Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

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Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

Postby Anonymous » Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:42 am

Anyone here know anything about this? The song Lookin' Glass in particular seems to be very Gnostic, lyrikali speaking... Your thoughts?


Postby Neilo C » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:33 am

Excuse my ignorance - I had to do a Google search to find out what Gnostic meant!
I always listened to it as a bit of an existentialist cry out - all images of emptiness and the passing of time; very Samuel Beckett. The lyrics in the chorus seem to be a bit more about a common bond with mankind; I read it all as being a question to a higher will, with the 'looking glass' being some kind of authority, holy or even political. But that 'Tell me why I am bound/To tear the pages open/And turn the world around' and 'the glass is smashed/the change is cast' bits kind of throw it on its head; a bit of an anarchic twist where Mavers casts himself as creator - God of his own world. I dunno whether Mavers reads poetry but there's a poem by W.B. Yeats called The Gyres (who were also a Scottish Oasis copy-cat band in the 90s!!) which talks about how ages come to pass every 2000 years in violent anarchic ways, this seems to fit elements of Mavers's visions in 'Looking Glass'. A lot of Romantic poetry (especially Shelley and Blake) also pre-dates a lot of the imagery in Mavers' more epic songs.
But that's just one interpretation - there might be something in that Gnostic reading - I just don't know enough about it!
Apologies for coming across a bit Tom Paulin this early in the morning :?
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Postby Anonymous » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:58 am

I wouldn't have thought there was anything spiritual in any of Mavers lyrics. Unless it was sub-conscious and if it was, we will never know.

The lyrics in Callin All are probably his most poetic of works. They almost hark back to a previous life. Maybe Lee is keeping something back because he said he came up with these lyrics when he was tripping, so to speak, on a buzz. In other words, they just came to him without too much consideration.

It's probable that this was the case with Looking Glass and he'd find this sort of interest bizarre. I don't think Lee has ever mentioned anything religious at any time and certainly nothing gnostic.

Postby Neilo C » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:13 am

I think there's a lot of spirituality in his lyrics, though not in a traditional sense. Well, less spirituality, more a philosophy that is again, as you say, more his own than anything else. 'Who Knows', 'Endless', 'Over', 'Looking Glass', even parts of 'Timeless Melody' are all loosely about man's insignificance in the greater scheme of things, our helplessness against time and nature. Other songs are pretty moralistic - 'I.O.U.', 'Liberty Ship', 'Freedom Song' for example. I know Mavers didn't attach much significance to his lyrics but I think there's a definite world-view running through most of the songs that I think is pretty consistent.
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Postby Tony » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:59 am

Looking Glass was written on his birthday, so I'm guessing he had a bit of a shit birthday to write such lost, longing lyrics like those . . :D
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Postby I_am_the_key_la » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:29 am

The lyrics to callin all are frighteningly brilliant, like a past life yeah. I think a lot of Lee's lyrics do contain a hint of spirituality but i wouldnt say it belongs to any known sect or religion more one man and his beliefs if you see what im saying?
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I hope none of you are in London right now

Postby Anonymous » Thu Jul 07, 2005 11:21 am

God bless/help us all...

Postby Gav » Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:12 pm

I think that when you listen to songs like Son Of A Gun, Doledrum, Failure and Looking Glass it is pretty clear that Mavers lyrics are meaningfull, and that he has some issues.
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Postby I_am_the_key_la » Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:45 pm

Plenty of lyricists claim their lyrics to be throwaway or meaningless to detract attention from them, really isnt too unusual. I think it's pretty obvious Lee's lyrics are more than just words that rhyme as there does seem to be a moral/world view put across in many of them. No, he isnt exactly a protest song writer but his lyrics do carry some meaning. Freedom song, clean prophet, callin all, looking glass and failure are particluar examples of some of his more intriguing work.
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Postby Anonymous » Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:35 pm

Once again, I hope none of you are in London right now. Hope you and your loved ones are OK... I'm in New England (USA), incidentally.

If Lee would like to simply give me a "Yes, you're onto something, La" e-mail (that would suffice; I'm not looking for a pen-pal, or anything!), or any of you want to discuss this further, my e-mail is:


P.S. -- Here's the tracklist of a mix I made a few weeks ago that culminates in the aforementioned La's jam:

Astral Traveling Merman of the 5th Dimension

1. Anouar Brahem “C’est Ailleurs”
2. Nina Simone “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
3. Pharaoh Sanders “Astral Traveling”
4. George Harrison “Inner Rising Sun”
5. Daniel Lanois “Transmitter”
6. Elvis Costello “Beyond Belief”
7. Fleetwood Mac “Albatross”
8. Jimi Hendrix “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)”
9. Procol Harum “A Salty Dog”
10. Tim Buckley “Song to the Siren” (Monkees TV show version)
11. The Band “Whispering Pines”
12. Grateful Dead “Attics of My Life”
13. Stevie Wonder “Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away”
14. The Byrds “5D”
15. The La’s “Looking Glass”

Synchronicities abound in this mix... I planned the nautical theme, but only realized the other day that there's that snippet of "Sail away on the ocean waaaaave..." at the end of Lookin' Glass. Unplanned. There are a lot of other things like that happening lately...

Now we just need to turn the world around, right? What IS so funny about peace, love and understanding? Can someone tell me?!!!


If Elvis doesn't know, i wouldn't know

Postby Anonymous » Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:22 am

I don't really know who Elvis Costello was addressing when he asked that one ("what's so funny......."), but i'm sure i don't know the answer.

Anyway, wow tinymontgomery1111, i think i would describe you as a bit too deep for me. There's one or two people on your list i've not heard of and one or two i've heard of, but i have not heard.

The Byrds, Elvis Costello, Jimi Hendrix and Tim Buckley, and er, the La's, are bands/people i'm quite keen on. "Pleasant Street" by Tim Buckley is an all time favourite for me.

I don't think Lee will give you an answer i'm afraid, so that one may have to remain unanswered, which may be the best thing as it leaves that mystery unresolved.

Re: Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

Postby andmoreagain » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:52 pm

Sorry to dig up an old thread, i somehow found it in a search.

I can't believe everyone didn't jump on this when it was posted...

Not so much Gnostic, but to me the whole every one of Mavers songs is steeped in psychedelia and is obviously from the "antipodes of the mind" as Huxley would say.
Very much a man who has mined his mind and tripped into oblivion i'm sure. Every song to me is an offering to a higher power... "What we believe in is just a feelin'...I get the feelin' i am responding to a call, i am receiving to give you this meaning " - The collective unconscious? You've heard them reference Jung before.
Every lyric in feelin' for god's sake (mind the phrase).

Clean prophet? Come in, come out? Way out - "Gimme the hammer to shatter the dream...", that coupled with the single cover - a shattered pain of glass
(this reality, material existence.etc.) that reveals a fractal pattern of infinite regress.
Looking Glass needs not be mentioned. "I'm in everybody, everybody's in me." end of.

All of em haha. If not a direct reference to the visionary experience then (failure, i can't sleep, son of a gun etc.) a reference to the pain of trying to adjust to imperfection of the ordinary mode of consiousness.

Not to mention every interview stressing "organic, rootsy sounds" wanting guitars to sound like the tree's they're made of,
and not having written the songs but having found them.
The fact that the album was meant to be "Callin' All" - "Love is all the world will fall but this is what we came here for" - Love. Emotion.
Most (if not all) religions allude to an idea that this form of life is a catalyst for us to realise that "Love is all".

To me this band is a religious experience, not of any defined form, but it certainly is. Obviously, only my opinion.

If you couldn't agree less then I'm sorry for bringing it up, but to me that is all part of the grandeur of this band that none of us can seem to get over haha.

There is a simple reason for the perfection that defines and almost plagues the art of Lee Mavers, and it is acute perception.
Certain people here and in other places like to go on about Lee being "Mad" or ruining his ming with drugs, but what is mental illness to you?
Some bloke won't make another record or comes off a little strange in an interview? Functionality in society? Means fuck all when your sights aren't set on this world la'.

Thank god for his band, certainly made my life a hell of a lot more enjoyable and have helped me through many hard times.
From a shitty day at work to the dreaded and fabled "Madness".

Take care.

"To swim the endless sea of tragedy,
to wind up on the rocks so helplessly...
Of all the places here I came,
Everchanging always the same."

I believe some one mentioned past lives earlier?
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Re: Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

Postby Phil Spector » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:12 pm

Bloody hippies.

Only joking. Nice observations.
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Re: Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

Postby andmoreagain » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:37 pm

haha, well i guess.

No offence taken.

After reading the "Isle of noises" interview I was so happy.
No other fucker in there has a clue, its all ego driven. Lee takes himself out of the equation of songwriting.
And thats it, thats how Blake saw it. You're not trying to "create" or "convey" anything, thats not art, thats a mirror, thats a diary entry.
You should be a medium to let nature flow through you, thats when its at its best. Pure inspiration.
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Re: Lee Mavers -- Gnostic?

Postby Dan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:37 pm

andmoreagain wrote:Lee takes himself out of the equation of songwriting.

Yep, to the degree where he hasn't been able to put an album together since 1990! A real shame he's never been able to keep a band together since for more than ten minutes and we'll therefore never hear from him again.
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