Vadge Moore’s time in the public eye started when he took his love of hardcore punk and turned it into a means of expression as a musician in the Bay-area music scene. This eventually led to his joining The Dwarves, a now infamous punk band, in 1988. While he enjoyed his decade+ of touring and debauchery with The Dwarves, Vadge also started creating art to express his other literary and esoteric interests via his Chthonic Force project. CF saw collaborations with cultural architects Monte Cazazza and Boyd Rice, as well as other figures who balance entertainment with controversy such as Thomas Thorn and Peter Sotos. Vadge has been called many things over the years; perverse, loud, dangerous, and we tasked Ariock Van de Voorde to converse with him about life, music, philosophy and his latest work to see what is behind the noise.
“Lucifer fell from Hell and then he rose”
Vadge Moore – 2012
Ariock: Some Black Lotus Kult fans come from different “worlds” that don’t always overlap. For the benefit of the belly dancer in Italy who is reading this and wondering (and because we think it is a fun question for you to answer); Who is Vadge Moore?
Vadge: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and developed a very early interest in music and the Occult. Aleister Crowley was one of my first serious interests. By the time I had become a teenager, punk rock became very important to me, and I played in a few local S.F. bands. By the late 80′s, I had made the acquaintance of members of the punk band The Dwarves and subsequently joined their band and began making records with these fine gentlemen, touring and generally wreaking havoc, sex and violence across the world.
The Dwarves – 1990
Around this time I wrote for, and helped edit, the occult magazine Primal Chaos with my friend Wendy Van Dusen. As the millennium began to wind down, I had grown tired of touring with The Dwarves and I made the decision to focus on my writing and the music of my personal noise-barrage band Chthonic Force. I released two full length records with Chthonic Force and played sporadic, infrequent shows in the U.S. and England. With concentration on my written work, I soon had articles published in various webzines and within the pages of the magazine Dagobert’s Revenge, which at the time was being used by my friend Boyd Rice to explore his interests in the Bloodline of the Grail.
In 2005 I moved to Atlanta, bought a home, and settled down to more deeply explore the occult and magick. My writing had become the most effective means to express a transformation that was occurring within my soul. As such, writing has now become my full-time focus. In 2009 my first book, Chthonic: Prose & Theory was published by Antibothis Publishing. Shortly after, I came into contact with a nice young man named David Beth. Mr. Beth had been involved with an organization that I had taken a great interest in many years before; La Couleuvre Noire, a Gnostic Voudon group headed by the infamous Michael Bertiaux. David was parting from this organization to start his own group, La Société Voudon Gnostique (S.V.G.), and asked me if I wanted to join. I did, and my writing and music has since appeared in the first volume of the S.V.G.’s journal, ATUA: Voices from La Societe Voudon Gnostique.
I am currently putting the final, finishing touches on my next book– Meonic Monsters: A Perfect Ruin.
Ariock: Your work for Dagobert’s Revenge was widely read by the circles of modern occultists. For the longest time, your “Kenneth Grant & the Merovingian Mythos” article was one of the few works of substance that would come up on web searches when looking for information on Grant (and it made for a nice counter to the infamous “Sword of Horus”). It is strange because at my old occult book shop, we had a very diverse clientele, including gutter punks and skaters who would always be hanging out downtown in close proximity to the shop. When we started carrying CDs, we would leave the catalogs out and let the customers dictate what we would stock. “Dwarves Are Young & Good Looking” was second only to “Sid Sings” in the “Punk” category in terms of requests and sales. Despite this, I didn’t put two and two together when I saw your writing.
My 1st creative inspiration came from music. I was always listening to records in my youth, and I remember hearing the music Joy Division and having a desire to create art in such a way. With Kindle, she was trained in many different dance styles through her youth, but seeing Sage of Sangre del Sol perform with fire was the spark to ignite her performances (literally and figuratively). What artist or work is the 1st that you remember that really moved you?
Vadge: Well, the first music that really moved me was not quite so sophisticated; it was the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind the Bollocks” and later, Black Flag’s “Jealous Again” EP. However, the figure in history that changed my entire life and outlook and really dug deep into my soul was Aleister Crowley. At a very early age Crowley’s image was put in front of me– I think it was through an interview with Genesis P Orridge– and I was fascinated. I sought out his books and tried desperately for most of my life to understand this amazing man and his work. I literally did not understand a word of what he was writing, but I was so uncontrollably drawn to him and his books that I never stopped attempting to part that veil of ignorance. He still fascinates and obsesses me, to this day.
Ariock: (Remind me to tell you the story of Kindle getting a book signed for me by Genesis P-O some day). My 1st two records were “Never Mind the Bollocks” and Queen’s “News of the World”. What a foundation! I still remember the look on my mother’s face when she walked in the room and “Bodies” by the Sex Pistols was playing. In terms of current artists, who are you currently listening to and reading?
Vadge: Hahahahaha! “Bodies”! Yes, that would upset a Mom. Right now I’m in a particularly pessimist mood and have been reading Baudelaire’s Selected Writings on Art and Literature and listening constantly to Richard Wagner and Joy Division. (Joy Division’s ) “Closer” is an absolute classic! This very second I’m listening to Kyuss- who are old friends of mine.
There is a particular bliss to be found within the Trance of Sorrow; however, as Crowley has expressed, this is a transitional phase. Wagner and Baudelaire remind me that life is fleeting. “All the sorrows pass and they are done.” Life is ultimately joy, but we must push on beyond our ignorance through the recognition that our egos matter not in the least. My music and readings at any particular moment reflect the state of my soul. I’m sure you didn’t mean for this question to be so loaded, but there you have it.
Ariock: Good answer. There are no real expectations to the answers here. This is more of just a conversation that others may happen to trip over on their internet meandering. Since we don’t sell anything, there has been no need to analyze who visits our websites. We are not sure who is reading this. Dwarves fans? Esoteric Voudon initiates? Or perhaps that before-mentioned Italian belly dancer…
I mentioned not putting the dots together in being aware of your music, and then seeing the byline on your writing (despite your distinctive nom de plume). Perhaps this was because the personae seemed initially incompatible; the legendary bacchanalian punk vs. the articulate occult scholar. Your time with the Dwarves certainly opened doors, but do you feel that your reputation has hindered you in any way?
Vadge: There has never been any separation between who I was in the Dwarves and who I am now; it’s just being expressed more poetically now, I guess, and more soberly. I feel that my time in The Dwarves actually made me more fit for what I realize I now have to go through: an Ordeal of overwhelming proportions. This Ordeal is what any person must go through in order to achieve the Knowledge and the Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Being a “legendary bacchanalian” and an aware mystic or magician are not mutually exclusive.
Much of what is my reputation has led me to the incredible mystical revelations that I have had today. Rimbaud spoke of the “derangement of the senses”, Baudelaire of the drunkenness that is necessary to have poetic vision, Mallarme wrote of how important it was to tap into the Void and the Nothing. This is what I do; this is what I have always done. I lived this in the Dwarves and I write about it now with Chthonic Force or my prose and poetry. I have descended into the chthonic abyss, Hades: I am fucking Orpheus! I have some tales to tell. Sorry if the Hell I bring to the surface is not comfortable enough for most of you.
“I have some tales to tell”
Vadge with Friends in Japan – 2000
Ariock: I think it was Hemingway who said “Write drunk, edit sober”. Of course you get to a point, as with anything, where you can use specific intoxicants for Gnosis and reach their limits, or are able to achieve the results without the substance. Timothy Leary found this, as did the before-mentioned Genesis who stated that what he had been able to tap into “makes drugs laughably obsolete”. There are different ways into Universe B; it is what you are able to bring back that matters.
On that note, we create art that tends to be labeled “occult” or “esoteric”, and is informed by our work or studies in these matters. Where did your introduction to the occult come from?
Vadge: My formal introduction to the occult came from the works of Aleister Crowley, but as a child I was always drawn to occult themes; vampires and werewolves. At one point, at a young age, my entire room was covered with posters from horror movies: Dracula, Wolfman, Phantom of the Opera, Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. I’ve always had an interest in things dark and occult.
Ariock: What was the first work by Crowley that you read?
Vadge: I found the slim version of Book 4 in my local library, the one that is his explanation of yoga and Magick. I had never had contact with information like this before. Despite the fact that it made no sense to me at the time, some part of me desperately needed to understand his words, and I stuck with it. I believe in serial incarnations, and I am certain that in a previous incarnation I had some contact with spirituality, specifically related to Magick, Voudoo and Thelema. In this incarnation my True Will drew me to Crowley and Bertiaux so that I could continue my evolution. True spirituality is an Ordeal, however; not an escape. My reading Crowley helped precipitate this evolution.
Ariock: As a child, I had access to occult texts owned by my father. When I moved to my mother’s, I was determined to continue studies, and had to seek out books. The option for this was a library, which must seem like an archaic idea to children now. Of all the things to find there, I ended up discovering a copy of Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God by Kenneth Grant. It blew my young mind and ruined me forever.
You mention membership in La Société Voudon Gnostique. Tell us about your introduction to the Esoteric Voudon Current.
Vadge: I came across the name Michael Bertiaux and the whole Voudon Gnostic current in 1988 when I picked up Kenneth Grant’s book Outside the Circles of Time. This work by Grant really changed my outlook, much in the way Aleister Crowley had previously. After pouring over this book a few times, I went to a local occult bookshop (Fields Books in San Francisco) and lo and behold– there was The Voudon Gnostic Workbook by Bertiaux! Bertiaux’s book stumped me in much the same way that Crowley’s books had- but, intuiting that this information was extremely important- I spent most of my time soaking in and digesting this work. Between Crowley, Grant and now Bertiaux’s work I seriously began to feel that doorways, gateways, escape hatches were opening up within my psyche. I can honestly say that I have not been the same since. This occult triumvirate of Crowley, Grant and Bertiaux has deeply influenced my music, my writings, my thoughts and my spirit for many years now.
Vadge and Michael Bertiaux in Chicago – 2010
Ariock: “Stumped” is a polite term for what Bertiuax can do to the unsuspecting mind. If you had to pick just one work from each of the three writers you mentioned, which titles would you choose?
Vadge: Shit. That’s a tough question. For Crowley, The Book of Wisdom or Folly. For Grant, Outside the Circles of Time. OTCOT so ultimately altered me that I can say honestly that, without that book, I would not be the person that I am today (for good or ill). I’d go with The Voudon Gnostic Workbook by Bertiaux. I hesitate naming that book because I think that Vudu Cartography is essential reading, and that it sums up so much of Bertiaux’s work, but the Workbook has an energy around it that is hard to describe unless one has experienced it firsthand. This book does for me what meeting Michael Bertiaux did for me; it puts me in a trance and whispers things into my subconscious.
Ariock: For his fans reading this, Bertiaux believes his next work will surpass the VGW, and it will be in a similar style as Vudu Cartography, including LOTS of artwork. As with V.C., it will be published by Fulgur Limited and thus will be a joy to behold.
You said Meonic Monsters is nearly complete. Care to tell us more about it?
Vadge: Meonic Monsters: A Perfect Ruin is a diary of initiation. It illustrates what happens to a person that is going through the Ordeal X, as mentioned in Crowley’s Book of the Law and in the Book of Codes. This has been explained through history as the Alchemical putrefaction phase of initiation. Meonic Monsters takes you through the pain, agony and psychosis of the first steps of initiation. I tend to make diary entries regarding all phases of my life. The prose in this book is an expression of that; the theory tries to make sense of the initiation. This book almost killed me. Regardless of its value as a work of art or literature, it is an illustration of transformation and initiation. I tremble to think what my next book might do to me. My books are not entertainment; they are a description of a particular evolution.
Ariock: Your first book, Chthonic: Prose & Theory, quickly sold out. Are there any plans to reprint it?
Vadge: I would love to have it reprinted. That book also expresses initiation. I read it now and I am still impressed by it. It explains so much. Writing, for me, is the equivalent of deep yogic meditation for others. It raises to the light what was hidden in darkness. Isn’t that what we are all after, to bring to light what was previously hidden?
Chthonic: Prose & Theory
Ariock: We’ve spoken in the past about a possible live collaboration with you and Black Lotus Kult. With all of your focus on writing, are you still making time for music?
Vadge: As a matter of fact, I have recently finished some work with a band called Bubblebath in Blood (see www.facebook.com/BubblebathinBlood). I did vocals on a song that will be on their new EP, which will be out by the time anyone reads this.
Ariock: I would end with the final question, “Are you ready to accept Christ as your personal savior?”, however not everyone would understand the nature of the question. Instead, let’s commit to follow up after Meonic Monsters: A Perfect Ruin is published.
Vadge and company at the 2010 Black Lotus Kult Celebration
To find out more about Vadge and for the latest updates on his projects, please see; http://vadgemoore.com