Dadaist. They talked more than they taught. There were actually mail bombs going off in town, due to some sort of dissatisfaction with the President and the Administration of the college. Lingua Franca, the esteemed literary magazine, which focused on American intellectualism and academia, would publish a scandalous piece on the art school while I was in attendance, entitled Sinister Designs. Collectively, it was all very upsetting for me, and the Lingua Franca article was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. It was straight out of the film, Art School Confidential. (I still can’t watch that film without laughing way too much. John Malkovich is stellar in the movie, as painting Professor Sandiford.) Despite doing some fantastic work, especially in the realm of drawing and painting, I found myself too weirded out with the school, its bad press and policies, and going home to boyfriends in Atlanta, or driving to hang out with fellow UGA art students in Athens, Ga on the weekends. To be fair, I must say that in the past 27 years, SCAD has grown, evolved, learned a few lessons, and helped to revitalize Savannah in many ways since my 90’s experience, including providing many jobs for its residents. So, for that, I am honestly most grateful, and tip my hat to my transitory Alma mater. As writer Anne Lamott says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
My old Oglethorpe House dorm rooms at SCAD. Upon returning in 2017, they were much less gloomy with colorful painted doors, white brick, and a few renovations.
Even in my youthful discontent, and probably through a distorted lens of idealism of what “art school” should be like, there was still something about the oldest city in the state of GA; the spanish moss-lined squares; the dark vibes down by the river, where the ghosts of Pirates loomed heavily; the mysterious little fragrant courtyards; the fountain at Forsyth park, which made you feel as if you were in Paris or Rome; and always the feeling that I was being followed by somewhat benevolent spirits. Savannah had a siren’s call, that would always bring me back during the work week, though I would stray away on weekends. One of my favorite pastimes was taking strolls in the old Bonaventure Cemetery, and making long-exposure photographs with my pinhole camera and snapping polaroids of the statuary. I was in the height of my Goth period, and dressed daily in black lace, black lipstick, heavy eyeliner, Lip Service leggings, and skull-buckle kitten heel boots with clove cigarette in tow. I had blue hair, often sported a black beret, pierced my nose, and got a few tattoos. This is pretty standard fare for kids now, but in 1990, it was not so common. I would tread the cobblestones with my Sony Walkman, Bauhaus cassette playing, listening to Dark Entries or A Spy in the Cab, take pictures of tortured Angels, and draw very dark drawings, and paint very dark paintings. I also dabbled often in taking mind-expanding substances. It was quite the city to explore in altered states of consciousness. More than once I found myself having very lively conversations with the moss and trees, sprites in the woods, or in a fellow student’s dorm room, watching intently as they acted out the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show, as impromptu theatre, at the foot of the bed.
One of the Many Lovely Gardens along the streets of Savannah, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
Eventually, youth, and what was deemed “trouble” at the time by my parents, (but was really more like the testing out of fledgling little wings), ennui, and the call of adventure lured me away from Savannah, into the waiting arms of exotic New Orleans. Not much of a stretch, really, both being quite similar. Yet New Orleans was much darker. Less a Victorian Lady, and more a Priestess of Vodun. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo, The Blue Iguana Club, Doc Don’s Tattoo parlour (where I’d get a huge shoulder Gargoyle and giant calf Dragon tattoo), Tarot card reading, occult book shops, long and spooky walks along the levy at night, smoking weed by the river, and partying all night long in the Garden District would come to replace the rigors of Drawing I and Art History. I did keep making art, however. In fact, I made a lot of drawings and paintings in New Orleans. I sold some work. I was even an occasional busker with my Ovation acoustic guitar in Jackson Square. However, living the bohemian artists lifestyle was starting to tax the body and the wallet, so, eventually I made my way back to Atlanta, and I finished Art School at Georgia State under the wonderful tutelage of Larry Thomas – master printmaker; Ralph Gilbert – painter extraordinaire; and Irving Finkelstein – the best Art History teacher out there, who adored Picasso’s etchings as much as I did. What GSU may have been lacking in glamour or glossy art school atmosphere, they made up for with excellent instruction right in the heart of the city, not to mention having the best student-run movie theatre, Cinefest, and one of the top college radio stations in the country, Album 88. Savannah had become a very distant memory, its live oaks and wild beaches, back alleys and clop of carriage horses fading into the background of what a lot of people would describe as a bit of a “troubled period” of my life. New Orleans was of course upgraded to “unmentionable.” It was a time in my life that was simply labeled TABOO by everyone I knew, and then I was forced to stuff it all in a jar, with the lid on tight, and lock that time away in the dark. Jars can’t hold that kind of thing, though, and I have a feeling that in the darkness, it was glowing an eerie light. It wanted to be heard. Seen. Recognized. Looking back on it all, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. They were formative, learning experiences, and quite frankly, they were also hedonistic and fun, and isn’t that what youth, and “finding yourself” in college is all about?
Sphinx Statues in a tucked away Savannah courtyard, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
All along the way in my life, music was my guiding beacon. From childhood turntable forays into The Doors and Pink Floyd, to middle school obsessions with Duran Duran. I played piano as a child, and I was in many bands in high school and college, including two that lasted more than a moment, Grave Shift and Unminded. I always looked at my visual art, poetry, and music as one holistic part of myself. After college, and a few decades of traveling and meandering through many spiral paths, I recently found myself back in Savannah, Ga. in 2017 with my current band, The Hot Place. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I was asked to open up a Southeast leg of David J’s Vagabond Songs LP tour, one of the stops being a gig in The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery. In 2016, David J invited my band to open a series of Living Room Shows, and we played 5 shows that year, including Electron Gardens in Atlanta, ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, and The World Famous in Athens, Georgia. In 2017 we decided to branch out a little further, and one of the attendees of the Athens shows, Shannon Scott, offered to host a show. As a Savannah resident, who also conducts tours of Bonaventure Cemetery, he suggested that we play this lovely Chapel at the cemetery gates. The idea of playing my old goth girl stomping grounds, historic Bonaventure, in one of the most haunted cities in the US, with David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets was enough to tip my goth-o-meter over to eleven. We immediately set out to make it happen.
The Hot Place, opening up for David J, Electron Gardens Studio, September 2016
The morning of the Bonaventure show, I had a few free hours to take a city walk and indulge my photography hobby. Oddly enough, very quickly, I found myself standing in front of my old dorm room at SCAD. It felt very surreal. I don’t believe that I could come more full circle, or spiral as I prefer, than standing in front of the literal balcony of Oglethorpe House, looking up at my old door, with In the Flat Field playing on the iPod instead of the Walkman, knowing that I had returned to this very specific spot of my youth with an actual member of Bauhaus alongside me. To top it off, another band I admired and postered up my high school walls with, next to Joy Division and The Cure, were Atlanta’s very own The Swimming Pool Q’s. Jeff Calder of the Q’s and I have a long association. I toured with the band in the early 00’s playing keyboards, we played together in The Glenn Phillips Band, and we have been working together in The Hot Place since 2011. So, not only was I returning to Savannah to open up for David J, but Jeff Calder would be riding shotgun as my guitarist. As a teen, in 1987, my first job was working at Turtle’s Records and Tapes. I had left that job when I struck out for SCAD in the early 90’s, and I would return to the job and work at Turtle’s through my college years at GSU until 1997. My main manager, during most of my career at the record shop, was Mike Lynn. I admired Mike greatly, and his band Betty’s Not a Vitamin was one of the most popular college rock bands during the time that he was my boss. Mike started playing guitar with my old band Unminded in ’94, and when that group disbanded, he joined in as the guitarist for The Hot Place, alongside Jeff Calder and I. So, another prominent person of my youth was also driving to Savannah as I stood gawking at my old dorm room, and would be playing with me that night. The idea that these key people from my early years would be flanking me on stage, was a bit mind blowing.
Unminded, 1995. L to R, Mike Lynn, Lisa King, Andy King, and Vic Richard, photo by Peter Heckman.
I stood there, gazing up at the balcony for a long time, and somewhere in that haze, I slipped into a trance. I don’t know if there was suddenly a rip in the time-space continuum, if I was having an acid flashback, or I was seeing a mirage, but I actually SAW myself, black lace and blue hair, sitting up by that room, with my legs swinging over the balcony like I used to do. I would gaze over the city, and then I’d sketch a bit in my notebook. It was me. I was looking at a spectral version of myself. It was one of the most unnerving experiences I have had in my life. Supernatural things almost always happen to me in Savannah, and this vision was the first of several. I looked at young me, and she looked back, and I shouted, “Hey!” She just stared forward. I said again, “Hey, Lisa!” She just kept staring forward. So, I decided to say a little bit to her. “Lisa, I just want you to know that I am here, I am back in Savannah, it’s 27 years later, and I brought David J, Jeff Calder, and Mike Lynn with me. We are playing music tonight, together in Bonaventure. I know that you are about to set off on a long and difficult adventure. But, I want you to know that you are brave, smart, fierce, and you will pull through. The decisions you are about to make are GOOD ones. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are a bad person. I am here to say that you will succeed, you are following your destiny, and you are one badass little girl. Stay strong. And most importantly, keep going.” I then self-consciously looked around the street, expecting people to be staring at the crazy lady shouting a message into thin air. There was absolutely no one around. It was like a vacuum. It was quiet. I didn’t see a soul. It was as if time had stopped, and you could see dust motes floating in the sunlight. After a fashion, I snapped out of the trance, and blinked. Young Lisa was gone. All the street noise returned. I saw a family noisily walking up the street with ice creams. A jogger ran past me. A lady walking a dog kind of smiled and nodded at me. I moved along, half-dazed, but feeling like I had just done something very important. Perhaps I was in The Matrix. Or perhaps I really did just time-travel. Enigmas happen in our lives, and in my opinion, it’s best to just accept them for what they are, and marvel in awe at the mystery. As I continued my walk, in the back of my head, I was thinking about Bowie’s words in The Man Who Sold the World, which always seemed like an encounter with a past self:
“We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago…”
A “Griffin-dove” on a garden wall in Savannah, that I would see right after my encounter at my old SCAD Dorm room, along my city walk, 2017.
Still in awe, I made my way up to my best-loved square, Orleans. There is a small fountain there, and it was always my favorite place to sit, contemplate, read, and draw. As soon as I entered the area, a perfumed wind blew my hair. I smelled the distinct aroma of clove cigarette, patchouli oil, sandalwood, and a bit of gardenia. However, there was absolutely nobody around. I sat on a bench, taking in the perfume, and I immediately sensed a presence. The hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. I could feel little fingers of energy, along my spine and in my tresses, which is long, and was worn loose that day. You see, this spot in the city was always the place I first felt the presence of spirits; usually benevolent, playful, young. Perhaps tree dryads, fairies, or ghosts, Orleans Square always seems to be a magickal place. “Hello, old friend.” I said. The wind blew more fragrance towards me. “Yes, Savannah, I’m back. I’m playing music tonight at Bonaventure cemetery. You are invited. In fact, all benevolent and peaceful spirits are invited to join us.” This seemed to be pleasing to the energy swirling around me, and a big whoosh of wind jostled the spanish moss in the trees, whispering. I was feeling very content. I heard a voice in the wind say, “Keep walking. I’ll show you some things. Do you have your camera? You always used to walk with your camera.” I grinned. “Of course I have my camera. I’m on a photo journey. Guide me!” I declared. And off I went, and I would indeed find some of the most beautiful little gated gardens, see incredible sculptures, hear wind chimes tinkling in the breeze, experience the kindness of many strangers, and take some of the most wonderful photos of Savannah that morning, on my relaxed stroll.
Orleans Square, Savannah, photo by Lisa King, 2017
Dusk fell over the city, and it was soon time to make my way to The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery for the show. The venue was absolutely stunning, with high vaulted wooden canopies, marble walls and floors, arched gothic windows, the whole interior in hues of heavenly pale blue, indigo, warm wheat, and ceiling planks that reminded me of a Viking ship. There were beautiful white flower arrangements, and our host Shannon and his aide for the event, Mindy, were more than hospitable. In fact, the entire stay in Savannah was made all the more enjoyable and special by the kind hospitality that only those who truly love Savannah can provide. We genuinely felt welcome. I was very aware, however, that this lovely Chapel was also a Crypt. There were names on the walls, and something in my soul was just a little hesitant to make a rock and roll ruckus in such a spot. Perhaps it was just my Southern upbringing, but this was both church and cemetery, and I felt the sudden compulsion to be very quiet to honor the dead. At soundcheck, I had mixed feelings about playing in such a special location. I didn’t think that I would feel that way at all. During these Living Room tours with David, we have played at houses, recording studios, bookshops, art galleries, rooftops, and small clubs, but never a Victorian Cemetery! The sound for each show is always different, depending on the location, and that’s part of the charm of this kind of tour, and what keeps it interesting for the bands. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel, and after soundcheck, I was a mix of emotions. The sound was very cavernous and deep, hollow and big…my words would exit out of my throat, get sucked right out of me, echo around the room to heaven, and then come back at me like I was in a marble womb, or a catacomb. It was extremely goth, a big honor, and the few people that were present at soundcheck were very reverent. In fact, all evening, the tone would be one of high regard and quiet respect.
The Chapel ceiling, at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
Just up the road, the Bonaventure Funeral Home would be our green room, pre-show. Not only have I never played a Crypt, or in a Cemetery, but I’ve never used a Funeral Home as a green room! Outside of the Parlour, a vintage Rolls Royce Hearse was in Go position. It would drive David J to the show. The “dressing room” was large, beautiful, and I parked my makeup mirror onto a preacher’s pulpit to apply eyeliner. Can you say, “Goth?” I needed to change clothes, and as much as I love my band, and David J, I felt I should change in the loo. So, I walked down the Funeral Home hall, which was very quiet, and very strange. I could look out the windows and see the woods of the Cemetery. You could hear a pin drop. In the powder room, I got the most strange sensation that I was being watched. Not by a person, but by a spirit. As I slipped off my burgundy velvet pants, and a black Criminal Records Atlanta t-shirt, I thought I heard the playful laughter of a young girl. I shook my head and said to myself, “Okay, Lisa. Get it together. You’re just letting your imagination run wild.” I had my hair up in pigtail braids, the way I usually wear it during soundcheck, so that my long tresses do not get caught in any gear. To further protect my locks, I wrap my hair in Native American fringed black leather braid corsets, (called u-que-lu-gv-ga-no-tsi in Cherokee), which I purchased from my local Pow-wow. As I was unwrapping my hair, I distinctly smelled lilacs. Once again, the hair on my arms stood up, and I thought I heard childlike laughter again. It wasn’t spooky, it was actually endearing. I didn’t feel afraid, just curious. After I changed, I neatly folded my pants, shirt, and braid wraps up, and put them on the sink. I didn’t want to hairspray bomb my band, so I had my teasing comb and bamboo spray with me, and went to work on making my hair a bit bigger. It was wavy from being up in braids, and we were running a tad behind with showtime, so I was in a rush. Now, here’s where things get odd. I definitely felt a breeze blow through the room, and as far as I know, I picked up my stack of clothes, and my hair tools, and walked back to the green room. I’m a stickler for keeping up with my items on tour, in an organized fashion, so in my mind, I am SURE that I neatly packed my clothes back in my gig bag, and put away my hair accessories. David wanted to listen to Mazzy Star before the show, so I opened up Pandora, and the song, Lay Myself Down came on first. Hope’s influence over me is abiding, but something about her voice was reminiscent of the little girl ghostly energy I had just felt in the washroom. These were the words she was singing:
“Just like that, she follows me
My wings are under her tree.”
I thought of a little child swinging on a tree swing, I could kind of see her Victorian clothes, and sweet face. I got a distinct impression she was wearing a white dress.
David J, performing at The Chapel in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
Our host would provide the band with a limousine for the evening, and in all fairness, I have to say that going from the green room to the gig in a limo, walking out of a big black car into a venue and directly onto the stage, was something that I’d not experienced. Well, as Bowie would say, “What you like is in the limo.” It was quite a rush to go from limo to stage for the first time in my life. So, I was already in a really bizarre mindset. We opened our show with a brand new song, only written just a few days before the tour. It’s called, In the Strange Oblivion. It’s very rare that I’d want to open a show with such a new song, but it felt very correct to me. As soon as the lyrics started pouring out, being inside that Chapel/Crypt/Cemetery, the words started to make sense.
“In the Strange Oblivion
A new season crashes forward
In the spires of Babylon
A new paradigm is altered
In the end…in the aught…in the end…
Icy shadows closing in
In the darkness of the ocean
Ancient Forces, Denizen
Cold grey labyrinth of water
In the end, in the aught, in the end…
Tendril of the strangest kind
Reaches in it takes you under
Sonar signal of the mind
Bones before you, there’s no Saviour
In the end…in the aught…in the end…”
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
The Spires reminded me of the two towers of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which poke out on Savannah’s Historic District skyline like twins. The city, to my younger self, was quite Babylonian. The river, always a little dark to me with its Pirate vibes and everything painful or bright traded along that water; the ocean nearby, the chthonic monsters of the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker and those Ancient Forces and Denizens…and literally, all of the Bones in Bonaventure. I could suddenly imagine all of the bones that were surrounding us, behind us, and underneath us, as I sang this song. It was very poignant. I could visualize it all. All of my lyrics were ringing truer. The Big Black car in A Second to Live was the limo we rode to the show in. The words to Petals of Ruin:
“Petals of Ruin blow slowly away
Patterns they blew in, what could they say?
Petals of Ruin, how softly they fall
Petals of Ruin- nothing at all.”
That reads totally different, in a cemetery! In keeping with the spirit of playing new material, we also performed, Hell, Highwater, or Sunlight, a freshly recorded song in which David J had joined us in the studio a few days prior to the show. He laid down a wailing and winsome harmonica part on the track. As I sang it, I felt like I fell into a hypnotic state. I could hear my words:
“The Moon was a Perfect Priestess
The trees dried skeletons
The sky was a new horizon
The stars were all beckoning…”
And once again, with the full moon coming in the windows, surrounded by literal skeletons, I felt like I was inside one of my own songs. After the set, David asked me outside, “Did you have a good one?” I kind of looked at him with a foggy demeanor. “Did you have a good SHOW?” he said slowly, as if I was still in a dream, and he was waking a sleepwalker. “Oh! Yeah, yeah I think so.” I answered. He looked puzzled. “The audience was very reverent. It is a very impressive space to play.” I mumbled. I was definitely disoriented from all of the revelations coming at me on stage. I wasn’t used to operating on that level, in a certain way. I thought of a Steve Kilbey (of The Church band) lyric, “All my songs are coming true.”
(L to R), Lisa King, David J and Jeff Calder, performing Bela Lugosi’s Dead, The Chapel at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga. 2017. Photo by David McDaniel.
As David took the crypt, er, stage, I noticed the same lyrical phenomenon. It’s not unusual, that a genre or that a personality such as his, or even mine, would have lyrics that would apply in many different situations. But as I started hearing his words, they either reminded me of Savannah, or were also made more potent by the Cemetery venue. I was hearing, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, The Day that David Bowie Died in totally different ways, not to mention Goth Girls in Southern California:
“She works at the mortuary
She loves the flower arrangements
The night shift is the shift where she belongs.”
These words were echoing, as David played literally between two lovely white funerary flower arrangements of roses and lilies. Even the cover version he was performing of Okkervil River’s song, A Girl in Port was made all the more lovely by being in Savannah, a port city next to the ocean:
“Oh, I’m a weak and lonely sort
Though I’m not sailing just for sport
I’ve come to feel out on the sea
These urgent lives press against me
I’m just aghast, I’m not apart
My tender head with my easy heart
These several years out on the sea
Made me empty, cold and clear
Pour yourself into me
Let fall your soft and swaying skirt
Let fall your shoes, let fall your shirt
I’m not the lady-killing sort
Enough to hurt the girl in port.”
But, by far, the highlight of the night, and of the tour for me, was the invitation that David extended to Jeff and I, to join him for the encore of Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Jeff played eerie e-bow-esque accompaniments, and I joined in for the “Beeeeeelaaaa’s Undeeeeeeaaaddd” ending, and a call & response part, “Bela Lugosi sleeps with Sister Morphine”. It was, by far, the gothest of the goth moments I’ve ever had. After the show, I was admittedly a little woozy still from the whole event, bouncing back and forth from coffee, alcohol, and herbals, my energy a zig-zag of lightning. I was exhilarated, but very sad, because the tour was over for The Hot Place. (Stay tuned for a few road stories from Athens, Ga!) I think I was just getting really good and warmed up, and comfortable on the road, so perhaps it’s time for the band to make a little jag across the land, once we finish our second album. I’ve always thought the way time progresses on a tour, in that slow, haunting way, or a really good musical performance you get lost in, is much like a sacred circle: A time out of time, in a place out of place. I’m ready to stay there. It’s a real embodiment of THE NOW.
Tour Dedication by LK at Tybee Island, Savannah, GA. 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
After some much needed R&R at Tybee Island, including a moonlight stroll on the beach in which Mother Moon came out to greet us for just a mere 15 minutes, (but oh what a moon!), I felt very grounded finally, after the whirlwind. I am the type of person who lives a Shamanic and Magickal life, and I invite all sorts of experiences into my realm. I felt like my Savannah sojourn had filled me to the brim. Upon returning to Atlanta, I started unpacking my clothes. I noticed that everything I had taken with me was home safe and sound, but I was missing the clothing that I changed out of at the Funeral Home in Bonaventure, including my burgundy velvet pants. I was a bit perplexed, because I really felt like I had carried the clothing back to the green room, and put it in my gig bag before the show. I decided to put a shout out on Facebook concerning my missing attire, much to the laughter of friends, asking, “How do you lose your pants in a cemetery?” I figured if someone found them, they would set them aside. I was prepared to lose the clothing, as a sacrifice of sorts, though inwardly lamenting the loss of a really nice pair of velvet pants. It’s hard to find good fitting burgundy velvet nowadays!
Mother Moon at Tybee Island, Savannah, Ga. 2017. Photo by Lisa King.
As I rested in my kitchen the day after my return, sipping coffee, I started looking at my suitcase. I swear, I heard that same Tinkerbell young girl’s laughter in my head. The hairs on my arms stood up once more, and I said out loud, “Am I being teased by a playful little ghost?” I went over to my suitcase, opened it up, and noticed that it was a bit heavier than it should be. I felt around, and I discovered a long tear in the lining of the interior. I poked around some more, and saw a tiny corner of burgundy peaking out. Perplexed, and unaware of any sort of rip in the lining before, low and behold I pulled out my lost pants, shirt, AND my black leather hair ties, which I didn’t even realize I was missing until that moment. Now, one could say, “Oh, you just didn’t know your suitcase lining was ripped, and you accidentally slipped them in there when packing.” True. However, I didn’t have my suitcase with me at Bonaventure. It was in my hotel. The clothing vanished at the gig, where I only had my gig bag and my purse. So, the clothes would have been in my gig bag, not the suitcase. I may have had a few whiskey’s, but I wasn’t ever so wasted that I suddenly would forget that I had transferred my “lost” clothes from the gig bag to the suitcase somehow that night or the next day. I didn’t even know my hair leathers were missing. If I’d somehow made the transfer, I would have seen them. Nobody else had access to my suitcase. Quite frankly, I don’t understand how the clothes got from the Funeral Home green room, and my gig bag, into the suitcase lining, which unbeknownst to me, was ripped. I spoke with Shannon, our host and a tour guide at Bonaventure. He is very familiar with the special paranormal element that resides in the city, so I told him about my clothes, and my suitcase, and about hearing the laughter at both Bonaventure and at my house. He then linked me to a story he had wrote, called Heaven’s Playground (part one) (part two) , about Little Gracie, a beloved and well-known little girl who died very young, 1889, in Savannah, and her connection to the cemetery. Her grave is one of the most visited in the city. After reading his articles, I really believe that I was experiencing this tiny spirit, who was so beloved in her time, considered an old soul, and even a good luck charm. Residents occasionally say that they see her glowing form in Johnson Square, often in a white dress. I have seen many oddities in my life, and I am very open to occult happenings. I’m a tarot card reader, a practicing pagan, a witch, a shaman, a healer, and a bit of a mystic. You may think me crazy, and that’s fine. But I know my own senses, and I know my own self, and I’ve learned to trust my visions, and listen to my gut. In my heart, I truly believe that this little soul was playfully present at our show at The Chapel. After all, I had politely invited all benovelent spirits to join us. Perhaps, as our Savannah co-host Mindy replied to me in a text, after I relayed the story to her, “I’m sure she’s tired of wearing the same clothes for so many centuries. I bet she enjoyed rocking it out in your attire for a while.” I couldn’t say it better myself.
Statue and gravesite of Little Gracie, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah Ga. Photo by Lastmanout.
Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for another road tale, from Athens, Ga.
Much love, and gratitude,
An entire photo journal of the David J/The Hot Place tour can be found here on Facebook.
Find me here:
Support Lisa King and The Hot Place monthly on Patreon:
No Big Wheel Records on Bandcamp: https://nobigwheelrecords.bandcamp.com/music
No Big Wheel Records on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NoBigWheel
The Hot Place official website: http://www.thehotplaceband.com
Wax & Wane on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/waxandwanewands
Kitchen Alchemy: http://kitchenalchemycookbook.com/
Instagram: nobigwheel/Lisa King