Sunday, January 15, 2017

Finding Joseph i - a Bad Brains documentary... I think

This story has been leaking in various media outlets about a new Bad Brains documentary or book. There is truth to that. I have heard every variation in the last few months, but now the story has emerged.  There is a new book that is specifically about HR, and his mental illness challenges over the years,  The book has been worked on with HR, and there is about ten years of time invested.  From what I understand, it began as a chronicle about HR.   It kind of ended up, though, as a chronicle of his various mental illnesses and/or health struggles.  I wrote about him here at some length.

Initially, it was just a book called 'Finding Joseph I', which is what I guess HR is calling himself now.  Comedian/sportscaster Jay Mohr got wind of it and wisely turned it into a documentary.  The movie is now done, and they are looking for buyers and shopping it around the festival circuits.  Mohr said (on the Adam Carolla show recently)  that he hope by summer it will be in some kind of distribution.  I imagine you will be able to watch it on Amazon for about $5 by the Spring of 2017.

Finding a buyer won't be easy.  Maybe that is why this amazing documentary never got released,  Well, not officially or legally.  Sadly, you can not buy this movie. You can only stream it here over at Vimeo.  Link is here.   You can only watch it for free online. It's a really fantastic movie, and I highly recommend you watch it.  I just wish they could tie this to a gofundme page for one of the boy's health problems.   In fact, it is GONE.  I just went to the link today. You can not see the movie.  You can not buy it.  Sad.  I am talking about the 2012 doc 'Band in DC'.

 *** updates at the bottom with active links to their 'go fund me' pages.***

It seems this book/movie has undergone a ton since it began.  When I began hearing and reading about it a year ago, it was to be a biography on HR.  Then, it became an autobiography with HR.  Then, it became the ‘oral history of the bad brains’.  THEN.. it became ‘an oral history of HR told by Bad Brains’.  Obviously, to tell the story of a band like them, is to tell the story of HR.  The two cannot be separated. 

The link for the book is above.  Here is the official website for the film.

When Mohr recently got involved, it’s because he is a Bad Brains fan like all of us.  Plus, he probably has some Hollywood mojo and money that you and I don’t.  Mohr was recently on Carolla’s podcast to talk about the film.  I know this only because I listen to Carolla’s show daily, and Morh’s show weekly.  I love these guys, so then I found out Morh is being the Bad Brains project… that is some hit shit!  Carolla keeps probing Mohr about HR’s problems.  “is the guy nuts?  Is he bipolar?....”.  Mohr tries to sidestep the issue, but eventually relents that this story evolved into a story about HR’s mental illness.

At this moment, for us consumers,  ‘Finding Joseph I’ is available as a book right now through amazon.  I can’t tell you about it because I just ordered it myself.  I didn’t understand what the book or project was until now, that’s why. It is also a movie/film/documentary about the book and featuring the same folks.  We are lucky that all of the principles of the band are still around.  However, they don’t really perform anymore because of HR’s issues.  He can’t really sing anymore (think of Ian Anderson here), and his mental issues are such a barrier that no one will book them anymore. 

See, you may show up to a Bad Brains show and just get HR standing there in a motorcycle helmet the whole time.  Not singing.  This has happened more than once. I have been listening to them since high school (30 years ago).  To see Bad Brains live since them reminds me of what the great rock writer G Brown said about Van Morrison. They are among the absolutely best concerts I have seen, and the worst.  And you never know which one you are going to get. (paraphrased).

To see them at their full power, as I got to do 30 years ago at a bar in Tempe, AZ... there was no greater band.  However, the other 3 or 4 times I have seen them... garbage.  The tough part is the band ALWAYS kills.  The experience of the show depends entirely on which HR will show up.  Sadly, it very much seems even he doesn't know, these days.

*** January 2017 - there are two very active 'Go Fund Me' accounts for Bad Brains members.  This one is for HR, and this one is for Dr Know.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thoughts on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize

Hey all, sorry for the late response.  I thought I had posted something up about this. 

Full disclosure at the top of I this, I am nuts for Bob Dylan.  I want to say ‘early Bob Dylan’, but need clarify.  When I say  “early Bob Dylan”… that is not code for ‘acoustic only, before he sold out and went electric!’.   No, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the early electric stuff.  Not just ‘Blonde on Blonde (the first double album EVER)… but ‘Bringing it all back home’ was half electric. 

There was a simply GONZO two year period where Bob was just shitting out masterpieces at a near fatal rate.  Look at ‘Positively 4th st’, a masterpiece of a song… and possibly my favorite Dylan song.  That song didn’t even make the cut on an album release.
This is basically 1964 to 1966, he just went on a recording bender.

But I digressed.  A musician won a literature award.  Is that right?  Yes.  I feel I am also qualified to opine.  I am nuts about music, a musician, and I have a literature degree.  Why should a musician get a literature award?   Because his music and words impact me almost daily.  Think of the greatest book you ever read.  Maybe you re-read it.  Maybe you read it a bunch.  You don’t read it daily, though, do you?  I listen to Bob Dylan almost daily.  I am also much more likely to quote Dylan than any book I have read (maybe with the exception of Alice in Wonderland, the greatest book ever!)

If I am stuck on a desert island… would I rather have a great book, or a bunch of early Dylan?  Early Dylan.  Oh, and don’t say the book so you can start fires and build shelters.  Its an e book, you pyro!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

'Diversity' and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Team, this is another cross post.  It is here because it is music related. It's on my main writing site, because music is everything.  It's rare, honest.  Maybe once every few years.  Really, you should be honored


I write this as we come off the official announcements of the 2017 Rock & Roll HOF inductees.  Journey made it, as did Pearl Jam.  Excellent!  I approve.  With very limited slots, though (only 5 to 7 make it through each year) I was dismayed to see Jane’s Addiction not make the cut.  Then… supremely puzzled to see that Tupac did.  Odd.  This is under the name of ‘diversity’, but is ironically anything but that.  ‘Diversity’ doesn’t get in foreign language groups, or foreign music.  To the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Jann Wenner “Diversity” is limited to black artists, because they (wisely) want to be more inclusive of black culture… since it spawned rock and roll.

So, I am ok with that.  Ok, no I am not.  If I were, why would I be writing? If we are going to bounce Jane’s Addiction for a non rock, black only, act… why not go back to the actual black pioneers?  How about Son House or Leadbelly?
See, if we are going to play the diversity card, and talk about how much black music and culture inspired rock and roll… let’s give those old guys credit, first.  I am talking about the actual people who inspired and invented rock and roll.  They don’t, because no 18 year old black kid (or white kid… or any kid for that matter) can relate to a 95 year old guy and some super terrible lofi recordings from 60 years ago).  They (the Rock Hall of Fame nominating committee Jan Wenner) want to be relevant to today’s youth and culture.  It is a smart and business savvy move… but that is all it is.

How can I best explain my frustration?  Better question; how can I best describe my frustration without coming across as racist?  As always, it is analogy time!
Imagine there was a rap hall of fame.  Imagine that they had the same rules as the R&R HOF… like they can only let in 5 groups a year.  Imagine, then, that NWA and Tupac were not in yet.  Imagine they were on this year’s ballot, but instead James Taylor and Neil Diamond made the cut.  How would that go over?

tangent alarm - 💣

Why not induct Toby Keith (who i just assume is racist, I honestly don’t know.  Between being stuck in his misogynist bars, and the great story of Kristofferson dressing him down proper… we can only assume he is also racist).  ok, I have to finish this little Toby Keith tangent.  I have been to his bars, against my will.  He has women dancing in cages in his bar.  Fucking cages!  That isn't sexy, that is sickening.  Don't tell me 'they are there of their free will, they can do what they want.  They probably make good money'!  It is still wrong.  What if he dressed young black folks as slaves with manacles and such and put them in cages around the bar?
Now do you see how dumb it is to tell me that Tupac bumps Jane’s Addiction (or… anyone)?

Can I also say I am disappointed that Bad Brains didn’t make it.  Again, you want diversity, right?  Name a black rock band.  Other than Living Color.  You can’t, racist!  If Jann wants to try and embrace and include black culture… then Bad Brains solves almost all of that.  In fact, musically… they define diversity.  They play speed metal reggae, which is also super spiritual.  Maybe that isn’t rock and roll enough?  Well, the lead singer has a history of drug abuse and arrests.  Still not rock and roll enough?  HR, the bands’ amazing and mercurial singer, also got arrested for braining an audience member with the bass of a mic stand.  Those fuckers are pure steel, and the good ones weigh a hefty 15 pounds.***