Strange Famous Records

The Good Cowboy

As I write this it’s 4 a.m. in Louisiana, and we’ve just checked into a roadside hotel after our show in Houston.  Tomorrow is a drive day, during which we’ve got 16 hours to go, en route to begin the final leg of the L(i)fe on the Road tour in Orlando.   The show’s have been incredible, and it’s been an emotional trip to say the least.

Checking my email before bed, I found this waiting in my inbox:

“Hello B,

This email address was the only one I could find for you, I hope you don’t mind. But I thought this would be something that would touch you…help you realize your affect in the world, if only on what would be considered a small scale.

About six months ago my four year old son and I were driving cross country. It was the middle of the night and I thought he was sleeping, my iPod was on shuffle and your track Still Electric played. When it was over I was surprised to hear a little voice from the back seat asking to hear it again. I obliged….three more times. I asked him what he thought about it, and he replied, “The robot is sad because he is breaking.”

So I decided to play The Failure for him, a very edited version of it. And he was completely enthralled. When we got home I made him his own playlist of your work that had, for the most part, age appropriate language. (I might be a terrible mom) But as a result when it’s dinner time and his turn to pick the music we listen to you, when he cleans his room, when he plays and colors, when he gets ready in the morning for sure you are playing somewhere in our little apartment.  He loves the tracks where you, whom he calls “The Good Cowboy”, and “The Sad Robot” sort of duet and interact.

I wanted to thank you for inspiring Ben the way you have, what you have created has become his first love and inspired countless games and imaginary adeventures for The Good Cowboy and The Sad Robot. I’m not sure what you’re hoping for or expecting out of you career as a poet or hip hop artist but I think you’re a complete success.

I attached a photo of a painting Ben did in class…”

Click to Enlarge:

The years only halfway over and already it’s been an incredibly long haul that’s required a number of difficult personal sacrifices.  I can’t really describe what this message meant to me, and the many like it I’ve received from you all in the course of the year.

Just this morning I was thinking about a similar story a friend told me about her son’s connection with ‘The Failure,’ and trying to wrap my brain around the idea.  I remember being that age and having a wooden spoon for a microphone, with a sequined glove my grandmother made me, pretending to be Michael Jackson.  The idea that the deeply personal things I’ve made could be occupying that place in someone else’s life is totally unexpected and overwhelming…

Anyhow.  Just wanted to take a moment to appreciate all of your appreciation and show you this.

See you soon,

The Good Cowboy

B. Dolan will be joining Sage Francis on the following upcoming Tour Dates:

US:
Orlando, FL – Club at Firestone – 6/18/10
Atlanta, GA – The Loft – 6/19/10
Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle – 6/21/10
Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel – 6/22/10
Baltimore, MD – The Ottobar – 6/23/10
Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero – 6/24/10
New York, NY – Webster Hall – 6/25/10

Europe:

Sage Francis with B. Dolan:
Sept 15th – Bristol, UK – The Fleece
Sept 16th – London, UK – Scala
Sept 17th – Brighton, UK – The Freebutt
Sept 18th – Manchester, UK – Roadhouse
Sept 19th – Glasgow, UK – Stereo
Sept 21st – Lyon, France – Ground Zero www.grrrndzero.org
Sept 22nd – Poitiers, France – Confort Modern
Sept 23rd – Nantes, France – Pole Etudiant (FREE SHOW!!!)
Sept 24th – Marseille, France – Marsatac Festival http://www.marsatac.com
Sept 25th – Metz, France – ZIKAMETZ FESTIVAL METZ
Sept 26th – Paris, France – La Machine http://tinyurl.com/2flzkm2
Sept 28th – Copenhagen, Scandinavia – Lille Vega http://www.billetlugen.dk/
Sept 29th – Lund, Scandinavia – Mejeriet http://www.kulturmejeriet.se
Sept 30th – Oslo, Scandinavia – Living Room http://www.billettservice.no/
Oct 1st – Upsalla, Scandinavia – Ordsprak Festival (POETRY SHOW)
Oct 2nd – Stockholm, Scandinavia – Södra Teatern http://www.sodrateatern.com/
Oct 5th – Brussells, Belgium – Botanique www.botanique.be
Oct 6th – Hamburg, Germany – Uebel & Gefaehrlich http://tinyurl.com/35doa58
Oct 7th – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia http://tinyurl.com/3a83m7f
Oct 8th – Amsterdam, NL – Sugarfactory http://www.ticketmaster.nl/
Oct 9th – St Gallen, Switzerland – Palace http://www.palace.sg/programm/tickets
Oct 10th – Lasaunne, Switzerland – Le Romandie http://tinyurl.com/265oxq5

Australia:
Dates will be posted soon.

Jun 17

Prayers For Atheists win BreakThrough Act of 2010 in the Providence Phoenix!

pfa prov phoenix

Strange Famous Records CEO Sage Francis wisely scooped up ardent political and human rights activist Jared Paul and his Prayers for Atheists crew, who stormed the scene last summer behind their outstanding self-titled debut EP and its leadoff single “Psalm for St. Paul,” documenting Paul’s arrest in Minnesota outside the Republican National Convention (a grass roots fundraising effort eventually led to all charges getting dropped). Edutainment is in effect when catching Prayers for Atheists in action; in July, the foursome embark on yet another cross-country tour, and Paul will pounce on the opportunity to drop some knowledge nationwide (think Chuck D. disguised as a 5’5″ bike messenger). Guitarist Alan Hague’s chugging, neck-snapping riffs complement Paul’s fiery, slam-poet insight. PFA’s live show is not to be missed, as evidenced by sold-out gigs at Firehouse 13 and AS220.

Runners-up
2. Big Tall Buildings
3. The diePods
4. Fairhaven

*PFA’s “Psalm for St. Paul” & B Dolan’s “Border Crossing” were also nominated for “Song of the Year,” both made solid showings behind the eventual winner:

1. Deer Tick, “Easy”
2. Prayers for Atheists, “Psalm for St. Paul”
3. B Dolan, “Border Crossing”
4. Six Star General, “One-Sided Walkie Talkie”

(http://thephoenix.com/BMP/Providence/2010/BreakthroughAct/)
———————————————————————————————–

We accepted the award last Wednesday at the RI Music Award Show and gave the longest acceptance speech of the night. In our speech PFA denounced the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, plugged RI community action groups (including the RI Mobilization Committee), encouraged participants to check out the independent news program “Democracy Now!” and then led the audience in anti-BP/Big Oil protest chants.

It was the kind of speech we felt those who voted for us deserved to have representing them.

We are putting the finishing touches on our new album now and will be taking off on a 40-city, nation-wide tour starting June 24th. Winning a 2010 RI Music Award is the perfect way to start off the trip and we thank you for taking the time to vote.

We’re dedicating this award to Sage Francis, Strange Famous Records, and Dan Sawyer Studios for their unwavering support and advocacy. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.

Thanks Again!

Brand new album soon!

Sincerely,

Alan, Jared, Marco, and Cousin Tom

Jun 15

Dying Art

My dad is a lost wax castor and his business, started by my great grandfather, was severely damaged by the flood that occurred in RI on March 30th. So far he has received ZERO help from the city of Cranston or from the state of Rhode Island. FEMA does not give grants to businesses, only residences. So, don’t believe the hype on the news that FEMA is solving everyone’s problem, I assure you that they are not. It has been an ill past couple of weeks. Ankle deep in sewer water, the smells, the shoveling, the news reporters, the reporter who wanted my dad to bash Obama, the out of state disaster crews from Detroit, the assholes that run the disaster crews who were drooling at the mouth, the lack of help, the vultures who found their way to may dad’s place trying to sell him crap, small businesses in the community helping out, the bigger businesses not helping, the ups and downs. I’ve learned a lot and have lost more faith in my government but gained some faith in my community.

Prior to the flood, my fiance and I were working on a short doc video about my dad’s art and his business. So, what I have done is compiled a video with footage of my dad’s business before and after the flood. I am trying to get his story out there, so please spread the word and this video if you can. My dad and parts of this video will be featured on FOX NEWS, of all places, Thursday April 22.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSN8W9hSDDE[/youtube]

Facts I’ve Learned:

1. Basic Flood Insurance only covers the exterior of the building, nothing on the inside.
2. The SBA (Small Business Association) low-interest loans for RI flood victims are from 4 to 6% and you have to to put up personal collateral, ie: your house.
3. Once it was announced that the flood was a “federal disaster”/Act of God all insurances became null and void.
4. FEMA only offers grants to residences not businesses.

Apr 20

AN OPEN LETTER OF RECONCILIATION & RESPONSIBILITY TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE

[url]http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5966/t/9615/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=2491[/url]
“[b]AN OPEN LETTER OF RECONCILIATION & RESPONSIBILITY TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE

A newly released Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” video has made international headlines showing a July 2007 shooting incident outside of Baghdad in which U.S. forces wounded two children and killed over a dozen people, including the father of those children and two Reuters employees. Two soldiers from Bravo Company 2-16, the company depicted in the video, have written an open letter of apology to the Iraqis who were injured or lost loved ones during the attack that, these former soldiers say, is a regular occurrence in this war. You can view the Wikileaks video here: http://wikileaks.org/ and you can view the Press Release here:[/b]
[url]http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5966/t/9615/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=2491[/url]

Letter:
AN OPEN LETTER OF RECONCILIATION & RESPONSIBILITY TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE
From Current and Former Members of the U.S. Military

Peace be with you.

To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks video:

We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses.

We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van, and when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to your pain, and the pain of your community on many other occasions.

There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize what we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused.

We have been speaking to whoever will listen, telling them that what was shown in the Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war: this is the nature of how U.S.-led wars are carried out in this region.

We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and what we carried out in the name of “god and country”. The soldier in the video said that your husband shouldn’t have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.

More and more Americans are taking responsibility for what was done in our name. Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.

Our government may ignore you, concerned more with its public image. It has also ignored many veterans who have returned physically injured or mentally troubled by what they saw and did in your country. But the time is long overdue that we say that the value of our nation’s leaders no longer represent us. Our secretary of defense may say the U.S. won’t lose its reputation over this, but we stand and say that our reputation’s importance pales in comparison to our common humanity.

We have asked our fellow veterans and service-members, as well as civilians both in the United States and abroad, to sign in support of this letter, and to offer their names as a testimony to our common humanity, to distance ourselves from the destructive policies of our nation’s leaders, and to extend our hands to you.

With such pain, friendship might be too much to ask. Please accept our apology, our sorrow, our care, and our dedication to change from the inside out. We are doing what we can to speak out against the wars and military policies responsible for what happened to you and your loved ones. Our hearts are open to hearing how we can take any steps to support you through the pain that we have caused.

Solemnly and Sincerely,
Josh Stieber, former specialist, U.S. Army
Ethan McCord, former specialist, U.S. Army”

*To cosign letter:
[url]http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5966/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2724[/url]

Apr 19

Europe pt.2: Dole vs. The Volcano

Hello mutha,

I’m writing this letter home from underneath a cloud of poison ash.  The kids here at camp seem friendly enough though, and the second leg of my European tour has come to an end.  Please send cheeseburgers and milkshakes, as it seems I’ll be living here from now on.

Read on for some highlights from this second leg of the tour.

volcano!

1. Middelburg, Netherlands

One of the highlights of this tour came early on, at the last show added to the schedule.  Shout out to Tonnie in Middelburg for setting up a surprisingly rowdy performance @ The Underground.  On a Tuesday night, in a small city I’d never played before, we managed to pack an intimate spot and have a truly great time.

Also, apparently there is some bizarre local custom of making what I can only describe as a pterodactyl noise when excited by an emcee.  I’m talking, the place where another crowd might go “BO! BO! BO!” these folks were going “GAHHHH! GAHHHHH!” This went from being mildly disconcerting to a whole lot of fun.  Cheers, Middelburg.  One of the best shows of the tour, hands down.

Maybe this was due to the awesome local news coverage?

2. Prahahaaaa!

After a 19 hour, overnight train journey from Amsterdam, I arrived in Prague.  Surprisingly, Barack Obama was there too.  I don’t think he was on the same train as me though.  I would’ve noticed that.

I had heard a lot about the city, but didn’t expect to be as struck by it as I was.  Maybe it was a heightened sense of awareness brought on by the journey, but I was really overwhelmed by the very visible history in Prague.  Specifically, the Soviet history.

As it happens, I’ve been writing a pretty ambitious song on this tour about Laika, the first animal ever to be launched into–and die in–space.  She was a stray dog, launched on the Sputnik 2 satellite, to test what would happen to a living organism on the trip.

Also fresh in my mind was the fact that I’d grown up in the 80s, and had spent a lot of my childhood thinking of people from this part of the world as intrinsically evil and bent on the destruction of all we held dear.  The significance of being among the remnants of that empire, and meeting and befriending folks who’d grown up on the other side of that conflict, wasn’t lost on me.

The show that night was another high-energy, intimate affair with a group of excited kids who went nuts for the entirety of it, and called me back for multiple encores, to the point where I’d run out of instrumentals and was doing spoken word stuff.  Even before that though, Prague had made it’s impact on me.  I won’t soon forget that trip.

Also, the slightly dodgy hamburger I ate there won’t soon be forgotten either, as it led to tour highlight #3.
stadium

The show in Prague happened right next to The Great Strahov Stdium, which is the largest in the world.  It was originally used for synchronized gymnastic displays, and Communist displays of power a la North Korea.  These days it’s covered in graffiti and looks to be falling into disrepair everywhere.  Staggering.

3. St. Gallen, Switzerland

Alright, so this one isn’t so much a highlight as it is one of the most fucked up things ever to happen to me on tour.  I therefore feel it’s newsworthy.  Remember that hamburger in Prague?

I arrived in St. Gallen the night before my show there, after a long day of travel from Prague.  No worries, got some sleep at the hotel.  Woke up with a whole day to kick around in the city and wait for the show.  I met Damian, the promoter for that night, around noontime.  He let me into the backstage area, where I proceeded to argue with people on the internet about nerd rap.   So far so good.

Now it’s time for soundcheck.  I notice that I feel a little dizzy and tired while doing the soundcheck.  I ask the sound engineer:

“Are we in the swiss alps here?”

“Huh?”

“Are we in the mountains?”

“A little bit…”

“Cause I feel kind of like… the elevation maybe.”

<laughing> “no no… we’re not that high.”

Ok.  We’re not in the mountains.  Go upstairs, drink some water.  Maybe I just didn’t sleep enough.  Lay down take a nap.

I awake an hour later with sharp pains in my stomach, and the fun begins.  Just as the show is getting underway, I start getting violently ill backstage.  While both openers are on, I am in the backstage bathroom wishing for my death.  I quickly realize that I am in the midst of a fairly serious health situation.

I says to myself.  What would Evel Knievel do?

I managed to get onstage and perform for about 35 minutes, while standing stock still and just rapping the songs how they appear on the record.  Very little extra movement, as I felt there was a good chance I’d start throwing up or faint onstage otherwise.  Not one of my finer sets, I admit.

I finished rapping, explained to the crowd that I was extremely sick and that I was headed to check out one of their local hospitals, walked offstage, into the cab, straight to the St. Gallen ER.

200 Euro, 11 hours, 3 vials of blood, 1 x-ray, 1 ultrasound and 2 ENEMAS LATER, I left the ER, having been diagnosed with food poisoning.  The Swiss sure are thorough.  This caused me to miss my train for the next day’s show, and anyway I hadn’t slept and was asked by the doctors to stay in St. Gallen for the day and return to the hospital if my condition didn’t improve.

I’m hoping to return to Europe in the fall of this year, and when I do, I owe both St. Gallen and Innsbruck the shows they missed out on due to this.  Consider this your apology and raincheck.

4. Polar Bear Digital.

Due to our sharing a booking agent, 3 of the shows on this tour had me opening for the recently reunited Anti-Pop Consortium across France.  Not only are these guys legends in the game, but they were also extremely personable and we hit it off immediately.  Their sets were bonkers (including a surprise appearance by Mike Ladd in Paris!), their audiences were extremely receptive, and I consider all of them friends at this point.  Keep an eye out for more cooperation between us in the future, and check out their new material. Shit is off the chain.

antipop

Thanks to all the audiences that came out, Anti-Pop, Cyril at Zoobook, and of course Sage Francis for facilitating this leg of the tour specifically.  I made all my motherfuckin trains on time, except when I was poisoned.  And that’s still sumthn.

Next up, the Rocky Road to Dublin.

4 / 20 / 10 – “Barfly Club” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Wales, UK
4 / 21 / 10 – “The Pavilion” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Cork, Ireland
4 / 22 / 10 – “Rosin Dubh” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Galway, Ireland
4 / 23 / 10 – “Trinity Rooms” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Limerick, Ireland
4 / 24 / 10 – “Whelans” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Dublin, Ireland
4 / 26 / 10 – “Nerve Centre” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Derry, N. Ireland
4 / 27 / 10 – “Mandela Hall” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Belfast, Ireland

Apr 19

First Leg of the “Weight of the World Tour” is Over.

Here we are in Brighton, UK. Where it is raining buckets, everyone is nice, lots of people are gay, and the record shops are lovely. I’m playing the last show of this leg tonight at the Concorde2. Across the street is the English Channel. By now I have lost all sense of orientation in the world, and am for all practical purposes in space.

I’ve been writing a lot. A song or poem about the first dog shot into orbit. The last song that will ever be written about George Bush, and a snappy tune called ‘Murderlicious.’

I’m also reading a lot. Finished ‘UBIK’ by Philip K. Dick, which I don’t recommend, and this biography of David Bowie, which I do.

I’ve been lucky enough to be brought along on this first leg by dan le sac vs. scroobius pip, SFR’s militant UK electro brethren, who’ve just released their sophomore lp “The Logic of Chance” and are touring in support of it. The crowds have been rabid, the shows have been sweaty and ‘rammed,’ as they say, and the highlights have been many. Here are a few:

1. Norwich

Norwich

All of these shows have been full of excited, smart, rowdy audiences… the perfect combination really.  Able to listen and wile out at the same time.  Norwich was the first venue that stood out, however… due I think mostly to the stage setup.  It was a small room.  Low ceiling.  Audience close enough to the stage to reach out and fuck wit.  They exploded after the first beat dropped, and provided tons of energy with which to perform one of my favorite sets of the tour.  Big up!

2. Liverpool

“To be honest, being American… I only know one thing about Liverpool……..which is that…..the women are very loose.  Huh? Wha? The Beatles are from here?  Well now I know TWO things about Liverpool!”

Every single surface in the club was wet by the time this show was over.  Walls. Ceilings. Handrails backstage.  Wet.

vroom

3. Pompey Pyros

Heading to do our Portsmouth gig, I tweeted about my set times and was responded to by a number of folks who told me not to mention that city’s struggling football club.  Apparently, the Portsmouth team had recently suffered a number of epic defeats, and it had just been found out that the entire franchise was in debt and about to go under.

Sooooo….

That night onstage, I introduced ‘Economy of Words’ with a dedication to the Portsmouth team who “like me, are broke, and like me, are not very good at Soccer.”  (I knew they’d enjoy my calling it ‘soccer.’)

The crowd responded just as I thought they would, and I got to have a fun bad-guy-wrestler interaction with them.  They started doing their team chant at me, which I mimicked by saying “Wait…wait…I think I’ve learned this song.  Does it go “RAAWWWRRR RARRR RARRRrrrrrRRRRRAAAA RRAAAAAA”

Big laughs.  Good times.  I press play on the beat and start performing the song.  When the chorus hits, I throw a whole bunch of fake American money into the crowd (as I’ve done every night…) and a few of the rowdier fans in the crowd start picking up the fake money and LIGHTING IT ON FIRE.

So now I’m trying to rap the song while communicating with my body language “Woah! What the fuck! Don’t do that!  Put that out!”

Luckily a riot/club fire was narrowly avoided, and what followed was another monster of a set.  Pompey don’t play.  Lesson learned.

4. Koko in London

High water mark, right here.  For starters, the most beautiful venue I’ve ever performed in, full of 1400 screaming British kids.

Koko

Secondly, I met Buddy Peace for the first time, 20 minutes before hopping onstage as he DJ’d my set.  Buddy played that night in between sets as well, and it was beyond dope to walk around this beautiful venue and hear Sage Francis, Prolyphic, and Buck 65 tunes bouncing off the walls, being mixed seamlessly and freaked mercilessly.  Even before stepping onstage, Buddy’s mix was repping SFR in a way that me feel proud and excited to be part of this show.

The night before the Koko show we’d played in Manchester and, for the first time in my life, I had managed to leave my Evel Knievel costume behind.  The hand-made costume, made by my grandmother.  The one of a kind, irreplaceable, pivotal to the set, Evel motherfucking Knievel costume.  I was gutted.  I was backstage punching myself repeatedly in the dick.

However, you know.  The show must go on, and what would Evel do?

Apparently, Evel would strip off his clothes to Eye of the Tiger anyway.  Instead of an Evel Knievel costume, he would wear only a white t-shirt on which he’d written the words ‘Evel Knievel.’  Instead of a cape? A red hand towel from backstage.  Instead of pants?  Drawers.  Death would be defied, one way or another.

Proto-Evel

What Would Evel Do after that? Well, he’d probably shave his beard off live onstage, to make sure he never committed such a lapse again.

Shavin

As I write this, Sound of Rum is doing their final soundcheck of the tour, having smashed each and every one of these shows as well. The Evel Knievel costume returned to me via the Royal Mail this morning, looking like it’d had some adventures on it’s own since we last met. We’ll be reunited onstage tonight, and then I’ll leave my friends Dan and Pip for the next few weeks as we tour Europe separately.

www.FallenHouse.com has all tour updates, including new shows that have been added. I’ll be reuniting w/ Dan and Pip from April 20-27th for a string of shows in Ireland as well. Thanks to everyone that’s come out to these UK shows, and of course to the boys, Becca Lewis, Steve & James for having me out.

I’ll be back before long, Britain. Stay soggy and sarcastic.
Luv,
b

UPCOMING SHOWS:
April 3 – “L’Astrolabe” w/ Antipop Consortium – Orleans, France
April 6 – “The Underground Cafe” – Middelburg, Netherlands
April 8 – “Klub 007″ – Praha, CZ
April 10 – “Palace” – St Gallen, SWITZ
April 13 – Domino Festival @ “Ancienne Belgique” – Brussels, Belgium
April 14 – “New Morning” – Paris, France
April 15 – “Colmar” – Grillen, France
April 16 – “Dachstock Reithalle” – Bern, SWITZ
April 17 – “Case à Chocs” – Neuchatel, SWITZ
April 20 – “Barfly Club” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Wales, UK
April 21 – “The Pavilion” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Cork, Ireland
April 22 – “Rosin Dubh” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Galway, Ireland
April 23 – “Trinity Rooms” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Limerick, Ireland
April 24 – “Whelans” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Dublin, Ireland
April 26 – “Nerve Centre” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Derry, N. Ireland
April 27 – “Mandela Hall” w/ Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Belfast, Ireland

beardless dolan

Mar 29

Could we ever make junk mail illegal?

Week after week I find myself throwing out piles of useless mail. Direct marketing mail that is printed on glossy pamphlets and whatever else. This morning a guy dropped off a huge “yellow pages” book in my driveway. What the shit is this? I have 5 of them stacked in my closet already. I never use them because…I HAVE THE INTERNET. Like most of our country. We use the internet these days. It’s the future, motherfucker. If I want a yellowbook I’ll go to the yellowbook store and ask for one. Go make a yellowbook store and see how well that yellowbook store does.

Anyway, this got me thinking about junk mail some more and I thought to myself “Hmmm…I wonder if there’s ever been some kind of proposed legislation to make ‘junk mail’ illegal. It would obviously help save a lot of trees as well as energy.”

Then 2 seconds later I realized that these companies are paying the United States Postal Service to have their junk delivered from home to home and that will probably be a reason why this shit probably can’t be stopped.  Apparently, junk mail constitutes 52% of mail volume!!! Absolutely insane.

Here’s a story from Newsweek explaining the insanity:
http://ow.ly/1rEAu

I don’t know how effective this is, but someone gave me a link to this website where you can submit your name to a “Do Not Mail” list:
http://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/

Thoughts on that?

Lastly, here’s a wonderful little ditty from the Circle Jerks who were complaining about this same shit in the early 80′s.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KabHEIjj040[/youtube]
As it is plain to see, complaining gets us places.

Mar 27

Suicide Squeeze

I first heard hip hop music back in 1980, I figure. I remember seeing a story on a news show about it or something. At that point, music hadn’t become an obsession yet. I don’t remember what other songs I may have liked at that point. I remember being into Kiss when I was a little kid. My cousin was into Black Sabbath and he kinda got me into it too. I loved “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell. That came out in 1975. And I remember really liking a lot of truck driving songs, especially if they were talking blues style. I think that’s why I liked hip hop so much when I first heard it.

From 1980 to 1983 or so, I was into hip hop and bought whatever records I could find. But I was also into some other stuff. I took an interest in my cousin’s growing collection of metal records. I was also kinda secretly into Duran Duran and I think I bought “Business As Usual” by Men At Work when it came out.

But when I heard Run DMC it was all over. From that point on (after ’83) I was a hip hop totalitarian. I refused to listen to anything else. I think it’s safe to say that hip hop took over my life by the time I was 11 years old. It was an obsession.

I feel lucky that I was born when I was because my high school years (which is a crucial time for any music lover) coincided exactly with the golden era (1986 – 1989). Those days were glorious. It was an exciting time for hip hop. It was beginning to come into its own in many ways, but it was still an underground phenomenon. Almost all the records were on independent labels and the biggest stars in the game were really dope – Doug E. Fresh, UTFO, M.C. Shan, Just-Ice, Superlover Cee and Casanova Rud, J.V.C. FORCE, etc. I was a downright militant fascist hip hop junkie.

In 1989 I started volunteering at my local campus radio station and soon after I started hosting my own show, which eventually ran for eleven years. Looking back it seems pretty much inevitable that I would host a hip hop radio show. I HAD to!

Then… 1990. The wind changed. I felt a disturbance in the Force for the first time. Two records were released that year that changed hip hop forever – “To the Extreme” by Vanilla Ice and “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” by M.C. Hammer. I honestly think that these two records were the first hip hop recordings I had ever heard that I hated. Before that, pretty much all hip hop was good! Not all of it great (although a crazy-high percentage was), but nothing ever terrible, really. But sweet jesus, these two records were not my cup of tea.

It angered and perplexed me that it was even possible for there to be any such thing as bad hip hop music. But what rubbed salt in my bleeding wounds was that both of these records were also hugely successful. In fact, I’m guessing that if they weren’t the two MOST successful hip hop records to that point, they must have been close – top 5, I’m sure.

I couldn’t stand it. I honestly couldn’t deal with it. My world was collapsing. Flood gates had been opened. All of a sudden there were all these corny people getting into “hip hop” (I refused to even recognize Hammer and Vanilla Ice as real hip hop). Parents liked these records! Hip hop was never music for parents! I took such huge offense to what was happening. I think I even took it personally in some perverse way! I felt that the world in which I lived was under threat of annihilation. I saw a no-good end coming and I felt strongly that I couldn’t just stand by as it happened.

In 1990, I went on a hunger strike. I was living on my own in my first crappy little apartment. I had no idea how to organize any sort of political demonstration. And of course, there was no internet yet, so I didn’t have a platform for a statement at my disposal. I just figured that word would get around, someone in the local media would catch wind and then it would get around from there. I vowed (to myself and a few stupid friends) that I would go without food until the mainstreaming and commercialization of hip hop music came to an end. I wanted Hammer to go back to the navy and Vanilla Ice to go back to riding motorbikes, or whatever.

I think I made it six days. Word might have gone around town a little bit, but the discussion was just about how much of a moron I was. The TV cameras never showed up. I just rolled around the filthy floor of my cat-piss apartment and moaned. I moaned all alone. Finally, my friend Rob (Sixtoo) kicked my door down and wrestled a granola bar into my mouth. He pleaded with me and bribed me with a few choice records from his collection. I had a good cry and finally relented. I was already skinny before I started, but still managed to lose a bunch of weight. I was very weak and wretched. Rob watched over me for a few days until I fully regained my strength. I was pretty much back to normal after three or four days, but it took months to get over the embarrassment.

Seven years later, Rob saw my mood darken again. But he was preemptive this time and talked me down in the heat of several horrible nights. If it wasn’t for Rob, who knows what sort of private rampage I may have enacted?

I was such an idiot. Sixtoo saved my life. Rob Van Winkle and Stanley Burrell come across as nice people on reality television. And as for hip hop music, well…

Buck

Mar 22

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