"Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them'"
"Duh. Corporations are DESTINED to become homicidal. It just takes time and size. Look at Nazi Germany, when the largest corporations began to drive the entire political machine and economy. They started grinding up people for their gold teeth and to make glue from. Why? because corporations have no conscience, and no one person is responsible for their behavior. The bigger they get, the meaner they are because it takes bigger and bigger psychos to run them. They can only move in one direction, destruction."
"Cutting taxes to the wealthiest while cutting wages, investments and the social safety-net doesn't give us prosperity; it strangles our future.
If enough Americans know the truth about austerity and 'trickle-down' economics, the seismic shift we saw in Europe will happen here."
(-Malory Shaughnessy and the whole team at Common Dreams)
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right. For you'll be criticized anyway."
"We're the laboratory ... and the experiments have not been going well for quite
some time. We need civil disobedience to stop this."
"And advanced forms of biological warfare that can "target" specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."
(- The Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding America's Defenses, p. 60, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz)
"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector."
I remember when my fave underground mags, "Flipside" and "Maximum Rock N Roll" had all these tedious P.C. debates, in the late eighties/early nineties, about whether or not their various writers should be "allowed" to devote space to rebellious rap. Back then, even I still thought Jello Biafra and Greg Ginn were far too broad-minded about the diverse array of music they referred to as "punk". Punk was 1,2,3,4 Ramones rip-offs, and nothing else, but I had grown-up with a crew of early rap enthusiasts who were always using my Prince and new wave vinyl to mix with all their corny breakdance beats, back when Fishbone and Red Hot Chili Peppers were forming, for literally years, before I'd heard the Beastie Boys. When Ton-Loc finally had that phat, mainstream hit that tacky secretaries in the Midwest still dance to, using the old "Jamie's Cryin'" Van Halen loop, me and my gang thought it was whack as hell, because we'd already sampled and scratched-on that first Van Halen record for years. The contest, back then, was to be fresh, push boundaries, always endeavor to say something dope in a new way. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleroes had this huge impact on my outlook esp. regarding world music, and as George Clinton says, "the real shit is all from the same place, anyway." I agree with Sal from Electric Frankenstein: N.W.A. was black punk rock. I dunno about you, but it's been years and years since I heard a Ramones influenced band who said anything relevant to me, at all. Some people like all that phony-ass, sports-drink, corporate-punk. Not me, man. Today's corporate hip-hop is even worse than Green Day. The most punk rock thing I've heard since Joe Strummer died, was probably the Rage Against The Machine and The Coup spin-off band, Street Sweepers Social Club. Then, I stumbled across this fiery and insightful, courageous and charismatic lyricist/performer/truth-
teller, MC Plaedo, who spits rhymes and produces D.I.Y. beats that reminded me of everything from early P.I.L. and "Sandanista" by the Clash, to Afrika Bambatta, Paris, Grandmaster Flash, and Big Audio Dynamite. He's as innovative and crazy/creative as Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Killing Joke, with his kitchen-sink jettisoning approach to music-making, that draws it's revolutionary spirit from the Last Poet's beatnik/jazz tradition, the MC5 Detroit Rock City proto-punk, imported rare old-school reggae, vintage NYC hip-hop, defiant British hardcore, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. His works are brimming over with hyper-invention, staggering intellect, and streetwise rastaman hippie soul power. Strummer would've loved 'm! If Dr. Cornel West is Soul Brother #1, M.C. Plaedo very well may be soul bro #2. Remember when Dr. Dre asked, "Where are all the mad rappers at?" M.C. "motherfuckin'" Plaedo has fully answered his call. He's like the Ralph Nader of right the fuck on freestyle jam. The real ska-deal. If Chris Hedges could break-dance. If Hunter S. Thompson could beat-box. What the poet-goddess, Yvonne de La Vega, is to Occupy L.A., M.C. Plaedo is to the crunchy-granola Northwest. His impeccable and inflammatory, spoken-word often reminds older listeners of similarly irreverent, consciousness-boosting, iconoclasts like, Woody Guthrie, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, and Dick Gregory. Plaedo has an exceptional ability to effectively and astutely communicate to every generation with his lightning-flash wordplay, authentic artistry, progressive and potent poetry, charm, and charisma. Like the outlaw-comic, Bill Hicks, or his own idol, KRS ONE, Plaedo is a stopless human-rights advocate, virtuoso of silver tongued testimony, an outlaw buddha, a poor righteous teacher of forbidden knowledge and alternative learning streams. Freely planting seeds of wisdom, like the most conscientious and heartfelt, organic gardener. A Johnny Appleseed of ideas. M.C. Plaedo is the remedy to all that godless, Blackeyed Peas robot-rap. I hope he stays centered, because his celebrity seems imminent and inevitable., simultaneously conveying truth to Guy Fawkes masked Tank Girls and the less alert, S.U.V. driving soccer moms, Plaedo speaks to the hips, as well as the higher shockras. He's an original voice, and I knew immediately upon hearing his songs that I'd have to talk with this lion-hearted genius about music, culture, civil rights, and the resistance to corporate tyranny and the Orwellian police-state. I hope lots of you punks and rockers discover his inspirational sounds, as well, and I strongly encourage the Bellrays, Tom Morello, Boots Riley, and Brother Wayne Kramer, in particular, to all give his incendiary sounds a good listen. I know all you cats appreciated the Beastie Boys "Paul's Boutique". M.C. PLAEDO is a total star. He should be on tour with Immortal Technique, or Manic Street Preachers, he's making a joyful noise unto the serfs with his ferocious Black-Bloc, Hip-Hop, Cutting Edge, White-Dread, Anarchy Soul, Punk Junk, Skunk Funk. Bravely blazing his own new path, building bridges between diverse audiences; sometimes, the most populist thing you can do, is be your own uniquely freaky bad self. This cat's a hero of the real street people. Get hip now to M.C. Plaedo.
Where did you grow up, go to school, what was your childhood like, and what were your first introductions to music and writing?
Wow, well, I've thought quite a bit about stories and my story recently. There is a lot about my story that I want to tell and that would take up too much space for this interview. So I'll give a brief overview.
My first years were spent in a quasi-Utopian situation. I lived out in the woods with Hippie parents. We had wolves and they grew marijuana and would on occasionally have bon fires and all night jam sessions. It was quit enchanting.
But what's a story without drama, I guess. Because the next thing I knew my parents split up. Then my dad met an untimely and violent death. Then my mom became mentally ill. I spent a few years bouncing around. I was adopted. I was kidnapped. I witnessed quite a bit of violence and drug abuse. I was a shy, small kid.I didn't talk much and had to take speech classes.
I remember in 7th grade we had to take state standardized tests and I got low writing scores. I remember my teacher explaining the test to my grandma telling her, "he probably won't become a writer." That was the first time I decided I wanted to write. By my teenage years I was living with my grandmother, moving from trailer park to trailer park.
And in a way, that moving taught me quite a bit. It taught me how to relate to people. I've been blessed enough to live with diverse groups of people, cops, drug-dealers, loggers. I've lived on a Native American Reservation. I've lived in Latino neighborhoods. One of my aunts married a Jewish man, the other married an African American man. These places and peoples would become the inspirations for my first writings. Being poor taught me some great life lessons as well. We couldn't afford name brand clothing. But I wanted to fit in and look cool. So I would work odd jobs to buy school clothes. It's kind of foolish now to think that I felt inferior because I wasn't wearing sweat shop clothes. But, today I have a strong work ethic and that was learned through poverty.
I started to come out of my shell by High School. By my sophomore year we settled in small town Idaho. And I finally started to make friends. Of course, I ended up hanging out with kids that had kegger bonfires in the woods and the kids who would smoke herb on lunch break. Oh boy, I used to come from Lunch and go to Jazz band stoned. I had a blast. Despite these teenage shenanigans, I've always been a deep thinker. I remember sitting in a bedroom stoned one day and a girl looked at me and said, "Your New Name is Plaedo." Little did I know the mystical effect that would have on my life. Even though I liked to party, I used to sneak home from parties early on Friday night to watch Def Poetry Jam on HBO at midnight. Although I loved hip hop, I had only known of gangsta rap, or the kind of rap promoted by the culture industry. But Def Poetry Jam exposed me to a deeper form of hip hop.
After high school, I got more and more into partying. Like an idiot, I sold my trumpet to buy money for beer. When I got tired of spending all my money on booze and bud. I decided to start selling it. And in a way I was really good at it, I had a natural ability to make moves in that world and I climbed some ladders quickly. But it wasn't the path for me. Because, ever since I came out of my shell, out of my bedroom and into the world, I've had a public persona. No matter where I roam, I somehow become well known. And that's not a good quality when your a drug dealer. So I got caught and then I got caught again. And by that time, I rival dealer was after me, and things got scary. I had a lot of panic attacks. I dropped out of college. I became homeless. I got into music to get out of trouble, yet trouble seemed to follow me. So I decided I needed to start over. I decided I was going to back pack to Mexico like the old Beatniks. But one day before leaving town I ran into an old poetry teacher who asked what I was up to. I told her I was going to backpack through Mexico like a beatnik. She laughed at me and encouraged me to study abroad. I picked Thailand because it was a cheap tropical Buddhist country. That was one of the best decisions of my life. I started practicing Buddhism. One day I came home from lunch and found a poem that had been slipped under my door. The poem was, "Let Your Light Shine" by Marriane Williamson, this is the poem made famous by Nelson Mendela. I put that poem on my door and read it to myself everyday, like a mantra.
When I returned to my college town of Moscow, Idaho. I had to re-invent myself. My life as a partying drug dealer was over. I threw myself into the Anti-War and Pro-Peace movement. I started
giving speeches and organizing events. At one event, I read the "Let Your Light Shine" poem and a girl ran up to me excited. She said that poem had changed her life. I said, "Me Too". We hugged. Then we hugged again. After a third hug, I asked for her number. Walking away, my best friend said, "I've never seen someone so excited to meet you."Casually, I replied, "Yeah, that's my soul mate." Five years later, we are still together.
Ever subscribe to THE SOURCE?
I did subscribe to the source for a year. Because I grew up in places that were materialistically poor I could relate to hip hop. But since I lived in the country, in places that were culturally poor, I didn't have access to hip hop or a lot of culture. That magazine was a poor substitute, but it was exposure nonetheless.
Hip-hop used to be graffiti, break dancing, art, style, D.J.'ing, scratching, mixing, mix-tapes...are you familiar with Jean Michael Basquiat? Do you have favorite graffiti artists? Who do you respect?
Yes, I know of Basquiat. I like his style, but my favorite graffiti or street artist is Bansky. I respect those who do very artistic, creative, pieces of art that make a statement or make someone stop from their point-a-to-point-b-mentality to admire the beauty for a moment. I'm not to fond of tagging, but I love public art.
First exposure to punk rock? Some essential punk bands you believe in?
My first exposure to punk rock was probably, I'm pretty sure, Green Day and Offspring. Kind of pop-punk stuff. I love the Punk Rock toughness, the punk rock do it yourself, inner city road dog robust spirit. The bands I most appreciate are the Clash, Fugazi, Against Me and Bad Brains. Bands like that. Bands that I don't even know of but who I know respect their morals and live radical lives.
What instruments can you play?
I play the laptop, which is kind of a new instrument to play, only a generation old. I also play some piano and percussion. I've been studying music theory and music production for a few years now, still I consider myself more of a student than a master. Each song is a learning adventure.
What activated your social consciousness?
I would have been a good little democrat if my mom hadn't of gotten me a Rage Against The Machine CD for Christmas one year. And inside the CD was a photo spread of books, radical books. I spent a whole summer, tracking down and reading radical books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, Che Guavera and the book 'lies my teacher told me'. The next year, I was hell for my history teacher. Books like that encouraged me to question society and reality. Questioning is the first step of activism and community organizing. That's why they killed Socrates. Anyway, I would say another milestone was going to barter fairies. At first I came for the drugs, like many young men. So I came to these hippie gatherings to party, but on psychedelic substances I started to have experiences that deepened my social, spiritual, and political consciousness. In terms of participating in social movements it all started when I would write rhymes as notes in college courses especially philosophy and sociology classes. A friend saw my rhymes and asked me to perform at a spoken word show opening for the amazing spoken word poet Andrea Gibson. After the show I was approached and asked if I wanted to be a part of the 1stUS Social Forum in Atlanta Georgia. I came back to my college town and started organizing events that brought together artist and activist from the campus and community to meet people, be entertained and strategies solutions.
Who are your favorite writers, thinkers, teachers, and philosophers?
Joseph Campbell, Michael Meade, Kahlil Gibran, Hafiz, Rumi, Socrates, Plato, Immortal Technique, KRS-ONE, Maya Angelou, Andrea Gibson, Tom Robbins, Robert Bly, Cornell West, George Orwell, Morihei Ueshiba, Carl Jung, Robert Bly, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Albert Camus, John Paul Sartre, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Vandana Shiva, Timothy Leary, Hunter S. Thompson, Buddha, Subcommandante Marcos, Walt Whitman, John Lennon.
How did you get introduced to hip-hop?
Around the time that I was 12 or 13, I lived in an apartment complex, it is called Rhine Village. But all of the people in town called it 'Crime village' because it was where all the poor people lived. Anyways, because poverty and race are sadly, so intertwined, most of my neighbors were Latinos and this was around the time that 'Insane in the Brain' came out. And Cypress Hill were God's in my neighborhood. Cypress Hill and Tupac. From the first time I heard it, I was in love. I had grown up with classic rock and folk and country. but there was something about the hip hop beats. They moved me. Even to this day, most of favorite music is still based on hip hop drums and rhythms.
How were you influenced by KRS One?
KRS ONE taught me that you could have tough music speak to truths most often taught in college classrooms. He is the teacher, the poet, the philosopher, I am in that tradition. He taught me it's okay to evolve, and he has inspired me to continue to grow as an MC. If you listen to his flows from the 80's compared to his flows today, you can see his vocal ability has just gotten better.
Fred Hampton, MLK Jr., Malcom X, the Move Compund, the Kennedys, Paul Wellstone, Rainbow Farm... Gov. Jesse Ventura has even speculated that he suspects John Lennon was assassinated by the secret police. How can everyday people affect real social change when the one percent intelligence community is willing to kill those who make a stand for peace and social justice?
I do think that these people were assassinated by the state at the behest of elites. Although I haven't heard any conspiracies over Lennon's death. History teaches us that often when one person is perceived as being too threatening to the status quo they are assassinated. And that's fucked up. It's like history is a battle, an Olympian game or game of football. But when they kill our leaders, that's cheating. They probably did kill Wellstone (I haven't studied those conspiracies deeply).
Currently, I believe our best defense is to move beyond our hero fixation. The qualities in our hero's, those qualities are within each of us. We as the poor people, the oppressed people, need to have dignity within each and everyone one of us that burns so fiercely that we individually will resist authorities that prevent us from practicing our beliefs.They can kill leaders, but they cannot kill a movement, when everyone in the movement is a leader in some way. It is about passionate existence and direct action resistance.
What do you think of Prince? P-Funk?
Prince and I share the same birthday, June 7th. I love Prince. He is a master, you can tell by the little details he puts into songs. Like the kiss sounds that transitions into the hook in the song 'kiss'. P-Funk is groovy and funky and good too.
Who killed Tupac?
Society killed Tupac. I mean, on a practical level, it was probably someone affiliated with Suge Knight; it is possible that he was killed by someone affiliated with Bad Boy records. But on a deeper level, we didn't want Tupac to be a revolutionary artist, we wanted him to be a gangster. And so he became one. When he came out he sounded more like Chuck D than a gangster rapper. He made a political song called 'Violent.' He explains WHY he could become violent, in this case being harassed by the police. Vice President Quale, misses the point and calls him a gangster. Then the media follows suit and uses him as an example of the culture wars that took place in the 1990's. And with each court case and each album, we heard less and less from Tupac the Revolutionary and more and more from Tupac the Gangster.
Who are your favorite M.C.'s and why?
KRS-One, Immortal Technique, K'Naan, Brother Ali, Slug from Atmosphere, Eyedea, Q-Tip, Andre 3000 from Outkast, Rakim, Jay-Z, Blue Scholars, RZA, Dead Prez, Beastie Boys, Gift of Gab, Nas, MC Yogi, Aesop Rock. These MC's and groups, I consider deep and intelligent. They inspire me and inform me.
Why is Immortal Tech important? The Coup?
Immortal Technique and the Coup are important because both artist find their personal truths and place them in the context of the world they live in. Both of them wrestle with the world, morality, and history, and I think that is an incredible noble endeavor. I think that we all should do that, engage with the world and participate in politics. When I listen to Immortal Technique I am inspired to protest, to volunteer, to try to get strangers to talk about politics with me. Even if you disagree with me, I want you to actively do so, and together, through the synthesis of our debate, we will utilize the wisdom of the commons to find the best direction for our society to go down. We can use our differences to make us stronger and not weaker. I have a lot of differences in belief with Boots Riley, but I would be willing to collaborate with him in the creation of a new counter culture, and in a round about way through Occupy, I am.
Are you familiar with Street Sweeper's Social Club, Nightwatchman?
I like the Nightwatchman. I listen to their music on my I-pod quite a bit. Tom Morello is an icon and a role model. I just learned he was a Wobbly. I admire him for dedicating his music to the cause. I miss Zach De La Rocha and wonder what he is up to and why he isn't on the front-lines, or if he is on the front-lines.
Do you like reggae?
T's one of my favorite kinds of music, perfect for sunny barbecues and going to the beach and such. It is great music for relaxing and hanging out with friends and family. I also like reggae because it is music that often has a political activism rooted in spirituality. Reggae is so often up-lifting and I respect that.
What is the local hip-hop scene like, in your community?
So far I haven't observed much. Which is disappointing. There are hip hop groups or elements being practiced here or there. But, overall, there is no sense of community. Not that I have found anyways. I have found a few outgoing, friendly hip hoppas who practice various elements of hip hop. One of them recently told me, that MC's in Eugene are scared to pass the mic, because they are too desperate for a little shine themselves. It seems like in Eugene Hip Hop has been usurped by glitch hop, dubstep, and rave culture. That's what's happening, that's where there is community and love. I really respect the visionary artist electronica culture that is thriving in our area. Maybe one day, if my efforts are no longer needed in contributing to Occupy culture, I will help create and nurture a hip hop culture in Eugene.
Were you ever infatuated with oldschool gangsta culture, romanticising hood culture, battle rapping?
I guess a little, as part of the generation that grew up with gangster rap-I can still quote whole Snoop Dog songs- we were presented with gangster rap and told that this was the expression of black youth, or black and brown skinned youth. Only later did I personally discover more conscious music, and that was through volunteering at a community radio station. Than I found hip hop that spoke more deeply to my soul. But the one thing I love about all hip hop, gangster rap included, is it's universal expression of poor people trying to improve their situation. It's that hustler mentality that is universal. I know as a rural poor white boy, I could relate to that struggle, I respected and sought to cultivate that ambition.
All-time most under-rated hip-hop artists?
Aceaylone. Speech and Arrested Development. Q-Tip. Mr. Lif.
Some musicians your fans might be surprised to know you appreciate? Any corny, commercial guilty pleasures?
Oh man, yeah, lots. I liked the new Adele album. I like Jay-Z, he's gangster, but he's intelligent and charismatic. I like Elton John and Michael Jackson. There are countless pop songs that I hear on the radio at work and that I catch myself singing for days on end. I mean, I don't buy those albums nor do I find deep inspiration from them. But I can appreciate a catchy tune.
Read any good books lately? I'm a bibiophile, my office is the Eugene public library, some of my latest favorites are:
"Rules for Radical's" by Saul Alinsky- A philosophical yet pragmatic primer on shifting a power from the have's to the have not's. I recommend this to any community organizer as one of those essential study guides. I have been breezing through, "Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina" it's a great book for anyone interested in direct democracy, horizontal organizing, anarchy, and occupy. "Owning Your Own Shadow" by Robert Jonson- The best book on the shadow I've ever read, deep and concise analysis of how to integrate our dark side. I've been researching the shadow a lot lately as I'm writing a song based on a comical crime chasing do-gooder who is out to save the world only to realize that first he must save his soul. I'm also using a spaghetti western sample on the beat to set the mood for the lyrics. I'm excited about showing the world this song. It will be on my next album, due early this fall,"Learning Adventures in Love and Revolution."
I know you're a solo artist-do you have a crew of other lyricists or D.J.'s or musicians you collaborate with?
I wish I had a crew, and sometime in the future I will probably collaborate more with other artists. I have a lot of friends who are artist. Right now, I feel like it is my time to do a solo album. To learn all the angles of making and promoting an album. I've had to learn how new flows, learn piano, learn producing and mixing, learn marketing, learn some CSS and HTML programming. It's exhausting and empowering. That being said, the album features collaborations from a Sickamore Sounds out of Seattle, Washington and 80HD out of Eugene Oregon. It also has beats made by producer buddies of mine in Sweden and Chile. It has been fun to collaborate in new ways.
Why are you active in the Occupy movement?
Occupy provides meaning and community and that is empowering. I care about the world. I'm tired of reading about the blues in the news. I'm tired of seeing our politics corrupted and our commons abused. I'm tired of being poor and in debt, I'm tired of seeing others struggle for unjust reasons. It is time to do something. I believe that a better world is possible. I want to help create a more sustainable, just, and compassionate society. And I believe that Occupy is the vehicle that will help me make the world a better place.Occupy is the most broad based and dynamic activist movement I have ever participated in.
The day after I heard about Occupy Wall Street. I took the day off work and with my partner, we typed up letters saying, "Why are you begging for change, when you could be on Wall Street demanding real change." We took these letters and handed them out to homeless people. We were charged. Then I heard about Occupy Eugene, after the first meeting. I pledged to attend the second meeting but then I forgot about it. As soon as I heard I missed the second meeting, I became physically ill. I became sick, and I took that as a sign that I needed to be a part of this movement. I attended the third meeting and was excited by the consensus building and direct democracy. I joined the morale committee because it looked like a small group that needed help. By the forth meeting, they asked for an update from Morale. I tried to motion the other morale members to speak in front of the assembly but nobody would. So I stood up in front of the room and said I don't know what's going on, but I'm ready to help. After the meeting I was asked to MC the first rally and march. I said that I wasn't sure if I was prepared and that I would look for someone else. Of course, this was the role I was born to play. But I was too afraid to admit it to myself. But as the event started, I just kind of fell into the flow of that day. It was a massive global public ritual bursting out of our collective unconscious and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and to ride the wave. I've been riding the wave of Occupy ever since.
Discuss your local protest village...
The village was a beautiful social experiment. We took our mostly lofty ideals and tried to realize them with the most humble of circumstances. I used to stay up all night peace keeping on Thursday's and it was beautiful to see community form, to see people struggle together, and have inspiring political discussions. The camp had free food, medical help, social help, educational classes, I remember being huddled around a fire sharing songs and stories, and dealing with drunk people, the camp was the people empowering themselves and each other. The camp kept us together, Occupy hasn't had the same sense of solidarity since. The camp was exhausting, part of me would be hesitant to help run one again, but at the same time, the camp was working. It was healing people, I swear to you, I saw people get off drugs, people develop the courage to hold up a protest sign. People were becoming dignified. The police ruined the camp, either out of ignorance or malice, I'm not sure. But as the police presence increased, our camp lost it's sense of peace. The police installed giant stadium lights that shined all night, giant lights that burned fossil fuels all night, they claimed this was done for our safety. Yet I saw people crying because of migraines caused by those stadium lights. The police ruined the camp and that is a tragedy. But in the aftermath of all of this, Eugene hopefully will create Opportunity Village, (a homeless camp modeled after other homeless camps such as Dignity Village). As activist it is our job to make sure that city officials allow for this camp to be created. We cannot neglect our brothers and sisters who are homeless. We need to create space for them to find autonomy and dignity in their life.
Do you identify with the hippie counter-culture of the sixties? The Beats? The Panthers? The Weathermen? S.D.S.?
Oh yes, we are a continuation, and evolution of those movements. Their our social ancestors. Personally, my parents met on the Height in that period and moved to the Northwest with the great Hippie back to the land movement of the 1980's. I love the beats. They were my High School hero's. Of course, I relish in Ginsberg and Kerouac. On the Road literally inspired me to start traveling. I respect the Black Panthers immensely, they uplifted their communities and did not seek to provoke conflict with others, they simply were militant in their defense tactics, some would say just fully so. The Weathermen seems to have become cultish terrorist, but I haven't studied them deeply, only heard passing references. I encourage all to learn from the lessons of the sixties and seventies so we don't repeat those mistakes with the momentum that we have currently gained. Too much is at stake for us now, to repeat the same mistakes.
Discuss Ken Kesey and the Kesey Square Revival....
It's building a place for community to happen. And community is held together by culture so it is also a place for culture to be nourished. One of my hopes is that by the end of the summer we can get that place to become the cool spot to hang out on a Friday afternoon. A place where free food can be passed out, where people can discuss ideas. A place for hacky sack circles and rhyme cyphers. Drum Circles. Board Games, chalk art, guerrilla gardening, the project has a lot of potential.
Some books that changed your life...
The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran. The Hero's Journey and the Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. The Autobiography of Malcom X. On the Road by Jack Keroac. Men and The Water of Life by Michael Meade. The Myth of Sysiphus by Albert Camus. The Poetry of Hafiz. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues by Tom Robbins. Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King Jr. Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky.
Punk Rock and Hip Hop were both bottom up, d.i.y., people's movements that were tragically co-opted by big business. How can independent artists organize and collaborate to get their messages across, in this repressive, cut-throat, corporate era, where six war profiteering corporations control the airwaves?
Fuck them. Fuck the culture industry. I believe this is a heady time, a time when artists can regain control of their career. This is a time for the creative commons and mash up culture. It is a time to play with the models of how to create art and how to promote art. The Internet provides a global community for one to find their audience.The most important thing for us to do is to protect the Internet so it doesn't get corrupted and bought out by the corporate gangsters. And daily they are pressuring congress to limits our freedoms on the Internet, this is because our autonomy threatens their current profit model. Please go to http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-101and/
and get involved, sign petitions, raise awareness, donate money.
How do you feel about Angela Davis? Chris Hedges? Tupac's godmother, the poet, Nikki Giovanni?
Angela Davis is a hero, one who walks the walk. The Occupy Eugene library is named in honor of her and her thirty plus years of activism. I love how versatile Angela Davis is, meaning she has worked on everything from ending the prison industrial complex to starting schools to running for Vice President as a communist. I like one of her quotes that goes something like, "Revolutionaries must be realist", I try to keep that in mind.
Nicki Giovanni was ahead of her time, her poems, especially 'ego trippen' helped build the foundation for hip hop. I also share a birthday with Nicki Giovanni. And for some reason, I feel a closeness to hear because of our shared birthday. I love that she simultaneously can be mundane and cosmic, fierce and lovely. I love her poem, 'Sky Diving.'
Kid Rock just paid tribute to the Beastie Boys at the Rock n' roll Hall Of Fame Induction. I panned one of his early cassettes he sent to my punk fanzine for review, way back when he had a Kid N Play haircut. I'm sure you saw Ego Trip's White Rapper Show...How self-conscious are you about being a Caucasian poet in a black subculture?
I am, I think that is what's right. I've collaborated with black artists and I found that what works best for me is to be honest about who I am and what I'm bringing to the table while being respectful to them and their place at the heart of the culture.
That's ironic that Kid Rock wrote to you. You asked me about commercial guilty pleasures. When Kid Rock's "Devil Without a Cause" came out, that was my album, my anthem as a white trailer park kid who grew up with rap, rock, and country music.
You're like a white be-bop, or jazz cat, no?
A little bit. I like Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Tijuana Moods. A Love Surpreme by Coltraine. Miles Davis. Medeski, Martin and Wood. I played Trumpet in High School Jazz Band. One of the stupidest things I did was sell my trumpet for party money. One day I'm going to play a trumpet again.
What are your thoughts on the bogus, racist drug war?
It's a stupid waste of resources such as energy and money. Obviously some drugs such as opiates and methamphetamine have negative effects on society and that challenge deserves a considerable amount of attention. If we have healthier communities and personal lives, their will be less drug abuse. So our drug challenge should be addressed through prevention. We should also calmly accept there is a healthy place for drugs in society. I like a Timothy Leary quote that goes something like, "I'm 100% for the healthy use of drugs and 1,000% against the negative abuse of drugs."
Discuss SOPA, Pipa, NDAA, the TSA, Patriot Act, etc.
It's sad that there are those who are so hell-bent on control. It makes sense they flock towards positions of power. All of these are attacks on the rights or freedoms of the individual. In a government supposedly 'of and for the people' these laws are disrespectful. Now Some laws are good. Traffic laws for example, are often reasonable. However, these are corrupt unjust laws implemented by sociopath individuals. If you want to live a life at the whims of those with more power than you, if you want to continuously vote for the lessor of two evils, if the direction of this country with it's over consumption and outdated attempts at perpetual growth and gross domestic product, if the military and prison industrial complex doesn't bother you, than I guess you can accept these laws. But I believe that these laws must be resisted And I encourage you to reconsider and join with others who are Resisting. It is no coincidence that these laws are being implemented, as a new great democratic awakening is happening. These laws are meant to scare and discourage our current protest culture.
I honestly had to just research Tim Dechristopher. Thanks, I admire his courage and anyone who participates in direct action. I commend him for bidding in that auction to prevent the BLM land from being com modified. According to Wikipedia it says he faces up to ten years and almost a million dollars in fines for making false statements at the auction. I'm assuming it's because he didn't have the money he said he did. That's quite a harsh penalty. Why don't CEO's that lie and implement policies that lead to predatory loans get the same treatment. Our justice system has a double standard here. If you try to get in the way of business, you get punished. If you hurt people in the the name of business, than too bad for those people who got hurt. The fact that this land was hastily going to be bid off shows how flawed our system has become. As Dechristopher said,
"The government has made the claim that there were legal alternatives to standing in the way of this auction. Particularly, I could have filed a written protest against certain parcels. The government does not mention, however, that two months prior to this auction, in October 2008, a Congressional report was released that looked into those protests. The report, by the House committee on public lands, stated that it had become common practice for the BLM to take volunteers from the oil and gas industry to process those permits. The oil industry was paying people specifically to volunteer for the industry that was supposed to be regulating it, and it was to those industry staff that I would have been appealing." Bradley Manning? So brave. If you don't know about Bradley Manning, I suggest you Google him. The courage it took to smuggle those documents is amazing. And he is suffering because of it by the hands of the federal government. A government that is cannot be secretive and manipulative to be effective. Punishing whistle-blowers and truth tellers is cowardly and a sign of guilt. But Bradley Maning, now he, is a patriot.
Jill Stein, Ron Paul, Roseanne Barr, or Rocky Anderson?
Wow, I had to research some of these people for this interview. Thanks. Truth be told, I read another article written by you that encouraged third party voting and it struck a chord in me. I admit, I voted for Obama in 08, I that was my experiment with putting belief into mainstream politicians and the democratic party. I no longer feel inspired to vote for Obama, I'm tired of voting for the lessor of two evils. I was going to vote for 'the people' and stay true to my anarchist beliefs. But I have since begun to research and explore these third party candidates.
I have never even heard of the newly formed Justice Party that Rocky Anderson is running with. I like that this came out of dissatisfaction with the Democratic party, which doesn't really represent liberals. I think more people should hear of them and hopefully this interview contributes to that. I enthusiastically support breaking up the illusionary dichotomy between democrats and republicans. I admire European systems that have more than one party being represented in parliament. I think that is much closer to democracy than our system. Rocky Anderson, I like his focus on human rights and admire his work with the 'High Road for Human Rights' organization. It is also noteworthy to consider Rocky Anderson's previous successes as a politician which is quite amazing considering he was a liberal who held office in conservative Utah.
I like Jill Stein and the fact that she protested with Occupy. I also agree with The Green Party's emphasis on the environment and creating an economy that exist within a greater ecological web. Her 4 point 'Green New Deal' is great and one possible evolution for this country, that I would support, is moving towards a more socialistic well-fare state like much of the Northern European countries already have. But that may not be the only way out of current consolidation of power. I'm constantly searching for a balance between my libertarian and collectivist leanings and I think that what will work best is probably a synthesis of the two schools of thought. Therefore, I see some validates in the theoretical model of free market capitalism. I would like to stress that I don't believe our country or most of the world under the World Bank and WTO practices anything similar to a free market. What is practiced is closer to a plutocracy. I think the most important thing we can do is to decentralize power, this is not only moral but also intelligent.
A lot of my friends support Ron Paul, and I agree with some of his ideas. I think it would be great for our country to end the Federal Reserve. One centralized group should not have so much power over our currency. I also like Ron Paul's libertarian views. I'm not a fan of a lot of his social ideas, but I don't think if he ever were to get elected that he would repress blacks and women, etc. I don't think this is his concern. His concern is the economy and the size of the government. And I believe that our federal government is too big. We need to figure out a way to restructure our society, so that these needs can still be met, needs such as health care and education. And I'm not sure if Ron Paul has those answers. I do believe, that Ron Paul's ideas that we should sue polluters, or handle environmental abuse, through the courts as opposed to through regulatory agencies, these ideas deserve contemplation. They could work, I'm not sure. I would like to study this idea more deeply.
And then there is Rosanne, it's hard for me to divorce her image from that old TV show she did. I knew she was running for office and I respect some of her positions although I don't feel like she has enough political experience. I do like the name of her political party the Green Tea Party. Upon Reflection, out of all the above candidates I think I'm most likely to vote for Jill Stein who seems to have the best thought out strategy to implement solutions.
Ever read "Be Hear Now"?
I had a friend, an almost surrogate father type of figure that gave that book to me on my sixteenth birthday and he told me that I would travel down a similar path that he traveled down with my life. And to a degree, he was right. That book is great though, I love how it's divided into sections, a sections to tell his biographical story, and a section to tell his spiritual journey, followed by a resource guide. That was cool. Did you know that at one point, that book was outselling the Bible (at least that's what I've been told.)
What does Public Enemy mean to you?
They were definitely righteous cats, especially Chuck D. I mean, he was a milestone for hip hop, which is quite amazing. I think the flow the voice and the beats fit together perfectly for what they were trying to accomplish.
How do you balance organizing and activism with maintaining a personal life and fatherhood?
I don't sleep. LoL. It requires sacrifice and a tight rope walkers feel for balance. My days go something like this..."Wake up at 5 am, work til 2, either pick up the kid up from school, or go to some class or organizer meeting or protest event, than I come home cook, do yardwork and/or walk the dog, and try to be present and playful and compassionate as possible with my loved ones. I try to remember to keep family first. Then after they go to bed I work on either emails or an event I'm co-organizing or Plaedo and my album, "Learning Adventures in Love and Revolution."
What are you trying to achieve with your work?
Well I hope it has a lasting impact upon the audience in a way that inspires them to uplift their consciousness. As KRS said, "I use my gift, to uplift." I want to contribute to a culture, to speak my truths, and learn from others truths.
I also teach. Sometimes I teach writing workshops or play shops. And what I'm trying to accomplish with those is to help my students or the attendees to look at their lives, each life, as a mythological journey filled with everyday hero's. Joseph Campbell once said, "You cannot rid the world of pain but you can chose to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. So If you want to make the world a better place, teach people how to live in the world." I think there's some truth in that idea.
Do you have albums or merchandise currently available via mail order?
My album is on the way. It will be out in August. It is my baby I'm so proud of and my most significant work of art yet. Until then, I have some old songs, free downloads available on my website and sound cloud.
I wrote a poetry book in 2010 called, "Standing on the Street, Staring at the Stars." I'm very proud of those poems. That's for sale.
As for Merchandize, I'm just now getting that set up. The other day I met with an artist buddy to collaborate on a logo for the album cover and for T-Shirts that will feature my lyrics. I have another artist creating the T-Shirts for me. All of these people I met through Occupy. I also make Tinctures, and tea blends and I will be selling those online as well.
Hopes for the future?
To help create a more fair, just, sustainable and compassionate world. To be well known and respected enough to have my art sustain my livelihood. To make my art with qualities that represent the time while transcending time, in other words to make classic lasting works of art. To have a healthy home life and to live in harmony with nature. To ever-grow towards enlightenment. To help run an organization that provides multi-cultural, spiritual, and environmental opportunities to disadvantaged young adults. To teach workshops at festivals. To help inspire a revolution of relationships. Where individuals will re-evaluate how they relate to governments, business, nature, each-other, and themselves. To help end the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex. To help live solutions for our economy and ecology. To have good friendships. To live, laugh, and to love, with the heart of a child and the mind of an old wise elder. While we're talking about hopes, than I must say: To free Cascadia :)
Where can fans of inspired, innovative, and wildly lyrical rhymes go to experience your music?
MC PLAEDO: Plaedo.com
. I'm very excited about the website and I hope you check it out, and continue to check it out, because I am going to keep growing the website, it is a work in progress. I am creating the website in a way that eventually it will be about more than Plaedo the performer, it will also be about a culture or a lifestyle, and it will have links to heady groups and individuals and links to cool ideals and discussion boards. I'm also on Sound Cloud and Reverbnation. Finally, I have a blog called, On the Path. Just google Plaedo and you can learn about my projects.
One word to describe each of the following:
soapbox hip hop
Timothy Leary -
Big Daddy Kane-
Dr. Cornel West-
This is actually quite hard to describe people in one word. LoL.
One word for all of these people is too much. I cant do it:) I'm too wordy!
Howl, But I feel bad, everyone knows him for that poem. But he did some other great stuff, so my new answer is "Kaddish".
Souls Of Mischief-
Eric B & Rakim-
Very Sharp, Very bright. Funny and she has that NY Swagger I love.
I respect this man so much and feel very blessed to get to experience his wisdom and philosophy.
"What are we gonna do now?"
We must endure, the longest, that is our strongest strategy in this battle for the soul of the future. We must not forget our sense of humor or humanity. We must continue to grow, even if the changes seem scary. We must have our love comfort our fear, like a soft pillow to a weary head. We must love. And beyond all that, we are going to play!
What did I forget to ask you?
About my album :) Before Occupy Started, this was my baby. It's still my baby, but it's kind of like the older child who had to get less attention in the early days of Occupy.
My album, "Learning Adventures in Love and Revolution" is a concept album about my spiritual journey over the last couple of years. In connection with the songs I have been preparing memoir writings to be blogged that give the story and context for the learning lessons in these songs. This whole album is about learning to trust in a process and walk towards your goals.
It all started when I graduated from college. I got asked to be a barista manager at a Natural food store in Moscow, Idaho. Instead of accepting the position I quite my job, left my family, and took the train through 38 states. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean from connecting with old family and friends to partying at Mardis Gras in New Orleans a batch of songs started to form. These songs kept evolving as I moved to Seattle, Washington and faced isolation and poverty. Still I kept working on these songs, I reconnected with my partner and step-daughter and moved to Eugene. Many mornings and late nights have been spent learning music theory, digital music production, piano, flow and percussion. I worked on the album last night til 2 am and I am so excited to present these songs to the world because I know they are vastly better than anything I've ever put out. They detail quite a lot of growth. Please read my blog and go to the Website for updates.
Finally, I want to thank you for interviewing me and for asking excellent questions. And I want to encourage everyone reading this to find a way to contribute to making the world a better place. And if you are already doing so, I want to say Thank You.
Peace, Love, Joy, Wisdom...