Damo Suzuki made a name for himself by leading ultra-seminal Krautrock band Can through its most fruitful four years, yelping, growling and moaning across incredible albums like 1971's Tago Mago and 1972's Ege Bamyasi. Adding to the legend, he subsequently quit music for about a decade, and eventually found his way back by becoming a guitar-toting nomad willing to collaborate with any genre-buster tough enough to go tête-à-tête with a true force of nature.
YouTube users Shane Dawson, Charles Trippy and Fred are famous because, er, well, people watch them on YouTube. Before last Christmas, that's where the overlap never actually began, and summarily ended.
And then, this very odd thing happened:
Though this clip was posted after the incident in question, it illustrates the issue far more succinctly than videos from any of the aforementioned celebYouTantes. Beyond its outright racism, the clip suggests that Damo Suzuki had machinations on the popular video sharing website with the intent to replace all of its thumbnails with an image of himself, and the site's name with “DamoTube.”
Something to this effect happened on Christmas day. At least, that's what Shane Dawson and Charles Trippy said, which makes it gospel in a universe whose constituent parts break down to ones, zeroes, and memes. Trippy's “Internet Killed Television” channel broke the “news” on December 26: YouTube had been hacked by someone — “I think his name is Domino Suzuki… Domano?” — who'd swapped out the preview panes of videos by several YouTube notables.
Here's Dawson's very concerned response in which he refers to Suzuki as “this sexy guy.” This clip has received 1.6 million views. Don't watch it. You only need to know that it exists, and that it's received plenty of genuinely concerned responses from YouTube pundits and diarists, which makes it kinda, sorta real.
Surprise, surprise, no evidence has surfaced to back up the claims made by Dawson or Trippy, and some have gone as far as suggesting that the whole thing was an attention-grab (!) perpetrated and perpetuated by these attention-hungry youth. Well, who cares, right? Children of the Net, your actions have consequences, and when the toes of an amiable music deity are stepped on as a result of your megalomaniacal impulses, well, it's West Coast Sound's duty to say something.
As it turns out, the real Damo Suzuki is somewhat technologically inclined. He sends out an almost-monthly email newsletter to his devotees, Damo Suzuki's E-Report, which typically contains beatific musings and journal entries revolving around his musical exploits. The thing is actually a bit of a “Who's Who” of avant-garde musicians around the world, but January's installment started rather atypically. It seems the reverberations of the DamoTube shenanigans reached Suzuki himself.
Here, in poetically broken English, is the man's response to allegations that he, or a phantom version thereof, attempted to capture YouTube:
“After Christmas I received some claims by mail as some saw in YouTube, “Damo Suzuki hacked YouTube … Damo will capture YouTube and name it to DamoTube.” They're saying if I'm Damo Suzuki, please don't do it (capture YouTube) and some nasty words against me. (They were not my fans, even they don't know my music.)
“With development on Internet, exists not existing person… phantom. You know, there are surprisingly quite a lots of people using name Damo Suzuki as their mail address, also appears in chat rooms or blog.”
He went on to break down some of the Internet's greatest quandaries — when “lady is not lady,” for instance — and even takes on the myth of the perfect man.
“When I start surfing in Net around one decade back, I was chatting sometimes and found all those behind masks. Lady is not lady (behind mask is man) kind of stuff. Crazy world. It's easy to identify into phantom. Even criminal things happened like steal money from old single lady who found in Net good looking and good situated gentleman… a dream man (this man not exist) and paid money, lost quite amount of money.
“Criminal thing is popular than ever… it's easy to do something with mask… anonym. That Damo who want to capture YouTube use my photo. And worse, many internet goers believing in every small thing in net.”
Convoluted as it may seem, there's some real wisdom caught up in that brier, especially the bit about masks. He seems to touch on the nagging fear in the back of modern thinkers' minds the world over: If we spend so many hours of our day grooming our online selves into exaggerated representations of our ids and egos, what happens to the actual self?
At least when The Fall did this in 1985, we recognized the Mark E. Smith's particular snarl as the one singing the words, “I am Damo Sazuki.”