Holiday In The Sun

Got about four hours of sleep before I need to head out to the studio with Shinyribs.  Got a gig tonight at the Rattle Inn with The Savage Poor.  I’m tired, but I put on the Pistols and everything is as right as rain.  Never Mind the Bullocks is still one of the greatest albums ever, and one of the few punk elements that truly still has an element of danger to it in places.  (Listen to Bodies.)  Paul Cook’s backbeat and the guitars of Steve Jones still thrill.  John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) was brilliant from the start.  If you ever want to read a great rock n roll book, John Lydon’s No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, is one of the best, by a thousand miles.

Tonight:

Only a Fool Feels They Deserve It – Home Demo

Only a Fool Feels They Deserve It – Home Demo

jeffs-guitar-jazzmaster

Tomorrow night at the Rattle Inn my band, The Savage Poor, will be playing a one hour set at the Rattle Inn, in Austin, at 10pm.  We will be playing a new song called Only a Fool Feels They Deserve It.  I thought I’d post the original home demo for those that were interested.  The song is brand new here, recorded about a year or so ago.  The recording is primitive, the performance shaky, but the emotions are true.  I’m not going to make this recording available for download right now, as a better version will eventually emerge.  But here you go, a song being born:

 

Only a Fool Feels They Deserve It

The older you get, the wider the gulf
Between what you have and what you dream of
Some get bitter and some go insane
Some get religious and a few stay the same

Only a fool feels they deserve it
We know every failure and impulse by heart
But it don’t take a genius to know that
It’s only love that keeps us from falling apart

If it weren’t for her, he’d swear that his boss
Would have been crucified at the end of last month
If it weren’t for him, she’d swear that her mom
Would have opened the mail and found a bomb

Only a fool feels they deserve it
We know every failure and impulse by heart
But it don’t take a genius to know that
It’s only love that keeps us from falling apart

Look into his eyes
See the best of you inside
Hold on to her hand
Find another soul that understands

Only a fool feels they deserve it
We know every failure and impulse by heart
But it don’t take a genius to know that
It’s only love that keeps us from falling apart

 

I Have Never Love Hillary So Much As Last Night

I’ve never loved Hillary Clinton quite as much as I did last night, as she kept her cool while Donald “I’ve got the best temperament” Trump was going apeshit.  I’ve heard several people compare him to a walking aneurism.  He was pure impulse last night, driven by nothing but ego.  He was often raging at things that weren’t real.  He was kind of like Don Quix0te, if Don Quixote was evil as fuck.  I love that the serial misogynist was bested by an intelligent woman.  I’d be even more gleeful about him twitching and turning when he was called out on his own very real disgusting past, but frankly its quite a sad day in our country when such a person has made it this far.

Thank god Hillary continues to show nerves of steel.  She didn’t let Trump’s circus like behavior derail her for even a minute last night.  In fact she even laughed a couple times at the sheer absurdity of what she was facing.  If there is one moment from this campaign I will remember so far, it is when Trump chose to bring up temperament in the presence of someone who was embodying the very definition of being level headed.  I’m with her.  Dear god, I’m definitely fucking with her.

 

Some Thoughts On the Debate

I’m watching the debate right now, as I had a rehearsal earlier.  Some thoughts…

What kind of country, no planet, no universe, allows the most powerful country on the only known planet that has life on it, home to 7.4 billion individuals, to have someone as vile as Donald Trump vying for the leadership of it?

Is God angry, away on business, nonexistent, or simply looking for some amusement at our expense?

Back to the debate…

P.S.  Let’s assume that Donald Trump is as great a businessman as he actually says.  (I don’t believe it for a minute, but just play along.)  What does good business sense have to do with empathy, integrity, intellectual capacity, or any other such thing that we claim to want in a leader?  I’m not saying business people can’t have those qualities.  Only that being great at business by itself only proves that one excels in hoarding a great deal of private wealth by any means at their disposal.  It proves they can look out for number one, which is actually the opposite of what we want in someone that is supposed to represent everyone.  Do you really think of Donald Trump alongside terms such as empathy and integrity?  Again, I’m not saying that someone from the business world can’t possess those other qualities.  But being great at business minus those other qualities doesn’t sound like “leader of the free world” material to me.  Maybe you do think the Papa John’s Pizza guy, Jerry Jones, or Palmer Luckey should be president just based on their success, but then why the fuck are you reading this?

 

You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen is coming out with a new album, You Want It Darker.  Above is the title track.  Here are the lyrics:

If you are the dealer
I’m out of the game
If you are the healer
Means I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory
Then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified
Be Thy Holy Name
Vilified, crucified
In the human frame
A million candles burning
For the help that never came
You want it darker

Hineni Hineni
I’m ready, my Lord

There’s a lover in the story
But the story’s still the same
There’s a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it’s written in the scriptures
And it’s not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame

They’re lining up the prisoners and
The guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle-class and tame
I didn’t know I had permission
To murder and to maim
You want it darker

Hineni Hinen
I’m ready, my Lord

Magnified, sanctified
Be Thy Holy Name
Vilified, crucified
In the human frame
A million candles burning
For the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer
Let me out of the game
If you are the healer
I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory
Mine must be the shame
You want it darker

Hineni Hineni…..
I’m ready, my Lord

I’m going to have to trust the world wide internet (never fool proof), but the Hebrew words Hineni Hinen are from the Old Testament and they mean, “Here I Am.”

If this is a sample of the quality of the rest of the album, I can’t wait.

 

 

The Savage Poor and the Art of Bill Lanier at SquareRut Kava this Friday

The Savage Poor - Logo

My band, The Savage Poor, will be playing in Austin this Friday at SquareRut Kava.  The event goes from 8pm to 10pm.  I’m especially excited about this gig as our friend, Bill Lanier, will be displaying some of his art, photography, and other images at this show.  I’ve always wanted to do more shows that combine music with other art forms.  Bill’s photography is amazing to see in person.  He is also going to be projecting some images during our show in a nod to Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground during their Factory days.  This is a free event and it really is going to be a special one if you happen to find yourself in the Austin area on Friday.

For anyone that hasn’t been visiting here regularly, The Savage Poor just released a new single that is available for free download here:

Stay (Trouble in Mind Remix)

 

A Joke Inside of a Nightmare

How does one write about Donald Trump?  It’s not easy.  His entire existence is through the looking glass absurd.  It would almost be better to communicate in some kind of primitive, animalistic way than mere language will allow.  Someone asks you what you think of Trump and you respond by pissing into a dumpster fire.    He’s like an orangutan crossed with a speed freak.  Yet somehow he is not only one step from the White House, but in a close race!

On one hand I get it.  When there is a car accident, one can’t help but rubberneck, even if it’s not the moral thing to do.  But if one chooses to think, rather than give into their lizard brain, they might realize having such a strange mutant in the White House is probably not good for human survival.

There is a certain breed of people that will do it because they hate Hillary.  I myself can neither understand the intense passion or hatred directed towards her.  To me it seems like she is pretty centrist.  I know some people that know her and they claim she is a wonderful person.  I surely hope so.  I definitely think she honestly cares about people.

That’s a pretty simplistic overview of Clinton, but I don’t really want to write about her today.  This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing.  I’m not even convinced Donald Trump is that conservative.  I think it’s mostly a con.  Anytime he talks about the Bible I have to laugh.  I can’t help but feel that if the path to the nomination could be gotten by him praising Muslims, he would be parading the Koran around.

He is first and foremost a supreme narcissist.  And in pursuit of stroking his own ego, he has said and done and endless amount of questionable things.  Attacking anyone one that challenges him, and many that haven’t; These include Mexicans, pastors, the disabled, Democrats, Republicans, etc.  But you know all of this.

Look, I am just begging any of you that might even be thinking of voting for him, not to.  Donald Trump will turn our country into a joke inside of a nightmare.  Even if you don’t love Clinton, even if you are one of those calling her a criminal or worse, you will survive her!  Our country has proven it can already survive eight years of a Clinton presidency.  Do you really want to see what happens in foreign diplomacy if we were to hand over the keys to Trump?  This is a man without dignity, without restraint.

For any of you that don’t want to see Trump win, take a look at the polls.  You must play your part in getting your friends, family, or whoever else you can muster up, out to the polls in November.  The world will thank you.  This is not the time to disengage from politics.

George Carlin once said, “When you are born you get a ticket to the freak show.  When you’re an American you get a front row seat.”  Dear god, those words often seem true to me.  However, I have no wish to be in the tent when it’s burning down.  Trump is something we haven’t seen before.  I get it that some of you are struggling and feel that our leaders have given you a raw deal.  I’m struggling too.  There is a lot going on in this country that is making me ill.  But this buffoon is not the one that is going to fix it.  It is morally wrong to future generations to put Trump in the White House.  Don’t make us look like all-time clowns in the history books.  Admit it, before he ran for president, you were laughing at him too.  Let’s laugh at him again in November, arm in arm as fellow countrymen.  Then we can go back to our respective sides slinging shit across the zoo at each other.  But for one moment we will have all done something great, together.

 

 

Misunderstanding Songs, Dakota Access Pipeline, Uranium War

Hey, Baby I just got back from town
Where the bribes are paid
Honey, they turned my offer down
They say the deal’s already made
So now I gotta stand and watch
While it all comes down
And the buzzards and the hawks
And the judges and the mob
Circle round

Now if I were the queen of all the world
I would go in chains just to see you free
Of the ropes that bind you
And the role you play
And the pride that hooks you
While the big ones get away

Love junkies wanna change the world:
It quickly stays the same
Money junkies hire all the smart ones
Power junkies run the game

One step at a time
Polarity Hill
If the bad guys don’t get you, baby
Then the good guys will
With angels on the take
And the gangsters in the yard
Hey don’t the wars come easy
Hey don’t the peace come hard

Now if I had a way to reach the sky
I’d grab that crescent moon
Weild it like a knife
Save you from the lies
From the ropes that bind you
And the role you play
And the game that hooks you
While the big ones get away

People often mistake volume and sound for danger.  And it is true, sound does have the ability to change the mood in a room.  One could play the orchestral piece Sensemaya, without knowing anything about it, and feel increasing tension as the piece progresses.  (It’s one of my favorite pieces of orchestral music.)  However, one could croon softly and with the right ideas be more subversive than a million rock or country assholes playing rebel.  Often, when we’re teenagers, although many people never get beyond this stage, we will only listen to something that sounds like it has an edge, even if it’s just a smokescreen for the same tired cliches.

The song above, The Big Ones Get Away, has dated synths and other sounds in the production.  I definitely know people that would not be able to get beyond that.  But every time it comes on my headphones it feels real.  Buffy Sainte-Marie’s is singing about big things.  She’s not trying to hide from ugly realities she is facing.  There is sadness and defeat in this song, but there is also truth telling.  It knocks me out every time I hear it.  No matter what is going on around it, someone’s singing voice almost never lies.

With the Sioux fighting the Dakota Access pipeline, this song is timely as well.  This isn’t the first time, by a long shot, that Native Americans have had companies tread on their sacred land for energy.  This song reflects the defeat Sainte-Marie felt from older battles to protect Indian land from corporations.

On her newest album, Power in the Blood, she more explicitly tells one of her stories in the song The Uranium War:

Ay ha ay ha yo Ho

There was a Cree and a Sioux and a Navajo an Arapaho and a Hopi hiyo
We were stranded, snowbound, eh–ho I don’t know
Sleeping on the floor like the best of friends
Living on tea and odds and ends ah
Were we lucky? Well it all depends

There was Cordell and me and Norman Brown sittin around away from town
And me I’m listening — Hey hey Big Mountain guys
Watch the sunrise in your eyes; taking care of the Elders’ pride
Hey hey Mother Earth; Hey hey Father Sky

And me I watched it grow: corporate greed and a lust for gold and
coal and oil and hey now uranium
Keep the Indians under your thumb; pray like hell when your bad times come
Hey rip em up Strip em up Get em with a gun

She was a friend of mine Annie Mae in the snows of the wintertime
We were running cross the fields of Indian land
Ducking bullets from the guns of the pale men Ay hey ay hey ahh

Patriot Woman, hunted in the land
What did you say about uranium?

She come to see me one day I was living in a little place in L.A.
She was running from the feel of the jailor’s touch
Singing Heyo ha ya I think I know too much about uranium

Ay ha ay ha yo

And me I watched it grow: corporate greed and a lust for gold
and coal and oil and hey now uranium
Keep the Indians under your thumb; pray like hell when your bad times come
Hey rip em up Strip em up Get em with a gun

Her friend and fellow activist Anna Mae Aquash was killed in 1975 during the “uranium war”.

These songs are as emotionally hard as anything out there.  In music, like politics, one often needs to look beyond the surface of things.

Serial Killers Vs. the News

Lately I’ve been reading books about serial killers and a lot of news articles.  Can you guess which is more depressing?

Today I just read an article in The Guardian where a study says that robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021.  Let’s assume the study is way off and the percentage is 3%; Can we really stand to lose that many jobs that quickly?  Also, there is no way that is where it is going to end.  We all know mainstream use of self driving cars are around the corner.  Lowe’s is using robots to help customers in its stores.  This is just the beginning.  And it’s not just working class jobs, this article is about how robots are already mastering jobs done by pharmacists, journalists, and lawyers.

In the short term I find all of this very troubling as I don’t believe we are equipped to handle this kind of change to our culture and economy at a rapid pace.  It is possible that over the longterm it might benefit human beings from having to work so hard, but in order to do that we will have to vastly change the way the wealth is distributed.  (We’re having a hard enough time guaranteeing people that are working a real living wage.)


We’re also looking at this being the warmest year on record.  Here is a link, in cartoon form no less, that shows the impact that humans have had on the climate.  That should be simple enough to understand for your friends that still don’t think climate change is a problem.


Yet, with these unprecedented problems, we have the least serious candidate, definitely in modern times, gaining in the polls.  Is this is a joke, or have we finally just given up?

All these things are what happens when you just let the free market make all the big decisions.


Despite the dark nature of the subject matter, this is why reading about the Son of Sam, and the rest of his ilk, seems like sunshine filled escapism, comparatively, when I curl up in bed at night…

 

 

Stay (Trouble in Mind Remix)

stay cover 1 album x

A-Side: Stay

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B-Side: Stay (Trouble in Mind Remix)

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The Savage Poor are adding a B-Side to our brand new single Stay.  (If in the ever changing world of the modern music business is still such a thing as a B-Side.)  I always liked the days of the proper B-Side when artists could do something outside the norm of what they would do on their proper albums.  There are no rules anymore.  We are going to put out a record sometime next year, but in the mean time we have too much material to wait.  These are recordings are independent and self made.  We don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, we have no budget, but we’re learning as we go along and dreaming big.  Often limitations lead to more exciting places anyway.  Occasionally I’ve gone into studios where the rule book prevents anything exciting from happening.  These B-sides will give us the chance to go down strange alleyways.  We hope that you’ll go along on this journey with us.

In the early days of Jamaican music they would take singles and experiment and turn them into dub.  These recordings were stranger, the midnight moon to the single’s sunshine.  The remix above is still a pop song in format, but that Jamaican music was definitely in my mind as I did the remix.  I always loved George Faith’s In the Midnight Hour/Ya Ya.  It almost sounds as if it could be in the movie Trainspotting if not for that groove.   It sounds like hash, narcotics, and cotton candy all mixed together.

Another favorite recording around these parts is Marianne Faithfull’s Trouble in Mind.  The remix started with an attempt to melt everything into a similar beautiful haze.  Somewhere between the two songs’ influence, this remix exists.  I’d be a clown if I suggested that on a technical level I got anywhere close to those all-time greats on one of our first attempts.  First of all, I simply don’t have the gear.  But I think there is something strange, beautiful, and unique there if you’ll simply take the time to dream along with a pair of headphones.

The credits are the same as the single, for the most part.  You can see all at the link below.  However, I should make special mention that great friend and Shinyribs compatriot Keith Langford graced this version with his infamous red maraca!

More credits, artwork, and information about the single Stay:

“Stay” Single Release by The Savage Poor