The Recording Process:
First Unit Production and Recording:
Tony Garone - vocals, keyboards, bass, percussion loops
Anthony Garone - electric guitar
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Cow Pilot Studios, Arizona by Tony Garone
Second Unit Production and Recording:
November, 2000 • engineered by Billy Brown
Casey Carney: drums
Billy Brown: bass guitar, keyboards
Recorded at Outpost Productions, New York
I won't tell you where I got the terrifying sound of the Bull before the song begins but I will divulge that it was at night with a microphone pointed at the constellation of Taurus. Anyway, Anthony wrote the guitar part for another song (I think) and when he played it for me I asked him if I could use it for the Bull of Heaven. I already had the percussion loop in mind and we wrote the rest of the song together. It took me some time to come up with the vocal melody, which I added later.
Anthony Garone Jr. and his electric guitar
I sent Billy the ADAT tape and he added a bass guitar and some keyboards, while Casey added the thundering drums you hear. When I received the tape back from NY, I found this to be a challenging song to mix. I wanted to keep the percussion loop and Casey's drums audible - I didn't want one to over power the other. This was the challenge of course but after several hours I think I came up with a good balance.
Someday I'll just release the drum tracks that Casey put on this song. They are quite powerful.
Casey ponders the Bull of Heaven on the kit
William Brown comments:
"I got the third ADAT Master from Tony containing these 3 cuts last, so we were seasoned pros by this point. There were no vocals needed for any of these cuts, mainly just drums, bass, keyboards, and some guitars. “Bull” was easily synced being that it already had a timed percussion track on the master. Casey laid a thundering accompaniment on the V-Kit and I tried to accent Anthony’s seering guitar track with driving bass and an etherial synth track. It really moves. Not unlike 50 ton stones falling from the skies. We had a lot of fun with it. Tony really captured the flavour and feel of middle eastern environments. Vocally, he’s outdone himself! It’s wild as a finished piece, it sounds great, and it’s good for you!"
What is this song about?
After Gilgamesh insulted Inanna by turning down her advances, she turned to Anu and asked him to unleash the Bull of Heaven. Apparently, the Bull either was a huge animal, was a metaphor for an earthquake, or represented the constellation of Taurus (more on that later).
Anyway, the "bull" wreaked havoc on Uruk! Breath from its nostrils created massive crevices in the earth where thousands fell to their death. Gilgamesh and Enkidu attempted to gain control of the situation by surrounding the great beast. At some point, Enkidu grabbed the tail of the bull and Gilgamesh put a sword through its nape and horns.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are depicted killing the Bull of Heaven on this cylinder seal.
Inanna is infuriated by this and, climbing to the top of the walls of Uruk, proclaimed a deadly curse:
"Woe unto Gilgamesh who slandered me and killed the Bull of Heaven!"
To add insult to injury, Enkidu cut off the hind legs of the bull and hurled them at Inanna in an act of defiance. Enkidu declared to Inanna:
"If I could only get to you I would do the same to you! I would drape his innards over your arms!"
This was not a smart move.
Inanna returned to the realm of the gods and had council with them. The gods felt that Gilgamesh or Enkidu must be punished for killing Huwawa, the Bull of Heaven, and taking all the trees from the Cedar Forest. The decision was made by Enlil to kill Enkidu. Enkidu's death was revealed to him in a dream and soon thereafter, he was stricken with a terrible fever. Realizing he was going to die, Enkidu cursed the temple harlot Shamhat for introducing him to ways of humanity. How much better his life was as a beast of the forest, he reasoned, and how carefree.
Shamash appeared to Enkidu and reminded him that he did not know companionship as a beast of the forest and that he would be mourned by Gilgamesh and all of Uruk. It was at this point Enkidu realized these things, and rebuked his curse. He died shortly after this and this event was the turning point in the Epic of Gilgamesh as it gave the arrogant King a glimpse of humility through his friend's death. Gilgamesh also recognized his own mortality which put him on a path of moral and spiritual awakening.
It may be interesting to note that the traditional image portrayed by the constellation of Taurus is missing its hind quarters. Considering that the characters of the Zodiac came from Sumeria, could it be that this age old constellation represents the story of the Bull of Heaven from the Epic of Gilgamesh?
The Cuneiform for "The Bull of Heaven"
Dr. Pagan explains:
Above is the cuneiform for the Bull of Heaven. The signs are: Gu4-an-na for /Gu(d)ana(k)/, literally "Bull of Heaven." It also represents the constellation Taurus.