San Diego: 1991:
North county. Dusty chaparral undergrowth, harsh thorny plants, large intense rocks. Prehistoric, metamorphic. A mountain much taller than the surrounding area. 1,500 feet. Dark and piercing, an earthy titan of the desert landscape. On it's summit a gleaming metal tower. An array of clean angled machinery of vague purpose. Communications perhaps, with the large satellite arrays pointing in different ways, beaming or receiving signals of unknown origin to the vast beyond.
Jeff was the first to see the figures. They arrived in a dream. One more vivid and intense than before, he told us. A boy of nine, new to the area. The vision took place upon the mountain, by the structure. All was still and dark – only the rustling of nocturnal creatures was heard. Then there was a glow. An ethereal alien light that illuminated the purple sky in sharp laser-like beams. Then he heard the voices. An unknown language – vaguely Spanish in phoneme, a language of ghosts. Echoing, hollow voices that floated through the silence. There were four figures, donned in cloaks, faces obscured. They hovered slightly, the black cloth of their robes fluttered where their feet should rest, and they slowly bobbed with the dry wind around the tower. Jeff approached them. As he moved closer, the voices grew louder.
Then he awoke, back in bed in his suburban home, the faint sounds of birds chirping outside and the scent of new carpet greeting him.
We came to know Jeff over the following years as it became apparent to us his talent on the guitar. He would claim later that shortly after that first, strange dream, an obsession with the figures would manifest as a new-found dexterity in the left hand, as though channeling spirits. His guitar became a form of expression and communication and we began to play together in a band. Often after playing we would feel ourselves drawn to the mountain, and hike to the structure to observe it. We never learned it's purpose. The hooded dream figures loomed in our presence, but always remained just beyond the grasp of reality.
Ten years later, in 2001, they at last broke through the psychic barrier once more, and began, as we later called it “phase two”.
Jeff's dream again: at the base of the tower, a misty night with purple sky. Figures emerged from the dark like ghosts. The figures wore outfits of conflict - guns and ammo, knives and armor. Soldiers. There had once been a war here. The figures moved at Jeff, floating slightly.
“This is phase two,” one of them spoke. “Two more will follow. You have been chosen.”
Again Jeff awoke to the calm suburbia, unaware of what he had witnessed. While explaining the dream to his bandmates, they fell strangely silent. There was an unusual pause in their social dynamic, as all of them quietly understood the meaning. It was as though they had all experienced the same fantasy.
Time passed and the dreams continued. Every time they became more detailed, filling in gaps the previous dreams had left open. The figures were soldiers, Mexican fighters from the war of 1846. They spoke from beyond. They uttered a word: “Amigo”.
“Amigo, Amigo” the ghosts spoke. A power word from another realm, the harmony of the music they were creating. Where was the inspiration? Where was the genesis? The figures knew. They still know. They whisper the word “Amigo” among the silent, crisp evenings. The tower slices into the sky like a razor.
1991: A boy of nine, hearing the call. Later, a man of twenty still listening to their words. “Amigo Amigo”. An ethereal chant. Unconscious encounters in the dark haze of half-dreams. Something from a realm beyond communicates with the band, ghostly hands puppeteering their hands on the instruments. The guitar, bass, and drums become the vocal cords of a timeless, frightened being.
San Diego, 1991: a boy listens, and the universe calls out.