What Little Folks do For Fun: Fkenal, Cabron, Bike Rides, Food Drives

My favorite band of our singer, Leo, besides Cabron, is Fkenal. An all instrumental/psych rock four piece playing hybrid prog/indie rock replete with visual projector show and one of the most mesmerizing drummers I’ve seen in a long time (though Mark, Cullen and Seb are tremendous as well). Leo doesn’t sing in Fkenal but he plays bass and looks hotter than a pit bull turd on asphalt during the summer in El Centro.

This Sunday is the Burrito Project Ride. Meet at 3pm at the Big Fountain, make burritos, deliver to our less fortunate denizens of ‘Americas Finest City.’ If you like burritos and bicycles then please come and join us for some non-denominational philanthropy work. Add the burrito project to your myspace too.

Next Saturday, Dec. 15th (10pm), our pals, Tijuana Knife Fight (from LA/OC) and our comrades Hostile Combover join us for another musical evening at The Alibi. Lori, we promise we won’t break any glasses in your hand this time, in fact, we’ll each buy you a drink to make up for our violent outburst last time. (Seb can you pass on the message?)

Next Sunday, we’re having one final show at The Voz Alta before it gets torn down, along with Landlord Jims. Seriously, where else in the city besides Star Bar can you not only expect great service but virtually no $30,000 millionaires OR their skanky gold digging female counterparts? Its true, imminent domain has its consequence. Though it seemed to work well for Rafter and his expanding empire of recording studios.

The Dec. 16th Matinee is $5 or $4 if you bring a can of food. It’s a food drive AND its all ages AND its not at the Che, HOLY SHIT! Bands have few options in this town as far as playing all ages venues is concerned, its going to seriously suck when Voz closes so please come out and celebrate the Voz Alta Projects excellent contribution to the SD music and art scene with

cabron fkenal spitting on cops neverland ranch hands vietnam hc live at voz alta

Taking Action, One Tour at a Time: an Interview with Louis Posen

In celebration of the recent Take Action Tour lineup announcement (Every Time I Die and more!) I thought I’d give this piece the light of day since it got denied from publication by oversensitive execs because of its content. Right, like you’d want to discuss things like teen suicide on a teen music website? Its like telling teens not to have sex instead of teaching them about safe sex and other fascinating American idioms. Louis is a great person and a wonderful friend and Reese is an amazing advocate. As I get older I find myself more intrigued by what tours like this mean than the actual band lineup.

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take action tourPunk rock has always been about community, in the sense that it’s usually you or your friends on the stage playing music and having a good time. That’s what has made the underground music scene attractive to yours truly-accessibility and the possibility of being a contributing participant. Punk and Indie rock and hardcore are merely genre’s that create a foundation for disaffected youth, or rather disenfranchised youth. The ideology put forth by bands like Fugazi, Black Flag, The Minute Men, The Dead Kennedy’s, Husker Du and countless others states that all involved are part of the same club which isn’t exclusive except that the members may be excluded from other societal cliques. The fantastic aspect of a community based on a need to connect is that the common connection happens to be music, a universal language where fluency is indicative of passion and entertainment.

Louis Posen, President and Founder of Hopeless Records started his label by releasing his record on a Friday (records are released on Tuesday’s and rarely in December) and according to Louis, he’s spent, “the past ten years trying to get things right.”

The first seven-inch released on Hopeless was Guttermouth’s 11oz., and the label was named after the song “Hopeless.” Louis started the label in 1993 after reading, “How to Start an Independent Record Label,” from which he derived the know how to release a 7″ record. Now, ten years later Hopeless has grown in more ways than one, with bands like Melee, Mustard Plug, Thrice, Samiam, Avenged Sevenfold and several other punk rock royalists. Hopeless has become a beacon for West Coast independence and punk rock music. Like Chicago’s Touch and Go, or D.C.’s Dischord, Hopeless is more than just a label pushing bands; it’s pushing a positive message of community and charity.

One of the interesting things about Louis Posen is that he is going blind, due to a degenerative retinal disorder; his vision will be completely gone in the next several years. Though such a crippling disease would have an adverse affect on most people, Louis turned what could have been debilitating into inspiration and made something charitable by starting Sub City records. Sub City’s mission states, “By subsidizing non-profit organizations while spreading social awareness, Sub City aims to have impact that goes beyond music.”

“I took more than one job and added it to this one by adding Sub City and our volunteer philanthropic efforts which I was doing a lot of outside of work. I was able to combine it since I’m spending so many hours here and when I’m not here I’m thinking about it and that was one of the reasons for bringing Sub City into Hopeless. There isn’t one reason we started Sub City. It has a lot to do with the way I was brought up in a family with philanthropic ideals that also tries to make the world a better place.”

Adding, “Also, with me being someone who has a retinal degenerative disease that doesn’t have a treatment or cure, realizing at a young age you have to be grateful for what you have and there’s a lot of people that don’t have as much as you do so you have to take that opportunity to take what you do have and use it to help other people.”

He also says that, “We (Hopeless) were realizing around 1998 that we were reaching a lot of people with our bands music and our label as a whole. That was also the year that Hopelessly Devoted to You 2 came out and we sold over a 100 thousand copies and we realized there was a unique opportunity to do something beside sales.”

Humorously adding, “We have a fools gold record we made ourselves to celebrate the 100 thousand copies.”

Bands on the Sub City roster include Fifteen, Scared of Chaka, The Weakerthans and Warped Tour hero’s, Thrice. The amount of awareness and money generated by Sub City is astounding, and as a result, Sub City launched the Take Action Tour three years ago.

When the Take Action Tour started in 1999 they had several different organizations involved yet in 2000 Louis and Co. came to the conclusion they needed to focus the tour on one issue. “When we started searching around and asking kids what matters to them we found that things that lead to suicide are really affecting kids. Depression, being left out, abuse, drug abuse and things like that are on the day to day mind of young people and its important for them to know that there is someone out there that cares and is always there to talk to confidentially 24 hours a day. When we looked around we found the Hopeline and Reese who was doing a really incredible thing. I guess no one had thought of tying all these local organizations together into one line so people don’t have to remember 50 different lines and you avoid a situation where there might be only five people answering phones and someone gets a busy signal.” Take Action has aligned its self with the Kristin Brooks Hope Center for the tour charity.

The great thing about the Take Action Tour is that it doubles as a platform-which addresses social and mental health issues. The Take Action Tour in its first year had 10,000 petitions signed for suicide prevention, in it’s second year, 36,000 were signed and with the success of the tour both musically and financially its no wonder the tour garners such prestigious praise from the industry.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center was founded in 1998 by H. Reese Butler II-who named the center for his wife who died by suicide after complications with post partum depression. As of January 1, 2003, Sub City and Take Action have raised over 150,000 dollars for the National Hopeline Network. The heartwarming facts about such a beautiful marriage of music and awareness with a dark connotation as suicide is that it adversely affects the patrons of the tour by showing them there are resources available and people who care.

According to Reese Butler, “The collateral damage is phenomenal, very few people are willing to talk about it and feel very unsafe talking about it which unfortunately leads them to drive those feeling deeper inside and then as a result, when they hit their own crisis in their own life unfortunately that modeling can serve as a pattern with how they deal with their own feelings and problems. The person doesn’t mean to leave that type of legacy.”

After all, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide claims the lives of an average of 30,000 Americans per year including roughly 5,000 young people. The Institute of Medicine documents that suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students and there are an estimated 650 thousand hospitalizations each year in the U.S. related to suicide.

However, one might assume (and all are familiar with the old adage of assuming) that a community that has been pigeon holed by media for its choice of fashion and the attitude that pervades most of them would be indifferent and hostile to bands proselytizing about health concerns, yet its that same youth who are receptive and supportive of those issues. This year the tour has another amazing line up just like its predecessors. The Take Action Tour 2003 had Poison The Well, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Further Seems Forever, Avenged Sevenfold, Shadows Fall, Since By Man, These Arms are Snakes and several others sharing different date in different cities.

For more information on the Kristin Brooks Hope Center please go to http://www.hopeline.com.

And for more information on Sub City go to http://www.subcity.net.

To learn more about Hopeless Records and its bands, please visit http://www.hopelessrecords.com

Special thanks to Louis and Reese!!!

The Locust: Catching Up with JP

There’s something at work on New Erections, the new record from San Diego’s resident four piece aural assassins, The Locust. It’s that unidentifiable ‘thing,’ which was always hinted at on past Locust records but not fully realized until now. Its immediate truth bristles with intensity. Its insectile language works on the subconscious as a musical representation of the Burroughs and Gysin cut-up method, a footnote of comparison that bassist/vocalist Justin Pearson acknowledges as an unintended effect of having four principle songwriters in a band.
I’ve never been skeptical of the Locusts intention as a ‘band,’ though I’ve never really thought of them in the traditional sense of the word ‘band.’ They’re much more like a collective. Sure I can’t listen to them every day, sitting in my pre-fab cube, drinking my single serve coffee, working on excel spreadsheets. The work itself is inspiration enough for mass homicide without the sound track of the Locust lending its ferocity to my high blood pressure. No. The Locust are more of an entity, individually they are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and having an occasional drink with at the Casbah but once they move as a unit their DNA changes. As the Locust, they devour all in their path, using razor sharp musical incisors to decimate the crowds with bombastic sonic annihilation.

The Locust, whose members include drummer Gabe Serbian, bassist/vocalist Justin Pearson, guitarist/vocalist Bobby Bray and keyboardist/sound manipulator/vocalist Joseph Karam, represent a decade’s worth of underground music, record label(s) and side projects surface to blinding brilliance. Their names and accomplishments are not something the average fifty-year-old Guitar Center employee is going to recognize or identify with but their contributions both individually and collectively are worthy of respect. Check out wikipedia for the full rundown of each member’s affiliations. After several rescheduling issues, Pearson confirms our interview will take place at one of San Diego’s local punk rock friendly Mexican food establishments, Pokez.
New Erections is the foursomes latest release on Anti, an imprint of punk mega label, Epitaph. The labels mission statement is; “Real Artists Creating Great Recordings on Their Own Terms.” Being on Anti is a point of pride for Pearson whose respect for label mates Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Merle Haggard has the all black clad, clean shaven bassist beaming and admitting with a mischievous glint in his eye, “we sent the art in for New Erections with only the Anti logo on it and no one said anything.”

Once again the band enlisted the expertise of producer/engineer Alex Newport, whose credits include over fifty of the most amazing underground and just-barely-slipping-a-toe-into-the-cold-mainstream acts for the past decade. Only available via a secret, password protected streaming web page buried on the Epitaph site, New Erections elicits its namesake upon first listen – metaphorically speaking of course. “We didn’t want it to leak on the Internet and we got two weeks away from the release date without any problems. In one way I think it hurt us cause people didn’t have their advance copies but I think it actually helped us cause it built anticipation,” Pearson states just before ordering a vegan grilled tofu burrito.
Like every Locust record, there is always the intent to change and improve on past efforts. New Erections is no exception. Its dynamic and signatory, instantly identifiable as a Locust record with the exception of a few key things: the songs are longer, the vocals are intelligible amidst the cacophony, and it rocks in all the right places. Certainly there will inevitably be detractors out there in that vast and fickle scene that will lambaste the bands newest piece with lazy whispers of sellout-ism or ‘they-don’t-sound-like-they-used-to’ droll.Luckily, Pearson isn’t affected by the possibility. In fact he speaks of his bands newest endeavor with the highest regard. “Most people are embracing it (the new record). The different vocals and the fact that the songs are longer; there is more space and development which make it less dense. Soundscapes was so dense and you never had a chance to breath. It’s interesting, to perform the new stuff live cause a lot of it is actually harder to play than Plague Soundscapes – physically and time signature wise. Plague was much more ‘riff, riff, riff.”

The transition the band went through is apparent. Pearson ruminates on the number of reasons New Erections sounds the way it does; “We took a weird path and I’ve only noticed in retrospect. We did Plague Soundscapes and that was the first record we did as a four piece and we really developed as a band, finally coming into our skin and found exactly who we were. From then until now, we did Safety Second and that was the first time we developed material with space in it and parts that built up. It was weird because we did Safety Second in conjunction with a very short west coast tour right and that was when Dave Stone joined our band for that tour. Dave did sound manipulation.
“He had this Darth Vader vocoder thing he modified to do obscure sounds with. He also had this huge wire hooked up to a contact mic that he put on Gabe’s drums and Gabe would play these patterns and it’d pick it up and he’d manipulate that. He had one of those Thunder Sheets (makes thunder-like sounds). It was more theatrical than musical. We made a 45-minute set with no stops. I think subconsciously it put us in a place where when we were writing for New Erections we aimed for aesthetic, more musical dialogue I suppose, where we could develop things. We’d try and find ways to sustain by detuning and lengthen the song and of course lengthening anything for us is a long fucking time.” He says with a laugh.

New Erections is different than its predecessor for the simple fact that a listener can actually get to know the song. With Plague Soundscapes it was almost too ADD to get a hold of an interesting hook: each song exploded with dozens of great riffs and grooves that would last only a few seconds each. Vocally ,the band has definitely matured, despite Pearsons distaste for the word’s connotations. It’s one of the strongest attributes on New Erections. Pearson eagerly explains, “The other thing I was really excited about while recording New Erections was we started developing more vocally. Out of the three of us I think I had maybe started to develop my vocals starting with Plague Soundscapes but Bobby and Joey really delivered some amazing vocal techniques on the new record. Alex really pushed for us to have our own songs. Each of us did songs where we had written the bulk of the lyrics and the other two members would do backing vocals.”

“We didn’t do preproduction on Plague Soundscapes. Alex did produce the record but we didn’t go over things. He didn’t say ‘you guys really need to work on your vocal delivery.’ Cause a lot of times Bobby would specifically write lyrics where you’d normally have four beats and four syllables but he’d write six syllables to four beats and cram everything in. That’s artistic in it’s own way. Not that we’re supposed to be traditional but here’s Alex saying, ‘You can be weird and abrasive but you can also be musical and do it.’ I hate using the word mature but evolution or something works better,” Pearson says, picking each word out carefully.

Its his meticulous way of explaining just how much thought and passion went into his bands latest piece that brings William S. Burroughs and Brian Gysin’s ‘Cut Up’ method into our conversation. The Locust is as connected to art as they are connected to music and the inevitable occurrence of the two converging is perceptible. “Maybe subconsciously those things [Cut Up method] tie in but it started with Safety Second where we said there is a common theme we need to write about. And it was all based metaphorically on human organs and the human anatomy and that was the first step of us writing together while still writing separately. Something we did again with New Erections. We’d say, ‘okay you write these pieces but keep in mind it has to be thematically based on these things.’ It’s loosely based on an outline. We’re not Pink Floyd or Mars Volta and its definitely not a concept record but we still pay attention to each others lyrics and contribute to the whole,” which resulted in three variant perspectives on one theme combined into music and lyrics.

Our conversation didn’t end there. In fact, after a long discussion with JP we decided it’d be pretty cool to get a play by play of life on the road when they went on tour. well if you have been paying attention, that worked out sort of meh…with JP dropping the charge of updates from the road, a continuous piece called, “From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry.” I’ve blogged about the impact reading it had on me. It was some of the most honest writing I’ve read about a band since reading Get In The Van, the story of Black Flag by Henry Rollins.

Please visit The Locust for tour dates and info on the new record.

The Morgue Called, They Want To Use Your Cadaver “For Study”

The first time I met Justin Pearson I was just getting started with a project, a website called themusicedge.com. The intention of it was to be this hub of youth culture that the music products industry could dip its marketing muscle [read:balls] into and reap the benefits of kids going out and buying truckloads of instruments and products – a hilarious and immeasurable goal – perpetrated by a bunch of business suit attired has-beens and wannabees who thought that an asshole such as myself with some experience in music journalism could bring some gravitas to the fledgling site. They were right. To an extent. We hovered at 30K visitors a month and were an official Webby Award Honoree for 2006 (woo hoo…). Of course those accolades fell on deaf ears, or rather ears that wouldn’t know that the web would surpass radio for ad spend in 2007. Does hindsight count if you were blind behind?

At first I was enthusiastic about it. To endeavor to bring the beauty of making music to a generation whose art and music programs were being cut by an administration obsessed with war was enticing. I took the pill. I jumped right in. I wanted to make things change. That was the optimism of a post 9/11 job out of college (not right out of college, more like 2 years later) for me. I must stress that there were more good things that came from that experience than negative, one of them being my growing friendship with Justin Pearson of The Locust. He was the first “Big Interview” I did for the site. He believed in the propaganda that I believed in, but part of me thought he believed in the fact that artists that don’t chart and don’t move units should have an opportunity to be heard. Sort of an “I like their aesthetic. So I want to share it with everyone,” thing, right?

The last interview I did with Justin marked another benchmark. It was the first for HYPEzine.com. A project basically run by two dudes and supplemented by about 20 of the most amazing and loyal writers and friends a hack editor could ever ask for. Below is a link to the last lengthy post post from a guy that was probably born ten years too late into a world that is as unforgiving as it is beautiful and absurd.

You will get an inkling of what the ‘music business’ is all about – from the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry couldn’t be a more apt title for Justin Pearson’s tour diary. Part of me wishes he’d have continued in the face of all the terrible things he is going through (gone through), and part of me is glad he’s done writing for now. He’s incredibly prolific. If anything just to continue to document what it is REALLY like. The pieces themselves were quite amazing and honest. These paragraph-less musings on life on the road where a bit of a bitch to get through when editing. Nevertheless an amazing account.

Not traveling in a giant fucking tour bus, staying in 3 and 4 star hotels, having everything and everyone tell you that you matter. Fuck that. Its the real deal.

Here is an awesome picture taken by Robin Locust.

Armchair Martian, Fluf, and Local

Buckfast Superbee, Armchair Martian, Fluf @ Casbah Sat. Sept. 2nd

It was a weekend of reunions of bands from the 90’s that I used to listen to or watch every chance I got. While my good friends from the North Atlantic were playing their swan song(s), closing the 3rd annual Denverfest (why the fuck wasn’t there one of these when I lived in Denver?) drinking and cavorting with mutual friends and my brother in law, I was not landlocked but instead walking distance from the Harbor at San Diego’s premier 21+ club, The Casbah. I met Borracho Bob there, another old Denverite and we said our hellos to Jon Snodgrass, Bob proceeded to tell Jon the story behind Chris Sharry’s album art for “Good Guys…Bad Band.” Which translated well to the image of the album cover to the right. Another example of barehanded drunks wielding instruments instead of weapons, playing for 10 people, two of which were Bobrob and Chris. So. Yeah.

We were patient with the mid-90’s bro-rock of Buckfast Superbee and became intrigued when their drummer had a hissy fit and threw his high hat over his head in a fit of frustration. I wish more bands would do that. It was the highlight of their set. Though TJ has a pretty awesome voice their songs sort of blended into one another, however a lot of people seemed to be into them and it was nice to see our rehearsal space mates draw some attention from the sometimes skeptical Casbah crowd.

Armchair was up next. Watching Jon run through songs I heard over 10 years ago was pretty remarkable. Especially since the last time I saw them was when they played with Samiam at the Aztlan Theater on Kalamath when that one dude Dan Steinberg used to price gouge all the Denver scene kids. That show was consistent with my memory of the band – inconsistent. Some shows they ruled the stage without fucking up any songs and other times they were fall down drunk. The art on the inside of “Good Guys…” is telling with Dracula, The Wolfman and the Mummy as the band members trying to decide if they should go set up for the show. This time around they played incredibly well. Jon has honed his country sneer from moonlighting in Drag The River for the past decade or so and sounded amazing. While it was nice to see some familiar Denver (via Ft Collins) band it wasn’t quite like seeing Crestfallen and Christie Front Drive play with Planes Mistaken for Stars. Essentially my three favorite Denver bands minus Acrobat Down (what you guys couldn’t get your shit together for a one off show?). They went through the hits and even tossed in a Gary Nuwman cover expertly sung/mimicked by bassplayer Paul.

I like the idea of seeing Armchair Martian as drunk as Drag the River but with more Jawbreaker and less Lucero ya know? It was a good show. Fluf played all their hits and all the bros sung along happily while chicks pretended to sing along but just sort of mouthed ‘watermelon/c a n d y b a r/ ooh’ while expertly sipping their gin and tonics or whatever the fuck they were drinking. I left early. Better to have the memory of a decent show than a show that I stayed too long at and might’ve been mildly impressed with.

Synthesis of Classic Form

you enjoy this!An air raid siren echoing off of glass and concrete as dust and debris filter from between the buildings to the streets below. So much skin. So much skin. Where does the mind end and the body begin? You are on perpetual display my dear. Your white skin and your blond hair and your long legs and trim figure are attractively relative. But not because you are the best choice for breeding. Your hips are much too small. You don’t eat enough. Or you must eat just enough to get by. What are you drinking? Vodka Tonic? No way! Vodka Cranberry. I can see from here when the tender lips touch the reddish-purple concentrate of the glass, filled with ice, garnish with lime. That guy over there is leering at your breasts. You’d call him a ‘creepy bastard’ if you caught him but you don’t notice and he zero’s in on another couple. I believe he enjoys their shape. But those aren’t real are they? They could pass but they don’t move quite right and your 5’4″ frame wouldn’t naturally support those shapes: that weight and its implications of alterations. Those strange looking objects that bring men pleasure because of their shape and their muscle memory in meaning. You can feed a child. But not really. Cause they’re full of saline and not the apparatus to sustain the life of your offspring.

Is this merely observation?

Is this social commentary?

Does it affect me?

Is it effective?

Grinderman Says, “I must above all things love myself.”

82907

Thirty years ago today I came tumbling out of my Mother screaming and covered in goop, the doctor spanked air into my lungs, a nurse snipped off a piece of my foreskin, my father handed out cigars in the waiting room and my mom smiled in exhaustion. It was done. It was the same year and the same month Elvis Presley died, Jaws and Star Wars were released and Sam the dog told David Berkowitz to go on a shooting spree with a Dirty Harry-style revolver in a sweltering New York City.

I was born during the Dog Days of summer.

The hottest point in the season.

Every year during this time something truly remarkable and vile happens in various parts of the world. Hurricane Katrina. Wild Fires in Greece. Cholera outbreak in India. Hundreds of miners drown in China flood. Massive roadside explosion in Northern Iraq kills hundreds.

That’s just a smattering of headlines over the past few weeks. The ones that leak in through the television snow. The little pieces of information that make August an auspicious month during the year. If I was a betting man I’d say that I’m incredibly lucky to have been able to survive the apocalypse, which was supposed to happen 10 years ago, according to Sarah Connor. There is the thought of predestination paradox where had Skynet not sent a terminator back to kill Sarah, John would not have sent Reese back to protect her and of course conceive John. Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” had that initial idea that a super computer becomes self-aware and triggers the end of humanity or at least 98% it. The Wachowski brothers tried the same thing with the Matrix and of course there is always Our Trusty Asimov and his I, Robot stories. None can forget the implications of Phillip K Dicks dreaming androids drawing comparisons to our homogenized brave new world where more money is spent on physical augmentation such as breast implants than is spent on Alzheimers research.

Do the years get better?

 

Or do my tits get better?

I reference these things because there are a million scenarios that play themselves out in my head every minute of the day. Choices that I made that directly affected my future. Now with thirty years under my belt I’m looking forward to making more choices. What will I have for lunch today? Maybe some Quik powdered chocolate in a glass of milk with a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and some Oreos to finish it off. Those little creature comforts cut through the noise. They can stop the outrage fatigue I’ve had since Sept. 11th and quell the squall of rage I’ve held in my ever blackening liver since Nov. 3rd 2000 when I wished a category 5 hurricane swept across Florida and silenced all those fucking voting machines. I reference these things because I’m hardwired to question everything. I’m hardwired to expect more from people than they may be willing to admit they have in them. It is a philosophy of expectation I learned from my father.

 

So do all these seemingly random pop culture references and political musings have a point in this piece?

 

You who read this want your information in bite sized morsels. You are most likely reading this because you want to see what I have to say. The same could be said for the reason I’m writing. I want to see what I’m going to say too! I’m surprised what comes out. It’s a form of therapy. It’s the equilibrium I need.

 

There are lines that you can draw from disparate sources such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and society’s current obsession with celebrity and appearance – there is no amount of shaming our society can do to make someone like P Hilton drift off into obscurity. We’ve moved from adoration of success to the obsession of failure. We want to wallow in squalor and bathe in the idea that some starlet who had everything laid out for her; money, success and fame, is dumping it all down the drain while staring at a palm mirror through reddened and glassy eyes with a rolled up twenty in her hand. Is it the ultimate form of rebellion to just give up to vices and pour yourself out of your celebrity skin in front of a million flashing bulbs and video cameras? No. Methinks it is just slow suicide.

 

I want to feel validated. I want to feel like that vote I handed to Nader in 2000 wasn’t about winning the election or giving it to Bush or taking another informed voter from Gore but that it was about doing what I felt was right at the time and wishing that everyone could make their own educated and informed decision as to who to vote for. Alas, most people are robots, self-aware enough to eat, sleep, shit and fuck occasionally without ever asking why, who or what as long as it feels good then it must be good.

 

We’re animals. Robot animals. And we’re living in the nightmare that writers like Aldous Huxley, Ellison, Dick and Stephenson have been imagining. The violence that we live with daily is magnified during the dog days. It’s the heat of the Northern Hemisphere working on our subconscious where eons ago our ancestors rode across vast landscapes with truncheon and spear and sword to conquer and bleed into submission those that would alter or change the status quo.

 

Do not fear. Fear. Do not fear. Fear.

 

We are at war because war is profit. It is an industry that can be perpetually fed. Trillions of dollars into the effort and there will always be someone with a job and a big white house to eat Kobe steaks and caviar in.

 

We’ve had hope shoved up our ass. Just words of hope. No real sign of it. No large group or government making an effort. No miracles. No second coming. This is the realization age. We will realize that in our species infancy we are destined to rot in quotidian suburban malaise, buying groceries, driving cars, going to church, making lists and standing in line.

 

 

There is a silver lining and each of us has to look just hard enough to see it.

This is my beautiful wife.

This is my beautiful rented duplex.

This is my family.

These are my amazing friends.

This is the hyperlocal network of hope.

These are the inspirations for a million more songs and stories.

This is something I wrote when I turned 30.