Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Buffy Sainte-Marie's censored sounds

Interesting but flawed article about government attempts to suppress the music of Buffy Sainte-Marie, as well as other Native American artists like John Trudell, during the 1970s.

Unfortunately, this is based in part on the testimony of a former government covert operative named Charles Schlund.

Now, in federal court, Charles August Schlund III stated he is a covert operative and supports Sainte-Marie's assertions that the United States took action to suppress rock music because of its role in rallying opposition to the Vietnam War...

In his federal court affidavit, Schlund said he has knowledge of ''the detailed plans for the break-up and destruction of rock n' roll music including the assassinations of many people to achieve their goals. The detailed plans to replace rock n' roll music with all-American music called country western.''

''This massive CIA and DEA covert operation was being conducted to stop political overtones in the rock n' roll music and to stop foreign influences on Americans caused by the exposure to foreign music. This operation was conducted because the Rockefellers had lost the Vietnam War because of the protest that was in part directly linked with rock n' roll music. In these files, the Rockefellers had needed the natural resources of Vietnam for the expansion of their corporate empire and they blamed the loss of the war in part on rock n' roll music.

''The assassinations started long before Vietnam but the plans to replace rock n' roll with country western music started during the Vietnam War and have continued to the present,'' Schlund stated to the court.

In his federal court affidavits filed in Maricopa County in Arizona, Schlund also stated that singer Buddy Holly, killed in an airplane crash in 1959, was considered a threat to the U.S. government.

The article brings out other evidence to suggest that the US government did make efforts to suppress Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Schlund may indeed have had knowledge of this. But "The Rockefellers"? And Buddy Holly?! Please!

Monday, August 21, 2006

"In Nashville, Sounds of Political Uprising From the Left" (New York Times)

"Country music, the genre of lonely hearts and highways, lost jobs and blue-collar woes, has become a cultural battleground. Conservatism is widely seen as having the upper hand, a red-state answer to left-leaning Hollywood.

Democrats on Music Row, the country music capital here, have grown frustrated with that reputation. A group of record-company executives, talent managers and artists has released an online compilation of 20 songs, several directly critical of Mr. Bush and the Iraq war."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gays in Metal

Good overview of gays in metal music, as well as punk, by Anthony Bartkewicz, in Decibel Magazine.

I was particularly interested in this observation: "punk rock has had its share of openly gay provocateurs, like the Big Boys' Randy "Biscuit" Turner [top picture], the Dicks' Gary Floyd [bottom picture, in center], and Martin Sorrondeguy of Los Crudos and xLimpwristx, who deliberately, often satirically, confronted or gay stereotypes in their lyrics and performances. The flamboyant Turner defied any homophobes in his audience by belting out hardcore in a tutu and eye makeup."

When I lived in Austin in the late 70s and early 80s, the Big Boys and the Dicks (who later moved to San Francisco) were an important part of the lively punk scene. I recall their queer provocations, and don't remember people reacting negatively. It's not correct, however, that the Big Boys were "hard core"--they were very funk influenced, their sound in some ways resembling the Gang of Four. One of their best songs was a cover of "Hollywood Swinging" by Kool and the Gang. I think my favorite Big Boys show was when they opened for Trouble Funk. (Biscuit, who was an incredibly sweet guy, died in August 2005.) The Dicks, on the other hand, along with another celebrated Austin band MDC (who also later moved to S.F.; MDC stands for, among other things, Million Dead Cops), virtually defined what hardcore stood for/stands for.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

"Burn Baby Burn Hotsauce": Selling the Black Panther Party Memory

This item is a year old, but still worth recording. You can buy the "Spirit of '66" t-shirts here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 (SF Chronicle)
BLACK PANTHERS HOT AGAIN/Huey Newton's widow resurrects militants' memory with 'Burn Baby Burn' barbecue sauce
Rick DelVecchio, Chronicle Staff Writer

Former Black Panthers in Oakland have cooked up a hot sauce called "Burn Baby Burn" [pictured] and plan to ship it to stores in the coming weeks along with a new clothing line [a t-shirt example is pictured] trading on the legacy of the late-'60s revolutionary Huey Newton.
Newton's widow, Fredrika Newton, came up with the idea for the new brand of spicy condiment, and original Panther David Hilliard brewed the recipe at home in West Oakland, with help from his musician and amateur-cook friend Al Green of San Francisco.
The Huey P. Newton Foundation, headed by Hilliard and named for the co-founder of the militant group born in Oakland, filed an application with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office last year to secure the phrase "Burn Baby Burn" for commercial trademark purposes.
"It was a catchy phrase, and I thought it would be reminiscent of the '60s," Fredrika Newton said Tuesday. "I sure didn't want it to be a call to burn anything other than our taste buds."
Green said: "We have a number of different kinds, and some of it is really hot -- I mean, incredibly hot."
The phrase is associated with the race riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles in 1965. Onlookers started chanting it after police arrested a young man for drunken driving. The confrontation triggered six days of rioting, resulting in more than 30 deaths, 1,000 injuries and devastating fire damage to the neighborhood.
Each bottle of Burn Baby Burn Revolutionary Hot Sauce will come with a tag noting milestones in the history of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which was formed in 1966 by Huey Newton and his college classmate Bobby Seale. Newton was fatally shot by a drug dealer in Oakland in 1989. [No mention of the FBI's COINTELPRO program that targeted the Black Panther Party for neutralization and resulted in the murder of Fred Hampton and other Panthers.]
The tags will highlight the group's social legacy, Fredrika Newton said.
"I guess I want to celebrate the history and to let people know the actual facts of the Black Panther Party and how some of these programs are woven in today, like free breakfast programs and the call for free health care," she said.
Newton's idea is that the phrase should recall the Panthers' social programs. Children who benefited from the Panthers' free breakfasts in the '60s might reminisce over the taste of a mild, medium or spicy barbecue sauce, and young people might learn about the Panthers for the first time by reading the tags.
"It's not about violence, but the hot sauce will remind people of the rebellion in Watts and how the slogan came about," Hilliard said. "But this is an emphasis on using some of the revenue used by our hot sauce to educate."
Profits from the merchandise will support literacy programs, Hilliard said.
The nonprofit Huey P. Newton Foundation is rolling out the hot sauce and its "Spirit of '66" clothing line in advance of events commemorating the Panthers' 40th anniversary in October 2006.
"The hot sauce and the clothes are all a part of us trying to find new formats for marketing our history," said Hilliard, the foundation's executive director.
He sees two generations of potential customers.
"It's the hip-hop market, and certainly there's people who have a nostalgia for the '60s -- people who are looking for retro clothing, people who are still listening to Bob Dylan," he said. "And most recently, Carly Simon has a retro CD out."

Carly Simon fans are eating this up: The Black Panther clothing store's website, accessed today, says this:

We're sorry, but due to the growing popularity of our clothing line we are currently experiencing a high volume of orders and have had to suspend any future orders until we receive more stock.

Check back again soon! We thank you for your understanding and patience.

- The Black Panther Clothing Staff


Monday, August 07, 2006

Medine: "French Muslim Band Speaks Against Racism, Terror"

Cleaining out the e-mail box, I found this, which is just a little dated, but still useful. The original, from IslamOnLine, is no longer up, so I post it in full.

French Muslim Band Speaks Against Racism, Terror

The band’s albums have sold a record number in France.

By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Paris Correspondent

PARIS, March 26 (IslamOnline.net) – In France, rap music no longer conjures up images of hip-hopping boys and girls or doped teenagers after a Muslim band has given it a new look.

Singing primarily against terrorism and racism, Din Records seven members are priding themselves on being Muslims moved by the sufferings of their fellow Muslims from Palestine to Chechnya.

“Other rap bands are united by drugs, but we are united by prayers,” the band’s vocal Medine said on the band’s Web site.

Established in 2002, the band denounces the injustice done to Muslims in the occupied Palestinians territories, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya.

It also condemns terrorism and expresses heartfelt sympathy with the oppressed worldwide.

Din Records songs, which topped France’s music charts and sold briskly, include “Jihad” “9/11,” “Guantanamo” and “The School of Life.”

“We want to give voice to the sufferings endured by Muslims throughout the past three years in the aftermath of the attacks,” Medine says.


The 9/11 ditty, which has been banned by the French TV, shows a mixture of the havoc caused by 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington and the destruction caused by the US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It also features the deplorable conditions of the Palestinians and the wide-scale destruction of their lands and homes by the Israeli occupation army.

“I keep looking for the root of the world’s disasters/Only to find out that the storm is blowing everywhere,” read the song’s lyrics.

“But the eyes are fixed on the twin tower/You don’t understand anything neither do I/But listen to the story from the very beginning…From September to September…From Ramallah to Manhattan…From Kabul to Baghdad,” they say.

The song says that the 9/11 attacks have had their domino effects on Muslims in France with the secularism drive picking up steam.

“In the country of the three-color flag, you have to be secular and enlightened/You must respect the values of the republic/Muslims are not allowed to wear beards or take on the hijab in schools.”

And it hits out at the media blitz against Muslims.

“In the newspapers, they accuse us of inciting violence, war crimes/They accuse us of being against the Americans though the Americans are rallying behind Michael Moore,” the US filmmaker who directed the anti-Bush “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

The song also touches on the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers.

“Two or three million dollars and we will forget about Abu Gharib,” the scene of the pornographic and shocking practices meted out to Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers.


The songs “Guantanamo” and “The School of Life” have to do with the humiliation of Muslims in the West.

“The storm is blowing down Islam and the residents of the suburbs, who are marginalized in transports because of their hijabs/And those young people with beards, who are banned in airports/It is a plausible reason for Islamophobia,” read the lyrics of “Guantanamo”.

“The School of Life” adds: “They tell me that I belong in the third generation of immigrants/Though I have been born here and lead a simple life/Indeed, [the Hijri year] 1425 is a minaret for our fathers, mothers and brothers.”

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) said in a recent report that Muslim minorities across Europe have been experiencing growing distrust, hostility and discrimination since 9/11.

“Pre-existing patterns of prejudice and discrimination have been reinforced and Muslims have increasingly felt that they are stigmatized because of their beliefs,” said the report.

Click for “9/11” video clip
Click for Din Records Website

Lusty lyrics spur teen sex

From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 7.

(The underlying assumption seems to be: teen sex = BAD.)

Study: Lusty lyrics spur teen sex
CHICAGO - Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.
Music’s influence on teen behavior appears to depend on how sex is portrayed, researchers found.
Songs depicting men as “sexdriven studs,” women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed, the study found.
Teens who said they listened to music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music “gives them a specific message about sex,” said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.
The study, based on telephone interviews with 1,461 participants aged 12 to 17, appears in the August issue of Pediatrics released today.
Most participants were virgins when they were first questioned in 2001. Follow-up interviews were done in 2002 and 2004 to see if music choice had influenced subsequent behavior.
Natasha Ramsey, a 17-year-old from New Brunswick, N.J., said she and other teens sometimes listen to sexually explicit songs because they like the beat.
“I won’t really realize that the person is talking about having sex or raping a girl,” she said. Even so, the message “is being beaten into the teens’ heads,” she said.
The Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the U.S. recording industry, declined to comment on the findings.
Benjamin Chavis, chief executive officer of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a coalition of hip-hop musicians and recording industry executives, said explicit music lyrics are a cultural expression that reflect “social and economic realities.”
Martino said the researchers tried to account for other factors that could affect teens’ sexual behavior, including parental permissiveness, and still found explicit lyrics had a strong influence.
However, Yvonne K. Fulbright, a New York-based sex researcher and author, said factors including peer pressure, self-esteem and home environment are probably more influential than the research suggests.
“It’s a little dangerous to just pinpoint one thing. You have to look at everything that’s going on in a young person’s life,” she said. “When somebody has a healthy sense of themselves, they don’t take these lyrics too seriously.”
David Walsh, a psychologist who heads the National Institute on Media and the Family, said the results make sense, and echo research on the influence of videos and other visual media.
Martino said parents, educators and teens themselves need to think more critically about messages in music lyrics.
Fulbright agreed.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Shaviro on the New York Dolls

On the occasion of the release of the New York Dolls' new album, One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This.

"...what was so great about the Dolls’ sound, a sound far more down ‘n’ dirty than the Stones ever had, with an intensity born of desperation, an energy that kept on building but never broke through into ecstasy, and was all the more impassioned for that...they seemed to inhabit a place in which questions of authenticity or not, sincerity or not, committment or satire, passion or performance raucous excess or calculated effects… simply made no difference...The new album is an unsatisfying simulacrum...Except — and here’s where things get both difficult and interesting — that my (overly obvious) criticism of the latter-day Dolls would seem to depend precisely on the categories of originality, authenticity, etc., which I praised the original Dolls for rendering thrillingly irrelevant."