John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient – Press update

July 20, 2017

John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth Ambient - Artwork
John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient
Iron Man Records
IMB6033

Distributed by Cargo BUY IT HERE

All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : sean@mutante.co.uk

“Incendiary bebop beauty from the renegade poet John Sinclair with hand drawn cover artwork by YOUTH. If we ever needed a passionate beat soul speaking words of wisdom, it’s now, and John Sinclair – Revolutionary, Jazzman – lays it down. Bohemian ex-manager of the MC5, Sinclair was central to 1960’s counterculture. A year or two back he met producer YOUTH (Primal Scream, U2), and got dragged into the 21st Century.

The result is a hypnotic celebration of personal freedom; laid-back thoughts spoken in John Sinclair’s gruff, grainy drawl, draped against blues, bebop and trip-hop.

Do It, with it’s lonesome sax, echoes Paddy McAloon’s intimate I Trawl The Megahertz: “In those days, to make poetry and art…that wasn’t called for. But you did it, even though you knew you would never get paid…”

Brilliant Corners is a wild tribute to Jack Kerouac, and Sitarrtha offers, “If we’re lucky, music will bring us through, and we’ll wake up singing.” What a dude.” – Glyn Brown **** Mojo Magazine August 2017.

Order John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient here

John Sinclair Beatnik Youth Ambient review MOJO Aug 2017
John Sinclair interview MOJO Aug 2017

John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth Ambient - UNCUT Magazine September 2017
John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth Ambient - Electronic Sound Magazine - August 2017

John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient UK Press/Radio feedback – Released July 28th 2017

BBC6Music – Gideon Coe played ‘Do It’ on last nights show – 8th June.

BBC6Music Jon Hillcock (sitting in for Gideon Coe) played ‘Do It’ on 31st May

BBC6Music – Jon Hillcock (sitting in for Gideon Coe) played ’Sitarratha’ on 30th May.

BBC Radio Lancashire – On The Wire – Steve Barker played ‘Do It’ on 17th June

Shoreditch Radio (London) The RealMusik Radio Show – Peter Coulston played ‘Do It’ on 2 August

Confirmed Features

Bandcamp Magazine feature – Saby Reyes-Kulkarni interviewed John and Youth
Mojo Magazine – Eyewitness feature – Pat Gilbert – for issue out end of June – interview done – out now
Louder than War Magazine feature – skype with Gus Ironside done earlier this week email Q&A with Youth

Confirmed Album Reviews

Electronic Sound Magazine
Louder Than War Magazine – Gus Ironside – out now http://louderthanwar.com/john-sinclair-beatnik-youth-ambient-album-review/
Mojo Magazine – Glyn Brown – out now
Record Collector – Kris Needs
Shindig Magazine – Chris Twomey
Uncut Magazine – John Lewis – out now
Vive Le Rock

Digital Press

Cone Magazine – http://www.conemagazine.com/john-sinclair/
DMC World Ben Hogwood
Monolith Cocktail – http://bit.ly/2uIiQRk
Sunday Experience – https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/john-sinclair-2/
Whisperin & Hollerin – Carl Martin

The Seventh Wave (Birmingham) Chris MacAdams – playing tracks

Iron Man Records Discography Advertisement A5 Landscape without marks

Iron Man Records releases to be included in British Library Sound Archive

March 23, 2017

Something happens while you are orbiting the Nation’s capital on the M25 for 25 hours in a van with a dangerous madman jumping around and shouting instructions from the back seat. James at British Library Sound Archive has been in touch, he wants to catalogue and archive all the releases on Iron Man Records. The music will become part of the nation’s audio & cultural heritage and it will be available (on a restricted access server) to anyone holding a British Library readers pass (writers, researchers, fans etc.). You have to go in person either to London or to the other site in Boston Spa, Yorkshire. The Library do not allow any material to go out on loan or be downloaded and they comply with current copyright legislation regarding sound recordings. When catalogued the releases will be part of the Sound & Moving Image collection.. http://sami.bl.uk

I have supplied physical copies of everything where they exist, and WAV files of all releases to ensure a good copy will be available.

James says “with world class facilities at hand we can provide the safest possible home for your releases, both for preservation and access, for many generations to come.”

Amazing. Some things cannot be explained. I will let you know when the materials supplied are available to access. James may be at work for a few weeks assembling it all at his end.

British Library Sound Archive
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB

To date, the releases supplied include:

IMB6001 I.O.D – Mundane Existence CD/WAV

IMB6002 P.A.I.N featuring Howard Marks and Larry MacDonald – Let Me Grow More Weed CD/WAV

IMB6003 P.A.I.N – Our Universe Commences Here (O.U.C.H) Vinyl/WAV

IMB6004 LESS – “And I’ll see you never work again” taunted Florence CD/WAV

IMB6005 GORGEOUS – Cursed with Being….. CD/WAV

IMB6660 LEGION OF DYNAMIC DISCHORD – Negative Entropy  WAV

DLPR2006 PIGFISH – The Reverend James CD/WAV

IMB6007 SIST – Talking Points Not Tragedies CD/WAV

IMB6008 ACADEMY MORTICIANS – What Happened? CD/WAV

IMB6009 P.A.I.N – Oh My God, We’re Doing It! CD/WAV

IMB6010 LAST UNDER THE SUN – Windfall CD/WAV

IMB6011 LAST UNDER THE SUN – All Empires Crumble CD/WAV

IMB6012 LAST UNDER THE SUN – Gone CD/WAV

IMB6013 SENSA YUMA – Up Yours! CD/WAV

IMB6015 DUFUS – Neuborns CD/WAV

IMB6016 DUFUS – The Last Classed Blast CD/WAV

IMB6017 NIGHTINGALES – Out Of True CD/WAV

IMB6018 POLICE BASTARD – It’s Good To Hate….. CD/WAV

IMB6019 LAST UNDER THE SUN – Hooligan Jihad CD/WAV

IMB6020 POLICE BASTARD – Dead To The World WAV

IMB6021 POLICE BASTARD – Confined CD/WAV

IMB6022 JOHN SINCLAIR – Mohawk CD/WAV

IMB6023 DEATH TO FANATICS – Iron Man Records 1999-2014 compilation CD/WAV

IMB6025 Steve Fly – They Came To Starburg WAV

IMB6027 T.C. Lethbridge – Moon Equipped WAV

IMB6028 T.C. Lethbridge – 2000 TC WAV

IMB6029 T.C. Lethbridge – Mina WAV

IMB6030 Police Bastard – Traumatized WAV

IMB6032 John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth WAV

IMB6033 John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient  Vinyl/WAV

IMB6034 Dr Marshmallow Cubicle – Occupy WAV

IMB6035 Robert Anton Wilson – Meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt WAV

IMB6036 Police Bastard – Confined – Vinyl/WAV

A big thank you to all Iron Man Records Patrons who continue to support the work:

Suzy Tweddle, Deborah Ritchie, Scott Roe, Margaret Calleja, Thomas Rathgeber, Dan, Lee Parsfield, Chris Scales, Muir Mathewson, Michael Howe, Jonathan Harris, Dave Barnard, Bill Fadden, Mike Burgess, Jachim Palm, Lyle Bignon, Thomas Burke, Ben Cartlidge, Matt Grimes, Toby Conyers, Chris, Andy Cavendish, Steve Wyatt, Andrew Dubber, Frank Knoblich, Vaughan Roberts, Ian Robertson, Marcus H, Seth Faergolzia, Ricky Lee, Kathryn McCormack, Ade Cartwright, Sunwoo Jung….

John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth (Double CD) 8th September 2017

March 15, 2017

John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth

John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth” on Double CD
Released 8th September 2017 by Iron Man Records.

All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : sean@mutante.co.uk

Catalogue Number: IMB6032

Release date: 8th September 2017

Label: Iron Man Records

Distribution: Cargo

Disc 1

  1. Testify (9.10)
  2. Good Stuff (4.32)
  3. Everybody Needs Somebody (7.09)
  4. Change My Life (5.14)
  5. Ain’t Nobody’s Business (3.36)
  6. My Buddy (5.13)
  7. That Old Man (3.53)

Disc 2

  1. Brilliant Corners (11.29)
  2. Culture Cide (11.38)
  3. Red Dress (Ruby My Dear) (6.25)
  4. Sitarrtha (6.16)
  5. Do It (6.16)
  6. War On Drugs (6.18)

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary releases “Beatnik Youth” on 8th September 2017 on Iron Man Records. The double CD contains over 80 minutes of music from the restless creative mind of Youth, with some fine spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.

John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation.

Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured, with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers.

John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth

You can pre-order the Double CD, Vinyl and T-shirt here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair

From Detroit to New Orleans and from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, John Sinclair is still the king-size, psychedelic old-gangster poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution his mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.

In 1969, with Richard Nixon in the White House, Vietnam in chaos in the wake of the Viet Congs near-suicidal Tet Offensive, and American cities still scared and scarred from urban riots, even the comparatively harmless agitprop pranks of White Panther cultural revolution had those in power reaching for their metaphoric and sometimes actual revolvers. Authorities remembered how John had organized the MC5 playing outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the only band actually able to perform before Mayor Daley’s rabid police department violently derailed the massive anti-Vietnam war rally with teargas, billy clubs, and helicopter support.

John was deemed a danger to society and set up like a bowling pin. After handing a couple of joints to a hassling hippie who turned out to be an undercover narcotics agent, John found himself on the bad end of a ten year jail term. At the same time though he became a cause celebre. Free John Sinclair became one more battle cry in an embattled era. Protests, propaganda, and a giant concert in Ann Arbor headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono ultimately resulted in John’s release in November 1971. Lennon even wrote a song about him called ‘John Sinclair’ which he included on his ‘Sometime In New York City’ album.

In common with much that happens with John, a meeting with producer Youth (Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, Primal Scream, The Verve etc & Killing Joke bass player) that sowed the creative seeds was a matter of stoned synchronicity. As former Track Records boss Ian Grant tells it, Alan Clayton told me he had John Sinclair coming round tomorrow. I said “The John Sinclair?” One night Zodiac (Mindwarp) was on the bill with the Dirty Strangers and Youth was very taken with John. “I want to make a jazz album with John” he said. Since then, the two met at Youths house whenever he was home, and when John was in the country, and recorded the album.

And through the course of those recordings John, always so associated with the 1960s, took a serious step into the ways of the 21st century, with the same intoned poetry, but with melodic backing vocals, highly inventive production, even a nod to hip-hop, but still remembering his first loves of blues, be-bop, and classic rock & roll.

Beatnik Youth is one more step in the Big Chief’s long zig-zag trip that seems set to continue all the way to the far blue horizon. Summing up John Sinclair, you can only say with certainty that the beatnik goes on.

Youth

Youth has been responsible for numerous hits from artists including The Verve, Embrace, Echo and the Bunnymen, Crowded House, The Orb, Sir Paul McCartney and The Charlatans. Among his recent projects was the co-production of Pink Floyd‘s final and largely instrumental album, The Endless River. Youth also remixed David Gilmour‘s current solo album, Rattle That Lock. The Verve’s Urban Hymns brought Youth a BRIT Award for Producer of the Year after three consecutive years of nomination.

Youth says “I’m very proud of the longevity of work on Killing Joke and The Orb, how those recordings still sound fresh… and what I’ve done with The Verve and Richard Ashcroft, and Paul McCartney (The Fireman) and Pink Floyd. It’s only really working with those guys, with my insecurities, that I felt as though I could go, ‘yeah, I am a producer’.” His “university” was Killing Joke after he left school, and it “doesn’t really get more intense than that”.

As a young musician Youth, whose real name is Martin Glover, cut his teeth doing bass sessions for Adrian Sherwood productions and for artists such as Kate Bush whose phenomenally successful Hounds of Love album had Youth on bass. He was also a founder member and bassist of the band Killing Joke. After leaving Killing Joke (and a short experiment with the band Brilliant, managed by Bill Drummond and featuring June Montana, Jimmy Cauty and other key innovators of electronic and indie dance music), Youth began working with Alex Paterson and Cauty as The Orb, a collaboration that was responsible for the introduction of chill-out ambient house music.

Cauty and Drummond eventually moved on to form The KLF, leaving Youth and Paterson to experiment extensively in the post punk British dance music and Acid House scene. This led to the release of two classic albums as The Orb – U.F.Orb and Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, which incorporated Little Fluffy Clouds, a track that defined ambient house and chill-out and brought these genres firmly into the mainstream.

Youth’s skills as a producer were now being noticed by a much wider audience, not least because of his remix work with band like Siouxsie and The Banshees, Malcolm Maclaren, A Guy Called Gerald, Fine Young Cannibals, Marc Almond and U2. In 1993, he collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney who had developed an interest in remix culture. This resulted in Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, an ambient album – and the first of three critically acclaimed albums – released under the name of The Fireman.

Over the years, Youth has notched up a staggeringly large and varied list of production and remix credits for artists such as Yazz, James, Primal Scream, Gun’s N’ Roses, Blue Pearl, Art of Noise, P.M. Dawn, Shack, De La Soul, Erasure, Beth Orton, Bananarama, Maria McKee, Suns of Arqa, The Shamen, Kool and the Gang, Texas, Pete Murphy, Tom Jones and Dido. He remains tireless in his quest for inspiration, excellence and innovation in recording great music and also finds time to paint, illustrate and publish poetry.

John Sinclair

John Sinclair the White Panther firebrand who stoked the MC5’s insurrectionary manifesto has roots that stretch back to jazz and the beats, as a writer, avant-garde champion and poet. John has travelled the world, collaborating with like-minded souls; a living embodiment of the original free spirit that fought to emancipate a generation, one of the few still flying the freak flag.

Since the early 90s, Sinclair has released albums of his poetry, but Beatnik Youth is possibly some of John Sinclair’s best work to date.

This poorly served generation needs it: that militant energy which released the bats in the 60s is crucially booted into the 21st Century in a riotous celebration of personal freedom, cultural trailblazers and marijuana.

The following Iron Man Records Patrons have made this release possible:

Suzy Tweddle, Deborah Ritchie, Scott Roe, Margaret Calleja, Thomas Rathgeber, Dan, Lee Parsfield, Chris Scales, Muir Mathewson, Michael Howe, Jonathan Harris, Dave Barnard, Bill Fadden, Mike Burgess, Jachim Palm, Lyle Bignon, Thomas Burke, Ben Cartlidge, Matt Grimes, Toby Conyers, Chris, Andy Cavendish, Steve Wyatt, Andrew Dubber, Frank Knoblich, Vaughan Roberts, Ian Robertson, Marcus H….

Become a Patron too https://www.patreon.com/ironmanrecords

John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient (500 copies on Vinyl) 28th July 2017

March 15, 2017

John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Vinyl.
by Iron Man Records.

Pre-order the Vinyl here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair

All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : sean@mutante.co.uk

Catalogue Number: IMB6033

Barcode: 5060132273319

Label: Iron Man Records

Release Date: 28th July 2017

Distribution: Cargo

Side A

Do It (6:16) Recitation – John Sinclair, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall

Brilliant Corners (11.29) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth

Side B

War On Drugs (6:18) Recitation – Howard Marks, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall

Sitarrrtha (9:19) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary will release “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Iron Man Records. The record is over 30 minutes of ambient, chill out music from the restless creative mind of Youth with some fine spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.

John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation.

Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured, this year, with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has also hand drawn the beautiful cover artwork.

The record features 4 ambient tracks including 2 tracks completed in late 2015. Do it and War on Drugs were composed and produced by Youth with words By John Sinclair and Howard Marks. John Sinclair presents some illuminating words of wisdom on the life of the artist in the opening track Do It, while Howard Marks delivers some lost last words in War on Drugs on side B. The Mood is maintained by 2 extra ambient tracks taken from the Beatnik Youth album simultaneously released by Iron Man Records on Double CD. The free-form cinematic Brilliant Corners is a homage to Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs and the smokily atmospheric Sitarrtha reflects on the work of John Coltrane.

The record is a smoker’s dream with the 4 ambient tracks clocking in at just over 30 minutes.

LP-3.5mmSPINE_GZ.qxd

You can pre-order the Vinyl, Double CD and T-shirt here: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair

From Detroit to New Orleans and from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, John Sinclair is still the king-size, psychedelic old-gangster poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution his mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.

In 1969, with Richard Nixon in the White House, Vietnam in chaos in the wake of the Viet Congs near-suicidal Tet Offensive, and American cities still scared and scarred from urban riots, even the comparatively harmless agitprop pranks of White Panther cultural revolution had those in power reaching for their metaphoric and sometimes actual revolvers. Authorities remembered how John had organized the MC5 playing outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the only band actually able to perform before Mayor Daley’s rabid police department violently derailed the massive anti-Vietnam war rally with teargas, billy clubs, and helicopter support.

John was deemed a danger to society and set up like a bowling pin. After handing a couple of joints to a hassling hippie who turned out to be an undercover narcotics agent, John found himself on the bad end of a ten year jail term. At the same time though he became a cause celebre. Free John Sinclair became one more battle cry in an embattled era. Protests, propaganda, and a giant concert in Ann Arbor headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono ultimately resulted in John s release in November 1971. Lennon even wrote a song about him called ‘John Sinclair’ which he included on his ‘Sometime In New York City’ album.

In common with much that happens with John, a meeting with producer Youth (Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, Primal Scream, The Verve etc & Killing Joke bass player) that sowed the creative seeds was a matter of stoned synchronicity. As former Track Records boss Ian Grant tells it, Alan Clayton told me he had John Sinclair coming round tomorrow. I said “The John Sinclair?” One night Zodiac (Mindwarp) was on the bill with the Dirty Strangers and Youth was very taken with John. “I want to make a jazz album with John” he said. Since then, the two met at Youths house whenever he was home, and when John was in the country, and recorded the album.

And through the course of those recordings John, always so associated with the 1960s, took a serious step into the ways of the 21st century, with the same intoned poetry, but with melodic backing vocals, highly inventive production, even a nod to hip-hop, but still remembering his first loves of blues, be-bop, and classic rock & roll.

Beatnik Youth Ambient is one more step in the Big Chief’s long zigzag trip that seems set to continue all the way to the far blue horizon. Summing up John Sinclair, you can only say with certainty that the beatnik goes on.

Youth

Youth has been responsible for numerous hits from artists including The Verve, Embrace, Echo and the Bunnymen, Crowded House, The Orb, Sir Paul McCartney and The Charlatans. Among his recent projects was the co-production of Pink Floyd‘s final and largely instrumental album, The Endless River. Youth also remixed David Gilmour‘s current solo album, Rattle That Lock. The Verve’s Urban Hymns brought Youth a BRIT Award for Producer of the Year after three consecutive years of nomination.

Youth says “I’m very proud of the longevity of work on Killing Joke and The Orb, how those recordings still sound fresh… and what I’ve done with The Verve and Richard Ashcroft, and Paul McCartney (The Fireman) and Pink Floyd. It’s only really working with those guys, with my insecurities, that I felt as though I could go, ‘yeah, I am a producer’.” His “university” was Killing Joke after he left school, and it “doesn’t really get more intense than that”.

As a young musician Youth, whose real name is Martin Glover, cut his teeth doing bass sessions for Adrian Sherwood productions and for artists such as Kate Bush whose phenomenally successful Hounds of Love album had Youth on bass. He was also a founder member and bassist of the band Killing Joke. After leaving Killing Joke (and a short experiment with the band Brilliant, managed by Bill Drummond and featuring June Montana, Jimmy Cauty and other key innovators of electronic and indie dance music), Youth began working with Alex Paterson and Cauty as The Orb, a collaboration that was responsible for the introduction of chill-out ambient house music.

Cauty and Drummond eventually moved on to form The KLF, leaving Youth and Paterson to experiment extensively in the post punk British dance music and Acid House scene. This led to the release of two classic albums as The Orb – U.F.Orb and Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, which incorporated Little Fluffy Clouds, a track that defined ambient house and chill-out and brought these genres firmly into the mainstream.

Youth’s skills as a producer were now being noticed by a much wider audience, not least because of his remix work with band like Siouxsie and The Banshees, Malcolm Maclaren, A Guy Called Gerald, Fine Young Cannibals, Marc Almond and U2. In 1993, he collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney who had developed an interest in remix culture. This resulted in Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, an ambient album – and the first of three critically acclaimed albums – released under the name of The Fireman.

Over the years, Youth has notched up a staggeringly large and varied list of production and remix credits for artists such as Yazz, James, Primal Scream, Gun’s N’ Roses, Blue Pearl, Art of Noise, P.M. Dawn, Shack, De La Soul, Erasure, Beth Orton, Bananarama, Maria McKee, Suns of Arqa, The Shamen, Kool and the Gang, Texas, Pete Murphy, Tom Jones and Dido. He remains tireless in his quest for inspiration, excellence and innovation in recording great music and also finds time to paint, illustrate and publish poetry. All original artwork on the sleeve was hand drawn by Youth.

John Sinclair

John Sinclair the White Panther firebrand who stoked the MC5’s insurrectionary manifesto has roots that stretch back to jazz and the beats, as a writer, avant-garde champion and poet. John has travelled the world, collaborating with like-minded souls; a living embodiment of the original free spirit that fought to emancipate a generation, one of the few still flying the freak flag.

Since the early 90s, Sinclair has released albums of his poetry, but Beatnik Youth Ambient is possibly some of John Sinclair’s best work to date.

This poorly served generation needs it: that militant energy which released the bats in the 60s is crucially booted into the 21st Century in a riotous celebration of personal freedom, cultural trailblazers and marijuana.

The following Iron Man Records Patrons have made this Vinyl release possible:

Suzy Tweddle, Deborah Ritchie, Scott Roe, Margaret Calleja, Thomas Rathgeber, Dan, Lee Parsfield, Chris Scales, Muir Mathewson, Michael Howe, Jonathan Harris, Dave Barnard, Bill Fadden, Mike Burgess, Jachim Palm, Lyle Bignon, Thomas Burke, Ben Cartlidge, Matt Grimes, Toby Conyers, Chris, Andy Cavendish, Steve Wyatt, Andrew Dubber, Frank Knoblich, Vaughan Roberts, Ian Robertson, Marcus H, Seth Faergolzia, Ricky Lee, Kathryn McCormack, Ade Cartwright, Sunwoo Jung….

Become a Patron too https://www.patreon.com/ironmanrecords

Iron Man Records would like you to become a Patron.

February 3, 2017

The general history of art and literature shows that the highest achievements of the human mind are, as a rule, not favourably received at first. Iron Man Records would like to invite you to consider becoming a Patron.

Iron Man Records has dedicated over 20 years to supporting, promoting, and working with, some of the most interesting artists you may never have heard of, sometimes with a budget you can stick under a glass.

February will see the release of Police Bastard – “Confined” on Vinyl.

One of CVLT Nation’s Top Crust Albums: “Thought-provoking monologues and confrontational lyrics bring you on a cold, doom-laden journey of perpetual war, psychological mind control and disillusionment.”

April will see the release of John Sinclair – “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Vinyl.

Ambient, chill out music from the restless creative mind of Youth with spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.

John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation. A psychedelic poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution, John Sinclair’s mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.

Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has also hand drawn the beautiful cover artwork.

Please consider becoming a Patron to support the work. Incredible amounts of time, effort, and money has gone into making these records happen. Iron Man Records would like to invite you to give your support to the artists involved and their work.

Among the rewards, Patrons will get a copy of each release as soon as it is available and Patrons will get their names printed on the sleeve of all future releases generated with their help and support.

You have to build the world you want to live in, and while you may not want to consider running a record label yourself, you can directly influence what happens next. Patrons enable Iron Man Records to continue the work supporting struggling artists.

Please consider getting involved. If you want an alternative to what you see going on around you, you have to make it for yourself. Let’s make something happen https://www.patreon.com/ironmanrecords

The only way to support a revolution…..

December 23, 2016

Looking back on this year, Iron Man Records has had an interesting one. Three recurring themes emerged.

“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own” — Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation.

“Reality is not enough; we need nonsense too. Drifting into a world of fantasy is not an escape from reality but a significant education about the nature of life.” Edmund Miller, Lewis Carroll Observed

“It’s dangerous to understand new things too quickly” — Josiah Warren, True Civilization

Make of that what you will. Some of the significant things that happened this year included:

Seth Faergolzia of Dufus brought his new band Multibird to Europe on Tour.

John Sinclair published a book called It’s All Good: A John Sinclair Reader.  Stories of tragedy and triumph that will take you on a trip through the Wonder Years with music lyrics and poetry. Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone attempted to find out how to live a psychedelic life with the poet and activist John Sinclair as BBC Music’s My Generation celebrated the 1960s.

Dr Marshmallow Cubicle – Occupy was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd April, 2016.

In the early hours of 10th April 2016, Howard Marks died peacefully in his sleep. Iron Man Records had the pleasure of meeting, working with and listening to Howard Marks. He really was exactly as you would hope: A truly decent bloke, funny, humble and just Mr Nice. His life and work will live on…..“You might control a lot of things Drugs Tsar, but you’ll never control my mind…..” Howard Marks from the song Let Me Grow More Weed he recorded with P.A.I.N

Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt was released on Iron Man Records, 23rd June, 2016

The entire Iron Man Records music catalogue was made available on Bandcamp. To start with all releases are £5 or you can Stream the releases and listen for free. All Releases are available on most of the download and streaming platforms already but for those of you who want an alternative to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Facebook and all the other main providers, Bandcamp seems good.

Some people wonder what on earth I do for a living. Well, I earn money working as a Tour Manager and I spend all of it keeping Iron Man Records going. I spend the rest of my time trying to stay sane, despite serious provocation from people who are totally convinced or totally stupid, and often both at the same time. Have a read and make up your own mind: Back In Five Years  and My life is a pile of receipts in a deserted restaurant on a cross channel ferry

Simon Reeves at Framework Studio spent three days recording Oliver Senton reading Cosmic Trigger 1 by Robert Anton Wilson for a forthcoming audio book. Iron Man Records somehow managed to neglect it’s responsibilities to The Cosmic Trigger play but was happy to help see Oliver Senton looked after during these recordings.

Test pressings arrived for John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient which includes a beautiful recording of Howard Marks’ last lost words called War On Drugs with an ambient soundscape masterpiece from Youth…and also Police Bastard – Confined. Both records will be released in 2017.

But these things wouldn’t have happened without the money burning antics of Iron Man Records Patrons and people like you supporting the madness and getting involved.

Iron Man Records has ambitious plans to make a big impact in 2017. And with Patrons helping out, I feel positive we can make a big change. I guarantee there will be no funding appplications, no idiotic culture bids, no creative consultants, no government, business or arts advice types involved. Just you, me, musicians, madness and music.

If you want to contribute, have a look in the shop before you go: http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com

Thanks again for all your support and have a fun Christmas.

Cheers Mark

This Week: Total Assault On The Culture

September 24, 2016

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Bandcamp
Work has started on uploading the Iron Man Records Catalogue on Bandcamp. To start with all releases will be available for £5 or you can Stream the releases and listen for free. All Releases are available on most of the download and streaming platforms already but for those of you who want an alternative to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Facebook and all the other main providers, Bandcamp seems good.

Back In Five Years:
Some people wonder what on earth I do for a living. Well, I earn money working as a Tour Manager. I spend all the money I earn trying to keep Iron Man Records going. Here’s a life in a couple of weeks:

Support Insanity A6 Postcard No Marks
Become A Patron
If you want to contribute to the work of Iron Man Records, here’s How To Burn Money – Become A Patron of Iron Man Records

Cosmic Trigger
Steve Fly and Simon Reeves start work on post production this week. Simon spent three days last week recording Oliver Senton reading Cosmic Trigger 1 by Robert Anton Wilson. Here’s a picture of Simon and Oliver at Framework Studio, Birmingham, on completion of the great work.

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Framework Recording Studios, Birmingham.
Framework Studios has worked with Napalm Death, Carcass, Cathedral, Meathook Seed, P.J.Harvey, Ride, Family Cat and other acts including Piss On Authority, Police Bastard, Spirit Bomb, Drongos For Europe, Selfless, Cerebral Fix and more. Telephone Simon (UK+44) 07790 158210 or email siframework@gmail.com

Vinyl Test Pressings:
I’m waiting on test pressings of John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient to arrive and also test pressings of Police Bastard – Confined. Exciting times.

Pre-order John Sinclair – Beatnik Youth Ambient on VINYL
LP-3.5mmSPINE_GZ.qxd
You can pre-order the Vinyl, Double CD and T-shirt here:  http://ironmanrecords.bigcartel.com/artist/john-sinclair

All Press enquiries to Sean Newsham : sean@mutante-inc.demon.co.uk
Catalogue Number: IMB6033
Release date: April 2017
Label: Iron Man Records
Distribution: Cargo

Side A
Do It (6:16) Recitation – John Sinclair, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall
Brilliant Corners (11.29) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth

Side B
War On Drugs (6:18) Recitation – Howard Marks, Music – Youth, Mix – Youth and Michael Rendall
Sitarrrtha (9:19) Recitation – John Sinclair, Produced by Youth

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary releases “Beatnik Youth Ambient” on Iron Man Records. The record is over 30 minutes of ambient, chill out music from the restless creative mind of Youth with some fine spoken word and poetry delivered by John Sinclair.

John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today continues his work for cultural transformation.

Youth is one of the UK’s most influential producers and has been honoured, this year, with an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. His career spans more than 30 years and is one of the UK’s most consistent, credible and influential producers, Youth has also hand drawn the beautiful cover artwork.

The record features 4 ambient tracks including 2 tracks completed in late 2015. Do it and War on Drugs were composed and produced by Youth with words By John Sinclair and Howard Marks. John Sinclair presents some illuminating words of wisdom on the life of the artist in the opening track Do It, while Howard Marks delivers some lost last words in War on Drugs on side B.

The Mood is maintained by 2 extra ambient tracks taken from the Beatnik Youth album simultaneously released by Iron Man Records on Double CD. The free-form cinematic Brilliant Corners is a homage to Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs and the smokily atmospheric Sitarrtha reflects on the work of John Coltrane. The record is a smoker’s dream with the 4 ambient tracks clocking in at just over 30 minutes.

From Detroit to New Orleans and from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, John Sinclair is still the king-size, psychedelic old-gangster poet, a living legend, a veteran of the counterculture, a survivor of the Marijuana Wars, and one of the last bohemians still standing. As a co-founder of the Detroit underground newspaper The Fifth Estate, manager of MC5, and Chairman of the White Panther Party described on Wikipedia in these modern times as a far-left, anti-racist, white American political collective founded in 1968 and dedicated to cultural revolution his mark on the boho rock & roll underground has been unique.

In 1969, with Richard Nixon in the White House, Vietnam in chaos in the wake of the Viet Congs near-suicidal Tet Offensive, and American cities still scared and scarred from urban riots, even the comparatively harmless agitprop pranks of White Panther cultural revolution had those in power reaching for their metaphoric and sometimes actual revolvers. Authorities remembered how John had organized the MC5 playing outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the only band actually able to perform before Mayor Daley’s rabid police department violently derailed the massive anti-Vietnam war rally with teargas, billy clubs, and helicopter support.

John was deemed a danger to society and set up like a bowling pin. After handing a couple of joints to a hassling hippie who turned out to be an undercover narcotics agent, John found himself on the bad end of a ten year jail term. At the same time though he became a cause celebre. Free John Sinclair became one more battle cry in an embattled era. Protests, propaganda, and a giant concert in Ann Arbor headlined by John Lennon and Yoko Ono ultimately resulted in John s release in November 1971. Lennon even wrote a song about him called ‘John Sinclair’ which he included on his
‘Sometime In New York City’ album.

In common with much that happens with John, a meeting with producer Youth (Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, Primal Scream, The Verve etc & Killing Joke bass player) that sowed the creative seeds was a matter of stoned synchronicity. As former Track Records boss Ian Grant tells it, Alan Clayton told me he had John Sinclair coming round tomorrow. I said “The John Sinclair?” One night Zodiac (Mindwarp) was on the bill with the Dirty Strangers and Youth was very taken with John. “I want to make a jazz album with John” he said. Since then, the two met at Youths house whenever he was home, and when John was in the country, and recorded the album.

And through the course of those recordings John, always so associated with the 1960s, took a serious step into the ways of the 21st century, with the same intoned poetry, but with melodic backing vocals, highly inventive production, even a nod to hip-hop, but still remembering his first loves of blues, be-bop, and classic rock & roll.

Beatnik Youth Ambient is one more step in the Big Chief’s long zigzag trip that seems set to continue all the way to the far blue horizon. Summing up John Sinclair, you can only say with certainty that the beatnik goes on.

Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt

June 15, 2016

Robert Anton Wilson - Meets Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt 1600 x 1600

WORDS: Robert Anton Wilson and Steve ‘Fly Agaric 23’ Pratt

MUSIC: Steve Fly, Tim Egmond, Martin ‘Youth’ Glover, Rick Rasa, Hagbard Celine, Garaj Mahal.

ARTWORK: CHU

PRODUCED BY: Mark Sampson and Steve Fly Pratt

MASTERED BY: Simon Reeves at Framework Studios, Birmingham

RELEASED on IRON MAN RECORDS June 23rd 2016.

Special thanks to: Robert Anton Wilson, Christina Pearson, Rick Rasa, Chu, Mark Sampson, Kai Eckhardt, Matt Black, Martin ‘Youth’ Glover, Paul Krassner, John Sinclair, Tim Egmond, Toby Philpott, Prop Anon, Nick Larson, Caleb Selah, Pete Maybe, Jenni Vyskocil, Faustin Bray, Bob Tesch, Lance Bauscher, Jack Sarfatti, Nigel Blunt, UB40, Robin Johnson, Tom Jackson, Raymond Wiley, Daisy Eris Campbell, Janne Svensson, Gregory James, Ben Kappel, Brien Harvey, the Maybe Logic Academy staff and students.

While getting firmly hooked on the series of Cosmic Trigger books during the mid 1990s, I literally dreamed of meeting the mysterious author, Dr Robert Anton Wilson. He was an early anarchist hero to me, a truly free man, and he remains one of the funniest scientific philosophers of all time. And yet, he, and his great works remain underground for the most part, bubbling away beneath the surface, patiently awaiting rediscovery and reenactment by brave new readers from next generations and with fresh interpretations. I hope this recording can introduce his ideas to at least one such reader. We need to act on his wisdom now!

After an auspicious solar eclipse experience in August, and a house fire in December moments before the millennium fever of 1999 went into overdrive, i had a rare moment of clarity, and decided to sell my prized turntables and scrape the money together for a ticket to go and see this guy for myself. Only six days after the sad passing of Terence Mckenna, i set off to New York where i next caught the Greyhound bus to New mexico, and my destination, the so called the ‘Prophets Conference’ only two days before my 24th birthday.

Little did i know that RAW had fallen ill that week due in part to his post polio syndrome, together with the grief of losing his lifelong companion, writer and activist Arlen Riley Wilson. The announcer at the conference informed the crowd Bob would not make it, and i went into an altered state of total shock awareness. 

 After the conference was over i straddled that Greyhound up to San Francisco and fell in awe of the San Francisco bay area. I hung out at Wired Magazine radio station, worked for Sound Photo Synthesis, jammed on turntables with jam jazz super group Garaj Mahal. Plus i met Dr John Lilly, Jack Sarfatti, Saul Paul Sirag, and some other friends and associates of RAW, all  seemingly by happy coincidence most of them were presenting at the Guilding The Lilly event at 3220 Sacremento street.

PROPHETS CON

When my visa time limit came up, unlike Columbus, I returned to the UK. One memorable summer day in 2000 i received an email from the Prophets Conference asking if i would like to be a carer for Bob during his next lecture in Palm Springs, 16-18th December 2000. I eagerly responded ‘yes’ and started to save up my dole money.

Bob’s fine lecture at Palm Springs can be viewed on youtube and you can hear him say at one point “I had a Manhattan with my lunch” which i purchased for him when sat together with Paul Krassner and his wife Nancy before his show. This may have led to him using slightly more taboo words than usual, which became part of the reason why the conference wrote him a letter explaining that they had received complaints about his language! and were unwilling to invite him to any more conferences, unless he more or less cleaned up his act. For fucks sake.

 Bob writes about this in his book T.S.O.G: The Thing That Ate The Constitution. I was sacked from the Prophets Conference a few months before Bob. My crime was much less punk rock, i failed to get Bob to the stage with adequate time to spare before he was scheduled to speak, which set a few people panicking and resulted in the boss lady of the conference screaming at me in front of Bob.

After his lecture, Bob gestured me over and invited me up to his room to conduct an interview, which i hinted at earlier. This was partly due, i think, to the fact that he saw how badly i was disgraced earlier and so took a little pity on me. I gifted Bob with a copy of the “The Stargate Conspiracy”, a pretty lame book in retrospect, but a text i figured he should take a look at as he had a few mentions in it, along with almost everybody else at the fringes of paranormal and psychic research in the 1970s.

I offered Bob some dried mushrooms picked at my local spot called Wychbury Hill. He gracefully passed on them with a kind smile and nod. They didn’t go to waste though, years later while reading an article by Richard Metzger (Dangerous Minds) who visited Bob’s room shortly after my interview–i discovered Richard ate the shrooms’ and reported that they were good and strong. Success. His friend Alex Burns, also from Disinformation, managed to get us all super high with some High Times Cannabis Cup winning weed, named William’s Wonder.

CAPITOLA

I pressed the button for the apartment number Bob had sent and waited, and waited…and after what seemed like an eternity i heard the crackle of the intercom and a familiar voice “yes”.

“It’s fly agaric, erm’, i was in touch with you by email about coming down to visit”. After another long pause he said “So…do you wanna’ come in then?” “Yeah, sure” i said, and he buzzed open the steel gate. I walked around the small inner garden area, up some steps to the front door which was already ajar. I stepped through the door.

Once through I slipped my shoes off and walked past his study on the right, and his small library area to the left. He was sitting on a couch, next to some large sliding doors, with a fresh clear view looking out over the Monterey bay. “Hi Bob, thanks for having me over.”

“Would you be so kind as to grab me a coffee, it’s in the pot” he said. “Sure”. I fetched a mug, which had a quote from Hannibal Lecter printed on it, filled it with black coffee and set it down on the table, sitting opposite Bob. “Thanks, fly. So, you’re going to make a recording right?” he asked. “yeah, if that’s cool with you.” I unpacked my minidisc recorder, and set up the microphone on the table.

The apartment reflected a humble man, with moderate furnishings, a couch, two chairs, a television set, stereo, coffee table and a dresser decorated in what looked to me like traditional Japanese artefacts. There were framed pictures hanging up and ornaments that indicated this really was Bob’s residence. On my way out I recall seeing a certificate from a UFO convention, plus I’ll never forget the cute Loch Ness monster ornament laying out on top of the cable box, which at one point during the interview he politely asked me to straighten out for him.

We had two smoke breaks out on the balcony, where i kissed the sky with a specially rolled up bomber. Bob passed my offer due to already feeling high as a mountain goat on his marijuana brownies, which he consumed for medical purposes to help relieve the pain from post polio syndrome. It would be fair to say we were both pretty high and cheerful. I went the whole nine yards and cracked open a four pack of guinness, which was probably a mistake due to the slight fogging of my memory caused by the alcohol.

Bob talked and talked, weaving his unique prose to my unrehearsed questions, turning them into delightful examples of his unique mind at play. He mixed hilarious tales with some serious facts and produced his unmistakable discordian dance of delicate metaphors. There were times when my mouth opened and nothing came out, due to my processing what he had previously said. I had to remain mindful not to interrupt or talk over him, which i’m prone to do at times. There seems nothing worse to me than an interviewer who can’t listen, and sings the eternal song of “I”.

The audio interview is regrettably only the first half of the full recording, the other half of which remains lost in an ocean of badly indexed minidiscs. Fortunately, i made a transcription of the full recording, which was published at the Maybe Logic Quarterly magazine in 2008. However during the interview my disc space ran out, but we carried on talking for at least another 45 minutes. Hence my regret at getting half drunk. Some of the subject matter i recall from that chat included Saul Paul Sirag, Jack Sarfatti, Paul Krassner, David Bohm and the Physics Consciousness Research Institute. He commented at length on 9/11 describing a friends experiences in New York, and the high weirdness that day, and the days that followed. I talked about some of my musical projects, about Garaj Mahal, graffiti art, Ninjatune and my fascination with jazz and synchronicities connected to the music John Coltrane.

Robert Anton Wilson Meets Steve Fly

I was made to feel welcome during the 3-4 hour visit, and Bob did not whinge or complain once. I only felt him get slightly agitated during the interview after i blindly asked him a series of four readymade questions from somebody else, the last of which was “how do you plan to take physical action?” which, when i said it, sounded rather inappropriate for a man suffering from post polio syndrome most his life, and who uses a wheelchair to get around. It hit a small nerve, he coughed and raised his voice a little “I don’t mean to ball you out but, it’s just that i hear that kind of question a lot.” He went on to describe how he attends protests and gatherings when he can get a ride there, and contributes to Amnesty International.

In 2015 I was digging for a minidisc of DJ Fly material for use on my Fly By Night radio shows, produced for Radio Free Amsterdam. While sifting through the discs I noticed one with writing in light pencil that read: R.A.W 10th September 2002. I popped it into the player, and to my delight it was the first half of the interview. I edited and boosted the sound files to the best of my ability, and added a selection of music from friends and past collaborators, resulting in what you hear right here.

I uploaded two short excerpts from the interview to my Soundcloud account and was planning to release the other parts when a friend, Mark Sampson of Iron Man Records, stepped up. In March 2016 Mark kindly offered to master the audio and release it on his independent record label Iron Man Records. So the circle is complete and I hope you enjoy the words and music. Long live the optimists.

– Steve Fly, June 2016

Free The Weed 60 by John Sinclair

May 5, 2016

Highest greetings from New Orleans, where I was greeted for Mardi Gras with the splendid news that the New Orleans City Council is about to pass an ordinance virtually decriminalizing marijuana possession in the Crescent City, largely due to the work of Kevin Caldwell and the organization called Legalize New Orleans and to Council member Susan Guidry, who introduced the measure.

“Under the proposed municipal law change,” nola.com reports, “a first-time offender could get off with a verbal warning. A second-time offender could get a written warning, then a $50 fine the third time” and a $100 fine any time after that. “Police will now be able to use their discretion,” the report continues, either issuing a summons under the municipal code or making a custodial arrest using state marijuana possession laws.

Since Council member Guidry introduced the original ordinance in 2010 that redefined first offense simple possession, “We have found that the police officers 70% of the time are writing out a summons rather than taking someone to jail,” Guidry said. “Most importantly,” nola.com adds, “research shows that the NOPD’s discretionary use of summonses has been applied evenly by race.”

But according to New Orleans Municipal Court and NOPD records cited by nola.com, African-Americans still account for 75% of all misdemeanor marijuana arrests and 92% of all felony marijuana arrests (whether by summons or custodial arrest). “This is unacceptable and not in line with the demographics of our city or the reported demographics of marijuana users,” Council member Guidry said.

Guidry says she hopes the ordinance will “free up police, save money and make application of marijuana laws more fair and just across ethnic and economic backgrounds.” She wants police on the street investigating murders, rapes and armed robberies, “rather than at the station spending countless hours booking individuals on victimless, non-violent crime.

“These marijuana arrests clog our already overburdened court systems and public defender’s office. Also, when indigent defendants cannot afford the hefty state law fines for possession offenses, they end up clogging our jail for failure to pay. Those offenders then struggle to get back on track once released. They can’t bond out and they wind up losing their job, then they get out and they are really in desperate circumstances, and really it makes the severity of the punishment much more than the severity of the crime,” Guidry said.

That’s some of the most sensible municipal wisdom to be encountered today, and this grizzled veteran of the marijuana legalization wars would like to commend and thank Ms. Susan Guidry for leading the way to common sense in New Orleans.

In Detroit, however, the City Council is gallopoing off in the opposite direction, even though the citizenry has voted to legalize marijuana for medical (2008) and recreational (2012) use and the cannabis community has opened up more than 200 public dispensaries to serve the needs of local smokers.

This has happened in the most natural fashion and absent any supervision or regulatory system devised by the city government. Now they want to corral the dispensaries and impose stringent post-facto legal strictures that are based in the usual idiocy of War On Drugs policies.

The Detroit City Council has adopted a report pretentiously titled “Medical Marihuana Caregiver Center Application Process Status Report For Detroit City Council” and identified 211 dispensary locations in the city.

According to Rick Thompson of The Compassion Chronicles, the new medical marijuana rules will begin on March 1 and any dispensary now open in the city has only until March 31 to apply for a business license. Most of the applicants will also have to apply for a zoning variance, Thompson adds, ”as the city was extremely stingy on the number of locations properly zoned for the inappropriately-named caregiver centers.”

There isn’t enough space in this column to go into every detail of the Detroit dispensary ordinance, but Richard Clement, Marijuana Policy Analyst for Council Member George Cushingberry, suggests that anyone interested in viewing the relevant documents visit www.detroitmi.gov/Government/City-Council/George-Cushingberry/Newsletters-and-Documents

Let it suffice to say that the ordinance is full of tricks and traps that are designed to deprive as many people as possible of access to their medicine. First off, all operational dispensaries must apply for their licenses in the month of March—period. Up-front costs include a Site Plan Review for $160, an initial Conditional Hearing for $1000, a Board of Zoning Appeals Hearing for $1200, and, as Rick Thompson points out, the price of the business license itself is yet to be determined.

Once the licensing fee is established, the businesses will have to purchase the initial license in the spring and will be forced to renew their license and pay the fee again in September.

The whole thing is based in the kind of backwards, police-state ideology so assiduously developed in the service of the War On Drugs. For instance, anyone who cultivates marijuana in a residence will be required to register with the city of Detroit as a home-based business. The registration process involves inspection and approval by numerous city agencies.

Further, dispensaries cannot be less than 1000 feet from another such business, from a park recognized by the Recreation Department, from a religious institution that has received a tax exemption from the city, or from a business identified as a controlled use (topless clubs and liquor stores). The City has specified a few industrial districts where dispensaries may be less than 1000 feet from each other to allow for clustering of similar businesses.

What happens if you don’t follow the rules? Rick Thompson asks. “Any premises, building or structure in which a medical marihuana caregiver center is regularly operated or maintained in violation of the standard included and incorporated in this Code shall constitute a public nuisance and shall be subject to a civil abatement proceeding initiated by the City of Detroit.”

What’s even worse, Thompson reports in a follow-up piece, the Detroit Police Department raided more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in February despite assurances that businesses of that type will begin licensing procedures on March 1.

“The Detroit Police raids are a tortious interference with a business expectancy,” Royal Oak attorney Barton Morris told Thompson. “The recent Detroit Police raids are unlawful and unconstitutional. The city should be legally estopped from taking any action to an issue they created and allowed.”

“The current policy to shut down, raid and deny safe access is a losing hand to play,” said Michael Komorn, an attorney from Southfield. “Medical cannabis is a public health issue, not a public safety issue.”

“The City has not only allowed dispensaries to operate by providing them certificates of occupancy, they enacted an ordinance to license and zone them,” Barton Morris pointed out. “At the same time, they send the Detroit police to raid select dispensaries purporting to enforce state law. That is the ultimate hypocrisy.”

“These raids are discriminatory in nature and further persecute caregivers and the patients who need safe access to their medicine,” said Bruce Leach of Kirsch Leach PLC of Birmingham. “So many people will be negatively impacted by these raids; many will be thrown into the criminal justice system.”

It will be interesting to see what happens in March, and we’ll be following this procedure very carefully. Incidentally, this is my 60th column for MMM Report—one every month for the past five years. If all goes well, the column will continue here for at least another five. FREE THE WEED!

—New Orleans

February 20-21, 2016

© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 59 by John Sinclair

May 2, 2016

Highest greetings from Amsterdam, former marijuana capitol of the world, although I intend to be in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras by the time you’re reading this column. Sad to say, Louisiana is one of the most backward sectors of the USA in terms of its marijuana laws, and I’ll go back to a life of full-time criminality as a toker during my up-coming six weeks in the Crescent City.

Here in Amsterdam the attack on the cannabis culture by the Dutch authorities continues to rage, with another round of forced coffeeshop closings completed in the busy Warmoestraat on January 1, including the mammoth Grasshopper shop and the popular Baba.

Across the Damrak—the main drag—the 420 Café (my own headquarters in Amsterdam since the turn of the century) was slated to be closed on New Year’s day along with the Kroon across the street, but the local government granted a 6-month extension which may or may not be extended even further. Who knows? All of these restrictive moves are totally without sense and represent a radical restructuring of a local social construct which has worked very effectively for more than 40 years.

If it weren’t so sickening and stupid it would be funny: Now that 52% of Americans clearly favor legalized marijuana in the United States, the Dutch government—after nearly half a century of permitted public smoking and copping although never actually legalizing marijuana—now wants to try to shrink the cannabis culture and drive it back out of the public eye in order more fully to commercialize and commodify the Dutch tourist industry.

The YouGov.com poll cited above, as reported in NORML News, concludes that “a majority of Americans, including two-thirds of Democrats, believe that marijuana should be legal [and] only 34 percent of respondents opposed the idea.” NORML News adds that “66% of respondents agreed that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth…while 62% said that the government should no longer enforce federal law in states that have legalized and regulated the plant’s use.”

The story concludes: “53% of those surveyed, including 68% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 64, acknowledged having tried cannabis.” Wow! It would seem that experiential knowledge in Americans is finally outweighing the horseshit propaganda and outright lies of the authorities. Try it! You’ll like it!

And speaking of exploding bullshit myths about marijuana use propagated by the unholy alliance of whiskey drinkers and religious nuts in power, Christopher Ingraham recently pointed out in Wonkblog that, duh, smoking weed does not make you stupid after all.

It turns out that a popular study released by Duke University in 2012 which found that persistent, heavy marijuana use through adolescence and young adulthood was associated with declines in IQ failed to account for a number of confounding factors that could also affect cognitive development, such as cigarette and alcohol use, mental illness and socioeconomic status.

Ingraham reports that two new studies this month examine the relationship between marijuana use and intelligence from two very different angles: one looks at 2,235 British teenagers between ages 8 and 16, and the other looks at the differences between American identical twin pairs in which one twin uses marijuana and the other does not.

Despite vastly different methods, Ingraham says, the studies reach the same conclusion: They found no evidence that adolescent marijuana use leads to a decline in intelligence; in fact, they found that those who used marijuana didn’t experience consistently greater cognitive deficits than the others.

The twin data “fails to support the implication by the authors of the Duke study that marijuana exposure in adolescence causes neurocognitive decline,” the study concludes. “On the contrary, children who are predisposed to intellectual stagnation in middle school are on a trajectory for future marijuana use.” In other words, Ingraham summarizes, “rather than marijuana making kids less intelligent, it may be that kids who are not as smart or who perform poorly in school are more inclined to try marijuana at some point in their lives.”

This is really quite a provocative story, and the author makes some very interesting speculations. “If marijuana use were responsible for cognitive decline,” Ingraham wonders, “you might expect to find that the more marijuana a person smokes, the less intelligent they become. But this paper found that heavier marijuana use was not associated with greater decreases in IQ.

“Marijuana is a drug,” Ingraham reasons, “and just like any other drug—alcohol, nicotine, caffeine—there are risks and benefits associated with use. But exaggerating the extent of those risks and benefits won’t help create smarter policies. For proof of this,” he adds, “simply review the history of the drug war.”

Well, yeah. Let me call on my own experiential knowledge gained from smoking marijuana virtually daily since early in 1962: Weed can make you smarter, more aware of what’s happening around you, more sensitive to your environment and your fellow humans, more receptive to visual arts, music, poetry, arts activity of all kinds. It can help you open your mind to new experiences, new companions, new cultures, new perceptions of reality.

These are things I know from my own experience and from observing others who are daily tokers like myself. With the current drive by the burgeoning marijuana industry to sell their products to squares and as many people as possible, someone should warn the potential smokers that they are in for a whole new ride and about to enter a significantly different mental universe than the one to which they’re accustomed.

Don’t get me wrong—this is a good thing, something I’ve looked forward to for more than 50 years of turning on my friends and colleagues, and my belief is that people should be able to get as much of the finest weed available as often as they may want to have it, and as conveniently as possible. And this leads me exactly to where I wanted to end up this column: spending my final 200 words on expressing my disgust for the recent “Medical Pot Shop Law” introduced by the Detroit City Council.

As Christine Ferretti has pointed out in The Detroit News, medical marijuana dispensaries do not exist under current state laws, but the experiential reality is that something like 150 such dispensaries have opened up within the Detroit city limits since the City legalized marijuana use in 2012. (Detroit legalized medical marijuana in 2005.) As Ms. Ferretti put it, “Some have opened and have been operating with strict standards to monitor products and treat patients; others are not.”

The demand for licensing of these outlets by the city—despite their lack of legal existence—has been spearheaded by the Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition, a group of community, block club and faith-based groups who have come together to combat medical pot shops.

“Right now what we have going on makes absolutely no sense,” city councilman James Tate remarked. “We have no regulations whatsoever.” So he proposes to set strict licensing requirements for dispensary operators and specify where marijuana access facilities can legally locate within the city, establish required distances between each of the potential dispensaries and specify a distance between the shops and other controlled uses, including party stores and adult cabarets as well as the city’s parks, schools and churches.

I’ve got an instant solution for them: Let the merchants sell the weed to the people who want it. If you don’t want any, don’t buy any! Don’t smoke it! Relax! You don’t have to do this. Let it go! Free The Weed!

—Amsterdam

January 20-23, 2016

© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 58 by John Sinclair

May 1, 2016

Highest greetings from the south of England at the end of 2015 and highest wishes for the New Year, which may indeed be the one that brings us legalized marijuana in Michigan and takes us closer to our goal on the national level: FREE THE WEED!

Dear friends, let us pray that 2016 will be the year that begins to blow away the web of distorted myth from the topic of marijuana and starts the process of according full recognition and respect to the reality of marijuana and its many beneficial uses in our sick social order.

This whole process of demonizing marijuana and its users in order to forge a police state around us is only about 80 years old, originating in the demented propaganda and ugly mythology spewed forth by Harry Anslinger, America’s first “drug czar,” in order to convince Congress to criminalize marijuana by means of the Harrison Tax Act of 1937.

The War On Drugs itself was initiated by Richard M. Nixon and his henchmen, Attorney General John N. Mitchell, future Supreme Court Chief Justice Wiilliam Rehnquist, chief of staff Bob Haldeman and counsel to the president John Ehrlichman, who explains:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar Left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” [Emphases in original text, courtesy of Citizens for Peace, Prosperity and Justice, 2015]

But the reality of marijuana use goes back thousands of years, as I just read in the Cannabis News Network bulletin published by Sensi Seeds in Amsterdam:

“Cannabis has a long history in India, veiled in legends and religion. The earliest mention of cannabis has been found in The Vedas, or sacred Hindu texts. These writings may have been compiled as early as 2000 B.C.

”

“According to The Vedas, cannabis was one of five sacred plants. The Vedas call cannabis a source of happiness, joy-giver, liberator that was compassionately given to humans to help us attain delight and lose fear. It releases us from anxiety. The god, Shiva is frequently associated with cannabis, called bhang in India.

“According to legend, Shiva wandered off into the fields after an angry discourse with his family. Drained from the family conflict and the hot sun, he fell asleep under a leafy plant. When he awoke, his curiosity led him to sample the leaves of the plant. Instantly rejuvenated, Shiva made the plant his favorite food and he became known as the Lord of Bhang.”

This is more like it! But after about 4,000 years of blissful, healthful, revelatory, pleasurable and harmless use of marijuana by people in the Old World and the New, U.S. authorities spearheaded by Jpseph Anslinger created a whole new identity for marijuana as a dangerous narcotic and of marijuana smokers as vicious dope fiends.

Anslinger’s agency underwent several changes of identity as well. According to Wikipedia, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was established by Richard Nixon in 1973 as a single federal agency to enforce the federal drug laws as well as consolidate and coordinate all the government’s drug control activities. As a result, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), approximately 600 Special Agents of the Bureau of Customs, the Customs Agency Service and other federal offices merged to create the DEA.

Whew! That’s a lot of law enforcement to be directed for the past 42 years against people who like to get high on marijuana and other recreational drugs! And the whole apparatus was erected atop a foundation of outright lies and deliberate misrepresentations generated by the highest law enforcement agencies in the nation and backed by the armed forces of federal, state, county and local governments everywhere in the country.

Isn’t it time that we demobilized these armed forces of the War On Drugs and eliminated them from the law enforcement community? Isn’t it time for the emperor to go back in the dressing room and put some clothes on and come back out to confess his sins and begin to make reparations?

Here’s a tiny start: As I began work today I read an Associated Press dispatch from Sari Horwitz reporting that President Obama had just commuted the sentences of 95 drug offenders, saying they have “served their debt to society.” Ms. Horwitz adds that “It is the third time this year that the president has used his unique clemency power to release federal drug offenders”—22 in March and another 46 in July.

But one in 100 adults is behind bars in America, according to the Coalition for Public Safety, and more than 33,000 federal drug prisoners have filed applications for clemency, A total of 163, or about ½ of 1% have been granted. That’s not very many, but as Ms. Horwitz points out, “The latest round of clemencies come as lawmakers in Congress are debating several bipartisan bills to change sentencing laws.”

Another positive sign popped up, as reported by NORML, in the depths of the Omnibus Spending Bill recently passed by Congress that includes provisions which will continue to limit the federal government from taking punitive action against state-licensed individuals or operations that are acting are in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states. To wit: “None of the funds made available in this act to the Department of Justice may be used … to prevent … states … from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Unhappily, Senate-backed amendments seeking to permit military veterans access to medical cannabis and to permit state-licensed marijuana business greater access to banking services were not included in the final version of the spending bill.

An unexpected breath of fresh air came last month from the venerable Detroit News, which editorialized as follows under the headline Protect Access to Medical Marijuana: “The Senate failed to pass legislation again this year that would legalize non-smokable forms of marijuana under the state’s medical pot program. That means nearly 180,000 medical marijuana patients in Michigan remain in limbo, as do their caregivers and suppliers.

“It’s unfair to patients working within the law, adopted by a 2008 ballot initiative, to continue withholding safe access to their legal medicine. The Legislature must legalize edible, topical and other forms of the drug, and approve a regulatory structure in which the industry can operate….”

“It’s unfair to declare medical marijuana legal, but then not provide the regulatory framework to assure that patients and their caregivers don’t become accidental criminals.”

Somebody say Amen! Free The Weed!

—Bristol, England
December 17-19, 2015

© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 57 by John Sinclair

April 30, 2016

Highest greetings from Amsterdam at the beginning of the traditional Cannabis Cup week, where for the first time since 1988 there will be no High Times Cannabis Cup in the marijuana capitol of the world and no Thanksgiving Day awards for the best weed grown in Holland.

I first came to Amsterdam for the 11th Cannabis Cup in 1998, where I served as High Priest and performed at the Melkweg club nightly with my band of Blues Scholars from New Orleans. I had such a good time that I begged High Times to bring me back the next year, and that’s when I fell in with Michael Veling of the 420 Café. He sponsored my visits to the Cannabis Cup for the next three years and convinced me to relocate from New Orleans to Amsterdam after the 16th Cup in 2003, offering me a more or less permanent base of operations at his coffeeshop ever since.

So I’ve been on hand for the past 16 Cannabis Cups in Amsterdam, long before the legalization of medical marijuana in America and the establishment of what are now several Medical Cannabis Cups in the U.S., plus full-scale Cannabis Cups celebrating legalized marijuana in the states of Colorado, Washington and Oregon. They even have a Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan that has caused quite a bit of excitement for smokers in the Flint area for the past two years

But there’s no more Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, the home of its origin. The International Cannabis Cup was moved to Jamaica this year, where weed has finally found official acceptance, and was held in conjunction with the local ganja community as “Rastafari Rootzfest” last month at a space, the magazine says, “just a few yards from Negril’s gorgeous Seven Mile Beach where warm sunshine and spliffs ruled the day.”

High Times reports that “several thousand” persons attended the “Rastafari Rootzfest” last month, certainly netting the sponsors a tidy sum in admission (or “judges”) fees. And the money-making aspects of the original Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam have been shifted to the ever-growing number of medical and recreational Cups in the U.S.A., where the costs don’t involve shipping a staff of people across the ocean every November and dealing with the transportation arrangements of 1200 or more so-called “judges” in a foreign country each fall.

So it’s very interesting to be in the coffeeshops of Amsterdam this week in the absence of the Cannabis Cup and the hundreds of eager marijuana tourists it has brought from the U.S.A. and around the world every Thanksgiving week for the past 27 years. Business in the shops doesn’t seem to be suffering per se, but it’s quite a different vibe from that generated by the smokers on a mission who’ve been attracted by the High Times event every year since I’ve been coming here.

But now it seems to be back to normal, which is pretty hip to begin with, and several local coffeeshops have banded together to initiate their own festivities this year under the name of the Amsterdam Unity Cup, held at the Melkweg the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I attended the Tuesday event last night but there wasn’t anything happening at all except for a deejay in the Oude Zaal playing a lot of corny records at high volume to an audience of none.

My friend William, long-time cannabis manager at the 420 Café and its Dutch Flowers annex, explained that the group of coffeeshop people were taking an exploratory approach this year to see if they could make it happen in the absence of the traditional organizers, the High Times collective from New York City.

If all went well logistically, William surmised, the local cofffeeshop veterans would make a better publicized effort next year at this time to deliver on their promise to “bring you the people’s choice of the finest strains from the best coffee shops Amsterdam has to offer” while claiming that “The traditional dates have been taken over for the new annual Cup event in & aromund Amsterdam.” You can get more information at amsterdam-unity-cup.com.

The evacuation of Amsterdam by High Times represents an ugly victory for the city and the federal government in their lengthening campaign to shrink the cannabis business community in the Netherlands and try to shed the image of the world’s hot spot for drug tourism in the hope of attracting the more lucrative family-oriented tourist trade enjoyed by most western destinations.

Unlike the western United States, where the newly legalized cannabis industry is beginning a concerted effort to introduce normal Americans to the pleasures and benefits of marijuana in an effort to increase sales, the Dutch authorities want to drive the cannabis tourists away and shun their voluminous business which is said to amount to 25% of all tourism dollars spent here.

The present government seems to feel that the Netherlands have suffered for more than 40 years under the stigma of being the number one destination for marijuana smokers all over the world. The unique Dutch tolerance of the marijuana smoker as a full citizen is regarded with scorn and apprehension by virtually every western nation save Spain and Portugal. The highly civilized approach to marijuana smoking adopted by the Dutch hasn’t even begun to penetrate the thick skulls of the American authorities, who remain loath to allow smoking the sacrament on the premises where it may be traded.

I’ve related these facts before in this space, but the Dutch system allows the purchase and consumption of cannabis products on the premises of specialized cafes called coffeeshops, which are allowed to stock 500 grams of marijuana and hashish for sale over the counter. Consumers may purchase up to 5 grams of cannabis in a coffeeshop and take it with them—as in a Michigan dispensary—or enjoy the great local custom of taking a seat, sipping a coffee or juice drink, rolling up joints and smoking them alone or with friends, reveling in the companionship of fellow smokers in a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

This system has worked without fail for the marijuana smoker in the Netherlands since 1972 or so. Free-style marijuana coffeeshops were established and proliferated throughout Amsterdam without restraint (numbering 750 at the highest point) until the government decided the cannabis explosion had gone too far without the guiding hand of the authorities and began the process of registering and regulating the coffeeshpp industry about 20 years ago.

They’ve tightened things up considerably ever since, as I’ve reported in this column, until now there are probably les than 200 coffeeshops in Amsterdam itself. Tourists have been barred from frequenting coffeeshops and buying weed in quite a few smaller towns along the eastern border, and there’s even been an attempt to force Dutch smokers to register with the government.

When I left Detroit last month they were talking a lot of crazy shit about registering and regulating the 150 to 200 marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up in the city. What they need to do is convert the dispensaries to coffeeshops where people may gather peacefully and enjoy their weed and each other in peace. The City should enable as many shops to operate as possible, establish a modest licensing fee and tax the sales of products in the shops.

Otherwise, let us alone and let us have our smoke. FREE THE WEED!

—Amsterdam
November 23-24, 2015

© 2015 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 56 by John Sinclair

April 29, 2016

Hi everybody and highest greetings from the northeast sector of Detroit where I’m recovering from foot surgery with my daughters and granddaughter waiting on me hand and foot to keep me from going stir crazy while I sit here and heal.

While in Detroit for the past two months I’ve been delighted to read page after page of coverage in the daily papers of the proliferation of medical marijuana outlets in the city and several serious think pieces about the burgeoning of the cannabis industry and the imminence of legalization for recreational use as well.

My position is clear: For those like myself who spent 40 or 50 years copping in the shadows from fellow criminals (if you could locate the ones who had the bag), the quick, easy and regular availability of our medicine is a beautiful thing and should be as widespread as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with smoking weed. We should be able to smoke weed wherever we are—in our homes, in our cars, with our friends, in private and in public. There’s nothing wrong with it. The second-hand smoke is not toxic. It doesn’t hurt anybody.

Marijuana is an herb, a simple weed that grows profusely when properly guided and tended. If you smoke it, the smoke will get you high when you take it inside. It won’t get the person next to you high. Sometimes there’s the “contact high” effect where the spectator derives a few giggles from the immediate atmosphere, but it’s usually a pretty pleasant thing.

The alleged dangers of marijuana were entirely fabricated in the 1930s by law enforcement radicals led by Commissioner of Narcotics Harry Anslinger, who created a vast new field of endeavor for police forces, courts and prisons based on the outright lies and deliberate mistruths that were advanced in support of draconic legal strictures against marijuana use and distribution.

Everything they said about marijuana was untrue. It was all a bunch of lies made up in order to give law enforcement total control over marijuana and marijuana users. It was an unmitigated tissue of horseshit swallowed whole by lawmakers, law enforcers, courts, prisons, churches, parents and authorities of every stripe. None of them wanted anyone to be able to get high on marijuana, and they committed every perverse deed they could think of in order to try to prevent the spread of the insidious weed.

Law enforcement bogarted its way into the world of marijuana and prevailed through brutality and sheer force of will until the past 20 years when citizens voted them out of power by legalizing medical marijuana and now recreational use through the ballot initiative process—the backbone of democracy.

The fact is clear that law enforcement has absolutely no business with marijuana and must be completely removed from the marijuana equation. What business is it of the police or state legislators to trace the growing and distribution of marijuana from seed to consumer? To maintain a state registry of marijuana patients and their caregivers? What business of theirs is where we get our marijuana?

With respect to the licensing and regulation of marijuana provisioning centers, it makes sense that a dispensary should be required to have a business license like any other business and to pay sales tax and other taxes assessed on all retail businesses. On the other hand, sales of medical marijuana to marijuana patients should not be taxed at all unless sales of any type of medicine are similarly taxable.

As to where a dispensary may or may not be located, how many feet or yards from a church or school, what hours it may be or must not be open, whether or not there is a drive-in window—these issues don’t have anything to do with the proper provisioning of marijuana. The number of available provisioning sites, their proximity to one another, their profusion or scarcity in a given neighborhood—none of these are legitimate concerns for the authorities.

My favorite bugaboo is the proscription against smoking weed on the premises of a dispensary. This is totally backwards. The Dutch model, which has worked well now for more than 40 years, allows weed and hash to be sold over the counter in amounts of five grams or less to anyone over 18. You buy the weed at the counter, take it to your table and smoke it using the delivery system of your choice. This may go on, depending on the whims of the proprietors with respect to working hours, from 7:00 am to 1:00 am, seven days a week.

The major imperfection in the Dutch scheme is that although cannabis sale and use is tolerated in the coffeeshops, weed is not legal per se. It remains illegal to grow, harvest, distribute and sell cannabis products in bulk to the coffeeshops or any other sort of customers.

So the government must waste law enforcement resources on marijuana growers and distributors, waive the substantial tax revenues that would result from legalizing and taxing such activity, and content itself with accepting the tax filings of the coffeeshops which are, of course, prohibited from keeping accurate sales records because their principal form of sales activity is officially illegal.

What we need in Michigan is not a maze of state and municipal regulations limiting access to marijuana and subjecting smokers to undue scrutiny. We need free and clear access to marijuana without any more restrictions on its use and availability than on a cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with it. It can be good for you. It doesn’t hurt anyone. There’s nothing wrong with smoking it.

I hate to be a spoilsport with respect to eliminating the police presence from the marijuana issue altogether, but it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, as they say. Why not eliminate the prospect of years of bitter litigation and struggle over the question of public access to marijuana and simply adopt a rational, socially efficient distribution system constructed to best serve the cannabis constituency?

I’m impressed by the proliferation of provisioning centers in the city of Detroit, but I miss the Dutch custom of relaxing at a table with your friends and a cup of coffee and smoking a joint together after you cop. Presently you’re guided to the counter, make your selection, pay, and split. This takes all the fun out of the transaction and reduces the experience to a fairly crass consumer episode.

To me the very basis of the marijuana experience is getting high with your friends and sharing warmth and smoke in an intimate setting while listening to some good music of one’s choice. I’ll always be looking for a place where we can do this in Detroit and throughout Michigan.

I’m also a fervent believer in the caregiver system that was voted in by Michigan citizens several years ago. Grow it yourself if you want to, get someone to grow it for you if you wish, or cop at a provisioning center if that’s how you want to roll. But forget about the much-vaunted liquor control model—marijuana is nothing like liquor, and the public has no similar interest in regulating its availability.

Okay, these views don’t respect the popular wisdom but they’re my beliefs and they’re based on my own long experience as a marijuana smoker and they’re based in the facts as known to millions of marijuana smokers in Michigan and around the world. End the War On Drugs once and for all. Free The Weed!

—Detroit
October 20-22, 2015

© 2015 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 55 by John Sinclair

April 28, 2016

Highest greetings from the northeast side of Detroit, where I’m visiting with my daughter Sunny and granddaughter Beyonce and waiting right now to schedule a required foot operation that promises to restore much of my personal mobility that’s been shackled for most of the present year by a diabetic wound on my left foot that has refused to heal.

My several doctors say that portions of infected bones in my foot—sadly including my small toe—must be removed so that the flesh may heal, and then I’ll be off my feet for another month of recovery time. I’ve had to cancel all my potential performance work and my entire trip to Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans in order to attend to this problem.

I’m hoping to be healed up enough by the middle of November to get back to Amsterdam for what will be the city’s first year without a Cannabis Cup for more than three decades. The High Times entrepreneurs seem to have given up on the Dam after suffering several years of problems with local authorities on venue and licensing issues. One year the site of the exposition was raided by a force of 150 police—a veritable army by Dutch standards—and last year the expo site was shut down completely before the event could open.

Thus the High Times international Cannabis Cup will be staged earlier in November this year in Jamaica instead of Amsterdam. The magazine’s wildly popular Medical Cannabis Cups in California, Michigan and elsewhere, and its new Cannabis Cup festivities with legalized weed in Colorado, Washington and Oregon have replaced the Amsterdam event as profit centers.

With the Cannabis Cup, as with the cannabis culture as a whole, what began as a lark in the face of severe oppression by the authorities has now become Big Business. What was all about getting high and having a ball and being creative and innovative is now about contests between products and how many people will pay how much to attend a cannabis exposition of products after products to be sold to a maximum number of consumers.

My view is not the popular one, but that’s not what they pay me for. I’m an old curmudgeon and an elder who was there at the beginning of our movement, and my job is to point out what’s gone right or wrong as our long grass-roots movement is now beginning to emerge triumphant.

What’s absolutely right, of course, is that very soon we won’t be getting arrested or harassed in any way by the police for smoking marijuana. The hated drug police will be removed from our lives and we’ll be left to deal with the people standing behind them and propping them up—the vicious office-holding politicians who have used the phony issue of marijuana illegalization to create an incredible power base in the law enforcement community and the relentless engine for the War On Drugs.

The dismantling of the machinery of the War On Drugs is a formidable task at the very forefront of our agenda, and as we have seen here in Michigan the legislators and the law enforcement community will drag their heels and resist legal changes mandated by the voters with all their might for as long as they can get away with it. They’ve had a good thing going for themselves ever since they dreamed up the marijuana illegalization mythology some 80 years ago, and they’re not going to give it up until they have absolutely no further choice.

How good is this thing they’ve had? I hate to sound like a broken record, but it’s all been sleight-of-hand and smoke-and-mirrors from the beginning. As first instituted by Commissioner of Narcotics Harry Anslinger in the 1930s and then as upgraded by Richard M. Nixon and his gang in the 1970s, the war on marijuana and then the War On Drugs have been conceived and executed as a precise form of attack on people outside the mainstream of American culture: African-Americans, Mexicans, jazz musicians, poets and outsiders of every stripe—exactly the people who introduced us to the joys of marijuana and kept the pipe lit until it could get to us.

Marijuana was targeted as the standard bearer for the next generation of prohibition because that’s what these particular people smoked, and a case had to be made against this practice in order to turn these people into criminals and give the police forces the right and duty to harass and hound them without mercy. Commissioner Anslinger came up with a bunch of non-scientific horseshit to declare that marijuana was a narcotic and its users to be punished under the nation’s draconian narcotics laws.

But Anslinger was just making up shit to serve his agenda. Science had nothing to do with it. Physical harm from smoking marijuana was not even alleged. Here are excerpts from Anslinger’s testimony to law-makers in Congress:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind…. the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races…. Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death…. You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother…. Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing…. Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

There was never a word of truth in the claim that marijuana was a narcotic. It is not a narcotic. It is not toxic. It has no narcotic properties. It is simply not a narcotic. Yet ever successive groups of lawmakers have created intricate systems of laws and punishments predicated on the myth that marijuana is a narcotic, or if no longer a narcotic then a “controlled substance” the use of which must be severely restricted and its users brutally punished by the forces of law and order.

Now that these asinine laws are being stripped away and a brighter future begins to dawn from the west, we must remain ever vigilant until our rights and freedoms are fully restored and the police completely removed from the cannabis equation. There is a new petition drive shaping up that aims to strip all language about marijuana from the state statutes and start with a clean slate.

This is an excellent idea, but in the meantime the state and local authorities across the state of Michigan are enacting new measures to restrict and stringently regulate the grass-roots marijuana dispensaries that have grown up like weeds in our communities.

Instead of introducing legal medical marijuana with a well-thought-out, comprehensive regulatory scheme that would insure that patients get the best weed for the lowest price, they stalled and hemmed and hawed until the people took care of the question for themselves, and now they want to transform it into something completely different from what the voters called for when they passed the citizens’ initiative to legalize medical marijuana several years ago.

My time has run out for this month but I’ll keep this issue in mind until it’s time to write again next month. Meanwhile I’ll be passing my 74th birthday on October 2 and celebrating the release of my new book, IT’S ALL GOOD—A john Sinclair Reader from Horner Books in my home town, Flint Michigan. FREE THE WEED!

—Detroit
September 24, 2015

© 2015 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Free The Weed 54 by John Sinclair

April 21, 2016

I’ve been talking in this space all year about my forthcoming book from the MMM Publishing Company called IT’S ALL GOOD—A John Sinclair Reader, and our hope was to have it available for the Cannabis Cup in Clio. But that proved impossible, and now it’ll hit the streets right around the first  of September. I’ve been running excerpts from the book to try to pique your interest in what’s coming, and here’s an excerpt from the lead number in the book: On The Road….

Although this writer has followed faithfully the bardic path for fifty years, I waited a long time to hit the road as a poet. There were so many other things to do along the way, and I did them.

As a cultural activist I directed the Detroit Artists Workshop, the Allied Artists Association, Jazz Research Institute and Detroit Jaz Center. I managed the MC-5, Mitch Ryder & Detroit and other bands. I produced dance concerts at the Grande Ballroom, free concerts in the parks, the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festivals, and countless left-wing benefits, community cultural events, jazz concerts and poetry readings.

I’ve booked bands, bought talent and done publicity for nightclubs, bars and concert halls, developed programs, written grants and raised funds for jazz artists and community arts organizations, and produced records by artists from the MC-5, Little Sonny and Deacon John to Sun Ra, Victoria Spivey and Roosevelt Sykes. I’ve been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, a professor of Blues History at Wayne State University, director of the City Arts Gallery for the City of Detroit, an award-winniing community radio programmer and producer of WWOZ’s live broadcast from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

As a professional journalist I’ve written columns, features and reviews centered on jazz and blues, rock & roll and poetry for publications of all sorts, from obscure local papers to downbeat and Playboy magazine. I’ve published poetry books and journals, edited underground newspapers, arts quarterlies and blues magazines, and written liner notes for albums by artists from Louis Armstrong to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.

As a political activist I fought the marijuana laws through Detroit LEMAR, the Amorphia organization (“We want free legal backyard marijuana!”) and a five-year struggle in the courts of Michigan that cost me 2-1/2 years in prison before I won my case and got the old laws thrown out. I was the chairman of the White Panther Party and its successor, the Rainbow Peoples Party, battling Richard M. Nixon and his goons from the beginning of his administration to the bitter end.

It was my court case challenging Nixon’s “national security” wiretap program that produced the historic Supreme Court decision in U.S. vs. U.S. District Court that warrantless wiretaps would no longer be allowed.

There’s much too much more to mention, but let it suffice to say that I’ve enjoyed a full and productive life in the arts and community affairs for fifty years … and helped raise four terrific daughters in the process.

But I started my adult life as a poet, setting my verses to music and performing them with jazz musicians and blues guitarists, and it was always my intention one day to take my own show on the road and pursue my performing arts career in earnest.

So for the past twenty years I’ve criss-crossed the United States and western Europe, working through a vast time-tested network of old friends and new comrades to assemble myriad bands of Blues Scholars and book myself into funky nightclubs, blues bars, art galleries, coffeehouses, churches, cultural centers, college auditoriums and music and poetry festivals from coast to coast to coast….

The great thing about travelling the bardic path is the incredible community of people who light up the way and see to the poet’s modest needs while I’m in their town.

These are the people who pick me up at the train station and take me to the airport, bring me into their homes, put me up in their spare bedroom or let me sleep on their couch, feed me and get me high. They help me set up my gigs, drive me there, introduce me to all the cool people they know, take me out to dinner afterwards and help see to my recreational needs.

They’re the amazingly sweetest of friends, but they’re also fellow artists and journalists and educators and broadcasters and producers, and their lives pulsate within the nexus of creative activity and social consciousness which obtains in the places they live. They’re always doing things themselves, making things happen, and they know what’s going on around them as well.

And all this activity takes place well beneath the radar of popular culture and the entertainment industry, in locations only people like ourselves know about, involving music the likes of which is only rarely heard on the radio today, never played or seen on TV or even given notice by the daily press.

We used to call it the underground, because we were so far down out of sight that they couldn’t even see us, and as mainstream culture narrows and tightens the boundaries of what kind of life is acceptable in this country, the underground world continues to grow in size and scope and to encompass an ever greater diversity of denizens.

The downside to underground life in America is the relentless economic terrorism that grips our existence and very rarely lets up, even for a week or a month at a time. Nothing ever pays enough to cover the costs of everyday life in an appropriate time frame: we’re behind on the rent, out of groceries, always trying to keep them from turning off the electricity or the phone. Our cars break down, we don’t have any insurance and god help us if we get sick.

If we get high we’ve got to worry about the police, and pay too much for our supplies, and go through a maze of incredible changes just to secure the substances we require. If we make music we’ve got to find people who will let us play and give us enough money to pay for what it cost us to get there.

If we’re poets or writers or painters or dancers or fine artists of any sort, we are never allowed to forget that our work is not valued and will not be properly compensated no matter how good it may become. If we publish our magazines or produce our recordings and books we will never solve the incessant problem of effective distribution and thus will always fail to reach our intended audience.

But as an artist in America, I always say, once a person takes the vow of poverty, one may be as creative and productive as one is capable, and it is possible to do many great things despite the ever-present shortage of sufficient funds to provide for the necessities of daily life.

And if we can continue to have easy access to our medicine, our creativity and productiveness can continue to bloom. Free The Weed!
—Detroit
August 20, 2015

©2015 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

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