Thursday, October 28, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman's "Bela Lugosi"

To view on YouTube, click the above image. To watch via Vimeo, see below.

From THE WORST! Josh Alan's original musical based on the life of Ed Wood.

THE WORST! is available on CD and digital download from CD Baby. Click here to purchase.

© 1994, 2010 Josh Alan Friedman

Visit Josh Alan at
Black Cracker Online.

Video by Wyatt Doyle, with artwork by Drew Friedman (from WARTS AND ALL by Drew Friedman and Josh Alan Friedman). Visit

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2010 Wyatt Doyle

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill Dixon

Mourning is over. Time to put on some big boy trousers and meet the world.

Lights are back on at The Dixon Society. Enjoy.

Since the 16th of June, I haven't been listening to much music. That's not entirely true. I've been listening to a fair bit of Peter Tosh during my commute as that CD is stuck in the player. Aside from that, not much music. Not much of this music, anyway.

While there was a conscious decision to cease and desist with the writing until today, I wasn't motivated to do much writing anyway. Do words mean anything? If blogging isn't the essence of saying things to make yourself feel better (which is a bad idea), then what is it?

Before responding to Dixon's passing, I wanted to wait and see what I missed most about Bill Dixon. Now that I've waited, it is clear that what I miss most about Bill Dixon was his zero tolerance for time wasting morons and the nonsense they generate. Actually, zero tolerance might not be the best descriptor, as in many instances there was an active and hostile aggression towards said time wasting morons and their nonsense. Less than zero tolerance.

There was a bit of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman to Dixon, in as much as he wasn't going to let just any clown denigrate the sanctity of his beloved music. Dixon believed in what he did. It meant something to him. This Music, which he in part created, was his life.

This was a refreshing change from the ultra positivist free to be you and me ethos at Bennington College where in exchange for the highest tuition in the known universe, every turd on the living room carpet, no matter how meagre, was given a "that's great." With Dixon, as with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, you fucked up, you heard about it. The pay off was that "tonality" and its minions were no longer this big bad thing to which one needed to fear or conform. Jammin on a C7b9 chord at the restaurant? Good on ya. Dixon instilled a confidence and "sound-view" that made insipid melodies, heads, bridges, licks, beats and the rest of the low-hanging musical twaddle that continues to pock this music an option.

I'll also miss Dixon's vast breath of experience with both this music as an aesthetic and the troubled relationship between this music and the mechanisms exploitation as applied to it. Dixon was, of course, "there" decades before there was a this music, and Dixon was (to a greater or lesser extent) involved in the business of music for at least half of his 84 years. No matter how thick the smoke, no matter how many mirrors, Dixon saw through it all.

Let's not forget that Dixon was also black for his entire life--since 1925. This fact is something he kept front and center as long as I knew him. Losing any black person who lived in the United States since 1925, who was of sound mind and eloquent of speech is a huge loss. Dixon was 20 in 1945 and deeply concerned with "Jazz" when "Jazz" was being created as a new and vibrant Art. Perhaps this is why Dixon had such a low opinion of the recreated and lavishly awarded simulacrum of today--he could tell from experience that most of it was, at best, a way to sell the back catalogue of dead people--many of whom Dixon knew personally.

The perspective of those who have seen the con from the beginning--this is the perspective "we" should weigh heavily as "we" prepare to (continue to?) step down from our place of world economic primacy, cultural centrality and social relevancy. Unless, of course "we" are of that caste and class that steps down from nothing. I imagine that those who steer the good ship Culture, those for whom "what ever appears is good, all that is good will appear" will continue to enjoy the view from the captains deck right until the very last moment, long after the crew have drowned and the engines have stopped.

Dixon-as-Punk-Rocker will be missed as well. If "punk ain't no religious cult" and if "punk means thinking for yourself", then Dixon was the Lord God King Punk Rocker of all time. The original, the first, the last. A Punk Rocker who read the New York Review of books for decades. Dixon was Crass before there was a Crass. Witness L'Opera and Odyssey--two D.I.Y. masterpieces. Witness the Jazz Composers Guild, The October Revolution, The Black Music Division...all actions meant to drive a wooden spike in the heart of bland bourgeoise retardica.

While others fought each other for a good place on the exploitation line to insure they'd get first dibs on the yoke du jour, Dixon worked hard to dismantle that paradigm. For this (while he was alive) he was maligned and resented. The parent culture still can't manage to put Dixon on the cover of any magazine.

I miss Dixon's unabashed hate of all things "pop."

I miss Dixon's honesty.

I miss Dixon's sense of humor.

I miss Bill Dixon.

copyright © 2010 Stanley Jason Zappa

Western Maine

© 2010 Morgan J. Roberts

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2010 Wyatt Doyle

Monday, October 4, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman on Don Normal (Part 2)

More Don Normal in music and pictures at Black Cracker Online. Click here to read (and listen).

Black Cracker by Josh Alan Friedman is available NOW; signed copies are available here.

photo © 1979 Vince McGarry

Halloween at the 99

copyright © 2010 Wyatt Doyle