“Corporate profit is the driving engine of foreign policy. Our elites do not care about human rights or civil liberties, not to mention the illegality of pre-emptive war, any more than Putin. Ask the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia how much moral authority the United States has to denounce the violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign state. Ask those in our black sites and offshore penal colonies how much moral authority we have to denounce arbitrary detention and torture. Ask the 1.3 million people who lost their extended unemployment benefits in December or those who saw food stamp cutbacks reduce their spending by $90 a month how much moral authority there is left in our corporate state.” (-Chris Hedges)
“Mubarek is out of prison and Obama is protecting the Bush regime, I think they should have a tea party and laugh uproariously at how they persecuted the shit out of Chelsea Manning and other righteous political prisoners like Lynne Stewart and the Cuban 5, among many others.” (-Cindy Sheehan)
“Be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. ” (- Alice Walker)
“Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” (- Nixon White House Counsel HR Haldemann on what prompted the Nixon Administration to formulate the ‘War on Drugs’.)
“There are huge efforts that do go into making people, to borrow Adam Smith’s phrase, “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be.” A lot of the educational system is designed for that, if you think about it, it’s designed for obedience and passivity. From childhood, a lot of it is designed to prevent people from being independent and creative. If you’re independent-minded in school, you’re probably going to get into trouble very early on.” — Noam Chomsky (“Education is Ignorance”)
“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” (-MLK, Jr. Beyond Vietnam speech, April 04, 1967)
“How did a facility a mile and a half upstream from the drinking water plant that gets drinking water to 300,000 people have this leak happen? And the answer is: in my mind it’s the coal and chemical industry in this state has fostered a culture of deregulation. They’ve captured the major institutions in the state, including the major media…The major university systems, both political parties, are beholden to big coal and to the chemical industry.” (-Russel Mokhiber, Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter)
“Two cops who smashed the face of Kelly Thomas, an unarmed, 120lbs schizophrenic man as he cried ‘please, I’m sorry sir’ until he died from his face being crushed found NOT GUILTY of ALL COUNTS, including lesser charges of ‘excessive force.’ This is the justice system working. Cops can commit brutal murders on camera, and it’s deemed legal. We gotta keep fighting these cops, but criminal trials for killer cops are just one small front in a larger battle. This is endemic of a rotten system that employs cops as its armed guards and enforcers. This will be the status quo until we live under a new system that is run by the people, not a sham democracy set-up for the super rich to lord over the rest of us. FIGHT POLICE BRUTALITY – FIGHT THE ARMED THUGS FOR THE CAPITALIST CLASS – FIGHT CAPITALISM…” (-Michael Prysner)
“Don’t be fossil fooled. Your climate and food supply are being destroyed because Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Fartgas won’t allow you to have clean transport or energy systems. They suppress the truth and technology, bribe, blackmail and kill the inventors, rake in trillions from your ignorance, lie to you with impunity through their media outlets and effectively kill your babies. And all the while idiots do their work for them by denying that climate change is happening, because half the population is always below average in every respect, and most can’t keep their eyes on the prize and succumb to mindless wage slavery, feeding the beast with their every waking hour. The hippies were always right. Pollution kills. Alternatives exist. Turn on. Tune in. OPT OUT of the system and create something new with your TIME!” (-Ram Ayana)
“To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.” (-Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; translated by John Beverly Robinson)
“You have to face the fact that whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to” (- HR Haldeman, Nixon White House Chief of Staff in his diaries on the formation of the ‘war on drugs’)
“Before us, the denizens, operatives, propagandists and enforcers of the old order grow more certain of their convictions in direct proportion to its accelerating rate of decay. Stoned-faced phalanxes of soldiers and bristling, militarized cops stand guard before the entrances of shoddy, swaying towers. Yet: Lies cannot be built to last. The lipless grins of a billion skulls mock the illusory staying power of deceit. What endures is the perennial yearnings of the heart — that is coupled with the eternal present. Love songs ring out among the rot of empires.” (-Phil Rockstroh)
“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system.” (- the ACLU’s Ben Wizner)
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”(-Anne Lamott)
“Never underestimate the power of owning the Mass Media and print Media for generations.” (-Pearl Chanter)
“Our homeless are not a problem that needs fixed, they are people entitled to basic human rights.” (-Alley Valkyrie)
“Hillary Clinton constantly has moved toward the center of US politics. And when the center migrated rightward, she migrated with it. She might be more electable now – not because she is a woman, but rather because she is a friend of the Money Power and willing to compromise on the issues that matter to it. Feminism in this context is just a gimmick to attract some voters who place gender above any other issue. Respecting the rules of the Money Power during a campaign means toeing the line of oligarchy while in power. Neither men nor women benefit from this. Clinton and her neoliberal allies are hijacking feminism and the rhetoric of diversity.”(-Pierre Guerlain)
“It’s not hippies who give us punks a hard time in the streets.”( -Eater)
“There is something inherently creepy about Facebook. It is the postmodern West’s version of the Iron Curtain secret service that hired your neighbors and even your relatives to spy on you – yet it is packaged in a way that makes us do it ourselves, willingly, unconsciously, and with pep. What’s the critical path to constructing an equally addictive social network that does not data-mine us for corporate control, but facilitates cooperation and the construction of a truly regenerative society, helping us to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, develop a transparent democracy, and transform the corrupt financial system…”(-Daniel Pinchbeck)
“If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need-go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help–the only ones.” (-John Steinbeck)
“Consumerism turned relationships into shopping. Marriage is no longer affordable for a lot of working-class men.” (-Lynn Porter)
“The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we’re passing one another without a look of recognition” (— Henry Miller)
“People who don’t have music in their soul are dead.”(-Ray Gange)
“The worst crime a person can commit in this country we live in is to be poor. The only thing worse than that is to be poor and a person of color. In my opinion, there are many degrees of privilege.” (-Anna Chorlton)
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.” (- Eugene V. Debs)
“I believe that the persecution of PFC Bradley Manning, from his illegal detention, torture while in military prison, and unjust sentencing, are yet more aspects of this (in)justice system that persecutes truth-tellers and protects war criminals in the prior regime. My heart, as a Mother and an American, goes out to Bradley Manning and everyone who worked so hard on his case and the movement in solidarity with him. Another shameful day in U.S. history.” (-Cindy Sheehan)
“US/UK imprisons whistleblowers, calls journalists criminals for working with their sources, detain my partner under a TERRORISM law and take his passwords to his Facebook and email accounts, block Evo Morales’ plane from flying, smash the Guardian’s hard drives, but – WE are the ones being “threatening”” (-Glenn Greenwald)
“As the years pass, we negotiate the terrain of life with broken hearts. Old friends die and pieces of it are torn from us and we are left with wounds that will never fully heal. Our illusions are broken like delicate wings and our spirit descends into sodden despair which dries into brittle cynicism. Yet being wounded allows for wounds to become the womb of creative endeavor. The loss of illusion can beget a type of freedom of thought engendered when a pattern is broken. Re-imagining replaces habituated thought. Novel possibilities present themselves…delivering a libation of blood to suffering shades of memory. In the soulscape of experience, events play out closer to art than to autopsy. The important thing is…to enter into the thick of it all. To reveal your face to life…to allow for the interplay of quotidian ravaging and numinous ravishing to mold your character…And evince it without shame. This way, what is unbearable bears sustenance. What is irreconcilable to the mind becomes a handmaiden to art.” (-Phil Rockstroh)
“Why is the United States behaving so arrogantly? All that Bush wants is Iraqi oil. What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly … If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.” (-Nelson Mandela, January, 2003)
THINK ABOUT MEDIA CONTROL AND ADVANCED INDOCTRINATION….
….Like you, like most pop culture kids, there was a time when I wanted to be famous, but that time is long gone. If Kanye Kardashian and Snookie and Fergie and Harry Styles and Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are celebrities, and not just middle school product brands, you know, what value does fame possibly have? There was a time when Marlon Brando won an award, that he’d send a representative of the American Indian Movement to read a statement about indigenous people’s rights, nowadays, not one effin’ bigname celeb dares risk there cushy lifestyle advocating for anything on an awards show watched by millions beyond promoting designer labels and their own vanity. I still struggle from time to time with frustration about not being able to efficiently record and perform my own punk rock protest songs, especially when so many obnoxious big name fame whores ask me for money to fund their new albums on Kickstarter campaigns each and everyday, but there are worse tragedies than not getting to participate in show business. Nearly every band that people rave to me about from Lordes to Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend to the Kings Of Leon and Queens Of The Stone Age leave me cold and bored. I hated grunge. I still hate techno. These media pros all make a mint vomiting up mediocre bullshit that all sound like the Foo Fighters to me, and none of ’em say shit about NSA spying, TSA groping, or the Koch affiliated Freedom Industries poisoning the water of West Virginians and hundreds of casualties being rushed to emergency rooms when the government falsely claimed it was now safe to consume. Just like when B.P. poisoned the Gulf. Plenty of these hipsters and brand names have access to pig-media, everyday, on late night talkshows and various award shows, but no one besides Neil Young ever speaks out, for fear of being Dixie Chicked. They are busy shifting merch. and counting their money. Re-modelling their houses and moaning about the help. The oyster class. Out here in occupied Amerikkka, we have trouble breathing, because the air quality is so poor, the water is toxic, and we consider ourselves fortunate, if we can make it to the corner store and back without being killed by steroid monkeys, or reckless big truck drivers. I’ve known my share of greedy, ruthless bar owners who were in bed with violence crazed police who co-create this atmosphere of brutality, but this poor homeless schizophrenic man in Fullerton, Kelly Thomas R.I.P., who was savagely beaten to death, while desperately pleaing for mercy and crying for his father, just haunts my soul. I know literally hundreds of programmed middle class apologists for police state brutes and oil empire assassins, who pretend like this unspeakably inhumane shit is acceptable, that cops can be such horribly malicious sociopaths and get donut duty and paid vacations, that it has made my world very small, as I can not continue relationships with people who make like this shit is alright, just because they are racist, hate the poor, or the money feels good and their life, they like it well. So tired of the whole “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” brigade. It’s not okay to harm people, just because they are not rich people, badged, flagged, or popular drug dealers. Cops groped the breast of an Occupy Wall Street protester, leaving a giant bruise handprint, before beating her into a seizure and the fascist government duped a cable-dumb jury into convicting HER for assaulting a police officer. Punks don’t wanna talk about it, they just wanna tell you more about their famous friends and old Cocksparrer and Skrewdriver 45’s.
I try connecting to the music on late night tv shows, but it all sounds like feckin’ James Taylor and Tears For Fears without the emotion, to me. No meaning, no message, just complicit rich kids showing off their music lessons and lighting budgets, at overpriced festivals and expensive nightclub showcases. Yeah, I know it’s old fashioned, but I still prefer like, Eater, and the Adverts. Subway Sect and Motorcycle Boy, to any of the rich kid bullshit corporate music being made, nowadays, it’s all horribly, unfortunately rehashed, nineties alternative. No thanks. And I’m expected to give a shit about it, just because all those jive bands have money, most of ’em came from money, but I just don’t. I know people who earn over fifty thousand a year, who are becoming their Archie Bunker fathers in big chairs in front of big televisions, all of ’em enraged about paying three to twelve dollars a year to support millions of post Nafta, minimum wage earning, working poor, families on welfare; but who are apparently happy(!!?) to shell out over four thousand a year(!!!) for oil company welfare, and thousands upon thousands to incarcerate non violent pot smokers, and invade and kill and torture and spy on law abiding citizens, both here and abroad. Can’t question their higher-ups, without altering their lifestyle choices, so what can you do, but blame the poor for the crimes of the rich?! Nafta and TPP (the next Nafta on steroids) and the big banks and military industrial complex? Go team. They all whistle for the wolves of Wall Street. That’s obscene! Money. Once you have it, it’s like cancer, or aids. It’s not always immediately terminal, but generally, it’s only a matter of time. The poorest sons of bitches in the world, you give ’em a fancy shamancy title, tell ’em they are assistant executive co-managers, hand ’em a “V.I.P.” backstage laminate, some wine and cheese, fughettabout it. A tiny little bit of executive class privilege and they lose their motherfuckin minds. “Now you funny, too…” Who needs friends when you interview personal assistants? It’s so fucked up. No one talks about the drones or the wiretaps, indefinite detention, or the war. If they ever do it’s vaguely racist, anti-Muslim fear conditioning. Democrats push far right agendas and support the KXL pipeline, prison industrial complex, regime change dirty wars, and domestic spying. 1 in 4 Americans are military veterans, we are raised in a violent, spots indoctrinated, aggressively gung-ho militant, perpetual war state. Conditioned from birth to worship guns and hate the symbolic other. The consolidated media is controlled by a few hawkish, greedy men in a conference room. That means all the radio blow hards, faux liberals, glossy magazines, sportscasters, super hero movies, all of it. Watching TV for the past week, has reminded me why so, so many my old pals seem no numb and unreachable–they are fed mountains of lies and bullshit 24/7, by the weaponized culture machine. The corporate bullhorns of the honky death empire. Ex punks, in an accumulation oriented, honky death spell. We need to redefine heroism—heroism is not killing people for Halliburton. Heroism is giving of one’s self, helping people, creating, being true to the better angels of your nature, building community, resisting bogus war. In the big media and militarized school systems, we are taught that keeping the trains running on time and enabling the dominant bully genocide machine is “maturity”, and defending the planet and human rights is the folly of youth, or something. Bollocks. I admire anyone blazing their own trail, or following their own moral compass, even if it leads some of my favorite old scoundrels away from me and my little outpost here in the weeds, with my binoculars and broken boombox. The foolish thing about those still pulsing, nagging memories and emotional attachments, though, is how you might pass up some of your own opportunities, waste precious time, by clinging to some archaic, beguiling, illusory notions of soul-brothers and wearing your gang colors…only to find that while you were harboring all that misplaced worry about leaving a soldier behind, and all that grandiose Three Musketeers and Honeycomb Hide-out bullshit about “when you’re a Jet”; you might realize in an unguarded moment, that you were just a stooge, a stepping stone, a doorknob to others, sadly raised in this every man for himself culture of ruthless consumerism and conformity. I remember how one of my more gifted old cronies was universally dismissed as a dumb-fuck heavy metal stoner by all the R.E.M. college types, all our lives, until he made it big, and now, they are all in line to high five him. Funny, innit? I think I’m gonna be unable to attend the high school reunion at the sports bar. I just don’t wish to see those blonde fat people drunkenly line dancing to Depeche Mode.
YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHEESE-WHIZ…
I seldom have cash ya know, but gave a paltry sum to a shivering houseless guy in the cold rain today and he was so earnestly grateful, it took me back. Later this evening, I was at the corner store and saw a different guy, who is always on the sidewalk in the same spot, and asked the cashier if she knew him and was he approachable because he seemed to be muttering some obscenities which is actually something I can relate to, but I just asked the cashier if she knew the guy, because in twenty some years of retail, I generally knew everybody in the neighborhood like the old Sesame Street song, but instead of giving me any relevant feedback, she went straight into cop/loss prevention mode, stiffened, raised her voice, looked out the door three or four times, claiming she could not see him, right there on the sidewalk, and I was taken aback by her assertive response, so while I was paying, I explained it was really cold and I was just wondering if I should approach him, and the more I spoke to this uptight convenience store retail lady, the more berserk she got, and I realized I had on a leather jacket, and a pink, silly, female wool cap that belongs to my wife, but she was sizing me up as a potential robber, or something. Come ON! This is what an ex rocker, fat dad looks like, in the rain, who doesn’t care if he impresses anyone with his appearance so much, anymore. A pink striped furry hat, ya know? But she was in emergency mode, loudly saying things like, “I’m NOT Alone!”, and me, I’m like, yeah, okay, cool, where do I sign? Yeah, be vigilant. Wow. Ridin’ home on my bike, in a heavy, heavy fog, I realized I too, actually, tensed up, seeing this large black athletic fella, and he actually smiled kindly and murmured something about the fog. We are all tense, ya know? Dude meant me no harm, I meant the cashier no harm, homeless guy in the rain was just gettin’ rained on. I’m kind of blue, somedays, about the pains and pangs and ruined knees and various random symptoms of aging, while no longer fronting a glammy, gothic, punk rock and AC/DC influenced pop combo. I still write songs, but there’s no one to collaborate with, and I’ve been resistant to learning some feckin’ drum machine program on the computer like everybody else does since few Americans actually socialize off-line, in real life, anymore. In the football suburbs where I live, it’s all about “kicking ass” and rooting for bloodshed and regime change in foreign lands, Kanye Kardashian, techno whiteboy D.J. culture, or fake-reggae jam bands. I have no interest in becoming Moby or Skrillex, ya know wot I mean? If I was a a fat chick with a rain stick, I’d be a star. I don’t smoke ganja, I don’t wear camo-shorts, or flip-flops, and I don’t like Sublime, so that pretty much rules out doing much around here until I’m able to someday relocate and let’s face it, with the radiation, fluoride, wars, corporate soft-kill, and the taser crazy paramilitaries and chem-trails and chemical spills, nuclear meltdowns, and non stop fracking, now ain’t really the time for long term career goals. If you don’t do it now, chances are pretty high, you ain’t doing it, at all. Sonofabitch. I peaked, babies. On my way down.
THEE FACTION “Singing Down The Government (The War of Position And How We’re Winning It)” (-review)
Tim Yo, of “Maximum Rocknroll” was right about most everything. In the early days of all that nauseating Michael Stipe and Natalie Merchant blue blooded, academic political correctness, it was fun maybe, to take jabs at Tim for being precious about his principles, but everything he warned us about, has since come to pass. What remains of “punk rock” is simply rich people selling products and athletic, chisel jawed, trust funders, jumping up and down. Nobody gives a fuck about anything in these regressive highschool cliques and upper middle class music scenes, aside from you know, gossip, schmoozing with old famous people, sucking up to celebrity, being seen, and accumulating rare shit in bags and under glass. What any of that has to do with rocknroll, I dunno. Americans are all pretty much brainwashed by their institutions and controlled media. Even when their own water, soil, and air are being poisoned, even when spooks are rummaging through their sock drawers, even when hard-on bully sadists are beating the piss out of disabled victims, these conditioned consumers could give a fuck about anything beyond their collections and vanity. You know it’s bad when even the drag queens and crusty punks only care about acquisition and high school hierarchy.
You know it’s bad when the weight lifting ex punk graphic artists openly ridicule activists for giving a shit about civil liberties and human rights and anything besides showing off their souped up vintage cars and pimping bobbleheads. Yeah yeah they may have spiked their hair with gel in ’83 and known Darby Crash, and hated Reagan thirty years ago, but face it—most of those aged jocks are more pig than punk, nowadays. They all think we wanna hear their toughguy fight story from the eighties again and pay them for the honor and privilege. See any of ’em (besides Duane Peters or Jello Biafra) blogging about anything beyond how you should buy another overpriced concert ticket, or autographed copy of their fecking book? Or pay to shake their fecking hand? No. These old fecking surfer types have been rich for so long all they can find to bitch about is targeting low hanging fruit like Toby Keith. I mean, sure, that corporate cowboy is nothing but a rich shill for Ford trucks and bullshit patriotism, no doubt, Henry Rollins, but I’d rather see you use your fame platform and formidable intellect challenging actual powers, not easy targets like redneck product brands. While all the faux liberals moaned and moaned and moaned and moaned about those bearded bigoted hicks on “Duck Dynasty”, Obama signed the revamped NDAA, is ramming through TPP, baiting Russia, overthrowing elected foreign governments, and justifying Stasi style surveillance. Rather than organizing concerts to elect Cindy Sheehan governor, or making a difference locally, in small elections where you can still effect meaningful change, many West Coast punks are content with the idea that their private prison and fracking shill, Jerry Brown banged Linda Ronstadt thirty years ago. Police brutality, radioactive waves, airport gropings, massacred homeless disabled cadavers beaten to unrecognizable pulp by cops who walked free and may even get their jobs back? Fuckedup eco-systems, non-stop fracking and poisoned water? Demonization of the poor and houseless community….So what-? “Look how buff I look in my glossy promo 8X10!”
I got some bunny ears antenna at the junk shop, so I can see like five or six tv channels and always wonder to myself who all those thousands of kids are who can afford fifty dollar concert tickets to see these tepid Radiohead knockoff techno bands that fill the Greek Theater, or three hundred dollars for passes to those gigantic outdoor concerts. Working class people in Amerikkka can’t afford to go see shitty bands, everybody I know is broke. Funny thing about Americans is how we are all programmed to claim we are middle class-from the poorest homeless guy to rich kids with million dollar homes, we all say we’re middle class. Some of us are just coming out and admitting we’re poor, we don’t really think it’s a crime, or a sin, or something to be ashamed of. Look at your rich people. Who would want to become one of them?
Middle-class suburban snobs only ever liked snazzy Paul Weller for his clothes, so I kinda doubt many elitist Vespa owners here in the capitalist wasteland are gonna get that geeked about the soulful, garagey, pub rock influenced, “Socialist R&B” of THEE FACTION, but it’s a damned shame, ’cause these guys deserve to be heralded from the rooftops by mods, punks, and rockers alike. They write scathing, brilliant lyrics as good as Morrissey or Ian Hunter. They are defiant like the Sex Pistols. They are as fun as Madness, or ya know, like The Beat‘s “Stand Down Margaret” type stuff. As smart as Billy Bragg. You know how all those flannel shirted baby boomers who still swoon over Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band? THEE FACTION are the authentic voice of the working man. They know the game is fixed, they stand with the workers, they advocate for the lower classes, lifting consciousness, they fight for liberty, equality, social justice and human rights. They stand for truth and justice, they make music that means something. AND YOU CAN MOTHERFUCKIN’ DANCE TO IT! America doesn’t have bands like this, because we’re all too broke to rent rehearsal spaces or buy p.a.’s and instruments, and the people with money just rehash the past for fun and profit, but THEE FACTION can be our band, too, because if we had a band of our own, we’d want it to have the literate conscience and Joe Sixpack heart and soul power of THEE FACTION.
I know I’ve raved about them before, but a band with this much rebel soul deserves more attention. Tell all the people that you see.
JOHN DISSED “RED FLAG” review
John Dissed is a soulful California songwriter who might remind you of Johnny Kaplan and the Lazy Stars or Jason Nesmith, but he has an edgy, consciousness-raising approach to songwriting, he demands his listeners open their eyes to see the lies right in front of them. Discovered by power-pop cult favorite and underground radio personality, Anthony Castillo of SLOW MOTORCADE fame, Mr. Dissed shares Anthony’s enthusiasm for truth telling, using podcasts and anthems to educate the masses, and music with stinging lyrics and consoling melodies. John Dissed is the kind of artist that punk generation diehards yearn for in this soldout, apathetic age, where yesterday’s rebels only care about having their egos stroked by young Green Day fans and showing off their new hats at the booksigning, or being the nostalgic expert on the panel, retelling their fight story from ’83 when they still hated the pigs, again. He is a middle finger in the Botoxed face of yuppie ex punks in this embarrassing era of self stroking consumer obsession and cable brainwashing. He has a social conscience like TV Smith, Boots Riley, Manic Street Preachers, or Steve Earle. He’s maybe more truth oriented and confrontational than some of his own former influences.
I’m a big fan of anyone who uses their voice to bravely advocate on behalf of human rights, compassion, liberty, and peace. Songs like “Vampire”, “Austerity”, and “Black Site” have the intelligence of Jello Biafra or Joe Strummer and are reminiscent of eighties pop from the MTV era, like say, the Godfathers, Midnight Oil, the Plimsouls, or Men At Work. Soccer moms will dig John’s smooth singing voice and he ought to be touring with Jacob Dylan‘s Wallflowers. His guitars will please fans of George Harrison, and Rick Springfield, while his words will stimulate people who read “The Nation” magazine and and appreciate Phil Ochs, Paul K & The Weathermen, or the Gin Blossoms. There’s plenty of descriptive, mellow, sundrenched Wilco vibes and a Costello-esque approach to waking up the drowsy, acquisition oriented masses we don’t hear enough of these days. If you love the politics of Tom Morrello or the Coup, or the catchy pop excellence of Dramarama, you’ll dig the dark, cerebral pop of John Dissed. I urge all my pals with dayjobs in public radio to add this cat to their playlists.
THE NO13’s “VACANT LIFE” review
Even if, like me, you’re the embittered and jealous type, it is nearly impossible to dislike No. 13‘s lead singer, Larry Poccia, who just has this infectious zest for life, you can plainly see the gratitude and generosity rolling off of him, he’s obviously figured out how to live the life he loves, and love the life he lives. Larry’s had the great honor and fortune of collaborating with some of the most soulful and important underground music heroes of the past quarter century, including the peerless guitar god, JIMMY JAMES from the COMA-TONES, HANGMEN, & BARRIO TIGER, as well as our much beloved and dearly departed cowboy bluespunk, BOBBY DURANGO (R.I.P.) of ROCK CITY ANGELS. Lately, Larry’s been seen hangin’ around people like Paul Stanley from KISS and his mom, who is clearly a great woman. Larry’s the kinda guy we all wanna roadtrip with, the diamond dude you trust to gather the ice chest, flashlights, fireworks, KISS sleeping bags, and other essentials for that summertime party in the woods, ya know what I mean? He’s got organization skills, but still clearly loves a good time. An amazing graphic artist, he’s dated some cool women, he has a dazzling Osmond smile. He will probably have no trouble selling you his used Trans-Am.
His band, the No. 13’s play catchy stadium pop with commercial appeal. Def Leppard. Van Halen. That kinda thing. Slap this CD on and you’ll immediately find yourself nodding your head along to their crunchy, sunny pop rock, especially if you ever enjoyed the poppy glam of American Heartbreak or Buckcherry. Their lead track, “Anything” sounds fantastic in the car with the windows down. “Bleed” reminds me of Chelsea Smiles and the Black Marquee. Midwesterners with backbreaking outdoor labor jobs will enjoy listening to songs like “Alltime Low” and “Maybe God Stopped Loving You” on the boombox, particularly at the end of the day while looking forward to the radar love ratrace to the beer store. The No 13’s have a solid songwriting sensibility and major potential to capture a huge listening audience of badly aging metalheads and beautiful blonde bikini top wearing rock festival ticket buyers. “Vacant Life”, “Go!” and “Suicide” will echo in your head all day while you reminisce about your long lost, stonewashed streetgang and sun dappled good times still stubbornly stuck in your mind like some black and white video that accompanies the corny road ballad of your most sacred youthful memories. If you ever knew a blue collar couple like Bon Jovi‘s mythical Tommy and Gina, as a kid, if you ever teared up while listening to David Lee Roth‘s song, “Damn Good”, you’ll instantly appreciate the coolness and songwriting of the No 13’s. This is a great band.
ORGANIZE TO RESTORE THE CALIFORNIA DREAM! ELECT CINDY SHEEHAN GOVERNOR OF CALIFORN-I-A!
UP THE WORKERS!
*Being unexpectedly jailed is terrifying and the first few days are understandably the most difficult. How about we help make this time more bearable by writing to Cecily to let her know we give a shit. Her current address is: Cecily McMillan Book & Case Number 3101400431 Rose M. Singer Center 19-19 Hazen Street East Elmhurst, New York 11370 For up to date information and other ways to help, make sure to visit justiceforcecily.com The conviction of Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan for assault on a police officer shows that the judiciary is corrupt and dissent will not be tolerated. We can no longer call ourselves a democratic society, and as Chris Hedges says, we are living in the “post-constitutional era.”
AND NOW….THE NEWS: