Solo Bass

I met Paul Krassner, we both played The Bitter End on Earth Day 2000, he was doing stand-up. Later, he introduced me to Odetta which I can’t describe except for the power. He acted very excited about the music, the ideas, the humour, naming of names and insisted he give it to Artemis records who put out his record and even Warren Zevon. And he really did the next week. Unsurprisingly it was rejected, my usual experience but the effort and respect of fellow artists means a lot, maybe more. Sufjan Stevens asked me to open a show for him back then in the Knot Room which was a tiny closet in the lowest cavity of the Knitting Factory. Met Paul for a second time there, he liked my work and came to the show. He came to my next show too at the Living Room. 
He talked about Abby Hoffman and Lenny Bruce each time. I got the sense they were a trio and since their deaths he was like a man who returned from war, that now walked with a cane and a patch over one eye. There was no trio but he still played the bass, solo bass. He was later upset about Vincent D’onofrio’s film about Abby Hoffman. He didn’t think it was right. Bugged him quite a lot because much of his identity was in framing his memory of Abby Hoffman and Lenny Bruce to the world, what was awesome about them. I never saw the film by D’Onofrio nor Hoffman’s work but in honour of Paul’s death Sunday, today I watched the debate between Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin from the late 80s. Out of all those debates the one that survives on Youtube is from Red Deer, Alberta and is stunning. 
Ruben defends the value of Yuppie-ness as philosophy, he believes wealthy people are the hope for the future, would invest and remedy societal problems. Many fine moments where Abby Hoffman addressed lack of equal pay for women, health care for all and rejects his interventionist government. Left me feeling like I missed the boat on having a proper conversation with Paul about the worth of Abby Hoffman’s insights and ambitions. I liked the Yippie stories and prior to Jerry Ruben turning weird he and Abby did some cool agitprop in heir 20s. Showing up to their trial dressed in judges robes, ordered by the judge to take them off only to reveal cop shirts underneath. Showing up at another trial dressed in civil war attire and when questioned by the judge replied these were the ordinary clothes of revolutionary Americans. On the front pages of most newspapers at the time.

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