The older you get, the more your life becomes miserable-the people you’re brought up with die. Your grandparents and parents die. Your dog dies, your energy diminishes. There are fewer books to read, no more groups to discover. You end up a barren wasteland, trying to find something new that never occurs. The sad thing is there’s nothing worth doing, there’s nothing you truly enjoy, and there’s no purpose in your life.” (-Richie Edwards)
“The real story of this material is that it’s war, it’s one damn thing after another. It is the continuous small events, the continuous death of children, insurgents, allied forces, maimed people.” (- Julian Assange, Frontline Club Press Conference on Afghan War Diaries, 2010)
DOWN WITH THE DUOPOLY
“What does censorship reveal? It reveals fear”. (- Julian Assange)
“Julian lives in us. He lives through us and he’s fighting for us. So yes, you are all guilty if you don’t do something. Julian already did the risks for you. You are not really risking anything.” (— Slavoj Žižek, DiEM25 Advisory Panel member)
“US corporate media has provided glowing coverage to Paul Gray, a notorious American white nationalist fighting in Ukraine. A DHS document warns he’s not the only US fascist drawn to Kiev.
As the United States undergoes a national mourning process over a spate of mass shootings, American white nationalists with documented histories of violence are attaining combat experience with advanced US-made weapons in a foreign proxy war.
That’s according to the Department of Homeland Security, which has been gathering intelligence on Americans who have joined the ranks of the more than 20,000 foreign volunteers in Ukraine.
The FBI has indicted several American white nationalists associated with the Rise Above Movement after they trained with the neo-Nazi Azov Battaliion and its civilian wing, the National Corps, in Kiev. But that was almost four years ago. Today, federal law enforcement has no idea how many US neo-Nazis are participating in the war in Ukraine, or what they are doing there.
But one thing is for certain: the Biden administration is allowing the Ukrainian government to recruit Americans – including violent extremists – at its embassy in Washington DC and at consulates across the country. As this report will show, at least one notorious extremist fighting in Ukraine has received extensive promotion from mainstream media, while another who is currently wanted for violent crimes committed in the US was mysteriously able to evade FBI investigators looking into war crimes he previously committed in Eastern Ukraine.
According to a Customs and Border Patrol document released thanks to a May 2022 Freedom of Information Act request by a nonprofit called Property of the People, federal authorities are concerned about RMVE-WS’s, or “racially-motivated violent extremists – white supremacy” returning to the US armed with new tactics learned on the Ukrainian battlefield.
“Ukrainian nationalist groups including the Azov Movement are actively recruiting racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist white supremacists to join various neo-Nazi volunteer battalions in the war against Russia,” the document states. “RMVE-WS individuals in the United States and Europe announced intentions to join the conflict and are organizing entry to Ukraine via the Polish border.”
The document, which was drafted by Customs and Border Protections, the Office of Intelligence, and other Homeland Security sub-agencies, contains write-ups of interviews conducted by law enforcement with Americans en route to Ukraine to fight Russia.
One such volunteer interviewed in early March “admitted to contacting the Georgian National Legion but decided against joining the group as they were accused of war crimes,” according to the document. Instead, the volunteer “ hoped to obtain a work contract with the Azov Battalion.”
That interview was conducted nearly a month before additional war crimes committed by the Georgian Legion were reported by The Grayzone. However, the volunteer’s allegation may also refer to the illegal execution of two men who had attempted to break through a Ukrainian checkpoint, or an additional, unreported crime known to insiders within volunteer networks.
One key “intelligence gap” listed in the document speaks to the US government’s complete lack of oversight in the proxy war it is sponsoring in Ukraine. NATO arming campaign which has offered no assurances that Western weapons won’t fall into the hands of Nazis. “What kind of training are foreign fighters receiving in Ukraine that they could possibly proliferate in US based militia and white nationalist groups?” the document asks.
Property of the People shared the document with Politico, which sought to downplay and even discredit its explosive contents by inserting the caveat that “critics say” the Department of Homeland Security document “echoes one of the Kremlin’s top propaganda points.”
But as this report will illustrate, the presence of hardcore American neo-Nazis in the ranks of the Ukrainian military is far from a deception cranked out by the Kremlin’s propaganda mills.”
(-Alexander Rubenstein-Gray Zone)
“Something I don’t see being discussed: how a whole industry emerged around school shootings, an industry of consultants and experts that have fueled nightmarish, abusive drills around the country, terrorizing students — and to what end, exactly? What have these people given us? And now these experts are talking about how this outcome in Texas was inexplicable. Was it? Or could it be that all of their rhetoric and training and “expertise” are worthless, and that they have been fleecing a terrified nation for the last two decades while delivering nothing? We need to get cops out of schools. They are not a deterrent to violence. Today, the wider school security industry peddles everything from bullet-proof whiteboards to facial-recognition software to transparent backpacks. Worth some $2.7 billion.” (-Puff The Magic Hater on Twitter)
“I have a 120K followers & use to see hundreds & thousands likes & retweets. Now I barely see a hundred retweets. I understand the game. All of the “left” forces who give ideological cover to the colonial/capitalist project have not experienced any problems.” (-Ajamu Baraka)
“Our Gov’t is waging an economic war on the American people.” (-Black In The Empire)
“Newly revealed documents show the US government believes “in times of emergency” they have the right to revoke due process under the law, privacy rights, and any right to communicate via phone or internet. Can we please make Orwell fiction again?” (-Lee Camp)
“Biden voted against the 1991 Gulf War, then quickly said he was mistaken. He transformed into a top Iraq war hawk. During nearly 50 years in public office, Biden has seldom seen a U.S. war he didn’t support or help facilitate.” (-Jeremy Scahill author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars)
“No other nation in the world is producing this many mass shooters because no other nation in the world has a political and economic system that breeds as much inequality, terror, and violence as the United States.” (-Ryan Knight)
“I know how you feel about life…I share your views…Every artist that passes touches me more…The passing of Andy Fletcher hit home…Felt the same when founding member of Cabaret Voltaire passed…The dying of scenes or clubs ..The sickening youth culture Tick tock Youtube influencers Logan Douchebags have killed my passion for the arts.. It used to be you had talent or stuck to your convictions that garnered respect and fan loyalty but things have changed..Truly a culture based on Money for nothin….” (-Neen Youkhana)
“In a better society, a socialist society, baby formula wouldn’t be sold by private interests. It would be provided free of charge to every family and yes, the government would make it. The “market forces” which we are told solve every problem actually create very serious ones. In this country even the effort to provide infant formula to all, regardless of income, is yet another means of supporting monopoly capital.
The Women Infants and Children (WIC) program provides exclusive contracts with just two companies in exchange for discounts. The handful of companies providing formula get rich but the market does not do a good job of caring for kids. Formula doesn’t provide a big enough profit margin to be of interest to corporations. This market we’re told to believe in with semi-religious fervor doesn’t provide for other needs very well either. Only public outcry from desperate parents got the needed response after months of shortages.
Even cynical politicians eventually pay attention when babies’ lives are at risk, but this problem is not unique. Higher education should be free or at the very least inexpensive as it was before neoliberalism turned the country into a failed state. Health care should also be free but the one promise Biden has kept is to make sure that doesn’t happen. The very term “medical debt” is an abomination yet it is the reason for most personal bankruptcies. It seems that baby formula is the canary in the failed state coal mine.
This time the crisis is about feeding babies but there are more to come. Food shortages and rising prices, gasoline prices, and voracious hedge funds snapping up houses are all symptoms of a very big problem.
Of course, capitalism creates all these crises but levels of indoctrination are so high that very few people make the connections. While all fingers should be pointed at the market forces which create so much misery, some people prefer to shame women who don’t breastfeed. Others are angry that babies in immigration detention get the formula that the law requires them to have.
Pete Buttigieg isn’t alone in cutting off any discussion of alternatives. The “socialism doesn’t work” trope is quite effective. Even as the quality of life diminishes in a myriad of ways, there is little improvement in the willingness to reject American exceptionalism and its many lies. The cognitive dissonance required to face these many predicaments is too great for many people to experience, even as their expectations of basics such as a steady supply of infant formula crumble around them.
This particular crisis will ease but it will be followed by more. There is still $1.9 trillion in student loan debt incurred by people who only wanted to improve their lives. After allocating $30 billion for policing, the Biden administration is telling states and localities to use unspent covid stimulus funding for the police, who apparently can’t get enough public money. Covid hasn’t disappeared and neither have any other health care needs that could sorely use this funding. Of course, the Ukraine cash cow has to be milked to the tune of an additional $40 billion.
When the next calamity hits the fan the true villain has to be named. Regardless of other symptoms, it is capitalism that causes our problems.” (-Margaret Kimberly)
CAPTAIN OF HER HEART
So yeah, like I mighta told you before, I did not come from a rocknroll town-in fact, the little villes I grew up in were all about sports and patriotism. Sports patriotism. I stood out like a middle finger. Stand up like a nail and get hammered. There were a couple of faux surfers though, who had like, little bleached wrestling mullets their moms got ’em in the big city, two and a half hours away in any direction. They wore their Ocean Pacific Painter pants rolled up like Tom Sawyer, Vans, multiple Swatch watches, Polo golf shirts with the collar turned up, Polo fuckin cologne, tried to get sun tans at the country club pool. One kid who mighta been named Kevin moved there from outta town-you could tell. He spoke with the same Valley Boy accent as the rest of the Ohio Surf Squad, and Beavis n Spicoli metal dudes, but was a little less of a dickhead, because wherever he came from, they had punks. He’d even heard of Suicidal Tendencies and The Cure and started dating this chick named Beth who was like the head of the Spirit club. She was always brimming with peppy ENTHUSIASM! I can’t remember if she was a cheerleader but she probably should’ve been. She had a Belinda Carlysle appeal. Their big love song was that Double cocktail jazz shit, “The Captain Of Her Heart”. She used to write me letters in class on GUESS jeans ads she’d pre torn outta like Details magazine in silver marker and fold them into elaborate origami shapes. I think she sensed I liked the New Music, and she was positively koo koo for like, the B-52’s. That was who she was sorta trying to be with the oversized rhinestone sunglasses and postcards and Judy Jetson toys and trinkets and jelly shoes, and fifties housewife pink capri pants, rubber bracelets and garish flower prints and the like. I also remember her talking about Wham! and Baltimora and Belouise Some. I remember going to a carnival with the two of them at the Catholic school. She was telling the tall new kid who might’ve been named Kevin how he looked like Simon Le Bon and Sting and Billy Idol. Her own big claim to fame was when she became the only teenager in our tristate area who somehow got ahold of a “Frankie Say Relax” t shirt that she would wear to teen night at the downtown preppie bar where one of my older pals, Bobby, was the superstar DJ. She’d slowdance with her bleach tipped surfer beau to “Careless Whisper”. I think I may have once slow danced there myself, with the bombshell love of my young life, most likely to Duran Duran-“Save A Prayer”, but you know I’ll have to ask her someday, if that really happened, as I very well may have just dreamed it. You kill as many braincells in the eighties as I did, once you start getting old, summa your careless memories start to blur with songs and hazy half forgotten dreams.
Most nights, I’d sit up in the DJ booth with my homie Cowboy Bob, and try to get him to play wilder, edgier sounds. Some nights he might play something by Ministry or Bauhaus or Skinny Puppy or Thirwell or Einstürzende Neubauten and clear the whole dance floor. They were not even really ready for “What You Need”, or “Oh, Sheila”. All the sports-patriots wanted to hear was like, uh, Madonna, Journey, Bon Jovi. Metallica was big. Later on, it was Pearl Jam, Kid Rock, and Korn. We’d have waitresses bring us epic trays full of shots and watch the kids dance on the floor way down below. I dunno what happened to their Trendy Love, but B-52’s Beth moved into this place we called the Airplane Hanger, or Airplane House, a splinter faction of moody boys from rural townships in long trench coats with the sleeves rolled up, Miami Vice style, paisley shirts from Chess King in the mall buttoned all the way to the top, stonewashed black jeans and combat boots, foo foo haircuts, in the words of Mojo Nixon. One chick named Kris who lived there was a sexy dancer who always wore all white and loved Inxs and Love & Rockets so that’s the one I kinda liked to makeout with in her room. The other chicks were into like, visiting cemeteries and that movie The Lost Boys, they were trying to be hip n cool, but were just sorta mainstream margarita bimbos. Destined for middle age in big white houses with big white kids and big white trucks parked out front. Future winebox moms.
One night, the extremely cheerful B-52’s chick showed up at my place unexpectedly with her other friend-the only semi-cool girl from my original middle school and high school I’d been expelled from, and she just started kissing me. It was good times. Patti. Loved her. What a cool girl she was. Took a lotta guts to be her at that school, too, cause it was all Mean Girls and Dumb, Fat Fratboys and future Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney loving Republikkkans From Hell. So Yeah, Ohio Sucks. Don’t believe the hype about the Pagans and Pere Ubu and Electric Eels and Rubber City Rebels. It’s so rightwing there, my thrash bassplaying girlfriend’s, mom’s biker boyfriend, who was always very kind and hospitable and protective of us kids and therefore seemingly nice, he had some relatives from the deep South, who had been in the facking white supremacist hate groups. That’s why so many of the good Amurkkkan college grads who went to OSU, solemnly pat each other on the back for being, Thank Obamas. Or for liking, “Bust A Move”. Or that “Big Butts” song. Thank Obamas all like that awful Diddy song that sampled Diana Ross. Diddy was the rapper who could not rap, dance, write or produce, so naturally the anti-music machinery made him a big celebrity. Thank Obamas love a man in a white suit.
Obama is their proof that they are not racist, like their uptight white parents. They like Chelle, and Will Smith, too. Of course, nobody ever told the Thank Obamas about his wars or overthrowing Libya, indefinite detention and end to due process, warrantless wiretaps, or the disposition matrix-they just know he likes basketball, and they like basketball. He likes Beyonce and Jay Z, and they like Beyonce and Jay Z. He speaks carefully with genteel manners, they speak carefully with genteel manners. They are practically RELATED! I lost touch with most of the Airplane House people when I turned twenty and left town, they were called the Airplane Dancers because they danced in circles with their arms flailing about like airplanes, I think they were trying to be like Michael Stipe. My bassist, the celebrity DJ used to play some Dead Milkmen and Violent Femmes for them and they’d GO WILD. I’m sure they all grew up and became Thank Obama Buckeye fans. Game Day and Stuffed Crust Meat Lovers Pizza and Cinnamon Sticks. One of the other chicks who moved into the airplane house was named Cindy-she was a senior when I was a Freshman, she lived on the corner and her brothers threw the biggest party one time any of us had ever seen, on the dirtbike trails behind their corner house–they had kegs and a big P.A., she’s actually babysit me in the fourth grade. By the time I was eighteen and she was maybe 21 or 22, we shared the briefest infatuation, I kinda had a full dancecard already, but it was thrilling when she fancied me for a minute. She had a twin sister named Sandy and they had a big mural of the one tone, ska hitmakers, the Bleach Police in their garage, which, for my town, was just about the edgiest thing ever. DE DOO DOO DAH. There was one gay bar in that town we’d all go to on Sunday nights cause we liked the music they played and I’m smiling now remembering when I was trying to tell my gay friend, a genius, beautiful piano player named Jeff Jerome, that there is just NO WAY that George Michael is gay! Ha ha, his songs like “Kissing A Fool” are what I listened to while mooning over The One girl I was always mad for. So yeah, most everybody in that town was pretty square and there were maybe thirty, forty kids who’d really even been exposed to commercial MTV music, tops-Most of ’em never really even had a teenage music phase-they all knew about Madonna and Michael Jackson, of course, but mostly, they focused all their attentions on owning cars, namebrand clothing, expensive tennis shoes, and sports and looking forward to going away to the big city of Columbus where they would paint their faces and chests orange and gray and drunkenly scream for their home state college football team. They all kinda thought the Beastie Boys were the ultimate band. The Chili Peppers socks on dicks thing never went outta style there. It’s all still bongwater and baseball caps. So besides rooting unconditionally for their home team colors, I really think the main things they learned at Sports Patriotism U were to never, never, never question authority, because that would be unscientific, and if any information ever makes them uncomfortable, they can either seek to have the sources deplatformed, or just dismiss them as conspiracy theorists. You’ll always know a Thank Obama by their appalled reaction when you bring up Julian Assange. If Hillary says he is a baddie, that is THE SCIENCE. They love being lied to, it’s comforting to them. They were raised to follow orders. Mention BUILDING NUMBER SEVEN and they leave the room, or wish they could have have you tasered like when a honor roll student mentions Skull N Bones and the Bush selection Florida hanging chad recount upended by the Supreme Court, to John Kerry at a college lecture. Ask ’em about Michael Chertoff or Eric Prince, or Klaus Schwab or the World Economic Forum or CFR or what does Haarp do and has it been decommissioned, or Drunk Aunt Pelosi’s ushering in the cashless society chip paperwork, and they will change to subject to like Katie Perry, Taylor Swift, or The Simpsons. They call that, “keepin’ it classy”. I knew all these stoner college grads who watch Bill Nye The Science Guy and any topic you might bring up, from hackable Diebold (rebranded as Premiere) voting boxes, to the Kennedys, and they’ll always tell you the Official Story is “SCIENCE” and any lingering question is just a “conspiracy theory.” I got acquaintances who attended posh colleges in big cities on the coasts who talk about safe spaces and shit. Where we came from, nobody was at all, ever shocked for one minute by Donald Trump. They are almost all exactly like Trump there-the country club men and racist coaches and ill tempered history teachers and zero tolerance juvie judges, all the old males are flatulent, coarse, salty, arrogant, sadist, narcissistic, Jabba like blubbering tyrant blowhards. Love it or leave it. I left and hope to never return. I still love George Michael, though!
“We said Russiagate was a joke from day 1 – We were proven right. We said Ukraine is a proxy war – We were proven right. We said there were no WMD in Iraq – We were proven right. We said there was mass surveillance of US citizens – We were proven right. We said blackbox voting machines were a bad idea – We were right. We said climate change is real & critical – We were right. We said there was no Syrian chemical attack – We were right. We said there’s no accountability for the Trillions dumped into the Pentagon – We were right. We said collapsing Libya was a bad idea – We were right. We said the US was using torture – We were proven right. We said Israel is an apartheid state – We were right. …Maybe it’s time to listen to the independent journalists the mainstream media attacks.” (-Lee Camp)
“The greatest purveyor of violence globally is also the greatest purveyor of violence domestically.”
(-Dr. Jill Stein)
“Liberals & latte-left are pissed at Trump. While they slavishly support agenda of U.S. transnational capital, Trump’s opportunism is drawing lines of demarcation between neoliberal global agenda & “national interests.” Proto-fascist, of course, but democrats are enabling him.” (-Ajamu Baraka)
“Liberals long ago sold their soul and abandoned their most basic principles to line up behind a bankrupt Democratic Party…They sit placidly on the sidelines as the Democratic Party leadership betray every issue they claim to support.” (— Chris Hedges)
“Year after year, Australian prime ministers and officials have been asked to stand up for Julian #Assange. They’ve done nothing. They’ve colluded. “By failing to act,” says Stella Assange, [they are] not just negligent; it shows that whoever is in office is not fit for office.”” (-John Pilger)
“You’ve got to graduate from an Ivy League university and read all the latest reports from the most esteemed think tanks to get smart enough to understand why it’s a good idea to fight Russia and China at the same time.” (-Cait Johnstone) HA HA HA HA HA! MAN, I LOVE THIS SOUL SISTER!
“People who accuse you of having Kremlin loyalties when you question or criticize the US empire are admitting that they don’t care whether statements are true or false, only whether they demonstrate loyalty to our rulers. That’s the lens through which they examine the world.” (-Cait Johnstone)
‘If the Home Secretary certifies the US request to extradite Julian Assange it will violate the prohibition against torture and set an alarming precedent for publishers and journalists around the world’ (-Amnesty International)
WARM COKE BEE STING
“Sit tight and listen keenly while I play for you another musical biscuit!” (-Big Audio Dynamite)
Man. Most of the people I’d like to converse with on a windy day like today are already gone on to the other side. I’ve been binge watching a survivalist show about individuals dumped off in hostile natural environments who start to disintegrate emotionally after being forced to confront their selves without the usual distractions. I know what that shit’s like, cause all my amigos been gone forever. Most of the time, it’s just me and these old memories. Middle school, grandparent’s house for the holidays, the Dairy King and old drive-in. Duran Duran videos. Meeting girls underneath the underpass near the old Pony Keg. Missy who used to carry her brush around, even at night on clandestine rendes vous with dubious hoodlums. Building forts with lumber appropriated from old building sites, friends breaking limbs doing BMX tricks. Hours spent listening to old homies learning how to play “Talk Dirty To Me” or “Livin’ After Midnight” on guitar. The dreaded schoolbus with those older twins Sindy and Sandy in the backseat with Melanie and whatever her sister’s name was-they all smelled like hairspray and bubblegum, ya know? The good old record stores, man it’s all gone. Holidays are a trigger for me cause all my kids spend holidays with somebody who ain’t me. You’d think I’d be used to their absence, by now. I’m not though. There’s a hole where they should be, in my life. In “The Curse Of The Black Pearl”, Will Turner struggles to accept that his father Bootstrap was a pirate and a good man. I worry for those kids out there in this cold world. NWO media tells them they are free to choose which tyrannical overlord executive they like more.
Raytheon, Thiokol, Northrop, Lockheed, General Dynamics, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer/Monsanto, Black Rock and Vanguard profits are what matter to your so called reps. THE SQUAD not only dropped the whole topic of healthcare for everyone or reuniting families kidnapped in the immigrant border gulags, they approved the proxy regime change war billions on Russia’s frontdoor in the Ukraine. THEY DO NOT ADVOCATE FOR THE RELEASE OF JULIAN ASSANGE. They are just empty words sayers. Halfhearted tweeters. Pelosi obeyers. They, like most capitalist got-mines, mainly care about their own mimosas, glamour shots, and red carpet celebrity privileges. Not your health or well being, not regular people in the Ukraine, or teachers and kids being slaughtered in schools. How sad is it to behold mf’s still actively rat racing, all the way in to their fucking sixties? How many people you know think they gonna get to sit with the jocks at the lunch table if they just parrot bullshit cable slogans dutifully enough? I really can’t relate to many people at this point. All the brave and righteous ones like Mike Gravel (RIP) and Glen Ford (RIP) and my personal amigos who were faithful and sincere to me, seem to have all gone on to whatever awaits us all, Julian Assange is still being tortured by the empire in the belly of the beast at Belmarsh prison and not one of your fakesass bullshit politicians has the integrity or guts to speak out about this inhumane injustice. That’s how you know it ain’t real. NOBODY from “the Squad” or the “McResistance” believes in free speech or freedom of the press. They are all just empty pants-suits, lyin’ ass spokesmodels from Central Casting. Books are better than Tik Tok. READ A FUCKING BOOK:
NEVER BEING BORING
“I always thought in spite of dreams, you’d be sitting somewhere here with me.” (-Pet Shop Boys)
Sundays have always sucked for me. Monday mornings are almost even worse. My thing was rocknrollin’, ya know? I write songs and try to photograph my experiences with words and sounds. Most all my old cohorts though, have either died, were seduced to the dark side of the force by vampiric, godless, evil rich people, or just got so reindoctrinated by capitalist hierarchy culture you can’t communicate with ’em no more. They sadly lack the capacity to just be honest and sincere. They’re like fucking commercials. And not even cool commercials like say, 1980’s Juicy Fruit or Sunkist commercials–they’re warpig commercials, winner takes all fascists, obedience mongers. Narrative managers. Fuck. Somedays ya wanna pack up the old stagecoach with the rockin’ chair and jukebox on top, and makeoff down the lane for some freer place, but ya know they killed the California Dream, they killed everything. The fuckin’ elective surgery mansion dwellers and their awful music festival idiot children. Like yesterday, I was sitting in my old girlfriend, Lisa’s pad on Rivington Street, circa 1984 thumbing through a Smash Hits magazine from Gem Spa, looking at pictures of Nik Kershaw and Specimen, ya know, and dreaming of forming a crazy, spacedout new wave/post punk band of my own. I loved all that lot-Boy George, Adam Ant, Sue Catwoman, Bow Wow Wow, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Public Image: “hello, helloo…” When I’d hear that Pet Shop Boys song, “In Suburbia”, I’d think of my true fine love who I’d written a sophomoric early song about called “White Suburbia” about how foreign and farout it seemed way out there in the deep burbs where she grew up, beyond where I’d gone to school for about four years, from fourth through eighth, with all the big houses and tall trees and all the leafy green yards and blonde children ringing bells on their tricycles and running around on streets all named for woodsy tree nymphs or something. Oakleaf Lane. Everybody was named ya know, Kirk Woodhome or Tommy Elmhaven, ya dig? Very white and woodsy and elven. I was already full on the rank outsider, with my spiky hair and ripped Andy Taylor jeans and feather earrings and cowboy boots. Nobody wore no shit like that, out there. I had an ugly girl’s bike painted housepaint gray. Even my bike was ugly. I was so impossibly smitten, though, there was a girl, she was all I ever dreamt about. It’d take me about two hours to peddle out to her house on that fuckedup girl’s bicycle. If her parents weren’t home, I could come indoors and hold hands and read lyric sheets and listen to The Smiths or U2 with her. I wrote alot of songs about that era. It was so exquisitely golden, dreamlike. You know that song by The Pretenders, “Birds Of Paradise”? That’s what it was like. Heavenly. “Old House” by The Smiths. “All I Want” by U2. “Somebody” by Depeche Mode“. All those old songs are still in my head and in my heart, forty years later. It was like some imaginary, Ken & Barbie Dreamhouse idyllic Shangri-La out there, cheerleader paradise, blue suburban skies, but one of these things were not like the others. You could see me coming from miles away. I never belonged there. I was just visiting. Sometimes, if I close my eyes, with a slight buzz, ya know, I can listen to “More Than This’ by Roxy Music and be right back there, chatting away with that girl about Prince and Paul Westerberg and Pete Burns and Martin Gore. She was like Tinkerbell, we just had these Neverland Hearts back then. Those were more innocent times.
MAN OF GOLDEN WORDS
So yeah, all through the eighties, I loved so many different bands. From the Psychedelic Furs and Jesus & Mary Chain to Hanoi Rocks and Circus Of Power. Fun Boy Three, King, Madness, Dexy’s, Human League. I liked Warrior Soul-great lyrics, sang with emotion. “LOVE” by The Cult was one of my alltime fave records. The Four Horsemen were so much like my gang and I….had we only found a good producer who loved the hard rocknroll. I remember being surprised by the original sound The Pixies had on their first two albums. When we met the Flaming Lips and they gave us their address and invited us to come open for them in Norman, Oklahoma, it’s a bit stinging to recall how some band members of mine felt like, they were just too busy. They had like, beer to drink and low wage jobs to fuss over. By the time I’d escaped the midwest, I was still enjoying the Dogs D’Amour and Mother Love Bone, I met all those guys, even had a little friction with the Love Child, but by the end of the night we had exchanged phone numbers and addresses and loud laughs and hugs and high fives and were gonna stay in touch. He was wearing a big yellow leather hat that night and a Circus Of Power t shirt. Onstage, he was amazing, shuckin and jivin’ and swaggering and sashaying like a wild cross between David Lee Roth and Steven Tyler. His ep was fabulous and we waited and waited for the debut full length. I have always been a lyric man, ya know, like trying to work with 4 sets of brothers in bands over the years-somebody always wanted to pen the lyrics and the brother took the swing vote. Coulda joined a band with some of the most talented people in L.A. at one point, but I don’t join bands to interpret other people’s lyrics, that’s what I do. My department. I write my own songs to sing, in style or not. That’s meant not getting to sing in a band for a long time now, but I believe in my songs more than almost everybody elses, but certainly I took my hat off to L’Andrew, he had it all-melody, soul, comedy, pathos, bravery, showmanship. His songs just meant the world to me: “Bone China, my friends…Let the summer come again”. That’s right up my alley, “Gentle Groove”, all those tunes. Loved that band! Once we made it to the big city, we were discovering bands like Killing Joke, New Model Army, The Waterboys, and The Jacobites. Sisters Of Mercy kept making fantastic music. I was influenced by all that stuff, but my teenage friends and me were drifting apart. Summa those guys were doing some kinda music I wouldn’t even know how to properly describe except the drums were good, it was fast, Thunders solos for eight bars in the middle. A guy singing in an Elvis impersonation on top but you could never understand what ever he was singing about. Something bout money and being a monarch-not my jam at all. My main lead guitarist started playing with like, these foxy Fiona Apple style ingenues and in a corny Hard Rock Cafe style blues band. The others were into the grunge shit, but I was not, at all. I liked Soul Asylum I guess. Maybe two Soundgarden songs? Just not my scene, man. Mark Lanegan had a nice voice though, wrote some good songs, I just could not stand some of his friends. So yeah, I loved a couple local bands during grunge like Scarce and Morphine, a crazy punk band called Facts About Rats. Mazzy Star-I liked them. I did not care for grunge at all, or much from Lilith Fair or Riot Grrrl or white boy rappers. No one really touched my heart like Andy Wood, though. So here’s a moment of love and silence for Andy and Xana. Love ’em.
After that fiery revelation, Mother Love Bone had done it all with so much grace and soulpower, I was simply not at all into the moaning beagles who became so grunge famous, after that. It was all a big shrug to me. From Nirvana to the Velvet Revolver, Alice In Chains, none of that shit spoke to me. Certainly not any shit like Tool or Pantera. I immersed myself in Sinead O’Connor and Bob Dylan, in those years. Still kept making my own original music with a small circle of talented people I’d met in Boston-a talented guitar player who was into Love and T Rex joined our band and made our little Dogs D’Amour songs sound more like The Crybabys or Hollywood Brats. Me and the rhythm guitarist wrote about fifty songs in a dirty basement, that people still cover in four or five different cities. We loved the Beasts Of Bourbon, The Comatones, Pillbox, The Waldos, Ronald Koal, Imperial Drag, and Hello Disaster, but the main band that came along after the big grunge glut, who genuinely made a real difference for me and my little crew was MANIC STREET PREACHERS.
Even back in Ohio, as a kooky new wave and D.I.Y. low budget punk teenager, I’d already been mocking all the spandex party bands for years, especially the songs sung in some over earnest, power balladeer voice that said nothing, cause the vocalist was dumb and really just had nothing to say. I’m thinkin’ bout “Something To Believe In” by Poison, for instance. The corporate metal wankers only got signed cause somebody looked like a lifeguard or knew a moneybags producer or drug smuggling manager. After grunge/”Alternative”TM became as ubiquitous as hairbands, it was like people no longer even cared if music was any good, or had anything to say, at all. It was like they killed it dead, on purpose. All that awful moaning. There were some bloated, suit wearing fratboys going through the motions, who some people were willing to pretend were relevant, because they wanted to be around their cocaine, but no one was being honest about music anymore. Spin and Rolling Stone been promoting Spice Girls and Bieber and Adriana Grande and those women with the surgically enhanced big butts for all these years. After the fake as fuck hoax of “Alternantive”TM, it was just years and years of shit like Creed and Matchbox 20, Bush and Nickelback. Foo Fighters became the only band. Just horrible. I liked maybe two songs by the big Brit-Pop bands, maybe three songs by Buckcherry, but really and truly, it was just the Manic Street Preachers. They also had such a broad spectrum of ideas and styles and songs that said real stuff, ya know? AND they knew how to pissoff all the NME and Melody Maker fey and twee K records and Beck and grunge devotees. They were real entertainers, even better songwriters, punk rock provocateurs who loved Magazine, Guns N Roses AND The Clash, and sincere as fuck. I really believe they were the last band that really meant something. 4 Real.
“It says so much about the state of western academia that it’s treated as a major scandal if university professors don’t unquestioningly regurgitate what their government says about international affairs.” (-Cait Johnstone)