Thursday, March 8, 2012


Iron Butterfly, mid 70's. Philip Taylor Kramer pictured at far left.

I doubt that anyone with any sort of passing knowledge of music history doesn't know who Iron Butterfly is ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda"?), so I'll hop right into the meat of this story without too much preamble. Let it simply be known that despite the fact that they produced only one hit song, Butterfly has existed in one form or another, on and off, for over 45 years now, experiencing probably double-to-triple as many lineup changes as IllCon stand-bys like Incantation or Napalm Death, all the while completely avoiding record industry trappings like "record sales" or "critical acclaim". They peaked in 1969, my friends, no secret there, but have managed to cling to life, like a horde of burnout zombies, ever since.
Today's story is only tangentially related to the band itself, insofar as it revolves around a dude (Philip Taylor Kramer, pictured above right with the sick pink Warlock) who played bass, sang, and played keyboards for the band for only 3 years (1974-'77), appearing on only two critically-panned albums (Scorching Beauty and Sun And Steel, both released in 1975). Taylor's story is a zany and mysterious one, and one that I was completely unfamiliar with until last week's episode of IllCon Radio (thanks to caller "Floyd from Arkansas" for the tip).

Philip Taylor Kramer's life story is speckled with high weirdness and scientific anomaly, to the point that his stint in Iron Butterfly remains a mere footnote. After his departure from the group, he acquired a degree in aerospace engineering via night school, which he applied to numerous technological adventures in the following two decades. Kramer's abrupt "disappearance" (death? suicide? transdimensional ascension?) in 1995 remains a mystery to this day, surrounded by rumor, conspiracy, and nefarious connotation.

Band photo from another early Kramer project, Gold. Phil is again pictured at far left.

Right: Photo of a skull identified as belonging to Philip Taylor Kramer, discovered in Decker Canyon (near Malibu, CA) in 1999.

After obtaining the aforementioned degree, Phil moved on to several odd pursuits, among them helping the US Defense Department develop a guidance system for their infamous MX Missile series in the 1980's (NOT the Brazilian thrash metal band). He rode the Silicon Wave of the late 80's and early 90's in Southern California, proving himself a pioneer in the fields of both facial recognition systems (see also: BIOMETRICS) and fractal compression (I still don't 100% understand how fractal compression works, but you can start HERE and work your way out).

Eventually (and strangely), he went into business with Randy Jackson (left)--NOT the American Idol judge/former Journey bassist, but brother of our old pal Michael. They formed a company called Total Multimedia, Inc., wherein Phil served as an executive from 1990 until his cessation-to-be in 1995. The company specialized in compression techniques for CD-ROMs (special focus on the previously-mentioned "fractal" offshoot), and their greatest claim to fame was that they "developed the first video compression capable of producing full motion video from a single speed CD-ROM" in 1992.
But Phil had other interests outside of business and CD-ROM compression. He had a burning desire to discredit the theories of one man, an evil tyrant whose ideas haunted Kramer to the bitter end:

Einstein: WHAT A DICK.
Seriously. Let's skip all the biometrics/facial recognition creepiness for a second and get down to the proverbial "brass tacks". Ever heard of a little theory called "special relativity"? I bet you have.

Wikipedia: "(Special relativity) generalizes Galileo's principle of relativity—that all uniform motion is relative, and that there is no absolute and well-defined state of rest (no privileged reference frames)—from mechanics to all the laws of physics, including both the laws of mechanics and of electrodynamics, whatever they may be. Special relativity incorporates the principle that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the state of motion of the source.
This theory has a wide range of consequences which have been experimentally verified, including counter-intuitive ones such as length contraction, time dilation and relativity of simultaneity, contradicting the classical notion that the duration of the time interval between two events is equal for all observers. (On the other hand, it introduces the space-time interval, which is invariant.) Combined with other laws of physics, the two postulates of special relativity predict the equivalence of mass and energy, as expressed in the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum. The predictions of special relativity agree well with Newtonian mechanics in their common realm of applicability, specifically in experiments in which all velocities are small compared with the speed of light. Special relativity reveals that c is not just the velocity of a certain phenomenon—namely the propagation of electromagnetic radiation (light)—but rather a fundamental feature of the way space and time are unified as spacetime. One of the consequences of the theory is that it is impossible for any particle that has rest mass to be accelerated to the speed of light.

Would YOU trust this guy?

HELL NO. Philip Taylor Kramer, missile-maker, fractal compressor, digital-face-recognizer, and stony-hippie-bass-noodler, wasn't having any of this shit. His life goal was to disprove the theory of special relativity, to develop a "warp drive" via quantum mechanics that would not only negate Einstein's "you can't go faster than the speed of light" bullshit, but also open up the gates of the cosmos. After all, wouldn't the cancellation of "E=mc2" indicate such a possibility? Kramer believed so, but his highly-coveted personal research never had a chance to fall upon the unsuspecting public.

(Anyone else keeping up with CERN's baffling "beyond the speed of light" results over there at the LHC recently? Anyone? No?)

Kramer began getting paranoid about his studies, thinking that perhaps his ambitions about space/time travel might be ruffling some feathers with his previous employers (i.e. The Man). Shit started getting weird. I'll let Wikipedia tell you the rest:

On February 12, 1995 he drove to Los Angeles International Airport to pick up an investor. He spent forty-five minutes at the airport but failed to meet the investor. Kramer did make a flurry of cell phone calls, including one to the police during which Kramer said, "I’m going to kill myself. And I want everyone to know O.J. Simpson is innocent. They did it."
He was never heard from again. This led to a massive search, many news reports, and talk show segments including an episode of
The Oprah Winfrey Show, America's Most Wanted, The Unexplained ("Strange Disappearances," first aired 5/7/2000), and Unsolved Mysteries some years later. An article in Skeptic reported numerous conspiracy theories about his death.
On May 29, 1999, Kramer's Ford Aerostar minivan and skeletal remains were found by photographers looking for old car wrecks to shoot at the bottom of Decker Canyon near Malibu, California. Based on forensic evidence and Kramer's emergency call to the police, authorities ruled his death as a probable suicide committed on the day on which he was last heard.

Cool. Seems pretty tidy. No loose ends to tie up here, folks.

Seriously, if you've SEEN The Naked Gun, you know this guy's innocent.

According to Kramer's family, he had never displayed any sort of self-destructive/suicidal qualities and was, despite his well-founded paranoias, a pretty content and easy-going guy. After all, he was a millionaire.

According to evidence gathered at the scene, he died with 40 cents in his pocket.

Nothing to see here.

Here's the previously-mentioned Unsolved Mysteries segment in its entirety. Warning: the audio is utter shit (turn it up).

More on the Iron Butterfly Conspiracy via Above Top Secret.


Jason said...

Holy fuck!!! Randy Jackson-OJ-Einstein-The Man. Who dunnit!?!?!

Seriously best post in like, a couple weeks. Good work.

Shelby Cobras said...

Anonymous said...

Hi Phillip. I know what u invented. We should talk.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting after all of this time Einstein has finally been proven wrong and Kramer right.

Einstein's contradiction of 'spooky action at a distance' refuted

Anonymous said...

Physicists set new distance record for quantum teleportation

"Engineers have achieved a quantum transfer of information contained in photons in an optical fiber over a 100 kilometer distance."

The interesting question is how was Kramer so sure 20 years ago before any of this could be proven scientifically?

Zero Melsgiven said...

I said it before and i believe this is true. People are born every day with some never tapping on the intelligence level some tap other levels and very few tap on the resticted level which is the case for some ex. Tesla, Einstein, and then Kramer to name a few. When we get people like that we have to appreciate them because of their uniqueness . To bad someone somewere dowsnt want new stuff from happening. I bet that someone is not even human