John Sinclair + The Founder Effect – Spiegeltent, Canary Wharf, London 17th Sept

August 24, 2014

John Sinclair at 12 Bar Club, London, Sunday 11th May 2014
John Sinclair and The Founder Effect perform songs from ‘Mohawk’ at Canary Wharf Spiegeltent, London

Download the Spiegeltent Leaflet PDF here

“John Sinclair – renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary… Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, still kicking with both feet on his trajectory for cultural transformation. Mohawk features ten tracks from his book of verse: always know: a book of monk. Beatnik poems, great odes and personal reflections of the Be-Bop jazz persuasion, all flowering together.”

Doors – 6.00pm
John Sinclair on stage 6.30pm – 7.45pm
Tickets available through SEE Tickets for £10 + Booking Fee

All Press Enquiries Sean Newsham:
All Guest List requests to: Ben Conway

TUBE Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf DLR Canary Wharf or Heron Quays

LONDON BUSES D3, D7, D8, 135, 277

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John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

John Sinclair and The Founder Effect at Barbican, London, 31st May 2014.

WHITE PANTHER: The Legacy Legacy of John Sinclair – a short film by CHARLES SHAW featuring JOHN SINCLAIR music by THELONIUS MONK

John Sinclair is best known as the Sixties “marijuana” activist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for giving two joints to an undercover policewoman. He was eventually freed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono spoke out on his behalf.

Less understood is his role as the founder and chairman of the radical anti-war group, The White Panther Party, an offshoot of the Black Panthers. The Black Panther Party was a militant political organization formed after the brutal murders of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy.

The Nixon Administration and the FBI launched a secret program called COINTELPRO to disrupt and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers and the Anti-War movement. As part of this program, John Sinclair was set up and imprisoned on marijuana charges. When the government could no longer justify denying him a bond over two joints, they falsely charged him with a Federal conspiracy to blow up a CIA station, in order to make him disappear.

You can find John Sinclair Books, CDs and other interesting stuff in the Iron Man Shop

John Sinclair + The Founder Effect – Spiegeltent, London 17th Sept poster

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John Sinclair - Mohawk front cover

John Sinclair – “Mohawk” CD  March 2014 by Iron Man Records, Birmingham.

John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary released his new album in March 2014. John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today, is still kicking with both feet on his trajectory for cultural transformation. His new record features ten tracks from his book of verse: always know: a book of monk. Twenty poems planted firmly in a single-shot session, and carefully trimmed down to ten exhibits for this album. Beatnik poems, great odes and personal reflections of the Be-Bop jazz persuasion, all flowering together.

First conceived of in Detroit City, spring 1982, and developed throughout the 1980s with streaks of fresh edits leading right up to the session itself, John navigates some of these texts for the first time in over twenty years, free-styling his energized sincerity and attention to every word, transforming the text on the page into his unique unmistakable spoken word.

The music was written and arranged by Steve Fly who mirrored John’s poems in the music by initially combing the tempo of the original songs recorded by John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker and Thelonious Monk.

Steve The Fly is a native of Stourbridge UK, now an Amsterdam resident who plays drums, spins vinyl, writes novels and literary and cultural commentary. He also maintains a flock of websites and works in various other art forms without visible restraint. His other music projects have included New Flesh, Garaj Mahal, Temple Dragon band, of course he is now full time with John Sinclair.

These songs are further utilized by John’s poetic method so that each title and the rhythm of his poetry can piggy-back upon the same song title, and rhythm, of an original composition set in history, for extra rooting. Steve put down drums, turntables, cello-bass, flute, and glockenspiel, shooting to play around the vocal lead lines and diverse expressions from John.

“to take the hair off
the sides of the head

& leave just a strip
along the top,
scalping pretense
for the baldness of statement

building a new music
on the bones of the old

— John Sinclair from the title track “Mohawk”

John Sinclair - Mohawk gatefold inner

The album was recorded diligently by Tim Egmond at Ei Studios, Amsterdam and passed along to Simon Reeves at Framework Studios, Birmingham for mastering.

Tim Egmond is a music producer, engineer and studio whizz, based in Amsterdam, who has worked with scores of international and locally based artists on a wide variety of projects.

Simon Reeves has completed many projects for Iron Man Records already and he has been described as one of Birmingham’s finest independent studio engineers who has worked with bands from Napalm Death to Police Bastard, and a host of other brutal metal and punk bands.

All artwork was cradled and visualized by the post-industrial imagination of CHU; The Black Country, tech savvy, rule-breaking, progressive wordsmith and thinker – an ardent advocate of aerosol painting and its vanguard for over 30 years with global public works and murals, 3D perspective illusions and many group shows, under his Walsall leather belt. CHU’s work has included projects with Banksy and Jamie Hewlett among many others, and he has been described as the ‘Escher of UK street art’ and founder of Graffiti Bastards.

John Sinclair - Mohawk back cover

The album is beautifully packaged in a double gatefold cd wallet with artwork by CHU in full colour and a ten page booklet. Mohawk illustrates the kind of care and attention a John Sinclair record deserves. After all, he kinda helped start this underground art explosion.

The words here poured forth after cannablissed talking-poet John Sinclair stared at the moon when jazz giant Thelonious Monk died in 1982. The luminous lunar loom inspired Sinclair to create a series of poems about early Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie: “Lest we forget these are young men…bursting with the joy of discovery.” Sinclair lifts up the proverbial bandstand (per Monk’s mandate) with tales of the birth of bop at Monroe’s Uptown House and the jazz/Beat connection. Drummer/composer Steve Fly creates a hip-hopped be-bopped bed of rhythmic sound. (And the bonus track at the end has a Beatle on it!) – Michael Simmons

All Press Enquiries Sean Newsham:

CHU talks about his artwork for John Sinclair – Mohawk here:

John Sinclair – Mohawk CD released on Iron Man Records 24th March 2014 Buy It Here

Listen to: The John Sinclair Freedom Rally: John Sinclair Radio Show 526

ARTIST: John Sinclair
TITLE: Mohawk
LABEL: Iron Man Records
FORMAT: CD Double Gatefold Sleeve / Digital
RELEASE DATE: 24th March 2014
Cat No: IMB6022

Buy It Here from Cargo Distribution Direct:

Buy Books and Music by John Sinclair in the Iron Man Shop here:

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John Sinclair - Mohawk CD Gatefold back

Free The Weed 42 by John Sinclair

August 18, 2014

John Sinclair - 12 Bar Club, 11th May 2014

Highest greetings from Amsterdam for the last time this summer. I’ll be spending a month in London to serve as a judge for the Dopefiend Cup at an undisclosed location at the end of August and play a concert in the Speigeltent at Canary Wharf in mid-September with a great British jazz ensemble called The Founder Effect.

Then I’ll head back to Detroit to begin an action-packed fall schedule, and if you’re at all interested in following my progress around the United States from the Hempstock Festival in Portland, Oregon to the Maine Harvest Festival near Portland, Maine to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac in Massachusetts to New York City and back to Detroit for the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Artists Workshop—which we founded on November 1, 1964—and then to New Orleans to perform the wedding of Frenchy & Tina before heading back to Amsterdam for the Cannabis Cup, you can check my Facebook page or my website at

The Hempstock Festival in Portland will be held just before the citizens of Oregon cast their votes for legalized marijuana in the November election. I’m sure intelligent Oregonians will be inspired by the statistics just posted for their neighboring state of Washington, where NORML has reported that retail marijuana sales totaled nearly $4 million in the state’s first month of legalized sales, generating about $1 million in state tax revenue.

But Washington is just getting underway, with only 16 licensed locations reporting first-month sales. Under state regulations, NORML reports, a total of 334 licenses statewide have been authorized by the new law for retail facilities that will eventually open for business.

Colorado did even better in its first month, producing $3 million in tax revenues for the state. Now, six months later, Colorado retailers sold a record $24.7 million worth of cannabis goods in the month of June. In a social order where money seems to be the ultimate good, perhaps these numbers will begin to have an impact on the idiots who shape our social policy.

As I wrote last month, while things in the United States are starting to look up at last, here in Amsterdam the arrow is pointing in the other direction: Down. What’s inflaming the current state of confusion and reduction in the efficacy of the marijuana culture is the determination of the country’s Justice Minister to disrupt and roll back the gains of 40 years of the Dutch cannabis industry.

Using the usual blend of inaccurate and deceptive reasoning and religious fervor, the Dutch government has for several years been feverishly engaged in a campaign to reduce the number of cannabis outlets (called coffeeshops), determine the identities of marijuana smokers, and bar non-Dutch visitors from the coffeeshops altogether.

This campaign originated in several small towns on the Dutch border with Germany and Belgium where the traffic had grown so large from smokers crossing the border to cop that the towns felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of cars whose drivers were seeking marijuana in their little communities. They thought the invaders should be barred and completely discouraged from trying to fulfill their needs in the Netherlands in order to eliminate their traffic snarls.

The mayors of these burgs convinced the Justice Minister to mandate that Dutch cofffeeshops would no longer be allowed to serve non-Netherlands residents, with the awful B-side that all Dutch smokers would hereafter have to identify themselves and register with one particular coffeeshop in order to be granted identity cards by the federal government that would qualify them to purchase weed at their designated outlet.

I think it was this proposed measure that ultimately killed the government’s plan, because the Dutch smokers were not eager to be pinpointed by the forces of law and order who have so far been kept completely out of the smokers’ little universe since around 1972.

The potentially massive blow to the economies of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities that credit about 25% of their tourist income solely to the marijuana trade was another factor in the failure of the national plan. Thus the mayor of Amsterdam and his counterparts in other large Dutch cities managed to persuade the Justice Minister that their communities must not be forced to enact the anti-drug tourist law—or, as we used to say in Detroit, “Negro, is you crazy?”

The upshot was that the government agreed to permit the border towns and other little cities so inclined to ban non-Dutch smokers from their coffeeshops, and to allow Amsterdam and other centers to continue to serve the tourist weed trade so long as they would unflinchingly enforce anti-weed laws already on the books which had been long overlooked, like the ban on locating coffeeshops anywhere within 250 meters of school buildings.

There have been coffeeshops within 250 meters of schools probably for as long as they’ve had coffeeshops, with no marked effect on the schoolchildren nor on society as a whole. In fact, there’s nothing less likely than a schoolkid gaining entrance into a coffeeshop, since no security measure is more widely nor carefully enforced than the proscription against people under 18 entering a place where marijuana is dispensed.

But the Justice Minister was determined to enforce the agreement with the city of Amsterdam and make things as miserable as possible for the city’s smoking population and their guests, so the city moved swiftly to revoke the licenses and order the closing of the large number of long-established coffeeshops existing in illegal proximity to a schoolhouse.

A private school located on the Nieuwezijds Kolk in the very center of downtown Amsterdam was used as the excuse to order the closing on July 1 of venerable coffeeshops like Homegrown Fantaseeds (25 years in business), Betty Boop, Ben, the Greenhouse, the coffeeshop in the Hotel Utopia and other nearby outlets, including some as far west as the Spuistraat.

Other outlets, like my home base, the 420 Café, are fighting back against the decree but have been forced to remain closed until 6:00 pm on schooldays while the school is in session. The local government’s intention seems to be to allow a certain grace period of this nature and then to shut them down as well in another year or two, eliminating the entire coffeeshop culture from the center of town.

Such may be their desire, but I can’t see it happening in this particular social construct where the right of the weed smoker to smoke weed is so deeply rooted in everyday life. One problem I’ve seen is that the coffeeshops make so much money for their proprietors—owning a coffeeshop permit is like having a license to print money—that they have acquiesced over and over again as the national and local governments gradually stripped them of so many of their prerogatives.

Now the government is setting up to close in for the kill, and they’ve got the coffeeshop brigade backed against the wall and forced to fight for their commercial lives. Who knows the outcome, but it should be an incredible battle.

For us, of course, there’s only one acceptable outcome: Get the government and the police out of our heads! FREE THE WEED!

August 17-18, 2014

© 2014 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

The Sun Ra Arkestra and John Sinclair – Barbican, London by Michael Horovitz, 4 June 2014

June 4, 2014

Detroit jazz poet John Sinclair, counterpointed by inventive British post-bop quartet The Founder Effect, whom he’d only just met, filled the first half hour of this marathon gig with echoes and premonitions of the Arkestra and of its visionary originator-captain Sun Ra, who died in 1993. Sinclair’s finale ‘Another Order of Being’ drew extensively on Ra’s pronouncements, notably that ‘A band can demonstrate unity among men more than anything else in the world’, and that ‘In some far place, many light years in space, where human feet have never trod! where human eyes have never seen! I’ll build a better kind of world’.

John Sinclair at The Barbican 31st May 2014

Then on ambled a dozen amiable all-black Arkestrans, exotically clad in flowing raiments and headgears of multinous shapes and colours, led by biblicly bearded, Popeishly mitred alto sax, flute and kora maestro Marshall Allen, who has directed the band’s various line-ups since 1995. What followed over the next two hours was pure Saturnalia, qua unrestrained merry-making – as came super/naturally, given it was just a few evenings after Ra’s 100th birthday – consolidating his lifelong insistence that he’d been delivered to Earth from Saturn to spread universal light.

The nonstop musical euphoria this edition of the band generated was one supreme generating factor, itself swathed throughout by another, the ebulliently bubbling psychedelic triple-screen liquid light-show laid on by ex-Pink Floyd illuminator Peter Wynne-Willson’s ‘Mystic Lights’. The band consisted of four saxes, two trumpets, trombone, french horn, guitar, two streams of percussion, Tyler Mitchell’s walking bass, the infinitely lyrical pianistics of Farid Barron and gospel-tinged songsprays from Tara Middleton.

Their repertoire included wild ‘inter-galactic’ Ra/Allen hits like ‘Sunology’, ‘Angels & Demons’, ‘Space is the Place’ interspersed with straight melodic, parodic, improvised/squealy-squawked variations on ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’, ‘Sometimes I’m Happy’ and the early Coleman Hawkins’ ‘Queer Notions’, plus unison and free-form honking’n’hooting’n’blurting’n’chanting, Swing Era riffing, with the marching band tradition recalled every so often by the horn-players taking off-stage sorties to every unoccupied foot-space in the jam-packed auditorium, whilst still blowing their (and many of our) arses off.

The kids’ playground/circus electricity were further recharged by Pucklike altoist Knoel Scott periodically erupting into nimbly balletic somersaults, flying handstands and joyously whizzing cartwheels, and a couple of times getting one of the other saxophonists to play vigorous physically-back-to-back duets with him.

The memory of this fantastic spectacle and its wondrous soundscapes will go on uplifting my spirits for many a moon. Should Ra himself have chosen to revisit that little bit of Earth for this party, he too may still be smiling these bits of his legacy’s work and play to have witnessed – and mayhap even deliver whatever he likes of it back to Saturn . . .

Michael Horovitz, 4 June 2014