1. As I made note of in my review of your latest book “Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen” you belonged to the band Blondie and were a fixture of the New York music scene, how did Gary Valentine the rocker become Gary Lachman the writer?
I had always wanted to ‘be a writer’ and wrote poetry before I became a musician. It was through the poetry that I became a songwriter. While in Blondie, my own and other groups, I always read philosophy, psychology, literature and so on.
2. What drew you to studying occult movements and philosophies?
I became seriously interested in the study of the occult through reading Colin Wilson’s excellent book The Occult, which takes a more philosophical approach to the subject than most other similar books do.
3. One thing that stands out in “Politics and the Occult” is the colorful cast of characters that fuelled these movements. Who are you particularly fond of and why?
In general I was attracted to the character of Freemasonry in the late 18th century, when it was motivated by what seems a real sense of universal brotherhood without class, religious or racial distinctions, and where men and often women of like mind could meet and discuss ideas about the nature of society.
4. Help me out here, is Aleister Crowley really as big of a deal as my friend’s college roommate told me he is?
Crowley is probably how most people today discover the occult. A colorful if often annoying character.
5. What was one of your most surprising or entertaining discoveries made while researching “Politics and the Occult”?
I was disturbed by the amount of far right and anti-semitic thought that informs much of western esotericism but encouraged by the many forms of progressive occult thinking.
6. Since one of these women is deceased, this is a purely hypothetical question. In a fist fight who would win, Victoria Woodhull (the first woman to run for President) or Hillary Clinton?
Victoria, I think. Women were tougher in her day.
7. Who gets more groupies, rockers or authors? Or is it about quality? Do authors get a better quality of groupie verses rockers?
I don’t get many groupies these days so its hard to tell.
8. What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a book about C.G. Jung.
9. Are you amazed we got through this whole interview without me asking you one question about Debbie Harry?
10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
Are you open on Sundays?
Thanks to the glory of the internet The Magical Buffet is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, barring server issues.
About Gary Lachman
Gary Lachman is author of “A Secret History of Consciousness”, “A Dark Muse”, “Rudolf Steiner”, and other books. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, in 2006 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.