Sunday, June 14, 2015

Check out this new band: Roxy Music

I think Americans don't really realize how influential and edgy Roxy Music were before they made it onto our American radios. I didn't.

This'll educate ya:

More Than This - The Roxy Music Story

Second only to the Beatles in their influence -- according to some. The only pre-1977 English band that the early punks didn't want to lynch.

As a musician, Roxy Music has had an influence on me through their alumni association, including Eddie Jobson, Phil Manzanera, and Brian Eno.

When I was most affected by that second-hand smoke was when I was just starting to compose music. So, by extension, my high school band The Nutrients, is/was influenced by Roxy Music.

And when I looked back at Roxy Music via the artists whose careers were spawned by the band, I saw Bryan Ferry's smarmy persona, which always rubbed me the wrong way. I don't think I understood that, at the time, that smarm was very much against the grain of rock music.

The only pre-1977 American band the early punks didn't want to lynch was The Velvet Underground. And artist Richard Hamilton sort of was to Roxy Music what Andy Warhol was to The Velvet Underground.

The documentary didn't make that connection; I made it all by myself. Put that on the fridge, Mom.

And what I didn't know was that Roxy Music influenced a host of artists who I like, don't much like, or like but won't admit that I like: Bono (U2), John Taylor (Duran Duran), Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxie and the Banshees), Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols), Martyn Ware (Human League), and Nile Rogers (Chic), to name a few.

I'm not sure what inspired me to fill in omission of my cultural literacy. I think it was a podcast...

Yes, now that I think of it, it was a podcast that used "Love is the Drug" as interstitial music. Next thing I did was download The Best of Roxy Music, to use for Cliff Notes to and, well, I was off.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Green Police State — Better than the Patriot Act State?

Earlier today I heard of Mike Beitiks for the first time. He is running for the California Senate seat to be vacated by Barbara Boxer.

Mikelis Beitiks for Senate 2016

Here is part of his hilarious platform that touches my car-snubbing, earth-loving, peace-mongering heart:
Withdraw military from Middle East. Deploy military in people’s driveways to make sure they’re not taking unnecessary trips, driving when they could be walking, etc …
It solves three problems at once:

  1. Reduces oil consumption by reducing unnecessary trips, thereby,
  2. Reduces our economic and political entanglements with dysfunctional oil-soaked foreign governments, and... 
  3. Gives our military something else to do.

Now that's the kind of creative thinking we need in Washington DC.

Of course, it does create a police state. That's a bad thing. But we've lived with the Patriot Act for going on 14 years now, that's only a little less obvious than soldiers in your driveway telling you to walk to the goddamn store.

If you don't like either of these scenarios, don't support Mike Beitkis and sunset the Patriot Act, which either will or won't happen while I sleep tonight.

Note that the opinions expressed here are solely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Young. Angry. Skinny. Catchy. Gasy.

I just saw The Dizzy Brains live.

I really had no idea what to expect. I knew nothing of them other than their name, which I had seen on a roster for the Libertalia Music Festival. But the venue was a fancy hotel, and the advertisement listed a host of corporate sponsors, so I had set my expectations for some kind of jazz-influenced elevator world music; nonthreatening, highly polished.

Libertalia Music Festival

I got out of the taxi and I heard the rumblings of a driving punk band. This was a surprise. And I admit that before I saw them I started to imagine a probably-white group from outside Madagascar.

I could hear, but I couldn't see over the security fence. I got in line. I paid my 3000 Ariary cover charge (a buck, more or less). Someone slapped a blue wristband on me. Someone else pressed two condoms into my hand.

Then I was in.

Once I could see the stage... What the hell? These guys are Gasy -- as in Malagasy.

This video is a diluted taste of The Dizzy Brains:

I'm a fan. Imagine The Strokes with real problems, not just First World Problems.

I'm sure the lyrics lose a lot in translation. I noticed that the f-bombs got lost in the English subtitles.

The Dizzy Brains at the Libertalia Music Festival

More music from The Dizzy Brains on Soundcloud >>

About those condoms...

One of the sponsors of the event was the American taxpayer -- by way of a subsidized condom brand with the very clever logo. There were TV monitors showing advertisements for these condoms. If you blinked, you'd miss the USAID logo that flashed on the screen like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval just as you starting to think about safe sex.

Your sex dollars at work.

Note that the opinions expressed here are solely my own and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.