Ya Ba Will Steal Your Soul
Written by Geordie McElroy (Editor)
Illustrations by Gerardo Alonzo
Photo from Huffington Post
Thai Doom for that Ass
We were going to need plenty of Yaba – the madness drug – a high-octane concoction of methamphetamine and caffeine first used to coax Burmese workhorses into the most degrading acts.
I came to in the bathroom of an abandoned gas station on the outskirts of Visalia.
My velour tracksuit reeked of panther piss. Its black fabric intermittently bleached, ripped, and caked in dried fluids from within and without. No amount of Grapefruit Fizz Febreze could tame this wildcat funk.
How did I get here? How long had I been unconscious? Why did my mouth taste of rancid broccoli? There were clues.
A Cyrillic-alphabet typewriter wedged between the commode and the wall. Thousands of typed pages scattered the filthy linoleum. They repeated a mantra: γαβΑ, γαβΑ, γαβΑ…
Small red pills surrounded me. They were everywhere: underfoot, in my pockets, scattered amongst dried-out prophylactics, jamming the typewriter’s keys. I pulled a partially cracked tablet from a matted lock and read the inscription: wY.
A boombox atop the paper towel dispenser oozed menacing music. The sound: cinematic doom with alien vocals – too distant to pinpoint their language of origin or even the vocalist’s gender. The metallic twang of an acoustic guitar evoked open spaces of the American West. Distortion and fuzz simmered like high-tension wires and amphetamine-fried synapses in the merciless California sun.
I ejected the cassette and examined the label. It read: Ya Ba.
I hoofed it back to Los Angeles a wiser, weaker man. As Ya Ba blared on the speakers, a thousand questions surged.
A flood of memories: I remember meeting with Bangkok-based film financier Kyal Thee Productions. We were in talks about a new project: a Thai-language video nasty shot in the Australian Outback to double as California’s Central Valley. The plot was irrelevant –
Highlander meets Shogun Assassin, but with more T&A.
Our schedule was tight, budget non-existent, and without a page of script written. We were going to need plenty of yaba: the madness drug – a high-octane concoction of methamphetamine and caffeine, first used to coax Burmese workhorses into the most degrading acts. It spread from the Shan province of Myanmar throughout Southeast Asia, and now stood poised to steal the soul of the entire world.
I popped in the cassette and hit play before stumbling out of the bathroom with the boombox. A red-tailed hawk screamed above. My cracked polarized sunglasses offered little protection for my bleeding eyes against the Central Valley’s savage sun.
I hoofed it back to Los Angeles a wiser, weaker man. As Ya Ba blared on the speakers, a thousand questions surged. Is this the soundtrack to the video nasty that never got completed? A transmission from the future? What is the connection between Thai amphetamine pills and California’s Central Valley?
Only the creator can answer that. The music of Ya Ba comes from the mind of Sunteeth Suppipat, Rumors about the musician abound. Some claim Sunteeth is the alter ego of Tommy from LA-based psychedelic family folk act Tommy Santee Klaws. Others claim Sunteeth is a monk who visited from Thailand for just long enough to record this three track album before vanishing without a trace.
Don’t expect answers any time soon. Ya Ba is best smoked with a chaser of mystery.
“Ya Ba” is available on limited edition cassette from Thundercloud Records – www.thundercloudrecords.com
Also look out for releases by Evan Hemsley, Kitchen Hips, Me Lacy Flowers, More Fog, and Swim Lessons on Thundercloud.
“Ya Ba” is available on limited edition CD and digitally here.