Seeing as how we’re all echoing each other’s classic rock memes here on the DM lately, here’s yet another Zep song that at least I had been previously ignorant of. This is evidently dating from the 1978 rehearsals for their final album, the deeply uneven In Through the Out Door and maybe called Fire. Like a few of the others posted by Richard, this is a rough rehearsal tape but I found it exhilarating to listen to. After a minute or so of random noodling you are suddenly a fly on the wall in a room with the mighty Led Zeppelin as they tease you with a song which while having many of their trademark idiosyncratic elements, is utterly new to you. Like a dream, really. Did that actually just happen?
Photograph by Ted Streshinsky, “People’s Park Riots, National Guard and Protester”
John Lennon and The Beatles were synchronous with most of the pivotal points of my life in the sixties. They weren’t leaders, they weren’t my gurus, they were my companions, my spiritual allies on a magical and very mysterious trip. And John was the one I felt closest to. I could relate to his peace and love approach, but I also deeply felt his angrier side, his revolutionary spirit.
(The following is an edited excerpt from a rough draft of my memoirs)
On May 29, 1969 John Lennon called the People’s Park protest organizers (UCB students) twice to offer his support. It was the day before a major march was to be held and there was a lot of tension in the air. The calls were broadcast on KPFA radio. Lennon’s exhortations to stay cool could be heard from radios perched on window sills throughout the city:
“There’s no cause worth losing your life for, there isn’t any path worth getting shot for and you can do better by moving on to another city. Don’t move about if it aggravates the pigs, and don’t get hassled by the cops, and don’t play their games. I know it’s hard, Christ you know it ain’t easy, you know how hard it can be man, so
what? Everything’s hard. It’s better to have it hard than to not have it at all.
Entice them, entice them! Con them-you’ve got the brains, you can do it. You can make it, man! We can make it together. We can get it together!”
It was almost two weeks after Bloody Thursday, but the streets were still crawling with National Guard, cops in riot gear, and military tanks. It looked like Prague 1968. I was in the middle of it all. I decided to leave town. I was a peacenik and didn’t want anything to do with the violence that was erupting all around me, most of it instigated by jackbooted cops from Oakland.
My girlfriend Vicki and I were walking down University Ave. toward a freeway onramp when a cop car, sirens wailing, screeched up along side us and a bunch of bulls spilled out wildly waving their nightsticks and knocked us to the ground. They ripped the backpacks off our bodies and tore them open, scattering our stuff all over the sidewalk. Instead of bombs or guns or whatever the fuck they were looking for, they ended up with a few bags of granola, dried fruit and brown rice. As the cops were piling back into their car, a van pulled up to the curb and its longhair driver shouted for us to “get in, get in!” We threw our backpacks and ourselves into the van and slammed the door shut. This infuriated the cops. They leaped back out of their car and started slamming billy clubs upside the van as we sped off. The cops were out of their fucking minds, rabid Keystone Kops gone mad with the smell of hippie blood.
I decided not to leave Berkeley but to stay and join my neighbors in protest of the cop riot and the occupation of our city by Reagan’s goon squads. This was happening on my turf and I had to be involved. It wasn’t going away. And avoiding it was a chickenshit approach that I couldn’t live with.
On May 30th over 30,000 people (one third of Berkeley’s population) marched to People’s Park to save it from destruction. Vicki and I were among them. The National Guard and the cops were out in full force. But, they were outnumbered and overwhelmed. Young girls slid flowers down the muzzles of bayoneted rifles and a small airplane flew over the city trailing a banner that read, “Let A Thousand Parks Bloom.”
The park was surrounded by a fence. Inside the fence were hundreds of young Guardsmen. Outside the fence were thousands of peaceful protesters. Some of the Guardsmen looked terrified; others were smiling and flashing peace symbols. Community leaders and organizers were making speeches from a couple of flatbed trucks. Music played. At one point a bunch of us jumped up on one of the flatbeds, took off our clothes and started dancing. We were chanting to the soldiers inside the fence to “join us, join us”. Most of them looked like they were ready to leap the fence and do exactly that. Seeing a bunch of cute hippie chicks naked and offering their bodies to them was mighty tempting to those horny young guys, some of whom were actually UCB students who had joined the guard to avoid going to Vietnam. They knew they were on the wrong side of the fence. I later read that several of them did end up joining the protesters and were severely punished for having done so. The following week, a picture of me dancing nude on that flatbed truck appeared on the cover of the Berkeley Barb. Rocking out with my cock out! Mao said “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” I had a different approach.
Two years later, People’s Park was resurrected. It exists to this day. Power to the people and their parks.
Here’s a wonderful video clip that includes John’s phone call to KPFA.
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), the only socialist (not a “top Democrat” as the clip indicates) member of the US Senate tells it like it is. A must see-clip. I agree with him 2000%. About time someone said this. What the fuck is wrong with this country?
“Millionaires and billionaires do not need huge tax deductions, that’s the simple truth. If we’re serious about creating jobs in this country, which should be our main priority, that’s one worst way to do it. Much better to take that money, invest in our roads, bridges, railroad systems, infrastructure—you create jobs doing that.”
“Our Republican friends have got to be held accountable. The issue is the insult, the outrage that they want tax breaks for billionaires but they can’t in their heart come up with extending unemployment compensation so millions of families in this country can have a modicum of security. I believe, politically, we can rally the American people around that cause.”
Let’s hope he’s right. And fuck Obama and the Democrats, this deal is LAME. And furthermore, while they held the MAJORITY, why didn’t they CEMENT unemployment benefits into law to continue indefinitely in states where the rate of unemployment is over a certain threshold? Instead we’re being offered two more years of the Bush tax cuts on millionaires and billionaires in exchange for 13 months?? Is Obama bending over backwards—or merely bending over—to assure the Teabaggers that he doesn’t hold an anti-American, “Kenyian” viewpoint (as retardedly espoused by Newt Gingrich)?
We’re truly getting to well past the point where other countries (you know, the ones with universal healthcare and paid maternity leave and stuff like that) are just going to feel sorry for how fucking stupid we Americans are.
I’ll be so sad to see Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) go, but I suspect we haven’t seen the last of him. Grayson is one of the few Democrats to show any kind of a spine against the GOP. He’s practically the only Democrat to say the worlds “class war” because he’s not a pussy and he doesn’t mince words. This clip, of Grayson comically flaying the millionaires on Fox News shilling for the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, is Grayson at his straight-talking best. After all, if something saved you six or even seven figures in taxes, you’d probably be for it, too…
They want tax cuts for the rich because they want a tax cut for themselves. What do I mean by that? Let’s take a look at the people who are really in charge, the ones who actually run the Republican party.
Let’s start with this gentleman here, the man with the cigar, Rush Limbaugh. Doesn’t he look happy? According according to Newsweek, he makes $58.7 million a year, and extending the tax cuts means he’ll have another $2.7 million. Mega dittos, Rush, and mega money. Let’s look at the next one.
Here’s Glenn Beck, according to Newsweek Glenn Beck makes $33 million a year as a pundit and extending the Bush Tax Cuts means a cool $1.5 million for Glenn bBeck’s ongoing imitation of Howard Beale from Network. Now let’s look at the next one.
Sean Hannity. Newsweek says that Sean Hannity, this man of the people makes $22 million a year from his act on Fox. And that means the Bush Tax cuts mean an extra $1 million. $1 million for Sean Hannity. Maybe he can afford some anger management classes. Let’s take a look at the next one.
Bill O’Reilly. He makes a modest $20 million a year from his gig on Fox. That means that the Bush tax cuts give him not quite seven figures, nearly $914,000 of extra cash. It’s easy to see why Bill O’Reilly wants to see the Bush tax cuts extended. And I have to say, he’s no pinhead when it comes to that.
And Now, Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin has made $14 million this year from cashing in on her fame. In fact, she’s done a better job of turning fame into cash than anyone in American history. $14 million. So she wants the Bush tax cuts extended so she can make an extra cool $638,000. As she was—as she would gesture (shoulder shrug.)
Via Dorian Cope’s always interesting On This Deity website, we find that today is the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Sex Pistols expletive-filled appearance on the Today program, December 1, 1976:
Today we recall the bizarre events of thirty-four years ago, in which television presenter Bill Grundy – clearly ill-prepared for the motley posse sat before him, and possibly himself quite drunk – half-wittedly and quite inadvertently handed to the already notorious Sex Pistols the kind of extraordinary media opportunity that was beyond even the wildest dreams of their Machiavellian manager, Malcolm McLaren. Goading the Pistols mercilessly and without good reason, Grundy then appeared genuinely shocked when the lawless (and law-breaking) Steve Jones – resplendent in Vivienne Westwood’s highly inappropriate ‘tits’ t-shirt – unleashed such a barrage of ‘fucks’ and ‘fuckers’ that this merely regional early evening TV news programme catapulted the Sex Pistols onto the national stage. Nobody outside London even saw it. What did they actually say? Overnight, the Sex Pistols legend grew enormous.
Within months, Grundy would be relegated to presenting a book programme on the radio; while the Today programme was cancelled soon after. With hindsight, it’s easy to say that the Sex Pistols were opportunists. But what an opportunity it was that the fool Bill Grundy had handed them. Indeed, we may now even feel pity for this hapless, smarmy half-cut oaf whose destiny it was to be cut down brutally by the fearless and flashing curses of Steve “Never Mind the Bollocks” Jones.
The clip below was put together from various sources. You always see a snippet of this appearance in every single documentary about punk, but never the full thing seen on British television that fateful day. Note future Banshees, Steven Severin and a white-tressed (and flirty) Siouxsie Sioux onstage with the group.
TONTO (an acronym for The Original New Timbral Orchestra) is a massive electronic music production center built by Malcolm Cecil in the late 60’s and used on the two Tonto’s Expanding Head Band records, but most notably on the great early 70’s records by Stevie Wonder. Here’s a wonderful new clip of Cecil describing and demonstrating the mighty beast’s magical powers. Look, learn and (if you’re me) salivate.
The last batch of unsold Miles Davis paintings will be exhibited at the Gallery 27 space in London starting this week. I’ve seen some of his art “in person” in the past and some of it is just spectacular, exactly what you’d hope paintings by Miles Davis would be like. Not a disappointment in the least. If I was in London, I’d definitely make time to see this. Via MOJO:
Miles Davis - jazz legend, trumpet guru and dab hand with a pencil - spent the last decade of his life creating swathes of drawings and paintings that for the most part have been kept away from the public gaze. Until now…
A new exhibition at Gallery 27 in London’s Mayfair will open on December 7 and is set to unveil his last remaining 100 original drawings and oil paintings.
“As with his music, his artwork changed continually,” says exhbitor Andy Clarke, “from rapid, motion-filled drawings of dancers and robots to his later more Tribal work in oils on canvas. In the early 80’s his muse was Giulia Trojer, from whom part of this collection derives. In the last few years of his life, alongside his last partner, Jo Gelbard, he turned to painting citing Picasso a great influence alongside his African heritage.”
Miles Davis London Exhibition: Original Paintings and Drawings by the Jazz Legend runs from Tuesday, December 7 to Saturday, December 11 at Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG.