Valentine, Gary 1955- [A pseudonym] (Gary Lachman)

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Valentine, Gary 1955- [A pseudonym] (Gary Lachman)


Born 1955, in NJ; immigrated to England, 1996. Education: Attended University of California, Los Angeles.


Home—London, England.


Bodhi Tree Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA, manager; University of California, Los Angeles, science writer; member and cofounder of rock bands, including Blondie, The Know, Fire Escape; member of the rock band Iggy Pop.


Three gold records for song "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear"; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2006.


New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation, with Blondie, Iggy Pop and Others, 1975-1981 (memoir), Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 2002.


Two Essays on Colin Wilson: World Rejection and Criminal Romantics & From Outsider to Post-tragic Man, Paupers' Press (West Bridgford, England), 1994.

(With John Shand) Colin Wilson as Philosopher, Consciousness and the Transendence of Time, Paupers' Press (West Bridgford, England), 1996.

Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius, Disinformation (New York, NY), 2001.

A Secret History of Consciousness, Lindisfarne Books (Great Barrington, MA), 2003.

The Dedalus Book of the Occult: A Dark Muse, Dedalus (Cambridge, England), 2003.

In Search of P.D. Ouspensky: The Genius in the Shadow of Gurdjieff, Quest Books (Wheaton IL), 2004.

A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult, Thunder's Mouth Press (New York, NY), 2005.

The Dedalus Occult Reader: The Garden of Hermetic Dreams, Dedalus (Cambridge, England), 2005.

Into the Interior: Discovering Swedenborg, Swedenborg Society, 2006.

Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, Jeremy P. TarcherPenguin (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to publications, including the Guardian, Fortean Times, Literary Review, Independent on Sunday, Quest, Times Literary Supplement, Mojo, and Bizarre.


Gary Lachman is best known as Gary Valentine, the punk rocker of the late 1970s and early 1980s who played with the band Blondie. In his memoir, New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation, with Blondie, Iggy Pop and Others, 1975-1981, he provides a history of the New York glam rock scene of the 1970s, as well as the later punk rock scenes of both New York and Los Angeles.

Born in New Jersey, Valentine moved to New York's East Village to pursue a career as a poet. When a vacancy opened up in Debbie Harry's Blondie, he stepped in to fill it and played both bass and guitar. He also wrote several of the band's hit songs. He was eighteen and blending his poetry with punk rock. He went on to form other bands and play with Iggy Pop but dropped out of music in 1982 to study philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. While in New York he had begun reading the writing of many of the great thinkers, and now he began to write, which had always been a goal. He did not pursue his degree, and royalties enabled him to devote his time to writing. At Chris Stein's request, he joined the Blondie reunion tour, twenty years after he had left.

Valentine moved to London in 1996, and several years later published Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius under his birth name, Gary Lachman. In an interview with Jack Phoenix for Fortean Times Online, Valentine talked about his own ventures into the occult, including membership in a Crowley group in Los Angeles and participation in a Gnostic mass that included the ingesting of a communion wafer to which menstrual blood had been applied. He also spoke of his interest in altered states of consciousness, Jungian theory, and various forms of meditation and hypnogogic states.

Phoenix asked: "Do you think Crowley's encounter with the demon Choronzon, the qliphoth of the kabbalah, meetings with fairies and some alien encounters are related to this hypnogogic state?" Valentine replied: "I guess you can open that door, and who knows exactly what will come through it? As Aldous Huxley says in Heaven and Hell, the mind has its own exotic and unexplored continents. It's subjective in the sense that it's inside my head, but it's objective in the sense that there are common features to this inner landscape. I think Huxley was right about this. You don't know what's there. I'm not trying to be scary—there's a possibility there. There's no reason why you should immediately encounter qliphothic entities, but perhaps if you're interested in that sort of thing, or your pursuits lead you in that direction, you may attract that sort of form."

Following Turn Off Your Mind, Valentine continued to publish books as Lachman. A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult presents a history of the occult, beginning with the Enlightenment. The author focuses on poets and writers who studied and practiced alchemy, magnetism, mesmerism, and hypnotism, and how this influenced their lives and work and that of their contemporaries. The second part of the book features writings by a number of Valentine's subjects.

Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work is a biography of Steiner (1861-1925), a philosopher and founder of the Waldorf schools—an alternative education system that is followed worldwide—anthroposophy, a form of metaphysical teaching, and biodynamic agriculture. Writing as Lachman, Valentine considers Steiner to have been a visionary, and a significant contributor of ideas. Booklist reviewer June Sawyers described the book as "a solid introduction to Steiner's life and thought."



Valentine, Gary, New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation, with Blondie, Iggy Pop and Others, 1975-1981, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 2002.


Booklist, February 15, 2007, June Sawyers, review of Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, p. 17.

Library Journal, March 1, 2005, Jennifer Kuncken, review of A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult, p. 93.

MBR Bookwatch, November 1, 2005, Diance C. Donovan, review of Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius.


D-Filed, (August 18, 2007), Chris Parcellin, "Blonde & Blue: Gary Valentine's Inside Look at Blondie," interview.

Fortean Times Online, (August 18, 2007), February 2002, Jack Phoenix, "Music, Magick and Mind," interview.

Hampstead & Highgate Express Online, (March 4, 2005), "Philosopher of Punk," interview.

What Is Enlightenment, (August 17, 2007), brief biography.

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Valentine, Gary 1955- [A pseudonym] (Gary Lachman)

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