Jim Trainer

Posts Tagged ‘punk rock’

…for your young idea…

In Fugazi, hometown, music journalism, music performance, new journalism, Performance, Philadelphia, punk rock, straight edge, youth on March 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm

“Fuck all that shouting, nothing happened!”
Billy Idol

The rise and fall of the post-Nirvana boom I don’t care about. I think we can all agree it didn’t represent a takeover of anything.
J.Robbins

There’s always room for bros.
Alex Rawls

Rock and roll was a dangerous weapon, chrome plated, it exploded like the speed of light, it reflected the times, especially the presence of the atomic bomb which had preceded it by several years. Back then people feared the end of time. The big showdown between capitalism and communism was on the horizon. Rock and roll made you oblivious to the fear, busted down the barriers that race and religion, ideologies put up.
Bob Dylan

And after two years of trying our best to convince you that all these things were true, it turns out that we, the media, were the ones who were lying.
Brian Joyce

I’ve been listening to nothing but live Fugazi.  They’ve got to be the greatest rock and roll band of all time.  That’s only slight hyperbole, used to convey the utmost respect and admiration I have for this band.  Throughout their career they managed to maintain form as content. Despite a complaint against the proselytizing of singer Ian MacKaye, the lyrics of Steady Diet of Nothing show a marked shift from direct moralizing into more abstract and artful tropes.  Fugazi will always represent the spirituality of salt to me.  Without drugs or alcohol, they explored deep and archetypal forms-which is a very fancy way to say they managed to let their imaginations run wild without any outside influence.  It’s very pure.  In “Latin Roots”, co-frontman Guy Piccioto’s journey of a regressing young adult laying on his parents’ bed and falling backwards through the centuries of his genealogy, happens without even the smoking a cigarette.  Perhaps this is only how I imagine it, I’ve conflated the narrator/performer/writer with his subject matter.  It only speaks of the mythology at work with this band, as there is with any great band, performer or artist.  The other thing Fugazi share with great art is that they’re in the air, or, in the water, as poet Bernard Pearce wrote.  Fugazi is the east coast, where I grew up and first saw them perform, at 15, in the gymnasium of Drexel University in their backyard of Philadelphia.  They’ll always sound like adolescence to me.

Fugazi will always be crystalized into one moment, walking down some forgotten street in Clifton Heights, as a 14-year-old skinhead, being picked up by one of the only skaters in High School at the time, him having their s/t album on cassette, rewinding it to the beginning and listening to the whole thing.  So many things are gone from the day, the most tragic being a time when I could holler out and hop in the pickup truck of someone I didn’t exactly know but trusted more than family because of how he wore his hair and the fact that he knew.  We knew.  We knew what was coming, what was happening, and it wasn’t punk rock, that was our older brother-the generation before.  This was now.  This was brand new and it was kids, like us.  They were just like us.  That feeling would last until the release of Nevermind 2 years later, when jocks and squares started dyeing their hair and it all became a silly fad-repurposed and sold.  Fugazi continued touring and putting out albums throughout it all, until the apocryphal announcement of their hiatus at the dawning of the New Century.

Fugazi will always be a winter band. There’s a resourcefulness that comes from living in winter climes, and I always think of them with their knit caps on, a chill in the air and chimney smoke mixed with the smell of wet stone just before it snows.  I’ve become a new man so many times while listening to them, on so many levels, not the least of which having shaved off my long hair and starting High School, a new man but barely one…in the Fall, which is when I received their last album from WKDU’s Stevie D., and played the whole thing front to back on a Monday evening just a short walk away from the gymnasium where I’d seen them play 13 years before-they sounded ebullient, and they always will, jaunty and fresh and political, just like youth.

FUGAZI

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good News For People Who Love Bad News

In blogging, journalism, media, mental health, new journalism, news media, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, singer-songwriter, sobriety, Writing on December 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Heaven, are you really waiting outside the door?
-The Fire Theft

Happiness is a hard gig for a survivor.  The worst kind of trouble can be no trouble at all.  I’m dumbfounded to be hitting my stride now, 10 months in on a sober jag, practicing Yoga every day and sleeping for 8 hours every night.  Contentment can be a real bitch for those of us who’ve decided to be born into this life, if not to make or break with dying than at least to stand and be counted, shock the squares and make our mark before we go down for good and back to dust.  I’ll admit a grudge match with death is no way to live, but a denial of it, even a convincing one, can make you seem dull and young.  Beauty fades and belief as anything but a verb is a product.  History is brought to you by purveyors and it’s a real shame the way we can spin out on things that don’t even matter but fail to grasp what’s most important.  The point is we’re alive and we’re here.  The punk rock movement put boots to ground but sprouted up organically as if it was always here.

We’ve shaken death’s hand.  Not only have we rivaled every foe, we can’t think of an enemy worthy enough to take us away from the real work.  Though they try, we pay visit with the Friend in our work, and it’s in his company we celebrate.  Every step of this process completed is a success.  Every EP, spoken word performance, missive of the New Journalism, every poem and journal entry, every stroke on the canvas and photo taken is a victory.  We can have this life.  We’ve twisted out of the wreck with a new language of love.  We’ve fled mass market culture and made our own.  We’ve shed the mask of the godhead and answer the call daily-at the keys in makeshift offices and behind microphones at ad hoc radio stations.  It’s our world.

The hard part for me becomes, to what do I devote these 600 words?  How do I fulfill the publication schedule of this column?  There are hawks and doves jamming the wire and the big business of news reporting is rife with tropes of us bee-lining it to the grave, fearing the police and toeing the company line with our heads down and dumb hopes of heaven or a payday.  What do I rail against when I’m not really pissed off and how could I possibly be able to spend the hour or so writing this and enjoy it at the same time?  How’s it possible that my hands are filled with work that I love and how is it that I can feel this thing snowballing, gaining mass and momentum and it might not be too long before I can segue a caregiving gig in the Live Music Capital of the World into the life of a fulltime Artist?  What do I rail against when I’m not really pissed off?   How do I fulfill the publication schedule of this column?

Just like this I suppose.  And with your help.  I’d of never made it this far without you but don’t you quit me yet.  We’ve got to jam this fucker home.  We’re seated at the table.  Now let us feast.

We are hopeful that Mosby will retry Officer Porter as soon as possible, and that his next jury will reach a verdict. Once again, we ask the public to remain calm and patient, because we are confident there will be another trial with a different jury. We are calm. You should be calm, too.
-Richard Shipley, Freddie Gray’s Stepfather on the mistrial of Officer William Porter

 

Emotional Physics

In alcoholism, anger, Being A Poet, Being A Writer, Being An Artist, blogging, getting sober, going for the throat, Jim Trainer, media, mental health, Poetry, publishing, punk rock, RADIO, recovery, singer-songwriter, sober, sobriety, Writing, WRITING PROCESS on October 14, 2015 at 12:26 am

I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, and my head really hurts…
-Black Flag
Sooner or later we all hit the wall…
-Nathan Hamilton
How would you like a worms-eye view of your own psychology? The nuts and bolts of the machine, the blood and guts of the monster, your reasons, your dreams, your desires, your doubts and fears? Any of you curious about what really makes you tick should publish your own book of poetry. You’ll be pulled through the eye of the needle and shot from the mouth of the cannon. Hours of synchronous bliss working on a dream coupled with marrow scraping minutes doubting every decision you ever made.  Putting your work out into the world can prompt some gnarly questions. The design of my book saw my coveted verse suddenly swarmed by an army of critical voices. And but Christ the questions.  Keep in mind that you’re the one asking, especially if you’ve been sitting in the same chair in your apartment for 14 hours on your day off. Best believe you’re the only one there. You’re on your own and these questions of worth and purpose will surface, and pass through you like hot shrapnel. In fact it could just be the emotional equivalent of Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Translated, for every wild desire to be manifest there is a nightmare of Karma rearing at the same speed.

One of the biggest inspirations for this blog, its main thrust, is that one day I will finally and fully unreel the inner-diatribe of self sabotage.  I will have fully documented the script that grinds out any high hopes or goodwill about living like a cigarette butt.  And it will be here, online, out in the open for all to see. And we will laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. We will die laughing. It’s the byline of this blog for a reason. I really feel like I can do it, finally get it all down and slay the dragon, using words as brick and mortar to wall the fucker in. I bring this up because I smell like shit. I’ve been smoking a pack of triple-nickels every day since I first opened InDesign. I don’t answer the phone, don’t go to Yoga. My diet is the simplest form of protein which means bacon and eggs, every day, gross, and caffeine aho I been mainlining the shit. Espresso, iced mocha, bullet coffee (thanks Ceci!) and iced tea. I drink more seltzer than 10 recovering alcoholics and I hate my computer. I’m suffering a certain and specific stabbing pain which can only mean that my hips are cranked beyond any reasonable range of motion and I woke up, this of all mornings, throwing my phone against the wall, for reasons unclear but in doing so jarred something loose and nasty in my shoulder and I can’t wave my right hand without looking like I’m heiling Hitler.
My creative flow was blocked. Which could explain the colorful language of this post.  But at least that shit still works. Like wildflowers sprouting from my skull.  I mention this morning of all mornings because today was the day, or, depending when you read this, yesterday was, but today really is. Final file time motherfucker. Last proof before I get a mockup from Minuteman Press. After mockup and final file and any last edits there is no turning back. I’ll have 100 copies of the book-block of September. I’ll have accomplished a heaping third of actualizing a dream I’ve had since I was 17. But it came with a price.
This wasn’t free. Remember that?
Please live your dreams. It’s the best and worst thing you could ever do to yourself. The most ecstatic torture. While reaching for the stars you’ll feel the cold pull of the earth, and old voices will waft up from the grave, telling you a story of a 17 year old kid sitting on a stoop at his friend’s house in Upper Darby, looking down in awe at Rollins’ One From None.  That’s when the dream gripped me and this whole thing started.  We both know what happened next. The dream laid in my guts for 23 years, while on shift and in the yard, pissing my time away for a dollar, heinous in itself but tragic if my stagnancy came from a deficit of confidence. As it turns out all I had to do was confirm that that way of life was killing me.
When I say Karma I mean history.  The dream won’t be wrenched free easily. Reaching for a dream you’ll be checked at every venture, Brother,and every task and turn from frame to finish, with every edit and redo—you’ll hear a a nagging voice telling you it can’t be done, shouldn’t be done and you’re only your parents failure, you never should’ve left your hometown, should’ve stuck around the campus of community college and bided your time with a new drug addiction until you found your rightful place on Megan’s List.  You’ll feel a fatal gravity of doubt-but none of that matters because if you keep bucking and kicking you will confront yourself. You’ll live through it and have confronted yourself. You’ll come to the new understanding that Karma is behavior. And you’ll know what you always knew.  The writing life is a courageous life.

4/30

In National Poetry Month, punk rock, RADIO on April 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm

radio coming into
the room like it was 1999
“Pink Flag” and all that shit
still holding up
at 3am, the morning
of my 40th birthday

what a thrill
me&Big Brother night
together again
synchronous&singing
to WKDU

a tube radio will literally warm the room
f-this generation,they are doomed.

One From The Heart-The Bad Vibes Hate Your Everything

In cd review, Music, music journalism, Philadelphia, punk rock on January 20, 2015 at 12:07 pm

gavin

The Bad Vibes do not play punk rock music. Fuck you. Punk’s not dead. It just sucks now. The Bad Vibes are not down with your “anti-punk” stance. Nor do they respect your anti-“anti-punk” scene. They’re not retro. They’re not down with your retro scene. They’re not on Clear Channel. They’re not on WMMR. They destroy you. You thank them. Someone needs to clear out all these corpses so’s I can get right up in front of the stage. Rock. What is rock? Blues. What are the blues? 4 men. “Shake you all up… Put you in yer place.” This town is dead. The Bad Vibes make “war on you”. Anti-core core. The Bad Vibes hate your everything.
©2002

bad vibes
This review originally appeared in the Fall 2002 Issue of WKDU‘s Communique, as well as the Steel Cage Records’ website around the same time.  WMMR is one of two big classic rock radio stations in my hometown.  I will always think of this band and their explosive shows fondly. When they stopped playing, Philly got boring again.  Hail, hail rock and roll.

Better Than Drugs

In Uncategorized on October 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:
Due to indescribable and excruciating lower back pain and a relentless work schedule, Jim Trainer was unable to provide you with his latest criticisms of the US Gov, the NFL and the vapidly insipid music industry. Upon hearing of his troubles, and as his his editor, I summoned him at once to my Office in San Francisco, where he spent four days smoking Jimson Weed in the morning fog before returning to bed to watch Hunter Thompson interviews. Despite his efforts he was not able to adhere to his semi-daily schedule of providing you, Invaluable reader, with an 800 word commentary on “the way things should be”.
Rest assured, thanks to days of salty honey on the breeze, accidental, true culture in the streets,languid sun-walks and a decadent bed always beckoning, Trainer was able to enjoy deep healing. He was able to heal and rest up and is now back in the Pearl of the South&grinding it out. Please accept this blog, written just before he left for California, until Jimbo can get back in circulation. Thanks for understanding.

-Elsha Storm
The Editor
San Francisco, CA

Better Than Drugs
Waiting For the New Journalism, Seeking Refuge in Apathy
by Jim Trainer

I don’t cook, I don’t clean
I don’t have the energy for the scene.
I don’t got no car,
I don’t worry about the price of gasoline.

What a life, eh Brother? I’m out here on the roof (where else?) and the view from this vista is grand. There are 2 crews down there on the street working. The city is building another turnaround, just up the street from the mansion and the site of their last renovation at the corner here. They spent 9months doing the one out front and it was pure misery, brother. 9monthhs of waking up to a cement drill or, if I couldn’t sleep, seeing them gather around their trucks in the blue morning; them down there and me up here-the laborers and the ex-laborer.
In fact I just submitted a poem to Apiary Magazine chronicling my time as a crew chief in North Philly. That was some hard fucking work Brother, but the 90s were different. Aho back in the sanguine endays of the American Century you could make a buck 20 drilling crete for two days a week. You could get by, providing you kept your Barista shifts at the neighborhood coffee shop and they’d still run you a tab for coffee, groceries&smokes.
An old friend and aspiring writer wrote me recently, asking if I’d be attending our 20th High School Reunion. Besides a resounding Fuck no. I told her, and not without hubris, that I have no use for nostalgia and no use for the past. Am I holding on to past hurts? Do I still hold a grudge against certain meatheaded upper classmen who were at that time the Kings of the Fucking World? You bet. And it’s way too early in the evening to get catty, gentlemen, so, fuck it. I don’t wish nobody harm. And that’s the truth.
You know I love ya. If you don’t know that I love ya than I probably don’t.
In fact if you aren’t in my life anymore you aren’t a keeper, but you’re probably living the life an ex-Football playing choad deserves-cush-job, once-hot wife, spoiled kids, and in perhaps the most comic turn of events, supporting the nazis of the UD police force in their efforts to keep “the element” off the streets of our podunk hometown.
that town’s as good as gone
-Payday

Even though the youth is gone, and the good old days, I’d never wish to be anywhere but right here, right now. For true. The back gives out. My smoking cough has taken over my laughter. It only hurts when I laugh. The ladies have stopped paying visit (although that’s my choice mostly, bramacharya). But even in my fat&decaying state I prefer the present. I don’t wish to go back, but I do wish it could be the 90s again. When the economy was booming and the media didn’t bother you with the details of our dirty little wars and dips into theretofore unheard of countries like Sarajevo.
In the words of the late, great John Lee Hooker, in the 90s everybody friendly, even ol OBL, ODB and GHB. Aho. Good times. Shittty music, but we still had our underground.

Wishing for the days
-Minor Threat
Yep. Guess I’m a little nostalgic after all. I don’t miss being a laborer though. That’s a hard dollar Brother.
Which perhaps brings me to point. I don’t care about the US Gov being shutdown. I don’t care about Breaking Bad and I could give two fucks about Miley Cyrus. Also, your spirituality really gets under my skin. I don’t care about High School and I don’t care about punkrock.
Shall I break it down for you, good&cherished reader, country-simple?
Ok. Will do. And if you’re with me this far you understand that I am not talking about you. WE are talking about THEM, in the fine Irish tradition of warming ourselves with misery, better than whiskey-Ok, onward.
The problem is not with government. In a democracy, the government is of, by and for the people. Any problem you have with the government is a problem you have with yourself. Yep YOU.
The problem is not with the ruling class. The problem is that the ruling class are some of the best paid citizens in the Land of the Free. The problem is with the rich, and your sullen, defeatist acceptance of the shrinking middle class. You don’t read Going For The Throat to rally. There is nothing political about my writing. Aho.
I don’t lose any sleep
worrying about the state of the economy

-Circle Jerks, I Don’t
Don’t ask me about the economy. Leave it to the pros. Quit clogging up the social networks with your commentary, as if it mattered to anyone but you and your friends list. Keep watching tv and fantasising about millions of dollars made in meth deals or legions of zombies corrupting your way of life. Quit commenting on the music industry-it likes the attention and it’s nothing but boardroom rock&bullshit pop music that won’t be remembered 20 years from now save for maybe at your highschool reunion.
Just leave it to the pros. That’s what I do. Read Paul Krugman or Noam Chomsky.
And take it to the streets, Citizen. Brush up on your Amer Natl Govt and include as many folks in Your Party as possible. This distinction between Repubs&Democrats? I call bullshit. That’s their game. Ignore the detractors, don’t watch the fucking news. Get on the Gandhi trip. It’s either that or eat the Rich. And by that I mean eat the Rich people. Whatever you do, do not post things on your timeline that I will have to suffer. I can’t take it anymore. And come Sunday, read some more of Brother Don Bajema, why don’t ya? He’ll be posting a new chapter of Too Skinny, Too Small every Sunday until the Super Bowl. Which is great news b/c ever since I declared my boycott of the NFL, Sundays have been a real drag. Aho. I’m hard pressed to find anything intellectually stimulating or fun to do at week’s end, when the whole country goes numb behind a blue wall of television light.
Don’t get me wrong, I care about your opinions. Your concerns are mine brother. Which is why I implore you to get informed and become the media. Write your own blog. I will read it. I will support you. Think your position through, clearly illustrate it in a clever and/or way that is pleasurable to read. Do something besides getting up on your Facebook soapbox.
I get it, the site is a self-fuck, 6billion people thinking out loud and talking to themselves. On good days Facebook is better than the New York Times and closer to street level than The Business after a soccer game…on bad days I delete you and on worse nights I even block you. Facebook has its perks. But I am transitioning out. Now watch him dissappear. I harbor ill-will toward none, save myself, but this much madness is too much sorrow. I must willfully isolate myself and not talk for 3 days. I must get on a plane and forget about my troubles for awhile.

Brother Don Bajema’s Too Skinny, Too Small on Going For The Throat every Sunday until the Super Bowl. F the NFL. F the music industry. Eat the Rich. Go for the throat.

20131015-180746.jpg

Who Will Judge the Righteous? PT II-Introducing Guest Blogger Don Bajema

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

PT II
violence is all around me
still my city sleeps
fallin through the curtains
I see nations crumble for me
Horizon Lion, Bev Haven

Who will judge the righteous?
It ain’t me, Brother.  That would take tenacity and wisdom.  It would take the strength of conviction, knowing what’s right and not giving an inch.  It would take what those young men do out on the field every day of the NFL Season, but coupled with the guidance of a crack playcoach whose cool&disaffected exterior only masks a keen&calculating hunger for victory.

Novelist, screenwriter, actor and spoken-word performer Don Bajema’s been there.  The former world-class athlete not only played for the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s toured Europe as a spoken word poet beside Henry Rollins and Hubert Selby Jr. no less.
There is a beautiful and searing clarity in his work.
Winged Shoes and a Shield, released last fall, offers a view of Sunrise in America that is both sweeping and penetrating.  Panoramic views of seemingly idyllic youth growing up in the 50s and 60s are presented in tandem with the malignant undercurrent of the draft and specter of the Vietnam War.  It’s not lost on Bajema that many of protagonist Eddie Burnett’s peers were using their young&naïve prowess to destroy villages of civilians in jungles far away from the track and field where Eddie excelled or the beaches south of San Diego where he fell in love.  Or worse, like Eddie many were suffering right here at home at the yoke of violent fathers who never really came home their War years before, if only as shells of men, bitter and beaten.

I like Bajema’s America.  Maybe even better than the real one.  The man certainly offers a more authentic view of the “greatest country in the world” than the one that’s advertised.  Bajema’s America is at once hopefully idealistic and savagely dark.  It’s no accident that I hear rock&roll when I read Don Bajema.  It has as much to do with his paens to rock music’s innocence&potency as the dangerous world his characters live but dare to be in love in.

Aho.  My respect for him goes beyond acknowledging that he was there for that sublime and golden burgeoning of the middleclass and introduction of leisure such as the NFL to the gen pop.   Brother Don has kept his eyes open.  I’ve written it before, the man has remained beautifully awake.  He’s watched the whole thing come tumbling down.
He’s witnessed the murder of a dream and seen the promise of the hippie generation all but rot while a backlash rolled this country back 30 years and stalled our history sometime around 1989 and somewhere between willfully ignorant and grossly apathetic.

But, what do I know?  I’m just an apathetic ex-Pat postpunkrocker who admittedly sometimes just wants to flush it all down and watch it sink utterly into slothful oblivion.  I know, a bit much, eh Brother?  A little dark.  That’s why people like Don Bajema are important.  He’s wont to check me on Facebook sometimes, when I’m on some nihilistic, anti-Christian anti-American jag.  He never tells me I’m wrong but he doesn’t have to.  I can’t help but hear light and love coming from the voice of a man who’s been there, seen it come down, but somehow still believes.  The man is a true patriot and as close to a hero as you can get these days, when leaders and pundits and the big business of news reporting are all so busy telling you who to hate and what to fear.
Brother Don ain’t goin’ in for that bullshit, brother.  He knows that we won’t get fooled again, even if he needs to remind an unemployed and apolitical journalist like me sometimes.

Stay tuned for the first three chapters of Don Bajema’s newest work Too Skinny, Too Small, to be run serially on Going for the Throat over the next couple of weeks.  Order your copy of Winged Shoes and a Shield from City Lights Booksellers.

wingedshoesandashield

Who Will Judge the Righteous?

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

PT I
F the NFL

Who will judge the righteous?
It’s a fair question.  Am I right, brother?  That is, assuming you’ve measured up.  You pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and you’ve stomped boot to face of any weakerthan on your way up because you’re a winner and you’re not a pussy.  You didn’t piss your pants on the first day of Kindergarten and you drank beer like a Roman around bonfires in High School and you bro-downed at the Frat House while taking advantage of dumb girls in College.  It’s high time you were rewarded for towing the line of American masculinity, so sit back and enjoy the game.
Aho it’s football season.  Now you can really work out, jam those buggers and crush the enemy.  Get lost in bloodlust behind a blue wall of television light, drink and cuss and fight before you head to bed on a Sunday or Monday night, and sleep like a baby throughout autumn in America.  Ah, the game.  With its lines clearly drawn and an identifiable enemy to be conquered and humiliated.  Thinking back over your entire life, there was always the game.  Except for that dark and confusing week in September of 2001 it’s been business as usual, let ‘er rip and shutup honey the game’s on!

I don’t watch football anymore.  The last game of pro ball I watched, or listened to, as it were, was the opening Sunday of the 2011 Season.  It wasn’t the unending misery or sorry excuse for a pathetic career of my hometown Eagles that queered me to the NFL either.  Many of my homeboys have solved that problem by defecting to less dismal and dysfunctional franchises like the NY Giants or the Dallas Cowboys fer fuck’s sake.  Aho

The last time I listened to the game was on the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.  Commercial breaks were flooded with ad agency spun sympathy for the victims and first responders of 9/11.  It appeared that the NFL had sold ad time to the pounding of a tired trope-one that subliminally equates any dissent of American Hegemony with the murder of 3,000 innocent people.  You know, that old patriotism-or-treason trip.  I’m used to it.  But when I’m inundated with it, and it’s crammed down my throat on a Sunday afternoon 10 years later, and after all that time thinking I was safe behind a wide wall of apathy and listening strictly to liberal radio, I get upset.

The NFL and its sponsors were wasting my time with maudlin attempts at blind patriotism and otherwise dancing on graves to hawk wares and further the bullshit business-as-usual of consumerism.  Meanwhile my own country was quagmired in three senseless wars that, as the truth slowly started to slither out just 10 days before, were not moral, righteous, nor even humane.

This schadenfreude of manufactured consent was grossly disrespectful to the dead.  I was suffering from my own loss suffered that same rueful Autumn 10 years ago, and I’d be good and goddamned if I’d let a company like Budweiser or the NFL tell me how to feel about it.  It got worse after commercial break.  Even dumber things were happening down on the green and on TV.  There were cops&horses, flags out the yin-yang and the National Anthem sung by Lady Antebellum fer fuck’s sake.  All under the proud banner of a
customized NFL 9/11 ribbon and the official NFL 9/11 logo.

These were mawkish efforts at best, willful ignorance and an “odious exercise in corporate branding” at least.  It made me sick and I haven’t listened to a game since.

And now, as the war drums start to roll and a poisoned toad like John McCain can be heard on liberal radio and John Kerry drones on and on with some of the best paid men&women in the country on the Senate floor, debating the morality of murder, theirs or ours, and by ours I mean you&me Brother-what could this be but Autumn in America?
I thought we put down that pig of a man with stumps for arms last November.  I thought the only thing neocons would be getting out of the American people this term would be book deals and spots on Fox News at best and a dirty, shameful place in the history of the greatest country in the world besides.
As far as the Dems go, John Kerry must be the biggest shill of a man, perhaps better remembered as a dove not so very long ago, on the Campaign Trail and at the onset of all this madness.
I thought the President of the United States stood for something besides getting the Latino vote and an easy ticket out of Chicago.
I thought I could remain grossly apathetic and I thought my old man would still be around and we might watch a few more cursed Birds games together over cheesesteaks&Marlboros.  I thought we’d always have the game.
I was wrong.
This changes everything.
-Tool

Make no mistake, those who are busy deciding how best to blow another trillion dollars in a war far away will not be the ones fighting it.  You really want to see Congress get along with the Forty-Fourth President of the United States?  You really wanna see some action?
F the NFL, let’s go to war.

And 10 years from now, with your middle class and your Fourth Amendment gone, your highways jammed with suicide bombers and the news clogged with religious nutters stroking a hardon for the end days, you can enjoy another henous instant replay of American history brought to you by the NFL.  You deserve it.  You’re a winner.  Why should I care?  I’m a baseball fan.

whowilljudgetherighteousptI

LET’S GO PHILS!

I will switch channels when the NFL glorifies the military and DHS.
I will gently dissuade anyone thinking of joining the military.
I will not listen to prayers for the military.
I will not listen to the military or war being raised up from the pulpit in church.
I will not talk to people who worship the military.
I will not say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I will not salute the flag.
I will not stand for the National Anthem.
I will not vote.
I will not listen to the voice of any President.
–Switchblade commenting on Truthdig.org

Writing Another Book, The Sophomore Effort&The Battle Within

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

one from none
I credit this book with kick-star
ting my life and getting me going.
-Dr. Vasquez 

When I was 17 years old I came across a copy of Henry Rollins’ One From None.  I had already been a huge fan of the man.  I loved the  1/4 Stick era Rollins Band.  Turned On helped me through the wreckage of adolescence and was on repeat on my boombox throughout sophomore year of High School.  And like many others of the postpunk youth demographic, I looked up to the man.  He had a bead on how to keep himself contained.  He had what Adrienne Rich has called a visionary anger.

From the moment I saw the cover, a blurred black&white photo of Rollins rocking out on stage, some part of me knew, or wanted to know, that I would be published one day.  My verse and anger-my words, could be realized and achieve book format.  I wouldn’t have to change a thing or subscribe to what seemed like a permanent zeitgeist of the shiny, happy set.  One From None was punkrock but it went further.  It was a book.  It wasn’t a stapled&xeroxed zine from the underground but a perfectly bound book of poetry.

I read most, if not all, of that volume on the steps of my friend J’s house in Upper Darby.  In four years time I’d go from graduating high school and auditioning for the University of the Arts to being homeless in the suburbs of my hometown while working as a day laborer.  I won’t lie.  Those years weren’t kind.  Nothing was.  Eventually I fell in love but that was even worse.

Life happened.  I eventually pulled stakes and now I’m living in Paradise.  The girls are pretty.  The beer is cold.  I have health insurance  as a gigging musician.  Every year at the beginning of March there is an electricity in the air that could only come from being in the center of the rock&roll universe.  Down here we’re glad to be alive.  The weather is killer and the people are nice.  There’s a line that connects any number of singer-songwriters working  down here that stretches all the way back to the Father of the Blues, Blind Lemon Jefferson.

Allot has happened since that cold night on J’s stoop in 1991.  Our movement was usurped, it got flooded with posers and trend chasers.  Fugazi, one of the greatest rock&roll bands of all time broke up.  The aftermath of 9/11 resulted in a backlash that set this country back 40 years and doomed us all to never knowing peace in our time.  I self-published 3 chapbooks and took them on the road.  Of all the shit that’s happened over the decades since I read One From None, it’s what I used to get me through that persists.  And unfortunately for me what persists are these filthy habits.  The dirty ways that helped me squeeze through.    Battle&recon&hatred and fear-which is the root of it all, really.  Smoking a pack a day and ending most of my shifts with a 6pack and a glass of Scotch might’ve worked when everything felt like War.  I’ve written about this before and plenty.  The sad news about Molina passing Saturday at the age of 39 reminded me of it.
You just reach a point in your life where there’s no more battle and a no more worthy adversary.  You confront yourself and this will be the hardest fight of your life Brother.
Which is basically where I’m at.  I can honestly say that whatever I have dreamt I have made so.  Some weird subconscious manifest energy has made me a published poet and an accomplished singer/songwriter with my fingers in several journalistic outlets inlcuding the column platform of this blog.
I wanna kick it to the sky Brother.  For true.  I threw out my black&whites yesterday and I don’t want to work for anyone else ever again.
I have received nothing but the most positive and heartfelt encouragement from you all.  The fact that we’re discussing my work AT ALL pleases me to no end.  It means that it’s up and walking around.  It’s real.  I think it’s time for it to be so much and all too-real.  Viable.  Keep checks like this one coming in and a smile on my face.  checkMy work has demanded that it be taken seriously.  My work ain’t got time for that deprecation kick.  I’m here to tell you that you can live your dreams.  Trusting that your boot will hit ground ain’t a long shot.  I believe in my work.  You believe in me and, my People, I believe in you.  Keep fighting.

Help does not
just walk up to you
I could have told you that
I’m not an idiot.
Jason Molina
12/16/73 – 3/16/13
RIP DIXIE BLUESMAN

Dave Grohl, South By Southwest 2013, Blues&Trouble in Paradise

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

Neurosis-it’s what’s for breakfast. Doesn’t help that the whole town’s on vacation and the whole fucking world is on Austin’s doorstep for the 27th Annual SXSW Music&Media Conference.
The construction crews on Rio Grande haven’t missed a beat. They’ve got some clever machines, including one that sounds like some kind of mechanical pick-axe. It chisels me from dreaming, it chisels me awake. My mornings usually begin with me fantasizing about climbing onto the roof of the mansion with a rifle and taking Mr. beep-beep-beep out, and the rest of his crew too.
I’m stuck on repeat, creatively speaking, and I’m just as neurotic about a poem submitted last Friday night as I was the last time I posted.
Uncle Dave Grohl will be delivering the keynote address for this year’s SXSW, at 12noon CST.  I don’t know how he could possibly hold a candle to last year’s address by the Boss. Bruce Springsteen’s Keynote Address for SXSW 2012 is one of the finest moments in the history of broadcast media. I strongly encourage you to listen to it sometime. The best thing about it? The Boss knows that all we are ever doing is standing on the shoulders of our ancestors. He never comes across as self-important or some hot shit rockstar. He talked about Son House and The Animals for christ. Other than Grohl’s work behind the kit, I’m not really impressed by the man. His work with the Queens and of course Nirvana are fine examples of hard rock drumming at its finest. The Foo Fighters on the other hand, are fratboy fare, nothing we haven’t heard again and again, repeatedly since punkrock’s incorporation. If his recent AMA on Reddit is any indication, this should at least be interesting. Bound to have more resonance&depth than his band-of-Dads’ sappy post-hardcore horseshit.
As far as SX is concerned, before day’s end I’m bound to see Freedy Johnston, The Joy Formidable and end it all with a little nightcap east side.
It’s impossible to get anything done around here with the whole town exploding and shit happening in every abandoned bus and bank lobby in Hippie Town.
And besides all that craziness I can’t get over the fact that I submitted a poem  that I am not proud of to an Anthology . I guess that’s life, right Brother? Some of us shack up in the high rooms with a bottle of champagne and rue our Artists’ plight while the streets are filled with Gilligan’s Island rejects wearing wristbands and drinking from plastic cups and jamming to the Foos.
Meanwhile the rest of the world’s awash about the appointing of another kiddie feeler as the head of an ignorant, hateful and dead religion.  1.2 billion people can’t be wrong, can they?

Between trouble&the blues, how will we ever survive?  See you on the streets motherfucker.  Rock and Roll can never die.

We live in a post–authentic world. And today authenticity is a house of mirrors. It’s all just what you’re bringing when the lights go down. It’s your teachers, your influences, your personal history; and at the end of the day, it’s the power and purpose of your music that still matters.
-Bruce Springsteen from his 2012 SXSW Keynote Address

the pope and michaelangelo