Sunday, March 14, 2010

The "Priest" They Called Him - (1993)

The "Priest" They Called Him is a collaboration between William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana). Cobain provides dissonant guitar backing based on "Silent Night" and "To Anacreon in Heaven" to Burroughs' deadpan short story reading. The track was originally released as a limited edition (5000 copies)10-inch EP picture disc on Tim/Kerr Records in 1993 and subsequently re-released on CD and 10-inch vinyl. This short piece read was first published in Exterminator!. The "Priest" in the track title refers to the story's protagonist, an otherwise nameless heroin addict trying to score on Christmas Eve. After selling a leather suitcase filled with a pair of severed legs (and subsequently visiting the ubiquitous crooked doctor), the Priest returns to a boarding house with a fix. While preparing, the Priest is interrupted by muffled moans from the next room. He knocks and finds a crippled Mexican boy in the throes of agonizing withdrawal. After giving the boy his drugs as an act of charity, the Priest returns to his room, reclines on his bed and dies, in what Burroughs calls the immaculate fix. Another reading of this piece was also used in "The Junky's Christmas", a short animated film in 1990. The title character, the Priest, is only the protagonist for that section of the book (and, in fact, is at most only a side character in the rest of the novel), if the term protagonist is even applicable in this bit of Burroughs' writing. The original 10-inch record is one-sided (With the cover art completely covering the disc along with a hand written number from 1-5000.) while the flip-side features etched autographs of Cobain and Burroughs: "William S. Burroughs" and "Kurtis Donald Cohbaine" (With a dot above the o of Cohbaine).The release details "TK 92-10044" are etched in the inner groove of Side A. Kurt Cobain's friend and bandmate Krist Novoselic features on the cover.

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