Eagles And Harleys

March 31, 2007

Eagles And Harleys

Don’t you remember that we were brothers,

I covered your ass and you covered mine.

Now I’m standing here with a peace sign

and you are across the road calling me a traitor.

Are you still my brother like we were in Vietnam

or did you forget all about that ?

Besides all the bullshit brother

didn’t we fight for freedom

freedom to say I’m against the war

freedom to say I’m for the war,

so have your For The War action another day,

we won’t bother you at all, it’s your right.

I know 80% of you never saw battle

you were smoking pot and drinking beers

in the rear where you had it made,

I hope it’s not you causing the trouble.

But 20% of you were like me

fighting and bleeding together

eating ham and motherfuckers brother

in the rain when the leaches

would jump on us, sucking down our blood.

Do you remember how the Vietnamese hated us,

No VC, No VC, they would say to us,

yet there were all kinds of kids in their village

and their fathers were no where around.

I was so pissed off humping back

from the field one day,

mamason had a Coke stand on Highway one.

I told her to give my squad big Cokes with ice

then when she asked for the money,

I raised my 16 at her, ready to blow her away,

none of them gave a shit for us fighting

for their country

they liked our money and liked it

when we would die because they hated us

So we were fighting and dying for nothing

just like in Iraq and Afghanistan now.

What would of happened if we had won

our war,

they now have a Ford factory in Vietnam

while they close a Ford factory in Michigan.

Now Penny’s shirts are made in Vietnam

cost is $40 – $50 a pop at the mall

and now you want me to back

a punk and coward named Bush,

who finally made it to Vietnam last year

and all his draft dodger friends are

For The War for oil to get rich.

Give me a motherfucking break brother

give me some fucking respect

give me some fucking truth.

Walter Reed and the VA are chumping

our Iraq and Afghanistan wounded Soldiers

just like they did to us,

or did most of you not fire a shot

in Vietnam so you don’t know

what the fuck I’m talking about.

I’ve seen your Rolling Thunder on C-Span

when he asked one of you

where he was in Vietnam, he couldn’t say

because he was never there.

He was just some wannabe on a Harley

putting along just for the ride.

But a brother in mortar in our company

who sometimes went out with in the boonies

and had a real nice hootch over there

rode his Harley from Detroit to DC

to be with you, rode there with peace

but came back with war.

Your Gathering of Eagles do Not

make me proud.

You are not protecting the Wall,

you are protecting the coward Bush,

you are Not protecting our Soldiers in Iraq

because the Iraqi people hate them

just like the Vietnamese hated us.

It took courage and bravery to fight

the VC and NVA

but it doesn’t take a big man

to spit on peace marchers

and throw sulfuric acid at them,

maybe it’s because they are for peace

and you know they won’t attack you,

Yes, I remember coming home

to the peace movement from Vietnam

at the end of 1968.

I have scars on my arms and legs

and my Dad, a WWII veteran

took me down to his VFW Hall,

they bought me a beer and then

turned their backs on me.

My father was cussing all the way home,

do you remember that or did you

erase that from your memory ?

Yes I remember the hippies

and students against the war.

39 years ago the peace marchers

didn’t always treat us so good,

I know you blame them for losing

our war

and that’s where your anger comes from.

But even back then I never spit on them

or tried to hurt them in any way

so leave these new ones alone

and let me do what I have to do.

Vietnam will never be over for us,

we will take to our graves.

I hope you will never forget

we will be brothers until we are dead.

If you are working for the government,

I take back all I said,

please do Not threaten me with death

because I still have a gun

and I will kill you first

just like in Vietnam.

By Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart

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Jim Hightower unravels the mystery of an unfolding plan


The Surprising New Face of Cuban Jazz

March 30, 2007

The Surprising New Face of Cuban Jazz
By DAVID CRONIN
March 30, 2007
WALL STREET JOURNAL

If thinking of Cuban jazz conjures up images of old men playing in a
fog of cigar smoke and rum vapors, then pianist and producer Roberto
Fonseca should cause you to think again. Still in his early thirties,
the Havana native is the sharp-eyed, even-sharper-dressed rising star of the genre. First dazzling Cuban audiences with an appearance at the Jazz Plaza International Festival in the island’s capital when he
was only 15, he has developed a growing fan base abroad over the past decade.

Despite having no experience of life before the revolution, Mr.
Fonseca’s supple piano style can evoke the 1940s and 1950s, when
Cuban and African-American musicians drew inspiration from each
other. With his lush arrangements and frequent shifts in tempo, his
work also betrays the eclecticism of someone who has dabbled in
everything from vintage R&B to the grinding beats of rap.

Aficionados of Cuban music focus on three pianists from the island:
Rubén González, Lili Martínez and Pedro Jústiz (better known by his
stage-name Peruchín). Judging by the praise he’s received from his
elders — “Boy, can the kid play!” was how Grammy-winning crooner
Ibrahim Ferrer put it — and by his experience as a protégé of Mr.
González, Mr. Fonseca may soon join that list.

Mr. Fonseca produced “Mi Sueño” (My Dream), the final album by Mr. Ferrer, who died in 2005 after a monthlong concert tour in Europe. On the album, Mr. Fonseca helped Mr. Ferrer realize a longstanding ambition of recording a series of tender love songs called boleros, two of which he performed memorably with Omara Portuondo for Wim Wenders’s 1999 movie “Buena Vista Social Club.”

Mr. Fonseca is also promoting his fourth solo album, “Zamazu,” in
which he combines his passion for Afro-Cuban jazz with South American grooves and rhythms. As well as his compatriots, Ms. Portuondo and the bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” López, he recruited two of the most illustrious figures in Brazilian music for its recording sessions: the producer Alê Siqueira and the singer-drummer Carlinhos Brown.

Mr. Fonseca’s European tour for the disc will take him to Vienna
(April 15), Munich (April 17), Madrid (April 26), Amsterdam (April
28), Brussels (April 29), Paris (May 9) and London (May 20).

Born in 1975, Mr. Fonseca was eight when he began learning the piano and 14 when he started composing.

But he initially entered show business as a drummer with a Beatles tribute band. His interest in drums has encouraged him to explore the percussive qualities of the piano.

In 2000, Mr. Fonseca was invited to join the Orquesta Ibrahim Ferrer, as support to the aging Rubén González. He spent hours observing the stately ivory-tinkling of Mr. González, who made his recording debut with the band-leader Arsenio Rodriguez in the 1940s.

A year later, Mr. Fonseca became the youngest member of the Buena
Vista Social Club lineup, taking the place occupied by Mr. González
on his retirement.

Mr. Fonseca spoke to David Cronin in Brussels.

Q: Did you grow up in a musical family?

Yes, there was music in our house 24 hours a day. My mum played the piano and was a ballerina and my father was a drummer. I also have two brothers: one plays piano, the other drums.

My mum was always singing boleros or classical melodies like those
from the Romeo and Juliet opera, whereas my brothers listened to
soul, funk and jazz.

I used to hear a lot of jazz on the radio, too. The first cassette I
bought was of Keith Jarrett.

Q: You played drums in your youth. Why did you decide to concentrate on the piano?

The piano is one of the most complete instruments. You can use it to
make melodies or harmonies or as the rhythm section. When I realized that, I decided to make the transition.

Q: What was it like being recruited to the Buena Vista Social Club?

I was a little scared. I greatly admired Rubén González and I said to
myself “I don’t want to replace him.” So, I just tried to bring my
own influences and put my own touch.

Q: It’s more than a decade now since the Buena Vista Social Club
album was recorded and it remains one of the top-selling world music
albums in some European countries. Do you have any explanation for
its enduring popularity?

The music on that album is really fresh, clear, deep and natural.
I think people can relate to that.

The other reason it’s so popular is that it features amazing
musicians: Ibrahim Ferrer, Rubén González, Cachaíto López, Guajiro
Mirabal. The most wonderful thing that I noticed was the range of
people in our audience: from teenagers to old guys. This is music
that doesn’t age.

Q: How do you feel about producing the last album that Ibrahim Ferrer recorded?

I think it’s one of the most beautiful albums I’ll ever work on
because I realized that Ibrahim was trying to pour all his life into
it.

Q: Did you have any sense at the time that he didn’t have long to
live?

No, he seemed to be fine. He never gave any signs of being sick. It
was horrible, and it’s still horrible. He was like my grandfather,
always teaching me different things about music and life.

He was really famous, this superstar of Cuban music, yet he never
acted like that. He was a simple guy, with no ego. The most beautiful
thing he helped me learn is no matter how important you are, you
should never forget where you come from.

Q: You have played with Western jazz musicians, including Herbie
Hancock. What was that like?

I was touring with Omara Portuondo in Japan and we were at the same festival as Herbie Hancock. At the end of his shows, Herbie used to call different musicians to jam with him. I was really surprised when he called me and when we played on the same piano. He is one of the best piano players in the world; he’s like an idol for me.

Q: You’ve also worked with the Cuban hip-hop act Obsesión. Do you
think the growth of hip-hop in Cuba poses any threat to more
traditional idioms?

We listen to a lot of different music in Cuba: hip-hop, rock, jazz.
I’m open to new ways of playing Cuban music. My new album is not the same as the older Cuban stuff you can hear. Cuban music is in a new age but we’ll never turn our backs on traditional music because it’s so beautiful.

Q: How did you become interested in Brazilian music?

Cuba and Brazil are really similar. We have Afro-Cuban music; they
have Afro-Brazilian. With this new album, we did the percussion and
drums in Carlinhos Brown’s studio in Bahia. Alê Siqueira is a great
musician and a great producer. He showed respect for all my ideas and was always determined to bring this baby to life.

Q: What does the title Zamazu mean?

Zamazu is a word that my niece made up. I liked it because everyone
can pronounce Zamazu without a problem, no matter where they come from. I like language that doesn’t have limits. The same goes for
music.

Q: You’ve teamed up with the fashion designer Agnès B, who is
responsible for the suave outfits you wear onstage, including the
Byblos cotton and PVC hat featured on your new album cover. Are you very image-conscious?

I met Agnès B, when she came to one of Ibrahim’s concerts. I use her
clothes because they give me a style that I really like. It’s
important for me to look good to people. When I look good, I feel
good.

Q: Are you religious?

Yes, I believe in the Afro-Cuban religion Yoruba, which is similar to
Catholicism. My music is 100% about spirituality and soul.

Q: Do you think the end of the Fidel Castro era will have any
implications for Cuban music?

That political stuff is for the Cuban embassy. I’ve come here to talk
about music.

Q: But as an artist, do you feel any obligation to protest about how
the Havana authorities have imprisoned and denied freedom of
expression to their political opponents?

No, I don’t feel any obligation. I’ve had a freedom in playing music
and I’ve had a lot of support within Cuba and outside Cuba. I’ve gone
to the U.S. many times and traveled around the world without any
problems.


Voice of the Day

March 30, 2007

“There are those that struggle one day and they are good. There are others who struggle a year and they are better. There are some that struggle many years and they are very good. But there are others that struggle their whole lives and these are the heroic ones.”

– Bertolt Brecht


Boots Riley Comes Out Swinging Against The War In Iraq

March 30, 2007

Boots Riley Comes Out Swinging Against The War In Iraq

Boots Riley – The Coup’s revered, thought-provoking MC-is hoping to utilize a post of his band’s incendiary, anti-war song “Captain Sterling’s Little Problem” on its MySpace Blog as a means to spark a G.I. Rebellion against the War In Iraq.

Riley is encouraging The Coup’s 25,000 MySpace friends to download the Pick A Bigger Weapon track, which features guitar by Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, for free and send it via email or burned CD to everyone they know in the military. In doing so, Riley believes the G.I. dissent could prompt Congress to act more decisively.

“I have this suggestion: the soldiers should demand to be returned home, using any means necessary to make this happen,” Boots blogs. “This would lead to a swift end to this war, saving countless lives, both U.S. and Iraqi. Congress hasn’t done more than give lip service to wanting the war to end. The people that are directly affected by this war are going to have to act.”

“Captain Sterling’s Little Problem” was originally recorded as the theme for “Sir! No Sir!,” David Zeiger’s recent documentary of the Vietnam War.

Inspired by the stories that some of the veterans tell in the film, Boots reports that “at one point a Pentagon report deemed half of the soldiers in Vietnam were ‘mutinous and not to be trusted’,” adding that “the largely unreported G.I. rebellions played a very important role in stopping the Vietnam war.”

Counting lines like, “You brought us to this country not to free but bodybag them/And free up all their money so accounting firms can add them ,” the scorching song – from the Associated Press’ #1 album of 2006 – cannot be ignored.

“So far about 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died in this war and at least 3,100 U.S. soldiers have died,” Riley writes. “Much has been publicized about the role that music plays in the military today. I’ve seen a few news segments about the music that soldiers are listening to
on their Walkmans and MP3 players – how they listen to certain songs to get in the mood to do what they have to do. Besides the motivation of purely expressing my thoughts, my experience and my emotions, I also make music to influence people to see my point of view.”

Riley – who was recently selected as keynote speaker for UC Berkeley’s Black Graduation on May 12th – will join The Coup for an explosive set next month at The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, April 29th.

You can listen to and download the song here


The Addict + The Enabler

March 29, 2007