The Goblet of Shock
By Michael Aronovitz
Horror Author, College Professor, and Rock Columnist
When Connor Graham contacted me about his project named “Okay, Boomhauer,” I actually read his ghost story before listening to his music. What a way with words this guy has! I have never quite dabbled with ghost fiction and war, but this hit the nail on the head. I like the way he integrates history with present tense action, always leading to peril and the terrific! So visual! His imagery can’t be matched, and his sense of timing with the “cacophony” and the wake up could only be crafted by a master musician.
I saw that Connor’s musical project, Okay, Boomhauer, was all put together and performed by himself. I admire that. It is the reason I got into writing. I wanted a pure vision. He has a “by-line” that reads: “This is a solo project, so all the instruments are played by Conner Graham. Recording engineer, mixing, and mastering performed by Marcus Noel.” This is also relevant and timely. Many musicians can not do what they do without a master-engineer, so I was ready for the song titled “Three Little Words” from the upcoming album, An American Alligator in Asbury Park, with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. The guitars are amazing and the drums – fabulous. I shit you not, listen until the chorus. It contains the best hook I have heard in years. I can’t stop playing it! Here it is for a good listen:
Here is Connor’s ghost story!
When I was around 13/14, my boy scout troop took a trip to Vicksburg, MS to ride bikes on the trails around the battlefield. All around were monuments to each state that sent soldiers to fight in that battle, the largest of which was the Illinois monument. This was a large domed pavilion, which made it the natural place to stop for lunch. While everyone else was still outside eating, my friend Casey (who would later go on to be the original lead singer of Bayou Bullets) and I went to look around inside. I suddenly felt a strange sensation, like the color and sound was draining out of the world. I could no longer hear the lawnmowers, cars, birds, or kids outside talking. I also started hearing distant screams, hoofbeats, and cannon blasts, softly and growing gradually into a roar like a freight train. Panicked, I started looking around and I saw my friend Casey on the ground in the center of the rotunda, unconscious and white as a ghost. I ran over to him as the sounds of the battle continued to grow louder. I screamed for him to wake up. I shook him, asking if he was okay. As the cacophony reached its climax, his eyes flew open in terror, and it all went silent. The lighting and color returned to normal both in the world and in his face, and the noises of birds, children, and weed eaters could once again be heard outside. Before I could ask him what happened, in came the scout master to tell us that it was time to leave. Later that night, I finally got to ask him about it, wondering if any of that really happened. He replied, stone-faced and a little scared, that he was on the battlefield wearing a grey uniform, holding a rifle. and marching in the front line. As his men were given the order to fire, the union lines opened up on them. He watched the men on either side of him get cut down before he felt the bullet in his chest as he woke up. I don’t pretend to understand how a phenomenon like that could happen, and I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t been there, but it’s all true.
YES! Now that we have rocked the hell out of the place (and properly spooked the shit out of everyone), I am pleased to invite you to the living room after practice for a drink. I also want to relate my own craft. My serial killer / mystery novel titled THE SCULPTOR comes out September 7th, 2021. In this piece, my dark hero is a 10th grade metal head named Meagan Mullin, a badass in love with the heavycore music of “April 21st” – label – Eclipse Records. In fact, we are co-promoting April 21st’s debut record with THE SCULPTOR since they are both being released within days of each other this coming September. Below is the preorder link for The Sculptor:
Below is the preorder link for April 21st’s debut album COURAGE IS BORN FROM FEAR: