August 7, 2006

And the time will come when you add up the numbers

Ed Ruscha, Your A Dead Man, 2002

* Top ten conservative idiots.

"9. U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been stumping hard for Republicans in the run-up to this year's elections, and one of their recent ads for Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio was a real winner, giving him big props for voting for the Medicare prescription drug coverage plan.

"There's just one slight problem - Chabot didn't actually vote for the plan. In fact, he kinda voted against it.

"According to the Associated Press, 'Chabot's office said the business group was acting independently and he has asked the ads to stop. When told that Chabot voted against the bill the chamber was praising him for supporting, spokesman David Felipe said he would have to check on the details. The chamber did not immediately call back with comment.'

"Funny that - you'd think it wouldn't take that long to 'check on the details.' Try ten seconds on Google, for example.

* From an interview of Pete Townshend, March 1980.

OUI: Did the cover of Who’s Next have anything to do with 2001?

PT: Yeah, it was meant to be a sort of gag when we pissed up against the monument. It meant that when we asked Stanley Kubrick to direct Tommy, he said, "Fuck you." Got any other great questions?

OUI: Yeah. I saw a great piece of graffiti on the way over from Brooklyn: FREE YOUR MIND AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW.

PT: Last piece of graffiti I saw was in a pub at the top o’ my street. Over the toilet somebody had written: PETE TOWNSHEND IS A CAPITALIST PIG.

OUI: Is he?

PT: Of course he is.
OUI: What do you think of rock that appears devoid of deep meaning?

PT: Some of the people in the rock business- Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Kiss- appear to be quite empty-headed, but, in fact, they’re very consciously saying, "Fuck all the intellectual stuff. We’re just having a good time." A big chunk of rock ’n’ roll is that, and should be that, and should remain that. In a way, that’s what the Who always aspired to, but was never able to do. We were always too unhappy . . . at loggerheads with one another’s ideas. There’s a difference between disagreeing with somebody and respecting them, and disagreeing with ‘em and thinking they’re shit. The first eight years of the Who were like that. Very, very, very unhappy times. Most of it. And if they were happy, it was explosive happiness.
OUI: Aren’t you a backer of the Rock Against Racism movement?

PT: I am, and I’ve got this recording studio called Musician’s Co-op, which people use in a community way. Sometimes they pay me money, but usually it’s free, because I like their music or what’s involved or whatever. There was a band called Mystic, a British reggae band, and they have a community of their own called People Unite. They were based in Southall, which has a lot of Asians, Africans and West Indians mixed in with the whites. There’s a lot of tension there- occasional fights and things like that.

Mystic came to my studio and worked for about two weeks. They’re Rastafarians and smoke joints like this long [spreading his arms about three feet wide]. This one guy in the band really impressed me- a guy called Clarence. See, when they’d come into the studio, they wouldn’t just have the band record; they’d have apprentices there as well. About five guitar players pickin’ away. I was deeply impressed with the way they lived. My spiritual principles prohibit the dope, but at the same time, they seemed to respect my spiritual stance, and I had to respect theirs. Then I hear that one of the group is in the hospital with brain damage, that somebody had put an iron bar through his skull during a riot against the Fascist national Front. I thought. "Please, God, may it not be Clarence." Because without him, this whole group of two or three hundred people in the area- young kids and families, who all depended on this band for a living and a raise on debts and everything- would be fucked. It was him. So I’ve decided that I’m gonna stand up and get counted. I think fascism stinks. And I’m gonna go onstage and say so. And I’m a bit scared. Not for me. I’m scared for my family, and the people around me.

OUI: Heavy talk for a guy not known for political convictions.

PT: My grandfather, and his father before him, and my father, all fought in a war against fascism. We lost uncles, we lost brothers, we lost all kinds of people. Hundreds of thousands of people. In Britain, just as in New York, there’s a strong Jewish community. About half of my friends are Jewish. I know how they feel about the last war. And to see that we’ve allowed a fucking party to reproduce itself. And yet, I don’t wanna deny anybody their right rights. But if the National Front can say, "Send the niggers back to wherever" and "Send the Jews back to wherever" and "Send the Asians back to Uganda," then I can say, "That attitude STINKS." And I think the phrase Rock Against Racism is much more universal and powerful than a lot of people realize.

* Tonight @ Fort Reno. Metropolitan. Thursday at Ft. Reno: the caribbean.


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