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Raged Religion: A Sermon with Asa Brebner
Asa Brebner's Ragged Religion
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
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Born in Marblehead, MA, Asa (pronounced "AY-sah") Brebner has travelled the world, stopping in some pretty funky places (including a South American prison) and picking up stories songs and other found object all along the way.

A true rock veteran, Brebner has played with the likes of Jonathan Richman (Modern Lovers), Robin Lane (Chartbusters) and David Knopfler (Dire Sraits). He helped open and often closed the infamous Rathskellar (aka "The Rat") in Kenmore Square and now can be found doing his art thing all around Cambridge at place like the Middle East.

However, Brebner's "art thing" is not always musical.

A part time house painter, Brebner recently opened a show of visual art which will adorn the Cambridge corner club through January 6, 2000. Made up of toy soldiers, skulls and mannequins held together with caulk and other materials pilfered from painting gigs, Brebner's "Apocalypse Lite" (sponsored by Out of the Blue) touches artfully on life, death, religion and rock. At the opening, I had a moment to talk to Brebner about his latest expressions.

[Matthew] Which came first, visual art or music?

[Asa] They really happened at about the same time. I liked to draw a lot as a kid and I started playing guitar at age 14.

[Matthew] Which do you find more satisfying?

[Asa] They're really about equal. [visual] art, you don't have to deal with five other idiots. It's your thing. But the camaraderie of music is a good thing.

[Matthew] Do you find that the two feed each other or help you get focused creatively?

[Asa] It's mostly kind of compartmentalized for me. Some of my art shows up on album covers and stuff, but they're not the same.

[Matthew] What would you say your major themes are?

[Asa] Joseph Campbell - you know, the myth guy? - he says that there are two kinds of art: "static" art - which is art unto itself with no need for commentary - and "didactic" art - which refers to the world at large. I guess that's more of what my stuff is. I deal with stuff like the corporate entertainment culture, the ecology, television....Hopefully, it's interesting and affecting.

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