Saturday, January 05, 2008

Let's Kick It Up a Notch--BAM!

Well here it is 2008 (when do we recuperate?)-- and intimations of glad tidings were in the air round midnight Friday morning when mirabile dictu, Bob Fass, legendary WBAI radio hostest with the mostest, delivered the news that Barack Obama had swept the Iowa caucuses to Peter Stampfel and myself, who were in the Pacifica Radio studios inner sanctum rickety sanctorum doing our Du-Tels thing to death to sacree the new year--and yea verily the fun quotient increaseth manifold upon said pronouncement from the Fass-master, hey I'll take any Democrat in the storm in the face of the full force Republican gale emanating from Washington for nigh on what seems an eternity, an ill wind that bloweth no good that has decimated the American landscape/robbed us of our good name in the world (one remembers doddering Maurice Stans, then finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, sweating on the hot seat during the Watergate hearings demanding of Senator Sam Ervin: "Give me back my good name!")...I like Hilary and John Edwards just fine, and would vote for them in a New York minute--but given my druthers would much prefer to see our ship of state commandeered by Obama (Bamalam! Obama has a vision! Bamalam! Obama has a dream!--good campaign theme song which I offer here now gratis to the DNC media spin doctors, who should import Spiderbait to provide the backing track and get Kelis to do the rap --Lukie looky yonder, Dylan had a parody of this Leadbelly field holler smack dab in the middle of "Tarantula", Nick Cave delivered a rocking version on his "Kicking Against the Pricks"'s an enduring classic of Americana, with proven rebel-rousing appeal)...

Peter and I followed the good news with a 3 hour set for Bob Fass that set our feet flying out on the street at 3:30am, watching the harbor lights twinkling over the Battery after an exhilarating nonstop banter and strum that merely touched the tip of our inexhaustible Du-Tels repertoire so carefully accumulated over many years of performance--I love playing with Peter--and in this age of digital empowerment, we are planning a surprise (or two or three) for later this year--stay tuned...

We did Bob's long running show "Radio Unnameable" ostensibly to plug the digital reissue of our stellar little album "No Knowledge of Music Required", which is now available for download over iTunes and most other digital portals worldwide through IODA, along with 6 other of my long out of print catalog albums (the links to order are on my homepage at because he's a great guy, and a New Yawk countercultural beacon of sanity in the American Night...'sfunny about the history of this album, basically Peter and I came together as The Du-Tels in '94 because of a mutual admiration society thang (used to love hearing the Holy Modal Rounders played on WAER growing up in the 'Cuse--"floatin' around on a belladonna cloud" of lordly nightshade...nah just fact once I got my wheels I installed a cassette recorder in my Camaro and used to drive around town picking up hitchhikers at random and would inflict the Rounders' first album on 'em just to watch their reaction...heard Peter sing a solo version of "Goldfinger" many years later at the old Knit and was hooked, again, and suggested we join forces, which he readily agreed to after salaaming me in the locker room of the Printing House for approaching him and general acoustic guitar prowess) and almost immediately went down to Nawlins to record the record with ace producer Mark Bingham (whose name was inadvertently dropped from the album credits in the hurly burly surrounding its rush release--sorry, Mark!)--then spent a year or two flogging it around downtown New York to the usual suspects (Zorn, Kramer, Dorf--all of whom had active labels at the time, and all of whom you'd think would have automatically "gotten" me and Peter)--but Noooooo...still, good taste is timeless--and in 2000 with the winds of change sweeping through 74 Leonard Street and environs we secured a deal with the reactivated Shimmy Disc/Knitting Factory label--and presto! The album came out in June that summer, and a rave review of our record in Rolling Stone with accompanying photo of little old us ensued almost immediately upon release, fame, glory and the sweat and grime of a million dimes followed...and now we're back--and that's a fact--so "haha, who's got the last laugh now?"

I should mention that right down the hall from Bob Fass at WBAI is Amy Goodman's office...the lovely and brainy host of "Democracy Now" was in fine form moderating a panel concerning "A Question of Impeachment", the Culture Project's ongoing Trial By Theater whose last performance I attended with Caroline and Steve and Ruth Hendel on Dec. 16th (Beethoven's birthday, for all you Schulz and Schroeder fans) at their theater on Mercer and Broome...Nation columnist John Nichols sparkled and shined as panel moderator, contributing witty, pointed and incisive commentary on the absolute necessity of impeachment sooner than later (Gore Vidal has hailed John as possessing "the sharpest sword" of any American giant-slayer)... also on the panel was the lovely and impressive author/ex-Yalie Naomi Wolf (celebrated feminist author of "The Beauty Myth", as well as her latest book "The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot", about America's ongoing slippery slide into neo-fascism, a book which she claimed has predictably been black-balled for review by most major publications stateside), alongside lovely and super-articulate Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyer's Guild...some of the most stimulating political discussion in years, their panel galvanized the crowd--together they made a very persuasive case about the need to be afraid, be very afraid, for the future of our country, and our collective overwhelming desire to vote the rascals out a'stirring in this fair land of ours...Jackson "These Days" Browne wrapped up the evening with some impassioned politically charged songs, and we walked out of the theatre chastened and provoked, made aware once more of the major imperative for change, now (BAMALAM! Obama has a mandate! BAMALAM! Obama has a plan!)(one hopes...)

Been awhile since the last posting due to the intervention of the holidays and magnitude of workload (hey I'm not complaining!), I took Caroline to London to visit her mother over xmas per usual and managed in the midst of holiday folderol to squeeze in a studio session with Colleen Murphy a/k/a DJ Cosmo, we just received an excellent rave from Kris Needs (who if I'm not mistaken took over the editorship of ZigZag magazine from the venerable Pete Frame some years ago) for our upcoming new Wild Rumpus EP "Purple Somersault" out on Bitches Brew first week in February, I myself laid down myriad crackerjack tracks (toy surprise in every track) for Colleen to slice and dice...hooked up with the lovely Yuliana Galitskaya and Some Bizzare label boss Stevo on xmas eve, ran down a bunch of new songs with Najma Akhtar, and hung with the Dark Poets (James Hunter and Sarah Hilliard) a few days later in preparation of the release of our album "Gary Lucas Vs. The Dark Poets--Beyond the Pale" March 23rd... check out our myspace site here.

Gary Lucas and The Dark Poets (James Hunter and Sarah Hilliard), London, 12/27/07

photos by Maria Zajdler | Click to enlarge

Did an interview and performance up at Gibson Guitars in the old Hit Factory studios on west 54th the day before taking off for London with French film director Jerome de Missolz, for a documentary entitled "WILD THING" that he's making for the French/German cultural channel ARTE in association with INA (the French National Film Archive), a film retracing the amazing journey of rock music, from its deepest roots to the hear and now, he was a totally cool guy, as was his lovely assistant--the documentary should be first broadcast this spring in France and Germany to an estimated audience of 6-7 million and then play the festival out strange kin people...




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