Thursday, June 15, 2017

Brothers and sisters! Wayne Kramer uploads rare/remastered MC5 footage to YouTube

Without much fanfare, over the last two weeks Wayne Kramer of explosive rock 'n' roll legends the Motor City 5 has uploaded remastered clips of live MC5 performances from 1968 (at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago), 1970 (the blistering Tartar Field show), and 1972 (at a club in Paris). They haven't gotten to the Beat Club TV performance from Bremen, Germany in 1972 yet. But if there is anyway they can improve on the quality of this, that will simply be the best thing on the Internet, ever.



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review: John Sinclair - Beatnik Youth Ambient

Rarely does a new record come through our post box with so much historical background than John Sinclair’s latest offering ‘Beatnik Youth Ambient’ on Iron Man Recordings.

John’s legacy is depicted aptly in this content-heavy exploration through ambience, free form Jazz and sound-scape structures. The renegade poet has led a life that few of us would be familiar to. Following the Vietnam war, droves of protests sprung up attacking the Nixon presidency and their handling of the war. Whist the War on Drugs developed it’s motto, debatably as a strategic move for mass incarceration of black Americans (see the documentary 13th for a splendid explanation of this), the White Panthers also founded a movement to attack the poisonous racism and injustice that was being seen. John Sinclair played a pivotal role within this, alongside his group MC5, which then led to his 10 year imprisonment sentence.

His omnipresence was felt by thousands and whilst slogans of ‘Free John Sinclair’ rung from the the crowds, artists like Yoko Ono and John Lennon dedicated songs for his release which duly came in 1971.

On this release, John teamed up with Youth, who’s career spanning 30 years has recently honoured him an Outstanding Contribution Award by the Music Producers Guild. Youth was Paul McCartneys ‘Fireman’, and has worked with the likes of Primal Scream, The Orb, The Charlatans and The Verve. The pair teamed up to create this 30 minute tip of the hat to the Beatnik generation.

This isn’t so much a standalone body of music, any more than a recital of a brilliant mind, canvased in awe-inspiring soundscapes.

Opening track ‘Do It’ sets the tone for the release with ruminative dialogue from John, blanketed by some broody synth structures. The maturity of the track sometimes getting lost by gimmicky trigger sampling of his spoken word.

“Out of the darkness of the Second World World, before the soldiers, before the soldiers came back to turn America in to a vast suburban wasteland. Dreamed up by real estate developers with huge dollar signs in the eyes, and nothing at all in their hearts.” John provides us a distopian setting for the introduction of some of the most influential Jazz musicians for generations; Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke – creativity spawned from traumatic periods. A gesture to the long-heralded relationship between creativity and suffering. Enter Jack Kerouac, and the narrative unfolds into what formed the Beatnik generation.

War on Drugs is a smokers delight, launching a middle finger up at the slogan, whilst humorously drawing parallels between vegetarians and our insatiable desire to declare a war on plants, before inciting some revolutionary mindset with impeccable unease. Things settle down somewhat with the psychedelic lulls of Sitartha that holds your hand on a little journey. Far out.

Beatnik Youth Ambient will be available on Vinyl Mini LP and Digital download from Iron Man Records, releasing 28th July 2017.


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John Sinclair will be part of the five-member panel “White Panther Party: A Historic Reunion Commemorating the 1967 Rebellion”

John Sinclair will be part of the five-member panel “White Panther Party: A Historic Reunion Commemorating the 1967 Rebellion” from 2 to 4 p.m. July 15 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Also July 15, The Wright Museum, 315 E. Warren Ave. in Detroit, presents “White Panther Party: A Historic Reunion Commemorating the 1967 Rebellion” from 2 to 4 p.m. This panel features Pun Plamondon, John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair and Genie Parker with moderator Peter Werbe, discussing the anti-racist, anti-imperialist white American political collective founded in response to the 12th Street riot.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Motor City's Burning - Detroit from Motown to the Stooges (Part 3)

Documentary looking at how Detroit became home to a musical revolution that captured the sound of a nation in upheaval.
In the early 60s, Motown transcended Detroit's inner city to take black music to a white audience, whilst in the late 60s suburban kids like the MC5 and the Stooges descended into the black inner city to create revolutionary rock expressing the rage of young white America.With contributions from Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, Martha Reeves, John Sinclair and the MC5.
Full Documentary here:


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Belle Isle Love-In

As seemingly everybody gears up to mark 50 years since Detroit erupted in what is described as a "riot," and "uprising," and a "rebellion," we risk forgetting one of the signature events in the run-up to that hot week in July: The Belle Isle Love-In. 

What's a "Love-In"? For those who don't know, it's a peaceful kind of protest that involves meditation, lovemaking, and a sprinkling of illicit substances. The term was coined by a Los Angeles radio personality, and a wave of Love-Ins quickly swept the country, as hippies sought inventive ways to protest the Vietnam War and have a little fun at the same time. 

The prime movers here in Detroit were John Sinclair and his confreres at the Detroit Artists Workshop, who obtained a permit for said event from none other than the Detroit Police Department. And on April 30, 1967, thousands of hippies and fellow travelers arrived on the island for several hours of singing, dancing, and probably a little bit of doobie-smoking as well.


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