Rock And Roll Lives At The Helion Magister Website
Rock And Roll Lives
At The
Helion Magister
Copyright © 2005 The Minertavr Corporation
All Rights Reserved

Please note that all text, graphics, sounds, formats-- every characteristic of this website--
are the exclusive property of The Minertavr Corporation.
All rights are reserved.  No reproduction is allowed.
(Though fooling around
is encouraged.)

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Here's what it's all about!
Minertavr Records is proud to present Helion Magister: Vaquero
                for your rock'n'roll listening pleasure--
9 songs, 3 movements, 48 minutes
of what you need to shake off your miseries.
soooooooooo? order one!
Got Rock?  Get Helion Magister: Vaquero
The 60's Rock we just finished recording
To order Helion Magister: Vaquero:
1)  Make U.S. postal money order only
            for $16.99 USD (includes shipping)
                          payable to "Minertavr".
2)  Mail to:
210-03 47th Avenue
Bayside NY 11361
(or if you want to use a credit card, order at by clicking
here:                                    )

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All this has been written


"excellent avant-garde
psyche music",

'true rock and roll music",

"one of the strangest and
most refreshing rock
records of the last half

"swirling, fevered

"the spooky,
dissonance of classics",

"evokes Frank Zappa at his
most giddy and daring",

"reminiscent of both
European mazurkas and
Captain Beefheart",

"Good old rock and roll".
The critics have raved about Vaquero.

to read their complete texts
But you won't know 'til you
hear it for your

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Song Titles: Click One To Hear A Sample Of Its Music
1.   Vaquero
2.   Daydream Nightmare Love
3. Chick-A-Boom Baby
4.   That's How It Is
5.   Rock And Roll Is
6.   Melvyn Sees A Girl
7.   Runnin' Out O' Money
8.   Jello Butt
9.   Oh, Come With Me
Structure:  Here's how it works

Songs 1 through 5 are folk/blues/country/tejano rock songs:
they are movement #1- -
                 a look at our past

Songs 6 through 8 are talkin' blues/jazz/raps:
movement #2- - It isn't deep.  Stay with us here.
                 a look at grown-up family life- -
                             the passage of time

Song 9 is a torch song, not of modern times:
movement #3- - The lifelong quest for love
                             that is never satisfied- -
                     a look at what never changes about us

This isn't a project about everything sounding the same, but don't let that scare you.

Only Big Music wants to poke artists in the pigeon hole.

                Free yourself from their mindlessness and listen to all that is.

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Max Rodriguez is  Program Director, WQMC Radio, Queens College.  He caught Vaquero fever, and in The
(WQMC's newsletter), Spring 2005, he wrote:

     Keeping The Dream Alive
             By Max Rodriguez

     Back in the 60's, musicians often crafted great music and were given little recognition for their work.  Going
back go Fort Worth, Texas, 1964, D Minor, recorded in a few bands but found that he didn't want his work to be
compromised by a committee of people, otherwise known as a band, and has since then hopped around from
many local bands.

     At the age of 18, Helion scrawled his name on a contract with a record company who thought his name was "D
Minor" and then printed it on his records as his writing credit.  As one of the founding members of the San
Francisco 60's cult band The Great Society (with whom Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane was also a member), D
Minor is now back as Helion Magister and Bullman Atavar Crowe to bring back the days of slow burning acid

     Helion Magister (formerly D Minor) recorded the songs on
Vaquero from older songs he wrote in the 60's.  
Trying as hard as he could to recreate the sound the songs would have sounded like in the 60's, Helion Magister
succeeds admirably in bringing his psychedelic vision to everyone who might have missed it the first time around.
Bluesy guitar on the title track opens the album, making it known instantly that this is not the music of today.  
"Vaquero" is propelled along with excellent hi-hat playing and soulful wailing from Helion Magister himself.  
Vaquero" flows right into "Daydream Nightmare Love," with Helion Magister singing about being haunted by his
days turning into nightmares before breaking into a screeching guitar solo.

All of the songs off the album flow into each other.  While it's hard to tell when any of this was specifically written,
Helion recorded the album, separating the tracks into three movements, making sure each track flowed into each
Vaquero is Helion's unified vision of the 60's psychedelia movement he was a part of when he shared the
stage with Jefferson Airplane, The Charlatans, and The Grateful Dead.

     The bass on "Chick-A-Boom Baby" rumbles from a Texan desert with Helion Magister singing over guitar
twang and harmonica soloing for eight minutes of acid-drenched psychedelia.  It's clearly the highlight of the album
and shows how there are still a few musicians keeping alive the dream of making true rock and roll music.  
Vaquero was released by the Minertavr Corporation and can be purchased on-line at

                                                          [Thanks, Max!  You da man!
                                                               -- The Minertavr Minions]

Ben A. Davis of The Queens Courier also got the old Vaquero vibe.  In the May 4, 2005 issue he tells his readers:

     Queens Culture Watch
             By Ben Davis
      Crafty Musician Releases Album

     "Afraid to tell you/how I feel/Afraid you won't understand/Afraid you will."  These are the opening lines sung on Helion
Magister's new album, Vaquero, released by Minertavr Records.  The declaration is appropriate for a project that literally
has split personalities.

     "It's not easy being me-- but it can be fun," says the project's mastermind, Queens-based artist Michael Miner.  The
multifaceted, psychedelic music of Vaquero required the services of a huge cast of talented individuals.  These, Miner
managed to provide all by himself.

     Thus, Miner became Helion Magister, the group's swaggering lead singer and composer.  He became Frackham
Crowley, whose swirling guitars and percussion lend flavor to Vaquero's expansive sonic palette.  He spent time as
Bullman Atavar Crowe, the pen behind the album's muscular, slangy lyrics.  Each of Miner's many personae lends its own
distinctive personality to Vaquero.

     The record itself has been described as "avant garde psyche music."  In one sense, it is a trip back in time to the
musical landscape of the 60's (Miner founded the band The Great Society, and played alongside Grace Slick of
Jefferson Airplane fame.)  But in another sense, it is a reinvention, rewriting this tradition as it never was, and giving it a
full-bodied new incarnation.

     Vaquero, Miner says, contains "48 compositions, 9 songs, and 3 movements."  Each track strives to be its own
galaxy, richly imagined in each of its details, from the writhing guitars that spiral out-of-control in "Vaquero", to the
goblin-like voices cackling in "Jello Butt", to the gentle, shimmering sonic surface that Helion Magister's vocals float on
top of in the album's nine-minute closer, "Oh, Come With Me."

     "If you listen to Mozart, there's a lot going on," Miner says, explaining his style of composition.  "But actually everything
he made was simple and complete.  It's just a number of simplicities worked into one form."
This idea of a complex synthesis of particular voices permeates every aspect of the production, from the multiple
conceptual personae that created the project, to the album's alternations between different musical styles, to the name of
the production company itself (the word 'Minertavr" is built from a reference to Miner's name, an allusion to the mythical
beast, the hint of the word 'guitar', and an obscure pun about Greek pronunciation).  For Miner, this artistic philosophy has
a message.

     "The world is full of mysteries," he says, "but they're all fathomable.  With patience and attention we can get to the
bottom of them, realize our place, and let other people realize theirs.  We can be of mixed mind and mixed feelings, and
still reach consensus."

     "Then again," Miner adds casually, "for all you hear going on, if all you hear in it is rock and roll, that's fine."
Helion Magister's Vaquero can be purchased online through

        [Wo, Ben!  You make us want to go out and buy our own copy!
                                                                       -- The Minertavr Minions]

Reed Jackson is Deputy Editor of the Queens Examiner.  He really went wild about Vaquero in the May 12, 2005 issue when he

     On Wax
        Musician Drops Out of Dropping Out, Returns
             By Reed Jackson

     In the traditional 60's narrative, uptight college students from the east coast, upon hearing a     Grateful Dead jam or a bit of Jimi
Hendrix skronk, grew their hair long, dropped out and moved    to San Francisco, where they promptly disappeared from civilized
society.  For Michael Miner, the Bayside musician and family man behind one of the strangest and most refreshing rock records of
the last half decade, the story goes a little different.  Sure, he ditched his Fort Worth, Texas farm life at age 18, for the sunny
abandon of 60's San Fran, but once there, he didn't end up sitting in sloppy drum circles and begging for change.  Instead he
hooked up with Grace Slick and her siblings, who would later go on to form a little band called Jefferson Airplane.

     The Slicks were children of corporate players, and they lived in this huge mansion," he remembers.  It was wild, we'd sleep late
and party around."  Miner formed a band with the Slicks, The Great Society, whose sparse handful of records are now considered
cult classics.  In many ways, the Texas farmboy was living the dream-a rock band and a mansion in the sun.  Too bad he didn't think
so.  "It didn't fit me," Miner says of the entire 60's scene.  "There were all these children of wealthy families singing about how tough
it was.  I had problems with my old man just like everyone else, but I didn't want to destroy everything his generation built.

     So Miner (who, because of a sloppy signature is credited as "D. Minor" on The Great Society records,) dropped out of the lush
rock and roll life, in favor of a college degree in English.  At a time when the Doors were inspiring teenagers everywhere to devote
their lives to surfing and acid, Miner received a prestigious Wilson scholarship, and enrolled in graduate school in Binghamton,
New York, the polar opposite of San Francisco.  Miner did not regret his decision, even as the hippie movement spread
nationwide and his old bandmates rocketed to the top of the charts.  "I had a real hunger for education.  I saw the way people hung
on my words when I was on stage singing, and I wanted to deserve that adulation.  I wanted to do it right," he states.  After
graduating, Miner moved to New York, where he began teaching at Lehman College in the Bronx, acting in community theatre, and
starting a family.  He "messed around" with a few bands during the 70's and 80's, drawing influences from the punk and new wave
sounds that defined New York rock in that era.  And then, eventually he essentially quit the music scene.
"I could never realize what I wanted to do with five or so other people," he says.  And then, after more than ten years spent in
relative silence, Miner has a startlingly fresh new record, released under the name Helion Magister, entitled "Vaquero" on his own
Minertavr label.  "Vaquero" draws heavily from Miner's early days, summoning a swirling, fevered psychedelia that could disorient
even the most hardened veteran of the Woodstock era.  At the same time, Magister doesn't rest on his laurels, taking stylistic risks
that would give a younger psychedelic revivalist pause.  While the title track expertly conjures the spooky, reverb-drenched
dissonance of classics like "White Rabbit," later tracks such as the ridiculously titled "Jello Butt" utilize cartoonish effects and a
distorted "talking-blues" style that evokes Frank Zappa at his most giddy and daring.  The closing track, "Oh, Come With Me,"
throws out the entire playbook, setting a swaying, waltz-like rhythm and a tone reminiscent  both of European mazurkas and
Captain Beefheart in one of his more accessible moods.  Through all these mutations of course, "Vaquero" always sounds like
good old rock and roll.

     The album has the complexity and scope of art long in the making, which it was.  "It was decades in coming," Miner says.  The
album's epic sweep can be explained by the freedom Miner felt while making it, a mobility he'd never been able to achieve before
while working with other bands.  "I realized that the technology existed and was cheap enough that I could make a record myself,"
he remarks of "Vaquero's" origins.  Once installed with a 16-track recording studio in his house, Miner went into a creative frenzy,
all the pent-up wildness of his relatively straight life flowing out.  "I wouldn't declare a song done until it was so full, that if I put one
more thing in it, it would just fall apart," he laughs.  "Every song on the record got that treatment...I would spend a month or so
creating the song on the recorder...god I loved making that album."  Miner's joy, as well as his musical chops, lend "Vaquero" a
euphoric density, making it a "Pet Sounds" for the extroverted.  It can be purchased at the Web sites and, as well as at Breakdown Records, 48-09 Bell Boulevard, in Bayside.

     As for Miner, he's not going to let another 15 years slip by before releasing anymore music.  "We've got plans for a screenplay,
Internet videos, and maybe even a book," he says.  And of course, more records.  Unlike so many casualties of the freak-flag era,
Michael Miner's story looks like it will have a happy ending.

                           [Reed makes D/Michael/Helion/Who? sound so interesting.
                                                     We'd like to meet him ourselves!
                                                                                                  --The Minertavr Minions]

Add Jon Sobel of to the list of guys we like.  On August 6, 2005, he said things about Vaquero that made everything
feel all right.

  CD Review: Helion Magister, Vaquero

     Some music is just music.  Whether it's good, bad, or somewhere in between; interesting or boring; derivative or original, it's just
music.  You listen; you like it, or not; if you do, maybe you listen again.

     Then there's that other kind of music, the kind that's like the tip of an iceberg, or the nose of a starship emerging slowly from
another dimension, or a feature film censored and watched on a black and white TV.  Music with baggage.  Music with a long tail like
a comet.

     Helion Magister is a new appellation for Michael Miner, who was an original member of the seminal San Francisco band The
Great Society.  Remembered today mainly for being the band Grace Slick left to join Jefferson Airplane (though the story was more
complicated than that), The Great Society lasted but a year.  It did, however, make some influential recordings, now rarities, which
included-- alongside the original version of Darby Slick's classic "Someone to Love"-- songs credited to one "D Minor", the artist
now known as Helion Magister (and Bullman Atavar Crowe and several other things).

     Helion Magister has emerged after many decades with a new home-recorded CD on which he remakes a couple of Great
Society songs, adds some others in the same psychedelic rock vein (whether they're new or have been knocking around for some
time, no one knows) and branches out into the nuttier side of spoken-word noise-rock.

     With the opening bars of the title track you know right where you are: back in 1966 San Francisco, tripping your brains out.  A
bluesy bass line, guitars swirling like spaghetti, tinkling hi-hat, and what sounds like a whip drive the incantatory vocals.  "Daydream
Nightmare Love" and "That's How It Is" are re-imagined but recognizable versions of Great Society songs that in those days inclined
towards Sonny-and-Cher pop-- but don't any more.  In the former, vocal tradeoffs and tight harmonies evoke a sound familiar to fans
of Jefferson Airplane, and a slightly loopy guitar solo boasts a playfulness evocative of Big Brother and the Holding Company's Sam
Andrew and James Gurley.

     "Chick-A-Boom Baby" is driven by gutty bass, clanging guitar, banjo and smokehouse harmonica (all played by Miner).  It's eight
minutes long, with the structure of a song-- lyrics, verses, and so on-- but it fits no genre, nor does it need to.  In this song it's possible
to forget the long tail, the baggage, the history.  It's just pure crazy original fun.

     The Tejano-bluesy "Rock And Roll Is" closes out the psychedelic-rock section of the CD with Miner cawing "Rock and roll can still
relieve your sorrow,"  proving his own point.  (Hey, it's relieving my sorrow even now!)  It sounds like Los Lobos if their instruments
got wet and started shorting out but they kept playing.

     Then come three songs that comprise a noise-rock sonata full of goofy raps, screeching sounds and funny voices: Spongebob
Squarepants meets Captain Beefheart in a bowl of Green Jelly.  There's seems to be some kind of story about a highly disturbed
married couple running through the three songs, but who cares when the third movement is called "Jello Butt."  The CD closes with a
slow, entirely unclassifiable nine-minute opus mixing Jacques Brel, flamenco, Steve Hackett and some rather impressive multi-part
madrigal singing.

     Short but representative clips of all the songs are available at the  Helion Magister website.  If you are a fan of psychedelic music,
or stuff that's just "out there", or what Miner curiously refers to as "good old rock and roll"-- it's worth a click.

     And leave your baggage at home.

                    [Wow, Jon!  If you were writing about an empty cereal box, we'd want to go and have a bowl.
                                What an adventure to read!
                                                                       --The Minertavr Minions]

******                  ******                  ******                  ******

good guys to link to
Temple Stark
Jon Sobel

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C       N

You want to contact us?

Well, aaaalllll riiiiiiight!

Helion Magister
c/o Minertavr
210-03 47th Avenue
Bayside NY 11361

Click Here:

(718) 229-2074

Copyright © 2005 The Minertavr Corporation
All Rights Reserved

Please note that all text, graphics, sounds,
every characteristic of this website--
are the exclusive property of
The Minertavr Corporation.
All rights are reserved.
No reproduction, storage, or retrieval
of any kind
is allowed.
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