Archive for the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel Category

“Con Te Partiro”; With You I Leave (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Art & Culture, Art Lover, Livin' La Vida Frida, Style & Fashion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by alphabetfiend

When you are far away I dream on the horizon and words fail, and I do know that you are with me, with me, with me. You, my moon, you are here with me. My sun, you are here with me, with me, with me, with me. With you I will leave.

As you may already know, I’ve been a most irresponsible ringleader. I’ve only recently returned to Cream Scene Carnival after a long hiatus. It wasn’t until I returned that I learned I had any “real” readers and now that I know, I’ve promised no more extended absences.

But can a gypsy-carnie with a history of wanderlust really make such a vow?

Well… yes.

Some time away doesn’t seem like such a big deal except for when it comes to one reoccurring post: The Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel. The column I obsessed over and that no one ever read (besides The Reliable One) but he loved it too so I forged ahead with the idea. The idea?

A temple built of alphabet & musical notes, a church constructed of code, a sacrament of song.

I call it “The Punk Rock Gospel” though only some of the song choices are officially “punk rock.” It’s our attitude that’s punk rock. 

We’re outside the religious main-stream but still ass-kicker omen-seeker mystic-minded mutants who are looking for a moment of holy meditation but on our own damn terms.

No nun to rap our knuckles, no priest to diddle us under our choir robes. No bigot to tell us who to love or hate. No big-mouth phoney with his pants down and his hand out. No saintly soul with her lips pursed & judging our upblown skirts as we smirk all Tinto-Brass balls-out saucy. No one luring our loved one to the woods and striking her down because she is beautiful and he wants her which makes him hate her. (RIP Ronnie. The Robot-Boy misses you.) No one to tell us which hotdog to eat. No one to chop at the genitals of our babes. No one to shame us for unabashedly loving eachother and ourselves.

Now watch as I pass out pastels and ooh and ahh as you draw chalky caricatures of Muhammad on the sidewalk.

No one to kill us afterwards.

Down with the dogma! Up with the dada!

When I started Cream Scene Carnival, I had high hopes for the punk rock gospel. I wanted people to read it, to love it, to listen to the songs and then to come back again. And again.

It seemed as if it would never happen. Now, almost out of nowhere, my hopes have been realized. Y’all are reading the punk rock gospel! You’re coming back the next week and the next week too! I’m so happy I could fly my own heart like a bright red kite.

Which is why I MUST find my way here every single Saturday night or early Sunday morning (Monday at the latest?) Either that or I must initiate others to serve as Gurus of Garage Rock or Mofos of Funk for those times when I am unavailable in any of my holy guises: High-Priestess of Tom-foolery; Trickster Fox Fortune-teller; Lipstick Shamaness. Finding a sacred sub is really the perfect solution as it means a fresh perspective or a whole new kind of song on a special kinda Sunday.

This week is in that spirit, even though I am here (having hauled my butt to a late-night diner to surf their wireless.) So it’s me whose typing these words today but it’s a reader — and new interwebby friend, Alice — who chose this video and song. She sent the link to me after a recent post on Frida Kahlo’s 103rd birthday. Maybe, if you are lucky, Alice will contribute her own thoughts/”gospel” in the comments. Although I’ve noticed that a normal modest person with decent goodness and the appropriate level of humility doesn’t take easily to the idea of writing “gospel”. I say, Phooey! and Screw that chicken til the feathers fly! I say take the word “gospel” and make it work for you. I say that God was created by us and is ours to recreate.

Of course there are those who will gasp — aghast! — and call me a hell-bound heathen. But the way I look at it, I’m keeping my heavenly options open. Wide open. I’m after an all-access pass! If I wanna smoke a stogey with the Devil after a day of wind-surfing with Jesus but before a long night of drunken club-hopping with Artemis and Venus, well then, so fucking be it. These are OUR MYTHS and we should be able to interact with them freely.

On that note, I’d like to open up the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel to all of you because it was my gift to you and now it’s yours. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep writing week after week but it does mean that I am open to song suggestions or topics of discussion. Anyone interested in guest-hosting a punk rock gospel (choosing song, video & theme, as well as writing the text) should raise their hand with a hell yea! or a why the hell not!?

This week’s song is Com Te Pardis or “With you, I Will Leave” (also known as “Time to Say Goodbye.”) The song is sung by Andrea Bocelli and was “chosen” by Alice who “gifted” it to me after a tough couple weeks in which I wrestled with issues of loss, grief and death. As Alice and I discussed, there’s always that shamanic meaning within injury, illness or trauma.

Let us be the ones to look for those gifts which aren’t showy or jewel-encrusted.

Let us be the ones to love being alive and to never ever be too cool, too hip or too busy to (know) show it.

Let us be the ones who find a new spirit in the rubble of religion.

Let us be Lizard Kings! Let us be everything!

Livin’ la vida Frida!!

Con Te Partiro; With You, I Will Leave

(With you, I leave)

Quando sono solo sogno all’orizzonte e mancan le parole
(When I’m alone I dream of the horizon and words fail)

si, lo so che non c’e luce in una stanza quando manca il sole
(Yes, I know there is no light in a room when the sun is absent)

se non ci sei tu con me / con me
(If you are not with me / with me)

su le finestre
(at the windows)

mostra a tutti il mio cuore che hai acceso
(show everyone my heart which you set alight)

chiudi dentro me la luce che / hai incontrato per strada
(give to me the light / you found on the street)

con te partiro
(with you i will leave)

paesi / che non ho mai
(countries which i have never)

veduto e vissuto con te
(seen and experienced with you)

adesso, si, li vivro
(now, yes, i will live them)

con te partiro
(with you i will leave)

su navi per mari
(on ships across seas)

che, io lo so / no, no, non esistono piu
(which, i know, no, no, no longer exist)

con te io li vivro
(with you i will live them)

quando sei lontana sogno all’orizzonte e mancan le parole
(when you are far away I dream on the horizon and words fail)

e io si lo so che sei con me / con me
(and I do know that you are with me, with me)

tu, mia luna, tu sei qui con me
(you, my moon, you are here with me)

mio sole, tu sei qui con me, con me, con me, con me
(my sun, you are here with me, with me, with me, with me)

con te partiro
(with you I will leave)

paesi che non ho mai
(countries which i have never)

veduto e vissuto con te
(seen and experienced with you)

adesso, si, li vivro
(now, yes, i will live them)

con te partiro
(with you i will leave)

su navi per mari
(on ships across seas)

che, io lo so / no, no, non esistono piu
(which, i know, no, no, no longer exist)

con te io li rivivro
(with you i will relive them)

con te partiro
(with you i will leave)

su navi per mari
(on ships across seas)

che, io lo so, no, no, non esistono piu
(which, i know, no, no, exist no longer)

con te io li rivivro
(with you i will relive them)

Io con te!
(I’m with you!)

********************************

*The surrealist pieces Angels of Death & Infinity are by George Gris and are available as prints.

I love how the Angel of Death has the rowboat which she sails in the song: “With you I will leave, on ships across seas, which, I know, no, no, no longer exist, with you I will relive them, with you I will leave, on ships across seas.”

I’ll be all gypsy-wild & on the road after this is published so there may be some delay in answering comments. But I’ll be back. Be assured.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by alphabetfiend

This weekend — shadowy due to the solar eclipse perhaps? — has been morbid and over-wrought and thus Devo’s Fresh really wasn’t gonna hit the spot.

 

Due to the ache of the last couple days — Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and other Ick — I really don’t have my usual Goof-given gratitude and all-around zest for life. And yet I do. You bet I do. It’s just that I’m all too aware of how easily that life can end in a split-second convergence of circumstance, timing and (bad) luck. 

Okay, fine, I’ve got gratitude and zest, sure, but no words. My eyes are red and my sockets are dry from too many tears. Every tear I shed took one word with it and now there’s no words left.

Rather than “Fresh” by Devo, I’ve chosen the blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Actually, I was too spent even for the making of choices, but after I read my last post aloud to RB, he suggested I do “Death…” as it’s one of my all-time heart-wrenching favorites and unfortunately apt. Of course! “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” indeed.

“Death Don’t have No Mercy,” originally done by Reverend Gary Davis, has been covered many times by everyone from The Grateful Dead to, more recently, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I’m especially partial to the version by the late great, John Martyn. Martyn did the song in the late 90’s, covering a Portishead song on the same album. (The song was Glorybox, the album was The Church With One Bell.)

I first fell in love with “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” when Martyn did it and so I was hoping to share his version with you but no luck. Nevermind.  The song is amazing, period, and both of the following versions are great. That said, I urge you to check out Martyn’s version, should you take to these. 

I often promise a less-wordy week than usual and then pull words like handkerchiefs from a magician’s pocket but not this week. I mean it. Seriously. I’m shutting up now. (If you crave the usual Sunday A.M. chatter, check out that last sad post.)

And now, the genius Reverend Gary Davis.

And now, my beloved Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Y’ know death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land, in this land
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long
Look in bed this morning, children find your mother gone.

I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land,
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land, in this land, yeah!

Whoa! come to your house, y’ know he don’t stay long,
Y’ look in bed this morning,
Children you find that your brothers and sisters are gone.
I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.

Death will go in any family in this land.
Death will go in any family in this land.
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long.
Look in the bed on the morning, children find that your family’s gone.

****************************

Death don’t have no mercy, but sometimes Death’ll take a raincheck, as was the case with the man who fell nearly 500 feet off a cliff and lived to respect the hell outta Senor Death. So keep hoping and keep loving, my mutant mystics, until that day when Death comes calling.

See you next week for another Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

Goof willing.

Louder Than A Bomb (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I heart hip hop, I Heart Holidays, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

They claim we’re products from the bottom of hell cause the black is back and it’s bound to sell. Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July and if you heard we were celebratin’, that’s a world wide lie. — Public Enemy

Thanks for tuning in to this special Fourth of July Edition of the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel

So many Sundays, the punk rock gospel has been about appreciating the beauty in life and not being a hater; having gratitude and gusto; forming questions and searching for answers. All good, all valid, but this week is different. This week is about noticing the disfunction (whether in friendships, family or government) and demanding more than disfunction. Speak up, sound the truth, use your voice to fight for what’s right. Make up your own mind regardless of outside pressure. This week I urge you to doubt when doubt is warranted.

This week’s punk rock gospel selection is “Louder Than A Bomb” by masters of dissent, Public Enemy.

Last week , in “Tryin To Make It Real Compared To What,” Les McCaan and Eddie Harris sang:

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason

Damn. The more things change the more they stay the same. Lyrics written in the 1960’s ring true like they were written yesterday, or back when Bush was in office, or back when Bush’s daddy was in office. I wanted to address the redundancy of politics (and the resulting tragedy) in last Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel (Tryin’ To Make It Real…) but a political rant hardly fit the emotional tenor of that post.

Still it stuck with me like a burr on a dog’s ball sack.

Now, in the wee hours of July 4th, I’m thinking about patriotism.

Have one doubt, they call it treason.

Ask one question and “the terrorists win.”

I get weary of the old refrain “If you don’t like it, leave.” (I’m so weary of it that I’m actually thinking about leaving. Life as an ex-pat may be just the thing.) A patriot is someone who loves their country and squawks when they see it headin’ off the rails, who believes in the freedom our forefathers fought for, who knows that freedom is not some hyped-up propaganda to be used against us by speech writers.

Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, on boats or in backyards, wearing flip-flops or setting off fire-crackers, flipping burgers or making vats of lemonade, let’s remember that part of loving this country is looking out for it. A patriot is someone who wants the very best for America, not just the same old same old status quo. Complacence and silence can be devastating. A human voice can be LOUDER THAN A BOMB. Don’t be afraid to light that fuse!

If speaking up makes you Public Enemy #1 then so be it. You’ll be in some fine company.

To hear “Louder Than A Bomb” as originally recorded on “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (without the distraction of live footage)play this sucker.

If you wanna see footage of Public Enemy performing “Louder Than A Bomb” live, here’s a pretty great version culled from many not so great versions (with bad sound, bad shots or both.)

Peace out, patriots. I have an American Flag cake to bake — whipped cream icing with blueberries as stars and strawberries as stripes. Yum. Let them eat cake! Thanks for tuning in this 4th of July. I hope Public Enemy has inspired.

Let your rhythm be the rebel!!!

Louder Than A Bomb

This style seems wild
Wait before you treat me like a stepchild
Let me tell you why they got me on file
‘Cause I give you what you lack
Come right and exact
Our status is the saddest
So I care where you at black
And at home I got a call from Tony Rome
The FBI was tappin’ my telephone
I never live alone
I never walk alone
My posses always ready and they’re waitin’ in my zone
Although I live the life that of a resident
But I be knowin’ the scheme that of the president
Tappin’ my phone whose crews abused
I stand accused of doing harm
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb
C’mon C’mon louder etc…

I am the rock hard trooper
To the bone, the bone, the bone
Full grown – consider me – stone
Once again and
I say it for you to know
The troop is always ready, I yell `geronimo’
Your CIA, you see I ain’t kiddin’
Both King and X they got ridda’ both
A story untold, true, but unknown
Professor Griff knows…
“I ain’t no toast”
And not the braggin’ or boastin’ and plus
It ain’t no secret why they’re tappin’ my phone, although
I can’t keep it a secret
So I decided to kick it, yo
And yes it weighs a ton
I say it once again
I’m called the enemy – I’ll never be a friend
Of those with closed minds, don’t know I’m rapid
The way that I rap it
Is makin’ ’em tap it, yeah
Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Cold holdin’ the load
The burden breakin’ the mold
I ain’t lyin’ denyin’, ’cause they’re checkin’ my code
Am I buggin’ ’cause they’re buggin’ my phone – for information
No tellin’ who’s sellin’ out – power buildin’ the nation so…
Joinin’ the set, the point blank target
Every brothers inside – so least not, you forget, no
Takin’ the blame is not a waste, here taste
A bit of the song so you can never be wrong
Just a bit of advice, ’cause we be payin’ the price
‘Cause every brother mans life
Is like swingin’ the dice, right?
Here it is, once again this is
The brother to brother
The Terminator, the cutter

Goin’ on an’ on – leave alone the grown
Get it straight in ’88, an’ I’ll troop it to demonstrate
The posse always ready – 98 at 98
My posse come quick, because my posse got velocity
Tappin’ my phone, they never leave me alone
I’m even lethal when I’m unarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel
Here’s a funky rhyme that they’re tappin’ on
Just thinkin’ I’m breakin’ the beats I’m rappin’ on
CIA FBI
All they tell us is lies
And when I say it they get alarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

*Atomic Tree available as a print.

Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What?! (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey? Where’s my God and where’s my money?

This was one “Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel” that almost didn’t happen.  After the busiest of weeks and hours of off-line frustration in the Mississippi country-side, I said screw it all to hell and collapsed into bed with weary bones. Maybe it’ll be a Monday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel, I thought as I drifted into a deep air-conditioned slumber. Two hours later, at 4am, I awoke with a jolt to the spectres of Eddie Harris and Les McCaan. This is our Sunday, they insisted, so I reached with drowsy digits for my discarded laptop and whaddaya know?!  We suddenly (miraculously?) made contact. Now, fueled by caffeine & cigarettes, and a crazy lovely love for this song, I’m gonna knock this sucker out.

This week will be less wordy that usual, partly due to my fried-egg sunny-side up brain, but mostly because this song sings for itself.

How to introduce “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What” ???

What can possibly be said about one of the greatest songs of all time?

All I can do is tell you what it means to me and urge you to form your own fibrous connection. And you will. You will. It’s that damn good.

When I was 15, my Dad and I took a long dusk-to-dark ride through the New Mexico mountains. Our headlights guided us around treacherous curves which my father — an expert driver and Motor City son — took smoothly, sweetly, safely. The moon was fat and the stars glittered like sugared candies. It was the kind of memory that sticks to your ribs; the kind of living that gives life texture, taste and deliciousness. It was the kind of  time that carves into your soul and (RE)MAKES you into a new configuration (concoction?) of your self. It was there, in that cushy comfy night, that I first heard “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What.” It was also the second, third, fourth and fiftieth time. We played it over and over and over while reveling in the troubled beauty of the world.

Ten years later, my Dad was dead.

There would be no more moonlight rock-out rides; no more trading barbs over breakfast until he broke into a grin over my writerly wit; no more mounting our motorcycles at dawn and VVROOM-VVROOMing into the rising sun. 

There was no one to call when I needed to remember who it was that did that amazing fucking song. 

After all, that crazy beautiful fucker had turned me onto so many songs over the years and I figgered he’d always be around to help me keep ’em straight.

What was the song we used to play on the pontoon as we floated lazily down the Maumee River? Right. Take 5. Dave Brubeck. I remember now.

Who was it we were listening to that 3am by the fire? Ah! Buddy Holly. Duh.  

Who was it that did that kick-ass cool song that we couldn’t get enough of that night in your Lincoln, with the fat moon and her spilled candy?

Huh? Who? Hello? Dad? Where the hell you’d go? Hello?…hello…hey…hello? Daddy?

Damn that silence sucks.

Fortunately, there’s now such a thing as google. I typed in “tryin to make it real compared to what,” and was led to youtube, where Eddie Harris & Les McCaan broke my heart all over again. Then fixed it. Then broke it. It was awesome. I hit replay at least a dozen times. Oh. Such goodness. Such beauty. Such power.

My body flooded with rock & roll relief.

The song returned to me, like a gift, an act of cyber kindness, and now in the spirit of punk rock gospel, I am passing it on to you. I hope it breaks your heart and blows your mind. I hope it carves into you and sticks to your ribs. I hope it stays with you forever.

Is that too much to ask? No, I really don’t think so. Listen to it, see for yourself. Then go buy the record, download it onto your ipod, add the song to a playlist — spend some quality time with it. Let it add taste and texture to your memories… all the while striving to make it real while asking “Real?… Compared to what?”

Like a Buddhist koan, there’s really no answer but the question props your mind open.

TRYING TO MAKE IT REAL COMPARED TO WHAT

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

(Music break)

Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Your Own Personal Jesus (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Have your personal Jesus call my personal Jesus and we’ll work somethin’ out. How’s Sunday work for ya?    

For this week’s Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, I’ve chosen a song that’s gone through quite a transformation since its early 90’s hey-day. Originally done by Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus” got a whole new spiritual life when covered by the late great Johnny Cash.    

    

Johnny Cash recorded “Personal Jesus” for his 2002 album American IV: When the Man Comes Around. Brilliantly produced by Rick Rubin, the album is a masterful collection of Cash covering songs by such diverse artists as Nine Inch Nails or Simon & Garfunkle. (Hurt; A Bridge Over Troubled Water) It’s clear from Rubin’s song selections that he’d listened to a lot of old Johnny Cash records. Each song is a glimpse into Cash’s psyche, soul and sound.    

    

“Personal Jesus” was an especially perfect choice and yet not at all obvious.    

Johnny Cash? Depeche Mode? Whuuut?    

C’mon, think about it! “Personal Jesus” was made for Johnny Cash. It’s a Jesus song! And damn can Johnny sing us some Jesus.    

“Gospel music is part of what I am and part of what I do,” — JC    

By 2002, singing about Jesus was old hat to Cash: he’d struck an earthly aching chord with songs like “Redemption”, “I Saw the Light” or (my fav) Billy Joe Shaver’s “Old Chunk of Coal.”    

Sinner? (Johnny Cash)

Johnny was the sinner striking out towards redemption.    

There was a sadness in Cash: an ill-healed injury, a bruised history. Yet Cash wasn’t brow beat or beat down. He wasn’t ashamed or unwilling to change. Johnny Cash was a work in progress… he was “Us”. For all the hurt his voice conveyed there was also yearning, learning and hope.    

Before I heard Cash’s cover of Personal Jesus, I never saw the song as spiritual or even especially meaningful. It seemed, to me, to be more about SNARK than SPIRIT.   

With that voice like an open gash, Cash gave it gospel. Personal Jesus” was never meant to be a spiritual hymn or religious statement. Dave Gahan reportedly wrote the song about heroin, after battling a nasty addiction to the stuff. (Guess that explains the snark.)   

Saint? (DM's Dave Gahan)

For me, the Depeche Mode version elicits memories of an illicit afternoon of stolen sex with my high-school boyfriend who was supposedly my ex-boyfriend (who should have definitely stayed an ex.) He’d shown up with his shiny new CD, hot to trot, hopin’ to be my very own personal Jesus. While he sang along,  fancying himself as unholy savior, I sat there thinking A) This again? What am I doing? and B) He bettah not be thinkin’ he’s my personal Jesus. Until I finally busted out with “Y’know you’re really not” and he said, “Oooh, yes I am.”    

Let us take a moment to thank our blessed father who art in heavan, for it was Johnny Cash who took ultimate and final possession of “Personal Jesus.” Sorry DM fans, sorry MM* fans, but it’s true. “Personal Jesus” is Johnny’s. Always will be. Sorry ADC but you aren’t my personal Jesus. Never waz.    

Everyone must find something to give their life texture and meaning, be it Jesus or Johnny Cash. We’re all setting our own moral barometers and looking for guidance — in the pages of The Koran or in the pages of Nietzsche. Whether we find peace in ancient psalms or Ginsberg poems, we’re all in search of the joy that obliterates pain, the light that illuminates the dark.    

    

What is more personal than Jesus?    

Often, when someone’s found what they’re looking for, they’ll become convinced that they have what the rest of us need. But spirit is a private matter. No one can save another’s soul. Even those belting out “Jesus Loves Me” beneath the same rain-pelted church roof  are singing to their own singular versions of God’s first-born.    

Historian/Author Stephen Prothero explored the many-faced Jesus in his book American Jesus. The book examines how Jesus has affected our culture and how our culture has affected Jesus.    

No religious personality has captivated so many Americans for so long as Jesus. Indeed, as Boston University historian Prothero demonstrates in this sparkling and engrossing book, Jesus is the one religious figure nearly every American, whether Christian or not, past and present, has embraced. From Thomas Jefferson’s cut-and-paste Bible to Jesus Christ Superstar, from the feminized Christ of the Victorians to the “manly redeemer” of Teddy Roosevelt’s era, from Buddhist bodhisattva to Black Moses, Prothero surveys the myriad ways Americans have remade Jesus in their own image.    

(Publisher’s Weekly)      

    

Whether you view Jesus as a diety or not, there’s no denying that Jesus has become an American icon. Chances are, you too have your own personal Jesus. We should all have our own personal Jesus! Who doesn’t sometimes need to reach out and touch faith?    

Personal Jesus    

Reach out and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there    

Feeling’s unknown and you’re all alone
Flesh and bone by the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer    

Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess
I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith    

Your own Personal Jesus
Feeling’s unknown and you’re all alone
Flesh and bone by the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer
I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Reach out and touch faith    

This video is beautifully done — sun-faded familial shots of Johnny & June intercut with raw b+w photos of haggard looking celebs. (Kris Kristofferson, Kieth Richards, Dennis Hopper, Billy Gibbons, Kate Moss, Sheryl Crow, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Chris Rock, Lisa Marie Presley, Travis Barker and Kid Rock.)    

   

Who or what does your Jesus look like? Who’s listening to your prayers? What do you reach for when you’re all alone, just flesh and bone by the telephone?   

I sometimes suspect that Johnny’s personal Jesus was June.    

    

After June died, after they buried her, the Robot Boy was reading the paper when tears welled up in his green eyes. I was… surprised.     

Wow, he said. Johnny’s not long for this world.    

RB passed the paper and pointed at a photo of Johnny Cash at June Carter Cash’s funeral. Cash, in a black suit and tie, was seated in a wheelchair; his face was graven and distant. A man was offering condolences, hand out-stretched, but Johnny saw right through him, as if he were in a whole other plane of existence. As if one or both of them were ghosts.    

They’ll be one of those couples, predicted RB. It won’t be long, now that June’s gone.    

And it wasn’t. It wasn’t long at all. I cried and cried the day Johnny died but having seen that picture, I’d say I was prepared. I could see the peace in it.    

    

*Marilyn Manson also covered “Personal Jesus.”    

The Holy Banana is from Stuff That looks Like Jesus, a gallery of one Jesus after another, whether in a dusty moth-wing or in the chocolatey layers of a kit kat candy bar.     

“Dead Characters” (the Jesus Big Boy painting) is by the ever-brilliant Mark Ryden.“Jesus with Desk Lamp” is by Branden Martz (just one of many amazing multi-media artworks on view at his website.) Expect to hear more about Mr. Martz!    

American Jesus by Stephen Prothero is available at Amazon.

Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster” (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Friendship, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Lipstick Shamaness, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Last Sunday was supposed to be a special birthday-honoring trickster-themed double edition of  The Punk Rock Gospel, but you know what they say about the road to hell…        

Despite my good intentions, I wasn’t able to swing both Gogol Bordello’s “When the Trickster Starts a Pokin”  and Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster.”        

I was too busy eating bon-bons and being spoiled by the Robot Boy. No biggie. The glossy bow-topped packages and the birthday cake carried over into the rest of the week so why not trickster anthems?       

        

The “Sacred Trickster” is the first track on Sonic Youth’s new record. “Eternal” was just released June 9. It’s Sonic Youth’s 16th album and their first album since 2006. “Eternal” — cover art by famous folk-artist John Fahey — is the band’s first album on Matador Records. “Eternal” finds SY creatively-charged and still rockin’ as they return to their old school indy roots and revisit past aural forays:        

Twelve tunes that are a fireworks display of Sonic Youth touchstones. From the primal no wave attack of its earliest days, to the radical chording and song structures of its 90s period, to the more focused and contemporary explorations of the last five years. (Amazon bio)        

   

    In the song, Kim Gordon refers to West Mass noise artist Noise Nomads and French artist/painter Yves Klein.       

        

Sacred Trickster, I want you to levitate me. Don’t you love me yet? Press up against the amp, turn up the treble. Don’t forget.        

   

Sacred Trickster makes me wanna light a cigarette and dance inside my own smoky tornado. I wanna build bombs! I wanna be a girl in a band! I wanna wear my fox-ears to church and bang chaotically on the church organ while reciting lines from Ani songs: I’m tired of being the interesting one, I’m tired of having fun for two. Just lay yourself on the line and I might lay myself down by you. I wanna draw chalk mandalas or fly kites fashioned from old love letters.        

Makes me wanna press up against the amp, turn up the treble.        

Makes me wanna make noise, trouble, love.        

Mostly it makes me wanna ask more of myself: to reach down into my own heaving, hurting place and to dig around in the sadness until I’ve recovered the sacred.        

"LadyFox" by painter, Carolina Hardigree

  

And when I’m done asking more of myself, I’m gonna turn around and ask more of you. And you and you and you.        

I’m going to want you to do for me and to come through for me. I’m gonna want you to make me dizzy when we’re just sittin’ around. I’m gonna want you to levitate me. Can’t you do that for me? Can’t you rid me of all the steely hardness that holds me down? Can’t you blow into me with your breath until I’m light as air? Can’t you lift me from the bed — from my bondage, my ache, my sorrow — and send me up up up with the soft shush of a pink balloon. Why won’t you levitate me? Don’t you love me?        

Or do you think I am asking too much?        

I want you to blow my fucking mind.         

Is that asking too much?        

As Ani sang, I want somebody who can hold my interest, hold it and never let it fall, someone who can flatten me with a kiss that hits like a fist or a sentence that stops me like a brick wall.        

When did we stop expecting to be IN AWE?        

Why are we arrogant if we seek greatness in ourselves or greedy if we expect greatness in others? Why is it too much to want it all? Since when is the status quo enough for any of us?        

So I wanna rub elbows with the sacred, so what? So I expect you to levitate me, why not? Don’t you love me yet?       

       

The Sacred Trickster is that part of yourself that wants to steal the raspberries and chase the gingerbread man.     

The Sacred Trickster is the lover who makes you better by pointing to the bigness in you and saying Gimmee gimmee gimmee.     

The Sacred Trickster is the friend who cracks the secret code and then the nut and then a smile.     

The Sacred Trickster is the melody inside the noise, the meaning inside the poem, the puppet show theater inside a hallowed-out 1956 TV.     

The Sacred Trickster is the rock star who has you pressed against the throbbing amp… the writer who wrote that line (the one that kills you every time)… the painter who has convinced you to cuddle the sly white fox. You open up your cozy covers and Fox closes in tight, nestling, nuzzling, stinking like star dust.      

Who is The Sacred Trickster? He’s you and she’s me. That’s the way it should be.      

        

 Sacred Trickster        

I want you to levitate me        

Don’t you love me yet?        

Press up against the amp turn up the treble        

Don’t forget        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating on the ground        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Whats its like to be a girl in a band?        

I don’t quite understand        

That’s so quaint to hear        

I feel so faint my dear        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating scootin around        

   

Summon the Sacred Trickster! 

Thanks for tuning in to today’s Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel. Enjoy this, the official Sonic Youth “Sacred Trickster” video as released by Matador Records. It’s ferocious fun in a Gossip Girl meets Guerilla Grrl kinda way.      

***The LadyFox painting (above) is by an extremely talented, emerging artist named Carolina Hardigree. We’ve featured Hardigree’s work on Cream Scene Carnival before and we will again; because she is brilliant, amazing and mythic-minded. My kind of girl! Carolina Hardigree’s work can be purchased via her own website @ Black Bird Fine Art.       

Sonic Youth’s Eternal is available on Amazon.

When The Trickster Starts A Pokin’ (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Goof & Glamour, I Heart Tricksters, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by alphabetfiend

For this very special Happy Birthday –to me! — edition of  The Punk Rock Gospel, I’ve chosen a song about the trickster by actual tricksters.

As I walked into the bar
A man came up to me and said:
you know the older you will get
the more perverted you will get

Back before barely anyone had heard of Gogol Bordello, I had that between the shoulder-blades twitch. The itch that tells me to expect something important. I got word — via emails from friends or omens from the universe — that this was a band I needed to see. Me, in particular.

“Why?” I asked, “Why me in particular?’

And they said, Well, y’know, they’re like crazy carnies, they’re anarchist gypsies, they’re circus & costumes & pageantry.

Then the Robot Boy delivered the final seal-the-deal detail: their first single was a song called “When the Trickster Starts a Pokin’ .”

The perfection! 

Is the trickster poking into our life, making a mess, causing creative chaos?

Or is it our own trickster-self, poking out or sticking up or suggesting something inappropriate?

 

“When the trickster starts a pokin'” by the band Gogol Bordello is the PERFECT punk rock gospel choice: thanks to the trickster-laden meaning and Gogol Bordello’s gypsy punk style.

They are noisy and kinetic on stage, many things happen at once. There’s costumes and gorgeous goof-blessed dancing. There are lights and drums and uninhibited giddy fun that is lovely and contagious. This is something more than music, more than performance. There is something otherworldly here. It’s a trickster’s fortune cookie. It’s a gypsy curse.

There’s a shamanistic showmanship to Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz. He moves with the trance-rock spirit of Morrison or Iggy. Hutz performs with that same  limit-pushing boundary-crossing urgency. Exhaustive and unfurling, Hutz has a loose-limbed physicality that challenges the inertia and ennui of the audience. 

It’s almost as if Eugene Hutz is endowed with the same kind of magic-making movement as the Trickster:

Ah ha hey!

When the Trickster starts a-walking
He sends the whole world askew
just when you think that it’s all through
It’s just a birth of something new
And when the Trickster starts a-pokin
who does he need to ask permission
before he goes in third position
I guess he’s just a Bordello kind of guy!…

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I invited trickster energy to unfold in my life, so why am I so surprised to see that the trickster has fucked my shit up?  As tricksters are wont to do. Never invite Coyote to dinner and act all disgusted when he pisses in your crock pot. Don’t jump on Fox’s back unless you can flee quicker than he jumps over the lazy dog. But whatever troubles Trickster causes? New life will grow from those soot-filled fields. Just when you think that it’s all through, it’s just a birth of something new.

As I write this, I am wearing my Gogol Bordello tee. I look almost obscene, being sans bra. Luckily, the tee is so tight and has such a cool screen — “This mustache kills fascism” — that I can justify my bare-breasted look as a radical pro-curves statement. Shall I be a classic self-crasher? Or be a good flasher?!  Tonight, in my too-tight tee, I’m gonna be a good flasher cause I’ve been a classic self crasher way too many times.

So I walked out of a bar
and drove like crazy for half mile
I was thirteen beers drunk
on Houston I jumped in some trunk…
We ventured on New York Throughway
where I heard myself say:
Shall I be classic self crasher?
Or be a good flasher?!

I chose the above version because it is such an unusual performance for them and so few people have seen it. It’s from an in-store performance at Criminal Records in Paris. I have provided another clip at the bottom should you care to see a more typical performance full of the usual noise and chaos.

*****************************

When the Trickster Starts A Pokin’

As I walked into the bar
A man came up to me and said:
you know the older you will get
the more perverted you will get

Hey, I’d like to see you try it
Oh what you gonna do about it?
Optzay, be a bad priest?
Ili primernij ononist?!
Be bad transvestattn? (Da yuta nigh!)
Or be a good zoldatten?! (Ozay Optzay!)
Yeah, give it a try, (By by by by)
But me I’m jasto Bordello kind of guy!..

Mama, of course all hopes are so fragile…
Papa, i can’t believe what it costs?..
Sily, Sily oni menja pokidajut
So i did what I did and its worth what its worth what it’s worth

Ah ha hey!

When the Trickster starts a-walking
he sends the whole world askew.
Just when you think that it’s all through
It’s just a birth of something new!
And when the Trickster starts a-pokin
who does he need to ask permission
before he goes in third position?
I guess he’s justo Bordello kind of guy!…

Mama, of course all hopes are so fragile…
Papa, I can’t believe what it costs?..
Sily oni menja pokidajut
So I did what I did and its worth what its worth what it’s worth

Ah ha hey!

So I walked out of a bar
and drove like crazy for half mile
I was thirteen beers drunk
on Houston I jumped in some trunk…
We ventured on New York Throughway
where myself I heard I say:
Shall i be classic self crasher?
Or be a good flasher?!

Hey, I’d like to see you try it
Oh what you gonna do about it?
Heeeeeeey, be a bad priest?
Ili primernij ononist?!
Da yuta nigh!
Ozay Optzay!
By by by by!
I guess I’m justo Bordello kind of guy!

Bordello kind of guy!
Bordello kind of guy!
Bordello kind of guy!

Click on this if you wanna see this band in motion. Pay attention to all the crazy on-stage antics!

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