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Peter H. Gilmore

interview by Vulgardemon, Lucifera, and Xastur

1. As one of Anton LaVey’s "left" hand men, we want to know how his death has affected you. What is the current status of the Church of Satan?
Since I had a personal relationship with Dr. LaVey, I mourn his loss as a friend and mentor, as well as my chosen leader and colleague in our Church. It is a great loss, but I am grateful that I had so much time with him over the years and will always cherish these memories.

The Church of Satan continues to promote his philosophy, and will do so as the years go by. Dr. LaVey hand-picked many unique individuals whom he felt had the ability to represent his ideas, and he brought them into the Church as Agents, Priests/Priestesses and Magisters/Magistras. He appointed his longtime companion, Blanche Barton, as High Priestess, and entrusted his legacy into her hands. She is the person who worked directly with Dr. LaVey over the last 15 years to make certain that his wishes were carried out, and she continues this mission.

And the organization grows ever larger- we’ve had many new members join over the last year.

2.What do you make of the rumor that the Church of Satan shall be brought to, or rather continue to develop in New York City? Will you take charge of the C/S?
Well, the Church has had a long-standing presence here in New York City, with our offices serving as an East Coast contact point and media clearing house, and we have a local Grotto (The Meninblack Grotto) formed for those who are interested in such activities. So our New York presence will continue to strengthen.

Anton LaVey intended his Order of the Trapezoid to continue to run the Church after his death, headed by the Council of Nine. We will do so as a team of individuals.

3.We noticed Zeena LaVey and even the Temple of Set wanted to take credit for Anton LaVey’s death, but I think- by reading his last articles describing how he missed many of his long dead friends- that he had in a way predicted his death or had some premonition of it. What can you say about this?
Dr. LaVey had long been resisting a heart ailment and had even had a brief death-and resurrection experience in 1995, so he knew that his flesh was not up to the iron will that drove him. He didn’t slack off or become morose in his final years, as some might claim. The birth of his son, Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey, revitalized him. So he strove to enjoy his time (which he knew was limited) with his son, as well as to complete as many of his projects as possible. He knew he would not live to see his son become a man, but trusted us to be there for him.

4. Did Anton LaVey still love his daughter Zeena, although she claims to despise him?
Anton LaVey was quite hurt by his daughter’s rejection of him, as well as by the falsehoods she spread about him. We shall never know if he would have forgiven her, but she didn’t even try for a reconciliation with him in his last years, though he did meet with and make peace with Zeena’s son, Stanton Zaharoff LaVey.

5.What other artists, besides ACHERON, have you contributed music to? Do you enjoy any of these bands, and is this the type of music to which you would regularly listen? I have contributed music to Boyd Rice’s NON. I do not regularly listen to bands, but generally do so when I’m reviewing CD’s for The Black Flame. I regularly listen to symphonic orchestral music (favorite composers being Mahler, Bruckner, and Shostakovich), as well as orchestral film scores (favoires composers being Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, and Akira Ifukube).

6.I also understand that the house that was once Anton LaVey’s (historically important to Satanists) is to be torn down and that an apartment complex will be built in that area. What have you and Blanche Barton done to prevent this? Why has she had to ask for donations, knowing people of such high status and endless money as, let’s say, Marilyn Manson?
It is true that the house is in danger of being destroyed, though the real estate company that owns it seems to keep changing their minds as to whether they’ll sell it for destruction, or as is. The house was sold years ago to satisfy a lawsuit by Dr. LaVey’s former companion Diane Hegarty, and he was renting it until his death. That lawsuit was hard-hitting, as were the final medical bills, so the situation which was dropped in High Priestess Barton’s lap after Dr. LaVey’s devastating death is one that is difficult to solve. Add to that the owner’s decision that they no longer wanted to rent the property (this is the reason for the precarious situation) and you will see why High Priestess Barton is trying to save the building.

She brought this situation to the attention of our members, so that they could have the chance to help, so that they might one day get to visit this historic location in which some of us spent so much time. The Church of Satan does not require its members to contribute to anything, and thus it is anybody’s own choice as to whether they’ll help with this project. I personally tried to get interest going for a Sympathy for the Devil concert, to raise funds for the house, but this would need a very prestigious band to headline and organize the event, and none with enough clout has as yet come forward to make this a reality.

The situation with the house has not yet been concluded, and we will continue to raise funds until any and all options have been closed. If we fail to save it, we will contact all contributors and ask them if they want their money returned, or to go to other projects meant to forward Dr. LaVey’s legacy.

7. Do the profits from Anton LaVey’s writings help contribute to saving the house? What about membership fees?
Currently there is a legal battle over Dr. LaVey’s estate, so none of the royalty money is going anywhere as yet, until the courts make a decision. Membership fees go toward the general running of the organization, which must continue regardless of what happens to the house.

8.You are also the editor of The Black Flame. Please tell us how this magazine began and what we can expect in the next issue?
The Black Flame started at a time when the old Cloven Hoof was winding down. I had a magic circle of particularly talented Satanists with ideas that I felt would enrich other Satanists. I thought that having an open forum would be a great place to allow differing applications of the basic philosophy made clear in Dr. LaVey’s writings to find an arena. Needless to say, it worked. By having a newsstand magazine devoted to Satanism we found a new audience of interested individuals.

Our next issue will be centered around tributes to Anton LaVey, for the most part by people who knew him personally. It will also have the usual gigantic Odditorium filled with reviews as well as interviews with ACHERON and ULVER.

9.Have you ever had any interest in any other " organization" besides the Church of Satan?
No. The Church of Satan has been the motivating philosophical force in my life since I read The Satanic Bible at the age of thirteen.

10.Why do you make guest appearances in cheesy public access shows? I hope this is more for fun than anything else.
I make media appearances when I think I will have a forum which allows me to present real Satanism to an audience that is interested. I’ve done this on an international level (with numerous foreign journalists including Japanese TV and the British Broadcasting Company), a national, a local and even down to the amateur public access level (on several different shows). I’ve also turned down appearances and interviews on fairly well-known shows when I know that the producers are not interested in the truth, but merely want me to be an entertaining scapegoat.

I do have fun-it keeps me sharp to answer questions especially when they are not the usual stuff deriving from Christian anti-Satanism propaganda.

11.Let us speak of rituals. I have seen some rituals performed on television or video (I can’t quite recall) and the ones I’ve seen are so mechanical, dull, and don’t look like they would produce any effect. How do you perform your rituals and do you create any of your own?
Filming ritual activity is definitely difficult, as the responses are more inner for the participants and this can’t be captured by the camera. I have filmed several rituals for the media, but only when they grant me strong control as to the look, and agree that we will shoot it like a film, with an eye to dramatizing the events- not simply capturing something from the genuine ritual. Thus, for film I stage very dramatic events that are shot from several angles, with a musical soundtrack to be added in post-production. Dr. LaVey was impressed with my results and they definitely show a tradition continuing from his pioneering film, Satanis.

My actual rituals are as dramatic as the ones which I film, and to achieve that I use all the trappings at my disposal and usually have a live keyboard player who can follow the emotions which I’m evoking. These range from the bombastic, to the introspective, as well as some humorous elements. I used whatever works to stimulate those who attend and thus achieve the magical goals for the ritual.

I have created several unique rituals and some of them will be in my upcoming book of essays and rituals.

12.Are you working on a book? Do you know when Anton LaVey’s Satan Speaks will be released?
As I mentioned above, yes I’m working on a book that will be released in early 1999, and it will contain my essays from The Black Flame, some new essays, and several rituals. Satan Speaks has now hit the stores ( so run out and buy it- there’s some great material therein, both wisdom and wit).

13.What’s your opinion of Lords of Chaos; The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind?
I think this is an excellent survey which covers the general roots as well as the contemporary Satanic Metal scene, particularly the violent soup opera concerning the European "satanic" bands. It will be the standard by which other books dealing with the topic will be measured.

14.Do you condone the relationship of Satanic philosophy with Nazi ideology? And your opinion of Might is Right?
I don't think there is any Nazi ideology with Satanism--although there are some confused individuals who might think this is the case. The Nazis created a body of doctrine, myths, and symbols geared to attaining their very specific socio-politicial ends, and as such it is not appropriate to our contemporary social context. Satanists learn from their techniques--they were skilled manipulating the masses and consciously redirecting their culture. A Satanist might personally find some of their ideology to be of interest, but it is not something which is necessarily part of Satanic ideology. Some individuals find Nazi Imagery to be of powerful fetishistic value, and they are free to use it that way if they choose.

Satanism champions an individual's highest goal as himself, whereas Nazisim advocates selfless service to the stete. Perhaps only true Satanists can take the reigns of his life in his own hands--tobe completely responsible for his own successes and failures. The great mass of humanity wants to be controlled (though they don't want to look at it that way), and there will always be a socio-political means for this control. In Germany, during the Third Reich, the Nazi Party fulfilled that need. Here in the United States, capitalists marketing strategies use televison to totally control the values of the masses. In the end, the true Satanist will rise above the socio-political context in which he finds himself and will achieve his own ends, using whatever labels work to his best advantage.

Ragnar Redbeard's Might is Right is a tome which has much wisdom, as wel as some off-the-cuff rants. Anton LaVey picked the best material from it and worked it into The Satanic Bible. The rest is history.

15.What do you really think happens after death, since there is no Heaven and Hell on this Earth?
Death is a cessation of your conscious existance. It is the end of your life and nothing follows--there has been no evidence that is convincing to me of any conscious survival after death. The rare ghosts that are experienced seem to be residue left by strong individuals who died under extreme duress--they are not conscious survivals of the dead individuals.

Your children are a survival of your genetic material, and your creations (writings, artworks, music, etc.)are the legacy that brings a part of you to the future generations. ANd the memories of those whome you touched during your lifetime also bring some survival. That's all.

16.Any last comments?
Only that I intend to enjoy my life with the company of the people whom I cherish, creating my various writings, music, art, and thus spreading the legacy of Dr. LaVey while I live as an exemplar of Satanism. Life is something to be lived to the fullest and that is what I am doing, and trust that all woh decided to call themselves Satanist will continue this tradition. Hail Dr. LaVey! Hail Satan!