Monday, July 16, 2018

Congratulations To Boots Riley For The Success Of His Film "Sorry To Bother You"!... Here's My Videos Of Boots At Coachella 2010 Doing "Paper Planes" With Tom Morello...



The band was Street Sweeper Social Club.... Coachella 2010.... Boots Riley of The Coup on vocals, Tom Morello on guitar.... joined by Brad Wilk (Morello's partner in Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, & Prophets Of Rage) on drums for L.L. Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out".....

Boots' debut film Sorry To Bother You had enormous success this past weekend and is destined to just keep going and going... 

Here's the trailer...



Here's Boots with Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show":


Trump: OPEN TREASON!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

ThisSmallPlanet.com Seeks Subscribers, Collaborators, Advertisers, & Investors


My name is Michael J Donnelly and I live in Santa Cruz, California (USA, Earth).

Since 2011, I have been operating ThisSmallPlanet.com based on Blogger/Blogspot and using the address ThisSmallPlanet.com 

ThisSmallPlanet.com is also on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ and is committed to expanding its social media reach to new sites.

The primary focus is music, although I am also fascinated by politics (particularly the intersection of music & politics), and the primary medium is text, although I frequently feature photography, video, graphics, and audio on the site.

My Blog has over 1,000 published articles since 2011. Some of my favorites:

Jared Kushner's Observer Takes Two Cheap Shots At Anti-Trump Rocker Roger Waters - Misses Both Times

Why Do They Keep Killing David Kammerer? The Homophobic Killing The Beats Defended (Or Harry Potter Cares About Allen Ginsberg.... And So Should You!)

"That's What Happens To Fascists In Berkeley; They Go Home Bleeding" March 4 Trump Fascists Lose (Again) To Berkeley Activists

18 "New" Songs From 1967 By Byrds Co-Founder Gene Clark: The Holy Grail?

One major focus of the Blog has been to publish Playlists recommending new and classic music:

New, Cool Music: June 2018 Playlist

Cool, New Music: July 2018 Playlist

Guitar's Not Dead! May 2018 Playlist: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, Ty Segall & White Fence

Cool, New Music Playlist April 2018: What The Cool Kids Are Listening To...


My YouTube channel has published over 500 original live music videos since 2009.

"You are there" - My videos are shot from the point of view of a fan, with hand-held non-professional equipment, navigating through the pit; nearly a physical endurance test/extreme sport.

This video I shot of Seasick Steve busking on the street in San Francisco, has over 100,000 views:


This video I shot of Jack White was featured online on Spin, Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Consequence of Sound:



I have written original articles but most of the articles have been reprints of articles from other spots that I find important and often over-looked.

I have been a huge fan of live music since the early 1970s when I saw groups Johnny Cash and The Kinks. Since then I have attended hundreds of events, experiencing them as a performer, staff, journalist, and fan. I worked on Central Park SummerStage, performed in People's Park in Berkeley, and attended early iterations of festivals such as Coachella, Sasquatch, Governors Ball, Bridge School Benefits, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Covering live music is a big part of what I do.

My focus is music and politics but also am interested in nature photography, history, travel, and do not feel that there are any limits to what I can cover.

ThisSmallPlanet.com is named after a phrase from a speech by John F. Kennedy at American University in Washington on June 10, 1963:


In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours--and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.
So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.

These words are still true today. Perhaps even truer.

I am inspired by the legacy of the 60s and 70s, of the movements for peace and civil rights, and the music that accompanied it - folk, rock, gospel... The "indie" movement of the 80s and 90s led us to the music of the first 20 years of the 21st century. My focus is on guitar-based music influenced primarily by the British invasion, Americana, the blues, folk, ragtime, and gospel.

There is so much information available today on music, on politics, on life... People need a trusted aggregator to help them determine the few key choices, of the thousands available, they can make regarding music, film, politics, travel, and so on. We hope to be that trusted aggregator.

We hope to Expand in the following areas: Newsletters, Podcasts, Videos, Full Website, More Original Articles (With a focus on Interviews)

I have done practically all the work so far on my own, facing extreme poverty and even the risk of homelessness. In order to expand, I need outside input.


We at ThisSmallPlanet.com are seeking Subscribers, Collaborators, Advertisers, & Investors.



We suggest $20 a year for a customized music newsletter (daily, weekly, or monthly tip sheet) for Individuals, $100 a year for Corporate accounts. 

Other donations, and inquiries on advertising, investing, and collaborating are most welcome and appreciated.

Funds can be sent via: PayPal

Inquiries via E-mail: thissmallplanet@gmail.com


Last Night In Portugal: Jack White & Pearl Jam "Rockin' In The Free World" live (Video); Blistering 7-Minute Jam At Lisbon's NOS Alive Festival



Some original ThisSmallPlanet.com Live videos of Jack White:


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Comedian Sasha Baron Cohen's Latest "Victim": Soon To Be Indicted Dana Rohrabacher; "Unnamed" Congressman In Indictment Of 12 Russians & Butina Complaint; Putin's Favorite Congressman

                                                                                       Art by Jim Carrey

Yesterday's indictment of 12 Russians drops a curious hint about actual collusion in 2016 between Russian agents and a certain American politician... 

43(a): "On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate's opponent."

ThisSmallPlanet believes that the candidate for Congress who received stolen documents from Russia, unnamed in the indictment, is, in fact, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Rohrabacher (at 2:18 on the video below) was also one of the prominent politicians fooled by comedian Sasha Baron Cohen into supporting the arming of pre-schoolers for the fictional "Kinderguardian" program on Sasha's new show Who Is America?
Rohrabacher is at 8:44 in this hilarious clip:




NOT MAD GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Bashes ‘Sick Fraud’ Sacha Baron Cohen, While His Opponent Jumps on Damning Video

UPDATE: Rohrabacher also appears in today's criminal complaint against Maria Butina:

Butina Complaint



Rohrabacher is up for re-election this November to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he's served since 1989. He's facing a very tough challenge this time from Democrat Harley Rouda in California's 48th congressional district. Being indicted isn't going to help his campaign either.

Watch this CNN video discuss Congressional Candidate Collusion Bid

The indictment says that "on or about" August 15, 2016, the unnamed Congressional candidate (Rohrabacher) asked for and received stolen data about a political opponent from Guccier 2.0, known to be a front for Russian agents.

That means that Rohrabacher could (and should!) definitely be charged in the next batch of indictments. It begs the question; if a Congressman could ask for and receive illegal Russian help in an election, is it so far fetched to propose that a presidential candidate did the same? Especially if there already were compromising personal and financial material the Russians had on Trump from the past...



Starting at 9:17 in this video, Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya of Trump Tower Meeting fame, discusses (in Russian with English subtitles) efforts to influence American politicians like Rohrabacher...



Interestingly, we do know that  Rohrabacher was in contact with Guccifer's friend Julian Assange of Wikileaks, during this period, and even visited Assange in hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, one or more times as documented in The L.A. Times on August 16, 2017:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher meets with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, plans to tell Trump what he heard


By     August 16, 2017  Original on L.A. Times.com

Orange County GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher confirmed that he met Wednesday with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is still living in asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 
In a statement, Rohrabacher's office said the Australian fugitive "emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved" in the theft of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. The emails, which were published by WikiLeaks, put Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on the defensive.
The conversation between Rohrabacher and Assange, which was first reported by the Daily Caller, "ranged over many topics," according to the statement. The statement didn't reveal much more, but said "the congressman plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump."
Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was involved in the theft of Democratic Party emails and tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump.
The Justice Department, along with multiple House and Senate committees, are investigating potential ties between Trump's campaign and election meddling.
Rohrabacher, who has long been criticized for his fondness for Russia, believes he is the only congressman who has visited Assange. Rohrabacher's name has repeatedly come up in discussions of the investigation into Russian interference.
His spokesman did not respond to requests for additional comment, including questions about how the trip was funded and whether the White House was aware of the trip. 
Assange has been hiding out in the Ecuadorean Embassy since 2012 to avoid sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden. That investigation was dropped this year, but British authorities have said he could still be arrested for jumping bail if he leaves the embassy.
In April, CIA Director Mike Pompeo dismissed Assange as a "narcissist" and called WikiLeaks a "non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia." House Speaker Paul Ryan has criticized Assange as a "sycophant for Russia."
Trump himself has expressed an affinity for Assange in the past, tweeting praise for the fugitive.
The Washington Post reported in April that federal prosecutors were weighing whether to bring charges against members of WikiLeaks, in part over information leaked by Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of handing over diplomatic cables to the organization.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is demanding that Rohrabacher resign from his seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Democrats and Republicans alike agree that Julian Assange is a threat to America's national security and has aligned with the Kremlin to undermine our elections," said DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich, who called Rohrabacher's behavior "completely shocking."
Rohrabacher is one of the top Republican incumbents California Democrats are hoping to topple in 2018. He has already attracted nine challengers, most of them Democrats, including real estate broker Harley Rouda, who released a campaign ad criticizing the 15-term Republican for his repeated defense of Russia.
Rohrabacher, who once worked for the Orange County Register, told The Hill that he also planned to convey a request from Assange to Trump for a WikiLeaks seat inside the White House press room.
“Julian passionately argued the case that WikiLeaks was vital to informing the public about controversial though necessary issues," he told The Hill. "As a former newsman myself, I can't see a reason why they shouldn't be granted news status for official press conferences."

F.B.I. Once Warned G.O.P. Congressman That Russian Spies Were Recruiting Him

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington. Maria Danilova/Associated Press

By Matt ApuzzoAdam Goldman and Mark Mazzetti ,May 19, 2017,  Original on New York Times.com


WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. warned a Republican congressman in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, officials said, an example of how aggressively Russian agents have tried to influence Washington politics.
The congressman, Dana Rohrabacher of California, has been known for years as one of Moscow’s biggest defenders in Washington and as a vocal opponent of American economic sanctions against Russia. He claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match with the current Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, in the 1990s. He is one of President Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill.
As a newly appointed special counsel investigates connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, the warning to Mr. Rohrabacher shows that the F.B.I. has for years viewed Russian spies, sometimes posing as diplomats, as having a hand in Washington.
Mr. Rohrabacher was drawn into the maelstrom this week when The Washington Post reported on an audio recording of Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, saying last year, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” Mr. McCarthy said on Wednesday that he had made a joke that landed poorly.

But the F.B.I. has taken seriously the possibility that Russian spies would target American politicians. In a secure room at the Capitol, an F.B.I. agent told Mr. Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russian spies were trying to recruit him as an “agent of influence” — someone the Russian government might be able to use to steer Washington policy making, former officials said.
Mr. Rohrabacher said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the meeting had focused on his contact with one member of the Russian Foreign Ministry, whom he recalled meeting on a trip to Moscow. “They were telling me he had something to do with some kind of Russian intelligence,” Mr. Rohrabacher said. He recalled the F.B.I. agent saying that Moscow “looked at me as someone who could be influenced.”
Law enforcement officials did not think that Mr. Rohrabacher was actively working with Russian intelligence, officials said, rather that he was being targeted as an unwitting player in a Russian effort to gain access in Washington, according to one former American official. The official said there was no evidence that Mr. Rohrabacher was ever paid by the Russians.
Also at the meeting were Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, and according to one former official, Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat of Maryland. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Ruppersberger were the senior members of the House Intelligence Committee. In a brief telephone interview, Mr. Ruppersberger said that he recalled a meeting with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rohrabacher, but did not remember that an F.B.I. agent was present. “Mike and I reminded Dana that Russia is our adversary,” he said.
Mr. Rogers, who has since retired from Congress, declined to comment.
Mr. Rohrabacher said he appreciated the warning but needed no reminder. “Any time you meet a Russian member of their Foreign Ministry or the Russian government, you assume those people have something to do with Russian intelligence,” he said.

American intelligence authorities have concluded that Russian spies started a coordinated campaign of hacking and propaganda to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and help Mr. Trump. The Justice Department appointed the former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday to lead the investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded in that effort.
Mr. Rohrabacher, like Mr. Trump, has played down the significance of Russian meddling.
“Did they try to influence our election? We have tried to influence their elections, and everybody’s elections,” Mr. Rohrabacher told The Los Angeles Times in March. “The American people are being fed information that would lead them to believe that we need to be in a warlike stance when it comes to Russia.”
Mr. Trump’s presidency has been plagued by questions about his links to Russia. Journalists have uncovered repeated instances of meetings between Trump associates and Russians that were not disclosed or that the White House initially mischaracterized. Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was forced to resign after misrepresenting his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
A federal judge authorized a secret wiretap last year on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, based on evidence that he was acting as a Russian agent. Mr. Page has denied any wrongdoing. American authorities believe that Mr. Page met with a suspected intelligence officer in Russia.
Mr. Rohrabacher, for his part, said he was confident that Mr. Trump’s associates had been savvy in their dealings with Russia. “The president has some very astute people around him,” he said. “I can’t imagine someone in a position of power in the United States government not fully appreciating the fact that whoever he’s dealing with who’s a foreigner that he doesn’t know is trying to influence him.”
Mr. Rohrabacher was already facing what is shaping up to be the most difficult campaign of his 28-year career in Congress — a race some of his colleagues would rather not see him run, given how much money the party may have to spend on his behalf. After largely avoiding difficult re-elections in his Republican-leaning district along a stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Orange County, he finds himself in the Democrats’ cross hairs.
With an increasingly diverse district, which Mrs. Clinton carried last year, and a penchant for provocation, Mr. Rohrabacher has made himself an irresistible target. One well-funded Democrat, Harley Rouda, has already declared his candidacy, and there is talk of other potentially formidable challengers also entering the race.
Mr. Rouda, a real estate executive, called Mr. Rohrabacher “Putin’s favorite congressman.”
“It is the strangest thing imaginable in light of what all the intelligence agencies have said about Russia hacking the United States’ electoral process, yet he carries on,” Mr. Rouda said.
As for Mr. McCarthy’s remark, even if only a quip, it showed that Republican leaders were aware enough of Mr. Trump’s Russian links six months before Election Day to joke about them. WikiLeaks had not yet begun to publish hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee or Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman. And many of the revelations about Mr. Trump’s associates and their Russian meetings had not yet been revealed.

He’s a Member of Congress. The Kremlin Likes Him So Much It Gave Him a Code Name.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, has come under intense political and investigative scrutiny for his closeness to Russia. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press
Original on New York Times.com








November 21, 2017

WASHINGTON — For two decades, Representative Dana Rohrabacher has been of value to the Kremlin, so valuable in recent years that the F.B.I. warned him in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence sourceworthy of a Kremlin code name.
The following year, the California Republican became even more valuable, assuming the chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee that oversees Russia policy. He sailed to re-election again and again, even as he developed ties to Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.
Then came President Trump.
As revelations of Russia’s campaign to influence American politics consume Washington, Mr. Rohrabacher, 70, who had no known role in the Trump election campaign, has come under political and investigative scrutiny. The F.B.I. and the Senate Intelligence Committee are each seeking to interview him about an August meeting with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, Mr. Rohrabacher said. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is said to be interested in a meeting he had last year with Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s short-lived national security adviser.
At the same time, fellow Republicans — questioning his judgment and intentions — have moved to curtail his power as chairman of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats. And back home in Southern California, where Democrats and Republicans alike smell blood, the 15-term congressman is facing his toughest re-election contest in decades, with well-funded candidates from both parties lining up to unseat him.

“I feel like I’m in good shape politically,” he said breezily during an interview last week, a day before he voted against his party’s tax bill. “My constituents couldn’t care less about this. They are not concerned about Russia. They are concerned about the taxes on their home. They are concerned about illegal immigrants coming into their neighborhood and raping people.”
Nor is Mr. Rohrabacher, a self-proclaimed veteran of international intrigue, all that perturbed by the interest of federal and congressional investigators. He said he would talk to them when scheduling allows.

Mr. Rohrabacher, left, campaigning in 1988 with his friend Oliver North, who was embroiled in the Iran-contra scandal. Mr. Rohrabacher has since served 15 terms. Nick Ut/Associated Press


The story of Mr. Rohrabacher’s transformation from Cold Warrior to pro-Putinist is well worn. A vocal Young Republican in the 1960s, he latched onto Ronald Reagan, California’s Republican governor, and followed him to Washington and a speechwriting job in the White House. Then came the fall of the Soviet Union and a d├ętente in relations with the former superpower. For Mr. Rohrabacher, who claims to have lost a drunken arm-wrestling match to Mr. Putin in the 1990s, the era of good feelings never really ended.
Mr. Rohrabacher has laughed off suggestions that he is a Russian asset, and said in an interview that he did not remember being briefed that the Russians viewed him as a source. The F.B.I. and the senior members of the House Intelligence Committee sat Mr. Rohrabacher down in the Capitol in 2012 to warn him that Russian spies were trying to recruit him, according to two former intelligence officials.

“I remember them telling me, ‘You have been targeted to be recruited as an agent,’” he said. “How stupid is that?”
And yet, as investigators in Washington scrutinize the Russian interference campaign, Mr. Rohrabacher, like an extra in a spy thriller, just keeps showing up — if not quite at the scene of the action, then just off camera.
In April 2016, he was in Moscow, accepting a copy of a “confidential” memocontaining accusations against prominent Democratic donors that would, months later, reappear in Trump Tower when a Russian lawyer who had reported those allegations to the Russian government, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, sat down with Donald Trump Jr. to deliver a similar document.
Last August he was in London on a quick diversion from an anniversary trip to the Iberian Peninsula to meet Mr. Assange at the fugitive’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy. American intelligence agencies believe Mr. Assange acted as a conduit for Russian operatives seeking to release a trove of hacked Democratic emails. Mr. Assange denies the accusation, and Mr. Rohrabacher hoped to broker a meeting with Mr. Trump to allow him to make his case.
Then earlier this year, this time on Capitol Hill, Mr. Rohrabacher dined with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank who has been linked both to Russia’s security services and organized crime. During Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, Mr. Torshin tried to set up a “backdoor” meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, according to an email that has been turned over to Senate investigators.
Mr. Rohrabacher asserted that none of the meetings were untoward or inappropriate, given his chairmanship. Ms. Veselnitskaya and her allies are fighting the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russian officials for human rights abuses, and they deserved a hearing, he said. Russia, he argued, could be a key ally to defeat Islamic terrorists in the Middle East, and under Mr. Putin, the Kremlin has undertaken key reforms back home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"They (the NRA gun lobby) Got The Guns But We (The People) Got The Numbers..."


Artist Manuel Oliver turns grief into power.

He lost his son "Guac" (AKA Joaquin) at the MSD High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018.

He and his wife Patricia started Change The Ref.org in Guac's name "to empower our next generation so they can fight for their values, have their voices heard, and impact change for their future..."

Art inspired by The Doors song "Five To One", sung by Jim Morrison.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Trump's Russia Affair (as seen on an anti-Trump float in a German Parade)


Trump Does Elton: No Guitar, No Organ.... Is the "Broken Record" Trump himself?




Nice to see "The Carters" are back on the charts... then I found out it WASN'T the same Carter Family that I was thinking of...



But then I thought... maybe they have more in common than you'd think... Both "The Carter Family" and "The Carters" were the top recording artists of their day, anchored (in love divine) by a married duo...

The Carter Family (husband and wife A.P. and Sara, with Sara's cousin Maybelle, who married A.P.'s brother Eck) recorded between 1927 - 1956. (Maybelle was the mother of June Carter Cash, who later married Johnny Cash).

The Carters (husband and wife Jay Z and Beyonce) recorded in 2018. (Instead of Maybelle, "The Carters", have Solange...)



Friday, July 6, 2018

Premiere Guitar - Stephen Malkmus: The Unknowing Guitarist


Malkmus gave his band, the Jicks, a more collaborative role this time, seeking their feedback on the multiple demos, which often explored different genres, that he brought in to record Sparkle Hard. Photo by James Rexroad



In the 1990s, Pavement—a band from Stockton, California, that started strictly as a recording project—emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed indie rock groups of the decade. Singer and guitarist Stephen Malkmus was central to Pavement’s trademark approach: highly literate, oblique lyrics, matched by an off-center bent to the guitar. Solos on songs like “The Hexx” and “Cut Your Hair” showed Malkmus to be not necessarily a skilled guitarist in any obvious sense, but a master of melodic economy and gestural effects, as well as a purveyor of killer, oddball tones.

Shortly after Pavement went on hiatus in 1999, Malkmus continued his concept as a solo artist with a new band, the Jicks. The group, whose most recent lineup includes co-guitarist and keyboardist Mike Clark, bassist Joanna Bolme, and drummer Jake Morris, recently released its seventh album, Sparkle Hard. The first single, “Middle America,” is clearly in the mold of Pavement, but there are plenty of rich new details throughout, like synth-y electric guitar sounds, the unexpected occasional use of Auto-Tune on Malkmus’ vocals, and a country-ish duet (“Refute”) with Kim Gordon, best known for her work with Sonic Youth.

Shortly before the release of Sparkle Hard, Malkmus called from his home in Portland, Oregon, to talk about the peculiarities of his technique (he plays without a pick), his formative years in Stockton, and the handful of trustworthy axes he has used, both with Pavement and the Jicks, in the service of his artistic songs.

Sparkle Hard sounds excellent. What guitars did you play on the album?

Electric-wise I played some I’ve had for a long time, like my Guild S-100, I think it’s called—similar to what that guy from Soundgarden [Kim Thayil] played. I can’t remember who else played one, but they were economical ’70s guitars that are actually really good.

I’m still playing my old Strat. At home, I still play my Travis Bean, and I used it on this song called “Solid Silk.” At the end of the song, I do some solos on there. They’re just plugged directly into Pro Tools, and those Travis Beans have a certain sound. It’s a little unwieldy and heavy to play live, and also mine needs to be serviced. I can handle it in the studio, but maybe not on the road. But those are cool guitars.

What year is the Strat?

It’s a ’73 or ’74. I’ve told the story before of buying it from a friend of mine, who… I don’t know where he got it, but I don’t think that it was on the up and up. But I was 16 and I wasn’t the most on-the-up-and-up person, either. Someone had put two humbucker pickups in it, and I took those out immediately. Even then I knew that was probably a bad idea. I’ve played that guitar forever. It weighs like zero pounds. It’s just a fun guitar to play, and it sounds so cool. But then again, it also needs a little bit of looking after. These old guitars can just be great, but they do need some love. They need somebody who understands what you want and also how they should sound.
“Playing bass in a punk band is kind of like paying your dues by washing dishes in a restaurant.”
I’ve noticed that you don’t play the guitar, not even the electric, with a pick.

I play with my thumb and pointer finger exclusively. That offers me a lot of control, but, of course, people can get a lot of control with their guitar picks, too. There are plenty of outrageous flatpickers. Plus, when you’re working with distortion and compression, you can get away with a lot. You don’t have to hit every note just right, at least not with what I’m going for. But, yeah, that’s something I’ve done for the last 20 years. I’ve kind of abandoned using a pick.

Speaking of distortion, you get some great and varied sounds on the album. Is that all within Pro Tools or did you use stompboxes

No, those are all pedals. [Producer] Chris [Funk, of the Decemberists], he has a shitload of pedals and he split it two ways. There’s his way, my way, and a direct sound, which hypothetically we could’ve used, but for the most part we didn’t. He had his pedals running to one amp and he had a lot more of these ones that make your guitar sound like a synthesizer. I was like, “You go for it and I’m going to do what I do over here with my standard setup.”

On my side, there’s a lot of wah-wah on there—more than I’ve ever used. And I was coming back home to this vintage Mu-Tron volume and wah-wah that I’ve had since 1996. I left it for a while because it does alter the sound, making it more trebly. I have a bunch of EarthQuaker pedals that I was able to borrow from a friend, and I bought some, too: one of the reverb pedals they have, the phaser with an octopus on it, and a fuzz. And I have also a blue Diamond J-Drive pedal. It’s a very simple distortion pedal—very useful, no fail.


TIDBIT: Malkmus played guitar in the control room during the recording of his latest album. “It’s amazing what you can hear and what you can get away with without wearing headphones,” he says.
What would you say is the ratio of his setup to yours on the album?

That’s a good question. It goes song to song. If it sounds really gnarly, it’s more likely his setup. Sometimes we would get over synth-guitar’d and we’d want to back it off. But it’s an awesome sound. He had a pedal from Japan [a Korg Miku Stomp] that makes an anime character’s voice. I didn’t use that, but I was interested in it. Pedals can be quite addictive.

Just so I understand correctly, when you were recording, were you hearing both setups at once or were you only hearing your setup?

Yeah, I was hearing both at once. I stood in the control room with the band. I wore no headphones during the whole recording, so I was just listening to the monitors, and we were trying to develop a group sound in there. And the band sat in the other room, because the drummer and the bass player, they should be together. There’d be no bleed in my vocal. And it was a small room with mirrors and windows. I could see everybody, but they were on the other side of the fence from me, so I could hear everything coming through my vocals. I didn’t have to deal with headphone mixes.

What was it like to record a rock album without cans?

It’s kind of nice to not have to wear headphones in loud rock. You can do it in acoustic music, of course. And actually the room we had was so fancy and quiet that I’ve done some acoustic in there. It’s amazing what you can hear and what you can get away with without wearing headphones.

Hearing these kind of synth sounds from Chris’ setup—did you find it made you play differently than you normally did?

Not really. When I soloed, I just did what I normally do. We went into the studio with some pretty solid demos, which maybe I’ll release some day. If you like us, they’re interesting, but they’re maybe not for the average listener.

I kind of knew what I wanted to add, and I tried to be careful with just adding stuff and building tracks, because with Pro Tools things can get out of hand. You can Frankenstein solos together and spend forever on it. I think the songs are there. They’re going to be there whether I build all these interlocking guitars or not.

RELATED ARTICLE: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: "Refute","Solid Silk" & Interview For "Saturday Sessions" On "CBS This Morning"

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Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are playing Petaluma, California on July 17, 2018 in support of their new album Sparkle Hard. All the tech bros will be drunken dancing at the San Francisco show with clueless vendors they dragged along. All the cool people are going to the Petaluma show...