Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs…. (A pre-70th Birthday Shuffle)

It’s the End of the World as we know it…

All this talk about the end of world (coming Saturday), got my (decidedly) non-linear mind thinking about this book which I bought sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. 
Lester Bangs is in the litany of alt-pop culture names dropped in R.E.M.’s iconic song referenced in the title of this post.
Lester Bangs was a rock critic who died way too soon. He raised the craft of writing criticism about popular (and not-so-popular) music to a high art form.   You can google Lester Bangs to find out more about him.
The articles collected in this book are funny, trenchant, irreverent, off-color, sublime and off-kilter. It is a great read just as pure literature, a (slightly) twisted look at late 60s & 70s music, and a must have if you need a book with “dung” in the title to complete your library.
Next up?   Leonard Bernstein or Lenny Bruce?

Charlie Parker

This is a poem I wrote which is part of a here-to-fore unpublished novel called Shadows and Revelations.  Jerry Gilchrist is a character in my novel.

A poem by Jerry Gilchrist – circa 1991
my room
my place
Charlie Parker on my cd player
and a frozen glass – filled
with rum from the freezer
leaving a ring
on my bedside table

staring up
almost drunk
but it’s not enough
weight pulls
the weight of too much time
of loss
of fear
and the crushing weight
of having to live my life
in my skin
concert posters – taped
on the wall
my desk in the corner –
my poetry littering the top
outside my window a night
of promises – unfulfilled
Charlie Parker wonks for me
and I thank him silently
for the notes
sometimes I feel
like such a fake
living my life
as though I were not this
miserable soul
who lies on his bed
drinking rum
shirt off
listening to
dead jazz men
and trying to figure out
where it all went wrong
it began with Ethan
but that is not
the whole story
after Ethan
the pier
and college
and the city
and Shadow Man
and highways
and beaches
and Gana
and Kevin
and Joey
but all of that seems
a fiction to me now

Kevin lives nearby and
I see him fairly often but
things aren’t the same
Gana is still mad
about our last
and Joey
is off being

I wish I were
I think suddenly
and remembering
my love for Ethan
wonder if perhaps
I am
but then I decide
I would be
as miserable
gay as I am
my room spins
more insanely
and I don’t dare
stand up
the rum is almost
and the cd is nearing
the last track
a tickle on my cheeks are the
and now sobs
wrack my body
my phone mocks me
with silence – I take the
receiver off the hook
and drop it on the floor
the dial tone turns into
a fast signal of alert
I ignore it
I feel myself going into blackness
I wish it were death
perhaps it is
my stomach lurches
to let me know
I am still alive
I imagine dying
choking on my own
what a punk rock
thing to do
Kevin would be proud
morbid thoughts
and I know it’s not
what I want
my life to be
morbid thoughts
and I know tomorrow I will
wake up
put on a happy face
and go out into
the world
I close my eyes – big mistake –
the sense is I am
on one of those playground
and I now I think I
might puke
take the last sip
of my rum
now warm
room temperature and
watered down by the
condensation from the glass
I cry
but the ghost
who once haunted me
is silent these days
as if ashamed to see
what I have become

 Copyright 2005 Joe Wolfe-Mazeres

Speaking as a child of the 80s….

I came of age musically speaking during what is widely called the Post-Punk era.  The bands I liked everyone from U2, R.E.M., The Alarm, and Violent Femmes was informed by, inspired by or a reaction to punk.  By the mid-80s, many of the original punk bands who had survived had moved into a definite post-punk phase. X trended into the burgeoning Alt-Country/Cow Punk/Americana/whatever movement. Arguably it wasn’t as far of a leap as some might think.  But, I digress….
Time is funny.  In the early/mid 80s, Punk seemed like it happened a million years before. In reality, it had all gone down less than 10 years before.  I guess when you are 16-17 years old, 10 years really is a long time. What was it like? We wondered.
Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World, Little Rascals!, Beverly Hillbillies!!!) made two films which have shaped how I see the punk era. One is a documentary, one is not. 

 It’s all about the L.A. punk scene – X, Germs, Black Flag etc. – it’s a brash, harsh and at times heartbreaking film. Realizing that many of the musicians featured here did not survive. At once, the film made me want to slam dance, cry, laugh, destroy something, form a band, stay in school, cut my hair, rip my jeans.  I will never truly know what it was like to be a part of that scene, but Decline of Western Civilization is an excellent reference point.

Suburbia:  It’s got Flea (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers), TSOL, The Vandals and D.I.  It’s about The Rejected (T.R.) a group of small m misfits roaming around the L.A. punk scene just a few short years after Decline… It’s got all the elements of a true cult classic (which it is). Memorable lines (Later Days has been a part of my vocabulary ever since I first saw it), dodgy acting (a character calls Flea’s Character “Flea” at one point) , cheesy villains (don’t trust anyone over 25????).  Not to be mistaken with Richard Linklater’s 1996 film, Suburbia is a must see.


Shall we… (morning shuffle)

Monday night is when I typically load new (for me anyway) music into my MP3 player, and so every Tuesday, my morning shuffle comes from the playlist containing the current months new downloads.
This morning with the refreshing sunshine and the mild frustration of life not unfolding on my schedule, I shuffled my May 2011 playlist (which currently contains 80 songs).
  1. Grown Ocean by Fleet Foxes from Helplessness Blues
  2. Police by Stomacher from Sentimental Education (a band that found me on Twitter)
  3. Plan ‘B’ by Shabbadoo from There You Are (a band that features Joey Pegram who is from my hometown and who currently resides on the other side of the world).
Bonus:  My favorite morning d.j. Mary Brace was off today, but her replacement played Jesus, etc. and Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal”.  Also, I heard Green Day on a Brand X station during a commercial break on Lightning 100.