Strange Famous Records

Slow Down “Ghandi”

I often receive messages from US soldiers from over seas. Sometimes they tell me how they feel like they were tricked into the service. Mostly they tell me about how they can’t wait to get home. Some of my friends from school have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It always makes me wonder how they perceive my music or my message. Ever since 9/11 I’ve been on an anti-war crusade, and that reflects in my music. However, art is always left to interpretation and sometimes people interpret my lyrics in ways I never intended. That’s not “right” or “wrong”…that’s just how it goes.

That being said, I’m very careful about the type of energy I throw out into the ethersphere when it comes to my art. I know that ambiguity can work against me, but sometimes there just isn’t any plain way of saying something without it being a 30 page term paper that no one would ever read. For the record, my song “Slow Down Gandhi” is about fly-by-night activists who get caught up in political fervor every election year and then they fall by the wayside when the party is over. Those people annoy me to no end and it’s a big reason why Knowmore.org meant so much to me. At the risk of being a broken record, the motto stands true…”You vote with your wallet every day.”

Recently I received these photos from a soldier in Iraq. I assume it was meant as some sort of homage to my song or the idea of my song, but I can only hope that the homage is for the intended purpose of the song.

Dear Barack…bring ‘em home.

Mar 05

Movie time with Benjamin

I dunno.. what the fuck do people blog about.

Wanna know some movies I like?  Ok here’s some movies I like.

“My Best Fiend” by Werner Herzog

An all time favorite right here.  Klaus Kinski is not fuck-with able.  Werner Herzog is his only equal.  Together they make sweet sweet german despair-porn.  Have I made myself clear?  This is everything a movie should ever be.  If it turned out the universe existed just so this movie could be made, I would find that reasonable.  I’m exaggerating, but I think it’s very good.

“All The President’s Men”

The story of how Watergate came to pass.  Richard Nixon is one of my favorite characters ever to live.  Speaking of which, another great movie about Nixon:

“Secret Honor” by Robert Altman

This entire movie consists of one 90 minute monologue by Philip Baker Hall, playing Richard Nixon getting drunk in his library.  Without ever leaving the room, this movie has wiped it’s dick with Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin by the 2 minute mark.   Some interesting Bohemian Grove talk in this too.

“Rope” by Alfred Hitchcock

Another movie shot in one location.  Hitchcock gets a lot of love, but I think this movie gets slept on. Stop sleeping, world.

“Barton Fink” by the Cohen Brothers

Alright, I concede.  I’m not too into the Cohen Brothers a lot of the time,  but this is the movie that comes closest to making me a believer in the hype.  As soon as I finished this movie I watched it again from the beginning.  That’s never happened before.  Maybe the illest climax ever recorded to film.  Bedframe prison bars.  See this movie immediately.

I could keep going, but it’s gonna take you at least a day to watch all these.  I don’t want to fill up your schedule.  You have work you should be doing.

But, watch this shit when you get a chance.  Report back here.  That’s all for now

Slumdog Millionaire was shite,

b

Mar 04

Underground as F*ck

When we say we’re underground/indie, I don’t think you all really understand how precise that description is.

I’ll make this short and then get to the pictures. But first I want to give a hearty THANK YOU to everyone who attended our basement show last night and to everyone who helped make this show such a great success. I was incredibly nervous about this show which is abnormal. I never threw a show like this. It’s something we had to build from the bottom up. Handling everything from sound system, door charge, stage construction, performance times, store management….I mean…EVERYTHING. And it all went off without a hitch which felt like something of a small miracle. The crowd was great, the performances were great, and everyone helped out where need be (right down to our girlfriends picking up the slack wherever necessary.) The sound was great. The venue (our office space in Pawtucket, RI) worked out really well. The crowd was respectful and supportive. Bam, bam, bam…awesomeness.

Massive ups to B. Dolan, Prayers for Atheists, Prolyphic, Shane Hall, Ryan G., Storm, Erich, and The Grant building for letting us throw our basement show. All photos by Amanda Goss.

Cross Colors hats are making a come back.

Cross Colors hats are making a come back.

Sage Francis and B. Dolan discuss chubby bumble bees.

Sage Francis and B. Dolan discuss chubby bumble bees.

Prolyphic takes the floor

Prolyphic takes the floor

Prolyphic applies ear plugs in the SFR office

Prolyphic applies ear plugs in the SFR office

Prayers for Atheists

Prayers for Atheists

Jared Paul and Cousin Tom from PFA

Jared Paul and Cousin Tom from PFA

B. Dolan looms over the crowd and crushes JTs adams apple.

B. Dolan looms over the crowd and crushes JT's adam's apple.

Shane Hall

Shane Hall

Storm Davis and Prolyphic

Storm Davis and Prolyphic

RI love. Thank you once again.

RI love. Thank you once again.

www.StrangeFamous.com

Feb 28

B. Dolan & Jared Paul Tour Dates Announced!

Below is a partial list of performances and workshops “The Direct Democracy Tour”
(Jared Paul & B. Dolan) will be presenting across the US this Spring. More dates
will be announced in the coming weeks. If you have any University contacts,
or solid promoters willing to make an offer, holla! Some dates may still be available!

Many of these shows will be intimate, spoken word type affairs, with poems and songs
being performed in a different format than usual, and lots of room for things like audience
Q&A, experimental & new pieces, and… you know… mind sex.

The workshops presented may be open to the public in some cases (check with the university for
more info). Jared & B will be talking in the workshops about their varied personal experiences with
social justice work, and providing workshop participants with
feedback on how to create dialogue and strengthen their own community efforts.

3/10 – D-Lounge – NYC
3/11 – University of Delaware, Perkins Student Center- Delaware
3/11 – University of Delaware (workshop)
3/15 – Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY
3/17 – The Independent @ 501 Studios – Austin, TX
3/18 – Shannon Leigh Youth Arts Program – Austin, TX
3/21 – SXSW SFR Showcase – Austin TX
3/22 – TBA – Dallas, TX
3/23 – TBA – Baton Rouge, LA
3/24 – G.N.O.A.M. Artist Commune – New Orleans
3/26 – Taste of Art Cafe – Milwaukee
3/27 – Substance Event w/ Cecil Otter & Sage Francis – First Ave, Minneapolis, MN
3/28 – The Re-Evolution House – Ft. Collins, CO
3/29 – Mercury Cafe: Denver, CO
3/30 – Utah Valley University – Provo, UT
3/31 – BOING Collective – Salt Lake City, UT
4/1 – TBA – San Francisco, CA
4/2 – Tourettes Without Regrets! – Oakland, CA
4/4 – Speak Your Mind Festival w/ Sage Francis, 2mex, more – Reno, NV
4/5 – West Valley College: WVC Campus Theatre – San Jose, CA
4/8 – Humboldt State University – Arcata, CA
4/9 – Accident Gallery (HSU Workshop) – Arcata, CA
4/14 – Boise State University – Boise, ID
4/15 – Boise State (workshop)
4/17 – University of Washington – Seattle, WA
4/22 – UC-San Deigo, San Deigo, CA

Stay tuned for more dates!

Feb 24

SFR screenprint poster, podcast download, and RSS feeds

We should have these SCREEN PRINTS available for sale by Friday for the RI show.

SFR Showcase screenprint poster

SFR Showcase screenprint poster

Pete from a crew called Ghost-Town designed these for us and asked if he could print some up. He has a poster print place across from our office. The posters they do are sick. So big ups to him for putting this together on the fly.

there will be 200 limited prints, signed and numbered by Pete. Whatever we don’t sell at the RI show and the SXSW show will go up for sale on the website.

ENDING NOTES:

1) RSS feeds are now operational so subscribe to the artist blogs.

2) Almost every SFR artist has written a blog now. The one that has caused the biggest stir is B. Dolan’s open letter to Justin Timberlake. I think it’s brilliant in ways that haven’t even been discussed yet. JT fans think otherwise, but they’re entitled to their own opinion. Also, fuck em.

3) Here’s a free download of a SFR podcast that hasn’t even been POSTED yet. I’m giving this for free right now just to see who is or isn’t checking these blogs out:

http://rcpt.yousendit.com/656585946/608fde637ec3e6dade01ac5c5f9bd17d

It’s available only for a limited time, but we will be making each podcast downloadable from time to time. Stay updated, foo!

www.strangefamous.com

Feb 24

Funny story… breaking news

So, here’s a weird bit of scandalous information I’ve been hanging onto for a few months…

It involves one of my tourmates, a sadomasochistic fetish community, and a prominent conservative politician you may know.  Titillated?  READ ON.

Earlier this year, after playing an afternoon show in Chicago,  the tour i was on found itself in a pretty posh hotel, with no show scheduled for the next day.  This was our first night off in weeks, and everyone was pumped as we got there.

I arrive at the hotel on a mission to zone out.  Got some pizza.  Got some laundry to do.  Got my bag out of the van and I’m about to head upstairs.

Briefly, I notice that one of my tourmates, we’ll call him Grunge 65 le sac bastid, has struck up a conversation over cigarettes with a girl sitting on a bench outside.  I leave the two of them there and head in.

Focused on pizza and laundry.  Walking quickly through the lobby.  Only vaguely aware of anything unusual going on when I see a girl walk by in some dominatrix gear.  There’s bound to be at least one dominatrix in any big city hotel lobby, I’m guessing.  No big deal.

Sitting on a stool in front of the elevators is an heavy-set, 50 year old woman in a nurse costume with fishnet stockings.  She’s holding a clipboard and makes too much eye contact as I approach.  Why not.  Get on the elevator and head up to my room.

About an hour goes by, and my tourmate, who I’m sharing the room with, hasn’t come up to the room since we unloaded the van.  I’m thinking, “ya dawg.”  My pizza is in my belly.  I’m chilling and checking emails.

Suddenly, Grunge 65 le sac bastid comes barreling into the room, clearly fucked up and also stoned.

“Dude.  Dude.”

“Haha… what happened?”

“That girl?  That girl I was smoking the cigarette with?  She’s here with some kind of  S&M convention.  We just smoked a lot of weed in her car, and then I followed her into a conference room where a naked chick was suspended from the ceiling by ropes.  She just invited me to the gang bang in room 503!  Apparently room 402 is completely covered in plastic tarps and there’s a shitload of people in there pissing on each other!”

Yikes.

To make a long story short, Grunge 65 le sac bastid proceeded to have a long night of weird experiences with this girl, which may or may not have included a trip to the piss & slide.

HOWEVER,

The really weird part of this story was told to me the next morning.

Paraphrasing G65lscbastids’ account:

“I’m out in front of the hotel smoking a cigarette with this girl, and suddenly I see a black limo pull up.  Out of the hotel comes a guy that I saw earlier, in the suspension demonstration.  He looks vaguely familiar, and suddenly the limo makes me remember where I’ve seen him before.  He’s your ambassador to the UN…”

me: “JOHN BOLTON?!”

“Yeah, yeah that’s him.  So I asked the girl you know… ‘is he a member of your group?’ and she says ‘well we’re supposed to protect everyone’s names and be anonymous, but yeah.  he’s really into bondage.  teaches classes on it sometimes.’”

Another interesting bit of info obtained from this girl, was the fact that this whole S&M community is apparently made up of white Republicans.  Earlier in the night she’d hinted at the fact that the community was an “exclusive group,” (i.e. that no black person would ever be allowed to join it.)

So, there you have it.  As told to me by Grunge 65 le sac bastid:

John Bolton, the controversial former US Ambassador to the UN, belongs to an racist republican S&M community, and is something of an expert in bondage.

For those who need a refresher on who John Bolton is and was, check the attached video.

So you see, this isn’t earth shattering news.  Not front page of Knowmore.org material, but eyebrow raising nonetheless.  Blog-worthy maybe.  I hope your eyebrows were raised.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuqNWG9sbuE[/youtube]

p.s. I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking it’s hypocritical of me to put John Bolton on blast while protecting the identity of my tourmate.   To which I’d say, get lost Timberlake.

Feb 22

Prayers for Atheists show review

For those not in the know, Prayers for Atheists is a punk(ish) Providence band headed by Mr. Jared Paul.  You know, the guy who got in a heap of legal trouble for listening to music at the RNC (www.conspiracytoriot.com)

PFA

PFA

People in Providence have seen Jared do his thing for over 10 years now, whether it was yelling into megaphones at protest rallies, organizing community events, or waxing poetic on slam stages (no def jam.) It wasn’t until recently that he joined up with a musical outfit that actually helps propel his lyrical intensity and expressive manic-ness in a way that enhances the overall message.

Alan Hague is the musician who stepped in and helped develop the songs with Jared, providing all musical elements in the studio recordings. Then came Dave Booth on drums and Cousin Tom on bass for the live show. Then came last night’s performance in Providence that proved that this Prayers for Atheists thing is steps above anything people have seen from Jared or Alan in the past.
The crowd at AS220 was packed, filled with some old faces and some fresh new faces. We all shared a similar reaction that went something like, “Holy shit…this is TIGHT.” Not that it should be a surprise, but it was a bonding experience between us all where we realized we were witnessing one of the first shows from a band that is making serious moves. All I can say is that this was one of the few moments where I looked at a friend of mine on stage and felt truly proud. And I know pride is a bad thing, but I felt it. I’ve been through so much with Mr. Jared Paul and now he’s fronting a band with songs that get me moving like I’m a fresh new face.

Lots of things are in the works for PFA. Jared Paul is about to leave on a spoken word tour with B. Dolan but when they return the Prayers for Atheists EP will be ready for release (half of the songs have been posted on their myspace page.) PFA’s next performance will be at our office space at the Grant in Pawtucket, RI on Feb. 27th along with myself, B. Dolan, Prolyphic and Shane Hall. Details are on the tour page.

To Jared Paul, Alan Hague, Dave Booth and Cousin Tom…fantastic job last night. It envigorated me.

Jared and Alan getting pretty for the camera.

Jared and Alan getting pretty for the camera.

Dave Booth

Dave Booth

Feb 21

Headz Ain’t Ready

Back in early May of 2007, I flew out to Providence, RI to spend 3
weeks practicing with Sage after he had asked me to handle the DJing
duties of his live set for the Human the Death Dance Tour. That tour
was first time I got to spend a good amount of time with Bernard.
Before then, I would talk to him once in a while on AIM but it was
usually pretty brief. One day, a few months before I went to
Providence, Bernard sent me a song that he had done with Sole, which
surprised me, because I had no idea that he made music at this point.
I knew that he was always really busy with Knowmore.org, and when I
first met him in San Francisco two years earlier, he made no mention
at all of doing music. I wasn’t sure what to expect when he sent over
the song…all he had said was it was “some rap shit”. The song was
“Young Americans” which was on “The Failure”. This was the first time
I heard Bernard rap. I was immediately impressed. Bernard was a
complete emcee package. Dope lyrics, dope voice, dope delivery. His
raps had a similar vibe to the kind of hip-hop that I really was into
in the mid 90′s. On some Ras Kass, Organized Konfusion, Saafir, Chino
XL, O.C. type of vibe. Not that he sounded like any of those artists,
just that he made you listen by having dope lyrics, a dope voice and a
dope delivery.

One night before tour, we all went out to eat. On the way back,
Bernard was playing stuff in his car and he put on “The Four Horsemen”
by Aphrodite’s Child, one of my favorite songs from that band. I said
“bump this shit!”. He did. We rocked out to the massive drums. Hell
yes.

Bernard did a bunch of shows with us on the HTDD tour. He drove his
car because there was no room in the van, so most of the time I would
ride to the next city with him in his car, playing each other crazy
prog rock, psyche soul, electronic weirdness songs. Also during these
drives we talked about working on a few songs together at some point
in the future. I told him I would be down to do some production for a
couple songs if our schedules matched up. He said he had a project he
had to finish first (The Failure). We agreed we’d figure it out.

I moved back to Portland, Maine in August of 2007. I had started an
album, but scrapped it and started over once I got back to Maine. I
worked quickly on my new album (Resurgam) and had it finished by the
start of March. I like to take breaks from music after I finish an
album. So I chilled out for a bit and then Bernard and Sage hit me up
in May of 2008 about producing for Bernard. When Bernard and I had
talked about it months before, we had only talked about doing a few
songs. But now we were talking about me producing an entire album. I
was really excited. I had always wanted to produce an entire hip-hop
album. Some of my favorite hip-hop albums have one producer (or
production team) throughout the entire record. When I worked with
Sole on Selling Live Water, the original plan was for me to produce
that entire album. We recorded enough songs for it, but when mixing
and mastering time came, Sole decided to cut a bunch of songs and
replace them with songs produced by Nosdam, Jel and Telephone Jim
Jesus.

So with “Fallen House, Sunken City”, I’m finally getting the chance to
produce an entire hip-hop album. It’s been a return to form in some
ways. Most of my past releases have been more electronic, with not
much sampling. This album is sample heavy. And it’s been a fun
challenge to chop up samples beyond recognition. The drums are HUGE.
They are compressed the fuck out. They knock in your Mitsubishi.
They have to…matching the intensity of Bernard’s raps is tough
sometimes. So massive drums are in order. The music we’ve done so
far is some of the most in-your-face stuff I’ve ever been involved
with. This isn’t some music you put on to do your homework to. This
isn’t some music to put on in the background while you throw a dinner
party. This is some music Ice Cube would make with a 2009 Bomb Squad
if he wasn’t doing Disney movies now. I’ve played a song or two for a
few people when they come to my studio. Usually, at the end of the
song they say “holy shit…I didn’t know that dude rapped like that.
I had no idea!” I can’t wait to see what other folks say when they
hear B straight killin’ it. Yikes…

Feb 21

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