Election 2020

Election 2020
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crooked Timber

It is Wednesday. Who says I can't quote Kant? Actually no one. dumps or sunny do not seem to care either way. So I can quote Kant. Can't I?

"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight was ever made." - I. Kant

For a good example of what old Immie was talking about, check out Godinla's "The White Hat."

Beware the straight shooter, beware still waters, beware the holier than thou brigades. We are made of angles and shadows. Dig it, my crookedly, non-straight brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Next Time You are at the News Stand


"Rock 'n roll magazines are written about people who can't talk by people who can't write for people who can't read." - Frank Zappa

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kool Thing

In this alternate universe (not far away) there is this guy Obama who is too cool, too tall, too smiley, too intelligent, too articulate. His speeches are just too damn good. He seems to have a bunch of too good answers to all our crazy ass problems. People seem to like him way too much. Everywhere he goes people really respond way too enthusiastically.

It's all just so unfair. Everywhere he goes he comes across as some kind of great man or something. He's starting to make people uncomfortable. I mean, that's not the kind of guy America usually has in mind for the top job.

Folks start to wonder, do we really want someone who is smarter, more charismatic, more together than the next guy? Is that really what we want for America? Is that patriotic?

Is he gonna explain himself? Can he defend his actions? How is he gonna answer for this? Thank god we have the media gods working hard to bring this guy back to reality. His campaign is just way too good, the media seems totally bummed out.

Maybe he could put on a couple of more pounds? Smile a little less? Dumb down his speeches a little? Promise to conduct more, bloody pointless foreign conflicts? Be a little more close-minded and cranky? Start chewing tobacco? Act a little older? Pretend to have a limp? Something!?!

By the way, apropos of nothing, here's Sonic Youth playing their would-be hit Kool Thing:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"The red light was my mind..." - R. Johnson

Robert Johnson never wore glitter and spangly pants. He didn't have the silver or the gold. He never played Madison Square Garden. He did not have a long and successful career.

He may or may not have met the Devil down at the crossroads. He did somehow learn to play blues guitar like a demon from another realm. He did record a couple handfuls of blues tunes.

He died early, some say, poisoned by a jealous husband.

Anyway, Johnson not only left us with an extraordinary catalog of tunes. He inspired generations of guitar players and singers. These people are not "shredders." They are not overly concerned with technique. They are people searching for that elusive quality we call "soul." They all revered "the blues," and many of them, no matter where they came from, found something in Johnson's work that took them to a place they never knew existed.

Or maybe they just found a human place.

They are musicians and singers like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter Green, Mike Bloomfield, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and Duane Allman.

Here's Mick Jagger and company from 1972 performing Johnson's "Love In Vain." It's one of my favorite blues songs of all time, brought to you by a band of boys from London. It's a perfect example of how music binds us. A slow blues. No blistering scales. Beautifully rendered. The spangles and glitter don't really get in the way. I'm thinking Robert Johnson wouldn't have minded at all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


If you play guitar and read guitar magazines like I do, you are aware of shredding, shredders, those who shred. It's a weird sub-genre of guitar world lust. Shredders are guitar players who play guitar scales very, very fast. Almost super-human fast. It isn't the most musical thing in the world to witness. In fact, I think much of shredding is un-listen-able, but maybe that's just me.

Shredding is an example of taking technique to an extreme where music (and melody, and passion, and soul) becomes almost beside the point. Still there is something fascinating about the whole thing. And if you watch shredders you will be amazed at how fast and accurate these guys (yes, it's mainly a guy thing) fingers fly across a fret-board.

It's kind of like the fascination you might have for someone who can juggle, or spin plates, or do a back flip, or lift a car, or eat more than 50 hot-dogs in one sitting. There is the physical-ness of the whole thing, the concentration, the hours of practice, the discipline, and then the result almost looks otherworldly. Plus many of the most famous shredders are just over the top weird dudes.

Some people attribute the whole shredding thing to Eddie Van Halen, he being one of the first players to just take technique over the top, playing like no one else before him. Two of my favorite examples are Yngwie Malmsteen and Buckethead.

Here is Yngwie (this is his real name) doing "Arpeggios From Hell!"

And here's Buckethead (hat tip to my L.A. Angels Kris and Noel for turning me onto this guy!) who wears a mask and a KFC bucket on his head. I own one of his discs called "Colma" which is actually quite stately and beautiful. Here he starts out pretty mellow and ends a little shred-like - it's actually not a very good example of shredding but it gives you an idea of how good Buckethead plays.

Buckethead is the kind of character you meet in the world of shred. And really this guy has the whole celebrity thing knocked. No one knows who lives beneath the mask (Brian Carroll). He speaks only thru a sock puppet. And he plays guitar like a super-hero. I'm thinking there's a lesson in there for us all, but I'm not sure what it is.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Citizen of the World

Now that's more like it. An American in Berlin. Proclaiming a shared responsibility. Stunning. I don't want to totally blow it all out of proportion, (although I'm gonna do just that!), but for me this has great resonance. When Barack Obama stands in front of 200,000 cheering Berliners and declares that he is a "citizen of the world," it makes me think - "right man, right time."

I do think he's riding a wave. It's bigger than him. Bigger than us.

It is not "Change we can believe in," it is "Change we desperately need - NOW!"

Kind of makes me think of John, Paul, George and Ringo getting off that plane in New York for the first time. Or Michael Jordan lacing up his Air Jordans and getting ready to take the court in Chicago for the first time. Or Madonna appearing in one of her first provocative music videos. Or Nelson Mandela walking out of prison and into the Presidential suite in South Africa. Or Jimi Hendrix strapping on his white Strat and taking the stage at Monterey.

Or really, it's not like any of the above.

Just one of those moments where it all crystalizes. A new moment unlike the one before it. And then everything is different.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Confidence Games

Hey, here's an easy game you can play. It's called Lie or No Lie. Just turn on your radio or TV. Or go out and about on your daily rounds. Listen carefully to the words spoken either to you, or to others. Then silently ask yourself - "lie or no lie?" You may be surprised by the results. Repeat and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Be Like the Worm

One of the things that came out of our soul-searching weekend (see previous post) was a long rambling discussion of worms. Our friend Masha works at a greenhouse and worm farm where worms do the work of transforming garbage into "rich, dark, earth-smelling soil conditioner." The Lovely Carla is just itching to start a worm composting system at our lovely abode. The Lovely Melissa has one going in her place in Queens (I was unable to locate her post on the subject).

Since humans produce garbage at an alarming rate, I do believe worms could be the next IPOD!

We need to be like the worm - take the things of the world into ourselves and transform them. To bring something inside of us, submit to it, surround it, engulf it, and by doing so, change it, turning the garbage of the world into gold (or in this particular case worm shit, which is the same thing!). I know, the worm output seems so lowly, so worthless, but in fact it is an essential step forward in a new cycle of life, birth, creation.

Now that's amazing!

So yes, Shakespeare talked about Conqueror Worm - to the worm, the pauper, the king, are the same. I think we have a visceral dislike of worms because we know that if and when we are planted in the ground, we too will be food for the worms. But take heart dear Pilgrim, being consumed by worms is just the first step in our next evolution. Traveling through the guts of a worm is like going through a WORMHOLE! We enter as one thing, and exit as another thing. Life after death Sweet Thing!

And that's how we conquer time! So it's time to embrace the worm, to be like the worm. They aren't just worms, they are little elongated doorways to new worlds!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Sensitive Kind

Hard times. The last eight years, just to take a slice, have been hard. For all of us. Planet-wise. War is in the air, even if it doesn't live on your street. Torture is in the air, even if it isn't happening to you. There is hunger, disease and poverty. A world of suffering. And we are more connected than ever, or at least, one can choose to be more aware of the world then ever before. So if you are aware, there is so much more pain to absorb. Kind of overwhelming.

Then there's the planet-wide crisis of disappearing species, changing climate, ice melting, the world heating up, human populations exploding, pollution and garbage filling up the air, water, land. The problems just seem so damn enormous. I guess we can choose to tune out. But that seems the coward's way. How to be aware, how to live a good life, how to enjoy the moment, knowing all that we know?

Maybe that has always been the trick.

We spent the weekend with some really cool artist friends. People who paint paintings, make pottery, make music, make theater. These are all intelligent, perceptive, sensitive people. They are aware of the world, they are alive, engaged, they can see the world is in pain, and it hurts. They want to help. They want to do good work. They want to make a difference.

And that is some kind of answer in itself. These are the folks that can change the world. Just by being who they are. They are just like all of us. Or they are like the best of us, those who haven't succumbed to the numbness. Those who haven't embraced the stupidity, those who refuse to utter those deadly words: "I don't care."

If there is a way of out the pain and darkness, it's gonna be one small step at a time. Planet a garden. Start a worm farm for composting. Create a work of beauty. Smile. Reach out to the person next to you. Write a song. Put on a puppet show. Be alive, be aware, be positive. That alone is a powerful choice that can inspire others too.

If we are to be saved, maybe it will be the worms,the algae, the mushrooms that will help us do it. The meek and humble will assert themselves, in simple organic ways. I know so many cool, engaged, artistic, sensitive people. They keep me going. They inspire and I want to inspire too.

The problems seem so enormous, the solutions seems so little, puny, paltry. That is an illusion. We can remake the world one smile, one good work at a time. I'm sure of it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Happiness can make you cry..." - W. Coyne

Of all the great bands out there today in the r&r firmament, one of the best and most improbable has to be the Flaming Lips. These guys started out in the early 80's as a pretty raw and punk-ish band from Oklahoma. They are funny and creative, true American originals. When they steal, they steal from the best too. They have evolved over the years with various lineups. What they are today is quite remarkable.

Wayne Coyne is just one of the most like-able, quirky singer/lyricists out there. Wayne is a r&r wise man, a showman, a shaman in a shiny suit. Now that is rare. And Steven Drodz (who sometimes plays ALL the instruments in the Studio) is some kind of musical genius. Their last three or four records are just freaking amazing. Here is one of their best songs off of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." Beautiful.

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Big Show

Some days it's all nails and thorns. And then there are days where everything is sunshine and rainbows. I had a great day yesterday - business was clicking, the creative juices were flowing. Everything seemed to be in it's place. Late in the day, I was out and about in the big city. I found myself sitting on a bench waiting for the Damen bus in the middle of Wicker Park, and it was like suddenly the Universe conspired to entertain me.

The whole shooting match was one big show, just for me.

It was a hot, muggy, July afternoon, but for some reason I was cool and chipper. I was forced to sit down and pay attention. A stream of cars and bikes and people walking down the avenue. The Human Parade. So much energy, so many variations on a theme. I just kind of took it all in. I was an energy attractor, an energy concentrator.

The bus finally came and it whisked me off to another part of the thriving metropolis. I ended up at Silivies Lounge, one of my favorite haunts. A strangely laid out little tavern with a pretty nice sound system all set up for me and my cohorts in the Telepaths (minus our drummer). We played an "unplugged" set of tunes. We could actually hear each other - three voices, two acoustic guitars. I debuted a cover of Neil Young's "Roll Another Number." I dedicated it to Harold and Kumar.

I had some flubs, I broke a string - you know, my highs are high, my lows are low, that is just me. I was so happy to see the sound guys watching us and cheering us on. Now that's a nice tribute. Those guys see everything.

I capped off the evening with a nice cold Stella Artois. If there is a heaven, that's where that particular beverage is brewed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Al Gore's Moon Shot. This is oh so necessary. No one has been talking the talk on this one. At least Al Gore, Man Who Would Be President, lays down a marker.

This is a tremendous challenge for the human race.* First, we need to get our heads around the concept of thinking as human beings first - with a common purpose. If we do nothing it seems clear we will kill this lovely little planet - we will burn up - the end of the world will be fire and flood and probably a rain of angry frogs too.

So yes, a decades worth of effort led to Neil Armstrong playing golf on that desolate rock up in space. We did it! Now how about taking care of business here? Seems like a much more worthy goal. Plus the alternative really, really sucks.

*Lately I've seen first hand how thinking about energy has changed dramatically. It's kind of like suddenly the fish started to notice the water in the aquarium. There is a tremendous market of innovation ready to emerge. The forward thinkers are there already.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Playing into the Ignorance

Yeah, David Remnick and the New Yorker have got to be freaking kidding...

I mean, even if they were, sorry, not fucking funny. Nothing like playing right into the ignorance...

For some great commentary check out Who Got the Gravy and Atrios...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

M.I.A. Redux

I am totally infatuated. Or is it captivated? Head over heels? Whapped upside the head?

M.I.A. is my latest musical obsession. This is quite a feat because usually to get my attention I need to hear some cool guitar stylings in the mix.

Not required here my friends.

Here's another great M.I.A. video called "Jimmy." Or is it "Jimi?"

I'm wondering is she singing about dumps or sunny? OK, who am I kidding? It is sunny for sure.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Favorite Covers

My favorite Radiantly Militant, NY Librarian, Melissa blogs about her picks for great cover songs and tosses me the gauntlet. I love her choices, especially the Cowboy Junkies version of "Sweet Jane." The Cowboys kind of made that Velvets classic their own.

There are so many great covers to consider, Janis Joplin doing Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobbie McGee." The Who's version of Mose Allison's "Young Man Blues."  Elvis Costello's version of Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding." Ike and Tina Turner's sizzling version of John Fogarty's "Proud Mary."  

Anyway, here's my stab at four great covers with my trenchant commentary:

1. Joe Cocker's version of the Beatles "With a Little Help from My Friends." This was kind of a throwaway for Ringo on Sgt. Peppers. Cocker channels the great Ray Charles on this spittle-flinging version at Woodstock. It's a classic example of taking a song and making it something else. VP Spiro Agnew thought it was all about the illicit drugs - and maybe he was right.

The Beatles were big fans of Motown but when they tried to emulate that sound it came out as what Paul McCartney dubbed "Rubber Soul." Joe is all grit, spit, blood and beer. The music hall meets some kind of gospel apotheosis.  By the way, Jimmy Page plays lead guitar on Cocker's studio version of the song.

This YouTube is captioned so you can see Joe actually re-wrote the lyrics. Who knew? No wonder I always loved his version best. Hat Tip to my favorite L.A. Artist/Clairvoyant Kris for alerting me to this closed captioned version.

2. Patti Smith's cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria." Patti adds some of her own lyrics.   You can't keep a good poet down! Her version starts with maybe the greatest first line ever written in a rock song: "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." 2000 years of bible-thumping up in smoke. Certainly for me 7 years of indoctrination at St. Joseph's couldn't hold a candle to the burning flames of unbridled rock and roll ecstasy. Lenny Kaye's trashy, garage punk guitar is a weapon of mass destruction.

This clip is from a film called the Blank Generation. The images and words don't match up but it's all in glorious black and white, so what the heck. Nice shots of a young gum-chewing, leather-jacketed Smith. 

3. Bob Dylan wrote a powerful little song for Sam Peckinpah's excellent outlaw epic, "Pat Garret and Billy the Kid," called "Knocking on Heaven's Door." You must check out the movie just to see Slim Pickens walking out to a little lake with a bullet in his gut, breathing his last, to the strains of Dylan's superb, understated masterpiece.

This cover version by Guns and Roses at the Freddie Mercury tribute basically takes that delicate little song and murders it. They make it into a great big arena sing a long - about giving up the ghost! There is something exhilarating about it all. Slash rips off one his best lyrical guitar solos, wielding his double-barreled Gibson guitar like a howitzer. There's a bank of Marshall stacks cranked to 11, Axl Rose with his bandana wrapped just a little too tight, the hot spandex-clad backup singers shaking and shimmying. A stadium full of crazed rock and roll fans going berserk. Rock and Roll Theater.

4. And my last pick is Joe Strummer singing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." This clip is from Julien Temple's BioPic about Strummer "The Future is Unwritten."

This is it. Really. Nothing else to say...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hell Boy The Golden Army is the Shit

The Super Hero Scorecard:  

Spider Man (1,2,3) - don't think so.  
Batman -  lost interest long ago.  
Superman - those silly red shorts just don't cut it. 
The Hulk - boring!  
Fantastic Four - missed it!  
Iron Man - anything with Robert Downey Jr. can't be all bad.  

Hellboy - Hell Yes!  This is my guy.  The new one is pretty good.  He's big, he's red, he's confident, he wants to be loved.  Drinks Tecate.  Loves candy bars and TV.  Shaves his horns. He and his buddies are paranormals - beyond normal.  And that is something we can all relate to.  I don't know exactly why I love Hellboy, (maybe it's because he keeps a guitar next to his bed.) Anyway, I just do.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

M.I.A. Has Got It All!

In a very short time, about three minutes, I have become a big M.IA. fan.  I love the music, the videos, the woman.  She's of Sri Lankan descent, lives in Britain.   And she's saying something ("I'm armed and I'm equal.") in her own kitschy musical way. 

Now I'm not exactly reading it all literally, instead I'll go with - armed with intelligence, armed with love, armed with heart, armed with beauty, armed with musicality, armed with solidarity, armed with justice, armed with truth, armed with forgiveness...

Anyway, kind of reminds me of Burning Spear with the cheesy horns behind a funky beat updated with more of a hip-hop feel.  Plus she's got the charisma of a Marley!  Now that's a world beating combo!

FIGHT THE POWER Brothers and Sisters!

Friday, July 11, 2008

To A Greener World!

I used to work for clueless folks in an energy related business who once told me, "energy is dead." That's got to be one of the dumbest, most meaningless statements ever said to me in a long line of dumb and meaningless statements.  

Anyway, I was involved in a great biz meeting yesterday, where all things energy were on the table of discussion.  It is an amazing world of opportunity, one that I've been knocking on with a few trusted compadres for a while now.  I think it is all coming to fruition, and not a day too soon.

I do believe we can pull ourselves out of the unquenchable fire if we apply our smarts and know-how to the task at hand. 

Think Green - sustainable, renewable, energy-efficient.  Recycle.  Love more, consume less. Ditch your car.  Take public transportation.  Become a vegetarian.  Plant a garden.  Give the Streetwise guy a buck (just for the hell of it).  Smile.  It won't kill you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swaggering Heroes - So Old World

OK I hate to give this guy the time of day, but I do think he is dangerous.  In a weird, out of touch, Bush-style way.  Remember this guy is supposed to be the "straight talker." If he's not a flip-flopper, is he just flip? No more swaggering heroes!  Please!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Heavy

Someone must be writing this guy's lines.  He must be a fictional character.  He rivals Dr. No, Dr. Evil, Darth Vader.  He truly is trying to outdo them all.  So far, so good.  

Come on, he can't be real.  He must be someone's invention.  Ian Fleming must still be alive.  No one could be that dastardly, that stupid, that arrogant.  

I suppose he is marching to a different drummer.  Is it an oil drum?  And what is the sound of one oil drum drumming?  

What happens when the little blue planet becomes a blow torch?  Does The Heavy rejoice and rub his greedy little reptilian hands in glee?

Monday, July 07, 2008

"Life, It Is a Beautiful Thing."

I took two trains to visit my mom yesterday.  Some other relatives were there, folks I haven't seen for years.  It's funny how you look in another's eyes and you see yourself too.  Our genetic entities, our genetic destinies run deep.

There is no perfect human being.  We all succumb to time.  Even if time is an illusion, that illusion is our lives.

And as Stuart Smalley liked to say (boy I hope he is the next Senator from Minnesota!), "That's Okay!"

Words are spoken, but of course, it's not what is said that is important, it is the known, unspoken words that secretly resonate like a note plucked on a mystery string. 

We all exchanged smiles and hugs.  And then I verbalized it, even if it sounded kind of trite or sappy, especially knowing all the pain and suffering that makes up so much of existence, but you know, I felt it zing through my being like an arrow of truth:

"Life, it is a beautiful thing."

Sunday, July 06, 2008


It's no coincidence that clarity came to us at the open mic at our local coffeehouse.  The prime substances there heighten the senses, sharpen the mind.  At least that's how it felt yesterday.

We played music at the Brothers K coffeehouse.  One of our favorite and most difficult places to play.  Favorite because it's such a friendly vibe - our neighborhood, the folks we see everyday. We all know each other.  Even if it's just from the friendly nod of the head, the welcoming smiles.

Difficult, because we are so exposed.  Naked voices, lone guitar, in a large and cold room.  Every one there to watch and listen.  Really listen.   No matter how many shows we've done, this type of setting is still a little frightening.

There is nowhere to hide.  And our songs are honest and heartfelt.  No theater, no illusion, no masks.  Although, really, there's always a mask, right?

We did four of our original songs.  We really did them.  For some reason, every note rang out with clarity and conviction.  We never sounded so good.  And the audience took it in.  All of it. So exhilarating.  The best feeling in the world.

I had a couple of glasses of wine afterwards, chatting with friends.  The wine had no effect. None.  Playing had opened a door to a new clarity.  I still carry it with me this morning.  And it is good.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Ghost of Bob Marley

Yesterday I went for a long meandering run on the lakefront.  It was alive with activity. Suddenly, somehow, the world had conspired to become BARBECUE LAND.  Folks were unpacking grills, tents, lawn chairs and more charcoal briquettes than there are stars in the sky.

Everyone getting ready for a big day ahead of charred burgers, hot dogs and chicken wings - and all leading up to the grand fireworks spectacle to be conducted out over the lake at sundown.

So I huffed and puffed my way through the hordes.  

Towards the end of my trek, on a lone patch of territory, a deep, musical voice called out behind me: "ONE LOVE coming through!"  I glanced back and there was a friendly looking, dread-locked Rastafarian dude on his bike. He passed me with a smile.  A moment later, another just as musical voice called out: "One HEART coming through!"  It was another dreaded, friendly Rastafarian - another bike, another smile.  

Of course, I also know the song.  

As they pedaled out ahead of me, I sang out in my somewhat musical voice: "LET'S GET TOGETHER AND FEEL ALL RIGHT!"

Friday, July 04, 2008

Rest My Brain

A holiday in America.  As opposed to a holy day.  We don't have many of those anymore.  Here's to a renewed holiness.  The kind that takes care of the air, the water, the land - and each other.

The days have kind of blended together lately.  Broken by patches of sleep.  It's weird to think, and I know it's not a unique thought, we spend a big portion of our lives with eyes closed, laying in bed.

It's funny, lately, I've been out in the world a lot, playing music, staying out late, watching people really trying hard to have fun.  I think I've said it before (deja vu?) that fun isn't always what it's cracked up to be.  It's the trying too hard that doesn't sit right.

Playing music is just about the best thing to do in the world.  It's the playing, not what comes before or after that's the thing.  I mean, I know it's probably been said before...

In fact, now that I think about it, it's all probably been said before by somebody who was once alive and is now dead, or maybe by somebody in a different language, in a completely different part of the world.

And that's alright.  It's a holiday.  Maybe I can just ride on someone else's thoughts today.  Rest my brain.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Torture Me!

Andrew Sullivan asks a pithy question:  

"Is it not a rather fantastic historical irony that the torture techniques that the North Vietnamese used against John McCain that forced him to offer a videotaped false confession...are now the techniques the Bush administration is using to gain 'intelligence' about terror networks.  How is it possible to know that everything John McCain once said on videotape for the enemy was false, because it was coerced, and yet assert that everything we toture out of terror suspects using exactly the same techniques, is true?"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Easy Living

How does that old song go?  

"Summertime, and the living is easy, fish are jumping, and the cotton is high, your daddy is rich and your mama is good looking, so hush little baby, don't you cry..."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Our Band Could Be Your Life

And now for that really good book.  It's called "Our Band Could Be Your Life."  A book by Michael Azerrad about some bands you may know:  The Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, Fugazi, Husker Du, The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, and some you might not, Beat Happening, Minor Threat, Mission to Burma, Mudhoney, The Butthole Surfers.

Even if you don't know any of these bands, it's still a very good read.  The book is really about the 1980's Indie movement that sprung up post punk - some called it Hardcore.  Most of these bands shunned the mainstream, and they built an alternate reality.  They founded their own record companies, they drove their own vans, they schlepped their own equipment.  Sometimes they'd play to a handful of people in a dingy club somewhere in the heartland.

Almost all of them had small, devoted groups of fans.  Actually many of them, especially Black Flag, the Minutemen, Fugazi were leaders of a community with it's own code of honor.  Their shows were intense, communal. Almost all of them were inspiring.  They were inspirers.

You will meet some really cool characters: Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, Henry Rollins from Black Flag, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, Mike Watt and D. Boon of the Minutemen.  These guys, (it was primarily a guy thing - but there were a few women, for instance Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth) were charismatic, pragmatic, idealistic.  They believed in DYI - and you didn't need to sell out to a higher power.  You could find power by touching the people right in the same room.

By the way, most of these bands can be found on YouTube.  Above is Fugazi in their prime.  It's not easy listening - but it has it all - these guys are the definitive example of the movement - they played all ages shows (no discrimination against youth), charged no more than $5 bucks, wrote songs that the audience could sing too.  Cathartic!

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