Category Archives: Religion

Jessie Jones interview up on L.A. RECORD

This was a fun one: an interview with my old pal, Jessie Jones, who I first met seemingly yesterday when she was a teenager, a member of Feeding People, and now have to stand back and admire as a full-grown solo artist!

jessiejones

photo by abby banks

Truth be told, the interview we did at Sage to prepare for this article went on FOREVER. What ended up in print is only a small portion of the rambling talk we had about all the crazy stuff she’s gone through in such a short period of time, including working in a factory in a rural town, hiding out from Bigfoot, and trying to escape society by moving off into the woods.

Of course, the L.A. RECORD folks had to trim even more off to get it to fit in the magazine, but there’s one fun part at the beginning that I wish had stayed!

… and since I wrote the darn thing, and ONLY because I like the original intro enough that I think it’s worth sharing as an outtake, I’m reprinting my original beginning to the interview here. You can read this first and then jump into the article, or just go to the article now if you think I’m already long-winded enough.

She may look it, but Jessie Jones is no longer the same shy, young singer from Orange County with the bold, weathered, jazzy old woman’s voice that she was when D. M. Collins first interviewed her in 2011. Back then, she sang with the psychedelia-tinged, Burger Records-approved garage band Feeding People, who then seemed to be just approaching the lip of the cusp of the edge of greatness. Instead, they quickly burned out; but Jones never truly faded away. After a few years in wandering the country trying out dead end jobs and engaging with supernatural phenomena, Jones re-emerged in full force in 2015, first on a triumphant tour co-singing lead vocals with Death Valley Girls, and now, as of this month, with her first solo album, which has been tickling the fancies of folks from the bowels of Gnar Burger all the way to the corridors and clicks of NPR. She speaks now, again, to D. M. Collins, who has convinced her to join him for a very candid interview at the vegan restaurant Sage in Echo Park, a place so opposed to animal cruelty that even the arachnids have started getting cocky…

 

FUCK! FUCKING FUCK! I giant spider was just in my mouth! Oh my fucking god. Did it bite my lip? It just, like, swung whole into my mouth! I didn’t swallow it; it’s climbed somewhere back up on the umbrella and disappeared….

JESSIE JONES: Maybe it’s trying to bless you?

Jessie, you are such a witch! People think you are this innocent little lamb, but you are a witch! Is that giant spider your “familiar?”

JESSIE JONES: I have weird relationships with spiders. Sometimes when I’m about to make a really drastic decision, I’ll wake up with like six spider bites! Their symbolism is tied up with the mythology of the Fates, the makers of destiny.

So, that reminds me, I’ll forgive the spider, because I have a confession. Remember when I interviewed Feeding People in my backyard in 2011 [in issue #104 of L.A. RECORD, e.d.]? You were all so young and so charming; it was obvious the band was going to implode horribly, and soon. I should have said something. Do you forgive me for not warning you that your life was about to go to shit?

JESSIE JONES: Um….. yes!

————-

Yay! She forgives me! That apology on my part was far more than casual conversation. Glad she’s not mad at me for not trying to “save” her from the future fate had waiting for her. Then again, that spider certainly did act suspiciously, as if bewitched…

Okay, with the above original text out of the way, feel free to hop to the actual article and continue reading.

And in honor of labor day, please make sure to savor her words when she starts to describe some of her experiences out there in the “eye of the storm” of capitalism. This part of her responses really struck me as both insightful and beautiful, while at the same time, you know, scary as hell:

“South Carolina, when I was just living in the middle of nowhere—that’s where it hit me: there’s so much poverty, such a lack of education, and not a lot of opportunity for people who are born without any guidance or any money. Just seeing how capitalism and consumerism really exist only when you’re in the eye of the storm. And when I was working weird jobs and stuff for companies in weird factories to keep existing, and I could see like, all this crap is coming from China. And I’m sending it to some person’s house in like Anaheim or Chicago, but they don’t see what’s going on behind closed doors. It’s like I could finally see how big America was, how small I was, how small my little bubble in Orange County was. And I had to talk about it, I guess. I had to get it out.”

 

-D. M. Collins

Earl Scruggs is the best banjo player EVER!

Well, you could argue on Bill Monroe’s behalf.  But Bill never did this:

Bush’s judicial legacy

button seen at last summers Republican convention

button seen at last summer's Republican convention

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’ll soon be seeing an about-face on the concept of “legislating from the bench,” a practice that Bush and the Republicans adamantly talked shit about for the last eight years.  Unfortunately for them, on a Federal level, that’s about the only place they’ll be legislating for a while, and they know it and are beginning to savor it.

Luckily, the new Congress is hip to it, too.  The first thing they did last week was undo Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

It was no accident that the first piece of major legislation the House of Representatives passed last week was a rebuke of one of the two justices President George W. Bush put on the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito.

To open the new Congress, the House passed a bill which seeks to undo the 2007 Supreme Court Ledbetter decision which Alito wrote.

House Democrats weren’t shy about pointing the finger at Alito as the man they saw as the culprit in the 2007 decision.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said Alito “wrote the flawed decision…. Lilly Ledbetter was denied justice and the rights afforded to her under the Civil Rights Act. Justice Alito’s opinion runs contrary to decades of civil rights law.”

And Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who has often led the opposition to Bush’s judicial nominees, said in 2006 that Alito is one nominee he wished he had done more to block. “My greatest regret in the last two years is that we didn’t stop Alito…. You don’t filibuster unless someone is way out of the mainstream…. Alito clearly seemed to me to be that,” he told reporters.

Bad news is, the Justices Bush appointed are going to be around, like, forever.

But Alito at age 58 is likely to be on the court for at least another 20 years.

Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated to the court by Bush in 2005, is 53 years old. If he serves as long as Justice John Paul Stevens, who is the court’s oldest member, Roberts will still be on the high court in 2040.

Even more striking: Bush appointee Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the powerful United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is only 44 years old.

Though during the civil rights era, the Supreme Court did a decent job of upholding the constitution in the face of evildoers, let’s not forget that some of the worst policies of discrimination in this country’s history were enshrined by the Supreme Court and other Federal courts in years past.  The Judiciary, being a non-elected body, has a unique ability to lean against the winds of change.  Since we can all agree that Hurricane Hope is more or less a blowin’ again, those of us who aren’t atheists might do well to pray for Samuel Alito to get Typhus or somethin’.

Elvis is still the King!

I know, I know, the Beatles were better at the music, the Beach Boys were better at major sevenths, Chuck Berry was better at the lyrics, and Little Richard was better at falsetto.  Carl Perkins was better at being down-home, Billy Lee Riley was better at crazed-cat rockabilly, Buddy Holly was better at bringing pop into his rock, and Bo Diddley had a better beat.  Even among the Sun Records cats, Johnny Cash did more drugs, and Jerry Lee Lewis was more dangerous.

But Elvis was an amazing performer–the biggest shining personality of the fifties–with all the moves, lots of style, great looks, and a wild personality.  The fact that he had bad management, mental problems, and an addiction to food and drugs shouldn’t tarnish that amongst modern myth-makers who tend to prefer the Bolans and Joneses to this man.

I mean, fuck, Elvis sang better than Frank Sinatra.  Last night, to celebrate Elvis’ 74th birthday, my gal TiVo’d Fun in Acapulco.  Goddam, could that boy sing!  Listen to this shit!

Fuck all contenders!  This man is the KING!  F U C K !!!

Tycho Brahe is not a train set!

my brotha, the Brahe!
my brotha, the Brahe!

Today’s re-discovery of the space-light phantasma-echo of Tycho Brahe’s supernova (originally discovered in 1572) has sent me into a whirlwind of post-mortem mania over Tycho’s total awesomeness!  This is the Renaissance man for me! 

Not only did he use meticulous observation (without a telescope) to determine that the stars were not fixed to celestial spheres and that the planets (aside from noble Earth, which he and the church never relinquished) seemed to revolve around the Sun, but he also hired a clairvoyant dwarf named “Jepp” to hang out under his table at parties, and had a tame elk as a pet (who died of a drink-related accident!).  He also lost his nose in a drunken duel (his exumed body had green stains around the nose, suggesting he wore a copper replacement), and may even have been killed by Johannes Kepler, because his measurements of the stars were that fucking accurate.

 

And I haven’t even gotten to the Bob Dylan part yet!  “Tycho’s Supernova” directly inspired the Edgar Allen Poe poem “Al Aaraaf,” which inspired Dylan’s 1966 poem-novel “Tarantula.”  This same Supernova also likely inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet (though hopefully had no impact on the band Oasis).
More importantly, the insight Tycho gleaned from his supernova informed all of modern astronomy, from Galileo’s elimination of the celestial spheres in the heliocentric model (though Tycho’s was geo-heliocentric, he was the first to give up the spheres!) to the Chinese calendar–it was the church-sanctioned Tychonic view of the heavens that Jesuits took to China in time for the Ming dynasty to enjoy it before they croaked.  And of course, whether or not there was a murder, Tycho’s measurements inspired his sucessor Kepler to complete his work on the movements of celestial bodies.
Perhaps what I find most interesting though, aside perhaps from the drunken elk, is that when I was learning this stuff in school, they made it seem like there was a logical evolution from Ptolemy all the way to Galileo, and that Galileo’s theory of a heliocentric universe with no celestial spheres was the final vision in the evolution of astronomical thought until like Newton.  Turns out that actually, Tycho’s vision had pretty long legs–the Tychonic vision of the universe was probably the preeminent one until it was finally disproved in 1729:
The tenacious longevity of the Tychonic model into the late 17th century and even the early 18th century was attested by Ignace Pardies who declared in 1691 that it was still the commonly accepted system and by Francesco Blanchinus who said it was still such in 1728.
Pretty nifty, I think, for a dude whose home life sounds a bit like Einstein-meets-Caligula, with a touch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Van Dyke Parks

I’ve been commissioned to write a review of Inara George and Van Dyke Parks, and I’m pretty stoked.  This dude worked on Smile, which is one of my favorite albums of all time (and I own thousands).  Most people put Pet Sounds in that category, but in my opinion, while Pet Sounds was a pioneering album, its formula was retooled into better albums by the Zombies and Bee Gees (and to a lesser extent by Bowie, the Beatles, and virtually everybody else). 

But Smile, I mean, wow.  What wonders the world might have wrought if it had been released on time, before Sgt. Pepper and before the Beach Boys lost the head of steam they’d built with Pet Sounds.  While Pet Sounds is melancholy and lovely, Smile is transcendent, spiritual, American, orchestral, and utterly unique.  It’s accessible but wears well with each repeated listening, and Van Dyke Parks’ lyricism is a big part of what makes it so interesting.

Anyway, I have to stop writing, before I scoop myself!  But take a look at Van Dyke Parks waxing nostalgic about the Troubadour.  Doesn’t he talk like David Lynch?

P.S. I’m not talking about Brian Wilson’s SMiLE album that came out a couple years ago.  It’s really good, and I own the DVD and all that.  But it’s no more the “real” Smile than seeing a concert by Al Jardine and Friends is the same as seeing the Beach Boys.

Arthur Magazine needs your help!

L.A. Record just posted this, and I’m horrified and sickened that one of the best magazines of this decade is on the brink of temporary financial collapse. 

SAVE ARTHUR MAGAZINE NOW!

From various emails and the Arthur site:

Arthur Magazine needs $20,000 by July 1 or it will die.

No donation is too small.

Our preferred method of payment is Paypal. It is a free service to buyers, and enables you to pay directly By VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX, DISCOVER or from your checking account or debit card. You can also convert foreign currency to U.S. dollars. Signing up only takes a few minutes.

Please use PayPal to make a donation to editor at arthurmag dot com

Thank you.

UPDATE: More from Jay…

On the heels of lower than expected ad sales (although they are trending up), increased production and distribution costs (higher quality printing and paper, higher fuel costs, increased printrun), and an “under-performing non-magazine product” (the Living Theatre dvd, for which we’ve sold less than 25% of the printrun since launch, received zero reviews or notices, etc), spiraling debt service payments (now $2k a month) on startup costs, and most importantly ZERO NEW BACKERS… we’ve finally reached the point where

WE HAVE NO MORE MONEY.

If we don’t obtain at least $20k in the next six days, ARTHUR is done. Our long-term prospects are good, if we are fortunate enough to make it through this rough patch.

Arthur has been a champion of the neo-folk movement, a pioneer of looking back with love at the halcyon days of 1967 (not merely at Woodstock, but at the individual communities and festivals and artists forgotten during the hacky-sack renaissance of the late eighties), a research boon to those of us who want to know about Angus MacLisse or Terry Riley or Lavender Diamond, and just plain incredible when it comes to everything I love about the gentle people of the world.  It saddens me that this world won’t allow them to survive and thrive, but it will if only they can move forward through this one rough patch to the rosy future that lies ahead.

Anita Bryant is a little sex kitten!

I was thrift store shopping in Joshua Tree, and ran into this album cover.  Ooh, sweet Jesus…

 

She’s got a face and a form that makes me want to shake the paint off her walls!  I know that she was a bigot in the seventies and eighties who fought against the rights of gay Americans, but what else could she so, full to the brim as she was with virile heterosexual feminine rrrrargh!?!  With that pretty mouth, those determined nostrils, and that lily-white Bible clutched to her bosoms, she’s so good and clean, it makes me want to get down and dirty!  I totally want her to kneel before my second coming. 

To get myself in the mood, I’ll let Anita herself cool me down, then heat me up with a funky funky freak song from the era of disco and good times.  The dude who put this tune on YouTube won’t let me embed it, but you can click here to get God’s mojo workin’.

David Liebe Hart

Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job! has been in my DirecTV program queue ever since we got cable a few months ago.  Though it’s sometimes more anarchic than funny, how could I possibly hate a show that has amazingly funny editing, appearances by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (together again at last!), Weird Al, and veterans of L.A. public access shows?

In particular, I was blown away recently when they started showcasing more and more of David Liebe Hart, the creepy dude with the puppets who follows Christian Scientist guidelines even though he believes that aliens have infiltrated their ranks.  He recently sang a duet on Tim & Eric with a rather horrifying cat puppet about the way aliens say hello and goodbye using the word “Salame.”

Hart has been a fixture in public access TV for a decade or two, and his performances on Tim and Eric are not atypical of his public access show–puppets mouth the words to the songs he sings in his sometimes quite good tenor voice, whilst spacey love lights glow and flash in the background.

What’s weird for me is that I met David Hart a couple years ago, when he performed at Club Screwball at the Parlour Club (in the Russian quarter!).  Afterwards, somehow I was conned into giving him a ride home!  I have a high tolerance for strange and awkward people, but things on the ride to his apartment got more awkward than I was prepared for–for the record, not only does David Hart like single girls, but he hit on me in a frankly sexual way (by frank, I mean sperm was mentioned).  And when I said I had a girlfriend, he suggested that the three of us could have a fun sexy time together!  Watch the footage below, and imagine this strange older Christian Scientist man with a dry soul-crooner voice telling you he might like to put his jizz on you.