Ep. 27: Forbidden Zone, Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Songwriting vs. Film Scoring, 5 Favorite Female Musicians, Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare

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In this episode, Carl King reviews TWO films: Richard Elfman’s Forbidden Zone and Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. He answers some musical questions: Songwriting vs. Film Scoring and names his 5 Favorite Female Musicians. Then he visits Scarecrow Video in Seattle, gives us Lux Part III by Chewbode, and names Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare as The Album of the Week. 

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I’m Carl King, and this is The Carl King Podcast, where I talk about music, filmmaking, and general creativity stuff. To support this podcast, head over to Patreon.com/carlking, and join for just $1 or $5 per month. Special thank you to my Illusionist $51 level patrons, both Hank Howard III and Chewbode. 

Quick shout-out to my music endorsements: Vienna Symphonic Library, Fractal Audio, Ernie Ball Strings, Toontrack, and Millennia Media. All 5 companies make amazing musical gear that I love to use. 

Now let’s start to prepare to start getting started!


Here we are, with a brand new episode. Coming up today we have a Carl King The Human Update, including some news about me and some of my favorite creative people. I’ve got reviews of TWO films, one of them from 1982 and another from 2011. Then we’ve got TWO listener questions, both of them related to MUSIC. And then Carl King VISITS one of the most incredible stores I’ve ever stepped foot in. We’ve got Part III of LUX, that serialized fantasy fiction written by Chewbode. And then we wrap it up with the Album of the Week, which happens to be my favorite album of all time. 

So let’s start, with a Carl King The Human Update. 


Hey. Listener. That’s you. Carl King loves hearing from listeners of this podcast. If you have any thoughts, complaints, requests, suggestions on how I can improve, words of encouragement, anything good and not vulgar — send me an email. show@carlkingdom.com. Because hearing from listeners helps keeps me going and making more episodes. 

OK, Very Good Friends of Carl King. We have been dealing with a HEAT WAVE over here in Southern California. Mark Borchardt announced that the Halloween Season begins officially on September 1. But I can’t do that when it’s 110 Degrees F. But he’s over there in Milwaukee where it’s in the 60s F — and also in the 60s the decade — so I can’t blame him. 

I’m back here in real life, after my birthday trip to Seattle and Vancouver, trying to get things back in balance. Catching up on normal everyday things. Going for walks, doing some chores. Washing dishes, laundry, and I have a ton of cardboard boxes in my garage that need to be broken down. 

I have been dealing with an unbelievable amount of ANXIETY this past week. Kinda came out of nowhere, so I need to get back into a healthy mental routine. I think they call it Self-Care. My PTSD specialist gave me a lot of homework to do, mostly meditative exercises, and I’ve been slacking off. So it’s time to get back to that. 

Here’s some good news: My upcoming animated pilot, Dragontooth Inn, just placed as a QUARTERFINALIST in The Screencraft Animation Screenplay Competition. It’s now in the top 8% or 6%, depending on how you math it out, on Coverfly. 

The top 8% out of ALL 92,797 projects. And Top 6% of 1,463 half-hour animated. So mathematically, I am a decent creator of animated pilots. Congratulations to me and my crew: Dan Foster, Lance Myers, and Stephanie Southerland. 

Speaking of voice actor Stephanie Southerland, we’re recording more characters with her this week, and then Dragontooth Inn going into editing and music scoring. And I hope to get a fully-watchable animatic released publicly, sometime this year. 

Carl King’s Animated Pilots

Here’s another cool thing that happened. My friend, who also happens to be An Illusionist, Chewbode is experimenting with AI Art. And I don’t mean Adobe Illustrator, I mean Artificial Intelligence. And you know how Carl King feels about Artificial Intelligence. And if you don’t, go look up the Sam Harris TED Talk. I’ll put a link in the show notes. But in the meantime, Chewbode sent me some AI art he kinda created, which is a sort of Vegan Alien Hamburger. I’ll post it on the blog page for this podcast episode. So go look at that thing. Thank you to Chewbode, for sending that over. It SCARES me.

Chewbode AI Art

Sam Harris: Can We Build AI Without Losing Control Over It?

Two little bits of news regarding Other Musical Artists That Carl King Approves Of:

1 – Trevor Dunn has a new Trio Convulsant album coming out in October, called Seances. They’ve put out an advance track called Saint Medard. It’s pretty wild, and I saw he mentioned that the band name, Trio Convulsant, is a concept from SURREALISM. I WILL BE DANGED. You see how this is connecting everything together? Link in the show notes. 

Trevor Dunn / Trio Convulsant – Saint Medard

2 – There is an officially-approved STEVE VAI documentary coming out on Wednesday this week, and that’s tomorrow, if you’re listening to this on Tuesday. But if you’re listening on Thursday, it was yesterday. I don’t know exactly where it’s being released, but you can see the trailer, or possibly the documentary on a YouTube Channel called The Tapes Archive. And as always, there is a link in the show notes. 

The Tapes Archive / Steve Vai Documentary

In other Carl King News, this show also got a new review on Apple Podcasts, from a listener named AcademySpatula. 

The Title is: “I’m your target audience”

The body of the review is: “This is a podcast that I can relate with! Not only is Carl interested in most of the things that I’m interested in, but he knows how to talk to me in a slow and articulate manner (much like a Sam Harris podcast). Sure, at times I feel like he’s narrating a children’s book but I still prefer to hear my podcasts in this way. Keep going, Carl!”

Thank you to the user named AcademySpatula, whoever you are. If you like this podcast and want it to grow and succeed, head over to Apple Podcasts and type up a nice little review. 

Now let’s get started with this week’s FILM REVIEWS. 


First up, we have Forbidden Zone, directed by Richard Elfman. Released in 1982. 

There is a story about the making of this film that few people know. Not even the super fans. Now, I happen to live out in Los Angeles, and I work with various people in the film industry. And they’ve confirmed everything I’m about to tell you. As far as I can tell, this podcast is the first place this story will be told in public. So listen to this.

When they were finishing Forbidden Zone in the late 70s, there was a post-production piece of analog gear, a film processor that was VERY expensive. It was cutting edge, made by a French inventor. All over town, the film studios were in a huge bidding war, trying to get this thing so they could use it on their big budget releases that year. 

The directors of the most important films of 1982: ET, Bladerunner, and even Time Rider – The Adventure of Lyle Swann were banking on getting ahold of that thing. 

But it turned out, the French inventor was an intense fan of Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. Richard Elfman was part of a theater group in Paris in the 1970s and the French inventor used to attend their performances. The live shows actually inspired the French inventor’s work. Fast forward a decade, and that inventor heard Richard Elfman was making his own movie. So he personally GAVE IT to Richard Elfman. It would be the first film to be processed by it. The studios were furious. 

So, this film processor was one-of-a-kind, very delicate. And no one knew how the it worked exactly. 

Basically, it was an antique looking box. Simplistic from the outside. You’d think: there’s no way this thing can process a film. But according to the instructions, you’d just load the master roll of 16mm or 35mm film into it. It would process it pretty quickly. And it actually used electrical current instead of chemicals, somehow. And it just had a SINGLE KNOB you could turn up or down. 

Below the knob was the French phrase: Ceci n’est pas un potard. Which translates to: “This is not a knob.”

Basically, it was a SURREALISM Knob. 

You could turn it up to add just a LITTLE BIT more of a surreal vibe to a scene. Just a touch where it needed it.  

Well, Richard Elfman wanted more Surrealism in the opening credits. It was something a lot of people did in those days. So he turned the knob up. But Danny Elfman misunderstood. He thought Richard said it was a SERIALISM Knob and turned it back down. Because serialism wasn’t a compositional technique Danny wanted to use in the score. 

Well, the Elfman brothers argued about it for a while, turning it up and down. Up and down. They got a physical struggle in the editing bay, fighting over the knob, and they BROKE it. The Surrealism Knob got turned ALL THE WAY UP and STUCK there. Soon the device overloaded. There was smoke coming out of it and everything. It was too late. The whole master roll of film had already been processed. Every scene was stuck like that. They actually had to break the machine open to get the film master out. 

When they watched it back, they were dumbfounded. The Surrealism Knob changed the whole movie, DRASTICALLY. It came out looking like it was shot on a tiny musical theater stage. All that money Richard Elfman spent on the high budget locations around the world came out looking like hand-painted theater sets. Cave walls looked like crumbled up black construction paper. Elaborate sets appeared to be wooden flats that wobbled back and forth if a character leaned on them. When characters flew or jumped through the air you’d clearly see strings. Elaborate action sequences with tons of special effects came out looking like Monty Python stop motion.

And most disturbing of all, Forbidden Zone wasn’t even intended to be a MUSICAL. 

No one was ever able to use that strange film processing device again, and the inventor vanished, so it couldn’t even be repaired. And realize, it’s not like analog film can be unprocessed. There wasn’t an undo button in those days. You had to commit. 

As a result, the film came out 103% SURREAL. That’s right. Not 90% surreal. Not 99% Surreal. Not even 100% Surreal. 103% SURREAL. The DGA even did studies that verified that exact amount of surrealness. It’s not something anyone thought possible at the time. 

Many others have tried to make a more surreal film than Forbidden Zone, and each time, they failed. 

I heard David Lynch spent a fortune trying to reconstruct his own Surrealism Knob. He ran Twin Peaks Season 3 through it, turned it up all the way to Infinity, but he only made it to 97% surreal. 

I gave this film 5.15 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. 

Forbidden Zone on Amazon


Up next, we’ve got A Dangerous Method. From 2011. Directed by David Cronenberg. But WRITTEN by Christopher Hampton. 

So with this film, we get all of the smart Cronenberg editing and visual storytelling — but without his trademark surrealist body horror. 

This is a period drama. Or a historical romance. It’s based on the real-life story of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Keira Knightly. 

Now I know it’s not pronounced Jung, it’s actually JOONG. But I like how it sounds, so I say it that way. Jung Jung Jung Jung, Carl Jung, Carl Jung. 

The film begins with Keira Knightly acting disturbed. Having fits. Sticking her bottom jaw out really far. I’ve never seen anyone do that in my life. I tried to do it and it hurt. I wonder: is she able to dislocate her jaw like a snake does? Well, no. Because I looked it up and snakes don’t actually do that. But Keira Knightly does. 

Anyway, she shows up at a mental hospital. And there’s no back story, just boom — right into it. We’re in the moment, in the now. We know everything we need to know, or we figure it out. That’s why this is a FILM and not a MOVIE. 

Another reason: this film uses a technique called “That Split-Focal Deal.” Which is a technical cinematography term for when two different things are in focus at once. Carl King is… not a fan of that. Let’s stick to one camera on the screen at once, one thing in focus. Because that’s the way Citizen Kane did it. Oh, wait. 

Anyway, here’s something to notice with the writing and editing: the scenes jump in time. Rather than one scene being right after the other linearly. It might leap 10 days or a month or a year or more from scene to scene. A character will walk out a door, and part of the way into the next shot you realize, ah, time has passed. 

There’s a common belief in the world of screenwriting that you MUST have a protagonist with a clear, physical, achievable goal. You’ll hear it constantly if you ever get feedback from a screenwriting competition. Well, once again, we have a film which defies that bullshit. 

Of course the characters in this film want things, but there’s no central importance placed on it. And there’s no obstacle, either. For the most part, we simply observe the characters going through their lives over time. Without desperation. There’s no constant urgency and pushing forward and anxiety here. There’s no ticking click, and there’s no major problem. Everyone’s taking their time. Because this isn’t a video game, is it?

Part of the way through, a character named Otto shows up. And that felt like a left turn. I was distracted, thinking, wait, why is this guy here? It’s like a detour, because Carl King wasn’t interested in him. Once his character left I’m not even sure it had any consequence to the story. 

Towards the very end of the film, we DO finally get some conflict: a LOVE AFFAIR. However, there’s nothing outrageous about it. Well, apart from an abrupt cut to a shot where there’s some nude spanking going on, shot in the bedroom mirror. I had to wonder how factual that is. Was that written down in a history book somewhere? 

Speaking of nudity. There’s a scene where a certain part of Kiera Knightly’s body is slightly sticking out of the top of her sort of corset / bra thing. And I wonder, how do they stage that shot. Is Cronenberg like: “OK, here’s what we want to go for. Kiera, just a little more, OK, no, push it back in halfway, OK, that’s just enough. OK, action.” A shot like that must be so awkward to set up. Or maybe it just HAPPENED during the shot and they kept it. But even without a camera crew there, I can’t imagine that being comfortable. 

Thinking back, I don’t remember any music happening in this film. At all. Did it even HAVE a score? Is this evidence of effective scoring? For it to not be noticed? I looked it up, and it was a composer named Howard Shore. Hmm. I look forward to hearing what that guy does next. But, film scoring is a tough business. 

Viggo Mortensen plays Carl Jung as such a calm character. Very much like how he will someday play Carl King. By the way, if you look down at your keyboard, you might notice… the letters J-U are right next to K-I. So typing Carl Jung and typing Carl King is physically very similar. People have even told me I resemble him. Viggo Mortensen, not Carl Jung. So I think he might be a solid casting choice for KINGDOM: The Story of Carl. King. Dumb. 

Wrapping up this review, here’s a trick or maybe even a technique this film demonstrates: visual storytelling symmetry. It opens and closes on similar but different shots, showing that Kiera Knightley’s life has been transformed. First, riding towards Jung, and second, riding away from him into her new life. 

I gave this film 5 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. And a little heart, too, because I like a slow quiet movie like this. I mean, aside from all the screaming. 

A Dangerous Method on Amazon

Now let’s move on to some Listener Questions. 


Do you find it more challenging (and possibly more enjoyable) to score for video/film or to compose for a record you’re recording? I would imaging there may be more constraints when scoring, as you have to take the visual material into consideration.

This is a good opportunity to explain the difference between Absolute Music and Program Music. I love it when I find out there are terms for things. So here’s the difference. Absolute Music is not written to accompany something else, like a story or a ballet or a film or a video game. It’s just meant to be listened to. By itself. 

And Program Music IS written to accompany and support something else. I might argue that almost ALL music written these days is actually Program Music, since most of the “musicians” out there are actually visual artists. But that’s for another time. 

I grew up writing Absolute Music and loved the freedom of it. A piece of music could abruptly end, or change tempo, or anything I wanted. I never thought I’d write Program Music or do scoring. But once I learned to write music to visuals, I think I actually prefer it. It gives me constraints and form. A lot of the work is sort of done for you. Not everything, but enough that you’d sort of filling in the blanks. 

Also, different types of scenes will call for different TYPES of scoring. For instance, in my animated shows. I’m doing a lot of what is called Mickey Mousing, but it’s not overt. Mickey Mousing is the term for when the music strictly follows and emphasizes EVERY. SINGLE. MOVEMENT of the characters. So what I do instead… I smooth that out and create a vague impression of the dramatic gesture. I roughly follow the shape of the dialogue and support it with more… minimal instrumentation. It’s a way of giving dialogue scenes a little more atmosphere and glue. 

Or, there could be a very music-centric scene, where it can be loud and intrusive, taking the spotlight. 

When you’re scoring, you find the music takes a form you would otherwise never write. Because you’re often cutting out a beat or adding a beat in order to make it fit the timing. Or suddenly changing dynamics in a way you would have never thought of. 

Ironically, musical scores aren’t usually meant to be paid attention to, directly. You’re supposed to subconsciously absorb the music as you’re experiencing the movie. It’s supposed to trick you into feeling excited or sad. But I like doing the opposite. I like to listen closely to the music. 

And it turns out, some of my favorite stuff to listen to is film scores. Here are some of them, and they all happen to be Science Fiction:

1 – Star Wars: A New Hope / John Williams

The Desert and the Robot Auction + The Little People Work. 

It’s like low-budget Stravinsky. 

Then again they probably spent more money recording those cues than Stravinsky ever earned in his life. That’s just a guess. 

Also from that same score: The Land of the Sand People. Those bamboo sticks and percussion are a lot of fun. 

2 – Planet of the Apes / Jerry Goldsmith

Total 20th Century Composition atonal madness. Chaotic percussion, prepared piano, electronic instruments — totally perfect to create an out-of-time world. Imagine a band performing this. Amazing. 

3 – The Day The Earth Stood Still / Bernard Herrmann 

An iconic use of the Theremin, and he used TWO of them for this one. I actually bought the score book. 

I’ll put links in the show notes to all of those. 

Star Wars / John Williams

Planet of the Apes / Jerry Goldsmith

The Day The Earth Stood Still / Bernard Herrmann

Give those three film score albums a listen. Take your time. Put on headphones, lie down on the couch. Get yourself a little bit of bubbly water, a good amount of ice, nice and refreshing. You can even take your shoes off, put a little folded up blanket on your feet. Pay attention, listen to all the little details. Check out how many instruments there were, coming in and out, playing their individual parts. Imagine how much work it was to make it happen. Mind-blowing. 

Listener Question 2: Favorite Female Musicians

Here’s listener question number two, from Chlodwig Littlefoot. The question is: Who are your favorite FEMALE Musicians? Well, Chlodwig, I’m surprised you didn’t ask who are my favorite HOBBIT musicians. Because that’s a Hobbit name. I’m just glad my listenership is expanding over there in the Fantasy realm. 

OK, to answer your question. I’m gonna give you my TOP FIVE favorite female musicians. 

Right away, the easy answer has always been Nina Gordon. If you haven’t heard of her, maybe you’ve heard of Veruca Salt. Yeah, that was her band. I bought the Eight Arms To Hold You cassette at Wal-Mart on a whim, and ended up really enjoying the songwriting. Now there were two main songwriters / singers who both played guitar, in that band. Both were are are female. Nina Gordon and Louise Post. And after a while, the songs I liked the most, I figured out, oh these are the ones written and sung by Nina Gordon. One of them was called With David Bowie, which I listened to on repeat. It was a song about how much she enjoyed listening to David Bowie. Well, I enjoyed that song so much I wrote a song ABOUT that song, called With Nina Gordon With David Bowie. You can hear it on the Sir Millard Mulch: To Hell With All Of You, I Just Wanna Grow My Vegetables album. She went on to do some solo albums produced by Bob Rock, and I got to interview her on the phone for INK19. So I actually played her the song during the interview. It was a fun time for everyone. You can read that Sir Millard Mulch Meets Nina Gordon interview. I’ll put a link in the show notes. 

Sir Millard Mulch Meets Nina Gordon

Sir Millard Mulch / With Nina Gordon With David Bowie

Veruca Salt / With David Bowie

Up next, another favorite female musician of mine is Ani DiFranco. Although I haven’t listened to her in years, she made a big impression on me. She has a unique guitar-playing technique, which kinda freaked me out. But as a young depressed person, what I enjoyed more was her depressing lyrics. I was also in awe of her success in running her own record label called Righteous Babe Records. Because I always wanted my own very successful independent label. Thanks to Chris Higgins, I actually got to work on Ani DiFranco’s ROAD CREW for a day, back in April 1998. I was just totally blown away by the complexity of the touring operation, how many people were employed, much physical work went into it. I think she had TWO SEMIS full of gear, giant sound system and light rig. Yet what most people experienced was this kinda punk-rock girl with an acoustic guitar. Little did they know, this was a streamlined, major production. Of course, I wrote a satirical song about that experience. Are you surprised? It’s called I’m Just An Artist Chick With An Acoustic Guitar (You Think) … and it’s by Sir Millard Mulch. I’ll put a link to the song in the show notes. 

Sir Millard Mulch / I’m Just An Artsy Chick With An Acoustic Guitar (You Think)

Up next is a more recent discovery for me. Sara Bareilles. Just a few years ago, I found an album called What’s Inside: Songs From Waitress. What a well-crafted bunch of songs, and I’ve always been drawn to musicals. Of course, I had no idea she was a big pop star with her voice echoing through endless shopping malls. If you’re not as clueless as I am, you’ll know she had that song Brave, which was a big hit in 2013. Anyway, a lot of her catalog is too ballad-y for me, but I think she’s a brilliant songwriter. Little bit of trivia: she is from Eureka, California — same town as the guys from Mr. Bungle. I believe she even went to the same high school. But she would have been 10 years younger than them. Otherwise, who knows what kind of avant Garde pop supergroup we might have ended up with. 

Sara Bareilles / Opening Up: Songs From Waitress

Moving on to Anika Nilles, a drummer from Germany. I follow her on Instagram, where she posts practice and warmup videos of extremely difficult tuplet grooves. Folks, Foooolks, I have never seen ANYONE play that type of shifting tuplet material the way she does. I tried to get her as a guest soloist on my Grand Architects of the Universe album, but her schedule didn’t line up with it. I thought, man, I have to do an album with her. She’s one of the few drummers who could play my type of material. Well, someone else recognized her abilities, because she’s now drumming for… JEFF BECK. What the Heck? I recommend following Anika Nilles on Instagram. Lots of good content there. I’ll put a link in the show notes. 

Anika Nilles on Instagram

Finally, Yuja Wang. Or Yuja Wong. Not sure. I think it’s Wong. Hello. I’m Carl King, the podcaster who can’t pronounce anything. Unbelievable, unbelievable virtuoso pianist. A total shredder. She plays Prokofiev, Ravel, Stravinsky, Liszt — all those early 20th century composers. I’ll put a couple of YouTube links to her live performances, in the show notes. 

Yuga Wang / The Rite of Spring for Piano & Percussion


Yuja Wang / Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1


I’ve got to wrap up this segment, so I’ll just leave you with a few honorable mentions. Three of them. Barbara Hannigan, Carla Kihlstedt, Via Mardot. You might remember Via Mardot as having won the prestigious Musical Artist of the Week Award from Carl King, just a few episodes ago. I’ll put some intriguing links to these three female musicians in the show notes. 

Barbara Hannigan / Mysteries of the Macabre (Ligeti)

Carla Kihlstedt With Sleepytime Gorilla Museum / Phthisis (Live)

Via Mardot / Portal (Video)

Via Mardot / Portal (Bandcamp)

OK, now that I’ve answered every difficult question ever asked of Carl King, let’s move on to our latest edition of Carl King Visits…


Last week, on my BIRTHDAY, August 26, Carl King visited Scarecrow Video in the University Neighborhood of Seattle. 

By the way, since I’m not doing a video version of the podcast this week, I’m posting all the photos I took as a photoblog on my website. And holy moly, there’s a link in the show notes. So go over there, and be blown away by the inside of that dang store. 

Okay. Scarecrow is not just a video store, it is a non-profit publicly-available LIBRARY of rare films, some of them so rare that it’s the only known copy. Those allegedly require substantial cash deposits. 

The place was such an inspiration. And by that, I mean it ENERGIZED me. Made me feel that everything is OK in the world. 

It’s the experience of walking into a living museum of creativity. The people who run it operate by a different set of the rules. They live in another universe that’s better than ours. This is the way the world can be, if we really wanted it to. 

So anyway, Scarecrow Video actually a FUNCTIONING video rental store. People were in there seriously renting movies. I thought, man, if I lived near this place I’d try to watch every movie in here. Which would be impossible, and I’m sure everyone has that thought. Or, they run out screaming. 

Anyway, the guy working there gave me permission to take some photos. The first thing I wanted to do, since I wasn’t going to rent anything, was find a way to support the store. And I was glad to discover they sell T-shirts. Perfect. 

I also wanted to get Mark Borchardt a souvenir, but I couldn’t remember his shirt size. Even though I send him shirts all the time, I can never remember. So I gave him a call. His response was classic Borchardt, and you have to imagine this in his voice: “Carl, I was born extra large. I’ll die extra large… And in between I will live… extra large.” Mark is a very tall guy. But I think he meant that each day he lives his life to the fullest. He was super fired-up when I called, and laughing at me. I was trying to keep my voice down because I was in a store, wearing an N-95 mask. He was over there in Milwaukee celebrating my birthday. 

It was impossible to fully take-in the scope of the contents of that place. You’d probably need to go there a dozen times, or even work there, to begin to understand what’s in it. 

Here’s another little tidbit. This happens nowhere else I go. TWO different people walked up and tried to make friends with me as I stood outside taking some photos. One was a typical nerd guy like you’d see at Comic Con, super hairy. And a couple minutes later, there was  another guy on a bicycle who had a band aid across his bottom lip. I had never seen a bandaid used like that before. He said to me: “You’re a geek too!” 

What an unusually friendly neighborhood. I wonder how many Very Good Friends I’d have if I lived around there. 

By the way, Scarecrow video was somehow able to get Scarecrow.com. I’m sure that domain is worth a lot of money. They must have gotten it waaaaay back when the internet first started. So check out Scarecrow.com.  

Scarecrow Video


And now, the conclusion, possibly, of the story called LUX, by Chewbode. Here’s LUX, PART III. 

The collapsing energy shield surged and Cantau could feel the cobblestone under his boots crush to pebbles. The heartbeat in his ears grew louder, and more sweat tumbled down his face.

A whisper, and his free hand started to glow blue.

Pilmar’s face switched to worry as he noticed that Cantau had cast another incantation. Pilmar struggled to crush Cantau with his own protection shield.

The monsters all roared as the shield vibrated with their every hit. Cantau was pushed more toward the floor.

He reached down through the stone floor as if nothing was there. He pushed the arm deeper. To his wrist. Then, to his elbow. He stopped and jerked his arm up an inch or two, then puled with all of his might.

The cracks between the cobble began to glow yellow. At first it was gentle, but it quickly escalated into streaks of light. He tugged at his arm to release his wrist. The ground shook so violently that it threw the blob off the shield and the minotaur to the ground. 

An ear-splitting roar thundered through the halls and everything went white.

At first, he saw and heard nothing; just white everywhere. Then appeared a washed-out visage of huge white and yellow arms ripping the demon Chol limb from limb at a supernatural speed. Roars erupted.

The quiet white returned. And another roar.

The white and yellow arms shot beams of white light. Such was the power that they evaporated the gelatinous foe.

Again, quiet. A view of the arms. A roar.

Tertex was crushed into a pulp, his eyes popped out and brains spilled to the floor.

Another moment of peace, quiet, and stark white came and went.

Before Cantau stood a Lesser God of Light. He strained to see the being, but all his eyes could see were blurred features, as if he were not meant to know its form.

Pilmar had been knocked to the ground. Cantau stood just a few feet from him, the same light emanated from his own flesh and from the god’s. With confidence, he dissolved the shield.

“Do not.” Cantau calmly said as Pilmar angrily began casting another spell. He chose not to heed the cleric’s words, and red mist enveloped his hand. In the old tongue, Cantau spoke to the god.

White light blinded them all. The arms of the god ripped into the wizard’s stomach tearing and removing his entrails. Pilmar screamed and colored light erupted from him as the arcane he once controlled, spilled out of him. Ribs cracked and splintered as the deity pulled each one to the side. Some of them separated from his spine with a crack. Pilmar’s body flopped against the wall. The god continued1 by forcing his fingers up though the soft skin under the human’s jaw.

A twist. Bone snapped and teeth popped out. Pilmar’s tongue wagged to the side.

A gurgle. The wizard’s eyes rolled back as he fell unconscious.

The god then reached through Pilmar’s lifeless body and tore out a length of spine. With that, Cantau knew that the deity’s usefulness had ended. A burst of magic, and it was swept away.

A soft glow of light still hung in the air as Cantau turned to wizard’s body. He placed a silver medallion on the carcass.

“I am sorry, my friend. I truly am. Bless thee.”

Cantau stood and blinked out of existence leaving the dungeon corridors pitch black once again.

Wowsers. Well, that concludes this 3-part adventure written by Chewbode. Tune in to future episodes to see what Mr. Chewbode comes up with next!  And now, for the Album of the Week. 


This week’s album of the week is an easy choice.

Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare. 

Folks. Fooooolks. This is not only this week’s album of the week, but Carl King’s favorite album of ALL-TIME. And always will be. I enjoy this album SO MUCH, that I’m scared to listen to it too many times. It’s just too good and I don’t want to ruin it. 

Here’s what listen to Passion and Warfare feels like: stepping into a pure, compositional fantasy world. Now, the guitar might be considered the featured instrument, because it won all sorts of acclaim as an instrumental guitar album — but it’s really NOT a guitar album. In my opinion. Because a lot of the guitar parts don’t come out sounding like a normal guitar from the planet earth. It’s transformed by all sorts of effects and played in unusual ways. I don’t even think of guitar playing AT ALL when I listen to this. 

And the parts played by the other instruments are JUST AS WELL-CRAFTED. The rhythm section of Stu Hamm and Chris Frazier is unquestionable. 

Here’s a thing to talk about. When I was a teenager, I’d listen to this album every night when I went to sleep. And it would give me intense, psychedelic dreams.

If you aren’t aware, this is a concept album — kind of inspired by a sort of Lucid Dream or Astral Projection Steve had when he was a teenager. So it’s appropriate to listen to Passion and Warfare in a dream-like state, like I did. 

The music would turn into spoken words, that only made sense to me while I was asleep. Like someone was talking. If I woke up part of the way through, they lost all their meaning. It was an entirely second album hidden INSIDE the main album. Like a SUBLIMINAL album. So if you’re looking for a good album or (albums) to listen to either while you’re awake, OR asleep, get yourself Steve Vai’s Passion & Warfare. 

By the way, I created an entirely orchestral version of the first track from this album, a piece of music called Liberty. You can hear it on my YouTube. 

Steve Vai / Liberty (Orchestral Version by Carl King)

Steve Vai / Passion & Warfare on Amazon


OK, that’s the end of this Episode of the Carl King Podcast. Remember to subscribe on Spotify, Apple Music, or anywhere else you listen to these dang podcasts. And support the creation of more episodes by joining my Patreon for $1 or $5 a month. That’s Patreon Dot Com Slash Carl King. 

And as always, special thanks to my $51 a month Patrons, at the special Illusionist level, Chewbode and Hank Howard III. And thank you to ALL of the Very Good Friends of Carl King for listening, and as I always say: please Stop making mistakes, and Have a Correct Week. 

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