Jes Farnsworth (Newsted/The Backstabbers)

Jes Farnsworth always wears cool band shirts, that’s a fact… and just another good reason for us to interview him. The guitarist for former METALLICA member Jason NEWSTED’s band has been quite busy this year but he found the time to answer our questions. He tells us about his history, his experience with JETBOY, NEWSTED’s recent European tour and his own band The BACKSTABBERS.

How did you get into music? What were your first records? The first shows you attended?

I got into music at an early age. I was born and raised on the east coast in Connecticut, which I think has alot to do with my strong influence of NYC Punk and RNR since NYC was just a few hours away. As early as I could remember my mom (of all people) would be blasting Ramones, Clash, and Pistols records in our apt. The thing that really got me started was my Uncle who played Bass in my all time favorite band, The Reducers from New London CT. The Reducers were to me everything I love all in one. Their style was attitude driven pub rock / punk / rock n roll with great hooks and melodies. They didn’t have a bad song! It seemed like every weekend from the time I was in a baby stroller on, we’d go catch a Reducers show. The thing that set them apart from every other band was not only did they have tons of great original tunes, but they had an extensive catalog of cool cover tunes by bands like Dr Feelgood and Chris Spedding, to the Clash and Ramones just to name a few. They had 3 records out in the mid 80’s and they never really left the turntable in my house. My dad had a killer record collection and also exposed me to a lot. I think a lot of my Metal influence came from him. Judas Priest, Maiden, UFO, Black Sabbath, AC/DC were in regular rotation on his mix tape in his car growing up and he always had a killer stereo to boot, so it made it that much better! The first big concert my dad took me to was Ozzy on the No More Tours tour 91. This was around the time that I started my own collection as well as got my first guitar, so I think my first few CD’s and Cassettes I ever bought were Ozzy – Diary of a Madman, Metallica – Justice and Black album, Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast, Guns N Roses – Appetite, Kiss – Alive, and a few Hair Metal bands of the time that I don’t wish to name Haha!

We first met in 2010 when you were touring with JETBOY, when did you join them? How did it happen? Was it your first time in Europe then?

I joined Jetboy in early 2010 as they were gearing up for the release of their Off Your Rocker EP. I was vaguely familiar with them at the time. I had the Feel The Shake cassette when I was younger, and I knew Sam Yaffa was once in the band so I was intrigued. I had read they were looking for a rhythm section a few months prior and didn’t think much of it since I’m more of a guitar player by trade, but I told my friend Jesus Mendez (drums) about it. Turns out we had a friend that knew the band and was able to set up an audition for himself and recommended me to come try out on bass. I was hesitant at first, but we learned 4 or 5 tunes and went up to San Francisco and jammed with Billy and Fernie and it went well. A few days later we got the call to join and a few weeks after that we went down to LA and had our first rehearsal as a full band with Mickey Finn. We played a handful of shows with that line-up including a few festivals in the US and then booked the European tour. Mickey was unable to do the tour at the time, so we got a friend of mine DK Revelle to sing. I had been to Europe a few times before on vacation, but this was my first time touring over there. It was a great experience and we had a blast!

How did you get the opportunity to play with NEWSTED? Were you into METALLICA and FLOTSAM & JETSAM as a kid? Playing a song like “Whiplash” in front of METALLICA fans must be something!

JF3I got the opportunity to play with Jason through Jesus Mendez. He and I had already been playing together in several projects for years. He had first met Jason about 15 years ago while doing some local crew work for Metallica. When Jason left Metallica to do Echobrain, he got the gig as the drum tech for the tour. Not long after that the two of them started jamming for fun at Jason’s studio The Chophouse. A few years went by and I got invited to jam as well. The three of us would get together and do some weekend jams a couple times a year for the last 4 or 5 years. Last year Jason was approached to record a few songs and he called on us to be a part of it. It all happened pretty quick, we spent all of September rehearsing and went in the studio in October for about 10 days and laid down 6 tunes. At this point we had no expectations or plans other than to put out an EP. We weren’t sure if we were going to play live or how it would be received by the people. Once word got out,the whole project started building momentum fast and the next thing you know we’ve got a manager, we filmed a video, and we were back in the studio again recording a second batch of tunes. Once the EP was released in January we started talking about playing live. Soon after we got a US club tour and a European Festival tour booked. We added a second guitar player in February, recorded a 3rd batch of tunes to complete a record and started rehearsing for live shows. This was all pretty surreal for me. I definitely grew up listening to Metallica and had a few Flotsam records as well. Jason was always my favorite guy in the band. He had that presence, just pure attitude and energy, he always gave it his all. I always loved when he sang Whiplash with Metallica, so It’s definitely a treat to get to play it with him. It’s always cool to see the crowds reaction when we rip into it.

You’re just back from a European tour with NEWSTED playing many big metal festivals, how was it? Have you met many bands you like on these festivals?

Europe was amazing! I never really thought I’d get a chance to do something of this magnitude. I remember getting an AC/DC live at Donnington video when I was a kid and thinking holy shit! I wanna play in front of a crowd like that! I’m used to playing small clubs in front of basically no one, so to go from that to this huge stage in front of several thousand people is crazy. The funny thing is, it still makes me more nervous playing in front of a small crowd standing right in your face than when your playing for 10 thousand. It’s almost so surreal that I feel like they aren’t really there. Hellfest in particular was the one show that stands out to me as one of the highlights of the tour as far as crowd size and reaction/participation. It was really cool hanging out backstage at all these shows amongst all these legendary bands. A few cool moments for me was meeting Steve Harris and Adrian Smith from Maiden, Brian May from Queen, Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks, Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy, as well as the guys from Krokus and Accept and hanging with some newer bands like Red Fang and Mastodon.

You are now on the GIGANTOUR in the US with bands like MEGADETH and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. How is it goin’? Are these shows very different from the ones you played at the big European festivals (to you and in general)?

The Gigantour shows are going pretty good. It’s a lot different than Europe however as far as the crowds. There are six bands on the bill and we go on pretty early so you never know what to expect when we hit the stage as far as how many people will be there. Playing early in an amphitheater you get a lot of people scattered about and sometimes it’s tough to win them over. But it doesn’t matter if there are 5 people or 5000, we’re gonna put on the same show and crush ’em. The backstage atmosphere is great. All the bands hang out together and get along fine. I’m having a great time on this tour.

You have your own band The BACKSTABBERS, can you introduce it? Any new release planned?

The Backstabbers have been going for about 4 years now. We are a trio. Myself JF2on Guitar and Lead Vocals, Kevin Thomason on Bass and Vocals, and Wade Krause on Drums. We are heavily influenced by late 70’s early 80’s Punk, Rock n Roll and Powerpop. To keep it exciting we never play the same set twice and always throw in a few covers of whatever we are listening to the most at that particular moment. Kevin and I are always discovering and turning each other on to new and old bands and it’s pretty much what keeps our inspiration and momentum going. There’s not many bands if any in our area playing our style, so when a cool band comes through we usually get on the bill with them. We’ve played some cool shows with bands like Nashville Pussy, The Supersuckers, The Vibrators, The Hangmen, and Peter Case just to name a few. We released our first EP “Full Blast!” last year which you can find on iTunes and our Bandcamp page. We’ve been on a little hiatus since I’ve been busy the last few months with Newsted, but we plan to get back at it when I get a break. We do have several unfinished recordings in the works and a stockpile of original material to choose from so there will definitely be a new release in the near future.

Tell us what these bands mean to you (how you got into them, favourite songs/records, etc.):


As I said in the first question, my parents were always cranking out the first 4 Ramones albums on the turntable growing up. They were infectious, every song was a hit! They pretty much set the standard in my mind of what a good song should be. If I had to pick one favorite album, I’d say “It’s Alive” best represents what they were all about. There is no way I could pick a favorite Ramones tune, they were all classics!


This band to me was just raw and dangerous. Stiv Bators was unpredictable on stage. I just loved the dirty rawness of the first album. If I had to pick a favorite tune I’d go with “What Love Is”


A great band. Michael Monroe is an over the top frontman. I love the energy they put out on stage. We had the chance to open for Michael Monroe with Jetboy a few years back and I was blown away by how great his band was. I would have loved to see Hanoi back in the day. The first album I ever got by them was the live album “All Those Wasted Years” so I’ll have to go with that as my favorite. I love Sami’s bass lines. Some of my favorite tunes are Tragedy, Malibu Beach Nightmare, and Motorvatin.


I’m a huge Tom Petty fan. He is a great writer and The Heartbreakers are some of the greatest musicians I’ve ever seen. Mike Campbell is a big influence on me for his simple melodic memorable leads. They are one of the few remaining great american rock bands and I try to see them as often as I can. This is one band I can’t pick a particular album as a favorite. If I had to pick one tune as an all time favorite, I’d go with “I Need To Know” That song always kicks my ass.


One of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen. Motorhead bridge the gap for me between Punk and Metal. I’m a big fan of the classic lineup with Fast Eddie and Philthy. Once again I’m gonna go with the live album “No Sleep Til Hammersmith” as my favorite. Iron Fist, Overkill, The Chase is Better Than The Catch are among my favorite tunes. We often close the Newsted shows with a 2 song encore of We Are The Roadcrew and Love me Like A Reptile which are really fun to play, and stylistically right up my alley.

Last bands you’ve enjoyed watching live?

I’ve enjoyed seeing quite a few bands in the last few months: Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Red Fang, Accept, Tom Petty, The Buzzcocks, Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse, and The Rolling Stones just to name a few…

Do you have any favourite album at the moment? Any you’ve listened to a lot while travelling from fest to fest?

It’s hard to pick a favorite album. Kind of depends on my mood. I often go to bed with one favorite and wake up with another. I’ve been really into The Replacements lately, and I’m stoked about their upcoming reunion shows. Some albums always in constant rotation for me are the first 2 Iron Maiden records, Ace Frehley’s 78 solo album, Kiss – Rock and Roll Over, the latest album by The Hangmen – East of Western, The first Clash record, Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell, as well as pretty much everything by The Hellacopters and Imperial State Electric.

NEWSTED’s debut album will be out in August. What’s next for the band and yourself?

After this tour wraps I think we are gonna take a little time off and recharge ourselves. We’ve been working pretty hard for a year straight. I do know we will be heading to Australia and possibly Japan in the near future, as well as another trip to Europe. As for me I plan on playing some shows with The Backstabbers and working on a few other projects in the down time.

Trash Monsters “There’s a Rat in the Tunnel of Love”

TrashMonstersFormed in sunny Orange County, California in 2010, the TRASH MONSTERS logically have strong pop punk influences, but they also like early punk rock’n’roll -which can mostly be heard in the guitars- and these guys are sure not limited to one music genre. Whether you’re into Lookout Records, NOFX or The RAMONES, songs like “People Of My Neighborhood”, “I Was a Teenage Pessimist” or “This Moment” will probably work for you, but you might also be surprised when listening to “I’m Still In This Game” for the first time.
There’s sometimes too many “ohohohoh’s” backing vocals for my tastes, but a rockin’ mid-tempo song like “Letting Go” and the crazy rock’n’roll “Maggie May I?” make up for that without any difficulties. Some will say that a name like TRASH MONSTERS would fit a psychobilly band better, well you’ll get a bit of it in “This City”, and early US hardcore fans will even get their share with “I Hate Everything.”
In the end, it’s not surprising at all that some members from REEL BIG FISH, GOLDFINGER, DUANE PETERS AND THE HUNNS, TSOL, The IRISH BROTHERS etc.) all have contributed to this album./Laurent C.

Daily Noise Club “Rock’n’Roll Fixx”

1005592_547855088585694_1112437470_nThis Hard rock from Bulgaria already released 3 albums, and while I never heard about them before, you can tell that they’ve been playing together for a while from the first minute you hear them. Mixing RHINO BUCKET/D.A.D. hard rock’n’roll to 70s rock influences, DAILY NOISE CLUB delivers 13 songs full of live energy (“Rock’n’Roll Fix”, “The Art Of Art”, “Sunday Morning”, “M.E.X.I.C.O.”…) and heavy, sometimes almost grungy guitar riffs (“Love For A Day”, “Glory Whore”, “Take It As You Like”…)
While a song like “Too Many Bitches To Score” won’t get the award for the most poetic song of the year, this is one of the catchiest ones on this album along with “Everything”. Indeed, despite the obvious qualities of the musicians, the songs often lack this thing that will make them really memorable, but this shouldn’t prevent you from checking DAILY NOISE CLUB if you like dirty alcohol injected hard rock’n’roll./Laurent C.

The Barbarellatones “The Sound Of Love”

TheSoundOfLoveWatch out! The BARBARELLATONES are back with 17 songs full of glitter, cryptic guitar riffs and cinematographic references (opening song “The Sound Of Love” tells us from the start “I’ll be James Bond and you’ll be Brigitte Bardot”!)
The second track is a spaced-out version of BOWIE’s “Rebel Rebel”, probably one of the best covers of it I’ve heard!
When listening to a BARBARELLATONES record, you’re never too far from the Rocky Horror Picture Show (“Feeling Haunted”) and the band often flirts with 60s garage psyche (“Sunshine Death Mask”, “Roasted”), this is why The BARBARELLATONES are unique, they mix genres and influences in the best way you can imagine in order to give life to their sleazy B-movie monster rock’n’roll… and they aren’t afraid of anything, not even of some country-ish touches, just listen to “Sex Cow” and “Redneck Riviera”!
One of the best songs on here is “Dolph Lundgren”, dark music and humorous lyrics as a tribute to the famous Swedish actor and bodybuilder “There’s a rumour that Dolph’s father was an actual dolphin in the Norwegian seas..” Now, can you beat that?
The BARBARELLATONES also offer us their own glittered version of The VELVET UNDERGOUND’s “White Light, White Heat” and experiment with funky grooves on”Give It Up!”
As good Californian people, their love for surf (“Surf Beat”, “Ride Surfer Ride”) is also still intact since their first album, and you’ll get a bit of sun from their songs (“Summer Of Love”, “Lonely Beach.”)
The BARBARELLATONES have been working with manager Vicky Hamilton (early GUNS N’ ROSES, POISON…), so don’t be surprised if one of these days you see their name everywhere!/Laurent C.

The Barbarellatones on Facebook

Thee Faction “The Sausage Factory” (-review by Anguish Young)

theefaction“All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
(-Edward Snowden)

“How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humiliation! How adroit to bus poor black youngsters into poor white neighborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers. How ingenious to meet the demands of blacks and women for equality by giving them small special benefits, and setting them in competition with everyone else for jobs made scarce by an irrational, wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward a class of criminals bred-by economic inequity-faster than they can be put away, deflecting attention from the huge thefts of national resources carried out within the law by men in executive offices.”
(-Howard Zinn)

“Glenn Greenwald has become the conscience of America. I say that because there ar…e people in our society who have remained consistent under Democrats and Republicans, who put principle over partisanship, who have committed to being the same people that they are whether a Democrat is in office or a Republican is in office, and I don’t think there is anyone whose writing has exemplified what principle means more than Glenn Greenwald over the past ten years. We are living in a moment when real journalism is under attack. We are living in a moment where the Constitutional law professor, Nobel Peace Prize winning, Democratic president is in charge of an apparatus that is engaged in the criminalization of real journalism, attacks against whistleblowers, covert drone strikes around the world, escalated night rides in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and a president who is attempting to put a stamp of legitimacy on it and to argue that not only is it legal but that it is the right thing to do. And all of us have a moral obligation to stand in opposition to those declarations and those policies whether it is a Democrat in office or a Republican in office.”
(-Jeremy Scahill)

“Which leads to the question, why would [Obama] do all these things? Why would he be afraid for example, to take the drones away from the CIA? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. Number one, he’s afraid of what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. And I know from a good friend who was there when it happened, that at a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election, ‘Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for?’ Obama turned sharply and said, ‘Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?’ That’s a quote, and that’s a very revealing quote.”
(-retired CIA analyst and former presidential adviser, Ray McGovern)

“MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell asserted to viewers that whistleblower Edward Snowden lacked the moral compass to be able to discern right from wrong, due to the fact he didn’t attend college where he would have developed crucial skills of critical thinking. (Apparently, the cannon of critical thinking, as taught by U.S. colleges and universities, does not include acquiring the foresight to avoid becoming a lifelong debt slave due to student loan usury.)
Liberal elites find few things more confounding (to the point of consternation) than a self-taught, auto-didactic, working class intellectual. Why? A working class intellectuals existence is a flaming arrow aimed at the dark heart of societal expectation, thus poses a threat to the Liberal Class’ inexplicable self-regard and their concomitant sense of entitlement.”
(-Phil Rockstroh)

“The problem with Volvo Democrats is they don’t realize they are now to the right of Richard Nixon.”
(-Ned Hayden)

“Don’t come lecturing us about liberty. You need a reality check. Don’t act like a spoiled rude child. Here you will only find dignity and sovereignty. Here we haven’t invaded anyone. Here we don’t torture like in Guantanamo. Here we don’t have drones killing alleged terrorist without any due trial, killing also the women and children of those supposed terrorists. So don’t come lecturing us about life, law, dignity, or liberty. You don’t have the moral right to do so.”
(-Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador)

“The advertising industry is a huge industry, and anyone with their eyes open can see what it’s for. First of all, the existence of the advertising industry is a sign of the unwillingness to let markets function. If you had markets, you wouldn’t have advertising. Like, if somebody has something to sell, they say what it is and you buy it if you want. But when you have oligopolies, they want to stop… price wars. They have to have product differentiation, and you got to turn to deluding people into thinking you should buy this rather than that. Or just getting them to consume – if you can get them to consume, they’re trapped, you know.

It starts with the infant, but now there’s a huge part of the advertising industry which is designed to capture children. And it’s destroying childhood. Anyone who has any experience with children can see this. It’s literally destroying childhood. Kids don’t know how to play. They can’t go out and, you know, like when you were a kid or when I was a kid, you have a Saturday afternoon free. You go out to a field and you’re finding a bunch of other kids and play ball or something. You can’t do anything like that. It’s got to be organized by adults, or else you’re at home with your gadgets, your video games.

But the idea of going out just to play with all the creative challenge, those insights: that’s gone. And it’s done consciously to trap children from infancy and then to turn them into consumer addicts.”
(-Noam Chomsky)

“Privacy is a sacred word to many Americans, as demonstrated by the recent uproar over the brazen invasion of it by the Patriot Act-enabled National Security Agency (NSA). The information about dragnet data-collecting of telephone and internet records leaked by Edward Snowden has opened the door to another pressing conversation—one about privatization, or corporatization of this governmental function.

In addition to potentially having access to the private electronic correspondence of American citizens, what does it mean that Mr. Snowden—a low-level contractor—had access to critical national security information not available to the general public? Author James Bamford, an expert on intelligence agencies, recently wrote: ‘The Snowden case demonstrates the potential risks involved when the nation turns its spying and eavesdropping over to companies with lax security and inadequate personnel policies. The risks increase exponentially when those same people must make critical decisions involving choices that may lead to war, cyber or otherwise.’

This is a stark example of the blurring of the line between corporate and governmental functions. Booz Allen Hamilton, the company that employed Mr. Snowden, earned over $5 billion in revenues in the last fiscal year, according to The Washington Post. The Carlyle Group, the majority owner of Booz Allen Hamilton, has made nearly $2 billion on its $910 million investment in ‘government consulting.’ It is clear that “national security” is big business.

Given the value and importance of privacy to American ideals, it is disturbing how the terms “privatization” and “private sector” are deceptively used. Many Americans have been led to believe that corporations can and will do a better job handling certain vital tasks than the government can. Such is the ideology of privatization. But in practice, there is very little evidence to prove this notion. Instead, the term “privatization” has become a clever euphemism to draw attention away from a harsh truth. Public functions are being handed over to corporations in sweetheart deals while publicly owned assets such as minerals on public lands and research development breakthroughs are being given away at bargain basement prices.

These functions and assets—which belong to or are the responsibility of the taxpayers—are being used to make an increasingly small pool of top corporate executives very wealthy. And taxpayers are left footing the cleanup bill when corporate greed does not align with the public need.

With this in mind, let us not mince words. ‘Privatization’ is a soft term. Let us call the practice what it really is—corporatization.

There’s big money to be made in moving government-owned functions and assets into corporate hands. Public highways, prisons, drinking water systems, school management, trash collection, libraries, the military and now even national security matters are all being outsourced to corporations. But what happens when such vital government functions are performed for big profit rather than the public good?

Look to the many reports of waste, fraud, and abuse that arose out of the over-use of corporate contractors in Iraq. At one point, there were more contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan than U.S. soldiers. Look to the private prisons, which make their money by incarcerating as many people as they can for as long as they can. Look to privatized water systems, the majority of which deliver poorer service at higher costs than public utility alternatives. Visit for many more examples of the perils, pitfalls and excesses of rampant, unaccountable corporatization.

In short, corporatizing public functions does not work well for the public, consumers and taxpayers who are paying through the nose.

Some right-wing critics might view government providing essential public services as ‘socialism,’ but as it now stands, we live in a nation increasingly comprised of corporate socialism. There is great value in having public assets and functions that are already owned by the people, to be performed for the public benefit, and not at high profit margins and prices for big corporations. By allowing corporate entities to assume control of such functions, it makes profiteering the central determinant in what, how, and why vital services are rendered.

Just look at the price of medicines given to drug companies by taxpayer-funded government agencies that discovered them.”
(-Ralph Nader)

“In the United States today, the phrase `conspiracy theory’ functions as a sort of giant cudgel, used to scare us out of talking openly about a broad (and ever-growing) range of scandals that the powerful cannot afford to let the people comprehend.”
(-Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Culture and Communication, New York University)

“The moral order is inverted. The criminal class is in power. We are the prey. Manning, in a just society, would be a prosecution witness against war criminals. Those who committed these crimes should be facing prison.”
(-Chris Hedges)

“Here is my final point…About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography…What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, or take into my body as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet? And for those who are having…
a little moral dilemma in your head about how to answer that question, I’ll answer it for you. NONE of your fucking business. Take that to the bank, cash it, and go fucking on a vacation out of my life.”
(-Bill Hicks)

“There is no more ‘personal liberties’, America as we knew it is done and finished. It is corrupt beyond repair. Sooner or later they will wipe us out. Face the facts.”
(-Sal Canzonieri)
“If you’re getting bored of people posting political stuff about the continual onslaught of oppression, by stealth or otherwise (country dependent), it’s not half as bored as you’ll be when because of your apathy, you are a virtual automata in serfdom to the elite. ”
(-noted philosopher, Ray Gange)
“It’s about the money. They spend 8+ years training to become a doctor and in that time rack up tons of debt in our education system. Upon reaching their goal, they have to realize that the pills are not a prevention or a cure, but a suppressor. To keep their lives they spent so much time trying to build, they remain in the mental shackles created by money. It applies to most careers/walks of life that involve money: Once a person begins that walk, they invest so much of themselves and time that the next option is just to believe its necessary to continue the cycle.”
(-Tyrone Adams)

“Why do so many rely on a smug self-satisfaction that says if any conspiracy were true someone on the inside would have talked and an enterprising young reporter looking to get a Pulitzer would have written the story and their editor would have said, ‘Yes, this is what we need to get our circulation numbers back up. Run that baby!’? Why?

No matter how many examples of unreported absolutely vital info you provide– if the idiot box doesn’t say it, it can’t be true.

Thus, we drift toward unprecedented catastrophe… ”
(-Martin Truther)

“Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population… Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich…”
(-Noam Chomsky)

You are no one until Katy Perry says you’re someone. If the evil, totalitarian establishment makes me eat shit for fifty years, (so far, so good) and then, determines my work might be somehow profitable or exploitable, and they wanna give me an honorary diploma, please remind me not to lash-out at my full-time fans, or lifelong supporters, who don’t specifically appreciate any institution telling them that my work only matters if Madonna says it does, or because I am drunk on insincere compliments and somebody finally blew my photo up, or stuffed some dollar bills for dog food down my garter-belt. Even pigeons shit on statues. I would hate it if my legacy was redefined as artifacts under glass, or some vegetable dye in Ivana Trump’s hair. Indoctrinated fools, hangers-on and glory whores, vicious bitches and horribly mean scenery chewers ready for another red carpet close-up, Kim Kardashian ain’t no legacy. Genre purists and subculture partisans have always been a bit prissy, pretentious, even; especially when it comes to publicity, appearances, image-control, and mandatory lifestyle swag. I remember auditioning for punk bands back in the day, and being told I could not be considered, because I would not get a military haircut and lacked the correct Stray Cats vintage wardrobe ensemble-wrong tattoos, wrong hair and shoes. The odd part was how I always dug those leopard print jackets and fifties rockabilly duds as much as anybody, but just never had an adequate disposable income to purchase the obligatory twenty pairs of imported shoes, 1953 Triumph motorcycle, hot rod and vintage suitjackets and ruffled shirts and Elvis pink pegged pants during the post-punk and college radio heyday, when everything became so by the book, compulsory, and paint by numbers. That shit always got under my skin, because apparently, I never received my handbook in the mail with all the punk rock uniform dresscodes and shit. Hanoi Rocks dressed like the Stray Cats and the Clash, they just happened to prefer the pre Heartbreakers Thunders hairdo. So what? When every band being celebrated in the punk mags were Clash clones who felt like they were expected to obediently copycat every detail from the first Clash LP, I was already tiring of tribute bands. One million faux Ramones, faux Pistols, faux Clash punks made me wanna listen to more Judas Priest. Kids today call Screeching Weasel and NOFX “old school bands”. The 70’s dino-punks are being celebrated with a movie and a fashion show at the musuem. Are any of them worried about police state wire taps, the Democrats war on whistle blowers and secret kill-list, geoengineering, or fracking, fluoride in the water, Monsanto appointments to the regulatory agency? Nahhh, they are worried about feuding with kids who resent their subculture being co-opted by corporate mainstream celebutards. Rightwing faux Dem, Rahm Emanuel is closing 50 public schools in poor neighborhoods while dumping $200 million on a private university stadium. Philadelphia just fired 4,000 public school employees while building a $400 million prison to house the undereducated in the near future. The American education system is a big pyramid scheme. Paralyzes, burdens, and immobilizes the enforcer class with lifelong debt.
Aside from Lou Reed mumbling about the corrupt NSA domestic spying, Tom Morello offering to pay Edward Snowden’s ticket to Ecuador, and the great Bro Wayne Kramer fighting for prisoner’s human rights in this for profit prison nation with the racist drug war; where are the real punks, where are the rebels? Most everyone with insurance is on the government pills and it makes ya wonder. Supposedly, there’s a drug war, with all the minorities and poor folks being locked up in private prisons for non violent reefer violations, while all the rich folk are strung out on the government pills, or their fame whoring and power tripping. Rush Limbaugh and yo mama pop Oxycotin all day long, while the poor are scrutinized, piss tested, frisked, fondled, and penalized like Palestinians. As Pot-Land hardcore hero, Jerry A. once sang, “I hate the rich!” I loved it when Poison Idea released an LP called, “Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes”, ’cause growing up, I kept running into suburban-consumer subculture zombies who insisted that punk was either about beating people up, weightlifting, and being in a gang (Hardcore, skinheads) or about acquiring the most lavish collection of properly displayed memorabilia. (Cramps fans, rockabillies, etc….) Or about being a nerd. (Fugazi, Sonic Youth, pre grunge novelty jokester punk bands). 25 years later, in the digital age, multiple on-line boutique companies are THRIVING by selling imported leather, Creepers, studded belts and spiked wrist gear, and paraphernalia related to the little underground scene me and my dozen or so friends based our tiny fanzines and dead end kid bands on, way back in our brutal youth. I still can’t afford any of it. T shirts are $30. Pass me the sharpie.
So it’s almost the Fourth Of July, (what good is the Fourth Of July without the Fourth Amendment?) which is one of our many nationalist, American, pro-military, pro-fascist holidays, celebrating imperialism, but I gotta wonder how much freedom any of us have left without the Bill Of Rights. I know all the football rowdy, television-dumb, yay-hoos will still go crowd themselves into parks and dutifully salute flags and watch fireworks, but when cops can get a search warrant and hold you down and take your blood without your consent, if government agents can grope your body at the airport, if you have no right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers, if you have no right to privacy, or to peacefully protest, and corporate flack, Brian Williams says on NBC it is likely all citizens will be chipped by 2017, what freedoms are you still goin’ on about, cable-watchers? Alright…so all this is on my mind, and I finally discovered a band that gives a shit, and naturally, they’re from another country. They are a cool throwback to bands with both melody and a message, like Chumbawumba, Billy Bragg, Crass, the Jam, Manic Street Preachers, and the Clash. They are called THEE FACTION, they have a whizbang sense of pop punch and melody and dig this, the most important part: their music actually means something!!! I have not been as personally moved by a contemporary band’s songwriting since the Street Sweeper Social Club’s “Revolution Is The New Fuck You”. I urge everyone who digs music with defiant and rebellious truth and soul to play this loudly and support this band. My new D.I.Y. homemade t shirt reads THEE FACTION!

R.I.P. Ray Manzarek & Trevor Bolder & James Gandolfini & Paul Wellstone & Michael Hastings.