Friday, October 21, 2011

October 2011 Friends Not Fans Newsletter

1) Broken guitar! Please donate!
2) Video, Photos, Stories from Great West Tour w/ ANNE FEENEY!
3) Occupation and Liberation
4) Tarek Mehanna's Trial Has Started! Take Action!

Buy CDs with PayPal:
Buy CDs From CD Baby:
YouTube Channel:

OCT 27: Boston, MA
NOV: need more shows within a days drive of BOSTON in NOV - DEC! get in touch to book.
NOV 18: Worcester, MD
NOV 26: Baltimore, MD
NOV 27: Richmond, VA
APRIL 2011: Tiny Fists Tour w/ Bonfire Madigan

1) Broken guitar! Please donate!
My little Martin has always taken a beating. It's been teargassed, dropped, hit with rocks, flown, bussed, biked, and carried thousands of miles, and played in a somewhat reckless manner for about 8 years now. I'm sad to announce that it seems to have finally met it's end. In a baby-related sleep deprived haze I accidentally slammed it into a door and the good people at the Music Emporium tell me the repairs aren't worth it for what's left of the guitar.

Times are super tight right now but I need a guitar to stay on the road touring, singing, and supporting the growing rebellion!

I'm starting an emergency NEW GUITAR fund! Please donate if you can using PayPal!!!

-Donate more than $20 and I'll send you a signed CD and 2 patches.

-Donate more than $50 and you'll get a signed CD, 2 patches, a signed poster, and a burned CD with a bunch of rare unreleased material, radio interviews, videos, and more!

-Donate $200 or more and you'll get all the above PLUS i'll write a song about you and send you an mp3 of it!

-Donate $500 and you get a private concert in your home at a date we work out.

-Donate $1000 and i'll name the guitar after you! ;-)

If you know of any good guitars out there, let me know!!!

2) Video, Photos, Stories from Great West Tour w/ ANNE FEENEY!

No excuses, but the main reason this newsletter is so late is that I've been on tour for the past few weeks with the legendary and marvelous Anne Feeney along with Erin and Saoirse. We flew into Minneapolis and made our way out to Spokane, WA and back via North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. A beautiful drive with simply the best company.

I took a lot of video on the tour using my phone and pieced together a little 10 minute video of some of our adventures and concerts. Check it out on my YouTube Channel and embedded below:

Highlights of the tour included:

A wonderful night at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks, ND to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the North Dakota AFL-CIO.

saoirse's first picket line! Anne and I went several times to sing for locked out workers at American Crystal Sugar. There are over 1300 workers locked out because the company made a take it or leave it contract offer with huge cuts to worker safety, wages, and more. The real culprit here is Industrial Agriculture. American Crystal Sugar is technically a farmer owned co-operative. Sounds good, right? There used to be many many small farms involved and they were the friends and neighbors of the workers so the relationship was good. Now that big aggribusiness has bought up all the small beat farms and industrialized production, there's just a few huge farms (who's owners live far away) who are calling the shots at the sugar plant. SHAME on these profiteers. Workers in! Scabs out!

Support these locked out workers by signing their petition and donating online:

Mike Boysza, a retired UBC Carpenter, labor activist, and Habitat for Humanity builder took us on a fabulous tour of Butte, MT. We learned a lot about what capitalist interests have done to this old mining town where a few robber barons managed to extract millions of dollars in copper and silver at the expense of hundreds of immigrant workers lives and the local environment. Pictured above is the Berkeley Pit, a giant toxic lake created by a massive strip-mine operated by the Anaconda Company. It is the largest Superfund Site in the world.
Our tour culminated at the grave of Frank Little, an IWW Union Organizer who was lynched by pinkerton in 1912 during a massive strike against the Anaconda (mining) Company. Mike was instrumental in restoring Frank Little's grave and now people who visit leave small tokens of solidarity and appreciation for a man who gave his life fighting for industrial unionism and justice. I thought Saoirse might want to show his appreciation so I handed him one of his pacifiers. "This is the grave of a freedom fighter," I told him, "A freedom fighter and a union man."
Without any further provocation Saoirse threw his pacificer onto Franks tomb and happily left it there along with Anne and my guitar picks, many union pins, flowers, baseball cards, and other small gifts from comrades.

Other tour Highlights:

Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Fun little punk show in South Dakota. Check out Anne's punk rock side in this video.

We got the opportunity to do a few gigs with author Bill Adler on his book tour for "The Man Who Never Died," a new book that solves the murder mystery in the case of IWW hero Joe Hill. We had a wonderful time with Bill, his partner Robin, and their son Zeke. Amazing folks!

The end of the tour couldn't have been more exhilerating! We flew back to Pittsburgh for Anne to get her brain scanned (for those who don't know she has been fighting lung and brain cancer.) Her scan came back completely clean and the doctors used the word "remission" for the first time since this whole thing started! YAY! I'm so happy i can hardly type.

Stay tuned to for updates and be sure to go buy some of Anne's CDs to support her. Because she is on social security she can't technically work, but she can take in income from CD sales. The holidays are coming up! What better gift to give than inspiring and revolutionary music? Support her:

3) Occupation and Liberation
It seems like the #occupy movement is all we talk about these days! It's undeniable that there is an exciting energy in the air that hasn't been there for a few years. I go back and forth between feeling optimistic and excited and wanting to caution myself and others to make sure we keep this grassroots movement on a track that will lead to real change and counter injustice at its root.

I am excited about the revolutionary potential of so many people mobilizing and working horizontally. I've been trying to stop at as many of these protests / occupations as I can during my travels. I was at Wall Street with spiritchild the night after the occupation started and have made it back there a few times since. Anne Feeney and I played to a street corner full of folks at Occupy Spokane in Washington State, and at the Freedom Plaza Occupation in DC at the end of their tour, and I've visited Occupy Cleveland and Pittsburgh as well.

I'm honored and stoked to support this movement with music. I'm troubled, though, by the rhetoric of "the 99%" because I think it lets too many people off the hook. It paints a picture as if we are all in the same boat, as if the millionaire who just didn't make the cut to be in the 1% is a true friend and comrade to the dishwasher who got laid off last year. It also doesn't include an analysis of other forms of oppression like racism, ablesim, gender oppression, etc. Reports abound of blatant racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression being visible and accepted at these Occupy Events. It's also important to remember that the entire "United States" is occupied indigenous territory. We must keep this history of colonization, patriarchy, racism, and capitalism in mind and ensure that our movements will address these problems at their root. Non-hierarchical organizing is a great start, but we need to address our internalized oppression as well, not to mention our fear of fighting back.

I'm all for unity, and I think that one of the most exciting aspects of these protests is the shear number of new people who have gotten involved. I just hope we can use this as a spark to ignite a real revolution. The arrests of over 125 people in Boston made it clear: the government can shut these protests down whenever they want. They are allowing them to continue so long as they don't truly interrupt the workings of capitalism and profit, but as soon as we push the envelope we have to be ready to defend ourselves if we're ever going to win this fight.

Here's a few links to relevant articles and media about the #Occupy movement:

DisOccupy (People of Color Analysis on Occupy Wall Street and more)

Justified Rage from an Unsafe Space (article by the amazing Charlene Obernauer)

Occupy! Connect! Create! (alternative economics ideas from Ethan Miller of Riot-Folk)

And finally, here are some lyrics to a song that I'm in the process of writing with spiritchild about Troy Davis that also comments on the current Occupy movement:

where were the riots?
that's all i could think
when they murdered troy davis
at 11:38
where was the rage
when the president said
it was none of his business
another black man dead
at the hands of a system
so soaked in blood
from the red white man's blues
to the pinkerton thugs
which side are you on?
it's more than rich and poor
the top 1% may have started this war
but the roots of oppression
go deeper than that
we're back to the roots
and we're taking it back

100 years ago
on that very same land
a racist lynch mob
killed another black man
he hung from a tree
where the death row prison stands
his name was henry ethridge
henry ethridge had a plan
he said african people rise up and return
blacks back to africa
henry ethridge yearned
the plantation owners
saw black men organized
feared losing cheap labor
on which they relied
henry ethridge had a plan
so henry ethridge died

we're taking it back
to the black packed slave ships
and the broken treaties
to the nina the pinta and the santa marie
decolonize wall street
set palestine free
don't be surprised if the Feds
come for me
cuz what i'm bout to tell you
they don't want you to hear
the only thing holding us back is our fear
til we're ready to fight
you can camp all night
rally all day in the cold sunlight
hold candlelight vigils
and make your demands
but we won't see peace
without a line in the sand
a line we can sing
and one we can defend

4) Tarek Mehanna's Trial Has Started! Take Action!

Please stay tuned to to learn how YOU can support political prisoner Tarek Mehanna. Tarek's trial has just begun and we need to let the FBI and U.S. Attorney know that the WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING and we will not allow them to continue persecuting Muslims, arabs, and other people of color and marginalized people around the world.

Again: for info on how you can help!



No comments:

Post a Comment