Shan Beaste’s recent transformation into the Scarlet Woman of Witch House is not enough to betray her rock and roll roots. Publicly known as Zombelle, her music and musical image are vested in the history of indie and avant garde sounds. An avid record collector and former rock stocker at Los Angeles’ Amoeba Records, Shan has both the knowledge and cred to cook it all up into powerful potion. When asked to do a cover for Heretic Hymns, she faltered a bit, and I understood completely As someone with a similar compulsion for art and music, I totally got the fact that it can be nearly impossible to narrow it down to that one influential song. Given time though, she nailed it by choosing Yoko Ono’s “Walking on Thin Ice.”
The great philosopher Homer Simpson said it best when he proclaimed “John Lennon? He ruined the Plastic Ono Band!” Sure the squares and str8s laughed at the seemingly ironic statement, but those in the know knew that he spoke the truth. From her involvement with Joseph Hanson and the Fluxus movement, to her performance art and all the way back to her importance as an art noise diva, Yoko has always eclipsed Lennon and the Beatles by virtue of her sheer dedication to experimentation. Throughout their marriage, Ono brought out the best in her husband; as his muse she took him to artistic realms that he might never have achieved without her. To some, she may continue to be the punch line of a silly joke, but by now most people are fully aware of the immense effect that this woman has had on art and culture.
Photo by Valerisings
As an artist, Zombelle recognizes Yoko Ono as the hero of all heroines. An independent thinker in a culture of female sidekicks with pretty faces. Yoko Ono never allowed herself to be Mrs. John Lennon, and that spirit of empowerment lives on in the work of Shan Beaste. Already a fixture in the tight knit scene of the new Dark Wave, this sonic siren is putting the finishing touches on her next album, which will be released on Black Bvs Records this year, along with az digital EP on Tundra Dubs. To add to that, she and her friends give new meaning to the concept of “Real LifeSecondLife” with their frequent virtual raves (including tonight’s 4/20 party); where clandestine otaku from around the globe gather to perform and enjoy live feeds and dj sets whilst trolling away their weekends with inside jokes and inane banter. Later this summer she plans on taking these cyber parties into the real world with the help of Robert Disaro, visual artist Pepper DreamTeamer (ScannerJammer), Teams, Jono MiLo (Worthless Waste, Daytime Television,) graphic artist NVR MND and a cast of fellow miscreants yet to be named.
Zombelle recorded this dragged out remix with a little help from fellow artist and friend Myrrh Ka Ba. For the video, it was decided to use images from Ono’s definitive “Cut Piece,” which dealt with the issue of feminine submissiveness. Although Ono was apparently helpless in her 1965 performance, as an artist she was completely in control of the space she created. Shan Beaste embodies this spirit today, a modern day Minerva.
There is a mother of the universe, and her name is Babalon.- Nattymari