Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Endless Yam

Been listening to Shenker-Pattison Summit "Endless Jam" 1 & 2. MS can still throw down, but I notice that his vibrato has grown, Maria Callas-like, to canyonesque widths. Not neccesarily a bad thing, but I find it funny that opera singers, as they age, tend to get bigger, wider, swoopier vibratos, and this most vocally melodic hard rock guitarist is showing the same tendency. Hmmm.....

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Stuck in the past, or process of re-integration?

It started out innocently enough. I realized that when I'm on the treadmill I would have a better workout if I listened to 70's hard rock than if I listened to jazz or classical music. Nothing surprising there. Certainly Johm Bonham or Cozy Powell will give you a more visceral push than Beethoven or "Birth of the Cool". Oh, I tried listening to Coltrane with Elvin, or Miles with Tony. Visceral as they may be, the music was too good! I would stop and listen, I wouldn't get that butt-whipping I needed to keep going. This led me (or gave me a good excuse) to build up a library of the type of rock I was musically weaned on. It started with Zep's "How the West Was Won" and quickly progressed through a fair sized library of Thin Lizzy, Rainbow and UFO. (Pat Travers, too. But again, there's too much musical information to make for a good workout - I tend to pay too much attention to the music). I could justify this easily - listening to the same thing would get old after a few weeks, and buying a few used CD's for 8 or 10 bucks was cheaper than a months membership in a gym.

But then something unforseen started to take place. I started to undertake a mild reevaluation of this music. Nothing serious, just an appreciation for a kick-ass rock-n-roll band. Real musicians playing real instruments in real time.

It also coincided with a growing interest in Miles' late 60's - early 70's fusion, and how he had been influenced in large part by Jimi Hendrix. This pointed me back towards Jimi, and Cream (an early love), and the early Jeff Beck Group. Along with Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown.

It wasn't simply nostalgia. I had to admit that I liked this music. I genuinely liked listening to it. It was becoming, quite often, my listening of choice. Not just on the treadmill, or in the car. I was digging this old stuff.

Now I come to an interesting point. Do I like it because of what it meant to me? Or do I really appreciate it on its musical merits? Well, some of it I would bet because it triggers off - not just memories, but the entire range of feelings and senses of simpler times. But most of it is appreciation for simple, honest music. And some great guitar playing.

So what do I do with this? It seems that for years I tried to distance myself from the music I grew up playing. But now I'm forced - well, maybe not forced, but compelled - to confront it. Do I try to submerge these things? Shove them back into the recesses of my musical personality? Or do I undertake a new kind of integration? Do I filter these early influences through all that I've learned and experienced in the subsequent years?

It seems that I've decieded on the re-intergration approach. As I said, I don't think it's simply a longing for my lost youth. I don't suddenly want to be rock star when I grow up again. But I'm no longer averse to showing some rock influences in my jazz playing. My jazz has always been too rock for some, my rock too jazz for others. I'm far too old to worry about it anymore, and simply want to play honest music.

When I recorded my first CD I was very conscious of staying well within the mainstream jazz guitar sound tradition. But even then I got dissed by "Just Jazz Guitar" magazine as showing too much of a Scofield or Stern influence (even though I consider them pretty mainstream and in the tradition. Or of their own tradition. I've been listening to them both since I was 17 or 18, so they've been around most of my musical life). Well, boys, you ain't seen nothin' yet! I tried to eliminate vibrato, no string bends, few simple blues licks. I tried to earn some be-bop stripes. And it still wasn't enough.

Well, now I'm ready to embrace everything I find appealing in guitar playing. Hendrix' elemental power and primal energy, Cream's willingness to dive into the deep end improvisationally (which is propably where I got my taste for improvised music), Albert King's wringing a string bend for everything it's worth, Larry Carlton's perfect phrasing and great legato sound, Schenker's extended rock vocabulary and distinctive vibrato, Blackmore's manic-ness (no one can get a stranglehold on a single note like him), McLaughlin's "play like it's your last day on earth" ethos, Jeff Beck's melodic quirkiness, love of rude noises and his absolute mastery of electric guitar textures. I'm going to throw it all into the pot and see how it makes the stew taste.

Really, anything that can add to your expressive potential can only be a good thing. Simply being conscious of my vibrato, and using different types on different notes, adds so much human-ness to the guitar, gives it a more vocal quality. I realized that many of the jazz players I love (like Ed Bickert and Jim Hall) make ample use of different types of vibratos, so the "rule" about not using vibrato is straight ahead jazz guitar is bullshit anyway.

So, we're gonna open the late 70's floodgates and see what spills out. Should make for an interesting ride.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Good gig, and "Why People Don't Like Jazz"

Had a really good gig last night. Quartet at the Sidewalk Cafe on Ave A in NYC. Plus, I got home in time to watch the Yankees salvage a game against the Mets. All in all, an excellent night. The same group has another gig on July 15, and I'm looking forward to it. Putting together additional repertoire - last night was only one set, the next gig is two sets.

Now - after us there was a duo, alto and upright bass. Young kids, and deadly serious. They were the ultimate example of why people don't like jazz. Their manner was totally off-putting. No talking to the audience (if you call the band that played before you, the sound-person and a waitress an "audience"), no introduction of tunes. Plus, they showed up late (we could have played an extra 10 or 15 minutes. I guess they were on JST - "Jazz Standard Time" - thanks, Rob). And my personal favorite, after a tune (which sucked) we all responded with undeserved enthusiastic/encouraging applause, the sax player FINALLY deigned to acknowledge it with the slightest nod of his head. WHOA!! Jackass! I don't NEED to clap! I could have just told you that it sucked and that you should abandon whatever twisted vision of music you're laboring under. But I did the polite thing and tried to support your lame endeavor. You should at least show a little appreciation for our attention.

Now, the reason they sucked so bad. Tha bass player had intonation troubles, which is not uncommon for a young upright player. I could almost have forgiven this. The alto player, who had a nice sound and some chops, would seemingly play the melody to the tune IN A DIFFERENT KEY than the bass player. At first I thought he hadn't transposed something correctly, but he made a habit of doing this, so I can only assume that he thinks it's some sort of stylistic/musical breakthrough worthy of dedicating his "art" to. He is, sadly, misguided. It just sounded bad. And it certainly didn't give the bass player anything to anchor his adrift-at-sea intonation to. I kept trying to find some logic to what was taking place, but there was none. He would sort of start the tune in a different key, but gradually make his way around to the same key as the bass player. I really couldn't tell if it was intentional or not, but either way, it just didn't sound.

Playing in a duo, with no chords, is hard enough to put across. You have music that people find too abstract already, and further remove any points of harmonic reference (compounded by his haphazard polytonalism). It really becomes gnat notes. There was nothing to grab hold of, nothing worth an investment of your attention. This, combined with the serious, aloof stage demeanor - it's easy to see why jazz is no longer popular music.

Now, as the blog goes along you will see that I have fairly broad musical tastes, and I would only encourage someone to push the envelope in any way they think matters. But, when something is just bad, well, I'll call it out and say so. This was just bad. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt - I had my young serious days, when I was far too full of myself. I could forgive that. I certainly have played things that traveled too far along the abstract highway. And I don't need(nor do I think it should) for jazz to be "dumbed down" to try and broaden it's appeal. But, before you subject an audience, however small, to your ramblings, you better have your shit together. If not - back to the woodshed.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Top 11

Have you ever seen this?

Really, an abomination of a list. First off – you can’t compare Jimi Hendrix to Andres Segovia. You can’t compare Eddie Van Halen to Robert Johnson. You can’t. They don’t all belong on the same list, and if they do, the order is certainly screwed up. I just realized Segovia isn’t on the list, but even as the list stands, it’s too much of a mixed bag. Also, is it “Best” or “Most Important” or “Most Influential”? How exactly do they compare greatness? Eddie Van Halen plays “better” than Chuck Berry. But he’s not as important. He may be as influential by now, but without Chuck Berry, the point is moot. Ry Cooder plays guitar maybe a hundred million times “better” than Johnny Ramone. How many Ry Cooder songs can you name? Outside of the movie “Crossroads” I’m not aware of his work. Not that I haven’t heard it, I’m just not aware of it. It’s usually on other people’s records. (No disrespect to Ry. I just checked on Amazon and he has a ton of records under his own name, more than I realized. But I think you get my point. I hope you get my point. I hope I know what my point was.) And really, how can you say ANYBODY is better than B.B. King? And where the hell is Albert King?!?

This thing made me compile my own list – serial compiler of lists, that I am. With a nod to Nigel Tufnel, it goes to 11. After the first 5, the order is kind of arbitrary, depending on my mood.

1. Jimi Hendrix
1. Jeff Beck
3. Peter Green
4. Eric Clapton (pre-1975)
5. Jimmy Page (I-IV only)
6. Tommy Bolin
7. Ritchie Blackmore
8. Michael Schenker
9. Gary Moore
10. Brian May
11. Carlos Santana

I tried to limit it to rock guitarists. This means guys who were first and foremost rock guitarists, even if they played blues-rock or jazz-rock. This eliminated a number of people who I love, but who fell outside the limitations I set for myself. Most importantly Larry Carlton and Roy Buchanan. When my friend Andy compiled his list at my request, he left off SRV for the same reason, considering him a blues player. This list is certainly indicative of my age, but I try to be open minded. A few words on my selections.

You’ll notice two number ones. Jimi and Jeff or Jeff and Jimi. Jimi gets the nod and gets to be listed first only because his legend is so large. Such is the benefit of dying young. If Beck had had a similarly unfortunate story, he would be revered far more than he is now. Beck was probably there first, with almost everything. Feedback, psychedelia – plus he went places Jimi didn’t live long enough to get to – jazz-rock, electronica. He really took whammy bar manipulation to new levels, crafting whole melodies from a single sustained tone. In fact, he should be the only guitarist allowed to have a whammy bar. Period. No one can compare to either of these two. That’s why they top the list.

Peter Green is a recent obsession of mine. I now understand why B.B. said he was the only white guitar player to give him chills. His best playing is his blues playing, early with Mayall and the Mac, but since they became more of a rock band under his leadership, and since he’s part of that 60’s British blues-into-rock generation, he qualifies.

Clapton was for long stretches of my life my favorite guitarist. That said, he suffers from longevity. Unlike Beck, who hibernates when he has nothing interesting to say, Clapton had put out some really gawd awful music. But his work with Mayall and Cream are tops. Oh yeah, “Layla” is a pretty good record, too. After “E.C. Was Here” there’s nothing really essential. Nothing that I’ve heard, anyway. His playing is never bad, it’s just too much more of the same.

Page I never really liked very much, but I’m smart enough to understand how good what he did was. It’s not really just LZ I-IV, probably up through “Houses” and “Physical Graffiti”. But he too suffers from having played some just awful stuff. Unlike Clapton, who would still play well on crappy songs, Page played some crappy stuff.

Here’s where the list gets personal. Bolin is a personal favorite. He’s part American Indian, so he gets points for that. Plus, when he was good, he was great. He could also go through the motions (I have an awful live Deep Purple thing), but he’s responsible for some of the most important music to me personally. The stuff he plays on Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” is hard to overvalue in terms of it’s importance – he was the first rock guy to make headway playing with jazz players in terms of big time fusion. Some of the guys in Miles post-DeJohnnette/Holland electric bands may have been more rock than jazz, but their approach was more jazz. Bolin was rock, through and through. And I love his two solo records. There’s hard rock, fusion, reggae, 70’s pop ballads, bossa/samba. A very open musician.

Blackmore spawned a whole school. Plus, he played some fierce shit. “Made In Japan” and “Rainbow Rising” are classics. Earth shattering.

Schenker – best phrasing I’ve ever heard from a rock player. Melodically far superior to anyone else I’ve ever heard in the genre.

Moore – his blues playing is way over the top for me, but the records he made with Collosseun II, “Black Rose” (Lizzy), “Back On The Street”, and the records he did with Cozy Powell all earn him a spot. Another rock guy who was able to bring jazz sophistication and fusion excess/chops into rock, and not dilute it.

Brian May – nobody else could do what he has done. An updated Les Paul, in terms of layering, overdubbing, and an orchestral approach to using the guitar. I always think he gets overlooked because you can’t play his stuff in a garage band.

Santana should probably be higher on the list. His first few records, and “Lotus” and “Moonflower” are all classics. He’s a beautiful soul, and you can hear that. A very genuine musician. You can’t fake what he does.

Ommissions? Van Halen is the obvious one. Why? Because if you only listen to the first VH record, you hear everything you need to hear from him. Plus, he loses points for all the demon children he spawned. Chuck Berry and George Harrison would certainly top the list in terms of influence. But this is my list of “best”, not importance or influential. Andy Summers would deserve a passing thought. Without him, we wouldn’t have The Edge. But he actually knew chords to go along with the cool effects. “Murder By Numbers” is one of the hippest rock songs harmonically that I’ve ever heard. Pete Townshend. Again, personal preference. If the list went up to 15, he’d be on there without question. I thought it was nice that they had Angus Young on the RS list - his guitar playing is really good, and often overlooked. Iommi? Nah. David Gilmour? Maybe, but Floyd was never my cup of tea. I didn’t smoke pot. Uli Roth should get a spot – he made Andy’s list. Sort of Hendrix/Blackmore composite with monster chops. The father of neo-classical shred guitar. But he was good. He doesn’t get blamed for his demon children. Pat Travers, Pat Thrall and Gary Richrath were all favorites, along with Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy. But they don’t quite get a spot on the list. Travers would , if anyone of them. Especially for the chords he was able to get into his tunes. Amazing.

The one guy who is earning a spot on the list is Derek Trucks. Best slide player I’ve heard. Better by far than Duane Allman. (#2??? They listed Allman at #2???)

There are so many things to pick apart on the list – it’s hard to know where to start. I won’t bother with it all, but how do you put Joe Perry above John McLaughlin, who in turn is above Pete Townshend? If you could compare those three, in any meaningful way, Perry is at the bottom of the list. No matter what criteria you used (except maybe record sales). Really, the more I look at that list, the more my head spins. They must have just picked the names out of a hat.

Of course, this is all subjective, and could change on a whim. But for now, that’s my list. I’ll probably tackle jazz albums next, that’s been floating around in my head for a few days. Then classical pieces. I do love making lists.

How I Know I Still Believe in God

I was born and raised Episcopalian. A happy accident of my Irish ancestry - though I suppose that means I inherit some shared guilt over Northern Ireland. I’ve never considered myself anything other than this, though I have come precariously close to Buddhism. More in the sense of "in addition to" rather than "in place of". I’ve also never considered myself NOT this, I always have and guess I always will identify myself as an Episcopalian, though it’s been decades since I regularly attended church.

I do, however, have serious problems with "OR" (Organized Religion). I witnessed first hand the personal hypocrisy of too many churchgoers to think that OR does any damn good at all. Many people get caught up in the trappings of a religion, and lose the message. They think that if they get there on Sunday morning, they’re covered for whatever other lousy behavior they display the rest of the week.

This led, quite naturally, to a reconsideration of EVERYTHING, all religious teachings that I had been exposed to. I like Buddhism, and always find it very close to the experience of playing music. But I could never make the full leap into adopting it as a religion. If my gripe is with the structure behind religion, isn’t one just as susceptible to corruption as the next? Though I have to admit the Dali Lama seems less corrupt than the Pope, or I’m guessing the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.

I intellectualized about the existence of God and the reality of Jesus. I came back to the truth of Jesus’ message. It really does work for me. I often think that if He were to show up in present times, He would re-phrase His message something like this:

"Try not to be a dick."

Of course, He might soften it up somewhat, but the whole "Do unto others" thing can really be summed up in my contemporized version, I think.

I did abandon the Michelangelo image of God as some old white guy with a long gray beard sitting in a big Archie Bunker chair controlling everything. I do, however, continue to live my life as if someone is watching. Keeps me from being a dick. Whatever that force is that set things into motion, that’s God. You know, whoever lit the match that set off the Big Bang, that’s God. That initial energy, that ultimately primal impetus.

I also like Emerson’s notion of the OverSoul. The idea that we’re all connected, not just to other people, but to everything in the universe. A lot like Buddhism. And again, a good reason to not act like a dick.

But the thing, beyond any realization that I still hold onto some "faith", a belief in something I know cannot be proven, and beyond any Cartesian intellectualization on the existence of God – the one thing that tells me that I still believe in God – I pray. When I’m truly worried about something, when a loved one is sick or suffering – I pray. I ask for God’s help. When I lose someone, I ask God to take care of them. When something good happens to myself or those I love, I try to remember to say thank you. There’s no intellectual activity behind it, there’s no calculation like "I better cover my bases, just in case". I simply do it, without thought.

I don’t bother praying about the small things. "Please God, I really want a better job/car/house". "Please God, drop the price of gasoline". "Thank God I've got clean underpants". C’mon, He’s gotta be too busy for that crap. But when those I love are in trouble, I pray.

A simple realization on my part, I suppose. But it was an important thing for me to understand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Just so I don't forget...

Better have a good excuse for not having been there to sign this. Or to add your name to it.

Come to think of it, it doesn't matter. There can be no excuse.

*** 6/15 *** UPDATE
Five more Senators signed on. That leaves 15. All Republicans, mostly Southern. Draw your own conclussions.

Depression, anger

Feeling pretty lousy today, not really sure why. Some weird lingering depression, some simmering rage. They may not be connected to each other, but they're both coming to the fore at the same time. Usually, it has to do with exhaustion, when there are no real external changes to be upset over.

Can't pin it down. I'm pissed, just not sure at what.

The other thing that can set me off for a few days is unsatisfactory to bad musical experiences. The way I break out of a spat of bad playing is to practice my butt off. If I have a bad gig, or a lousy session, I usually make a determined effort to put in a few hours a day over the next few days to shake it off. But when I'm too tired to put that kind of time and effort in, the negative effects linger. And then I'm in a lousy mood. Like now.

Maybe tonight will break me out of it. Rehearsal. If I can muster some energy and maybe play something decent, hopefully my attitude will be adjusted. I certainly need it.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I *heart* NY

It seems that every time I have the chance to spend a little bit of time away from the NYC area, I have the same thoughts. "This is lovely! But I've got to be getting home now."

It's wonderful to see that there are pure, unspoiled locales. That life can be simple. And it makes me wonderfully happy to get away from that and get back to the heart of civilization.

Of course, I'm not back within the confines of NY 10 minutes before I'm cursing the traffic, damning the inconsiderate, and bitching about overcrowding. But I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm certainly not ambivalent in my feelings, though I suppose I am conflicted. Perhaps I just love to complain.

It's similar to the feeling I have when walking around a bookstore. Being surrounded by great ideas, I'm inspired to try and raise myself up as best I can. Being around the energy, the aggression, the congestion, the glorious struggle to achieve on the greatest stage, I'm inspired to "do". To try and achieve. To produce "something". When I'm out in great, open spaces I don't feel the same thing. While I love the chance to commune with nature, and would love to be able to spend more time close to animals, it doesn't provide me with the same buzz.

I suppose it's just something in my makeup. One of my most vivid memories as a child is coming out of the subway station into Times Square the very first time, and the awe, the sheer awe that I felt then. I still feel it, every time. Being outside the city will always be a diversion for me, it can never truly be my way of life.

I suppose I could manage some other city, and I often think about it. But I'm clearly meant to be an urban dweller, not someone who can survive in a rural atmosphere. Where are the 24 hour delis? Where are the used book stores? Where do you get an umbrella when it starts to rain?

I may like visiting those rural locales, but I *HEART* NY!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Where do the thoughts go?

I had forgotten how much of a toll a long daily commute can take on a person. Having spent the last 3 days trekking up to 57th and 11th, I am amazed at the absolute paucity of thoughts now floating around in my head. There's nothing up there. Just blank, empty space. All I can think is "I want sleep" or, alternately, "I want beer". If I could manage a compound thought, it would clearly be "I want to drink beer, and then go to sleep", but that seems like too many distinct things to keep logically connected in the frayed recesses of my brain.

It's obvious that my commuting chops are not what they once were. If I were to have to do this on a regular, daily basis, I wonder how things - music, relationships, parenting - would suffer? It's just so draining. I'm left with nothing to offer anyone. Makes me appreciative of the fact that it was simply a 3 day diversion from my normal routine.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

RIP Oscar Brown, Jr.

Just heard the sad news that we lost the great Oscar Brown, Jr. this week. I am truly saddened by this news. He was a great artist and, by all accounts, a great human being. A spirit like that is something rare, something that should be fostered wherever it is found. If there is a small flicker of that spirit inside of me, I hope to use my time reflecting on his life, his art, and ultimately his passing to encourage it.

Thank you, and bless you Oscar Brown, Jr.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Not just Stein

I saw Peggy Noonan's column yesterday, and thought it was outrageous. I have some reading to do, but I'm pretty sure I've got my facts straight for the most part. I'm glad to see other people as pissed off about this revisionist historicism as I am. There's a good discussion here:

And a great counter-argument here:

Haven't heard back from Mr. Stein yet. But it's only been a day.

I will write about music soon, I promise. Maybe even later if I get the chance.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

My letter to Ben Stein

I didn't get to watch the cable news shows last night, went to see the new Star Wars movie instead. I would have like to, though, because the whole Deep Throat thing has me fascinated. I did read on some news sites this morning comments from folks like Pat Buchanan and Ben Stein, people who were in the Nixon White House, things to the effect of "if it hadn't been for Watergate, Nixon never would have allowed South Vietnam to fall to the communists, nor would he have allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power in Cambodia".

I found this confusing. From what I know (admittedly little), Nixon's Vietnam policy was pretty much set in motion before Watergate. Now, as I mentioned in my first post, I'm perfectly willing to be proven wrong. Maybe there was something to this. Or maybe it was Revisionist History being written before our very eyes.

I truly want to know. To that end, I sent Ben Stein the following email. I hope he responds.

Question about Nixon, Watergate and Vietnam

Dear Mr. Stein,

I have a question for you. I didn't get to see your recent appearances on the cable news shows, but I read some transcripts and it raised some questions for me. I saw quotes attributed to both yourself and Pat Buchanan saying that had it not been for Watergate that Nixon never would have allowed South Vietnam to fall to the North, nor allow the Khmer Rouge to come to power and commit the atrocities in Cambodia.

My question relates to the timing of these events. Hadn't Nixon been engaged in Vietnamization and Peace Talks before Watergate? Wasn't the US well on its way to losing in VN before Watergate?

I don't mean at all to sound like a smart ass. I really don't understand the history of it all, and you seem like a very good first person source. I have always been a fan of your work, and especially of your intellect. I may disagree with some of your politics, but I try to maintain an healthy respect for people like yourself who put forth clear, consistent, honest views. I enjoy a good debate, but don't care for screaming matches. My only credo is to be willing to let go of any idea I may hold. Goodness knows there's more that I don't know than that I do know, I could be totally wrong. I would like to better understand the part that Watergate played in our eventual defeat in Vietnam.

I do, however, approach this subject with a healthy dose of skepticism. Could it be that there's some revisionist history being written here now that Deep Throat has been outed? A good opportunity to "clear" Nixon, improve his legacy and the legacy of his administration? (Mind you, I have always maintained that Nixon was the most effective President of my lifetime, until Clinton. I have always thought that Reagan got too much credit for world events falling into place under his watch. Nixon was the first President that I was aware of as a young boy, and I have always had great respect for the man. His flaws were forced into the open at a time when we weren't used to seeing our leaders as flawed). I of course understand that Nixon inherited Vietnam, and that it was an impossible situation. Or perhaps it wasn't? Watergate is to blame?

I hope that find the time to answer this, as I am truly interested and would love to learn what you have to offer on this topic.

I bow to the Buddha nature in you.

The next post will be about music, honest. Unless Ben responds by then.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pop that cherry!!!

OK, here goes. I enter the wide world of blogging. I suspect that most of what I'll post here will be concerned with music. Other than that, I'm sure some political rambling will come through as well. I guess I'm a liberal democrat, though I always thought I was pretty much in the center politically. It's just that the right has gone so far right, that the center now seems left.

Both sides can seem wrong, it's just that one side seems much more wrong to me than the other lately. It's not even simply ideological differences anymore - things like "isolationist vs. interventionist", or "small gov't vs. big gov't". Actually, I'm not sure which of those positions are on which side, these days. What I used to think of as conservative, I no longer recognize. And the Democrats had moved pretty far to the center under Clinton, so that what passes for the left nowadays is anything this side of total fascism.

I basically don't like the Neo-Cons running our Democracy to the ground, and bringing about the end of the American Democratic experiment, and the start of the American Imperial experiment.

Enough for now. I'm not very well versed politically, or historically, though I do my best to do my homework. I'm not afraid to be proven wrong, and I adamantly refuse to cling to ANY idea. There might always be a better one somewhere. I am simply a concerned voice, and this is a great way to sort through my thoughts. I'm much more fun when I talk about music. I promise, the next post will be about music. Honest. Be gentle with me, this is my first time.