Tag: Tom Morello

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God

The place was the scene of some kind of horrible crime; another postal worker had lost his mind. Couldn’t stand the tension, lost his pension, afraid of growing old out in the cold, no one to hold. As he did his stalking, that Glock did his talking, he settled the score up and down the floor. SWAT team sniper caught him at the door. The mailman put in a fresh clip, turned and slipped through a crack in the universe. “A Crack in the Universe” written by Wayne Kramer.

If America had only one musical Mecca — and we have about a dozen — that one place would be Detroit, Michigan.

Among the many talents who get their start or made their bones in Detroit, in politically-correct alphabetical order (more or less): Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, George Clinton, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Bootsy Collins, Alice Coltrane, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Glenn Frey, Marvin Gaye, Grand Funk Railroad, Bill Haley, John Lee Hooker, Tommy James and the Shondells, Yusef Lateef, Little Willie John, Martha and the Vandellas, MC5, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Phil Ochs, Parliament-Funkadelic, Wilson Pickett, Iggy Pop, Suzi Quatro, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Patti Smith, Edwin Starr, The Stooges, The Supremes, The Temptations, Sippie Wallace, The White Stripes, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder…

The MC5. Photo by Leni Sinclair

…to name but a very, very few. I could triple this list without looking at the internet; the total would run longer than the entire roll-call for The Avengers. If there’s anybody above with whom you might not be familiar — that’s why we’ve got search engines. It’s worth the effort.

I’m not going to play the “who’s best / who’s most important game” because it’s childish, stupid, deceiving and totally irrelevant. My guess is that your AI-based streaming service devotes an incredible percentage of its playlists on these Detroit performers. But I will note the efforts of Wayne Kramer, frontman for the revolutionary hard-rock group The MC5. Their stuff was to the point, it encouraged not only awareness but action, and by today’s standards some of the least woke stuff engraved in wax since “Barnacle Bill.” Don’t mention this to the MAGA Party; it’ll destroy their tiny little minds.

Ahh, screw it. Tell them anyway. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Our Revolutionary Rock God”

As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind

“And don’t try to dig what we all say” — Pete Townshend, “My Generation”

I freely admit: when I first heard the word “woke” as a positive definition of the human condition, I did not care for the term. “Woke” implies that everybody is asleep but for the lucky few who are smart enough to understand the difference between a bowling alley and a thunderstorm. I’m way too egalitarian for that.

I do not mean to suggest that DeSantis is less than truthful about his beliefs. Not at all. To quote Maya Angelou, the award-winning poet/writer/actor/dancer that Governor Ron has banned from his school libraries: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” After all, about two out of every three Americans think that Nazis are not good people, while some on the far-right object to being called Nazis, or even fascists. Evidently, these people banned the dictionary before they got through “F.” Continue reading “As Is: I Woke Up This Morning And Hate Was On My Mind”