DISPATCHES JANUARY 2011

02-02-11

January 2011

01-02-11 LA CA: 1820 hrs. This time last year, I was in Africa, on my way to the Desert Music Festival in Mali. This year’s festival line up doesn’t look all that interesting, so I will have to give it a miss, although it was tempting to head out there, just to be back in the Sahara Desert again. Perhaps this time next year I can go and start the tour from there like I did last year.

The “time off” or whatever phrase you want to attach to the last several days is different depending on everything from your pay grade to what you think it all means. I don’t know about you but for me, it went all too quickly. I did get in some good listening, that was a plus. For the most part, I was chained to the desk, working on a book project. I believe it’s almost done. I have some proofreading to do but past that, I think I can say that I am almost out of the woods on this one. The book, that I have written to you about before, is a photo/essay book called Occupants. If all goes according to plan, the book will be coming out this November. I know that November seems like a long time from now but actually, it’s not as far as getting it all set up. As soon as this one is put to bed, Heidi “Trouble” May and I will start arguing over the next book. That’s how we edit. We just argue and now and then some editing gets done. We start working on the next journal/travel book. It will take in parts of 2009 and all of 2010. I think this one will be a lot of work and we will be fighting over this one well into summer. Brutal work but it must be done.

As I attempt to write this, I am getting mail bombed by Heidi.


HM: Did you do a dispatch tonight? If so, there is something wrong.

HR: I am about to start in on it now. I had a lot on today.

HM: Like what? Did you put the flashlight back where it belongs? In my closet.

HR: In fact, that’s all I did. It took me all day to put the flashlight back in the closet. Even though I did it days ago. remember, this is a new year, time for you to get it together.

HM: Please don’t make tomorrow longer by being an ass.

HR: Hey, I’m just trying to get some work done around here. Here’s a suggestion, get to sleep early. In the morning, take some extra time to get ready. Let’s work on our smile. “Good morning, Henry! How are you? Here’s your latte!”—you know, stuff like that. Thanks.

HM: Ahhaaaa! Good one!

HR: Hey, here’s your golden opportunity to get it right. New year, new attitude. THANK YOU.


It’s a wonder anything gets done.


I don’t know how much time you have to pay attention to the workings of the America but we are about to embark on quite a journey. All eyes on the House of Congress this week as the power has shifted and it’s a whole new deal in DC. One of my favorite political personalities is John Boehner, gentleman from the great state of Ohio. He is the new Speaker Of The House. What a man, what a tan. Be looking for enough political drama this winter to keep you warm even if you can’t afford to heat your pad.


I got a great e-mail from Lorri, wife of Damien Echols. She says that things are looking up in the WM3 case and she will let me know more soon. She says that Damien is in good spirits. He and I exchanged letters a couple of weeks ago and he seems ok.


We will be announcing show dates soon. I have shows in February in NYC and Los Angeles. March looks like shows in Australia and North American dates from mid March until mid April. When these shows lock in, we will post all the information. The 2-13-11 show in DC tickets should be going up soon. That’s my birthday show, when I will be turning twenty-seven or something.


Thanks for all the nice mail about the download show. I am glad you all dug it and yes, I will absolutely make another one soon. I will let you know when that one goes up. For those of you who have not had a chance to check it out, you can get the download address off the site.


Until next week, happy new year and thanks for reading this. Henry

 

 


01-09-11 LA CA: 1559 hrs. The death and injury of so many in Tucson yesterday precludes me from my normal buoyancy when writing to you. You know me, always looking to brighten any environment.


You don’t need me to tell you what went down there yesterday. We are left to hope for the recovery of Gabrielle Giffords and the others injured and be saddened over the deaths of the others. All in all, nothing but horror, waste and sorrow. The alleged shooter, a young man in his early twenties. His life is over.


Since there is nothing I can do to help directly, all I can do is watch the spin on how all of this plays out in the days ahead. As many of you know, the awful event is being spun, unspun and cast in all directions, accusatory, evasive, whatever it takes to use the event as a tool, a weapon, etc.


My opinion, like you need my opinion . . . I think what happened is part and parcel of the state of things in America, the level to which discourse has descended. To directly blame Sarah Palin for this, as some are, is missing the mark but it is obvious that things in America are not good. I would look to the media, talk radio and the astounding amount of crass disinformation and disinformation campaigns being carried out. Well funded, forceful, result-oriented and very effective. So, am I saying what happened is a result? Yes. This is what you get when you ratchet things up. Chances are, this alleged shooter was someone with severe problems anyway. His actions, however, were too targeted to be a random assault on some people standing on a corner. An already shook up can of soda got the lid popped open. What was the trigger? That is what a bunch of amateurs will rage over this coming week.


What do you do about that? Violate the First Amendment? I hope not. Now you get into the very touchy area of basically asking people to “be cool” which doesn’t stand a chance, of course.


If you have not noticed, I have been very non-partisan on this. That won’t last long though.


Also, if you have noticed, not a lot is being said about the Referendum vote in Southern Sudan. Information is out there but you have to look. Apparently, people lined up for hours and waited for their chance to vote. As you know, I was there a few weeks ago and the expectation level was off the scale. I am anticipating some bloodshed at the border and immediate areas. I want to be wrong about this but I can’t see the North letting the South go easily. As a global citizen, I hope you keep your eyes on this one.


Lighter fare, shall we go?


I was at the TCA (Television Critics Association) function on behalf of National Geographic last week. It was held at a huge hotel in Pasadena. I was there for press duties for Sons of Anarchy in 2009. It was cool to meet up with some of the other people who have shows on the channels like Dr. Brady Barr, Shawn Heflick and Pat Spain. Their shows are very interesting and all three of them are extremely smart, so you get a little smarter just hanging out with them. The press people were cool to us, which isn’t always the case, so that was good.


The Demon and I went to Shepard Fairey’s studio the other day to sign up a limited edition poster he did of me. I think he will be posting them on his site on my birthday. I signed all four hundred and fifty of them. Also, his new book, May Day is really great.


This week is packed with activity. It starts bright and early tomorrow with press and work on the next travel/journal book. I will be at the NAMM Show this week for Shure Microphones and I have a ton of other stuff happening. By the end of the week, I should be toast.


Thanks for checking out the radio show last night. It was pre-taped. I was in Irvine, checking out the Jandek show. It was interesting but I was hoping for more.


Also, I put up two more links for the download show on the site. I will make another one of those soon and post it on the site in the news section when I do.


Thanks for reading this. Henry

 

 

01-16-11 LA CA: 1154 hrs. I stayed up really late last night / this morning. I kept putting on one record after another and all of a sudden it was nearly 0400 hrs. I managed to get myself off the mattress a few hours later and here I am.


What a week. At least I think it was. I don’t remember much of it. I had stuff on every single day and was all over the place. I had a lot of work to do to get the photo book out the door. I sent in a few more parts yesterday and later today will send in all the credits and a few assorted things into the editor. I should be done with that one tonight.


Meanwhile, Heidi and I have started work on the next journal / travel book. This one is proving to be a little tricky as it will take cover 2009 and 2010. The thing that is challenging is that in 2009, I spent six months working on the Sons Of Anarchy show and putting together the other two journal books. All I did was go to the set, do the radio show and edit. The journal entries are scattered as hell. It’s not much. I don’t know if it makes for reading of any interest. The big chunk of writing I did have from the ten days I was in Europe doing festival shows got eaten up by a bad hard drive, so that’s gone forever. We are basically left with a fair-sized chunk we like from the beginning of the year in Mali and then resuming in October, when I left on that long trip that went straight into the last tour of 2010 until the end of the year. So, we have to decide what do to on that. Once we’re past that, it’s just your average ton of work to do. It’s not a big deal, it’s just that there’s a lot of it. There’s a lot of historical information I was writing in some of these places that I have to verify, etc. I reckon we will be working on this book for the next several months. I really want to see it come out this year or early next year. I won’t have time to edit anything in 2012. if things go according to plan, I will be on the road from January pretty much until the start of December. A good part of this year will be prepping for next year. It’s a strange way to live, I’ll tell you that.


We are a week out from the awful events in Tucson. I know I not alone in being depressed about what happened. I think that one will stay lodged in our collective memory for a very long time. Good. Perhaps we can find a way to make things better. Isn’t that a nice thing to say? It’s easy to say something like that but defining what that would be is quite another thing, isn’t it? Perhaps a start would be to have a word with the media as to what they think their role is in society. There is freedom of the press, so says the First Amendment and that’s great but in that freedom, there’s a duty to tell the truth, at least in my opinion. Now, is that in the Constitution? There’s a debate that would be interesting to listen to. Nowhere in the First Amendment is the word “truth” written. Another thing I would do if I were running the show would be to stop printing every possible detail about Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter, as if that’s going to clear up any problem. It’s cause and effect and you can only go so far with the effect part. He’s a guy who is accused of committing some really horrible acts. What he ate for breakfast isn’t all that interesting to me, nor is that going to address the bigger problem. It does allow the media to get out of their job. What are they afraid of? I am still mad at the media at large for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I think they knew better and betrayed they job spec. What, you may ask, would be the media’s job in making things better? Stop saying insane bullshit you know is false when you know millions of people are listening. You know better.


It’s interesting that there is so much acrimony in the air when it comes to political discourse and it seems to have spiked radically upward around the beginning of 2009. I wonder what was the catalyst? Hmmmmm. America has a lot of work to do. Americans are a great bunch but don’t always handle change well. That’s too bad because the world is changing very quickly.


I was at the NAMM show last Friday on behalf of Shure Microphone, who have been sponsoring me for twenty years now. Great gear. While there, I met Brian Migdol. It’s a name that might be somewhat obscure to you. He is the drummer on Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown EP. You won’t see his name on the record because the band saw fit to put Robo’s name on there instead. I remember when I first joined the band and they told me that and how that struck me as a major asshole thing to do. He’s a great drummer on those tracks. Too bad it’s one of those obscure facts. He doesn’t get accounted to by Greg Ginn either. No one in the band does, it seems. It’s too bad that is how Greg Ginn wants to play it. Cool to meet Brian though.


Last Thursday, Heidi and I went to see the Lemmy documentary, appropriately called Lemmy. I thought it was pretty cool. I forgot I was in it.


Thanks for checking out the radio show last night. Not being on the air for two weeks, things felt a little loose but at least the music was good. Thanks for reading this. Henry

 

 

01-23-11 LA CA: 1720 hrs. Another weekend comes to an end. It still feels like Friday to me. I am sure you have had too many weekends like that, where you just work right through it and only pull your head up to see that it’s time to go back to work.


I was at KCRW a few hours ago. I did the 1300 to 1330 hrs. slot with our Sunday 1200 – 1400 hrs. man, Tom Schnabel. Damn! Tom is the professor. He knows so much about music, it’s not to be believed. He has been at it for so many years. His reach is incredible. His show is really, I mean really worth checking out. We talked about the Blue Note 2CD set I put together in Holland earlier this year.


http://www.amazon.com/Rollins-Choice-Selections-Blue-Note/dp/B004AHV3BO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295832643&sr=8-1


It’s a good selection of music. Weeks ago, I gave Tom a copy and he asked me to come and talk about it on his show, so I did. Always great to see him.


Knowing that when we get together here, we are coming in from all over the world and I try to write accordingly. That being said, I must admit, I am looking forward to Tuesday’s State Of The Union Address. I am sure we will be able to read all about what the pundits think it will contain and I am reasonably sure any of you who pay attention to thus stuff have a fair idea as what the president will be talking about. The laughs department will be in the form of the rebuttals post address. I am not saying any names but I am anticipating some great fodder when that little dynamo from Minnesota takes to the mic to try and tear the president’s words to shreds. Lady, you’re so outmatched on this one.


Heidi and I have been working away on the new book. So far, it’s going well. There’s a long way to go on this one.


I am working on future radio shows, those are coming along. With the books, shows, etc., there’s a lot of prep work. In fact, that’s most of it. The radio show takes two hours to do live but it’s hours and hours to make it, edit it, etc. It’s worth it, always but damn, it takes a lot of time. This is the reason the weekends tend to blur.


I got some good thinking done over the last two days. Sometimes I need some time to work through ideas that I want to talk about onstage, in writing projects, etc. It’s good to have that kind of time to just space out for a little while.


I don’t know if you care about this but I found this to be really interesting. I took the GOP’s proposed budget cuts and looked up a lot of the agencies they want to defund to bite into the deficit. No matter what you cut, someone or something’s going to bleed and someone’s going to holler, you can’t avoid that. Knowing that, I kept an open mind. It’s not all that complicated to look up all these agencies. It doesn’t take a lot of time to see what the GOP doesn’t like. None of it’s surprising but it leads to a larger question, basically, what can America do with less of or without altogether without causing too much pain? It is a job I wouldn’t want. It’s obvious that the GOP has put quite a bit of time into their proposal and I wonder what the Democrats would come up with if they were to make a list and if any of the lists would have any similarities. I find this kind of thing of unlimited interest but that’s me. I am going to keep learning more about the agencies on this list, many of them I had never heard of before.


Otherwise, the last week was a blur of waking up to go back to the desk and I can’t think of anything else of relevance to lay on you. Perhaps this coming week will be bit more interesting. Until then, thanks for reading this. Henry

 

 

01-30-11 LA CA: 2103 hrs. For many of you, the KCRW fund drive doesn’t have a great deal of meaning. You are perhaps reading this from a great distance from the Los Angeles area, don’t check out the station, etc. As you can imagine, it’s a big deal to us who work there.


Last night, I had a good time, making the case for the station and why listeners should become members. It’s a good cause and it’s a very worthwhile pursuit. I wrote a lot of things for my two hours. So far, I have not been notified of any complaints that may have come of anything I said. I don’t think I said anything too untoward but you never know, some people’s sensibilities are so easily offended.


The weekend was a blur as was the week. I worked pretty much straight through it and didn’t get much time to listen to music, which is frustrating but there’s nothing to do about it now.


This time next week, I will be writing you from New York City, where I have shows starting. I am looking forward to getting the shows going. I always feel like I am cheating when I am away from tour for too long. A word to all the swell people in Toronto: I got a lot of letters from you, telling me about the high ticket price. I don’t know if you know but I try very hard to keep ticket prices as low as possible. Life is painful enough. So, I got these letters about the price and we did some looking into the situation and found out that the promoter there, who I have been working with for a couple of hundred years, all on his own, added ten bucks to the ticket price. Isn’t he something?! My wonderful and loyal Canadian audience, fear not. I am going to take care of all this in a manner you will find most memorable. Please accept my apologies.


I am sure all of you have been following the breaking news in Cairo. It was inspiring to a certain point for me. The downside was that so many people had been killed. What was inspiring was that I didn’t read about soldiers and police getting killed, nor did I read about Egyptian citizens walking the streets with guns. This was, to a point, a peaceful revolution, with the violence coming mainly from Mubarak’s government.


For me, at least, all that changed when I read reports of looting. Televisions, liquor, etc. Not exactly items you need to survive with but merely breaking into places and wrecking them. I can understand, to a certain degree, the anger and frustration. But these looters lost a larger group their credibility by doing this. Now others can point to the group at large and label all of them as looters, villains, etc. You know this is what’s going to happen in the next week. It’s too bad that it only takes a few to threaten the legitimacy of so many others.


For all those tea party types who wave about the notion that they are going to take the country back and they might have to bust out those Second Amendment remedies, they should pay attention to what’s happening in Cairo very closely. Say, if all the tp’ers got together and went to Washington, no doubt, more than a few would have firearms. What do you think would happen to them if they triggered any of the protocols that no doubt go into effect when the president is threatened? Do you think that Secret Service will meet real bullets with rubber ones? None of Sarah Palin’s hilarious nonsense will help them in this situation. They will be shot and killed by experts who have the same citizenship, unless they happen to be Israeli sharpshooters.


I am sorry about the looting. Change in that country is going to be hard enough. I hope these people see the bigger picture.


One thing is for sure, things are changing in the world. It’s going to be a very interesting decade. Not always a lot of fun but interesting for sure.


I think all the dates and tickets for the shows are up. I am looking forward to getting on down the road. I have been working on some ideas for the shows that I hope you find interesting. As all of you, I have a lot on this week. Some if it will be good, some just grinding work. I better get the lights out. I have to be up pretty soon. Thanks for reading this. Henry

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