It’s been quite a spell since I’ve had an external conversation with myself and I invite you, whoever you are, to listen in. I’ll try to be as open and honest as possible. My 20s left me with more self-loathing than I’m equipped to deal with, and insecurity that has long worn out its welcome, and I’m hoping to change that by being unapologetic about the truths that I hold to be self-evident (thanks for the line, you dead old bastards).
Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, 2017 will be an exciting time for MSD. Our last album, “Music Is Dead,” released this past October, which I considered at the time to be a masterpiece, has already gotten cold, but it went platinum, so fucking get it so you can fit in with your peers. You don’t want to be standing around that water cooler with nothing to contribute to the inevitable conversation that revolves around that brilliant album. It was, after all, about three years in the making. (gag)
But, art is not as timeless as some would suggest, it gets old and boring, especially to the artist that creates it. With that in mind, I’m releasing a total of three albums this year. All three are in their final stages. After all, I’m a stay-at-home dad, a hired gun at The Limit Club, and a new member of Phoenix John Brown Gun Club on top of running this here entire operation myself, and what better for someone with zero coping skills, and a low threshold for stress than to pile more pressure onto themselves?
Before the next album release, we’re going to have to release some visual component along with “Music Is Dead.” I know, I know, that was released last October, I live in the fucking past, time to move on, blah, blah, blah. Well, in a perfect world we’d already have three videos out, but I don’t need to tell any of you what an imperfect world this is. Look who runs it. We have tyrants, kings, monarchs masquerading as “democratically-elected representatives” who are neither democratically-elected, nor representative of any whole, just for a small minority of hyper-wealthy, inhuman beasts who deserve nothing short of a bullet. And as imperfect a world as they’ve made for us, so do we exist within it, and I am no exception, therefore, my plans rarely go according to themselves. But, all hope is not lost, there will be a lyrical video for a song called “Too Much Hate” off of the ‘Music Is Dead’ LP, which my amazingly talented partner, Katey is putting the final touches on. The song is an old tyme sing-along and the video reflects this, complete with bouncing ball.
I had a plan for another video for “Serf Rock,” but I think that idea is about scrapped, as thinking about it makes me physically ill, on top of the regular illness that I get just when I think about the overwhelming task of running all aspects of a band, with poor social skills and a message that goes against the very fabric of this society in the middle of an archaic, conservative state like Arizona. In fact, let’s break away and talk about Phoenix, AZ for a moment.
I’ve never felt a shred of pride for calling this place my home. I mean, I don’t actually believe that one’s location should be a source of pride, that makes no sense to me, but also, I feel more embarrassment than anything whenever AZ makes the news. We’re known for things like being the last state to recognize MLK day as a holiday, having a corrupt, authoritarian sheriff who makes prisoners labor and sleep in a prison of tents in 120 degree heat. We’re known for spoiled suburban high school kids posing in shirts spelling out racial epithets, proudly laughing with their friends about how edgy and reactionary they are. And it seems that every time AZ makes the news, it involves friends/associates of my ever-so-popular socialite parents, so I think embarrassment dwarfs any sense of pride that I could possibly have about this place. Then there's the local rag, Phoenix New Times. No love lost there. They ran a list of "best top 40 album releases of 2016" followed immediately by a SECOND top 40 list, and guess who wasn't on the list? Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that there are even 80 active bands in Phoenix, let alone that every one of them released an album last year. But who knows? Maybe we were number 81? In fact, the only time they’ve ever had anything to say about me, was when I was in the Video Nasties and they were making homoantagonistic remarks about us, and saying “this band is terrible, but at least the drummer is hot.” I recall they even named our album the worst of 2008, which, as co-writer of the album, I take as a compliment coming from those tasteless wafers. So, really, not a lot of love from Phoenix in general, and the feeling is pretty much mutual, with the exception of a few bands, venues, and promoters that I love dearly, and am a huge fan of. Our music scene does have some great things to offer, you just have to dig a little deeper than whatever misogynist LMFAO clone party band they’re featuring on the cover of New Times this month.
As bad as things may get, I daresay that it might be ten times as good when it is good. When people are willing to go see a band over a laptop DJ, when people are willing to be bold, like Andy Warpigs, or The Haymarket Squares, and when people are willing to take to the streets, I've seen beauty, power, and resistance even in the smallest, darkest venues, even with the smallest crowds. And as awful as our state's politics get, there is a glimmer of hope.
This past election saw the removal of Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office, which is about two decades too late, but good news nonetheless. New Sheriff Paul Penzone (don’t get too excited, he’s just another scumbag cop, working with ICE to toss our neighbors out of the country) just announced that Tent City is finally closing, this is great news as well. I mean, every single prison, the very idea of locking someone in a cage, is unacceptable and inhumane, but this particular place was particularly hellish. We’re also seeing activism on the rise, here in Phoenix, with increasing momentum of the Puente movement, Trans Queer Pueblo, Brown Berets, the rise of the Phoenix John Brown Gun Club, and shit, I’ve even seen a few demonstrations unaffiliated with specific groups, just citizens organizing and taking to the streets to fight against deportation, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Just a month or so ago, we witnessed our fellow citizens form a blockade of an ICE van, set to deport a hardworking mother as nothing more than a gesture of Trump’s power. People put their own bodies on the line to stop this barbaric, territorial, and twisted act. I think what is most uplifting for me, is that people are finally starting to see through this facade of nationalism that we’ve been brainwashed to accept since we first set foot in the public schooling system.
Looping back around now to this year’s releases, thanks for joining me on that little detour. There will be three EP’s released this year, all of which will be digital releases available free of charge. “So Much For The Tolerant Left” is the title of MSD’s upcoming EP, which will be out within the next couple of months, featuring six or seven avant-garde protest songs. Following that release, I will be debuting the Monty O’Blivion project with two EP releases, set probably one or two months apart, beginning with “Western World.” My solo project will carry the same philosophy as MSD, musical freedom, genre-free experimentation, even if it is not critically accepted. The music press has never taken an interest one way or the other, which is honestly preferable to being subjected to the useless opinions of parasites like Martin Cizmar, whose only art form consists of leeching off of others as an excuse to stroke their own egos with a series of journalistic cliches and pretentious canned insults. I have no time for internet-age zingers, and boring, creative-writing-class rhetoric. To paraphrase an ancient proverb, if you don’t have anything nice to say about my music, eat shit.
Again, thank you for joining me on that detour, hey, I’m no dictator, I’m just writing whatever my brain tells me to write. Now, the second Monty O’Blivion release, tentatively called “Autonomously Yours,” will be an album of love songs, an homage to the heftiest of emotions. Right now, these songs resemble something like power-pop or darkwave, to give you a vague idea. How are my punk credentials looking now, friends and neighbors? Good, I hope. Grand. Please, shower me with praise, book me at South By Southwest, Inc., or Punk Jock Bowling, gimme that blue checkmark on my social media, yay. In return, I promise to always sound the way I’m SUPPOSED to sound, and will never throw any curveballs your way, dear, dear fans.
As I write this, the hunger pains are howling like the orcs of Isengard, so if I sound moody, I apologize. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve got no money for deodorant, nor any time to shower, so I have to sit here smelling myself, not to mention, lacking the funds to obtain any weed, which I’m not ashamed to admit, I use to self-medicate. So, I’m off my meds, in a manner of speaking. I’m going to find some food, and scrape some resin. Thanks for reading, kind stranger. I love you.