Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Petition to Replace "Star Spangled Banner" With "This Land Is Your Land" as U.S. National Anthem

"The Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key, a racist and slaveholder. It celebrates war and is notoriously difficult to sing. It no longer represents the United States in the 21st century. The more inclusive message of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" is hopeful and encourages community effort to preserve our planet and work for our common future.

Please sign the petition:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

53 years Ago Bob Dylan and Joan Baez Sing "When The Ship Comes In" at the March in Washington; The Day of MLK & "I Have A Dream"

August 27, 1963 The March on Washington. Over 250,000 watch Dr. Rev. Martin Lurther King, Jr. deliver his famed "I Have A Dream" speech. Performers preceding King included: Mahalia Jackson, Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Odetta.

The Rolling Stones? Or The Ghost of Allen Klein? Whose Fault Is It That Trump Keeps Using "You Can't Always Get Want You Want" At Campaign Rallies?

You may have noticed that Trump often ends his rallies by playing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones. This strikes me as a strange choice of songs for a campaign. Shouldn't a politician be telling people that they CAN get what they want?

Or maybe it is a message to those expecting the proverbial "free lunch".

The Stones have signaled their displeasure at his continued use of the song, yet he continues to use it.

The question emerged during an online discussion whether or not The Stones actually had the right to prevent Trump from using the song.

This question gets more complicated by the fact that the song is controlled by the late Allen Klein's company ABKCO, as are many of The Stones early songs.

In that case, the question becomes, what is ABKCO doing about the use of the song?

Have they licensed it to Trump? Have they asked him to stop using it? Or are they simply ignoring the situation?

A Modest Call For Our Nation's Spiritual Rebirth

Listening this morning to the young barristas on break from Starbucks telling funny tales about their wacky encounters at work with the homeless and mentally ill people.

While I'm sure some of these encounters were unpleasant or strangely humorous, it started me thinking about where our country is at: I mean, the best thing some workers on a break can talk about is making fun of what some random, troubled homeless person did?

Of course no discussion amongst them of why the nation which has the largest economy on earth would tolerate any of its residents in need suffering so. No discussion of the need for increased resources to provide affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse counseling.

On the other hand, it's not fair for society to ask these young workers to care for people who need help. They are there to sell coffee, not to be social workers.

But it just was yet another example of people hating on homeless people and the mentally ill, instead of having compassion.

There is a stark need for a political, social, and economic changes in this country, but also for changes of a spiritual, cultural, and ethical nature.

This presidential campaign has revealed some deep divides in this country. The level of hate is astonishing. We are arguing at each other instead of dialoging with each other.

There is no way we can solve our problems with this divisiveness.

(P.S. Clearly some of these issues affect other countries too, but I'm focusing on the U.S. right now.)

Earlier this summer, I was browsing online and saw an article on the website of the (excellent) British newspaper The Guardian. It's always interesting to see how their point of view is so different from American news outlets. They cover stories in countries that rarely get coverage in the U.S. (but may be physically or historically closer to Britain) and also cover under-reported American stories.

I saw an article there about a serial killer in San Diego, California who was targeting homeless people. Although I live in California, have a particular interest in social justice issues, and am constantly reading multiple news outlets online, on radio, in print, and on TV, I had seen absolutely nothing about the case anywhere until I read it on the website of a British paper, which seemed really odd to me.

I asked an old friend who lives in San Diego, who was formerly involved with many political causes, and he hadn't heard about the case at all either, (but he may be a little less plugged-in than he used to be). Activist-attorney Jeremy Warren however, also based in San Diego, said the case "was huge news in San Diego.... Huge articles every day, front page...". I also found many posts online from the local San Diego TV news that indicated that finding the killer it was a top local priority. The pressure to solve the case was so strong that police embarrassingly first arrested the wrong person, but quickly released him and found and arrested the person who it appears was indeed responsible. That didn't get wide coverage in the press either.

This seems like the kind of story that should have gotten wide coverage, especially in California, but it didn't. Why? Because the victims in this case are not valued members of society. In fact, it seems that many people hate homeless people and the mentally ill, two groups that others would say qualify for special concern rather than hostility.

It appears that many people feel trapped in their jobs, are overwhelmed by their bills, and are sorely lacking fun, adventure, and meaning in their lives, living instead lives of quite desperation, drudgery, and resentment.

But is it resentment toward the 1%? The wealthiest among us who have benefitted greatly while others have struggled? No, it is resentment toward people who have the least and who have suffered the most under this unfair system.

That doesn't make any sense.

The only "logic" I can see in this is that people are mad about being slaves but don't have the guts to try to do anything about it... besides hating on people who are outside of the system to some extent. People appear to resent "free loaders", although the lifestyle of the homeless is not something most people would want to emulate. Don't they see that the 1% are the real "free loaders"?

It is not; however, merely a political/economic/social problem, it is also spiritual/ethical/cultural as well. People who hate the most vulnerable members of society are spiritually sick.

It is good for people to find out what they are good at. We all benefit when people realize their true potential. In the early days of the computer revolution, hobbyists spent thousands of unpaid hours fiddling in garages until they came up with the components that changed all our lives.

People need jobs that are meaningful, comfortable, and well-paid. No one should work somewhere they hate.

Homeless people need homes. Mentally ill people and addicts need help. Police need to protect and serve their communities, and stop killing minorities and mentally ill people. The police should not be here to protect the interests of the 1% (they should arrest them), nor to harass homeless people.

Bigotry and hate against people of color, women, LGBT communities, the disabled, the homeless, the poor, and others must end and be replaced with love.

People need to break the Fourth Wall that separates us - "each sequestered in its hate" as Auden wrote in In Memory of W.B. Yeats:

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice.

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress.

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise. 


A lot of the hatred comes from separation, from not knowing each other.

We need to get to know one another.

Who are these homeless people? These mentally ill? These minorities?

A lot harder to hate someone you know.

Many people say history is cyclical, and perhaps there are times where people are more or less connected to each other. Like the ebb and flow of the ocean. In the 60's, people were connected. By the 80's, people were more concerned about themselves, their careers, and their assets than in any community endeavors.

You hear of people being so open in the 60's, anyone with long hair was probably ok and you could just walk up and start talking to them. If there was a concert or party and you had no where to stay afterward, there was probably a floor you could crash on of a newfound friend.

Hard to imagine that happening today.

Yet I feel the pendulum might be ready to swing the other way. We've been so selfish and so closed. Maybe soon it will be time for people to open up again.

The music in the 60's played a vital role in connecting people. That could happen again. Not with the music we have today, but there may be some new old songs emerging soon.

Poets and artists have to dream the dream before we can make it a reality. They are the map-makers and explorers. They go into unchartered territory, as H.D. said, and send back dispatches on what they see; to guide us.

People need to be less possessive of possessions, letting go of both consumer goods and stale ideas. Greed, selfishness, and fear keep us from a happier world together.

It all starts with community. We have to build community. Together we can address our issues: homelessness, poverty, police violence, street violence, gun violence, bigotry, lack of community, lack of well-paying meaningful jobs... We need to be united to address what is perhaps the biggest problem facing us - climate change.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Um, just some morning thoughts with my first coffee.

To be continued? 

Feel free to add comments below.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Riz MC (Riz Ahmed, "Naz" from "The Night Of") "Englistan"

The Death of a Smashing Pumpkins/Billy Corgan Fan 1993 - 2016

                                                                                 Billy and I in happier times

I've been a fan of Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan since 1993.

No more.

Some people are excited about rumors that the original Smashing Pumpkins might get back together.

I don't care.

It's over, Billy.

There are a lot of reasons for that, but one thing sticks in my craw in particular - Billy's embrace of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

I've put up with a lot over the years - over 20 years if you're counting. I've defended Billy, his voice, his antics in concert, the band shake-ups... but I can't defend this.

I think a lot of fans were disgusted by Billy's fanboy status with certifiable kook Alex Jones, especially recently when he appeared on the show (and subsequent videos), bashing Bernie Sanders supporters, so-called social justice warriors, socialism, and sounding pretty Ayn Rand-ian in general.

Now Jones suddenly has a national platform, thanks to Hillary's mentioning him as part of Trump's alt-right connection. The Picklegate video above is all you need to watch to learn that Jones is a paranoid blowhard peddling the most foolish and illogical notions.

And Billy likes this guy? Ok, then I no longer like Billy.

Do you remember the dust-up between Billy and (fill in the blank)? In this case, with Pavement's Stephen Malkmus. Malkmus wrote a tongue-in-cheek song, Range Life, in which a clueless, over-the-hill roadie in the 1990's muses about the "new" bands touring - Smashing Pumpkins ("out on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins, nature kids but they don't have no function, I don't understand what they mean, and I could really give a fuck...") and Stone Temple Pilots ("elegant bachelors... they're foxy to me, are they foxy to you?"). (As with all great lyrics, the Stone Temple pilot lines have taken on new significance to some lately...)

This perceived slight led to a very public spat and, uh, war of words, as it were, between Malkmus and Billy. It seemed that at some point, Malkmus got sick of the "feud" and gave up. But not Billy. The thinnest of skins he has.

Supposedly Billy tried to use his influence to get Pavement kicked off a festival tour at the time, but I saw both bands perform at the first Tibet Freedom Concert in San Francisco in 1996 (also playing, concert organizers Beastie Boys, classic bluesman John Lee Hooker, Foo Fighters, and many others).

I feel a bit foolish now to admit that I basically ignored Pavement and Malkmus for many years out of loyalty to Billy in this "beef". These days, I love Malkmus and think he's one of the best and most creative guitarists around.

Over the years, many people criticized Billy for in concert rants and other boorish behavior. I overlooked all of this, like an abused spouse, always coming back for more.

Several people have written or talked about unpleasant meetings with Billy and I have to admit that the 5 or 6 times I've chatted with him, he's always been great. He is a great guitarist and Siamese Dream will always be a classic. But I even liked Adore and Machina I and II, which a lot of people thought were evidence of Billy going off the rails. I liked Zwan (featuring Paz on bass, currently with The Pixies) and have to give Billy props for touring with wonderful Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo.  Seeing him jam with Dave Navarro at a bookstore in Long Beach in 2009 (that's where the picture at the top was taken) was a highlight. But there's been precious little I've liked that he's done in the past dozen years or so.

And there have been plenty of public spats since then, which, let's face it, is hardly becoming a great artist.

Now that he's thrown his lot with Trump, Alex Jones, LaRouche, etc., he can't possibly expect fans like me to stay on board.

I, for one, after twenty-plus years, am jumping ship.

Goodbye, Billy.

                                              Linda Strawberry and Billy, August 29, 2009, Long Beach, CA.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sign Anti-TPP Petition & Get Free Tickets for Jello in San Francisco September 9th...

Go this link https://www.rockagainstthetpp.org/san-francisco-ca/ to sign an anti-TPP petition and get free tickets to a show in San Francisco on September 9, 2016 with Jello Biafra, La Santa Cecilia, and others at the Regency Ballroom.

Read more about TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is an international trade deal here...

Here's a piece from local TV news on the Seattle show from two night ago.... http://www.king5.com/money/pacific-trade-debate-makes-noise-as-concert-visits-seattle/303217995

from the from the EFF (Electronic FrontierFoundation) site...

Rock Against the TPP heads to Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco

As the Rock Against the TPP tour continues its way around the country, word is spreading that it's not too late for us to stop the undemocratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in its tracks. The tour kicked off in Denver on July 23 with a line-up that included Tom Morello, Evangeline Lilly, and Anti-Flag, before hitting San Diego the following week where Jolie Holland headlined. You can check out the powerful vibe of the kick-off show below.
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And the tour isn't even half done yet! This weekend, Rock Against the TPP heads to Seattle on August 19 and Portland on August 20, featuring a number of new artists including Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba in Seattle, and hip-hop star Talib Kweli in Portland. The latest tour date to be announced is a stop in EFF's home city of San Francisco on September 9, featuring punk legend Jello Biafra.
EFF will be on stage for each of the three remaining dates to deliver a short message about the threats that the TPP poses to Internet freedom, creativity, and innovation both here in the United States, and across eleven other Pacific Rim countries. These threats include:
  • Doubling down on U.S. law that makes it easy for copyright owners to have content removed from the Internet without a court order, and hard for users whose content is wrongly removed.
  • Forcing six other countries to go along with our ridiculously long copyright term—life of the author plus another 70 years—which stops artists and fans from using music and art from a century ago.
  • Imposing prison terms for those who disclose corporate secrets, break copyright locks, or share files, even if they are journalists, whistleblowers, or security researchers, and even if they're not making any money from it.
In addition, the TPP completely misses the opportunity to include meaningful protections for users. It fails to require other countries to adopt an equivalent to the fair use right in U.S. copyright law, it includes only weak and unenforceable language about the importance of a free and open Internet and net neutrality, and its provisions on encryption technology and software source code fail to offer any protection against crypto backdoors.
Rock Against the TPP is an opportunity to spread the word about these problems and to stand up to the corporate lobbyists and their captive trade negotiators who have spent years pushing the TPP against the people's will. First and foremost it's also a celebration of the creativity, passion, and energy of the artists and fans who are going to help to stop this flawed agreement.
If you can make it to Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco, please join us! Did we mention that the concerts are absolutely free? Reserve your tickets now, and spread the word to all your family and friends. With your help, the TPP will soon be nothing but a footnote in history.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) Tribute To Gene Clark's "Eight Miles High" and Sandy Pearlman

"Eight Miles High", released in March 1966, is a true psychedelic classic. It is credited to Gene Clark, David Crosby, and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, but the principal composer was Gene Clark. McGuinn contributed a title change from "six" to "eight" miles high, and the stunning guitar work. Crosby, the high harmonies and a single couplet (which begins "rain gray town..."). The rest was pure Gene Clark, who said he wrote it while discussing The Byrds UK tour with Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. Although Gene Clark returned to work with some or all of the original Byrds occasionally, he effectively left the band in February 1966 to embark on a solo career. Despite releasing magnificent work such as White Light and No Other, he remains best known for his work on Byrds classics such as Mr. Tambourine ManTurn Turn TurnEight Miles High, and I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better.

"Eight Miles High" has been covered by many people over the years, notably by Bob Mould and Husker Du, but here's a pretty great version by members of Patti Smith's band:

Daniel Andreu shot this video in Madrid at the Jardin Botanico, July 8, 2016 at a performance of Patti Smith and her band.

Patti left the stage during this song, a cover of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High", which was sung by Jack Petruzzelli and Patti's long-term cohorts bassist Tony Shanahan and guitarist extraordinaire Lenny Kaye.

Lenny, after musing about the moon and Jupiter, clearly visible from the stage, and the Juno space probe to Jupiter "finding out things about our solar system which are really science fictional", introduced the song thusly: 

"...and we'd like to do a song by the most science fictional of bands... we give you... The Byrds..."

Kaye, who has been with Patti Smith since 1974, curated the Nuggets collection, which defined garage rock psychedelia for the ages. He recently wrote a very nice piece (see below) about the late great Sandy Pearlman on Patti Smith's website. Apparently Lenny Kaye and Sandy Pearlman both were super fans of The Byrds.

Pearlman had written that The Byrds are "visually perfect mythic imagery" and "The Byrds swim in mystery…"

Just one question: Will Patti join the band in performing Gene Clark's "Eight Miles High" in concert in the future and make it a regular part of her set as she embarks on various concerts celebrating the 40th anniversary of her classic album "Horses"? Let's hope so...

Lenny Kaye's moving tribute to Sandy Pearlman...


August 5, 1943 – July 26, 2016

Sandy calls me on the first day of winter. He's excited we're coming to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Maybe he'll stay with us and travel up to Seattle. He has some restaurants he wants us to try, and we can't wait to play him the version of the Byrds' "8 Miles High" we've worked up. For Sandy, the Byrds are "visually perfect mythic imagery," as he writes in 1971, in The History of Los Angeles, of which only excerpts have appeared.

"The Byrds swim in mystery…," he raptures, this most futuristic of the first generation of rock "critics" who will change the way popular music might be discussed and annotated in the pages of Crawdaddy!, on his way to channeling his epic poem Imaginos into the creation of ecstatic sound. He celebrates the "nostalgic technologies: magic, science and religion, sci-fi, Child ballads, hill ballads, 'serious' C&W chestnuts…." Technology as transcendence. Imaginos, the cosmos of the mind's universe.

Sandy's vision was always focused on what happens next. He saw the power of Heavy Metal – indeed, he named it – as a vehicle for myth, and through his instigation and guidance, Blue Oyster Cult, once Soft White Underbelly, earned their place as hard rock's foremost thinkers, no mean feat in a genre that celebrates blunt force; and carried this sensibility into his work with Pavlov's Dog, the Dictators, the Clash, and his heightened analog studio, Alpha and Omega, where the Fairchild compressor took pride of place. Yet he was never digital-phobic, seeing immediately the possibilities of song delivery and how the business of disseminating music would transform in the twenty first century.

To follow the synapses of his consciousness was to rocket-ride into hyperspace. His teaching blended erudite and Aphrodite. He lectured Pearlmanology at McGill, Stanford, and the University of Toronto, and when we spoke on that December afternoon, only hours before he suffered the stroke that grounded his astral traveling, he told me that he was going to teach a spring course at Stony Brook. I asked him what his subject would be. He hadn't decided but namechecked the 19th century composer Anton Bruckner. I planned to attend, so I too might learn and be illuminated, in the same way appreciating Sandy's thought processes in Crawdaddy! inspired me to take up the qwertyuiop and begin to understand and scribe my own responses to what I listened to, and what I would become.

Now I will put on the 8th Symphony, the last Bruckner completed in his lifetime, its dissonances and resolves and crescendos so like life itself, and allow Sandy to guide me through its sonorities and transfigurations, so like Sandy himself. 

—Lenny Kaye 

                                                        Sandy Pearlman RIP    photo: David Ramage 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pitchfork: Leonard Cohen Announces New Album You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen, now 82, has announced a new album, You Want It Darker. The follow-up to 2014’s Popular Problems is coming this fall on Sony, produced by his son, Adam Cohen. Part of the title track appeared earlier this year on “Peaky Blinders.” Watch the clip below.
You Want It Darker:

01 You Want It Darker
02 Treaty
03 On the Level
04 Leaving the Table
05 If I Didn’t Have Your Love
06 Traveling Light
07 It Seemed the Better Way
08 Steer Your Way
09 String Reprise/ Treaty

Relix: Jack White Announces Career-Spanning Acoustic Compilation

Jack White has announced a new album of acoustic recordings collected from his almost two decades in the music business, Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016, set for release on September 9 via his own Third Man Records. The 26-track compilation brings together recordings from White's days in The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, along with some of his solo work, all reworked and remastered for the release.

One track from the record, the previously unreleased "City Lights," was premiered today. The song was originally written for The White Stripes' 2005 album Get Behind Me Satan and marks the now-split duo's first official new release since 2008. Listen to that song here:

The rest of the compilation brings together both popular White-penned tunes and deeper cuts, ranging from hit singles to B-sides. The first half focuses on White's stint with the Stripes, taking cuts from all six of their studio albums, from their 1999 self-titled debut, which supplies opening track "Sugar Never Tasted So Good," to 2007's Icky Thump, which bookends the Stripes portion of the collection with "Effect & Cause." Part two of the release dips into The Raconteurs' catalog, including an acoustic mix of "Carolina Drama," along with White's more recent solo efforts.

Consult the full tracklist below, along with an announcement video and the front- and back-cover album art. Pre-order Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 here.

Album Art + Tracklist:

1 Sugar Never Tasted So Good
2 Apple Blossom (Remixed)
3 I'm Bound To Pack It Up (Remixed)
4 Hotel Yorba
5 We're Going To Be Friends
6 You've Got Her In Your Pocket
7 Well It's True That We Love One Another
8 Never Far Away

9 Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)
10 White Moon
11 As Ugly As I Seem
12 City Lights (Previously Unreleased White Stripes Track)
13 Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap
14 Effect & Cause

15 Love Is The Truth (Acoustic Mix)
16 Top Yourself (Bluegrass Version)
17 Carolina Drama (Acoustic Mix)
18 Love Interruption
19 On And On And On
20 Machine Gun Silhouette (Acoustic Mix)

21 Blunderbuss
22 Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy (Alternate Mix)
23 I Guess I Should Go To Sleep (Alternate Mix)
24 Just One Drink (Acoustic Mix)
25 Entitlement
26 Want And Able

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Playlist August 2016: What You Should Be Listening To

Augustines This Is Your Life
Billie Holiday Greatest Hits
Christopher Owens Chrissybaby Forever
Colvin & Earle Colvin & Earle
Colvin & Earle Live In London 06-13-16
Dinosaur Jr. Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not
Gene Clark Live Old Vienna Kaffeehaus 10-16-88
Grateful Dead Live: Dave's Pick Vol 19. Honolulu 01-23-70
Jeff The Brotherhood Zone
Odetta At The Gate Of Horn
Odetta Odetta Sings Dylan
Prophets Of Rage Prophets of Rage (single)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe Live 1960
Titus Andronicus Stadium Rock
Wilco Live At Pitchfork 2015
Wilco Schmilco (first two singles)


Some old stuff, some new stuff.... some old stuff that sounds new, some new stuff that sounds old...

First off, Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle have teamed up to make a most interesting duo. A few covers, some new songs, an old Steve Earle song or two...

Dinosaur Jr.... I've never given them a chance... I guess I was afraid it would be too heavy for me, but I decided to try this album and I like it! It's not too heavy at all. It occasionally rocks hard but is by no means overwhelming.

I was lucky enough to see Odetta at one of her last performances (at Hardly Strictly) but lately realized I just don't have enough Odetta in my collection so I went about to correct that situation. At The Gate Of Horn and Odetta Sings Dylan are two good places to start.

The latest new old Dead show is Dave's Pick Vol. 19 from Hawaii 1970. Pigpen is in all his glory, and the band seems to have been having a good day and a good show. How many bands today have the guts to play long improv songs in concert? Uh, none.

Was great to see the Americanarama tour a few years back, especially Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco singing Dead songs with Bob Weir. Sadly, the tour headliner Dylan joined them only once or twice on the tour (not where I saw them, unfortunately, on the last show of the tour in Northern California - Dylan came out for "The Weight" as a tribute to the recently departed Levon at least once earlier on the tour). Wilco is by now a national treasure, and were a highlight of the recent Dead tribute album Day Of The Dead. Can't wait to hear Wilco's new album! The singles so far are quite good.

Christopher Owens is great.

Gene Clark is always great.

Titus rocks.

Jeff rocks.

Prophets of Rage rock.

Augustines rock.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe ROCKS!!!