Video by CHU on the making of 360 degree artwork for "Mohawk" by John Sinclair

February 17, 2014

“I sketched the entire world and digitised it inside Google’s Sketchup, where this three dimensional, three hundred and sixty degree artwork could spring to life. This sketch can be viewed from almost anywhere and the result is a multi-dimensional drawing – a million sketches worth. When making a normal two dimensional drawing, changing the viewpoint requires a completely new sketch – this way, the sketch allows plenty of freedom for the viewer and there are a sickening amount of permutations.

This economy in the production stemmed from the need to pay tribute to, as close as possible, the location and setting for the photoshoot on the cover of Thelonius Monk’s Undeground LP released on Columbia in 1967. The sleeve won a Grammy in 1968 for art direction.

Steve ‘Fly’ and I considered it may have been Monk’s apartment in Manhattan on the original sleeve. Wherever it may have been, I rebuilt the scene, destroyed it, reinfected it and drenched it all in psychedelia, on a stage that Paddington Bear would be proud of.

Is there something in that marmalade?” – CHU 14th Feb 2014

For more on CHU’s mind boggling digital sculpting, research and free-form thinking have a look at his own site and see for yourself what he has been up to:

http://www.schudio.co.uk/blog/2014/mohawk-by-john-sinclair/

Video by CHU on the making of 360 degree artwork for "Mohawk" by John Sinclair

February 17, 2014

“I sketched the entire world and digitised it inside Google’s Sketchup, where this three dimensional, three hundred and sixty degree artwork could spring to life. This sketch can be viewed from almost anywhere and the result is a multi-dimensional drawing – a million sketches worth. When making a normal two dimensional drawing, changing the viewpoint requires a completely new sketch – this way, the sketch allows plenty of freedom for the viewer and there are a sickening amount of permutations.

This economy in the production stemmed from the need to pay tribute to, as close as possible, the location and setting for the photoshoot on the cover of Thelonius Monk’s Undeground LP released on Columbia in 1967. The sleeve won a Grammy in 1968 for art direction.

Steve ‘Fly’ and I considered it may have been Monk’s apartment in Manhattan on the original sleeve. Wherever it may have been, I rebuilt the scene, destroyed it, reinfected it and drenched it all in psychedelia, on a stage that Paddington Bear would be proud of.

Is there something in that marmalade?” – CHU 14th Feb 2014

For more on CHU’s mind boggling digital sculpting, research and free-form thinking have a look at his own site and see for yourself what he has been up to:

http://www.schudio.co.uk/blog/2014/mohawk-by-john-sinclair/

The Nightingales – For Fuck’s Sake – New LP available April 2014

February 14, 2014

The Nightingales - For Fuck's Sake - New LP available April 2014

In September 2013 the Nightingales recorded a new album at Faust Studio in Germany.

Having been dumped by their fourth consecutive label, following the release of one album each, the group are self releasing the new LP on their own terms.

No interference or outside opinions, no label, no distributor, no catalogue number, no bar code or logo shit, blah blah.

“For Fucks Sake” is an 180g vinyl LP, containing twelve songs & comes packaged in a beautiful matt varnish gatefold sleeve (& inner bag) featuring five original art works by brilliant Scarborough based artist David Yates.

The LP is a limited edition of 600 copies & will be available for pre-order up until 9 April 2014, after which it will only be available at Nightingales gigs.

Download coupon included.

You can buy Nightingales CDs and Vinyl from Iron Man Records on eBay here or Big Cartel here

or Pre-order “For Fuck’s Sake” from the band themselves here http://nightingales.bigcartel.com/
UK – £18 inc p&p
Rest of the World – £21 inc mailing & paypal charges
From 9 April available at Nightingales gigs only

Side 1
Bullet For Gove
Diary Of A Bag Of Nerves
The Gruesome Threesome
Toasted On Both
The Abstract Dad
Good Morning & Goodbye

Side2
His Family Has Been Informed
Dumb & Drummer
Thick & Thin
Contempt
Same Old
Good Morning Midnight

NIGHTINGALES Live radio session – Marc Riley Show, BBC 6Music – Tues 15 April 19.00hrs

NIGHTINGALES + TED CHIPPINGTON – UK TOUR April 2014

Wed 9 – NORWICH, Arts Centre
Thu 10 – WOLVERHAMPTON, Slade Rooms + Jump The Shark
Fri 11 – BRISTOL, The Thunderbolt
Sat 12 – MARGATE, Tom Thumb Theatre
Wed 16 – CAMBRIDGE, Portland Arms + Kepler + Motor Tapes
Thu 17 – LONDON, The Borderline
Fri 18 – LIVERPOOL, East Village Arts Club
Sat 19 – SCARBOROUGH, The Spa Pub + Crumplehorns
Sun 20 – HULL, Adelphi
Mon 21 – DERBY, The Hairy Dog
Tue 22 – MANCHESTER, Kraak
Wed 23 – GLASGOW, Nice N Sleazy
Thu 24 – NEWCASTLE, The Cluny
Fri 25 – EDINBURGH, Citrus Club + Phil Vickers & The Leg
Sat 26 – BRADFORD, 1 In 12 Club + The Family Elan – Benefit for www.bradfordwomensaid.org
Sun 27 – BRIGHTON, Prince Albert + Helen McCookerybook

See www.thenightingales.org.uk for ticket info

FREE NIGHTINGALES DOWNLOADS
There are currently two free downloads from the ‘Gales ‘Covers Club’ available at http://thenightingales.bandcamp.com/

These two tracks are the group’s takes on songs by Joanna Newsom (“Book Of Right On”) and Christy & Emily (“Ghost”)

If you download a song you also become part of the Nightingales mailing list so you will get to hear about any band news before it is posted online

www.facebook.com/thenightingalesuk

https://twitter.com/@_Nightingales

Husk, Kill the King, Last Under The Sun, Inscriptions – Sun 16th Feb 2014 at The Flapper and Firkin

February 13, 2014

Husk, Kill the King, Last Under The Sun, Inscriptions Sun 16 Feb 2014 at The Flapper and Firkin

Husk
+ KILL THE KING
+ Last Under The Sun http://www.reverbnation.com/lastunderthesun
+ Inscriptions

Venue
The Flapper and Firkin, Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham, B1 2NU

https://www.facebook.com/PropagatorPresents

Tickets £5 adv or £6 on the door
7.30pm

Download all Last Under The Sun Music for FREE here: http://lastunderthesun.bandcamp.com/

 

Last Under The Sun + Fear Insight + Fetus Christ – Sat 15th Feb Rock Zombie, Dudley 8pm

February 13, 2014

Last Under The Sun + Fear Insight + Fetus Christ Sat 15th Feb Rock Zombie, Dudley 8pm

The Culture Industry: Enlightenment or Mass Deception?

February 10, 2014

“Pop culture in general is the main thing they use to keep young people from developing any ideas.” – John Sinclair.

John Sinclair - Mohawk front cover

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary releases his new album called “Mohawk,” on Iron Man Records, on Monday 24th March 2014 with distribution by Cargo. The music was written and arranged by Steve Fly who mirrored John’s poems in the music by initially combing the tempo of the original songs recorded by John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker and Thelonious Monk. Steve The Fly is a native of Stourbridge UK, now an Amsterdam resident who plays drums, spins vinyl, writes novels and literary and cultural commentary. He also maintains a flock of websites and works in various other art forms without visible restraint.  His other music projects have included New Flesh, Garaj Mahal, Temple Dragon band, of course he is now full time with John Sinclair.

John has been on TV news recently with an appearance on CNN talking to Atika Shubert about the Marijuana laws in Holland, and the value of these laws in attracting tourism. The piece makes an interesting overview of the issues involved and Cafe 420 is featured including an interview with the owner. Perhaps Birmingham City Council’s tourism department could learn a trick or two.

For those into poetry and performance: Amiri Baraka, the poet, playwright and political organizer died last month at the age of 79. Baraka was a leading force in the black arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1963 he published “Blues People: Negro Music in White America,” known as the first major history of black music to be written by an African American. A year later he published a collection of poetry titled “The Dead Lecturer” and won an Obie Award for his play, “Dutchman.” After the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 he moved to Harlem and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater. In the late 1960s, Baraka moved back to his hometown of Newark and began focusing more on political organizing, prompting the FBI to identify him as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Baraka continued writing and performing poetry up until his hospitalization late last year, leaving behind a body of work that greatly influenced a younger generation of hip-hop artists and slam poets. If you don’t know his work, find out more for yourself.

For those assembling posters and flyers for gigs across the region, January also said Farewell to Gary Grimshaw, a Rock Art Legend, the man whose posters and covers defined the Detroit rock scene. John Sinclair wrote a few lines that I think are worth sharing with Midlands based musicians and artists here “Gary Grimshaw was a great creative artist who helped define the spirit and feeling of an entire era with his brilliant posters for the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, his artwork for underground newspapers like the Detroit Sun, the Fifth Estate and the San Francisco Oracle, and his posters and record covers for the MC-5 and other bands.

“He was a music lover first and foremost, best friends in high school with Rob Tyner of the MC5, a beautiful cat and the most tireless and dedicated art worker I’ve ever known. We were partners in crime at the Grande Ballroom and the Detroit Artists Workshop, we founded Trans-Love Energies and the White Panther Party together, we worked side by side for several years while he beautifully interpreted all my ideas for cultural and social change into public artwork that could make people want to do things they’d never done before.

“After the movement ended in the mid-’70s we went our separate ways but reunited in Detroit in the 1980s in partnership with Frank & Peggy Bach to serve the Motor City music community for several years before Gary moved to the San Francisco Bay area. He was one of my greatest friends of all time, most valued co-worker and constant inspiration.”

“The Revolution is totally committed to bringing people out of their shells and into each others arms. The music is the source and effect of our spirit flesh and we demand a free music and a free high energy source that will drive us wild into the streets…..yelling and screaming and tearing down everything that would keep people slaves” – John Sinclair

John Sinclair relives his ups and downs with the MC5 in the next issue of MOJO, on sale from January 28, 2014.

Last Under The Sun have more gigs planned, 15th Feb at Rock Zombie Dudley and 16th Feb at The Flapper and Firkin Birmingham. You can listen to and download all their music for free here: http://lastunderthesun.bandcamp.com or you can find their cds in the Iron Man Shop. The band are off to Belgium and Holland in March.

Police Bastard are assembling tour dates to promote their new album, Confined, which continues to generate interesting reviews. A few quotes include:

“Thought-provoking monologues and confrontational lyrics bring you on a cold, doom-laden journey of perpetual war, psychological mind control and disillusionment.”

“…an anti-theistic slice of brutality, which leaves the listener in no doubt that Police Bastard mean business. You even get a quote from Richard Dawkins about teaching the bible as fiction. Musically they give us huge chugging riffs on “Brought To Our Knees”, which tackles the blandness of multi-national companies infecting the high street, set against the backdrop of the widening gap between rich and poor. For those that like their anthems loud and stompy, “Sick Sick System” will no doubt win a seal of approval with its knock about Punk mayhem and catchy refrain, ‘sick sick system, same old bullshit’.

“….From Mark Orton‘s cover art through to the final song, “Fortress,” Police Bastard have presented an album that uses hardcore’s battering ram approach to push through a series of songs that depict how humanity has destroyed the Earth. Lines such as “We’re sealing our fate” hammer home the idea that mankind has taken the world to the edge of existence…”

“Confined” was recorded at Framework Studios, Birmingham and is out now.

The Nightingales – Born out of Birmingham’s original punk group The Prefects, the Nightingales have stubbornly ploughed their own furrow in the field of alternative rock n roll for three decades. 2006 saw the release of “Out Of True” on Iron Man Records and the return of a reformed Nightingales after some years away. The band have not wasted much time since then and yet another new album is on the way for 2014.

The band hope to announce tour dates for UK/Europe for  April and May and some Festivals to be confirmed for over the summer/autumn 2014. There may be some United States dates in Sept/Oct time too.

Nightingales are planning a 7″ 45rpm to be released at some point & another album to be recorded later in the year for early 2015 release.

Described in John Robb’s definitive post punk biography ‘Death To Trad Rock’ as “the misfits’ misfits”, the band has constantly garnered praise and respect from other artists and received endless glowing press reports, particularly for their live shows. Led by singer/lyricist Robert Lloyd (‘The most underestimated songwriter of his generation’ according to Ben Thompson in the Independent) the latest incarnation of the Nightingales are back again with a new album recorded at Faust studio in September 2013 for release in spring 2014. There will be a vinyl lp and the record label & title will be confirmed soon.

Blog: On the Iron Man website I’ve posted a series of interesting articles like The Bitcoin Revolution By Steven Hager and Free The Weed 35 by John Sinclair.

The Bitcoin Revolution: “Bitcoin is rapidly transforming the financial landscape with a peer-to-peer solution for wealth transfer. It has already shown capacity to absorb tremendous resources and withstand crisis sell-offs. Read this short ebook to understand why you should invest in this revolutionary computer art meets cryptography concept. I came late to Bitcoin and have zero understanding of the technical complexities of cryptography, but I do realize Bitcoin is open source and completely transparent and completely non-predatory in design, a real departure from our banking industry. Any assets moved into Bitcoin virtually disappear from the public record at this point and do not become taxable events until they are brought back into the system. Bitcoin has numerous benefits to offer and represents a real threat to our current corrupt money system. The media has been relentlessly negative on bitcoins for a reason: they threaten the status quo.”

Free The Weed: “….people in the cannabis community are looking on in wonder as the United States takes its first tentative steps toward legalizing marijuana for use by all thinking persons over 18 years of age.

Like they say in New Orleans, a lotta people don’t know that marijuana is not actually legal in the Netherlands, although over-the-counter sales of cannabis has been allowed under what they call a “grey area” in the law which amounts to a sort of super-decriminalization policy that not only eliminates arrest but lets smokers buy and ingest the sacrament in designated coffee shops without police interference.

But growing, distribution, wholesale transfer and delivery are still fully illegal, growers are tracked down and arrested, distributors are intercepted, delivery remains fully clandestine, shop owners are prohibited from stocking more than 500 grams of cannabis products on the premises at any one time, and even the consumer is limited to purchases of no more than 5 grams per trip.”

If you are a rapper or organise shows for rap and hip hop, Prop Anon, from New York, is looking at Touring Europe in July 2014. If you want to book him to play email him at propanon23@gmail.com. Theres a post with a few videos I like on the website.

P.A.I.N play in Brighton on 15th March and a number of other tour dates are coming up. Keep an eye on their Facebook page.

Framework Recording Studios is now fully operational in Digbeth with Simon Reeves at the controls. The recording studio is based at Blotto on Floodgate Street, Birmingham, B55ST. If you are interested in recording at Framework call 07790 158210 or email siframework@gmail.com.

Tour Mangement: In addition to running Iron Man Records, I also work as a Tour Manager and spend a lot of time helping bands find just about everything else tour related. If you need a tour manager or need help sourcing a good vehicle at the right price email mark@ironmanrecords.co.uk or call (+44) 07974 746810.

WARNING: Culture Industry is a term coined by Theodor Adorno (1903–69) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), who argued in “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods – through film, radio and magazines – to manipulate the masses into passivity; the easy pleasures available through consumption of popular culture make people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. Culture industries may cultivate false needs; that is, needs created and satisfied by capitalism. True needs, in contrast, are freedom, creativity, or genuine happiness….Culture not only mirrors society, but also takes an important role in shaping society through the processes of standardization and commodification, creating objects rather than subjects. By standardizing the consumer’s needs, the Culture Industry is manipulating the consumer to desire what it produces. The outcome is that mass production feeds a mass market that minimizes the identity and tastes of the individual consumers who are as interchangeable as the products they consume. Think about it.

For more on all of the above and to buy music by the artists visit www.ironmanrecords.net

Free The Weed 35 – by John Sinclair

February 4, 2014

John Sinclair

Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where people in the cannabis community are looking on in wonder as the United States takes its first tentative steps toward legalizing marijuana for use by all thinking persons over 18 years of age.

Like they say in New Orleans, a lotta people don’t know that marijuana is not actually legal in the Netherlands, although over-the-counter sales of cannabis has been allowed under what they call a “grey area” in the law which amounts to a sort of super-decriminalization policy that not only eliminates arrest but lets smokers buy and ingest the sacrament in designated coffee shops without police interference.

But growing, distribution, wholesale transfer and delivery are still fully illegal, growers are tracked down and arrested, distributors are intercepted, delivery remains fully clandestine, shop owners are prohibited from stocking more than 500 grams of cannabis products on the premises at any one time, and even the consumer is limited to purchases of no more than 5 grams per trip.

So the mouths of the men and women in the Netherlands cannabis industry water with envy while they watch the people of the states of Colorado and Washington provide for full legalization of marijuana and its open distribution in dispensaries and other licensed public outlets.

Dutch tokers have enjoyed and taken great pride in their peculiar form of cannabis decriminalization for more than 40 years, but the Dutch government has always refused to move the rest of the way toward legalization and now the pioneering role of the coffeeshop culture is being usurped by two of the United States, with several more sure to follow soon.

For example, in an historic new development in America, the General Assembly of the state of New Hampshire recently voted in favour of House Bill 492, which calls for the legalization of personal use and home cultivation of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older and the establishment of regulations for the retail production and sale of cannabis.

This makes the New Hampshire House the first state legislative chamber ever to vote in favour of regulating cannabis and, as a NORML report hopefully speculates, “signal[s] that politicians are finally beginning to acknowledge the will of their constituents.” Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan, however, has already voiced her opposition to House Bill 492 and intends to veto it if it reaches her desk.

But she’s just following the bad example of her party’s leader, President Barack Obama, who told The New Yorker recently that he is “troubled at the disproportionate number of arrests and imprisonments of minorities for marijuana use” but has no plans to rescind the nation’s idiotic marijuana laws which trigger those arrests.

The President admitted that he doesn’t think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer… [but] I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.

“As has been well documented,” the President said, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.”

The New Yorker points out that the Obama administration “has given states permission to experiment with marijuana regulation…. The president said it was important for the legalization of marijuana to go forward in those states to avoid a situation in which only a few are punished while a large portion of people have broken the law at one time or another.”

Obama said in the interview that users shouldn’t be locked up for “long stretches of time” when people writing drug laws “have probably done the same thing.”

“The experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge,” the president said. Yeah, a challenge to the federal government to dare to ignore the expressed will of the electorate and keep on harassing, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people for smoking pot and trying to get their heads right.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Once public approval of marijuana legalization moves over 60% — it’s reached 58% now — legislators and elected officials will start falling all over each other to move legalization into reality, and it’ll be a whole new day not only in the U.S.A. but all over the western world.

In line with the thoughts expressed in this particular column, I’ll be travelling from Amsterdam to Denver, Colorado to gain some experiential knowledge into how the new law is working out for people like ourselves. I’ll be playing at the Neal Cassady Birthday Party at the Mercury Café and then nosing around Denver and environs for a couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to reporting from there for my next column.

I’ll be getting into Colorado just two days after the Denver Broncos play the Seattle Seahawks for the National Football League championship in the Super Bowl, which some pundits are calling the first ever Marijuana Bowl—since, as NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre points out, it features “the two most pro-cannabis-legalization cities in the U.S.” He suggests that the game should be renamed “The Super Oobie Doobie Bowl.”

Bob Troutman reports (courtesy of my pal Michael Donnelly, a Flint native and long-time resident of Portland, Oregon) that “Super Bowl bets between Denver and Seattle mayors are in. If the Seahawks win the game, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will get a quarter pound of ‘Hickenlooper Mile High OG Kush.’ Should the Broncos win, Mayor Michael Hancock will receive an equal amount of ‘Seattle Armageddon Space Needle G-Force Indica.’”

Talk of the Marijuana Bowl inspired Nick Creegan of FOX Sports to write a thoughtful piece exploring some of the contradictions inherent in the present scheme of state-by-state legalization under the dark ugly cloud of the federal prohibition of cannabis.

For one thing, Creegan writes, “It is still illegal for NFL players who live in the state to use marijuana because it violates the drug policy under the current collective bargaining agreement. The same will go for Washington when their pot doors open this spring.

“The NFL is getting pressured by lobbyists to stop penalizing players for smoking pot, saying it could be helpful for getting through concussions and other injuries.

“The lobbyists are also calling attention to the fact the league is fond of the alcohol industry, such as their relationship with Anheuser-Busch. They pitch Bud Light as the ‘proud sponsor of the NFL’ and even had some ads in rotation showing Budweiser and Bud Light bottles going head-to-head in what they called a ‘Bud Bowl’ game.”

Creegan says that last September the Marijuana Policy Project in Denver put up a 48-foot-wide billboard next to the city’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, insisting that the NFL needs to “stop driving players to drink” and the “safer choice” for athletes was actually pot. A petition was launched by the group in efforts to get NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the league’s marijuana policy.

Finally, Creegan ponders whether “pot legalization in a state [is] making teams more successful” and points out that “For the states where marijuana is outlawed completely, they’ve actually had a difficult time in the postseason. The Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals all come from states that have not decriminalized pot. Go figure.

“If you noticed, the more marijuana-friendly localities really kicked butt,” he concludes. “I don’t know what it really means in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a nice bit of karma if nothing else.”

FREE THE WEED!
—Amsterdam
January 21-22, 2014
© 2014 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.