How you got into doing Light Shows & when?
I was an art protege as a child and very much into Christmas lighting and Halloween lighting as well as fourth of July fireworks. (I was dyslexic, which persons tend to see color more brightly and with greater nuance) I was always into visuals and the idea of creating them.
One of the best toys I ever received was a flashlight with color and strobe wheels as well as gobos that could be layered on a spindle and spun around by hand, I was about 4 years old and played with it for years, wore it out.
Where did/does your Light Show operate?
In Missouri and Arkansas as well as Belgium in the early 70's, but in San Diego California by necessity, its where I've lived since the mid 70s
Who was your main influence, if any?
My fathers artworks as well as the art works of many other artists, especially abstract artists and surrealists, art such as that by Bosch.
The cartoons of the 30's and 40's, cartoons with supernatural sequences such as Little Audrey and Betty Boop and the early Popeye cartoons, the animations of Disney such as the pink elephant parade sequence of Dumbo and many other near psychedelic animated sequences from Disney's animations and other peoples such as Max Fletcher.
I very much wanted to create wild animations as a child and the music for them also. Joshua White was a hero.
What Bands have you worked with?
Mostly local bands, in Missouri in the early 70's as well as in Brussels Belgium in 1971, but I did shows for national acts too, Vanilla Fudge, Blue Cheer, Moloch.
What was your most memorable gig?
Perhaps a 4 day rock festival in Fayetteville Arkansas with many great local bands, these are photos from the rock festival:
What other Light Shows have you worked with and/or Cooperated with?
Small local Light Shows, but some of them very good, I mainly trained others to help me operate my show.
Also worked with Rick Gatlan, he was an organizer of local shows in Fayetteville Arkansas and ran several venues featuring all kinds of music that also featured Light Shows, which were often done by me, or by he and I and sometimes by others as well.
Here are some layered images featuring hand painted stills, Gobos and patterned glass
Where did the name(s) come from?
I liked "Revelation Lights" because I would imagine a revelation would be imparted by something like a Light Show!
Array Light Show reflects the name of the musical instruments I invented, the array instruments
When was your Light Show formed?
I started about 1968
How long did it run for? (is it still going or maybe back after an interval?)
I still do lights today, but not often, the instrument building as and designing responsibilities get in the way which is too bad. I'm hoping to begin recording extensively now that the means are available, to me lights are simply visual music," live animation"
I did Light Shows for the San Diego cable access TV program "Yourself Presents" for about 20 years and so for a great many artists
Any personnel changes within the Light Show(s)
Constantly, in order to keep the show going through the 2010s and let other people use all my equiment and art works, Heather Brouch did them for a while and Chris Coroner
Can you share any amusing/interesting Light Show related stories that wont land you in Court?
Moloch was an infamous band which was banned form many venues (their record in no way imparts what they were like live.
It was very very heavy and very psychedelic,(they wrote the song "going down" made famous by Jeff Beck and other songs made famous by other bands).
When they played the rock festival they were a headliner so I wanted to make sure the Light Show was up to their show.
I was under the influence of LSD and became almost freaked out by the intensity of the music. (they often drove the crowd into a frenzy, live sex on stage was not uncommon which is mainly why the got banned at so many venues)
At the start of their show I was doing behind the screen projection while the rest of the artists were on a Light Show tower in front of the screen.
Some really drunk and really hostile seeming people began to gather behind the stage cursing and shouting, whom began to approached me, finally one of them said "HEY YOU! "in a threatening tone of voice and I turned to see him in front of a drunken little mob glaring at me with a mean scowl, I thought "OK this is where I get beat up while tripping", but then the scowl turned to a smile and he said "me and my friends can't figure out what the hell your doing, but what ever it is its &#$%#*# great!! HERE, have a BEER!, slapping me on the back they walked off laughing while i drank that beer.
Later as Molock reached the climax of their show I got a sudden inspiration and ran to the Light Show tower and asked the other artists to all put bubble chambers in their projectors with strobe wheels, then I did the same with all four of my projectors from behind the screen, it was glorious.
At that moment some guy drives up behind the stage that no one expected with a truck full of fireworks and begins just setting them up willy nilly and setting them off 5 and six at a time, rocket after rocket lights the screen from behind and explodes above the stage along with all those strobing bubble chambers, it was wild!
Meanwhile there were now 3 guitarists on stage all getting Hendrix type feedback and naked people dancing like crazy. I felt this was a new form of music, ultra heavy, no holding back.
In a San Diego club gig they had a camera trained on my small but super bright screen, then something like 10 other huge screens showed digital copies of my show, so every move I made the whole venue would explode into action, there must have been 700 people.
Aa large crowed gathers around my corner to watch me work live, and the colors form my projectors were so much better than the digital facsimiles the promoter was kind of bummed that so many people were gathered around me and not dancing beneath the big digital projection screens.
What equipment you started out using, why you used it and what you changed to?
I started out by acquiring a number of Edmund Scientific Light Show slide projectors which I opened up to allow may hands access to the light beams.
I used more than one of their 12 slide slide wheels at a time in the same aparture with my very carefully contrived psychedelic slides in layers moved by hand, along with liquids aquariums with mouth blown bubble tubes and with flat glass and patterned glass in the liquids to get the vertical liquids effect of squishing clock crystals only with no hot spot.
All kinds of hand made Gobos were moved by hand in the back near the light and all kinds of patterned glass and plastic for 3D effects were moved by hand in the front near the lens.
Everything was done by hand but for the motor controlled strobe wheels.
Later I switched to opened up 1000 watt Kodak Master Models which is what I use today, as well as some projectors that I built, a double barrel vertical overhead slide projector for liquids for example
What non standard objects/items were used in the quest for 'better effects'?
Here are 56 hand painted images:
There were no overheads used and there still are not, nearly everything was non standard and hand made as well as controlled,
I took slide painting very seriously and other than dyes dropped into the vertical aquariums, most of the liquids looked different from the standards.
How many projectors/slide machines you started out with?
How many projectors you finished up with?
What is your favorite aspect of doing Light Shows (maybe you prefer liquids, slides, movie clips for example)
I love the trance they put me into, time seems to vanish.
Today its multilayered solids with asymmetric kaleidoscopes, but back then we only had one kaleidoscope from Edmund Scientific, it was very expensive.
Where has your career taken you if you are not still in the Lighting Industry?
I have been fulfilling orders for the array instruments which I invented and which are used all over the world by many famous persons, Ry Cooder and Imogen Heap, Taylor Swift, nearly every Hollywood film composer and so on.
I was always a music composer as well as a light composer, I consider Light Shows to be live animation, which is the dream I started with, as a child, to do animations and the music for them
You tube Light Show example, all just myself solo, live:
Examples of myself playing my array instruments with clips of previously recorded light shows in the background from my episodes of the San Diego cable access TV show "Yourself Presents"
My current Light Show selfies done with the kalidoscopes and Kodak Master models
The Edmund Scientific "roto disk slide holders" were fabulouse if you disabled the slide projectors lever based slide advance system and just turned them by hand, ajacent slides almost overlaped so with 4 projectors projecting on the same spot and with a different slide holder wheel in each for 48 slides in all the slides did not need to sit square, it was like having the sets of plays moving stage left and right and not moving all at the same time.
No need to open and close on individual slides. Each wheel felt like a continouse STEERING wheel , only for driving images, and I would sometiomes have more than 1 wheel in the same projector to overlap slides.
I had photos of firewords and swimming fish and so on so by turning on and off projectores with foot switches ands truning the slide wheels I could animate the firewordks or the fish so they danced in time to the music, audiences loved that!
This shows some basic overhead slide projector liquids effects with kaleidoscopic lens from some of the "Yourself Presents" episodes featuring myself playing the array instruments and clips form my array light show.
These and many other episodes featuring my Light Show were aired for over 20 years on the San Diego cable access television show "Yourself Presents".
Another projector that should be Included in my projector list is a very rare and old 750 watt over head slide projector made for 2x2 inch slides which works very well for liquids and can accommodate a hand made kaleidoscope mirrored lens.
For both the Revelation Light Show and for the Array Light Show I liked to do visuals that were as if from a horror movie, frightening instead of pretty, violent instead of calming, some persons would complain, but others would be thrilled.
The goal was to make something that the eye could barely apprehend and so challenge a persons perceptions and to simulate a nightmare rather than a dream, a bad trip rather than a good one!
Featuring the Array Keyboard run through the full wave rectifier pedal effect that I designed plus Drums by Dylan Brown, whom should also be on my Light Show artist list as well as Maria Cochina Colors out of space (from the H P Lovecraft story)
Very aggressive use of color:
Digitally assembled Light Show using my color plates by Maria Cochina, the song was written and is sung by me with my accompaniment from the array instruments:
Images of Chris Coroner doing an Array Light Show using my set up with hand painted color plates
Bill Wesley - October 17th 2022