Torching Porchfest

I’ve lived in Sanford, FL for nearly two years. Porchfest 2019 was promoted as its 2nd-annual event, all over downtown for over a month. I had never heard of Porchfest before this year, but I don’t know everything, I’ll admit. All the embedded local establishments had these posters (below) in their windows. Notice that the sponsors are downtown big wheels connected to the Chamber of Commerce.

My interest was seeing the Oak Hill Drifters, who are probably the best band in Orlando right now. My music and business partner plays drums in the Oak Hill Drifters, and I’ve featured a few other OHD-ers on Electrified! (2015). I always like to see them play, if I have time, which I did.

I didn’t get to see them play, on a beautiful day, because no one knew where any of the bands were playing for Porchfest. Where the actual festival was held is also in question– even afterwards. “Housing district” was the best approximation.

There are homes directly east & south of downtown Sanford, with a few also to the west, and Lake Monroe to the north. That’s too broad of an area, and no one could hear any bands playing “Porchfest” from the downtown area.

The Oak Hill Drifters were to play the “Celery City stage,” which turned out to be some resident’s porch, in some residential area, somewhere (?) local. It was nowhere close to the Celery City bar, which had a live performer of its own and was promoting itself as part of Porchfest, with the logo projected on a screen behind the band. No mention of the OHD when I asked the drummer, “What’s up with Porchfest?,” after their performance. He just promoted the events of the day for the establishment, and shut me down on everything else. That’s how you get a gig when you suck.

So what happened? The Oak Hill Drifters were used as an attraction to pack a local establishment, while being shuffled off to a porch where few people could find them. Most of the locals & tourists never found “Porchfest,” and that was by design. Most soon gave up, and went for something to eat & drink.

No maps were ever provided as to the locations of the “stages” or the performers. No signs to indicate “Porchfest, this way,” on the day of the “event.” Porchfest was largely a scam by its sponsors to trap tourists in downtown Sanford and fill their establishments. That’s a shitty way to do business, and very disrespectful to the performers & fans.

For the record, I had my phone with me so I could have called the drummer of the Oak Hill Drifters for a venue address, but the point is I shouldn’t have to. For example, when you have a ticket to see U2, you don’t have to call Bono to ask where the show is, right? The sponsors make sure to tell you because they want you to be there. In Sanford, the downtown sponsors hyped something they didn’t care to deliver, so they could have a big day at the cash register.

I was in downtown Sanford for a large part of the “Porchfest” afternoon. There were mostly no bands to be seen or heard., which is unusual on a Saturday during the snowbird season. No directions on where/when anyone was playing. No one trying to help. Just organized confusion, on a record-heat February 23rd afternoon in central Florida. In other words, business as usual.

I’m glad the Oak Hill Drifters played (somewhere) & got paid, but the organizers of Porchfest get a fail on this. If Sanford business owners have any respect, then one of them will book the Oak Hill Drifters again soon, and actually deliver, so their local fans can see them as promoted. Otherwise these are just small-town scammers. Artists deserve better.

As for me, I’ll keep walking around Sanford, stretching my legs & reporting on what I see. Now whenever I’m confronted for money, my standard reply is, “I spent it all on Porchfest.” Bokeys understand & laugh. The rest don’t get it. It’s almost funny.

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Fake Festivals & Everything Else

FYRE: The Greatest Festival That Never Happened (2019), is available for streaming on Netflix. This is one of two recently released documentaries on the epic fail of the Fyre Festival, which was scheduled to take place on a remote Bahamian island over two weekends in April/May 2017. The other is Fyre Fraud (2019), available on Hulu. The reason the Fyre Festival never actualized is because it was a scam from the start, and a metaphor for an entire “fake economy” that defines America & capitalism today.

The Fyre Festival, along with American politics is a hustle, led by sociopathic liars who throw money around, and hype themselves endlessly as the second coming, while delivering nothing. The resemblances between Fyre-brainchild Billy McFarland, and Donald Trump are remarkable. They look the similar physically– fat & stupid, with fake everything for everyone. They surround themselves with beautiful women, excess & celebrities, to boost their owns egos & images. And finally, they are both out-of-control, sociopathic liars, who never deliver on anything they promise.

McFarland’s partners in crime for the Fyre Festival were rap mogul Ja Rule & Jerry Media. They struck gold when they gathered the world’s top supermodels in the Bahamas in late 2016, for a promotional video shoot– shown above. In the Netflix documentary, someone aptly points out that there were actually two Fyre Festivals; the promo shoot with the models– which was great, and the actual event five months later– which was a disaster. The fact that the first is (and will always be) more celebrated, says a lot about this fake world we live in.

This is a Bizarro universe where supermodels & online “influencers” are all-important, as facts & reality don’t matter. What these manipulators actually produce is nothing of value. But their importance remains paramount– we’re told. That’s why Kendall Jenner was paid $250,000, for one social media post promoting the Fyre Festival (without disclosure).

Supermodels & other top social media influencers that were paid to promote this catastrophe included: Alessandra Ambrosio, Hailey Baldwin, Rose Bertram, Hannah Ferguson, Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk, Chanel Iman, Giizele Oliveira, Emily Ratajkowski, Lais Ribeiro, Amanda Riley, Shanina Shaik & Paulina Vega. Afterwards, all of them have quietly deleted their posts relating to the Fyre Festival, most without comment.

The reality is, that it’s impossible to deliver a “luxury music festival,” on a remote tropical island with no infrastructure, running water, or electricity. When supermodels are paid to hype this garbage, and it reaches the level of media buzz it attained, then we as a society have a serious issue with controlling our sexual urges. That’s what drove Fyre, and it led to disaster. The millennials who bought into this fantasy, really need to look at their own culpability. You can only be lied to, if you want to believe the lie.

Videos with supermodels, selling people their dreams, is as old as MTV at least– yet the scam still works when updated. Why? Because people are blind to what they desire the most. People want (more than anything) to be part of the “in” crowd, and hang out with beautiful people & celebrities. This is a sickness many people have, in which they are telling themselves they can only be “somebody” if they are at a certain event with “cool” people.

This is a pathological & elitist outlook, which denies oneself its own potential to be beautiful & important. That mentality has been beaten into Generations’ X, Y & Z; as image is promoted as everything– especially on social media.

When reality finally bites, insanity & barbarism ensues, because no one is fact-checking. Both documentaries reveal how negative social media comments & whistle-blower websites were censored, as part of the Fyre promotional campaign. That’s because the truth will collapse this fake economy, exposing these “elites” as con artists. This mirrors the US government’s ongoing campaign to censor the internet, in the name of neo-McCarthyism.

America’s fake government is now personified by President Trump– the quintessential sociopathic conman. This isn’t sustainable, and it can’t be reformed, as the Democrats allowed this to be. Both Democrat (DSA, Greens, etc) & Republican (Libertarian, Tax Reform, Tea, etc) parties, along with their staunchest supporters always work together behind closed doors, to sell out the working masses. It’s fake “events” like the annual Super Bowl & Fyre Festival that keep people distracted & mollified.

As of this publication, there are still 800,000 federal workers, who aren’t being paid, and it’s been over a month. Over half of them are being required to work, most notably (so far) the TSA workers, who screen all passengers & baggage in our airports. TSA screeners are fake jobs too, meant to keep us safe from the terrorists who masterminded 9/11.

Those who fly (at all), despise the post-9/11 screening process, as it’s simply an edifice for a police state. It doesn’t make us safer, it just concentrates power into the hands of unaccountable madmen & fascists. One can’t attempt to bring a bottle of water on board, without a TSA screener tripping every alarm, as they confiscate your beverage. The “suspect” then gets a warning, and a canned statement, “You can purchase another one on-board.” Can you see how all this ties in? It’s not hard, if you look.

The reason many of the TSA screeners are working for free, is to keep their bullshit jobs. Most of these airport rent-a-police aren’t qualified to deal with a serious terrorist threat. But that’s not why they are there. The TSA was created and vastly expanded after 9/11, as cheap government labor to secure an objective for the ruling apparatus, which is to be able to lockdown any airport at any time. That’s concentrated power, and the deep state is a “who’s who” of mass murderers & fascist sociopaths, who take this as their divine right.

The mainstream answer to the government shutdown (and everything else) will ultimately be to allow Trump to declare an “executive emergency,” which doesn’t exist in reality, in order to get funding for “border security,” which both Democrats & Republicans support. This will further concentrate dictatorial authority into the hands of the US President, which Trump likes. Impeaching Donald Trump for his destructive recklessness & lack of compassion is off-the-table in this world of fake politics.

Since Donald Trump has boxed himself in with his government shutdown crisis, he goes ahead using (abusing) his Presidential power to create more chaos as a diversion. That’s the deal with this Venezuelan coup attempt Mike Pompeo & company are trying to pull off at the moment. This is the most brazen and unlawful example of election interference that anyone has ever witnessed, yet it’s framed a legitimate diplomacy in the US corporate media.

Government Shutdown Update: Friday 25 Jan 2019 03:30 PM EST

Reuters: Trump announces deal with lawmakers to end government shutdown

The deal is described as “a tentative agreement with U.S. lawmakers for three weeks in stop-gap funding that would end a partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 35th day.” News opinion polls now show public disapproval of Trump near 60%. with a majority of Americans holding him most responsible for the shutdown. Trump still reserves the right for himself to exercise “emergency powers” to get his wall, and powerful Democrats support him on that.

February 15, 2019 is now the next government shutdown date, and (most likely) we’ll be right back here again. This “deal” is a band-aid to stop the hemorrhaging. The only thing furloughed & compelled-to-work government employees care about is when do they get paid again? Back pay & lost wages are also a big issue for them. Trump’s presidency is on-the-ropes, as he & his advisors are stalling for time, until they can assume control with fascist methods.

“The workers of Matamoros will never go back to paying 4 percent union dues. You can’t have a rich union and poor workers.”

Here’s some more real news, you never hear on CNN or Fox. There are currently over 70,000 striking auto workers at the Matamoros plants in Mexico, at the US border. These strikers have defied their sellout unions, and are already affecting US production plants, but it has received zero mass media coverage in the US, for all these reasons. The reality & issues are too great for the elites to admit to, so they instead bury their heads in the sand, and hype more fake news & phony events.

Fact checking for a music festival starts with the band lineup. Fyre touted second-rate & nobody acts. Major Lazer is a DJ/producer with just two albums to his credit. Disclosure is an electronica act, also with only two records. Blink 182, the “headliner,” is a dinosaur B-list alternative rock band. Hip-hop pretenders Migos, and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music crew, aren’t the kind of acts that one travels thousand of miles (and pays thousands of dollars) to see perform. Have you even heard of any of the rest?

The screenshot above is a damning exposure of the music industry. The biggest act, Blink 182, didn’t pull out until the last minute, as shown in their infamous tweet. Note their complicity in this fraud, by not telling their own fans that the Fyre festival was now known to be a humanitarian Super-fund site. Instead, Blink 182 apologized in couched language to mask the truth. What were they paid, I wonder? Bullshit act, like all the rest that were “booked.”

What’s most disturbing about these documentaries is the lack of awareness & remorse from everyone involved at the planning, promotional & management level. Billy McFarland & Jeffery Atkins (AKA– Ja Rule) are conman & street hustler. They deserve no legitimacy, just like the rest of this fake economy. They should be sent to prison for a long time, just like the rest of these fascist elites, who produce nothing, and only take for themselves.

The rest deserve some other form of comeuppance, which hasn’t arrived yet. That will only happen when younger people start becoming more socially & politically conscious. It has to happen, otherwise history will continue to repeat itself with this kind of ugliness. That is the deeper message in these two timely documentaries.

Australian Open (Women’s) Update: Sat 26 Jan 2019 ~ Noon EST

Does chemical enhancement count as fakery? I think so.

Serena Williams looked beastly hideous (again) during the 2019 Australian Open, where she cracked in the quarterfinals. She foot-faulted on her 1st serve at match point, and the replay shows it. She has a history of being called for that, only this time she quietly accepted it, like you’re supposed to, instead of blowing it up and using it as an excuse for losing. Naomi Osaka, the 2018 US Open winner, was shamed by Serena’s meltdown.

Serena Williams wasn’t cheated here, she cracked. That is a term tennis players use for what happened to Serena, leading 5-1 in the 3rd set, serving at 40-30. The lines-person called “foot-fault” immediately & loudly, meaning Karolina Pliskova heard it & ignored the serve, so that wasn’t an “ace,” as some have insisted. Pliskova cracked Serena by upping her game and making Williams move, until she rolled an ankle because she’s carrying too much weight. That’s one way to crack an opponent who has that vulnerability.

There is no dishonor in cracking, as compared to her malicious outburst towards a respected chair umpire during & after the 2018 US Open finals. Serena Williams never even apologized for that, or issued any kind of public explanation, outside of wanting to “put it in her rear-view mirror.”

She’s won 23 Grand Slams, and probably won’t win anymore. People need to accept that, as supporting her brand of racialist & feminist hate isn’t healthy. There’s a lot to like & dislike about her career. In this social media age, there’s nothing fans despise more than liars & their apologists

The only chance Serena Williams has at another major is 2019 Wimbledon, where her serve is dominant. Her Achilles’ Heel is her reduced mobility, which shows up against top opponents who can handle her serve. She has no chance of winning another French Open, and Naomi Osaka is now the “Queen of the Hardcourts.”

Naomi Osaka defeated Petra Kvitova (above) in a thrilling 3-set finals match, to win the 2019 Australian Open. This is what everyone wanted to see & remember. It feels a lot more REAL. No losers here, just huge kudos to both!!

Here’s some nefarious advertising for you. Naomi Osaka & Kei Nishikori are featured in this Japanimation cartoon titled ‘The Prince of Tennis,” sponsored by Nissin instant noodles. It’s received a lot of flak over “whitewashing” their caricatures, which led to the ad being taken down. People aren’t tolerating this fakery anymore, and they are better than ever at spotting it.

Osaka who is Japanese-Haitian replied, “I’ve talked to them. They’ve apologized. I’m tan. It’s pretty obvious. I don’t think they did it on purpose to be whitewashing or anything, but I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it.”

Sat 26 Jan 2019 03:05 PM EST

Fake Money-Bitcoin Update: As reported by Bloomberg news, the production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged ~ $4,060 globally in the fourth quarter, according to analysts with JP Morgan Chase. Chinese miners pay ~ $2,400 per Bitcoin, by leveraging direct power purchasing agreements with dirty electricity generators.

All that leads to this question: With Bitcoin trading ~ $3,600 as of this publication, how is the cryptocurrency market sustainable in light of these realities?

I’ve heard way too many interviews with the cool, smart guys in crypto-currency who point to how Bitcoin “solved the double-spend problem.” Most of these Gen-Y & Z wanna-bees have been insulated from reality their entire lives, especially with their expensive bourgeois education in economics, which isn’t worth one read of Karl Marx’s Capital (1867).

These trendy young entrepreneurs live in cocoons, and understand nothing beyond their limited realm. The environmental cost of the Bitcoin/crypto-currency bubble impacts everyone. On the hard economics side, Bitcoin is trading at $500 below unit cost. The only way that happens (and is sustained), is through massive market fraud.

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Cover List

These are the covers I’ve learned & mixed-in over the years, during my limited live performances. Some I don’t play anymore, and new covers (oxymoron) are always being added.

An performer needs to play at least 80% original material (which is well-received), while mixing in quality covers for audience reference, to be worthy of artistic distinction.

This gives you an idea of what I consider punk, post-punk, and fun stuff; and what to expect from me– live.

U2: “Electric Co.” “New Year’s Day” “I Will Follow” “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
CCR: “Bootleg” “Lodi”
Rick Springfield: “Jessie’s Girl”
Bruce Springsteen: “Nebraska”
Woody Guthrie: “This Land is Your Land”
Sonic Youth: “I Love Her All the Time” “Silver Rocket” “The Burning Spear”
Husker Du: “Masochism World” “Green Eyes”
Surfaris: “Wipe Out”
GNR: “Paradise City” “It’s So Easy”
INXS: “The Devil Inside”
Joan Jett: “Fake Friends”
Chumbawumba: “Tubthumping”
Madonna: “Express Yourself”
The Police: “Roxanne”
Rush: “Red Barchetta”
Red Rider: “Lunatic Fringe”
Replacements: “Seen Your Video”
The Who: “Magic Bus”
Neil Young: “Hey Hey, My My” “Crime in the City”
VU: “What Goes On” “I’ll Be Your Mirror” “Heroin” “Sister Ray”
Sex Pistols: “EMI”
The Clash: “The Sound of the Sinners”
Wire: “12XU” “Strange”
Nirvana: “Molly’s Lips” “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” “Come as You Are” “On a Plain” “Stay Away”
Jane’s Addiction: “Nothing’s Shocking” “Jane Says” “Pigs in Zen”
Midnight Oil: “Warakurna”
Bikini Kill: “Jigsaw Youth” “Tell Me So” “New Radio”
AC/DC: “Down Payment Blues” “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll)” “Kicked in the Teeth Again” “Shoot to Thrill”
Mott the Hoople: “Rock & Roll Queen”
Minutemen: “Storm Inside My House”
Pixies: “Planet of Sound” “Gouge Away”
George Thorogood: “Gear Jammer”
Tom Petty: “Running Down a Dream”
Eddie Rabbitt: “I Love a Drizzly Night”
Violent Femmes: “Add It Up”
BoDeans: “She’s a Runaway”
Bob Marley: “Three Little Birds”
ABBA: “SOS”
Carpenters: “Top of the World”
Spin Doctors: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”
Graham Parker: “Clear Head” “Under the Mask of Happiness” “She Wants so Many Things”

Fugazi: “Burning”
Belly: “Feed the Tree”
Liz Phair: “Explain it to Me”

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Ric Size: Live @ The Stranded Sailor

You didn’t think I could stay retired from music, did you?

This punk rock artist is very excited to be performing solo at the Stranded Sailor pub in Sanford, FL on Saturday December 15 @ 9:00 PM.

This is your chance to finally see this act live, with no net. I’ll be doing mostly original songs from the albums, with a few covers mixed in as the night moves along…

No cover, two drink minimum & please take care of the servers, etc… No merch (yet), but it should be fun & exciting nonetheless!!

The Stranded Sailor Pub:

418 Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

Phone: +1-321-362-8153

See you there!!

Sun 16 Dec 2018 ~ 12:45 AM EST

I got jerked around big-time at this “show,” and was given the hook after ~10 songs, even though the crowd was into it and the place was filling up. Or perhaps, it was because I was filling up the place, that my show was cut short.

Anyways, here’s the abbreviated set-list: Mercury Rising, Pay to Play, Hey Hey– My My (Neil Young), Sugarcoat, Working Class, DDSeuss, The Sound of the Sinners (The Clash), and Nothing’s Shocking/Jane Says (Jane’s Addiction).

The manager then asked me to stop playing, to amazed & puzzled faces in the audience. He’d been at me the whole time with disrespectful nonsense, a complete 180-degree turn from his attitude on Thursday, when this show was booked. Sanford politics here, as I recognized a few sleazy faces when I walked in tonight. They sabotaged the show, for sure.

Thanks anyways to all those who were listening & appreciative (most everybody in attendance), and hopefully I’ll be able to find a club that can honor a booking in the future.

Ridiculous

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Restringing Your Guitar

This is a necessary task for any guitar player, from time-to-time. It’s time-consuming & tedious, but also delicate & important, and one that can’t be rushed– otherwise the instrument becomes less playable. The best person to do the restringing is the owner/musician.

Serious musicians are intimate with their instrument, therefore if they are to master it, they must be able to properly maintain it. Anything more complicated than restringing, including electronics and repair work, can be deferred to a trusted professional. But restringing needs to be done by the musician, because it allows them to own their instrument.

Start by slackening the strings, and then pulling the wire off the headstock for all 6 strings. Once the old strings are detached, use a pliers to remove the pegs/pins past the bridge (above in white). Keep the pegs in order, so they can be placed back into their respective pin holes.

Be professional, by cutting the old strings into small lengths with a wire cutter, so no one gets stabbed later. Any guitar player should always have an extra set of strings & a multi-tool instrument as part of their rig. No excuse for a ruined gig, because you couldn’t change a string.

An acoustic guitar has a fixed bridge, which makes restringing and tuning to pitch a little more arduous. You have to be patient, and commit yourself to several days of guitar downtime, as the strings need to stretch out. Temperature & humidity also matter, the main point is to try to keep things stable.

The strings (and your guitar) will not respond well to cranking everything up to pitch all at once. Most decent acoustics have an adjustable truss rod these days. It’s always better to set the truss rod correctly at the initial stringing (and it’s best to let a professional do that, if you are not experienced), and then maintain it thereafter.

The clip-on tuner is one of the great modern troubleshoots in popular music. Restring right & left, from bottom-to-top on the headstock, meaning outside strings first (low E & high E),  next the middle strings (A & B), then finally the inner strings (D & G). This keeps the tension more even across the neck & bridge, to prevent warping.

Put the wire button and bridge pin in first. Push the pin down as far as you can. Then feed the other end of the wire through the tuning machine, and then use a pliers to grab the string tight against the headstock, as you begin to turn the tuning pegs. Pulling the string tight with a pliers in tis manner, prevents loose windings or kinks in the string.

A loose (or poorly positioned) winding can be corrected– if caught early. Just loosen and then re-tighten. Any kink, even past the nut, kills the string. You should have an extra set of strings on hand, in case this happens.

Be patient. Keep tuning up to pitch, and then let things “breathe” for a few hours. The strings need to be gently stretched, for best playability and longest life. After a day or two, you’ll finally get near the proper pitch for each string. At this point. the strings will tend to detune quickly, or a peg may pop up– slackening the string. Continue to push the pins down, while tuning the string up to pitch.

Practice lightly when pitch is finally held. Barre chords and riffing are the best ways to test out the new strings. Notice that your guitar sounds different!  Each stringing has it’s own unique set of qualities. Once the guitar holds pitch consistently, snip the excess wire as close as possible to their tuning pegs, and you’re good to go.

Maintain better life in the strings by making it a habit to wipe them down with a cotton rag after each playing session. Otherwise, the oils, grease & sweat from your hands will corrode the strings. This is intense, but it makes sense– not dense…

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Unmasking Pussy Riot

This is Nadya Tolokonnikova, the image & mouthpiece for Pussy Riot.

And here are a few necessary words on Pussy Riot & artistic freedom. Pussy Riot’s image in is rooted in the worst elements of punk, from anarchism & situationalism, to skinhead hardcore. They proclaim to take their influence from bourgeois feminist Julie Kristeva. Artist freedom is one thing. Being promoted (by the US mainstream) as progressive, while actually being reactionary, is quite another.

I suspect Pussy Riot as a false flag protest group, connected with the #MeToo movement & intelligence, at some deep-state level. My reasons for this suspicion are these.

1) There’s no record label. Songwriters & artists all know they have to protect their publishing & copyrights, yet Nadya Tolokonnikova isn’t interested in doing this for her content. Neither is anyone else, it appears. Examples on YouTube:

Pussy Riot – Death of jail, freedom of prot (Kill the sexist!)
4,078 views   Published on Aug 18, 2012 by Anděl Azazel

Pussy Riot – Police State
250,985 views Published on Nov 8, 2017 by wearepussyriot

The publisher “Anděl Azazel” returns no search info, except for fantasy graphic art. As far as “wearepussyriot,” who knows?  It’s all kept vague, murky & puzzling– by design.

2) Rotating band members who all wear ski masks for anonymity. No one cares what you have to say, if you aren’t willing to put your name & face on it. That’s been true everywhere since Milli Vanilli…

Typically young punk bands coming from abroad, have a difficult time getting media traction in the US, but with Pussy Riot we have just the opposite phenomenon. They are instantly everywhere in the media, yet nowhere in the real world– kinda like Al Qaeda.

Nadya Tolokonnikova is now reportedly working with mogul producer Ricky Reed, in an attempt to make-over Pussy Riot into a Spice Girls/TLC-type act. Consider Nadya Tolokonnikova as a Russian version of Brittany Spears.

Of course, Tolokonnikova is far too pretty to keep in a ski mask on for very long. She made a splash, “suffered horribly” in a Russian prison (above), and then turned her pleasant face towards America. She’s no bimbo, as this is a modern global feminism in action.

One of the most striking facts about Pussy Riot, is that they don’t have much actual music for all the hype they’ve gotten. These are the sum total of all their songs and videos, most running well under 2 minutes: “Kill the Sexist”, “Release the Cobblestones”, “Kropotkin Vodka”, “Death to Prison”, “Freedom to Protests”, “Putin Zassal”, “Mother of God”, “Drive Putin Away”, “Putin Lights Up the Fires”, “I Can’t Breathe”, “Chaika (Seagull)”, “Make America Great Again”.

That’s the Wikipedia song list, which claims Pussy Riot has officially released 7 songs. In total (so far) that’s < 20 minutes of music (equivalent to one album side), for their entire career!  Here’s a few of Nadya quotes in the screenshot below. If you get to this ever site, notice that when you click on “more” (meaning you’re hoping to read an article), nothing happens. It’s the same with all the other links & buttons. Completely fake site, like so many others connected to Pussy Riot…

On the other hand, AllMusic.com is the best (and most widely used) online encyclopedia for music research. When you click on Pussy Riot’s ‘Discography,’ it reveal no albums or EP’s! Only a video titled: Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest. Even this video has no critical review or content listing. It has only two (2) user ratings– with a 3-star average, as of this publication.

Lurid & banal is their best description, as Pussy Riot reeks of deep-state psy-op media provocation. If this “band” had anything serious to say, they would have recorded it by now, as they are clearly working with the establishment and all its resources. The fact is Nadya Tolokonnikova is intellectually bankrupt, and this mirrors feminism & bourgeois politics. Pussy Riot’s entire musical catalog is an EP, of questionable artistic merit, because no one knows (or cares) about its existence.

Here’s a few Nadya Tolokonnikova quotes:

“Vagina gonna take the stage. Cause vagina’s got a lot to say,” sings Tolokonnikova in peejays. “Straight Outta Vagina” is just one of the songs Tolokonnikova wrote and produced, along with TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, in L.A.

“I’m not a big fan of preaching, but if you want to learn something from Pussy Riot, it’s that activism should be joyful,” says Tolokonnikova backstage. “Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the second-wave feminists… they somehow found each other at the same events. Right now we’re criticizing each other too much. We need more solidarity.” [1]

It’s important for fans to realize that eventually, all music lands somewhere in the political spectrum. Music is too emotional to not be political, and therefore the best (and most-popular) artists are always coveted by the US two-party system to serve as political camouflage & PR. Bruce Springsteen, Madonna & Bono (U2) are the most-prominent musical examples of superstar artists selling-out to corporate America.

The only way out of this trap, is to take a principled socialist position, against the two party set-up & capitalist system. If the working masses don’t hit back against this propaganda offensive (and soon), then this mainstream fluff will eventually turn into grist for fascism.  Musical artists everywhere must now approach songwriting & performing from this perspective. otherwise they become pawns in a greater political game. That is the lesson of Pussy Riot.

P.S. on pussy: One final point, that I probably should have made in the beginning. Much of the appeal of Pussy Riot is their name. “Pussy” used to be a taboo & censored word in the official media, and of course is still is– for non-feminists. Today people can say “pussy” on television, because of Pussy Riot– for whatever that’s worth. This is pussy power that’s being promoted. If all these feminists could just put their pussies together, just imagine what they could come up with?

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How to Build a Record Collection

Since vinyl is in back in style, I’ll relate my own thoughts & experiences, which have been continuous since middle school. For me it’s been a worthwhile road, but there are many pitfalls. I’ll share some so you can (hopefully) avoid them, or at least recognize them quicker. Start by understanding this truth about human nature: music is emotional. That means it’s like food, money & sex– eliciting powerful responses. The universal human reaction is, everyone likes it and wants the best of their preferences for themselves.

Gain control of yourself by realizing that music is a lifetime choice. That means whatever you are liking as a kid, is what you are going to like as an adult. You don’t (& can’t) “outgrow” it. Whatever format you prefer, music is a lifetime commitment, and the medium is part of the message.

I got ripped off (price-wise) on my first few record purchases, which were at department store racks, and then Musicland in the Park Plaza Mall. Those institutions don’t even exist anymore. Back then, I was quickly informed by a Winneconne classmate that the Exclusive Company was the best place to buy records in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their prices were always unbeatable on new vinyl, and probably still are. You need a good record store in order to build a decent collection.

The market has inflated since the 1980’s, when Exclusive Co new-vinyl releases listed mostly at $5.99, with superstars such as Madonna, Springsteen, Prince, etc listing at $6.99. Note, Indie releases were also often listed at $6.99, indicating there was a serious demand for them even back then. Classic vinyl was mostly $4.99, with bargain bins of 3-for-$10 on many classic re-releases.

Selection is always THE issue for the serious enthusiast, so eventually someone behind the Exclusive Co desk showed me their encyclopedia. It had every album still-in-print. For a $1 deposit you could order any record, and it would arrive in a week. It was the only way to acquire punk rock (or anything else outside the mainstream) in the Fox Valley area in the mid-1980’s. Cut-out bins were a method to acquire artists like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and others who were (still are) disrespected by so many industry wheels. The public libraries had very little of this, while AM/FM radio & MTV never played it. That was how things were censored back then.

Used records should be the staple of any respectable collection, as it’s just too costly for most (with new vinyl now $20+) to build what you need from entirely fresh vinyl. Many essential records can be purchased for a few bucks apiece, in used record bins across America & beyond. Besides, who wants to be the schmuck who pays $20 apiece for albums that have been sitting in $1-2 bins everywhere since forever? Too much of this makes you an idiot over-spender, and those who know can always tell.

Bookstores often have record bins. How much disorganization, and “is it worth it?” are always considerations when approaching used records. A good rule is, the more disorganized, the less it’s worth it. You may find a pearl (or two), but usually it’s futile with a lot of back-breaking reaching & lifting. In the heat, it better be good– or else forget it. If the vendor hasn’t bothered to organize their bins into (at least) genres, then it is usually because it’s all junk.

As a point in training, first look over everything available and scan the few titles you see for quality of release & condition. Approach the best-looking areas and peel through a bin or two. How fast? Depends on the quality of what you are seeing. More good stuff means SLOW DOWN. Remember, this gets emotional, so look closely at the prices and consider your budget. If it’s all crap, then leave.

If a bin is filled tightly, you can’t really see the jackets, so grab a handful (or two) of records and pull them out. Look through them (on top of the rest), then gently place them somewhere close but out-of-the-way. There may be other people looking through, so stay out of their way too, as a courtesy.  Then go through the rest of the bin, seeing every cover clearly & easily. When finished with the bin, put the removed records back in, and move on. Believe it or not, there is a serious code to all this, and I’m condensing it for you.

When you see a title you like, check the record itself. Look at the label to make sure its title matches the jacket. It sucks when you get burned on that. Then look for scratches & warping. Pass on any significant warping, as it just won’t play. How much scratching you are will to put up with, depends on how much you want the album & the price. Many times, it’s dirt & grime, which can be cleaned off. All used records should be cleaned before playing. I use alcohol & gauze, because it’s cheap & effective. Use a circular wiping motion, and avoid too much excess as it leaves a residue. This will also protect you turntable’s needle, helping it last longer. Scotch tape any rips in the sleeve.

I acquired roughly half my collection from Renningers Flea Market in Mount Dora, particularly from a vendor named Wally Rossell– who is no longer there. He had a whole lot of selection, in difficult-to-find genres including classic rock, punk, reggae, jazz & country. He even had a significant selection of world music. It took me a long time to go through everything he had, and he kept acquiring more. I’m talking years. I eventually left him my phone #, and he would leave me a message when he had something new, which he knew I would like.  He knew what I liked, because we had discussions every time I purchased.

Record people love to talk about this stuff. Many vendors have bigger inventories at home and/or in a warehouse. Wally had been in the business for 40+ years, and will probably only leave it in death. I was always grateful for his efforts in finding amazing stuff, and NEVER argued with any of his pricing. Keep in mind, this is at a flea market in central Florida– where everyone haggles.

Records could only be sold at well-below their actual value from 1990 to ~ 2005, because the vinyl market was destroyed. In that time period, if you could hang on to your collection and had the means to expand it, you could acquire every essential classic record in every major genre for <$5 apiece. That’s what the music industry’s push to compact disc did to vinyl.

For me, it filled out my collection while keeping a budget. Speaking of controlling your spending, bootlegs are budget-busters and they will always cost you extra– no matter who is selling. Wally had more bootlegs than any other vendor I’ve ever come across, and I bought a few from him. Here’s my advice on boots: limit yourself to those artists you truly adore and can’t get enough of. Many bootlegs are live recordings, so have a good understanding of that artist. Are they a good live performer by reputation or personal experience? Also, you are gambling on the sound quality- if you don’t know for sure. A little bit of knowledge can be very dangerous, and stick you with costly lemons. Focus on the artists you love most, who really kill it live, and you’ll avoid expensive disappointments.

As far as what to buy? That’s up you you. Here are some rough guidelines:

1) Whatever you favorite genre is (pop, rock, rap, country,,,) start with the major artists. There’s always a reason they are loved (now) globally, and have lasted. You’ll probably relate to them as well.

2) Trace the roots of your favorite genre(s). A lot of the stuff kids are hearing today came from Charlie Parker, James Brown, the Beatles, Velvet Underground… There’s lots of cool stuff you’ve never heard, waiting to be rediscovered.

3) Expand into different world music genres. If you like rock music, or rap music; understand this music is being created in new forms– globally. The Internet puts it at your fingertips, but you have to know how to find it. First, you have to care.

4) Have fun! This is the most important rule, so I’m putting it last. Don’t be a “collector,” who buys & catalogs their records as museum pieces, but never plays them. Buy records that excite you, and make you want to play them again & again! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, as long as they work for you. When done this way, the pay-off is priceless joy.

Strange as this may sound, I now consider my record collection to be an organic entity, connected to my being. On a daily basis I can go to it, and make a selection that immediately transports me back in time. The dominant medium before 1990 was vinyl, meaning CD and mp3 aren’t the same experience. If you grew up in that time, it’s much easier to understand and relate to what I’m saying.

Regardless, the message we receive from music (however it’s delivered) instantly impacts us, and changes our mood. If I’m feeling down, and I put on a Muddy Waters record, I’m hearing someone relating to me before I was born. That’s a timeless artist influencing others, and that’s the magic in the grooves. Way cheaper (and more helpful) than therapy!

Final thoughts:  My collection is defined as straight rock, lean & mean; < 2000 LPs & < 300 45’s. It’s all pre-1990. After that, I listen on CD or mp3/streaming as (once again) that’s the format of the time. All mentionable rock record collections start alphabetically with AC/DC. Note that if you’re gay or a woman, then ABBA is a more likely starting point. As an illustration, here’s what I have for AC/DC, and how it rates using the hated Rolling Stone magazine 1-5 star system.

High Voltage (1975) Five stars: One of the best-ever rock album debuts. These bad boys from Australia always had issues getting US distribution. Classic rock buffs initially hated AC/DC because they rocked so hard, making them look bad. AC/DC never cared about that shit, which is what won them so many young male fans.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976) Five stars: Banned in the US (due to salacious content) for a long while, until Bon Scott’s death in 1980. This record has strong punk influence.

Let There Be Rock (1977) Four stars: The weakest Bon Scott album. Only eight tracks, and one of them is a repeat from Dirty Deeds (“Problem Child”), but most deliver a groove; and a two are deservedly rock-radio classics– “Whole Lot of Rosie” & the title track. This record often gets slagged by AC/DC haters who have too much time on their hands. Even Young, Young & Scott’s worst songs shredded Bob Dylan & the Rolling Stones at that time. That wasn’t allowed to go unpunished by the music industry.

Powerage (1978) Five stars: Their best album, and the last AC/DC collaboration with producers Harry Vanda & George Young. Every song has top-notch songwriting & delivery, with clean & tight production. Cliff Williams on bass is an improvement. There are nine songs on Powerage, and at least eight would have sounded great on radio and become classics if played consistently. It’s a very disrespectful joke that rock radio still only plays “Sin City.”

If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (1978) Four-and-a-half stars: AC/DC could bring it live. The only problem here is there isn’t enough, as this should have been a double album– at least.

Highway to Hell (1979) Four-and-a-half stars: Not quite as good as their 5-star classics, but still essential. You can hear a little more commercial sound in the production, but the band is staying true to their roots. This is the last Bon Scott album, as he died during the recording of Back in Black on February 19, 1980.

Back in Black (1980) Five stars: Brian Johnson took over on vocals, and there was enough remnant songwriting (& inspiration from Scott’s tragic death) to pull off one last masterpiece. This is probably the most classic heavy metal record ever, as every song delivers from beginning to end. It’s also the only good AC/DC album with Johnson singing.

For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981) Two stars: Only the title cut and a few others groove, the rest is filler. Bon Scott was the genius that propelled AC/DC to the top, and it’s now clear that Brian Johnson has none of his creative wit & intellect. This is where you jump off as a sensible heavy metal fan (oxymoron?), as Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard & Night Ranger are all more interesting at this point.

74 Jailbreak (1984) This as a 5-song EP of early Bon Scott material. I don’t bother rating EP’s, they’re either cool or they suck. This one is cool.

Guitar Notes: AC/DC was formed by brothers Malcolm & Angus Young. Anyone playing rock guitar since, has been influenced by these two, or else they suck. I rarely see them covered, and it’s because they’re too good and most aren’t up to their standard. Every AC/DC fan picks their favorite guitarist, and most go with Angus for his incomparable lead style– blending blues & classic rock into modern heavy metal. He was also the showman (especially after Scott’s death), parading around stage in his classic reform school outfit. But as much as I love Angus, I’m really a Malcolm protoge. For me, the heart of AC/DC’s sound, is the HEAVY riffing– which is Malcolm Young. One of the best bands ever.

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Videos: Over & Out

These are the three official videos for Over & Out.  All are edited & produced TomP.

“DDSeuss” features images from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) archives:

In “Many Miles,” images were gathered (Google) to portrait one of the great jazz artists of the 20th century:

“Sun-Wind-Bird” features the outstanding photography of Bill Haley, (the few Florida photos are RS):

A complete archive of his photos can be found at Bill Haley-FHPhotography on Facebook.

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Slow Resistance Wins the War

This death saddened me, as Chris Cornell had an amazing singing voice, one of the most powerful in rock music. Soundgarden was one of the original grunge bands that rose up and conquered pop culture during the alternative music revolution of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Originally on SubPop, then SST (two of the most prestigious alternative labels of the era), they were signed with A&M for Badmotorfinger (1991), which broke them through with classics like “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Rusty Cage” and “Outshined.” Drug problems can really mess up a band, and Soundgarden was no exception.


The grunge era began with Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney, Nirvana, etc. It came from college/alternative rock. College radio was still an independent force back then, and college-kid DJ’s determined the ‘playlists’ which were often wide-open for new indie-label releases. REM was really the first US ‘alternative’ band to sign a major promotion & distribution (P&D) deal; first with IRS, then Warner.

Most elite indie acts were denied similar deals, because it would have collapsed the manufactured ‘classic rock’ market, which became an ossified Rolling Stone magazine-controlled industry by the mid-1980’s. It was Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Prince, Bob Dylan… forever.  Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, P-Funk & the rest of punk rock & reggae were dismissed, along with every amazing new band on indie labels such as: SST, 4AD, Caroline, Touch & Go, SubPop, Twin/Tone and dozens of others.

Things haven’t changed much since, as the ‘alternative’ genie was put back into its bottle by the mid-1990’s. Popular music soon became the Counting Crows & Sheryl Crow.  That’s when I got disgusted, and serious about music, and these are the artists that most-influenced me.

The industry scooped up college radio, when the grunge revolution collapsed due to lack of political leadership. Many of it’s leading artists expressed no serious political thoughts, or else deferred them to the Democratic party; first in the form of Jerry Brown/Al Gore (pseudo-environmentalism), then Bill Clinton (anyone but Bush) in 1992. Without a serious direction for all this artistic talent, the energy it created was dissipated into safe bourgeois channels, and it’s artists mostly became irrelevant (or dead) soon after.

The people making this music were doing it simply because they believed in it. In the 1980’s, synth & schlock glam were en vogue; and kids were being trained en masse to buy into this Huxlean future. Madonna was at her peak, and more than any pop artist, she defined the MTV-generation. Madonna was/is a tremendous talent, who (as most artists do) fails to understand the full implications of her artistic power. In the end all her ‘rebellion’ has led to her full-throated support for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party, under the liberal construct of modern feminism. That is how she stays a big star, living in luxury.

Indie & grunge had nothing to do with this–at least initially. Since these artists knew they weren’t getting MTV/radio support, they could play whatever they felt. That is the revolutionary sub-current than runs through so much of the ‘underground’ music of this era. It still resonates powerfully today, which is why it has been largely marginalized by the establishment.

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Over & Out (2017)

Tom Pearce recorded the last Ric Size studio album on Tuesday, May 16th– with everything you see in these photos:

It took ~ 3 hours total, with set-up & teardown. All photos, scans, layout & design by TomP & Ric Size. These are the tracks:

 

      1. Birth of Song - Ric Size

 

      2. Up Around The Clock - Ric Size

 

      3. You Are My Brother - Ric Size

 

      4. Ddsuess - Ric Size

 

      5. Who Are They ? - Ric Size

 

      6. Tased - Ric Size

 

      7. Many Miles - Ric Size

 

      8. Yes / No Wave - Ric Size

 

      9. Waves - Ric Size

 

      10. You Drinkin A Beer? - Ric Size

 

      11. Permanent Revolution - Ric Size

 

      12. Sun Wind Bird - Ric Size

 

TomP did all the sound set up, miking, engineering, etc; while I provided the guitar, songs & performance– in my spare bedroom.  It was a LOT nicer than the Hwy 19 & Main St. studio, to say the least. Those are actual cardinals chirping on “Many Miles.”  Work with what you’ve got.

Tom Pearce recorded, edited, produced & delivered Over & Out in under a week. Photo below is his home studio, running Studio One 3 Pro mastering plug-ins. Have I mentioned the importance of a producer who is an artist and can finish?

“Yes/No Wave” was self-recorded/produced on a Fostex 4-channel cassette recorder, in 2001.  It is the only multi-track recording on this album. Note the higher pitch in my voice.

Fan note: We are still working on Re-Magnified. That project has taken a new & exciting creative turn, and we look forward to getting definitive versions of those songs produced sometime soon!

When care is taken to observe the immutable principles of sound dynamics, a producer’s job becomes much easier.

Also note, this gets product (new songs) to market quicker. If this sounds like the way you would like to record, then contact Tom Pearce at Last Minute Productions in Tavares, FL for all your audio recording needs!

Any promotional tour for Over & Out will depend on the money.  Haven’t seen any so far, and if that maintains, then that’s it.  All I ever wanted to do was share my songs. I did it on my own terms, paid the price, became profoundly influential, and survived. As they say in showbiz, that’s a helluva run!!

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