The TARDIS from Tartarus – Dave Ingram and “Lambert’s Basement”

One of the most beautiful things about music is that it takes us wherever it bloody well wants to.

Whenever I put on any of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, I am in the grip of a romantic era of elegance and intrigue. I play anything by Bolt Thrower and I’m rolling across a wasteland in a tank. I spin Heresy by Lustmord, I find myself trudging through a cave on some remote moon millions of light years away.

Music has infinitely more substance in its mood and meaning than the duration of a song will allow and thus it transcends time and space. To coin a term, music is “dimensionally transcendental”, not unlike a certain object from a certain British science-fiction television show.

Dave Ingram, reposing in the Basement.

Dave Ingram, who hosts the remarkable podcast, “Lambert’s Basement“, would appear to agree. Dave (whose metal career, while distinguished, is beyond the scope of this article) understands, intimately, how music, especially jazz, transcends time and space.

“It’s time-traveling via nostalgia,” he writes to us. “This is one simple way to relive the past, whether for a short journey or for full immersion into ones own total environment.”

Every week, Dave and his…er…co-host, Igor (a rather ominous-sounding zombie goldfish) immerse the audience of the Basement into the mood and music of big band, jazz and swing. While he does occasionally throw in the odd surprise (he recently had an episode composed mostly of, of all things, Christmas music), the menu he serves to us tends to favour the vintage.

“I’ve recently been playing the odd track by more modern jazz artists, after a few requests for such. I must admit that, in my opinion, today’s jazz doesn’t cut the mustard quite as much as the good ol’ Big Band sound!”

The taste for a bygone era is one the world could stand to acquire. While time, once gone, can never be regained in any proper sense, the moods and feelings of times past can, in essence, give us the next best thing when revived. Anything that stimulates the senses and memories of previous experiences invoke them to present reality, depending on the vitality of one’s imagination.

“Nostalgia is important for me,” Dave explains, “not just in looking to the past to gain knowledge and experience from others (or even learning from their mistakes) but to reminisce of ones own experiences and to take you back to them, to aid the memory in experiencing whatever feelings one had at that particular time in your life.”

Satanic figurehead Anton LaVey made mention of the idea in an essay called “Erotic Crystallization Inertia”, while his successor Peter Gilmore revisits the concept in an essay entitled “Time Travel Made Easy” (which, apparently, can be read in Gilmore’s book from www.thesatanicscriptures.com).

Dave’s association with the Devil, while also beyond the scope of this article, is certainly no secret. His podcasts are punctuated with adverts for Church of Satan-endorsed services and his personal imagery is peppered with the Sigil of Baphomet.  The fact that Lambert’s Basement is hosted on Radio Free Satan should make it pretty obvious for those who haven’t gotten the hint.

But Dave carries it well. In conversation and in podcast-hosting, he’s polite, eloquent and generally charming. Indeed, both he and Igor come across as all-around gentlemen.

To the eyes of the uninitiated, the association between jazz and Satan is a paradoxical one. One overlooks the romanticism of the “Roaring Twenties” and the “Dirty Thirties” at their own peril, however. It was a grim, yet glorious time of secret and not-so-secret indulgences. The menace of war hanging in the air, the repression of prohibition, and yet the indomitable will of mankind to push through and create joys both permitted and not, in the face of political and economic crisis. One could very easily draw a parallel between the speakeasy and a black mass.

“It’s music from a bygone age,” Dave elaborates, “that is to be appreciated by those who have finer tastes for such a bygone age. For the gentlemen and ladies of the dark, the old, and the noir.”

To the ears of the uninitiated, it may seem also paradoxical that a vocalist, known for his intense growling and morbid visions, would make the leap to jazz. For my part, I understand very well that it’s usually easier for fans of metal to cultivate more wide-spread musical interests than it is for a fan of country, for example, to develop a fondness for death metal. Dave’s experience has been a bit more of the opposite, however.

Jazz & Swing were probably some of the first styles of music I ever heard that really struck me and piqued my interest. I was around 5 years old and heard it as the soundtrack to many a Tom & Jerry cartoon. I asked my biological Father what it was, and he showed little interest (as he did with all 3 of his children) but I persevered and found a few old 78’s which I could play. It wasn’t long after that Black Sabbath turned my head, and Metal became my main source of aural indulgence, though I still held a great love for Jazz. Later in life my step-Father, Lawrence Albert Lambert Ingram (whom my show on RadioFreeSatan.com is named after) helped me return to the Swing with his record collection – which I have since inherited – and our evenings listening to the Big Band show on UK radio. Wonderful days and cherished memories. He may have been my step-Father but I am proud to call him Dad. I miss him an awful lot.”

Indeed, Dave has described his paternal figure with the words “Brilliant. Kind. Intelligent. Caring. Grumpy. Tall. Practical. Comical. Loving. Ineffable. Remarkable. Foul-mouthed. Outstanding. Stellar. Indulgent. Courageous. Fierce. Hilarious. Thoughtful. Perfect. Dad.”

The art of the podcast is one which has become a regular part of Dave’s arsenal.

“The podcasting/internet radio idea came a long while back. Originally it was just for my other show ‘Metal Breakfast Radio’ but the more I thought about my love of jazz then the more I wanted to do a show for that genre. I’ve always had a love for a certain UK Sci-Fi television show, investing many hours and much love into it, so the idea of ‘time traveling in nostalgia’ fit perfectly. That, and the meeting of myself and Igor sealed it for me.”

The musical time traveller, himself (all photos courtesy of Lambert's Basement)

The show in question (Doctor Who, for those who haven’t caught on, yet) shows up quite a bit in the aesthetic of the show. Each podcast begins with the landing of a TARDIS. The promo photos for the show, which can be found on the Lambert’s Basement MySpace page, feature images of a particularly well-dressed Dave wielding something suspiciously looking like a sonic screwdriver, as well as some rather obvious hints of Doctor Who elsewhere in the gallery.

“I have a great love for that certain science-fiction show, and Lambert’s Basement each week is, in essence, my own total environment, incorporating many elements from that show. Allons-y!

Rather like the Doctor’s tag-alongs being driven about the cosmos, or perhaps more like Dante being escorted by Virgil through Hell, we are given guided trips through the underworlds of nostalgia where, in lieu of devils, we are confronted with the likes of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.

The tour is sufficiently guided, however, that we ironically can’t look too far into the past shows. On the Lambert’s Basement page, we are given the current episode and the previous one. No more than that. Unlike his Metal Breakfast podcast, Dave informs us that we shan’t see an archive of previous episodes, more’s the pity.

“[An archive] would cause merry Hell with copyright and publishing rights for the artists involved. I did make episode 75 to run somewhat like an Old Time Radio adventure, so once I have a spare hour I may well edit that show and remove the music, so anyone who missed out on the fun back then can at least hear the ‘adventure’…where my brother visits Lambert’s Basement, Igor lets loose some old adversaries, and we have to defeat them. Oh, and I get shot and ‘die.’ Sound like fun? Well, you’ll have to wait for the re-dux edition.”

Having heard the original, I can testify to its entertainment value. One may think it would be worth Dave’s while to concoct similar dramas in the future. Between his own radio persona and the personality of Igor, there is certainly enough room for something dynamic and engaging.

Of the mystery concerning the meeting of Igor and Dave, he does not speak, but hints that the tale may be relegated to his forthcoming book, Devils Communiqué – Sibling Ribaldry, which he is co-authoring with his aforementioned brother, though when it will find print is yet another mystery.

“My schedule each week seems to get eaten up by pressing projects that demand immediate attention,” Dave writes, “so my writing has taken quite a back seat. I’m slowly trying to rectify the situation and learn to reschedule my time accordingly. [Devils Communiqué – Sibling Ribaldry] ought to be out around December, but I have a feeling it may be delayed due to the aforementioned schedule restructure. We’ll release some additional information closer to the time. Or at least when we know a little more about where we’re at.”

Between Lambert’s Basement and his metal commentary podcast, “Metal Breakfast Radio” (which he hosts with his frequent band-mate, Donovan Spenceley) Dave has his hands full. But, with all of his projects on the go, and given his history with musical projects, what are the chances that we’ll find a jazz musical project coming from Dave?

“At present there’s only going to be music with a heavier edge to it. I do have an old friend in the UK who is currently playing Jazz, so I may well ask him if he would like to do a project together in the future, but at the moment that’s just pencil scribble on a napkin. As for the ‘heavy’ stuff, there could be the exhumation of some tracks from my own, previous band (Downlord) but with a small twist, and the possibility of starting up a purely Punk-orientated band, along the lines of Discharge and Broken Bones….with a dash of English Dogs thrown in too.”

In the meantime, it’s all about the swing on Lambert’s Basement. Find a comfy chair, plug the iPod into your head, pour yourself a glass of something indulgent and get ready for time travel, because the journey Dave and Igor take us on is nothing short of it.

Post script:

Dave requested to send “shout-outs” to the following comrades: Trille, Oliver, Matt, Donovan & Anne, Roar, Gramie & Diane, Bob A & clan, Joel & Shannon & Hunter, David & Heather, Roho T & Mrs Rooster, Brett J, Tiberia 9 & Nereus, Joe Conte, Kenny M, James B, Mike G…in fact, everyone on his Facebook profile.

One may keep track of his activities, either directly or peripherally, via the following websites:
www.darksentinel.dk
www.metalbreakfastradio.com
www.radiofreesatan.com

and one can follow Dave and Igor on Twitter at @MetalBreakfast and @ZombieGoldfish, respectively.

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2 Comments

  1. Sidney Rice said,

    October 15, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I’m confused, what is your House of Wormwood?
    It is the name of my company and I was just curious how it is used here.
    Please let me know, I would hate for customer confusion.
    Thanks

    • propraetor said,

      October 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm

      In this instance, the House of Wormwood is an absinthe-themed blog. While its content is not solely absinthe, there are some articles which are of possible peripheral interest to absintheurs. Mind if I ask what the nature of your business is?


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