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Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Cass McCombs Bio (2019)


Guattari State Psychiatric Hospital
California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation
AttendingStaff: Dr. Tony Moniz

Patient Name:Cass McCombs
Dateof intake:1/1/19
Age: Unknown, but presents simultaneously as geriatric and childlike
Sex:Almost certainly mostly male
Race: Almost certainly mostly Caucasian

Initial observations: Subject was found by Stockton PD ranting at passers-by on the corner of Channel and Sutter, opposite the bus station.Mostly unintelligible, but what was discerned had to do with apocalyptic visions and messianic delusions. In other words, the usual. Upon arrival at ward, 100mg of Haldol was administered (McCombs was heard to remark, “Ah, that’s the stuff”) which was followed by an immediate relaxation in affect. Entrance evaluation followed.

McCombs claims to be a musician of some popular renown. Quick searches on both Bing and Lycos failed to offer corroboration. McCombs further claims to have a new record, which he says is his ninth, being released “soon.” He says the title is Tip of the Sphere. In this doctor’s estimation, this conversion of the most obvious sphere-image (the planet Earth) into a weapon—a “spear”—argues for an aggressive streak in McCombs and supports strenuous intervention on our part.

A greasy, tattered notebook was found among McCombs’s effects upon initial police search. Seems his fantasy of having a record extends to a series of lyrics for songs with titles such as “Absentee,” “Real Life,” and “Prayer For Another Day.” I must admit, the writing does show some proficiency. Thematic concerns include identity, reincarnation, criminality, Armageddon, and suicide. McCombs will be isolated from the ward while we ascertain whether he intends self-harm.

Update, 1/14/19: Administered a standard Jungian word-association test to McCombs at 10AM after his daily doses of Prolixin, Prozac, Lithium, Thorazine, Albuterol, Insulin, and Penicillin. Results reflecta cooperative personality rather than solipsistic tendencies, which are generally required to be a musician (or any type of artist). Selected responses from McCombs:

Head > Crown Long > Tall To Ask > To Give White > Light Child > Learning To Marry > Devotion To Pray > Meditate Foolish > Jester Family > Faith

The replies “crown” and “jester” imply an obsession with medieval history, perhaps reflected in McCombs’s courtly demeanor, while his reactions of “faith,” “devotion,” and “learning” are touchingly maudlin w/r/t the idea of domesticity—intriguing to see such associations from a shiftless vagabond. His musician phantasy is revealed in the responses “tall” to the prompt “long” (my rendition of “Long Tall Sally” was a highlight of the karaoke performances at last year’s staff holiday party, you’ll remember) and in the response “light” to the prompt “white,” which reminds me of a similarly deluded patient from decades ago (note to self: look up files on a Lewis—or was it Larry?—Reed from my early sixties Long Island state hospital days).

Update, 1/25/19: Well, this is fascinating. A small hard drive was discovered secreted in McCombs’s cheek last night by a midnight-shift orderly.It contains audio files for an 11-song album, with lyrics matching those from McCombs’s notebook. I’m no Nat Hentoff, but I’d say the music is soothing and expertly played, with a soupçon of righteous anger and soulful searching. I wonder where McCombs stole these files. Anyway, he is becoming increasingly agitated and insistent that “his” album is released today. He attempted to bite my hand just now as I wrote these notes. I’m referring him to the surgical ward immediately for a frontal lobotomy. Let’s see how he likes that.

[n.b.:attachedt o this report is a manifesto of sorts that was discovered in McComb’s room, scrawled on toilet paper in what I am assuming is soy sauce purloined from Chinese night in the cafeteria. Its tone of casual grandiosity is quite intriguing. But I’m quite uncertain what he’s on about.

Cass McCombs' artist page

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