Concentration

Frequently Asked Questions

The Band Origin, Members, and other Factoids

Where does the name "Machines of Loving Grace" come from?

The name is from the Richard Brautigan poem entitled All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace. Richard Brautigan was a San Francisco beat-era poet and author. He is quite obscure, but his works are beginning to become popular once again. Click Here to read the poem.

in 2000 before the band's breaksup the name changed to "The Machines". Quote from Vocalist Scott Benzel: "I feel like there's a lot of baggage with the old name and I always had a hard time saying it." - Scott Benzel in 2000

Why did MOLG once change their name in 2000 to just Machines?

Quote from Vocalist Scott Benzel: "I feel like there's a lot of baggage with the old name and I always had a hard time saying it." - Scott Benzel in 2000

What are some of the band's influences?

Mike is a classically trained cellist and was interested in working with electronics and film soundtracks. Scott was into Hardcore music until he discovered Wax Trax! records and discovered the art of sampling. Ray Riendeau has a jazz background, and David has a jazz and hard rock background (in addition to his Stabbing Westward days). Specific people listed as influences are Edgard Varese, SPK, the Beatles, Modest Mussorgsky, Einsturzende Neubatten.

Why is David Suycott's name familiar?

David, the drummer on Gilt replacing Brad Kemp, was the drummer for Stabbing Westward's first album Ungod, but apparently left the band during the tour because he didn't feel that the band was going anywhere. Since playing on Gilt and touring with the band in late '95 and early '96, he has also played drums on the new Seven Red Seven album. He was also apparently a member of a band known as Skinny (who became Verbow), a Chicago based band who an album in Spring '97 entitled 'Chronicles' with Sony. He also has other numerous side projects with many other groups. Check the Side Projects Section for more.

What music videos do they have?

The band has made five videos: X-Insurrection (Directed by Kevin Borque, apparently pronounced 'Burk'), Butterfly Wings (Directed by Julie Hermelin), Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll) (Directed by Julie Hermelin), Richest Junkie Still Alive (Directed by John Reece... he directed the everfamous NIN 'Happiness In Slavery' video) and Golgatha Tenement Blues, thesong found on The Crow Soundtrack, which is found on a rare Warner Bros. Compilation. This video does not feature the band, but rather clips from the film The Crow and comic.

Were any of these videos in rotation MTV?

All of the videos were in rotation, but never for very long. Butterfly Wings had a good run on MTV's old show 'Alternative Nation'. Mike Fisher stated that MTV never played the Richest Junkie video because they objected to a shot in which an old man was touching the ass of a mannequin.

Who does the vocals?

Scott Benzel is the main vocalist, and has been since day one, but according to the liner notes on the albums, the other band members do some backing vocals. I would assume that most of the vocals have been multi-tracked since Scott Benzel has an amazing range with his voice, and it is him doing the screaming, the singing, and the whispering. According to Mike Fisher, the band usually uses 2 to 6 tracks for Scott Benzel's vocals alone. Also, Mike Fisher is the only member who has recorded backing vocals on a song with the exception of 'All I Really Need', which happened to feature all three original members.

What songs were on the demos they made?

The demo made by the band was actually released by Mammoth Records as their first album since the record company felt that it did not need any polishing up.

How has the lineup of the band changed?

The band started out as Scott Benzel, Stuart Kupers, and Mike Fisher, but they soon added Brad Kemp on drums. Between Concentration and Gilt, Stuart and Brad left the band, and Ray Riendeau, David Suycott, and Tom Coffeen joined the band. Apparently Tom Coffeen isn't actually a band member, but he will probably continue to work with them. He has never toured with the band. in 2000 right before their breakup most of the band left except for Scott and he changed the band's name to The Machines. Within the same year Scott and Co. decided to hang it up permanently.

Who is this 'Melchionda' guy that helps write some songs?

Melchionda is the last name of one of the people that has been given a special thanks on every MOLG album, Tom Melchionda. He is not listed as a member of the band, but may be a close friend of the band and occasional co-writer. He toured with the band since Concentration as a guitar tech and roadie.

Who is Roli Mosimann?

He is a former member of Swans and Wiseblood (w/ Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell), producer of The The, That Petrol Emotion, Young Gods, Machines of Loving Grace, kicked off the last Skinny Puppy album... He has produced some sort of British metal band called "Skyscraper"

What are Stuart Kupers and Brad Kemp doing now?

Brad is apparently playing with an unsigned band by the name of Black Moon Graffiti, and Stuart is also muscally active, but I have no idea where.

Have Machines of Loving Grace done any covers?

The band has never played covers live , but they do cover The Beach Boys song 'Never Learn Not to Love' on their new album Love Scenes at The Slave Market. They also apparently once considered covering Velvet Underground's 'All Tomorrow's Parties'.

Has anyone covered them?

The Band M.E covers the song 'ButterFly Wings' from Machines of Loving Grace. You can check this out and listen to the track via Real Audio by clicking here. Also a band known as the Hover Conversion covers a few Machines songs including "Weatherman", "Lipstick 66" and "Golgotha Tenement Blues".They've recorded all 3 versions, but the band's leader thinks "Weatherman" is the one they are going to release.

Another thing mentioning is the band SFB is very influenced by Machines of Loving Grace.

Who did Machines Of Loving Grace tour with?

They did short stints with the Jim Rose Sideshow Circus, Korn, Ash, Candlebox, Everclear, J.Mascis, The Rentals, Foetus, Vent, Code 4, and Grotus during their Gilt tour. They have also toured with My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, a band called Course Of Empire, a band from Texas called Dethkultur BBQ, Stabbing Westward, The Swans, Peter Murphy, Surgery, Blood Of Abraham, a band from Houston called The Hunger (recently signed to a major label), and a band from Detroit called Hal. Their most recent show was at a festival with some ska band called No Doubt.

What soundtracks have MOLG been in?

The Crow, Hackers, and Mega Man but beyond those three, I personally haven't heard of any others. Mike Fisher was uncertain, but thought that Weatherman might appear in an indie film, but couldn't remember the title.

Song Meanings and Factoids

Gilt Era

Where does the name Gilt come from?

According to Scott Benzel, it was originally supposed to be entitled Gilt After Tris, but the band felt that it was too long and shortened the name. It is an alchemical reference which was supposed to convey a purification ritual such as a trial by fire.

What are some of the songs on Gilt about?

Serpico was written shortly after one of the fathers of one of Scott Benzel's close friends killed himself and is about the experiences the two of them shared in that time. Tryst and The Soft Collision are about difference phases in a romantic relationship, in Tryst, it is the relationship that is gone, sort of turned into an unmoving thing, and in The Soft Collision, it is about a break in it. Richest Junkie Still Alive is about someone who has unlimited power and doesn't know what to do with it. Apparently Scott Benzel liked the 'tabloid' quality of the title.

Is Kiss Destroyer another abstract love song alongside Tryst and Soft Collision?

It isn't exactly a perfect description of the song, but the song does center around a relationship concept. It has been suggested that the title is a play on the KISS album of the same name, but this is probably just a coincidence.

What are the abstract ideas behind Suicide King?

First off, the term "Slaughterhouse Five" is apparently the title of a book by Kurt Vonnegut (Published in 1966. ISBN: 0-440-18029-5) about the firebombing of Dresden during WWII. In the book, American prisoners are kept in Slaughterhouse Five just outside Dresden. Some of the atrocities about prisoner life in Germany, such as candles made out of human fat and hunger and such. The main character of the book jumps in and out of events of his entire lifetime, including his capture by the Tralfamagorians, and alien race that sees fourth dimensionally. The actual slaughterhouse was also one of the few things left standing in Dresden after the bombings. Also, take note that the term 'suicide king' is often applied to the King of Hearts in a deck of cards because the picture on the card looks like the King is sticking his sword through his own head.

What is the origin behind the song name 'Twofold Godhead'?

Well a possible explanation can be found from Canto I: Convocation of the Twelve Apollonius, the Adept's description of a performance of "The Janid," the sacred history of the Gianae of Sardinia. Check out the site at http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/J/ and check under Canto I: Convocation of the Twelve Apollonius. It states "...And so became the Twofold Godhead, famed Throughout the world, and still in no way shamed."
Thanks to Josh Segall.

Where is that 'I'll fight' loop from in Serpico?

The actual sample is from the last hour at Jonestown, Guyanna prior to the mass suicide of a large religious cult. One of the church members had a microcassette recorder and actually captured Jim Jones' final speech to his 'flock'. The tape has been circulating underground for some time. The audio quality is very poor, but the important events are understandable. Towards the end of 'Serpico' there's another sample from the same tape in which Jones says 'Hurry my children, hurry. No more pain, no more pain.'

Does any other band sample the 'I'll fight' loop?

Grotus sample the loop in their album 'Brown' on track 9 ('You Fit The Suit'). This could have something to do with the fact that they toured in the past with the machines.

Also, there is apparently a Concrete Blonde song with a similar segment.

Further the band Acidbath also used the same sample from the jonestown massacre. Its used at the beginning of the song 'Diab Soule' from their album 'Pagan Terrorism Tactics'. Acidbath has since broken up due to the death of their bass player, Audie (RIP). they released only two albums
Thanks to FaithNoMan@aol.com.

The Jim Jones sample at the beginning of Serpico can also be found in the song "Mao Tse Tsung Said" by a group called the Alabama 3 (or A3 as they are usually listed) off their album Exile On Coldharbour Lane. They actually use quite a bit of the speech, if not all of it. It's kind of oddly used cause the song is more bouncy than Serpico making it weird to juxtapose how the quote was used by MOLG. Anyways, the band is fairly good, basically making gospel/blues/country music but adding techno beats to it.
Thanks Goes Mike Benkovich for submitting!

Finally the "I'll fight" sample is also used by the band The Orb has a song on the Pomme Fritz EP called "More Gills Less Fishcakes" which has a lot of this sample. It has a really freaky effect on it, and the song is a really eerie ambient 8 mins.


Concentration Era

What does Butterfly Wings refer to?

'a hurricane started by a butterfly's wings' is an example that Lorenz used to compare/combine/create meteorology and chaos theory.

What does the name Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll) refer to?

Bikini Atoll was the site of a number of very important US nuclear tests during Operation Crossroads in the mid- to late- 1940s. These were the first tests done since the end of the Second World War. The tests were aimed at ships and other captured goods which the military placed in the Atoll's large lagoon. It is also rumoured that there are still large amounts of plutonium and residual radiation in the area. The Atollitself is located in the Marshall Islands which are in the Pacific Ocean. The first test was carried out on July 1, 1946, followed by a second on the 25th.

Where is that quote in Limiter from?

The quote in the song that is being referred to is: "If the doors of perception were finally cleansed" The similarity of this quote to one by the poet named William Blake is quite uncanny, especially with respect to a number of other lines in the song. The couplet of lines by Blake is from one of his more famous poems called 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' The originally quote from William Blake is: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."

Why are there two different versions of 'Content'?

In case this question strikes you as odd, the first album and Concentration both had a song entitled Content. Well, to be more precise, the first album's was entitled 'Content', and the one on Concentration was 'Content?'. Looking at the lyrics of each song reveals that they are completely different. According to Mike Fisher, the band was just having fun with BMI's radio play tracking system.

Who was Albert Speer?

Albert Speer was the Armaments Minister for Nazi Germany during World War II. He joined the National Socialist Party in 1931 and quickly became a member of Hitler's small circle of intimates. After the war, he was sentenced to 20 years in Berlin's Spandau Prison for War Crimes, and unlike his codefendants, readily accepted responsibility for the crimes committed by a government he helped lead. However, he also insisted that he knew nothing about the death camps until the trials, "Of the dreadful things, I knew nothing". Speer was apparently a frustrated romantic whose reciprocated love for Hitler, a sublimated, nonsexual, but homoerotic devotion, blinded him to the dark realities which he chose not to see, hear, or believe. Albert Speer died at the age of 76 in 1981.

Hey where's the hidden track in Concentration sample from?

On "Concentration" there is a passage between "Content?" and "Trigger for Happiness" with this guy rambling, and also in the middle of the song "Shake," there's another segment of it. These segments were BOTH taken from the same scene in the movie "Slacker". The scene is towards the end with a guy driving a big gas-guzzling car hooked up to a sound system with megaphones. The driver was talking (even growling) into a mike that fed into the megaphones and speakers.
Thanks to Pop Burmp.

Self Titled Era

Who is Cicciolina?

Cicciolina was a famous Italian porno star who left the business to be elected into the Italian Parliament

What is Rite Of Shiva about?

The song is taken from the Robert Anton Wilson Illuminatus Trilogy. At one point during the books, the Rite of Shiva was performed. It was an obscene sex act performed at a black mass.

Where did all of the samples in "All I Really Need" come from?

The samples are from two or three different films (Mike Fisher couldn't elaborate more... legalities you know). There are a couple from the old BBC series called 'The Prisoner' too. As a final note, apparently all of the films sampled are quite mainstream.
The Following is from James J.Lippard:

The main sample in "All I Really Need" from the TV series "The Prisoner" is the "Kill me... kill me... kill me!" sample, which comes from the episode "Chimes of Big Ben" and is uttered by "Nadia" or "Number 8." See the episode transcript here: http://www.scbd.connectfree.co.uk/prisoner/02.html

I believe there may have been other samples from that same episode.

The original cassette the band released itself contained "All I Really Need" instead of "Lipstick 66". The only other difference that I remember is that the original cassette had an acknowledgment in the liner notes for me, which was not included in the CD release. Mike Fisher needed someone to do a backing voice track on "Burn Like Brilliant Trash"--specifically the "burn, baby, burn". My roommate Abe was helping Mike with samples (including the Prisoner samples), and suggested his then-girlfriend, Suzan, who was with me at Abe's house but had no car. Abe asked me to bring her over, and I said, jokingly, that I would be happy to do so if I got a credit on the album--which they gave me on the original cassette. Abe and Suzan rightly kept their acknowledgments even on the CD liner notes.


The Crow Era

What is the song Golgotha Tenement Blues about, and why does it sound so different from their other songs?

The song is different because it was written specifically for the movie The Crow. The band got involved with that project in the early days. In fact, they were the first band approached about doing a track for the movie's soundtrack. The song attempts to match the mood of the movie which is why it is so radically different from their other songs. My guesses about what the song is actually about are as good as anyone's. I do know that Golgotha is (was?) one of the villages/hamlets near Jerusalem in Israel, specifically the one where Jesus was supposed to have been crucified. The word golgotha also means a burial place such as a graveyard or charnel house, or any place of torture or sacrifice, so derive what you will from the title.