Page 1

J Amanda Palmer K Rock the BellsK Tim Biskup KInvisible DJL

Aug ‘08 No. 5



On Stands: Aug 1st

Volume 01/Number 05

on the cover:

Amanda Palmer

4 Color Serigraph on Paper 18” X 24”

Photo By David Dodde


Benjamin Hunter Editor-in-Chief




John Gourley of Portugal. The Man


Tim Biskup


Who Are Your Neighbors?




- Sep 1st


One Color


Invisible DJ

Sub Pop - 20 Part Two

David Dodde

Creative Director

Shaun Saylor Publisher

Assistant Music Editor: Juliet Bennett-Rylah Music Editorial: William Case • Brian Hoekstra • Benjamin Klebba


Hip Hop and Democracy

Rock the Bells


Cover Story


Amanda Palmer

Eric Mitts • Emilee Petersmark • Mike Saunders • Nick Stephenson Damien Thompson • Elizabeth Viernes • Andrew Watson

Essays: Corey Anton • Wes Eaton • Nikos Monoyios • Valerie V. Peterson Copy Editors: Wes Eaton • Jennifer Elmer • Scott Pierzchala Contributing Art Director: Andy Cruz Contributing Artists: Jevon Dismuke Photography: David Dodde • Damien Thompson Website: Chris Martinez • Shawn Melton

Advertising Sales:




Warped Tour


A Tribute to George Carlin







Mental Gymnastics

Immortal Technique


Wide-Eyed LLC 1158 26th Street Suite #724 Santa Monica, CA 90403


General Offices: Wide-Eyed, 1158 26th Street Suite #724 Santa Monica, CA 90403. Wide-Eyed assumes no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic or other material. All rights in letters and unsolicited editorial and graphic material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to WideEyed’s unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially. Wide-Eyed, date of production January 2008. Custodian of records is Shaun Saylor. All records required by law to be maintained by publisher are located at 11740 Wilshire Blvd. Building A2203 Los Angeles, CA 90025. Contents copyright ©2008 by Wide-Eyed Publishing LLC. All right reserved. WideEyed, the “Eyecon” and the Torn Edge masthead are marks of Wide-Eyed, registered U.S. Trademark office. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any electronic, mechanical, photocopying or recording means or otherwise without prior written permission of the publisher.




Flavor Savior Raw Milk…in a Pasteurized World

Local Interest

Store Front

Music Review




WE DON’ T SLEEP ANYMORE. WE HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE, GRIND, GRIND, GRIND. EACH MONTH WE DO IT FOR THE LOVE. We are a crew of friends that love music, art and culture. We are hitting up shows and interesting people all over the map so LA can have a taste of what’s going on in the country at large. Relentlessly we pursue bringing you the most interesting people, with the most provocative conversations. Last month we went to Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan. Juliet had a chance to speak with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls and the rest of us got lost in the Sherwood Forrest. That festival is a trip. People had “the handshake under” their tongues. Emilee headed to Detroit and produced a wonderful preview for this year’s Warped Tour which comes to the Home Depot Center on the 17th. I went to Chicago to visit our super star photographer and writer Damien Thompson for the piece we did on Rock the Bells. What a great experience. We spoke with some exceptional people that day, and if you love hip hop, you won’t want to miss the show on August 9th. It’s the most glorious collection of the BEST in hip hop. Come on! Tribe Call Quest and The Pharcyde are back together and sharing the bill — now that is serious!

All the Best,

Editor in Chief, P.S. Hit up and visit the blog section, there are tons of great photo’s from all these events. : )

The Wide-Eyed Team, What’s up? My name is Jon Berrien, I am an executive producer and host for is a new web-based music television show that features up and coming musicians and bands in the Los Angeles area. We just launched in June and have already amassed 30,000+ hits. I came across your wonderful magazine while in the Amoeba music store on Sunset. I really enjoy it and just wanted to reach out and let you guys at Wide-Eyed know that exists, since we are covering similar aspects of music and culture. 


Thanks again, Jon Berrien  

… As I smoked my cigarette and sipped my double espresso - I saw a captivating image in one of the *free newspaper stalls. It had that distinctive image and fabulous font! I was thrilled to take a look. … And, I was pleasantly surprised by your MAG! I just loved everything about it!!!!!

– Thanks for the love, we dig what you cats are doing over at Groundsounds. I look forward to collaborating in the future with you and your peeps. Keep up the good work. Your content is fresh and your site looks great. Best, Benjamin

Hello! Kudos to the new mag!  I love it! I first found WIDE-EYED on my local afternoon coffee spot at the corner of La Brea & Wilshire (…um yeah… it’s a Starbucks). My neighborhood is quaint. It definitely bubbles in the afternoon. Usually, I am left with picking up a magazine at the newsstand on Wilshire and Detroit (90036). BUT!

Thanks guys! Saneyuki – Saneyuki, thanks for the words of kindness. I really appreciate the rest of the letter where you gave us some much needed constructive criticism on our web presence. We’re working that out, and would love to get together with you to discuss your thoughts on keeping the people in the know. Thanks again! Best, Benjamin

playing music. I was just so far away from wanting to do anything in front of anybody. I guess growing up I always listened to oldies radio, just things like that – Motown, whatever my parents listened to basically is what I listened to. I went into high school and Zach had a band that would do Rage Against The Machine covers and Cannibal Corpse covers. It was always really fun to see. He and I started playing together, just him showing me Rage Against The Machine riffs on bass. That’s what we did every day. I’d go over to his house and he’d show me how to play a new Rage bass line. That was how I basically got into it. You know, I think it was getting away from all that I had been brought up on – I mean I had been listening to the same music over and over again for 14 years or whatever. So just hearing all that stuff that was on the radio like Marilyn Manson and Rage Against The Machine {laughter} was just so crazy to me. You know, Nirvana, all these bands that had just – at the time they were making music that sounded like stuff we could actually do. So, yeah, we just started playing.

John Gourley of Portugal. The Man interview by Ben Klebba

John Gourley crafts magical fantastic earth rock together with the band Portugal. The Man and they have a new record called “Censored Colors” coming out soon. The whole thing was a crash course creative whirlwind produced in two and a half weeks in Seattle with a little help from their friends. Lush keyboards and R&B distilled guitar lines coalesce with layers of John’s downright amazing voice. Raised with love and respect in the massive wilderness not far from Anchorage, AK, John has a solid outlook on life and creativity as life. Wide-Eyed: So you grew up in Alaska? John Gourley: Yeah. WE: What was it like? JG: It’s funny. When you grow up any place you really don’t notice the difference in anything. I really didn’t know the difference until I left and moved to Portland and with touring and everything. But it’s an amazing place. I was lucky to grow up the way I did. My dad raced the Iditarod (side note – the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race is the world’s foremost dog sled race over 1150 miles), just crazy things throughout my childhood… so I got to go and see crazy empty tundra in the middle on the winter, stay out in cabins in the middle of nowhere… I did a bunch of really cool things. Alaska is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. WE: I’ve never been there. I moved to Portland from Chicago about a year ago and I really want to go. You were just outside of Anchorage, right? JG: Yeah, where I grew up and went to high school is a town called Wasilla and it’s about 40 miles north of Anchorage. WE: Is it light there for months and then dark for months or does that not happen that far south? JG: Yeah – it still does. The further north you go, the sun goes into a straight rotation – just crazy circles in the sky. Where we were, it’s pretty much light all day and then it gets dark for about 3 hours roughly at midnight or so and then it gets light again. It never gets fully dark. And then in the winters, you only get like four hours of daylight. Five hours maybe. WE: Do people lose their shit? JG: Yeah. On the heavier side of things, the suicide rate there is insane. WE: Is there a music scene there? JG: Yeah, there is. There’s a lot of metal and there’s a lot of bluegrass, {laughter} and a lot of nothing else in between. There’s been some

pretty good bands up there lately. We played with a band called The Riot last time we went up to Alaska. They were really good and I heard they actually moved to Portland. As well as The Builders And The Butchers are from Alaska. WE: I’ve noticed that there is an Alaskan transplant population here. JG: That’s the thing. The whole Alaskan music scene moves out to Seattle or Portland the second they’re able to. {laughter} Whatever’s up there is just maintained by the people that live there. It’s just a lot of metal and a lot of bluegrass. There’s really not clubs up there. WE: Was it hard to find good music growing up? Was there college radio? How were you informed musically coming up? JG: Um… I wasn’t really. In high school when I first started playing with Zach (Carothers – bassist/vocals), I was terribly, terribly shy growing up. I would never even think about

WE: So when does Censored Colors come out? JG: You know I’m not sure. I have no idea when the record comes out. We’re kind of talking to some people right now, now that the record’s ready to come out, doing a partnership type deal to help push the record along. We did this whole record without a label at all. We planned on just releasing it ourselves and I guess technically we still are. But once we got the record done, we decided we’d just throw it out there for fun and just send it to the labels we’d like to go to. And we got a really good response and I think it ended up working out in everyone’s favor. The labels we talk to we can trust to make an album we want to make and hopefully get away with that. WE: I heard you put this thing together really fast – in 2 weeks or something with only 2 songs ready. How did the album come together? JG: Yeah, we’re always prepared when we go to the studio (sarcasm). What happened was we had pretty much toured all of last year from the release of Church Mouth up until December. When we got back to Portland we decided we would just go up to Seattle and work on some new music, make some EPs or whatever. And when we were up there, our friends Phil Peterson and Kirk Huffman wanted us to come and record some songs for an EP or a split. And we went in, and I had kinda been working on a few ideas for Censored Colors and we just had demos for 2 songs, with no intent of doing the record. So we left the studio, went back to Alaska – I think Zach and I were up there for 10

days – and during that 10 days we just called everybody – our manager, the rest of the guys, and were just like “Shit, let’s go into the studio. We have two and a half weeks before tour. Let’s just record the album.” WE: Wow. JG: And I think it worked out for the best. Being able to just run in like that. That’s the way we’ve done everything up until now. I think it makes an album a little more fluent – if it’s all just kind of written in the same space. It’s just two and a half weeks is a crazy crunch time to do it. We were having to write a song a night. It was all pretty spontaneous. There was a lot of jamming on it. WE: That’s pretty daunting. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff going on within the album – there’s the doo-woppy piano thing of “All Mine”, loads of vocal harmonies, cello work, there’s some bizarre falsetto on the song “Created” – which is a great song. JG: Thank you. WE: Is that you singing on “Created”? (side note — it sounds distinctly like a woman) JG: {laughter} I was listening to it after and thought “Damn, I sound like a chick.” WE: Yeah. That’s you?! JG: {Laughter} Yeah, I don’t know how that happened. Where did that come from? I think the idea with that song – we had had a lot of fingerpicking parts on the previous album – It’s something I’ve always been into doing, and we didn’t have a song like that. I think that song was written in maybe 30 minutes. {laughter} Maybe. We went in and just did it. I think it came out different than I had originally started writing it anyway. We totally wanted to do that old Supremes style melody line to it and with old school soul lyrics. And that was a song I had written about my brother and his kid – he had just recently had a kid. WE: You seem to be a big fan of layering your vocals. I can hear Beach Boys elements and classic soul sounds – when do you know when to stop? When is too much too much? Or do you love layers? JG: {laughter} I don’t know. In the past we just stop playing and we’re like “OK that sounds good. That’s what we were going for.” There’s always an idea when we sit down. I’ll lay down the guitar track and as everybody’s laying down the bass and the drums and keyboards, I’ll be thinking about the vocals that will go on it and how it’s gonna sound and everything. There’s always an idea going into it.

(concluded on page 31)



One Color

By: Nikos Monoyios


Journey of Harmony.” Witnessing the runners

event known as the Olympics graces our world.

carry the torch around the world breeds a sen-

As the single most broadcast event in the

timent of stubborn and unrelenting harmoni-

world with an estimated 3.6 billion viewers,

ous will. It’s the vision of hope for a brighter

the Olympics continues to break attendance

future lighting the way. That said, I pity these

records. The Athens 2004 games hosted

Olympic protesters because they suffer from

over 200 nations and the Beijing games is

a confrontational pathology whose actions

expecting even more. Although impressively

will never solve problems, only continue to

triumphant in scale and fanfare, and as the

magnify our wounds instead of cultivating

human tragedy dictates, the Olympics have

hope. After all, the Olympics are our only global

the misfortune of being tainted by politics.

institution that has the ability to generate an

From boycotts to terrorist acts, the Ol y m-

international spirit of togetherness that can

pics have alway s struggled to remain

supersede political strife.

pure and chaste from the malevolence of human difference.

According to members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Vil-

In the ancient Greek world, the Olympics

lage, which houses more than 10,000 athletes

signaled a truce against all arms. Enemies

for 2½ weeks, generates an atmosphere of great

would drop their weapons and be granted safe

understanding. As mentioned in an article by

passage to congregate in honor and respect of

sports columnist Josh Peter, former Olympians

the spirit of the games. Advocating an ethos

have also experienced this camaraderie. Anita

of participation over winning inspired the

DeFrantz, former U.S. rower and current rep-

eventual script of the Olympic Creed: “The

resentative on the IOC states, “ When you live

most important thing in the Olympic games

in a community of successful people and you

is not to win but to take part, just as the most

can sit down at any table and share a meal and

important thing in life is not the triumph

talk with anyone about experiences at the

but the struggle. The essential thing is not

Games, you know that peace in the world is

to have conquered but to have fought well.”

possible and, indeed, more likely than not.”

This spirit founded the Olympic slogan which reads, “Citius- Altius- Fortius.” which

Ron Neugent, a swimmer on the 1980 U.S.

means “ Faster - Higher - Stronger.” Col-

team which boycotted the Moscow Olympics, is

lectively, the Olympics have inspired all of mankind toward the pursuit of excellence in all facets of life. Then came modern politics. The American led boycott of the 1980 games in Moscow occurred out of protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Subsequently, the Soviets boycotted the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles. Recent attention has been directed toward protesting the Beijing games because of human rights violations and the Chinese treatment of Tibet. We’ve even witnessed saboteurs of the Olympic torch route try to make their

still amazed by the experience of brotherhood which occurred only one year later at an international meet where two of the Soviet Union’s top swimmers fraternized with a crew of American swimmers. “ We were in one of the swimmers’ hotel rooms, just kind of sitting around, shooting the breeze,” Neugent said. “ They were telling jokes about their government (policies), and I was just shocked because you had this image of the Soviet Union’s athletes basically being robots. I came to the conclusion after that that people throughout the world are the same. We just have a different style of leadership. That’s

voices heard. Yet, what is ironic, funny, and sad

one of the great aspects of the Olympic

is that the Olympic torch route is known as “The

Games, the cultural exchange that goes on.”

Protesting Chinese politics is one thing, but to transpose the protest onto a venue of peace and harmony is in extremely poor taste. Let’s simply compare Chinese human rights versus the global attitude of our presence in Iraq. Though most of us protest the Iraqi occupation, would it be appropriate to boycott our own Olympic hopefuls from participating in the vision and spirit that defines the Olympics? Boycotting the Olympics is directly offensive and dishonorable to the entire world. Daniel Kaye, executive director of the International Human Rights Program at UCLA said, “These are athletes from all over the world, and many of whom will go on to positions of leadership. They have this opportunity (at the Olympics) to see and experience other cultures and to break down barriers. It’s not like you see a policy outcome the next week. But certainly for these (athletes), it changes the view of who they are.” Touché. Come to think of it, the Olympics can be seen as one of the greatest protest the world has ever seen. We are a world of commonalities and familiarities and refuse to be solely subjugated by national politics. The opportunity to constantly and collectively participate in the games demonstrates to the world that we are a world of brothers and sisters with one common spirit, not a people subordinated by policy. In the end, our only differences are that we are subjected by different governments separated by borders on a map. The Olympic spirit will triumph, and the vision represents the world that we all want. Eventually, nations will be distinctive and celebrated by the culture of its people and not by the colors of their flags. This is the new Olympic dream, one flag… one color.

very personal and very scholarly in a way that I’m not necessarily comfortable with all the time. I had to do a lot of research for it and a lot of preparation. I did just as much painting as I usually do for a show but actually spent almost as much time researching it, doing writing and things like that. WE: How was your writing used at that show? TB: I did a book. I wasn’t sure if you had read that. WE: No, I haven’t read it. TB: If you go to the Jonathan Levine website and look at the show there’s a link to a PDF there. You can download the whole thing. WE: So what’s under your hat now? What’s brewing now? What’s the next project? TB: Well, after going through this whole philosophical change that the show represented for me, the New York show, my next show is called Operating System and it’s really an attempt to approach my art work from a new point of view; encompassing the conceptual ideas that I talked about in the last show in to the work in a way and also do a show about the process of coming up with a system. It’s kind of hard to explain it without looking at it from the conceptual and the visual side. So, on the visual side it’s three-dimesional sculptures. The sculptures actually incorporate the packaging into the piece. I’m working with computers to cut pieces of flat wood and they all fit together in to these sculptures that basically have these birds on top of them that are holding the paintings; kind of like an easel. Each piece is actually a crate that has a pedestal inside of it and an easel that holds the actual painting. It’s looking at the process of shipping and displaying and the way that the artist presents it and incorporating that all into the experience.

Tim Biskup Interview by David Dodde

Tim Biskup is a monster. Prowling the world with his brand of merry characters including yetis, abominable snowmen and things that go bump in the night, all embedded in engaging and often overwhelming environments. From nostalgic typography to “baroque modernism”,Tim Biskup’s work is a manifestation of the So Cal environment which raised him. As a draftsman and technical painter for studios including Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, Tim has developed environments and characters that only a gifted imaginarian like himself could conjure. He is a master at balancing chaos and psychedelia with warm, child-like connections to flora, fauna, damsels, and deep spacial retreats. Eye candy with a razor. For almost two decades Tim has been utilizing any method possible to birth his creations, from Serigraphy (screen print), to vinyl toys, wood standee, composite sculpture, traditional canvas wall hangers and a clothing line (Gama Go). All of it done with the same meticulously detailed execution as his studio work. Pinning down this prolific jetsetter is not easy (his last stop was Taipei). Wide-Eyed’s David Dodde caught up with this jet-lagged Southern California native at his La Canada home. Here are a few written rants about his recent New York opening and his ever bustling touring schedule. Wide-Eyed: What brought you to Taipei? Tim Biskup: A DJ gig. WE: Interesting. Is that a new direction you are going? TB: Yeah, I’ve been DJing for a while as a hobby and it’s still a hobby, but more and more people are approaching me and bringing me out to events to DJ. WE: So any good horror stories? TB: I do have a really nice picture of a bowl full of chicken feet that look a lot like little, tiny, baby Godzilla hands {laughs}. WE: Nice. Make sure you give me that photo. TB: Yeah. I’ll try.

WE: How was the New York show and how do you think it compared to your LA shows and Paris and Tokyo? TB: Well, it was a really different kind of show for me because it was the first time I really put as much written information into a show and so it was more literal than anything I’ve ever done. It felt like I was going out on a limb by expressing a lot of the things that I expressed;

WE: That’s fantastic. I was reading one of your blogs and you mentioned “baroque modernism.” I thought that was a pretty fascinating term. Can you explain that to me? TB: Yeah. There was this furniture dealer in Hollywood that called me one day out of the blue and was talking to me about my work. I was talking to him and that was the term he used for my work. It was at a time when I was really using a lot of flourishes and using the kind of shapes and things that were used by a lot of modernists, a lot of post-modernists, a lot of expressionists, cubists and things like that and yet I was adding a lot of detail, so much detail and so many little flourishes that it became more baroque than minimalist. So that’s the term he put on my work. WE: I thought it was a nice term, a nice combination of words. TB: It is, and it’s an aesthetic term, you know, it explains what my work looks like on some level. Recently my work has been a lot more conceptual and so it doesn’t fit quite so much but I think that there is a lot of cubist influence in my work, there’s a lot of modernist influence but it’s more expressionist than it was in the past; more personal and emotive; visceral I’d say.

TB: Yeah. There was a piece in my last show that had the HELPER in it, but it was a sort of cubist version of him. But the title really says a lot about what the HELPER means to me these days. He’s not as cute as he was before and I started to really think about that character as a representation of the ultimate corrupt person. The idea of a Cyclops being a person who has lost their sense of depth and their sense of their ability to really see the world as it is. The piece that I painted for my last show was called ‘No God But God’. It was a reference to man creating, turning himself into God and essentially the HELPER is the monster that people turn into when they believe that they know the will of God. I’m not a religious person, but if there is a God, it’s not something that anyone can truly know. I think that’s where we run into problems is when we try to say that we know what God wants. It’s a very universal thing, it’s not a new idea, but for me, using that character to express that has really become the way that I almost always think about him. That started when I was working on a show called American Cyclops. That happened in Barcelona when I studied a lot of American history, Spanish history, and looked at Freemasonry and the origins of the American political system. I also looked at Native American history and the way that it was incorporated into that system. I used the Cyclops as a representation of the human form of things like the pyramid that appears on the dollar bill and the eye in the sky that appears in a lot of paintings about Manifest Destiny. He really became a representation of man turning himself into God and attempting to be God. WE: That’s interesting because I used, for the Wide-Eyed logo, I chose the all-seeing eye, the pyramid eye. Instead we turned it into a Bambi version, a soft version; instead of the critical eye, a more open version of that. So I can definitely relate to that concept. So any new collaborations? I know you did Barcelona with Baseman. Anything new? TB: No actually Barcelona wasn’t with Baseman. The last show I did with Baseman was Modular Populous. We just happened to be in the city at the same time when our shows both happened. It was in a different gallery. Collaborations. I do them a lot in the toy world with vinyl figures and things like that. I am working on a couple of collaborations in Japan and I’m actually doing a show at the end of next year that is going to be mostly collaboration but I can’t really say to much about it. WE: That leads me on to my next question. This is directly from Andy Cruz. Is there ever going to be a Tim Biskup typeface with House Industries? TB: {laughs} Absolutely! It’s a matter of the forces of all of our lives coinciding. In the last year or two I really haven’t used that much text in my work. I haven’t really progressed as far as the type and things like that. The paintings that I am working on for my Paris show in October all have text in them. I’m thinking a lot more about text now and so I think it’s kind of inevitable that that will be pushed forward and hopefully we’ll make that happen soon. I know it’s been a long time coming.

TIM BISKUP WE: I can see that. So where did your characters like the HELPER go?

(concluded on page 31)



Asylum #5 / 2008 / Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Wooden Panel / 24 x 36 inches


Vision #1 / 2007 / Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Paper / 18 x 24 inches

Doom Loop #6 / 2008 / Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Wooden Panel / 18 x 24 inches

No God But God / 2008 / Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Wooden Panel / 36 x 36 inches Asylum #2 / 2008 / Cel Vinyl Acrylic on Wooden Panel / 24 x 36 inches


me some background from your studies in political science over at Northridge. JW: I went to Cal State Northridge which is the only school I applied to in LA because I was planning on going to my first pick, NYU, which is back East. Every time I thought about transferring I ended up continuing to stay because I was working on a new project which then was Invisible DJ and so forth and used that money that I made from promoting to travel the world. I lived in Vietnam. I lived in Thailand, Hong Kong, China, everywhere. I became a more cultured individual. I kind of went, ‘ Well what do I want to study at Northridge?’ I inquired into the music program and they told me that I needed to be able to play an instrument to get into the music program which I thought was really interesting because, to me, music industry is behind the scenes: it’s promotion, it’s the agent, it’s the manager, it’s the publication, it’s everything but being a musician. They were very strict with their policy. I tried to fight the system and I couldn’t. So I actually went into liberal studies; liberal arts. I kind of created my own major. I focused on music, art, science, history. I was kind of like, I can do music myself; I don’t really need to learn. I was taking these music classes and by senior year, I was in music 5 advanced something… like music promotion. They asked us to go and put on a concert. I’d be basically like, teaching that class. I was like, ‘I don’t need to major in this. I’m going to major in something else. I’ve taught myself how to make it in the music industry so I am going to now go to college and learn how to do something or learn about something that I have no idea what to do.’ So that was my major.

Young, business savvy, and eccentric as a hurricane wrapped in a box of tsunamis, Jeremy Wineberg is bringing a fresh new way to help artist get the cheddar they need to exist. He’s that Invisible DJ in the shadows, jockin’ the freshest product in the grocery store of new talent. He marries them to fashion retailers, and the end result, is a handwoven niche market, that’s proving to be quite fruitful for this young entrepreneur. Wide-Eyed: Growing up what type of music were you listening to say in your adolescence? Those years of great change that many kids go through. I was interested in what type of music you were listening to then. Jeremy Wineberg: I think for me, you know, high school was a roller coaster of different music, it was a little bit different then how I view music now. I grew up loving Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, Green Day, that whole rock/ska movement, I think of the 90’s. I think me being born in ‘85, obviously you’re asking me about my adolescence, 90’s into 2000 would have been Eminem, Doctor Dre. I think I was very influenced by what was played on the radio, what my peers were listening to, which I think is so different than now. Now it’s like this open market, like this individuality, where you can go online, read blogs and find out about new music by yourself as opposed to what it used to be; ‘well what are your friends listening to, what is top 20 at Tower Records?’ which no longer exists. So that’s pretty much what I was listening to growing up. WE: So back then the model for consuming music was the DJs and the radio stations and then you had a few different niche markets. But, for mainstream culture we didn’t have the technology that we have today where you can create your own individualized playlist. JW: Which is good and bad. I spoke at South by Southwest, it’s actually kind of cool, they closed

their panels in December and they gave me a call about three weeks before and said, “ We’d love for you to come and speak.” They actually flew me out there, which was kind of cool, to talk about the digital music age. I always throw myself against the wall and bounce back and forth going, well, individual downloads, is it the right thing, is it the wrong thing, are people not appreciating music as much, is that the right thing, is that the wrong thing? I think it is the thing and I think it has a lot to do with iTunes and selling them. I mean look at Steve Jobs. He came in 2003 and went, ‘ You know what, I have the perfect solution to save all of this from people downloading music from Napster and Bearshare, or whatever share it’s called,,’ all of these sites that pretty much no longer exist, because there were no laws or restrictions. No one really knew what file sharing was, it wasn’t really illegal, it was kind of this idea that people could share between each other and it was virtually created overnight. Jobs came in and said, “I have this solution and this device where I am going to get people to now instead of downloading something for free, they’re going to pay a dollar for it.” Unfortunately, as he continued to become innovative, all of these major labels are now going. Capital has closed its doors. EMI laid off 400-500 people, Universal is trying to figure out if it’s going to be in business in the next 8 months. They’re still trying to sell CDs when no one is really interested in that model anymore. So it’s kind of fascinating for me to watch all of this.

WE: So what was the impetus for starting Invisible DJ? What brought you to this beginning? JW: I was always interested in music. I kind of came from a musical background. My father was one of the founders of Goldenvoice. So for me it was growing up and going to shows and being the 15-year-old running the box office at the Palladium. I went to go and work for Madonna when I was sixteen. I worked at Maverick Records and in my early college years, I went to the firm and worked for Jeff Blue for about 2 years, working with Korn and Limp Bizkit and artists that used to be there. I was a customer in Ron Herman. It was Christmas, it was December, buying presents and I heard music in the store and I said, “ Who arranged your playlist?” I met this guy named Brett Brooks who is the men’s buyer for the store and curated the playlist for the store, we talked and I said, “I want to start a record label” and he had the same vision that I did. He was a lot older than I was which allowed me to look up to him as an older figure to learn from. What’s exciting is the label started everything. It was casual, it was like, ‘Do you want to work with me on this?’ and I didn’t really realize what I had when I went into it. I would tell people I started a record label with Ron Herman and they were like; ‘That’s the biggest store in the world, in Los Angeles.’ Through that I have been able to build relationships with so many people, including people in the music industry that I never would have been able to meet. As we talk further I’ll tell you about some other projects I am working on which are kind of cool and creative. So yeah, that’s pretty much how I got started with Invisible DJ or how I started Invisible DJ. WE: So, political science. I would think a guy like you, into fashion and music, perhaps might have studied marketing or music business. You studied political science. Give

WE: Rather than creating it for themselves; like the old DIY movement. It’s not creative, it’s not DIY, it’s the commodification of punk, fuckin’ Hot Topicicized. JW: Right. I mean, I think that punk rock sold out when Green Day considered themselves punk rock. Or when Sum 41 considered themselves punk rock. So, I think that with, not to dodge the question, I think that in retrospect every certain genre has sold out, I mean, you look at rap and you go, “ We’re hood.” You’re not really hood, I mean you know you’re making 15 million dollars a year, you’re not hood. I mean, let’s get real. You know, like, stop singing about smoking crack when, you live in a house in Beverly Hills. What’s interesting to me, in terms of artists attaching themselves to brands, is that it is the last avenue where there is still money to be made. Aside from touring. You look at bands like Vampire Weekend and MGMT and they are constantly being offered corporate sponsorships and they’re taking them because as great as they are, they’re not selling a million units. So there needs to be some sort of other income to support their own tour that their label is not funding because all of these bands now are trying to go in with different deals. So, if an artist can team up with some sort of corporate sponsorship and go out there and exploit themselves in any way possible and then walk away making some money from that; I think that artists are satisfied. I don’t think people look at the word sellout anymore. Now music, it’s just about trying to make some money any way we can.

(concluded on page 31)

Illustration by Jevon Dismuke

Invisible DJ Interview By Benjamin Hunter

WE: At SWS last year, you had stated that bands these days need more “corporate touchpoints” in the context of how the new model of the music industry is working. For the people with more of a punk rock sensibility, they might consider that selling out. What are your thoughts about art and commerce and how they are dependent or not dependent on one another? JW: I think times are changing. I’m trying to think… uh… punk rock. When did punk rock start? I think punk rock sold out when it became more of this cultural movement where everyone was dressing like punk rockers. Right? People were buying into this look, into this lifestyle and into this music.


Who Are Your Neighbors? By Corey Anton LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE COMPLAINING about the soaring price of gasoline. And not just that. Prices of things like alcohol, tobacco, and coffee are up, and people are paying more for their eggs, their flour, and their milk too. As many people gripe and bitch over the state of affairs, few are taking the time to reflect upon what it will mean for U.S. culture, and how, in many respects, some of these adjustments are long overdue. Sorry to say it, and please don’t be angry at the messenger, but the truth be told, we as a culture seem a little out of touch with the conditions of living found throughout the bulk of the world. Let me give you just one example: A friend of mine, someone who is both a great lover of coffee and an owner of a coffee shop in Canada, went to Costa Rica to learn about the particular coffee beans that he loves so much. At the coffee bean plantation he was given the opportunity to pick his coffee beans from the plants, and the experience was quite an eye- opener to say the least. He discovered that it takes around three thousand hand picks—somewhere between two and three hours depending on how fast he could pick the beans—to produce one pound of coffee. Picking a couple of pounds of coffee was backbreaking labor, and after only a couple of hours he was exhausted. “I had no idea how much effort and time was behind just one pound,” was his first thought, followed quickly with, “and that was just the picking, not the roasting and packaging and delivering.” As he was telling me the story, we both just sat back and sighed. What a depressing state of affairs. “How to make amends for all of this?” was the thought that plagued us both. We in the U.S. have had it way too good for way too long. In many respects we’ve lost the perspective of the bulk of the rest of the world. Whereas starvation, privation, and

want prevail in many places, modern U.S. problems are mainly due to excess: countless health problems associated with over-indulgence, wide spread obesity, mounds of hightech trash, and growing numbers of narcissistic and self-image disorders. And, despite all of this, so many people still seem not to understand how much goes into the foods and products they love. Admittedly, the oil companies suck and they’re ripping people off, but we, you and me, are sadly enough the exploiters on other fronts. Migrant workers and people employed in third-world countries are exploited and

other by using categories, the problem being that an excluded group inevitably emerges. Any collective based in race or nationality or religion or political party or even belief is a collective that excludes in order to include. In contrast to such symbolic identifications and disidentifications, Lingis argues that there is but one community, the true community, a community sharing in their very nonbeing. That’s right. Nothing is what everyone in this group has in common. To be alive is always to be among the community of the dying, and this community excludes no one. What more do you need to share?

ripped off by rich countries and this means us. In many places of the world, people work long hours in brutal conditions and have no health insurance or medical benefits. If people in the U.S. could learn to be more aware of how much exploitation is involved in the items they regularly enjoy, they might be willing to pay more for them, and maybe, just maybe, people could learn to waste a little less. Maybe people could act more locally when they think globally and think more globally when they act locally. They might actually try to ask themselves, who, actually, are their neighbors? We are not, even as individuals, simply in the world; we are of it: we all are indigenous inhabitants. Communication scholar Amardo Rodriguez writes that communication is a kind of love, for it refers to the habits and practices by which we become vulnerable to the humanity of others. To overcome a discrete sense of self, to learn how to open to others and to the world more generally, we need these more than ever in today’s global economy. One of the more relevant and insightful books on this issue is The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common by Alphonso Lingis. He argues that people too often attempt to define themselves or each

We perhaps could learn much from Epictetus, one of the great teachers of Stoicism and arguably the person who issued the Western world’s first cosmopolitanism. Once asked where he was from, he gave a reply that all of us might just as well say: “I am a citizen of the world.”

Soy Bomb By Wes Eaton UP UNTIL RECENTLY, SOY MILK HAD BEEN A STAPLE food item in my family’s diet. Like millions of other Americans, lactose intolerance kept cheese and milk intake to a minimum, and the soy industry had a tasty answer for our dry cereal bowls, baked breads and cakes and other culinary needs. While soy was slowly integrating itself into my home cuisine, I was broadening my food awareness in other culinary areas: pasteurized and homogenized milk, out-of-state produce, Thailand shrimp farms, processed “cheese,” Genetically Modified veggies. All of these and many other ethically and environmentally questionable food items were making it into our grocery basket unnoticed on a weekly basis. Nowadays, instead of blindly purchasing and consuming, my family investigates the food we eat. We’ve since become conscious of the fact that our country does a very iffy job of feeding itself. Soy milk is touted as a delicious and easy to digest alternative to cow’s milk. Its mainstream image is that of healthy, nutritious and conscious eating. The problem with those ideas is that nobody knows if they are true. There is, in fact, as much evidence that imbibing soy milk on a daily basis may be as harmful for you as it is said to be healthy. In his book On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen, respected food authority Harold McGee explains that the soybean, along with canola and corn, account for a vast majority of all the genetically engineered food we eat, which is 75% of all processed foods. It’s no wonder then that soy milk was there when my family’s lactose intolerance seemingly called for it; we’re a target market! Millions of dollars and decades of industry funded research and flavor manufacturing have resulted in the soy milk we now see packaged for sale at all grocery stores. Its naturally beany flavor, unacceptable to Westerners, has been removed and its health benefits government approved. A miraculous, meatfree, high protein, easily cultivated and processed food is now available for your consumption. Now that we’ve heard meat and potatoes are no longer safe, eggs are unhealthy and milk is unnatural, soy seems then to be the answer. But before you pour another tall glass of sugared and cooked bean juice, let’s take a look at some of the arguments against soybeans and the soy milk industry. Thousands of years ago the Chinese and then Japanese first cultivated the soy bean – as a fertilizer. Soy bean plants were tilled back into the earth to prepare the soil and the soy bean was only eaten in times of famine. The bean itself was a poverty food. Fermented salty soy foods like miso and soy (shoyu) sauce eventually entered the Asian diet later followed by soy beans which had been cooked and processed into solid foods such as bean curd and tofu, both of which make up the majority of soy bean processing in contemporary Asia. However, unlike what the modern soy industry will tell you, the Chinese and Japanese have not been gulping down chocolate, vanilla and plain soy milk for thousands of years, the notion that they have is quixotic. We therefore cannot possibly understand its potential health effects on Westerners by studying the health of people in the East. Not only do they eat less soy than we believe, theirs is usually less processed or fermented. Our American heated and chemically altered soybean products seem to pose the greatest touted risks. Upon survey, one finds that the story of American soy consumption is intimately tangled with many varied health topics. A quick Google search yields information on soy and its petulant relations with Osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, cancer, hormone production, and especially mineral ingestion, Thyroid function, antinutrients and baby formulas. Interestingly enough, for every study which says soy milk helps fight cancer, lowers cholesterol and is good for babies, there’s others which say not so. While plowing through documents, evidence presented to the Food and Drug Administration, articles and other similar scholastic pieces, I found it helpful to inquire who was funding the reported findings. If the sale of soy milk was paying the bills, nothing bad was said. Others have steadily hoisted a black flag. Harold McGee’s take is consistent with our incomplete understanding of this bean:

“It’s too early to say whether soybeans are more beneficial to human health than any other seed, or whether it’s a good idea to eat them often.” Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD writing for the Weston A . Price Foundation, a non-profit food awareness group based in Washington, D.C., are adamant about the dangers of soy consumption for our society. While their attack is more easily understood by chemists and nutritionists, they basically argue soy is too highly inadequate nutritionally to be used as a replacement by vegetarians for dairy and meat. One reason is phytic acid, known as phytates, which occurs at excessively high levels in the soybean, and serves to “… block the uptake of essential minerals-calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc-in the intestinal tract.” Processing the soybean does not alleviate this effect, however, these levels are much lower in traditional soy products like soy sauce, which unlike highly processed soy foods, also contains anticarcinogenic substances not found in soy milk. Kaayla T.

Daniel, PhD, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, agrees, adding: “All modern (unfermented) soy products carry a load of antinutrients and toxins including protease inhibitors, phytates, saponins, isoflavones and other components that have been proven to cause digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, (and) reproductive problems.” Many other health professionals had much of the same to say. Also, there’s the concern about hemagglutinin, a blood clotting agent found in unfermented soy products which slow the body ’s oxygen respiration, the growth depressant trypsin, the toxin lysinoalanine, dangerously high levels of MSGs, and some other flavor and substance additives which are at best suspect. Most US soybeans, which represent half of the world’s production, are originally processed for animal feed or soy oil which is made for hydrogenated fat products like margarine

and shortening, foods which surreptitiously replaced butter. Consequently, butter has gotten a bad rap. As butter consumption has steadily dropped, heart disease and cancer have risen rapidly, paralleling soy, corn and canola oil consumption. With modern food production technology, the insipid byproducts of soy oil can be processed further into the spraydried protein-rich soy protein isolate (SPI) powder laced with all the questionable soy components listed above. Much of this is then turned into the controversial soy baby formula which contains not only the phytates, but also high levels of aluminum while lacking cholesterol and lactose, ingredients essential to breast milk and healthy infant development. While adults may intake soy as part of a varied diet, new babies only drink their formula. Not only then is soy missing the basic things our body requires from staple foods, it could actually be detrimental to our health. Few “staple” foods are further from “natural” than soy milk. If soy is so unhealthy, how and why is it becoming more and more popular? In reading about the powerful soy industry, its meetings, campaigns for consumer acceptance, lobbyists to the FDA , thousands of dependant growers, millions of planted acres, development of new products like soy yogurt, soy ice cream, cosmetics, and other model consumer goods, it was easy to see how we bought into it. The soy industry, headed by Archer Daniel Midlands the world’s major soy processor, fought for years for FDA and consumer approval of its products and continues to do so. Millions of dollars of advertising works on Americans. If it’s supposed to be healthy and is widely available, cheap, and made to taste good, we’ll buy it. For the vast majority of us, that’s all the further we need to investigate. Learning about where our food comes from is a thing lost in the confusion and spectacle of late capitalist America. Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig eloquently explain, “Advances in technology make it possible to produce isolated soy protein from what was once considered a waste product— the defatted, high-protein soy chips—and then transform something that looks and smells terrible into products that can be consumed by human beings. Flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers and synthetic nutrients have turned soy protein isolate, the food processors’ ugly duckling, into a New Age Cinderella.” From toxic, inedible byproduct waste to our dining room tables, that’s where soy milk comes from. Speaking out against soy is uncommon because of how powerful the industry really is. I’m pretty sure Wide-Eyed just lost a sponsor. The soy industry spends millions on advertising and those are dollars the media does not want to lose. It also payrolls major PR firms which insert pro-soy reports in newspapers, magazines and politicians mail boxes. However, if you start putting your ear to the growing cracks of this highly exposed industry, you’ll begin to hear others rumbling about the health myths of soy. Here’s a quote from the beautiful “Soy milk is loaded with vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain peak health. It also provides special nutrients called isoflavones that scientists believe may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and provide other important health benefits.” The Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has categorized soy isoflavones as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) with the FDA , but not everyone agrees. In an article submitted to the FDA by Michael Fitzpatrick and the Weston A . Price Foundation, estrogen-like isoflavones are condemned as under-studied and toxic. His biggest worry: “The potential for chronic endocrine system and reproductive toxicity and alterations to the immune system.” I now understand that while soy milk may contain vitamins and minerals, almost none of them are naturally occurring. The phytates found in soy milk reduce the body’s ability to absorb such nutrients anyway, so what’s the point? The health consequences of soy milk are still mostly unknown, and that’s what scares me the most.



are feeling good, knowing that we are important for something, that we can make a difference. I don’t know if it’s going to make a change but… WE: It creates a dialog. R: Exactly. It’s touching everybody, and every body has to deal with it. It’s an exciting time, there is a lot going on, and a lot of rappers are speaking about political things. It’s a good time bro, cause this is the time of the seventh seal. It is what it is.

B REAL Wide-Eyed: What are your thoughts on this year’s presidential election?

B Real: I think that it is definitely inter-

Interviews by Benjamin Hunter Rock the Bells may be the best thing that ever happened to hip hop. It is a glorious celebration of the most righteous and gifted hip hop all-stars to ever share the same bill. Real hip hop is back in full force, craft brewed lyricists take the stage to provide the world a lyrical beverage of deep meaning. Rock the Bells artists reflect the sentiments that are being shared in this country right now. Americans are tired of the war, tired of this economy, and our true colors are shining. It’s not an aggro America, it is a young country sick of the rule of meatheads. There is nothing shitty about love. We all need it. Nihilism is fucking boring, scenesters are played, and that gangster hater shit is dead. Rock the Bells champions the message that we can all come together for the love of music and each other. The following interviews took place with support from Rock the Vote. In a country that is saying goodbye to the douchebaggery of the Bush Administration, we thought it was imperative to speak with the pop cultural rhetoricians of our time. Hip hop is speech, in its most clever form. Spoken word is the aesthetic. It is a delivery system of the feelings of everyday people. Free speech is the pillar of our democracy, so I asked the hip hop community about their relationship with democracy how they actively engage with it. Rock the Bells comes to San Bernardino August 9th.

Kid Capri and Benjamin Hunter of Wide-Eyed

KID CAPRI Wide-Eyed: What is hip hop’s role in democracy? Kid Capri: What the hell does that word mean? (Referring to Democracy, he breaks into laughter) WE: Come on man, it’s a process. It’s not perfect, we’re working on it {laughing}. KC: I guess it plays a big part. Hip Hop plays a part in everything. Even in the elections, ‘cause hip hop has generated so much money, and has gotten so much attention over the years, whether some call it bad or good, we can’t help but have an influence to what’s going on. There is so much money


RAKIM Wide-Eyed: What are your thoughts on hip hop and its influence on democracy in our country? Rakim: I think now more than ever it has an influence on us because the voice of hip hop is so big now. At the end of the day, I think the government probably never thought it would come to this, but at the end of the day the young vote counts. We are looking at that right now with Barack. Hip hop is basically a way of life now. The things that people do are epistemic to hip hop, the things we go through like dealing with the system. It can even come down to legal things, like how much a crack dealer gets charged (punishment in the court system) to how much a coke dealer with the same amount gets charged. Or making sure that there are jobs for people and programs for people when they get out of incarceration. These things are affecting hip hop in every way. From hip hop, people are starting to wake up, like Puff wearing the Vote or Die shirts. People are realizing how important our vote is. I think that people in hip hop

esting. There is definitely history making involved here. We’ll see what happens. You have two candidates, and there is a lot of controversy behind both of them. You know McCain and people feeling like he is basically going to carry on what Bush is doing. People question Obama’s experience and authenticity as far as where he stands on issues. So people have their concerns. I really don’t know which way to go, I mean I’d like to see Barack win because he definitely has some interesting plans on how to change things, it’s whether or not he can actually implement them. WE: What are your thoughts on hip hop’s role in democracy in the United States? BR: Well you know hip hop is a voice so as long as rappers keep writing songs that provoke thoughts that are on a spiritual level or political level or just life in general; people will listen. People will either be inspired by it or turned off by it depending on what their point of view is. So it’s pivotal man, it’s a tool. It’s a communication tool of an amazing kind man. There ain’t been nothing like this. Hip hop is essentially kind of rebellious and controversial like rock, and it gives the “I don’t give a fuck!” attitude, like punk rock. So you know, it’s a combination as well as r&b or soul. Hip hop is a combination of so many different things, there are so many different emotions and vibes. So you know, it is an important tool for communication, for sure. WE: As far as the pendulum goes, no pun intended, do you think we (hip hop culture) are swinging away from the bling and materialism and coming back to the real? BR: Hip hop goes in cycles. It always has

involved in it, the millions and millions of dollars that are being made. That right there can start a whole revolution in and of itself. Especially when we’re selling more than country music. That’s unheard of. WE: You are getting a bigger share in cultural influence. KC: That’s what I’m sayin’. It definitely has reach in all avenues and astronomical amounts of money are being made. WE: What are your thoughts on this year’s election man? KC: OBAMA BABY! Why not, he’s going all the way. Why not?

B Real and Benjamin Hunter of Wide-Eyed

and always will. So for as long as there is commercial-type rap music that’s dominating the airways and the publications and all that sort of stuff, and the underground remains the underground, it will go in a cycle. For a minute it will have a few years to shine and then it will switch over to some other aspect of hip hop, so it goes in circles. Then there are so many hip hop fans out there, that there is something for everyone. You know the kids that listen to Lil’ Wayne and the G.I.’s and Lil’ John? They wouldn’t necessarily be down with this kind of hip hop and the fans here (Rock the Bells) wouldn’t

does, it’s a set up. I think we are going to find out something about Obama that nobody knows. I think some shit is going to come out, I really think so. It’s just one of those things. It’s much bigger than a racial thing. I think that having a black person in a position of that kind of power in America– I think fools would burn this shit down before they gave us that kind of respect. This is just not our place. In my heart I feel like that. In a certain way, America lets a black man get to a certain level. Once you get to that level, so many things can just break you down. To the point where, people will turn

Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde

necessarily be down with that kind of hip hop. That goes to show you that there are so many faces and elements of hip hop and there are so many fans out there that follow every aspect of it, that there is room for everybody. Everybody can coexist and that is the good thing. Whether you like what’s popular right now or not, it’s irrelevant. It’s the fact that there is so much shit out there, that no matter what’s popular or not, you can always get to the stuff you want, via the Internet. There is more accessibility as opposed to ten years ago where you didn’t know about all these crazy dope groups that are out there, now you can find them with a click of a button. You don’t necessarily have to follow MTV, or BET, or the radio stations. You can get on hip hop websites all over and find these new, up-and-coming people.

Photos by Damien Thompson

WE: Will you be putting out another record with Cypress Hill? BR: Yeah, definitely. Right now I am mixing my solo record. We are scheduled to have it come out in October. It is called Smoke and Mirrors tentatively. Then in March of next year, we are going to be coming out with the new Cypress stuff. It’s in production right now. It’s been in production for the last six to eight months. There’s a lot of songs. It’s going to be a high powered album. We are going back to really gritty grimy roots of hip hop, for us. There are a couple different things, here and there, but primarily it is all the rawness of what hip hop is, in my opinion anyway.


your own people against you. Put it this way, Obama is not going into office right now with the economy being low, he’s got the roughest challenge ahead of him that any president could ever suffer and he’s black. If he does it, it’s going to be like the greatest pull, it would be like Michael Jordan doin’ some shit. Bush has so fucked the shit up, everybody knows, everything is fucked up at this time. If he is going to step into office, there is just going to be so much pressure man. I hope that he does it, but living in the States, money is king and as long as money is the root of all evil, it’s never going to be right. I guess you could go live off the land somewhere in Africa, I can’t even say you could get it right there because people have been killing each other for thousands and thousands of years. This country was not built for us. We were transplanted over here and it was built around us and built by us, but it’s not here for us. That’s honestly how I feel. WE: Okay. Well, on another note, what about today? Look at this huge mass multicultural crowd that surrounds itself around hip hop. Today has nothing to do with bling and money, there is love. Can’t you admit there is genuine love in this country? BB: Let’s break it down, let’s break it down. SanDisk is putting it on, now you have a computer company, that has nothing to do with black people at all. Just as much as the emcees are benefiting, they are benefiting four or five times as much from the urban culture going out and buying thirty dollars worth of shit for your phone, memory – all that type of shit. I just have a different way of looking at things.



Bootie Brown: I have to give you my honest train of thought. We are in America, and in America most things that a black man

W i de -E yed : What are your thoughts on hip hop and its connection to this year ’s election?

Wide-Eyed: What’s up with this year’s


Jude Jolicoeur (AKA Dave): Hip hop is a culture that can sway individuals, for the people my age, 30s, 40s, what have you. It can definitely be a voice for those people and an influence for those people as well. Kids and adults alike, when rappers say ‘Throw your hands up in the air,’ it’s just as easy as saying go out there and vote. I believe that we have that force and that drive, to get people out there and be productive and be a part of our lives. I think the artists who are out there who are concerned, who are conscious of what’s going on, in their lives, in politics, so on and so forth. If we speak up, those that listen, will follow. WE: What are your thoughts about the pendulum swing that is going on in hip hop? As a culture hip hop is moving away from bling and getting back to “the real.” That has been a thematic at this show. JJ: It’s a cool thing. It’s always good to see hip hop take its sides. We don’t want it to lean in one place only or one corner only. It needs a balance and whether it’s bling or whether it’s consciousness, we need a balance. It’s been there since day one. There were rappers back in the day talking about doing drugs and ladies, just as much as there were rappers talking about the cultural lifestyle on a positive note. So it has always been there, we need that balance. WE: Kelvin, what are your thoughts on the connection between hip hop and this year’s election? Kelvin Mercer (AKA Mercenary): It’s just good to see people within hip hop or outside of hip hop just trying to pay attention. Being actually forced to pay attention due to how incredibly bad things are with certain aspects of our lives; economically, gas, health issues – I mean, the average person wouldn’t normally want to pay attention to issues like these. They need to be part of the process. Hip hoppers are normal everyday people at the end of the day, so they are paying attention to these issues and they want to try to use who they are to help people think about these things. Vincent Mason (AKA Maseo AKA Smiley) comes to greet his partners from across the room and immediately gets in the mix. According to Pharcyde’s manager and longtime friend Greg Campbell, Maseo is the “sweetest dude”on the tour. Up to this point Maseo was telling stories and cracking jokes on the other side of the room and had the whole green room laughing.

Vincent Mason (AKA Maseo AKA Smiley)

Vincent Mason: I definitely think that hip hop has grown up for the most part. At one point when it was very young it wasn’t a part of or at least thinking about being a part of mainstream culture, such as politics and things like that. Now that we are grown-up, a lot of us are 30 plus and we influence the youth as well. We have no choice but to be a part of politics to a larger degree because it is what life consists of. Being hip hop culture and being grown men, we just have the extra influence for the youth to be participating in it. The artist they respect are involved, like a Puff Daddy or even a De La Soul, you know what I mean? WE: So do you fellas have a new record that you are working on? VM: YEAH! Coming at you in 2011! {breaks into hysterical laughter} JJ: You know we never have a set date or an idea or a time, so on and so forth. We just work, and when it’s ready, it’s ready. So we are working at the moment.

Kelvin Mercer (AKA Mercenary), Vincent Mason (AKA Maseo AKA Smiley) and Jude Jolicoeur (AKA Dave) of De La Soul

Mercenary of De La Soul

Q Tip and Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest

Mos Def

Method Man

Amanda Palmer interview by Juliet Bennett-Rylah Rothbury, MI July 4, 2008

Before The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer spent a lot of time standing motionless, busking in Boston’s Harvard Square as a living statue called The Eight Foot Bride. This stark white stillness is in direct contrast to the beautiful maelstrom that is Palmer’s live. In cabaret costume, eyebrows etched on in meticulous calligraphy, she mercilessly pounds her piano into melodious submission. Sharp, clever lyrics delivered by a voice both sensual and strong are meant to be given strict attention. In rural Michigan during the Rothbury Music Festival, Palmer sat across from Wide-Eyed’s Juliet Bennett-Rylah in a stuffy media tent surrounded by acres of field and forest. Palmer discusses her forthcoming solo album and tour, just in time for us to tell you, Los Angeles, about her intimate solo show at the Troubadour on August 4. It’s your chance to spend an evening with the political, the punk and the consummate performer, Amanda Palmer.

Wide-Eyed: Let’s talk about your solo album. Amanda Palmer: Alright, it’s called Who Killed Amanda Palmer.

Photo by David Dodde

WE: Twin Peaks reference? AP: Yes. WE: Tell us about it. AP: Well, I’m a huge David Lynch fan so when I first got the idea of doing a solo record I thought that that would be a really funny title, but then the title sort of evolved into having its own little meaning and environment. I started doing off-shoot projects involved with the record… like some videos and there’s a book coming out along with the record that’s going to be written by Neil Gaiman. We’re doing this whole ‘various dead Amandas’ theme. So, it actually inspired a lot of other stuff which is the way it should always happen. You go in one random direction and eventually things blossom out of that — which is how life should be. The record itself is just gorgeous and I’ve never been so proud of anything in my life. I’m so, so happy with the way it came out. It was supposed to be just a little solo piano record with no production and it was supposed to come out last spring, like not this past spring but the one over a year ago. Then, Ben Folds wrote an email to the band’s website just saying, “Hi, I’m a fan,” and we got to talking and he offered me his studio to record it and then he offered to produce and then one thing led to another and what was

supposed to take a couple of weeks ended up taking the better part of a year. But, it was so worth it. I mean, the record is just beautiful. It’s got tons of really creative production on it, lots of strings, synthesizers, percussion, lots of background singing — not at all what I imagined it would be. WE: Does Ben play on the record? AP: Ben plays all over the record. He plays keyboards, percussion; he sings on it, he helped arrange a lot of the strings. He fully produced. WE: Are there any other special guests? AP: Yes, Zoe Keating, who used to play with Rasputina. She’s this fantastic cellist, plays on a couple tracks. Annie Clark from St. Vincent. She’s the singer from St. Vincent. She does a duet with me. And, East Bay Ray from The Dead Kennedys plays guitar on this great song called “Guitar Hero.” So, yes, laden with special guests. WE: How long are you touring with this record? AP: Indefinitely. Starting August, I go on tour. WE: And you’ll be in our homebase LA at the Troubadour in August. AP: That’s gonna be totally solo. I’m doing some shows in August that are just Amanda Palmer, solo piano, and then when I start the actual, real tour in October in Europe, I’m going to have a whole crew of backup people with me.

WE: Is that Estradasphere? AP: No, I’m not actually taking a band. I’m taking a lot of backup actors, which is a lot less standard. It’s going to be really fun. When I come back around spring or fall, I may bring the band – Estradasphere – with me. They’re going through some changes right now: they just had a baby, and they share members with The Secret Chiefs (Secret Chiefs 3) and they’re going on tour. I’m hoping that our schedules line up for the rest of the tour.

every two weeks and we just put the first one 21 up and people are loving it.

WE: When you say you’re going to bring backup actors, do you mean The Dirty Business Brigade? AP: No, not fans, but like actual, professional performance artists from Australia who are amazing. They’re physical theatre people that I’ve been collaborating with for a couple of years and they’re ready to just hit the road and do strange shit. So, it should be really good.

WE: Have you been playing these songs live for a while? AP: Yeah, most of them. A few of them are going to be unfamiliar, like “Runs in the Family,” “ What’s the Use of Wondering?,” “Another Year,” – there’s a handful on the record that haven’t been played live and haven’t been shared. But then a lot of songs people will recognize from having heard them solo, but they’ve never heard them like this.

WE: So, this weekend at Rothbury, you’re doing a Dresden Dolls set, you’re doing yoga, and you’re with Gravity Plays Favorites— AP: Yes, they’re just going to collaborate with us. They’re like these incredibly sexy poledancing acrobats. They’re incredible, not suggestive at all. That’s what I like about it – it’s very innocent. WE: Are they named after your song? AP: Yeah, that’s how we found each other. They named themselves after the lyric in “Gravity” and I wrote them a letter saying, “Oh, that’s so great,” and then they started opening up for us.

WE: Are they released on your YouTube channel? AP: Yes. They’re really good, really perfor mance-driven and very creative. I shot a handful of them at my old high school with a bunch of the students. I’m also putting the corresponding songs up with the videos on my MySpace.

WE: So what can the crowd at Troubadour expect? A lot of new record stuff ? AP: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it yet. As much as I like the whole production, lots of stuff happening, lots of actors, lots of costumes, I also really like the shows where I’m not really sure what I’m going to play tonight. I just sit down at the piano and it’s like a coffee club: you just sort of sit there and banter with the crowd and take requests. Those things are always really fun because they’re just so loose and relaxed and there’s no pressure. WE: Yes, more of an intimate setting… AP: An evening with… {laughs}

WE: Cool. On the album, the songs you wrote, were they written a long time ago, totally new or both? AP: It’s a lot of both. The oldest song on the record is over ten years old. I wrote it when I was maybe 22, 23 years old. It was hard for me to put that one on the record. Ben (Folds) was like, “Oh, it’s so great, you gotta put it on the record,” and I was like, “Ehhhhh, it’s a little too retro, I don’t know if I can handle that,” and he talked me into it.

WE: That’s what you should bill it as. (pause) Evelyn Evelyn? Gonna keep doing that? AP: I forgot about Evelyn. Somewhere in there we’ve got to put out the Evelyn Evelyn. The record is going to be called Evelyn Evelyn. Evelyn Evelyn presenting Evelyn Evelyn featuring and written by Evelyn Evelyn and starring Evelyn and Evelyn Evel the Evelyn Sisters. {laughs} Limited Edition eleven dollars and eleven cents.

WE: Are you happy with it now? AP: Yeah, I’m so happy with it now. He twisted my arm on a couple of issues and every single one of them I’m glad I caved.

WE: A thousand and eleven copies? AP: Yes, we put out a thousand and eleven copies on vinyl. I think we’ll have to put out more of the CD. Maybe we’ll put out one hundred and eleven thousand – it’ll take a while for them to sell. {laughs} We’re hoping to do a tour – put the girls on tour – for a limited tour. I don’t know if I’ve told anyone about this yet publicly. We’re going to do a tour – Jason and I are going to come and help tour manage them because they’re really shy and they need the support…

WE: Is there going to be a Ben Folds/ Amanda Palmer tour in the future? AP: Maybe, I just played with him in Glastonbury and that was fun. We’d love to do a sort of Elton John/Billy Joel experiment where we reserve a room in Vegas and he has a pink, sparkly piano and I have a purple, sparkly piano and sunglasses. WE: We interviewed Brian Viglione last month for our magazine. He said eventually there’d be another Dresden Dolls tour? AP: Yeah, I think the plan is do the Amanda Palmer solo record and see how it goes. I’d like to take a break after that because I’ll probably be exhausted. And then we’ll probably gear up to tour. WE: What other exciting things might you like to share with us? AP: The videos. I wrote and shot six videos with my good friend Michael Pope, who is an old collaborator who’s done a bunch of The Dresden Dolls videos. We shot six videos in six days for the record and we’re releasing one

WE: Right, I gotcha. AP: We’ll set up a tour of cities that only have double names like Walla Walla, New York, New York. We want to play Sing Sing Prison, Baden Baden in Germany – pretty much, we’ve already made a list of the cities. Most of them were in Australia, but we’re hoping to make that happen. It might be really expensive, but worth it. And the tour T-shirts are going to be amazing when you look at the back. WE: So it’s like a big surprise? AP: Not anymore, because I just told you about it. And you can write about it. Tell people in Baden Baden to watch out.


Part II By Benjamin Hunter

DESPITE ALL OF THE SUCCESSES of ‘89 and ‘90, a new challenge lay ahead for Poneman and Pavitt – Popular Culture. You see, once Seattle was put on the map; flannel shirts and Doc Martens were selling like crazy, as far away as Lincoln, Nebraska. Musicians from all over the States swarmed Seattle to “make it.” The Gap was selling pre-torn cut off flannel shirts, just in time for all the douche bag jocks to put them on their Christmas lists. It was a corporate hijacking of mass proportions. The cat was out of the bag and the wheels of market-driven product pushing were in full effect. Mass media had transformed Seattle’s culture into a profitable commodity, so you can guess what the major labels did. They went to town signing replica bands and offering advances that Poneman and Pavitt, couldn’t have dreamed of doing. Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli, The Gutter Twins

The sky was falling at Sub Pop and Nevermind was blowing the fuck up. Nevermind was picked up by major label Geffen/DGC. Nine months after Nevermind’s release it had sold 4 million copies. This was a blessing in disguise for Sub Pop. They received a buyout on Nirvana’s contract, plus royalties on future albums. This helped turn the label’s finances around. When the storm had settled from the grunge explosion, Sub Pop found themselves in the arena with major labels that had bottomless wells of capital. The artists began to demand bigger advances, so for Sub Pop to remain competitive, a deal needed to be made. In January of 1995, Sub Pop inked a deal with Warner Bros. Sub Pop was given the capital it needed to rock steady in a post-Nirvana world. In

return, Warner received 49 percent of Sub Pop. Later that year, co-founder Bruce Pavitt left the label to raise his family. In the middle years, Sub Pop had some excellent finds. They released ex-Dinosaur Jr. member, Lou Barlow’s Sebadoh records. Sebadoh are considered to be among the pioneers of Lo-Fi, along with other bands of the era, like Pavement, which embraced that style of production. In those days, Jack Black from the White Stripes put a record out on Sub Pop with his earlier project, The Go. Although the label has had its ups-and-downs; from opening shop in other markets (Toronto and Boston), to spending to much on band advances by the turn of the century, the label had fortified its brand with a broad breadth of talent.

Gutter Twins Photo by Sam Holden

While the country was going bananas over the grunge explosion taking place courtesy of Sub Pop, financially the label was being eaten alive by the growing pains. The downsizing began in the spring of 1991. That year the company dropped from 25 employees to 5. One had to take into consideration the massive amounts of physical material that had to be produced to keep Sub Pop visible in the market. Inflating the rock megaliths of the Sub Pop was not cheap. For this DIY company, managing the growing pains proved to be difficult. It was a mess: the legal fees, thoughtless expenditures on meals and travel, something had to give. It was the perfect storm for a disaster. Eventually the internal quandary became the beat on the streets. Both The Rocket and The Seattle Weekly ran stories prophesying the end of the label.


Wolf Parade

Wolf Parade Photo by Meqo Sam Cecil, The Helio Sequence Photo by Pavlina Honcova-Summers, Iron And Wine Photo by Kim Black, Fleet Foxes Photo by David Belisle, The Go! Team Photo by Jaime Beeden, NoAge Photo by Ed Templeton, The Shins Photo by Brian Tamborello

Postal Service Iron And Wine

The Helio Sequence

David Cross

Fleet Foxes

The Go! Team

“ You can buy your way out of certain problems,” Poneman says. “ You need to go back to your mission.” That mission has always been world domination. Really what they mean by world domination is that of discovering art and giving it to the world. This decade has been very successful for Sub Pop. The diversity of their artistry is truly amazing. In 2001 they released the Shin’s Oh, Inverted World. Later, in 2004, two of their songs would appear on the Garden State soundtrack. In 2003 The Postal Service sold nearly 1 million records with the release of Give Up. Keeping in line with their independent cultur al sensibilities, Sub Pop embraced the realm of comedy; they gave the world David Cross with


the 2003 release of Shut Up You Fuckin’ Baby. The album is by far the best roasting of American culture in a diluted idiot-centric post 9-11 world. While John Ashcroft was calling art “pornography ” David was kickin’ the whole administrations ass with one hand behind his back. It’s interesting that Sub Pop picked the younger guy that could hang with the likes of the late, great George Carlin. Sub Pop just gets it. They also signed Flight of the Concords, and this year in February, they won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album for The Distant Future. More recently Sub Pop has varied their buffet of sonic options with releases from an eclectic bunch. Iron & Wine is a surprise sleeper hit folkster film professor from Florida. CSS Brazilian is an experimental Internet sensation dance group

The Shins

that just released a new record entitled Donkey. Check the review at the back of this issue. Grand Archives are bringing back the awesome folk harmony glory of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Sub Pop continues to bring the world a bridge between their roots and the new innovators in music – after all that is one in the same; they are the tastemakers of the American underground. From the indie rock heroes Wolf Parade, to the legendary dual of Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli’s Gutter Twins, Sub Pop brings it. If you’re already a fan…I’m preaching to the choir, but the story must be told: Sub Pop fuckin’ rules.


The People’s Party

Alkaline Trio

Scars on Broadway

Portugal. The Man

People’s Party Productions



Approaching Airbaloons

Blending equal parts jazz and social awareness, The People’s Party celebrate democracy in the form of an eclectic musical expression titled We Am One. After traveling across the country in a bio-diesel truck that converts into a 20,000 watt stage to support Rock the Vote events, The People’s Party release We Am One behind the same ceaseless progressive ambition. Funky, groovefilled jazz anthems with clear hip hop influence and an undeniable optimism provide an uplifting musical experience. Once dubbed as “hippie hop”, The People’s Party share love over a range of musical flavors that meld full rhythm, string, and horn sections with soulful vocal harmonies. The result is a skillfully-refined studio composition that doubles as a free-flowing jam session. These seriously righteous cats called The People’s Party have a mission to share. It sounds like unity. – William Case

Ironically, Alkaline Trio’s late-career majorlabel debut doesn’t sound in the least like selling out. Actually, the long-running Chicago emo-punk band has built to this point musically with their last two albums, and there’s little doubt the disc would’ve turned out much differently on any other label. Studio polish, including vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba’s delay effects on the excellent “I Found Away,” and synths on songs like single “Help Me” shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s kept up with the band recently. Bouncy and downtrodden simultaneously, this set of very sing-along-able songs – bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano has the best chorus on the tonguein-cheek “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” – sounds solid and similar, just about right for an act going big after a decade of dominating indie-dom. – Eric Mitts

The debut from System of a Down’s Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan comes on like a good, stiff drink. Right from the initial take of opener “Serious,” there’s no walking home from this one. Dolmayan destroys the drums; his performance as chaotic and commanding as anything he’s ever done. And just when it feels like things have settled since Malakian mostly uses a simpler, more song-oriented structure, compared to SOAD, he goes dance crazy two-thirds of the way down, with filthy, freaky “Chemicals” and the deeper discodrive of “Enemy.” A moment for mellotron in the middle of “Lonely Day”-like lite-rocker “Kill Each Other/Live Forever,” Malakian singing Serj-shadowing harmony throughout, the heft and the breadth of their previous band, the new duo doesn’t disappoint. –Eric Mitts

Have you ever listened to the Mars Volta, and said “Godammit, I could MAYBE get into this if they’d just shut the fuck up and maybe stop jerking off so much”? Bands who set out to make epic albums generally make them too bombastic. Somehow Censored Colors has such an epic quality and overwhelming sound, but it remains completely cohesive and surprisingly tender. Recorded (and mostly written) in only two and a half weeks in Seattle, John Gourley and Portugal. The Man have pulled off a record that has a fluidity unmatched by most concept albums (although this isn’t a concept album). Regardless of the great instrumentation, abstract lyrics, and some weird (in a fantastic kinda weird way) interpretation of oldies soul radio, this is an album full of questions. It’s the kind of album that opens up more and more the more you listen to it. And John has to have one of the most surreal falsettos you’ve ever heard. It’s just a really good album. – Ben Klebba


Immortal Technique

DGC Records

Viper Records

The days of light-hearted subject matter on sun-eyed girls, turntables and microphones, and dancing alone are gone (for now). Has Scientology made Beck lose his sense of humor? Or maybe one can only be fun for so long in such a frustrating world. Beck’s experimental enthusiasm may have taken a backseat to produce a more listenable device. Modern Guilt tackles Beck’s more serious side (a la Sea Change) with songs about our inevitable demise, brainwashing distractions and unfounded fear. Although it may be hard to hear these thoughts over Dangermouse’s dexterous beats (DM has successfully collaborated most recently with The Black Keys, MF Doom and Cee-Lo to form Gnarls Barkley). Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) also shows up to offer her sultry vocals on a few tracks. This short, thrity minute album leaves you on edge, in wonderment and eerily satisfied. – Nicole LaRaea

Immortal Technique’s first full-length release in five years does not let down. We find Tech spitting blatant and thought provoking lyrics like “You’re damn right the AK symbolizes jihad, but a holy war is a conversation with god.” The 3rd World is a mixtape record and sees a higher level of collaboration amongst the producers. Tracks like “Payback,” “Mistakes” and “Harlem Renaissance” have a more soul feel in the production. As where the title track “The 3rd world,” “Lick Shots” and “Parole” are straight hardcore hip hop. DJ Green Lantern’s feel is apparent throughout the record. This record is a must for fans of the hardcore political hip hop. The mixtape format makes me feel that it is preparing us for Tech’s next projects The Middle Passage and Revolutionary Vol. 3. – Mike Saunders

We Am One

David Bowie

Live Santa Monica ‘72 Virgin

The title’s wrong. The first thing you should know about this reissue is that its not a David Bowie record, it’s a Ziggy Stardust record. The flaming red new-wave hairdo, the creepy catsuit, the pale, ambiguous, rock and roll alien himself. Ziggy. This release, a reissue of the legendary KMET-FM recording, documents a stop on Bowie’s first ever U.S. tour, and by this point, 10 shows in, the identity issues have been resolved. Ziggy is definitely the guy steering this spaceship. Luckily for him (and us) he didn’t forget to pack the Spiders From Mars before he left---quite pos-

Agony & Irony

sibly the finest session band ever devised. Not only is the recording on this live album exquisite, the performances are almost impossibly good. The Spiders swagger through ferocious versions of “Queen Bitch” “Changes” and the epic headtrip “Width of a Circle,” then slow it down to a creeping burn for enchanted takes on “Space Oddity” and “Andy Warhol”. This is the real rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust, right before your very eyes and ears live onstage on an October night in Santa Monica, California, 1972. Imagine hearing “The Jean Genie” for the very first time ever, done like this. The implications are staggering. Bowie would soon put Ziggy to bed permanently and move on to other, equally baffling and wonderful character studies, but for whatever it’s worth, Ziggy Stardust encapsulates my favorite moment in the career of one of rock’s great innovators and this recording takes you to the precise moment it all comes together. Guitarist Mick Ronson applies for Greatest Sideman Ever status on these recordings, stringing together a varied and brilliant performance befitting of his legendary reputation. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint a specific moment in rock and roll’s history that rivals this one in terms of artistic vision and bravado. Late ‘60s James Brown with the JB’s maybe. Or Dylan going electric. Point being, even those of you who are casual Bowie fans should hear this and understand the significance of what happened there that night. What was created. What lived and died. “Rock and Roll Suicide” doesn’t end the set by accident, you know. – Andrew Watson


Modern Guilt

Censored Colors

The 3rd World


The Enemy U.K.



The Black Kids Partie Traumatic

We’ll Live and Die in These Towns

Hits and Exit Wounds

Sub Pop


Warner Bros.

One Little Indian

“Move” and other body-beckoning songs off CSS’s second set sound like the musical new world order Bernard Sumner and company might have envisioned in the ‘80s. They just never would’ve thought it’d come from an emerging enclave like Brazil or from pop-culture-savvy women like CSS vocalist Lovefoxxx. For those who missed their selftitled debut, CSS, aka Cansei de Ser Sexy, play ultra-cool dance party anthems filled to overflowing with liquid-smooth synth lines. While that might place them alongside several retro-reaching scenesters these days, or even amidst the likes of The Sounds, new songs like “Left Behind” should solidify them as an indie, sex-centric equal to ageless electronica act Republica. Plenty of hot, hot stuff here to finish off the summer. – Eric Mitts

In retrospect, I guess I should have known better. Listen — the next time Rolling Stone magazine crowns one of their new “Bands To Watch” and I find myself submitting to the always-tempting lure of what might possibly be an interesting new record, I want one of you to come up and punch me in the nose. I’m sick of this shit. Problem is, I had a subscription to RS for like, 15 years growing up. I’m having a harder time adjusting to the embarrassing nosedive their reputation has taken. They suckered me again with this one, boy. At least I didn’t pay for it though. Then I’d really be pissed. – Andrew Watson

These Towns tell a tale of two sounds. The majority of The Enemy U.K.’s debut consists of post-post-punk similar to the antics of Artic Monkeys or Franz Ferdinand’s faster songs. The acoustic title track tries to temper their streaking speed with some softness, but does little to slow the pace these lads play with in hopes of getting out of town (“Away From Here,” “Had Enough”). Yet once they seemingly escape, they play their three best songs right near the close. Perhaps because they raced to get there, the sweepingly beautiful “This Song,” bluesy “Happy Birthday Jane” and lamenting “Five Years” (the first of two bonus tracks) have such a stronger significance and make for quite a pleasant album-ending surprise. – Eric Mitts

Best known for “Woke Up This Morning,” the theme song to The Sopranos, the nine-piece group possesses an expert sensibility for live performance, character persona and brilliant genre-blending. They’re a little bit country and a little bit everything else. Clever lyrics delivered like old westerns over acid house techno beats, with overtones of blues and gospel music – and it all works beautifully. Vocalist Larry Love has a rough, chain-smoking delivery, always sounding like someone just bust up his preferred saloon, and Dr. D. Wayne maintains the constant image of the sleazy tent revival preacher. Hits and Exit Wounds is a retrospective album, with a massive 18-track listing including not only that damn TV song, but a fine collection of A3’s material, in a unique, dance-able, hilarious and brilliant album. – Juliet Bennet-Rylah


One Day As A Lion

¡Forward, Russia!



One Day As A Lion EP

“It’s better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand as a lamb.” That’s the quote, from Chicano photographer George Rodriguez, at the core of the collaboration between Zack de la Rocha (vocalist of Rage Against The Machine) and Jon Theodore (former drummer for The Mars Volta). Most clearly on the eponymous final song, de la Rocha has his sights set on the Christian right and their underlying influence on most social issues, particularly inequality. Lyrically, he remains machete sharp, opting to present his vocals in a rawer, often distorted form. Theodore more than holds up his end of the partnership, giving new energy to the closing coda of “Ocean View” and covering for de la Rocha’s somewhat sketchy keyboards. – Eric Mitts

Life Processes

On the overcrowded floor of dance-rock bands, ¡Forward, Russia! is the hairy hardcore kid flailing his arms. Like Minus The Bear, not coincidentally the former band of Processes producer Matt Bayles – who’s now better known for his metal production and revealing in this return to dance-rock – ¡Forward, Russia! doesn’t use popular post-punk rhythms or throwback beats to bring the pulse out of their living, breathing music. Instead they go for always shifting time signatures, jerky guitar parts (“Don’t Reinvent What You Don’t Understand”) and endlessly winding basslines (“Spring Is A Condition”). Vocalist Tom Woodhead somehow holds everything together with his wavering on the edge of sanity singing throughout this second set, their first not to use numbers for song titles. – Eric Mitts

Girl Talk Feed the Animals Illegal Art

Music, like any other art, is a creative science built around discovery, manipulation, and experimentation. To call Greg Gillis an artist may be difficult for some, but for others, myself included, the man is a brilliant innovator. In Greg Gillis’ vision, all Pop music is sacred. All is relevant. What he does better than anyone else in his field (?) is identify the best parts of songs, extract them from their natural habitat, and construct long, dizzying, vulgar musical passages out of their reassembled elements. His first collection Night

Ripper turned the “mash-up” genre on its ear, a jaw-dropping example of the awesome heights that can be scaled by a dedicated young man with a great itunes collection and the right software. Ever wonder what Nirvana and Salt and Pepa would sound like at the same time? How about The Band and Young Joc? No? Me neither. These are the things that occupy the brain of Greg Gillis. A bit trite, perhaps, but trite don’t mean a thing on the dance floor and throwing this record over a deuced-up soundsystem will jumpstart any party, day or night. When the beat drops on “Come On Eileen” and Bubba Sparxx’s verse from “Ms. New Booty” rolls out of the speaker you forget that what you’re hearing is the product of 3 different tracks. Cohesion isn’t always achieved—you can’t expect the novelty to hold up every time, and it doesn’t—but there are more good moments on this mix then bad. Many more. Even if it wasn’t so damned entertaining I would be intrigued by what Greg Gillis does for a living. Anyone who can get me to consider “Whoomp! There It Is” from a place of respect deserves great recognition. Here’s a tip : if you decide to buy this record from the store (and by all means you should), try and listen to it all the way through before checking out the sample cheat-sheet. It’s the most fun first time through, not knowing what wacky contrivance lies around the next corner. – Andrew Watson


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Phone: (323) 665-5336 Wed-Sat: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m. / Sun: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Phone: (310) 477-3999 • Web:

The Circle is a unique cross between a chic designer boutique and an outlet store. We carry samples and backstock from celebrated Los Angeles designer collections regularly featured in exclusive fashion retail stores and magazines such as Lucky, Elle, Vogue, and US weekly. With prices reduced 40%-85% below original retail prices, it’s like a sample sale everyday!

Surfing Cowboys

On the corner of Olympic & Sepulveda in Los Angeles lies the one stop shop for any Surf Skate Snow or BMX junkie on the west side. Nine Star stocks everything for or about action sports. Including a stellar selection of clothing from the likes of RVCA, LRG, Quiksilver and Obey. Come to shop, get your snowboard tuned or just hang out. They have a full service shop, video game lounge and a full on half pipe in the parking lot!

Hama Restaurant

1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice

213 Windward Ave, Venice

Phone: (310) 450-4891 • Web:

Phone: (310) 396-8783 • Web:

Need an antidote to the prefab sterility of the Ikea Age? California Modern meets surfing culture in a match made in Venice (Beach, that is). For 10 years Surfing Cowboys has supplied its global clientele with vintage mid-century furnishings, 60’s surfboards, original artwork, contemporary jewelry, and anything else that catches the eyes of owners Donna and Wayne Gunther.

Hama Restaurant has more than just the rogue gallery of mainstream sushis. They feature a vast and innovative menu, including eyebrow raising combinations and sakes, putting them above the rest. An informal atmosphere appeals to a diverse clientele, from celebrities to regulars, from sushi experimentalists to connoisseurs.


KG Owner/Artist 264 Customs

3323 W. Sunset Blvd., Silverlake

7303 Melrose Ave, Hollywood

Phone: (323) 668-2088

Phone: (323) 935-2494 Web:



Barber Shop & Vintage Boutique • Fades           • Crew Cuts     • Flat Tops       • Shaves           • Hats

• Rock T’s • Western Shirts • Vintage T’s • Sunglasses

Fresh Pressed Screen Shops 4646 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz Phone: (323) 66FRESH Web: FreshPressed™ allows users of all ages to make oneof-a-kind screenprinted wearables, gifts & goods for themselves, loved ones, clients & customers. Deliver a graphic or photo file to them or just go into the shop and doodle your masterpiece on one of their worksheets and within minutes, they can have you ready to pull your first squeegee!

C&O Trattoria

31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey

What is 264? What does it mean? Yeah we’re a tattoo shop but 264 gives us that edge, that little bit extra, that different experience you’re looking for if you’re tired of the same dull atmospheres you’ll find on hollywood blvd. come check us out, get tat’d or just come to find out what 264 means.

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery 1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica

Phone: (310) 395-8279 • Web:

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery operates as both fully-stocked grocer specializing in all the Italian delights one could ever desire, as well as a deli with a healthy bounty of thick sandwiches, hoagies, baked goods and treats. With emphasis on quality, variety and freshness, Bay Cities’ become extremely popular.

Father’s Office

1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica

Phone: (310) 823-9491 • Web:

Phone: (310) 393-2337 • Web:

C&O Trattoria prides itself on generous portions and rich Italian dishes, stating that “people generally don’t leave here hungry.”An optional garden patio, nightly sing-a-longs and signature cultural cuisine like Killer Garlic Rolls, Calamari Fritti and pastas of all mixes and blends combine for a true experience.

This sleek bar offers over 30 beers on tap and a healthy selection of wine, which easily distracts from their lack of hard liquor. The menu offers a variety of specialty appetizers with a Spanish flair, but most are impressed by their signature bleu cheeseburger, often hailed the best around.


By Emilee Petersmark The Academy Is…: It’s rather frightening to think that the scenesters’ lemming mentality towards music has actually gravitated to a band that doesn’t conform to the normal suckiness of most contemporary pop-punk, but maybe for once the kids are onto something here. The Academy Is…, despite its questionable scenester following and affiliation to the poster-boys for selling out, Fall Out Boy, shows an amazing talent for writing songs with a wide range of stylistic variation as well as demonstrates a musical ability to give entertaining and interactive performances. Their fun, jumparound music is not only mind-bogglingly catchy, but also completely musically involved—each of the band members is talented enough to pull his own weight, which is such a novelty in contemporary Rock/Indie bands. Their efforts to connect with their audiences are admirable, and if you can stand the crowd you’ll definitely be in for an unforgettable concert experience. Reel Big Fish: Pioneers of Third Wave Ska and one of the biggest names in the genre, this is a band that has been around long enough to know what the hell they’re doing. Founded in 1992 by frontman Aaron Barrett, Reel Big Fish has been going strong ever since, combating the modern stigma surrounding contemporary mainstream music with a conglomeration of fantastic musicianship, a brass section powerful enough to destroy entire cities, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that are witty, simple and honest, and all-around face-melting awesomeness. The stage banter between Barrett and second-incommand, Scott Klopfenstein, is hilariously entertaining, showing the surreal unification between band members, their mind-blowing ability to improvise, and making every show just plain fun— anyone who’s ever seen a live performance of the song “SR” can atone to the unique chemistry that the band seems to possess in front of an audience. Seeing them live is like watching a musical comedy that you can dance to. If Warped Tour is your summer festival of choice, make sure that whatever you do you do not miss the chance to see this band perform. Angels & Airwaves: Angels & Airwaves (AVA) is a side-project comprised of a strange assembly of accomplished musicians. Tom DeLonge of the famed Blink 182 acts as frontman and creative mastermind behind the alternative rock band, shedding the catchy, lyrical toilet-humor and pop-punk persona in favor of a sound that is noticeably more mature (all the while keeping an air of simplicity that brings back fond nostalgia of Blink 182). Where Blink was DeLonge’s exploration of teenage complications and high school drama, Angels & Airwaves is most certainly his foray into the world of adulthood. While they may not be the all-out rabble raisers they were in former bands, Angels & Airwaves delivers intensely memorable performances with just as much energy and vigor and without the monkeyantics and the poop jokes. Ludo: Frivolous, manic, and an all-around good time, the five piece Missouri-based band, Ludo, delivers some of the most interesting and interactive performances available to the concert junkie. The pop-punk indie band rocks out with powerful five-part harmonies and lyrical odes to serial killers, haunted lakes, and The Man Show—vivid with fantastical imagery about girls on trampolines and singing crawfish, combined with moog and guitar lines reminiscent of some of our favorite 80’s synth bands and delicious ska undertones Ludo has come a log way in a few short years and is certainly a band to look for in the future. Their rock-out, energy-pumping, quality opening performances have the tendency to steal the limelight from the headliners, and seeing live solos from lead guitarist, Tim Ferrel, is like being kicked in the head with colors and sounds from another planet. So if you’re looking for a crazy concert experience complete with perfect harmonics and musical dedications to Kevin Arnold from Wonder Years, this is it. Motion City Soundtrack: Motion City Soundtrack is a pop-punk/indie sensation; notorious for their playful lyrics and multi-layered melodies, MCS pulls together symphonies and stories that keep upbeat without ever becoming maudlin. With powerful moog lines by Jesse Johnson and a refusal to take themselves seriously, the band perfectly meets the fine line between emotional adolescence and responsible adulthood with fast-paced, sugar rush performances and new-wave riffs. Frontman Justin Pierre (who is just as eccentric and goofy as his name would suggest) offers a refreshing sound that is unfazed by hardcore and untainted by emo. Regardless of their respectable success, his bigger-name band hasn’t lost its underground charm—marketable but not greedy, MCS is one of those bands that you can’t help but like because their songs are already stuck in your head. Say Anything: Say Anything is like watching a dirty movie with running commentary from that sarcastic, goofy slacker kid from high school (you know the one—he sat at the back of the classroom and made fart noises at the teacher). This band has a distinctive sound that is melodic without being cute or sweet in the least bit, musical without being cheesy. With borderline-crude lyrics about sex, drugs, and love belted out by powerful, gravelly vocals from frontman Max Bemis, Say Anything is a band that defines the term “frank” and grinds out some ridiculously unique and amazing


performances. On stage they hold the same kind of endearing confidence and hubris that defines a great performer, the same traits that characterize the class clown (he’s a bit of an asshole, but you love him anyways because he’s so damn entertaining). Say Anything is definitely a band worth looking for, especially for those still young enough to not take life too seriously. The Bronx: If you’re looking for that one band that’s going to bring back the heart-stopping heaviness of a real rock show, lock your eyes on this one. The Bronx’s heavily distorted power chords are a hypnotic, driving force to lure you close enough to be assaulted by their 80’s style punk-itude mixed with contemporary hardcore rock. Their live performances bring the intense, flash-before-your-eyes quality of the true punk concert to a modern day scene—and if you’ve missed old-school punk as much as I have, you’ll agree that this conglomeration of modern guitar riffs, hardcore style drumming and down and dirty punk is a welcomed relief. Their performances are like adrenalin-soaked, crowd-pumping steroids to the average listener—get energized. Get fucking insane. Go see this band. Story of the Year: This is a band that does not work from a formula. Hardcore without being too raw or explicit, counteracting their yelling and anthem-making with layered harmonies. The whole thing could make for a bad power-ballad if it weren’t for Dan Marsala’s accessible lyrics and the band’s ability to laugh at themselves. Their live shows take away any doubts one might have about the credibility of a band that is hardcore and radio-friendly—their concerts are filled with sheer brutality and good-natured goofing off, as well as offer ample demonstration of their impressive musicianship and passion for their messages. Definitely something to look into—you won’t be disappointed by a performance from this band. Cobra

Starship: If happiness comes in the form of dance-beat

driven pop, caffeinated keytar melodies and tight purple pants, then a Cobra Starship performance is the musical equivalent to extra-strength Prozac. Frontman Gabe Saporta belts out intensely beguiling lyrics while leaping around the stage, teasing guitarist Ryland Blackinton and flirting with keytar player Victoria Asher. The band’s playfully catchy lyrics are offset by sing-along choruses and intense, driving pulses that delve into your brain and command you to move—before you know it, their music has you dancing like a moron, jumping and swaying like it’s your job. Their sets refuse to remain predictable, with the invitation of surprise special guests and impromptu squirt gun attacks from onstage, their performances are famously engaging. This is a band you don’t want to miss, even if you don’t dance (I’m sure they can change your mind). Relient K: It’s refreshing for once to find a religiously-in fluenced band that doesn’t sound like you should be slowly waving your arms above your head and singing with your eyes closed. Relient K, though labeled a Christian rock band, does not belt out cheese-tastic odes to our Savior and disparaging the sins and perils Photos by Michael Byars, Alicia Polk & David Dodde

of mankind, nor do they use their music as a platform for their beliefs in an attempt to brainwash their fans. Instead, Relient K is all about what is feel-good and energized, utilizing Indie-style piano parts and lead singer Matt Theissen’s upbeat tenor to cut through the heavier guitar riffs and offset the heady pulse of the drums. This band performs wholesome pop-punk with no message other than be happy and share love—and really, what else do you really need? Gym

Class Heroes: This is a band that took every complaint that a person could possibly have about hip hop and

efficiently eliminated it. Gym Class Heroes breaks the conventional hip hop standards in the best ways possible, following in the innovative footsteps of bands like The Roots and Stetsasonic by utilizing live instrumentation in their performances. They hold a childlike nostalgia about them, keeping with the theme of youth and childhood with lyrics about “periods,” “study halls” and other things that would remind one of the endearing, universal normality of public school. The band’s use of live instrumentation and frontman Travis McCoy’s quick tongue and brilliant freestyles make for fantastic performances—this combined with an active use of sexual-innuendo and audience participation makes this band one of many to liven up the set list of this year’s Warped Tour. Trust me, it’ll be a great fucking show. The Vandals: In this present-day funk of indiscernible indie/emo/hipster music, one is quickly led to ponder the disappearance of the balls-out, mow-hawked, kick-you-in-the-face punk—where has he gone to hide from the fashion mullets and mod accessories? Luckily, The Vandals are a band that can give him reason to come out of hiding and back to the underground. Their soapbox is less profound than that of the typical punk band, using their music as a vehicle for entertainment and sarcasm rather than a platform for more “serious” issues. Fastpaced and messy, this is a band that defines rock and roll, and delivers the knock-down, drag-out performances that have been lacking in the music scene since punk turned pop-punk at the turn of the century. This is the kind of music Warped Tour is all about. Do not let yourself miss this. Warped Tour comes to the Home Depot Center in Carson August 17th.


Mental Gymnastics By Valerie V. Peterson YOU KNOW THOSE PEOPLE WHO PAY FOR AN expensive gym membership? With the best intentions they think, “Because I’m paying a lot of money for this I’ll go to the gym every day and get my money’s worth.” They start off with great enthusiasm, but somewhere along the way the fire goes out. Maybe it’s because they already paid for the membership. Or they forget how much they paid for the membership because it comes directly out of their paycheck, or maybe because someone else is helping to pay. Or maybe they get lazy. The gym is boring, it’s hard, it’s a hassle, and there are never any good parking places close to the front door. Or maybe they were lazy all along. They just signed up for the gym because everybody else was doing it and now they don’t know why they did, or why they should go. Now imagine that these people are going to college or going back to college. Maybe they should think again. Paying for college is like paying for an expensive gym membership – most people don’t get their money ’s worth. This is because an education, like physical fitness, is not a product that you can just buy off of a shelf. Mental fitness is something that has to be cultivated by the person interested in improvement. The problem with colleges isn’t the lack of quality of education that could be achieved at those colleges; most colleges have plenty of valuable resources available to students, and lively professors who are still interested in ideas and teaching. The problem is the learning students would need to do in order to achieve that education – learning which requires both student initiative and effort and a system that supports these students. The main reason colleges fail students isn’t the college itself, it’s the entire culture: a system that turns a blind eye to bad, low-expectation teaching and students with bad attitudes who aren’t dedicated to learning and who “bring down” the faculty and other students around them. Yes, most gyms have some pieces of broken equipment and bad fitness instructors, but attentive exercisers can learn to avoid these. Likewise, exposure to lame teachers and weak academic programs can be reduced and sometimes avoided by the savvy student. What is harder to avoid is a whole gym full of broken equipment, spineless aerobics instructors, indulgent personal trainers, and reluctant exercisers – people pretending to lift weights and do sit-ups who are really more focused on their athletic outfits/gear and scoping potential dates. A college diploma is a hollow document if you haven’t learned anything, just like a gym membership is largely a waste if you don’t first evaluate the “fitness” of the gym itself, go regularly to the gym, use the best equipment

there (even on the muscle groups that you don’t favor), deal with the growing pains, and transform. When we see someone walking down the street all buff and cut with washboard abs and a tight butt (or at least healthy looking with a flat stomach and a spring to the step), we think “hey, that person is in good shape.” The person may have gone to a gym to get that way, or even exercised at home (the over 90-year old “juice man,” Jack LaLanne, may be instructive here). But we aren’t impressed by someone saying “I have a membership to an expensive/fancy/popular gym” if there’s no physical or physiological evidence to show for it. In the same way, nobody cares if you have a piece of paper that says you’ve graduated from college. Tons of people have that. (We may make an exception here for some Ivy League schools which function more as social clubs than they do as educational institutions, or when a diploma is used simply as a means of discrimination in the way race or sex used to be, but these are different matters and deserve their own treatment). Cheating, grade-inflating instructors, popularity-contest teacher evaluation processes, lack of student dedication, and the department heads, deans, administrations, and families that support these enemies of intellectual rigor have made it possible for some of the most unlikely of people to get a diploma. When people who have degrees act in undisciplined, lame, or stupid ways, their actions only devalue the accomplishment of those students who really did “work out” their intellects while in school. No, a diploma, or at least a bachelor’s degree, is no longer, by itself, impressive. What is impressive, however, is when a person speaks or writes or does something and others see or hear that person and think “this strikes me as a well-educated person” (an effect that may be achieved even without going to college). So, save yourself the money and spare the serious students and teachers your presence in college unless and until you’re ready to go — with a positive attitude toward mental cultivation and a willingness to submit to high standards. Seek out good schools and challenging programs and teachers, and be willing to accept occasional or even frequent failures as part of the price of admission. And if you are one of those serious students just mentioned, or the rare but no less impressive selfmade mind, set a good example in mental gymnastics. Help keep the intellectual bar high by tastefully showcasing your well sculpted brain, both at institutions of higher learning and across the broader community.

Coda... Portugal. The Man

(continued from page 7)

It’s just whatever sounds best. And we worked with really, really great people on the record – I don’t know if you’ve seen the list of people that play on it, but it was just kind of our friends came in and we let everybody do whatever they wanted, and whatever worked worked, and for the most part everything did work. The cello player though, Phil Peterson, he’s just insane. He sat down and jammed on the songs – nothing was written or anything. He just went for it. WE: There’s some really nice stuff. The cello at the end of “Our Times” is just crushing. JG: He’s just such an amazing player. There’s just very few people who can pick up and play like that, and somehow we got all those people to come into the studio. WE: So what are you listening to lately? JG: Um… I pretty much always listen to the Beatles and Wu-Tang {laughter}. That’s pretty much the constant. I always go back to those two. We’ve been listening to a lot of Van Morrison lately. I honestly am just slowly picking up everything that I heard on the radio growing up. All that oldies radio stuff. I never knew any of it. It was just like music I have connections with growing up. Lots of Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke is just amazing. And Aretha Franklin. Of course. WE: Aretha’s good. Soul is just good music. JG: Yeah. WE: You’ve got some great lyrics that could stand on their own as poetry really. Are you into any poets? JG: No. Honestly I just kinda let it go. WE: How do you go about writing your lyrics? Do you have notebooks full of stuff at the ready, is it after the fact, or during, or how? JG: It’s all done during the vocals and our producers have always hated it. {laughter} I would go in and be singing and just stop singing and just be listening. They can hear that I’m typing on the computer or writing down lyrics and they’re always just so bummed that I’m sitting there writing lyrics on the spot. But it just comes so much easier that way. Every time I sit down and write something, I’m just editing and rewriting and you kinda just gotta let it flow. And, fuck, writing is so much fun, it’s so amazing to see the different word combinations and the visuals that they create. It’s just a really fun thing to do. WE: Are there any authors you’re into? JG: I really like Kurt Vonnegut a lot. But I don’t even really read all that much. I’m drawing, painting, and writing all the time. I’m just kind of burnt at the end of the day. We’re constantly on tour and constantly working on new things. We pretty much have time to do that only. WE: There’s a wonderful sorrowful optimism in your songs, or at least on “Censored Colors” – you touch on spirituality a little bit here and there and there’s some nice nature references – What do you think affected the way that you write? JG: Well, I think with this album especially, it was an album that I was writing for my family and just about the way I was raised. My dad and my mom… my whole family is all about love and respect and I guess growing up we moved around a lot. My dad built hotels for Princess Tours – who I guess outside of Alaska I don’t think they really have hotels, they just do the cruise ships – but they would build these hotels in the middle of nowhere in Alaska for their tours. Princess would want my dad to hire all these out of state young kids, and my

dad was totally about if we’re going to a small Alaska town we’re definitely going into the community and hiring within that community and helping them out as well. He was all about those things growing up. He builds houses and he’s built houses for free, for trade for work with people, things like that just to help out. He’s really about helping out wherever he can. Yeah. It was more a record written for that.

Tim Biskup

(continued from page 9) WE: It’s a House project. They are all a long time coming but they’re worth it every time. TB: Yeah, Yeah. That’s good. I agree. WE: So, is there any artist that’s really impacting you right now? TB: I have a couple of friends that I really relate to. James Jean, his work is really mindblowing. I always look to Murakami.His strategy is really appealing to me and I’m always trying to comprehend how he organizes his world. Those guys are very influential now. WE: I can see the Murakami connection in your large sculpture pieces. How you’re using all mediums which I think is something that is really unique to your work as well. TB: The thing that really blows me away about Murakami is his ability to build infrastructure. Same with Jeff Koons and several other artists who are able to make such large scale things happen and to manage the PR end and build something that seems like it has such a specific intention to it. That really appeals to me because I’ve never been able to have such specific intentions about my work. I’ve always felt like I was following this trail through the forest and hoping that it made some sense. It always seems to at the end. But I always feel like I’m kind of running blind hoping that I don’t run into a branch. WE: Who or what do you think has had the most significant impact on your craft and career? What has been the impetus for you moving forward? TB: God, there’s a lot. I would say Ren & Stimpy, John K. that’s a big one, The Residents. Christopher Williams was a big inspiration to me when I had him as a teacher at Otis/Parsons. The impression that he made on me is only now coming to fruition. Being such a completely conceptual artist, I really liked what he had to say but it wasn’t relevant to my work. Now, when I’m so fiercely going after that part of my work, a lot of things he said to me when I was in his class are starting to make sense. Not just make sense but start to become really important to the work that I’m doing. WE: It’s nice to have someone that influenced you that way. I think it is key that people come out of school saying, “Oh yeah. That person really changed me.” TB: Yeah. To be able to look back and say, “Oh yeah this thing that this guy said to me really changed the way that I think about this.” That’s a big deal. He’s one of the only teachers that I walked away feeling like that about. Carole Caroompas was another one. She was actually never one of my teachers but we ended up spending a lot of time together working on an album and just the things that she said about art, the things that she said about life

really had a big effect on me and the way that I think about my work. WE: If we could all have one of those. TB: I’ve had a lot of them. I mean, you know John K. and The Residents, both people that I got to spend time with and talk to and work with. I mean, very influential people, very inspired people and those have always been the people that I related to the most. Seeing them do what they do. It can be, it’s challenging on a level that I don’t think you experience with people you meet in life. WE: That’s a great answer. I’m always fascinated by the guys who originally contributed to Juxtapoz and what their feelings are ten years later on its impact on the artists’ community and the culture around us. Do you have an opinion on that? TB: It has changed so much that it’s kind of hard to see it as the same thing now. It was kind of like the only source of information that I had for a long time about the art world that I wanted to be a part of. I mean, I could have gone out and bought a copy of Art Forum but I had no connection to that world. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be part of it. So when I got Juxtapoz it was a meeting of the minds. Even though I didn’t know any of those people for years and years of buying the magazine, it was the only place to get that information. It is still underground relatively. Lots of people know who Mark Ryden is. Lots of people know who Robert Williams is. For me now, I get more from Art Forum but I don’t get a sense of community from Art Forum I get a sense of frustration and it’s a new kind of challenge for me. I feel challenged by the things that I read in there. There really isn’t anything like what Juztapoz meant to me when it was first coming out because it was really kind of a guidepost saying, “ Yeah, you can actually do what you want to do and somebody will listen, somebody will look at it and maybe you will even find someone who enjoys it.” WE: And now they outsell Art Forum. TB: {laughs} Yeah! Amazing! It’s amazing that it has become a real movement and I think that’s important. I think it’s an important movement sometimes I get really disheartened by the fact that we’re not being shown in the Whitney Biennial or things like that, and I always kind of think, well, I know young people are working in museums and eventually those people will be in charge. Those people see what I do and my friends do and they think that it should be there so it’s just a matter of time really. WE: Finally, what continent haven’t you shown on and when will you? TB: Africa? I don’t believe I’ve ever shown in Africa. But I think that’s the only one. WE: It’s a big life Tim Biskup. TB: Yeah it is. So we’ll see. Maybe I’ll show in Egypt or something like that someday. WE: That would be great. TB: We’ll see.

To see more of Tim’s work go to:

Invisible DJ (continued from page 12) WE: Sustain the tours. There aren’t massive records sales anymore. I totally agree with you. JW: It’s a bummer. Are you going to go to an art gallery and look at a painting and go, it’s a beautiful painting from a new up-and-coming artist and it’s… are you familiar with the artist Skullphone? It’s like you look at a Skullphone who’s a propaganda artist, but you know what, I’m just gonna buy like half of that. I just want the phone part. I don’t even want the skull in it. It’s like a record. You’re suppose to buy it and listen to it through its entirety and it’s completely lost now with these 99 cent downloads…its gonna be interesting. Oasis is gonna put out their next record, I was just reading about it and it’s going to be a continuous mix. So you either want to buy it or you don’t. You’re either gonna listen to it or not. WE: It’s not tracked out? JW: Yes, yes exactly. WE: You’ve made your claim to fame making mixed albums for fashion outlets and for different retail entities. Do you think record stores are dead or could there still be, in this strange, new, innovative world, room for record stores? JW: For me it’s more lucrative to make compilations than to go out and promote artists. That’s just what I’ve seen; what I’m doing at this moment in my life. In terms of promoting music, I think you look at the retailers like Hot Topic, you look at the retailers like Hollister, you look at Urban Outfitters, you look at American Apparel and you go, these are stores that niche to a very specific demographic and if hearing music in these stores, like, you go into Hot Topic and you’ll see The Academy Is… you’ll see Hawthorne Heights, and Avenged Sevenfold is selling hundreds of thousands of CDs out of Hot Topic. You put Avenged Sevenfold in Urban Outfitters, it’s not going to sell. But if you put Death Cab for Cutie in Urban Outfitters it’s going to sell. So I think that promoting music, for me, a successful model is placing a very small selection of music at each moment in time in the store and only carrying and selling about thirty to forty titles. It’s how much is it going to cost me to go and buy the CD before I get to even purchase the CD. You see that with Virgin Megastore now closing its stores. I mean we just lost our Virgin on Sunset. I mean that’s a bummer. I used to like to go to Virgin Megastore. That was the first real record store where they tried to bring in fashion. Hot Topic was a fashion store where they tried to bring music in; Virgin Megastore was a music store that tried to bring fashion in. And we’ve now lost that. The only one we have now is on Hollywood and Highland. WE: You do have Amoeba though, man. What’s Amoeba doing different? JW: You know we do have Amoeba which is great. And everyone goes to Amoeba. They have the largest selection of music. WE: Insanely creative about the way they market things too. JW: That’s what I think. More music is selling in the new traditional ways which is fashion. I mean, that’s how we all got started.



A Tribute to George Carlin By Ben Klebba I heard George Carlin for the first time in 6th grade – sooner than some, later than others. I laughed and George blew my mind. Not only did he validate my views on what I already thought was ridiculous about society as I saw it in my pre-adolescent mind, he made everyone who heard him look at the world in a stark naked light. He had an unwavering prognosis on human psychology, American society, religion, and politics unmatched by his peers. A linguistic genius, with a rhythm filtered through his clamorous larynx, Carlin had a voice that will be missed.

bastards walkin’ around… Look at it this way – think of how stupid the average person is and then realize half of ‘em are stupider than that.” “Motivation books? Motivation seminars? Why would anyone need to be motivated by someone else? I say if you need motivation, a seminar isn’t going to help you. What you really need is to be smashed in the head 30 or 40 times with a golf club. That’ll fuckin’ motivate you. Or at least get you up and movin’ around the room. You know, locate your socks and stuff like that. Get the day rollin’. Motivation is bullshit. If you ask me, this country could use a little less motivation. The

“Some people are really fuckin’ stupid. Did you ever notice that? How many really stupid people you run into during the day. Goddamn there’s a lot of stupid

“It’s a warlike country. C’mon, I mean forget foreign policy, the domestic rhetoric is warlike – everything about our domestic policy invokes the thought of war. You don’t like something in this country, we declare war on it – the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on AIDS, the war on cancer. We’ve got the only national anthem that mentions fuckin’ rockets and bombs in the goddamn thing!” “ When all those beheadings started in Iraq – didn’t bother me. I took it in stride… what’re you fuckin’ surprised?” Who cares if some mercenary civilian contractor from Oklahoma gets his head cut off ? Fuck ‘em. Hey Jack, you don’t wanna get your head cut off ? Stay the fuck in Oklahoma. They ain’t cutting off heads in Oklahoma. Far as I know.”

“I get tired of people talking about bad words and bad language – bullshit! It’s the context that makes them good or bad. For instance, you take the word ‘nigger’ — there is absolutely nothing wrong with the word ‘nigger’ in and of itself. It’s the racist asshole who’s using it that you outta be concerned about. We don’t care when Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy say it – why? Cuz we know they’re not racist – they’re niggers. Context! We don’t mind their context because we know they’re black. Hey, I know I’m whitey the blue-eyed devil honky motherfucker myself – don’t bother my ass. They’re only words. You can’t be afraid of words that speak the truth. Even if it’s an unpleasant truth like the fact that there’s a bigot and a racist in every living room on every street corner in this country.” “There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are fucked. Compared to the people the planet is doing great. It’s been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? We’ve been here what? 100,000 years? Maybe 200,000, and we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200 years. 200 years versus four and a half billion and we have the conceit to think that somehow we’re a threat?! That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful blue green ball that’s just floatin’ around the sun. The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids, meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages – and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are. We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little Styrofoam. Maybe.”

people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people, and move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, to give them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people! You know what the motto of this country outta be? ‘ You give us a color, we’ll wipe it out!’”

“I’ll betcha you could have an all suicide channel on cable TV. I’ll betcha. Shit – they got all golf – what the fuck?! You ever watch golf ? It’s like watching flies fuck. If you can get a bunch of brainless assholes to waste a sunny afternoon on that kind of shit, you know you can get some people to watch some suicides. All day long. 24 hours a day. Nothin’ but suicides. Must Die TV. You’d get a lot of people volunteering to be on there too just so their friends could see them on TV. People are fuckin’ goofy.” “These people are efficient, professional, compulsive consumers. It’s their civic duty – consumption. It’s the new national pastime. Fuck baseball. It’s consumption. The only true lasting American value that’s left – buyin’ things! People spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need. So they can max out their credit cards and spend the rest of their lives payin’ 18% interest on something that cost $12.50.”

people who’re motivated are the ones causin’ all the trouble – stock swindlers, serial killers, child molesters, Christian conservatives – these people are highly motivated. Motivation is overrated. You show me some lazy prick lyin’ around all day watchin’ game shows and stroking his penis and I’ll show you someone who’s not causin any fuckin’ trouble.” “ We were founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free. So they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African

“ You know what’s interesting about assassination? Well, not only does it change those popularity polls in a big fuckin’ hurry, but it’s also interesting to note who it is we assassinate. Did you ever notice who it is – stop to think who it is we kill? It’s always people who’ve told us ‘Live together in harmony and try to love one another.’ Jesus, Ghandi, Lincoln, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, John Lennon – they all said ‘ Try to live together peacefully.’ BAM! Right in the fuckin’ head. Apparently we’re not ready for that. That’s difficult behavior for us.” “It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

Tech: Oh it’s not a sample, it’s from a live interview I did with a brother named Shequlu Shenga. He’s a South African brother who owned a store in Harlem for thirty years and only recently they have been trying to evict him again and again because he’s one of the major voices against gentrification and trying to raise awareness in general because people have this idea of Harlem and they have this idea of flashyness and partying and people shaking around and it’s not that, you know, people are getting thrown out of their homes. Everybody who’s out in the streets rhyming about getting money it’s probably because you don’t even live in Harlem. If you’ve really got some money in Harlem you probably look like someone that doesn’t traditionally live in Harlem. It’s not that we mind that communities are diversified, that’s not the problem. The problem is that they are specifically targeting certain people for removal, in other words economic ethnic cleansing. That’s why I thought it was a relatable topic for everywhere else that faces a similar situation. WE: It’s like a colonialism inside of America. Tech: Of course.

Immortal Technique interview by Mike Saunders

Immortal Technique is real hip hop. Just like Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation, Immortal Technique’s music has a message for the uplifting of all people. His style is not one bit PC. It’s hardcore, don’t give a fuck, make your mouth drop, ill rhyming, that stays real. His message is of revolution in specific terms, an awakening of class-consciousness and worldwide solidarity. On his first two albums Revolutionary Vol. 1 and Revolutionary Vol. 2 he drops mad knowledge and criticism exposing the falsity of US foreign policy and displaying intelligent lyricism not seen since Chuck D, with the beat your ass delivery and audacity of Death Certificate era Ice Cube. Immortal Technique is not content with only speaking the message but committed to living as a revolutionary. Every year with Project Green Light, Immortal Technique devotes time and effort to projects that serve the people. Currently he is working with Omeid International ( to build an orphanage in Afghanistan, donating ten thousand dollars of his own cash and committing to visit the orphanage upon its completion. What is amazing about Immortal Technique’s music is that the frustration and anger you hear in the recordings translates to something deeper at the live show. It becomes something that connects to the roots of hip hop, something that is uplifting and creates community. When we caught up with Tech in Detroit the crowd was full of Arabs, Blacks, Latinos, Whites and Asians jamming out together but more importantly this diverse crowd was b-boys, skaters, radicals, graph writers and emcees, keeping the real hip hop alive. DJ GI JOE was on the 1’s and 2’s, Poison Pen served as the night’s emcee, and J. Arch and Circles got the crowd hyped with dope short sets of their own. There was no bodyguard or bourgeois flex. Poison Pen asked the crowd to meet one another and talk with Tech and the crew. Not to mention that Tech just kills it live, he came up battling, he knows how to make every word stick in your ear. We were able to speak with him about his revolutionary projects and the new mix tape album The 3rd World.

Photos by Damien Thompson

Wide-Eyed: With Project Green Light

and the work you are doing in Afghanistan, is that to counteract our present policy in Afghanistan? Immortal Technique: I think it would take a lot more than that to counter our policy in Afghanistan over the past few decades but I feel like even though other people have done similar things, whether it be Oprah or some other celebrity opening up a school or an orphanage, this isn’t being done with millions of dollars of Hollywood money. It’s being done with the blood and sweat of human rights organizers and underground hip-hop money, which

makes it more revolutionary to me. I put my own money there so that people would understand that it wasn’t some group of charlatans trying to jux [sic] people out of paper because I think that happens a lot. People get swindled out of money and I wanted to counter that and put up myself as an example of someone who was willing to commit to that. WE: I have a question about your track Harlem Renaissance; it has a sample at the end that connects the struggle of the people of Harlem with The 3rd World?

WE: Which is a theme throughout all of your albums. Tech: Right but I think that with The 3rd World, I wanted to expose the fact that it’s not just American colonialism but it’s the people who are in the third world that sometimes facilitate that through their own leaders you know? You want to criticize America’s policy against the Middle East? Then we can’t do that without criticizing the leaders that are in the Middle East. You know what I mean? Who pretend to be related to the prophet Mohammed to secure the most steadfast form of oligarchy that exists which is a monarchy. Now they claim that there is a constitutional monarchy and that justifies the dictatorial powers that they have over their people. What the Middle Eastern rulers actually did is in the 60’s and 70’s was that they completely eliminated the left wing, political genocide. They used to rub people with animal fat and throw them in cells with attack dogs in Egypt and in Syria. So essentially what they did was remove the only form of protest that the people had in terms of voicing their grievances with the government and after that, what was left of the leftist sentiment that Abdul Nasser had brought to the region, was the falsity of a group of people who claimed to rule in the name of God. Terrorism is the wrong solution to the right question. The question is why do we live like this? Why, all of a sudden, can’t we have control over our own resources and our own economic foundations? Why do we have a flag of our people but all our money is in a European bank? Explain that to me. Why is it that some Latin American countries have the American dollar as their currency? It seems a little odd doesn’t it? WE: Pretty much. Tech: So I think that when those things are pointed out the frustration and the inability to voice those concerns and those complaints turns into terrorism. That’s what people do and you know what? It’s like advertising. If it didn’t work, people wouldn’t do it. If anyone has an uprising now, if it doesn’t fit the mold, you know, of America’s corporate identity, what they want, they’ll call it terrorism. But if it were in a country that America doesn’t

like… I’ll bet you, if in Iran they were blow- 33 ing up, you know, cars and busses… WE: …or like our Cuban exiles. Tech: Exactly or whatever it may be in other places, then that’s called freedom fighting. The spin is put on it like that. It’s the same way when the US justifies Columbia’s recent incursion into Ecuador and says, “Hey you know what? We were chasing terrorists.” Really? So what if the Mexican government was chasing drug dealers over the Mexican border into Texas and they bombed parts of Texas the way they bombed parts of Ecuador? What would the American governments response be to something like that? I guarantee you it would be a fucking smack down politically. WE: Not even the government but… Tech: The people, the people wouldn’t tolerate that at all. WE: You have also done work with the South Central Farm. Tech: Yeah. Definitely. That’s been a big part of the green light project, picking a different group of people that reach out to me every year and helping that particular cause. This year it’s the Omied International group. Which is building an orphanage and medical center in Afghanistan, near Kabul. A couple years ago it was the South Central Farm that reached out to me for help because they were facing eviction. They were facing racist attacks and they wanted to help people to get their struggle out. So we put the word out, we got some Hollywood names involved. We did whatever we could to try to bring some light it. The end result was them having to raid the farm but we learned a lot from those mistakes that were made. We learned a lot from the failure to hold the ground and I think that the spirit of the South Central Farm is still alive and the South Central farmers themselves escaped and were able to re-set up shop and hopefully continue that communal farming that gives to the people and that supports the people, 100% organic you know, some of the healthiest food in LA grown in what otherwise would be an industrial cesspool. I think it’s very important for people to acknowledge that particular side of what we were doing there. WE: So you’ll be back near LA with Rock The Bells. Tech: In terms of LA , I appreciate all of the support I get from all people and I think that Rock The Bells has done a lot to diversify that support because for a long time it would be just people like me and Psycho Realm performing for nothing but Latino people. I’d pay you one hundred dollars for every black or white face that you would see at the shows, ‘cause it would be pretty gully [sic] at some places, but now we have the ability to spread that out. The same way I did that on the east coast by doing the Warped tour. With Volume 1 the first people I sold records to was people in the hood, people who came to hip hop shows and it started spreading out and getting the message out to more and more people in different areas. It’s been a blessing man. WE: Awesome. Tech: I appreciate it man.



Interviews with Amanda Palmer, Portugal. the Man, Tim Biskup, Invisible DJ, Immortal Technique. Tour recaps for Warp Tour and Rock the Bells...