Vale, Manic D, Pirate Cat, & AT's Jesse Luscious on Censorship

This Thursday 2/26 in San Francisco, Alternative Tentacles' own Jesse Luscious will be part of the fun, rollicking Censorship panel in San Francisco- Fun? Rollicking? Censorship? Yeah, that's right! Show up & see how we do it!

“Censorship: What the 'bleep', I can't say that?”
Presented by Independent Arts & Media

TIME & DATE: Thursday, February 26th 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Chez Poulet- 3359 Army, San Francisco
DESCRIPTION: Freedom of Speech doesn't mean we can't say or print anything we want. We will discuss what can and can't be said; and if what we aren't allowed to say - should be said or not.

Our panel will tell what they know of censorship from what they have heard and what they have experienced in their lives.

Jennifer Joseph - Manic D Press
Jesse Townley - Alternative Tentacles, KALX, & Gilman
John Hell - Community micro radio DJ on Pirate Cat Radio
Moderator - V. Vale - ReSearch Publication

The Sound of Young America: Jello Biafra Interview Live at SF Sketchfest: The Sound of Young America Podcast

The Sound of Young America: Jello Biafra Interview Live at SF Sketchfest: The Sound of Young America Podcast. Other guest at this Cobb's taping was Tom Ammiano.


Amebix on KALX!

Ace local radio DJ & artist Carnacki interviewed Amebix last month right before their San Francisco show. Now you can listen to the full 19 minute interview as it was broadcast on KALX radio February 8, 2009!

* KALX has been a long-time AT supporter- not only is Jesse Luscious the AT Mail Male a long-time DJ, many many other KALXers have been interns over the years, including Ms. Ziggy!


Presidents Day Bat-Style! Zinn on Obama & Lincoln

For this Presidents Day national holiday in the U.S., here's parts of Howard Zinn's insightful comparison of Presidents Obama & Lincoln, originally published in L'Humanite. Time will tell how optimistic Zinn is being here, but it's nice to get an historical perspective in our increasingly ahistorical present.

"Those of us on the Left who have criticized Obama, as I have, for his failure to take bold positions on the war and on the economy, must join the exultation of those Americans, black and white, who shouted and wept Tuesday night as they were informed that Barack Obama had won the presidential election. It is truly a historic moment, that a black man will lead our country. The enthusiasm of the young, black and white, the hopes of their elders, cannot simply be ignored.

There was a similar moment a century and a half ago, in the year 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Lincoln had been criticized harshly by the abolitionists, the anti-slavery movement, for his failure to take a clear, bold stand against slavery, for acting as a shrewd politician rather than a moral force. But when he was elected, the abolitionist leader Wendell Phillips, who had been an angry critic of Lincoln's cautiousness, recognized the possibility in his election.

Phillips wrote that for the first time in the nation's history "the slave has chosen a President of the United States." Lincoln, he said, was not an abolitionist, but he in some way "consents to represent an antislavery position." Like a pawn on the chessboard, Lincoln had the potential, if the American people acted vigorously, to be moved across the board, converted into a queen, and, as Phillips said, "sweep the board."

Obama, like Lincoln, tends to look first at his political fortunes instead of making his decisions on moral grounds. But, as the first African American in the White House, elected by an enthusiastic citizenry which expects a decisive move towards peace and social justice, he presents a possibility for important change." - Howard Zinn

P.S.- Check out our large variety of Howard Zinn spoken word & literature!


Happy Birthday, Blowfly!

February 14 is Blowfly's birthday. He turns 70 years old this year, but he still criss-crosses the world performing his awesome, filthy parodies. We wish him all the best, and we hope that you'll hop on over to Blowfly's MySpace page and leave him a birthday greeting comment. If you live in Miami, you can attend Blowfly's 70th Birthday show at PS14 on March 6.

Here's a segment on Blowfly that aired recently on the French TV show Tracks.


1988 Jello Biafra interview from the SF Bay Guardian

The San Francisco Bay Guardian's online archives do not run this far back, but we have scanned a cover story interview that Jello did with Derk Richardson from June 1988. You have to click on the image to actually read it!

Guardian cover story on Jello Biafra, 1988
Jello interview part 1
Jello interview part 2

Jello interview part 3


Death Knells: Muzak and Analog TV

A) Muzak filed for bankruptcy today. The company began in the 1930s to make elevator rides less scary by piping benign music. (Maybe we should put in a bid to make elevator rides more scary?)

B) If you live in the Bay Area, you may want to check out the Funeral for Analog TV at the Berkeley Art Museum, featuring an eulogy delivered by author Bruce Sterling. The DTV switch has been delayed until June, but it's never too early to kill your television. You can bring your old analog set to be recycled; the first 40 sets to arrive will become a part of the analog TV memorial pile. This event is brought to you by the Berkeley Art Museum and the Long Now Foundation (Brian Eno's foundation)

Funeral for Analog TV
w/ Paul Saffo, Bruce Sterling
February 17, 2009 @ 7pm
Berkeley Art Museum
2621 Durant St
Berkeley, CA

Monopoly money- Live Nation + Ticketmaster BFF!

Anti-trust alert! Here's another awesome idea from the creeps currently trying to squeeze any profit possible off of mid-sized to ginormous bands, comedians, & musicians- not to mention from us fans through modified fees, higher face prices, and insidious auction sites run by, uh, Ticketmaster. (see the recent Bruce Springsteen flap)

Billboard confirmed the news that Live Nation & Ticketmaster are planning to merge. Waaaay down in the article are these 2 sentences:

"Opposition is likely to come from competitors in the concert promotion and ticketing worlds. Anti-trust issues could well loom, Live Nation/Ticketmaster are sure to point out that the two companies currently only compete in the realm of ticketing, with Ticketmaster being larger by far. Ticketmaster is not a promoter. Live Nation is not a manager, but they have secured long-term multirights deals with some of the biggest artists in the world."

The "opposition" actually has a lot more pessimistic points to make about this. Pitchfork quotes a Wired writer:

While the combined company might take the opportunity to ditch the 'convenience' fees that are detested by fans -- or at least internalize the fees (which are divided between Ticketmaster, the promoter, and sometimes the performing artist and other parties) -- the idea of bypassing the primary ticketing market entirely and introducing them directly into the TicketsNow auction system could give prospective audience members with more cash to burn a big edge over impecunious fans -- even if those other fans are quicker on the draw when it comes to buying tickets.

"In other words, thickness of wallet -- and not quickness of response -- would become the salient factor when trying to buy tickets for hot shows."

From Portfolio, a comment from the owner of alternative ticket-seller LiveStub, Michael Hershfield:

"This deal would mean that Live Nation would have direct access to Ticketmaster's ticketing solution, including its resale marketplace TicketsNow. Live Nation could potentially harness Ticketsnow and begin to offer performers the opportunity to list tickets on the resale system without ever listing in the primary market.

Hershfield calls this "the dirty secret of this deal" -- a way to give performers and management a way to directly benefit from secondary-market ticket revenues."

Later on, Portfolio points out:

"With Live Nation increasingly moving into recording deals, a Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger would create a soup-to-nuts music powerhouse with huge amounts of monopoly power: having two monopolies puts you in a much stronger position than having just one."


Jello + Fucked Up = Ramones

Fucked Up played at the Independent in San Francisco last night. Jello Biafra jumped on stage for the encore to sing "Blitzkrieg Bop" with them. Here is a video of this joyous occasion, courtesy of Umlaut. Read Umlaut's excellent review of the show here!

Bonus video: A snippet of Amebix's "Largactyl" with Jello singing backup, also courtesy of Umlaut.


Jared's Amebix Recap

Jared, one of our longtime volunteers and a huge Amebix fan, wrote a recap of the Amebix show in San Francisco. Raymond Ahner, who took some great photos at the show, was kind enough to let us share his photos in this entry. You can read Ray's show review here and see his Flickr set from the show here.


Amebix / Annihilation Time / Hellshock @ G.A.M.H.

Taking for granted the unspoken rule that punk shows always start late, I arrived at the Great American in the middle of Annihilation Time's set and unfortunately completely missed Hellshock. I heard mixed reactions concerning Hellshock from friends, running the gamut from "fuckin' awesome" to "totally sucked." After being frisked I was allowed entrance despite the stench of cheap whiskey emanating from my pores, and made my way to the front where Annihilation Time were cranking out their last few tunes. Being acclimated to seeing the band at raucous house shows and underground venues made it a little strange to see them on such a large stage, but the weirdness soon passed as I found myself approvingly bobbing my head in the proper convention for the rest of their set. The band coincidentally shares the same abbreviated form as Alternative Tentacles - further proof of Illuminati mind control? You decide.

Finally, after splitting a five-dollar beer with a friend and smoking too many cigarettes outside, I made my way to the middle of the floor to watch the U.K. crust progenitors. My unfounded fears of Amebix ("The Bix" as the cool kids call them) mellowing with age were quickly extinguished as they tore through song after song of their heavy-and-raging-yet-melodic-in-all-the-right-parts take on metallic punk. Their classics (aren't they all?) such as "Fear of God," "Winter," and "Arise" were met with equal response as the lesser-known tracks of yesteryear; I haven't seen that many people smiling so wide at a punk show in a long time! The energy of the crowd was infectious, and I was stoked to turn around and see a friend who previously hated Amebix thrashing around in the pit and loving it! An all around amazing set from yet another band I never thought I'd get the chance to see. The only question now is when are they coming back?

(Photos courtesy of Raymond Ahner Photography)


An Experiment: Open Thread!

This blogging thing is still new to us, and there's always room for experments. So here is an open thread; go ahead and post what you will. Do you have questions for us? Want to make yourself available for a cabinet position (since Obama seems to have a problem filling those jobs)? Want to pontificate on your favorite AT bands and releases? Want to guess why this guy decided to smuggle pigeons in his pants (as well as an eggplant, some seeds, and an egg in his luggage)?


I'm going to address the comments posted so far up here in the main post since Blogger won't let me reply to individual comments. (Let me know if you prefer that I respond in the comments instead of adding to the main post.)

Dear JGY, the Concerned Canadian Citizen:

I have very limited knowledge of Jello and the Axis's current activities, however, I do know that the band has been rehearsing regularly. They were planning to play some shows in Fall 08, but due to scheduling conflicts, that didn't happen. We hope that there will be some live dates in 2009. As of now, there are no concrete plans I'm aware of, for a tour or an album. Of course, as soon as we know anything, we'll let you know! I will tell Jello that his presence is wanted in Ontario.

Dear Krista:

Thanks for liking us. Maybe you can send us a Valentine to cheer us up in this bleak economic climate?

Speaking of economic climates, I wonder if banks have the basic math skills or common decency to accept your check written out for "Thirty Seven and 832/100 Dollars" as $45.32. They will probably perform some "service" to "correct your error" and will collect a fee for that "service." They always find a way to charge you for some bullshit, so-called convenience, including interpreting "Thirty Seven and 832/100 Dollars" as $45.32. Someone else may have a more optimistic response than what I've offered, though.

Dear disconnected:

Yes, I've checked out Conservapedia. Maybe there will be a blog post--we're always looking for material so thank you for the suggestion.

Dear chipthedestroyr:

NoMeansNo decided to leave Alternative Tentacles in 2001 or thereabouts, after they released No One. It was an amicable parting, though we were sad to see them go. Now, they have their own label Wrong, through which they have reissued their back catalog. In our mailorder, we carry some classic NMN releases on Wrong here. We still have the Jello Biafra with NoMeansNo record The Sky is Falling and I Want My Mommy.

Dear David:

You can get your Fuck Facts (#2 and #3 only) through our mailorder. Maybe some day, we'll wise up and scan those things and post them as PDFs.

Dear PlanetClaire:

Thanks for your support all these years! Recently, we did make free sampler CDs (in 2006 and 2007 to be exact) that we sent out with our mailorder orders and gave out through indie record stores. We hope to do something like that again soon. Until then, please check out the free mp3s on our site. It's not as cool as a nifty CD with artwork, but it's free!

As for Tragic Mulatto, they were around before my time at AT so I don't know what the band members are up to these days. I'm not 100% sure but I don't think their records were released on CD (I only have their stuff on LP myself). Right now, the only Tragic Mulatto releases we have in stock for mailorder is Chartreuse Toulouse on LP.

The Alternative Tentacles closed the UK office in 1997. But we Yanks would be happy to put kisses on your invoices!


Zines will never die

The Guardian has a great story by Simon Reynolds on zines (yes, on paper) in the age of blogging, and how there's a strong interest in tangible and/or analog media like zines and vinyl in the "limitlessness and hyper-linked pseudo-connectivity" of the Internet. It's probably nothing you Alternative Tentacles pals don't know or think about already, but it's a good read anyway.

(image: Guardian)