If you’re unfamiliar with the late William S Burroughs then you need to know two things. Firstly, he was one of the seminal poets and novelists of the 20th century at the forefront of the beat generation which produced some of the most outrageous and stylistically insatiable work we have ever seen. Lastly, he is one of the coolest people to have ever graced this earth.
Shortly before his death in 1997, William S. Burroughs was recorded reading some of the most shocking yet outrageously funny sections of ‘Naked Lunch’, his powerful fever dream of a novel. Published in 1959, it continues to amaze and revolt in equal measure. Producer Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull) and Burroughs’ manager James Grauerholz also recruited a team of world class musicians including Grammy winning guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist/keyboard player Wayne Horvitz and violist Eyvind Kang to add a touch of their experimental genius over the course of several sessions.
Subsequently abandoned, these recordings collected dust on a musty shelf as forgotten as a piece of rancid ectoplasm on a peepshow floor. However, in 2015 Willner re-examined this unfinished masterpiece and sought additional help from King Khan, the eccentric Canadian punk/soul frontman that he and Lou Reed had befriended in 2010 following an incendiary performance by his The King Khan & BBQ Show at Sydney Opera House as part of a Lou Reed/Laurie Anderson curated festival. Willner sent Khan the recordings and asked him to add his gris gris to this already extremely perverted gumbo.
Khan in turn contacted vocalist/composer M Lamar (creator of the Negrogothic manifesto and the identical twin brother of transgender actress Laverne Cox) and Australian psych/punk act The Frowning Clouds for help with contributions that further heightened the unsettling mood of Burroughs’ narration.
The newly completed ‘Let Me Hang You’ is a collection of depraved genius straight from the godfather of punk’s very own mouth. If chills and thrills are what you seek, then look no further. Here is the bible of freakdom recited by the Pope of the underground in a devil’s dozen bite-sized chunks.