Roger the Band bulletins

“In the year 3000 on a far off star, some aliens had a party in a nasty little bar. The DJ was a Klingon, unfonky to the max, so they called on ROGER for some BAD ASS TRACKS !” Welcome to Roger’s MySpace…

Biography: The Rogerlution Will Not Be Televised: Roger

And So..After years of watching the fonkless frenzy of the un-rock Unhumanoids, Roger decided it was time to come down from the Kingdom Of Roger, And so begins one of the greatest stories never told. Bigger, Badder and More Violent than the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Rogers “This Is The Sh*t” is finally here. Its the opening statement from a band who’s mission is to bring The Jams to the Un-humanoids using the combined power of Marshall Stacks, Crusty Beats and Fonky Riffs to free the minds of mankind..Formed in the year 3000 near a far off star, the various freaks and fonk lords who make up the ROGER band met when one fateful night when they were abducted by a fleet of Flying V shaped spacecraft and woke up on the mountain of the chosen ones dressed in only loincloths.

The following years saw them perfecting some of the biggest baddest jams ever jammed in the history of anything, and creating The Kingdom Of Roger, a righteous and regal place where fonk and riffs collided, and freaks from every corner of the galaxy convened to dance, party and teach in the ways of righteousness.The Roger band is led by visionary axe man Randy Apostle, universally acclaimed to be the greatest guitar player who ever lived, who played his way out of the Philadelphia slums to join the live circuit and quickly discovered that city of brotherly love it ain’t. Before his abduction on that fateful night, Randy was about to settle in the UK county of Berkshire, having decided to skip the drugs, drink, groupies and fame and cut straight to the bit where he opens his own trout farm. Fortunately the gods refused to let this immense talent go to waste, and his true destiny was fulfilled. Joining Randy in the quest to bring the Jamms to the Un-humanoids and adding an extra pattie to the Fonk burger is the aristocratic and stylish Mohammed Ali of bass, Astley Le Jasper. Astley was originally born and raised in the suburbs of Hampshire. A shy and retiring child who’s first words were “Uh! Good God!”. Astley found solace in the depth and simplicity of the bass, and it was on the eve of his tenth birthday, whilst composing his one note concerto for bass & drum with a torch under the covers when he was snatched by the Flying V’s to take his place in the Kingdom Of Roger at Randy’s side.

Thus, one of the most prolific and exciting musical partnerships ever dreamed of was formed. Adding the black cloud to Randy & Astleys Fonk light is J Edgar Hoova. Originally chosen to be the lead vocalist in Roger, but gradually edged out thru the blossoming song writing partnership of Apostle & Le Jasper, J Edgar embraced his position as the Brian Jones of Roger and went on drug fuelled rampage, turning himself into the archetypal ego driven British rock star of old. J Edgar still plays with the Roger band, despite his protestations that Roger should play glammed up stoogerock, and the rest of the band live in fear of his inevitable take over at Roger gigs, where J Edgars band, The Body Removers invade the stage and launch into one of their stoogerock classics. Among the cast of freaks adding spice to the fonkin’ stew are: The Docktor, born and bred in the UK but believing himself to be Swedish, the Docktors skills are many, but he’s never usually allowed near a microphone due to the strange effect it has on him, as displayed in his sole lead vocal performance on This Is The Sh*t’s “Motherfocker”, The General, A thick-necked ex-dwarf responsible for marshalling the joint armed forces of FONK, Special Needs, the supaheavyweight champion of Drumm and Sindy X, backing vocalist extraordinaire.

The first fruits of the bands labour is This Is The Sh*t,released on Julian Cope’s Head Heritage label, and compiled from the twenty tracks recorded one afternoon in the Kingdom of Roger. Featuring nine incredible tracks, ranging from the operatic groove alliegence of Overture via the 12 minute dirge fonk of Ramm It Home the glorious party vibes of Fonk Hammer, Roger Loves U and Hot Fudge and the apocalyptic fonk Opera of Fonk Wars, It is truly a landmark album. The world domination of Roger will continue with forthcoming live dates planned, and sessions for the bands second album Backing Off Is For The Other Band. Its the dawning of a new age – prepare to be royally fonked

JUNE 1, 2005
A New Dawn

AND SO I awoke blind, naked, bleeding and Flying V-less. I spent days crawling through the gutters and back alleys of the streets of the city I managed to identify by the chimes of Big Ben as London, England. I begged at record shop after record shop for shelter only to be rejected time and time again and after seven days and seven nights was finally be taken in by a strangely stuck on looking goatee bearded kindly vinyl shop keeper clad entirely in black, who explained that a great evil in the form of a new Jamiroquai album had taken hold of the world. In a hushed voice he explained a small glimmer of hope did exist…

The shopkeeper went to his basement and retrieved a dusty package wrapped in rags with a single faded label on which in my own barely legible handwriting was written; îFunk Defensor, This Is Thy Badass Weaponî. In this package was a gleaming white Parker Fly, and an ancient manuscript on which a prophesy had been written that a large-hatted devil would appear in the night like a rubber-legged pied piper of Hamlyn and steal the Roger band from the Kingdom Of Roger and enslave them into non-fonky activities so that he may reign supreme for 1000 years. It was at this point I realised the terrible truth..I had been cast out of the Garden Of Fonk.

AND SO it was written that I must alone work tirelessly on a new LP so booty shakingly fonky and badass that the righteous balance shall be restored and the members of Roger shall be freed from the evil spell that they have been placed under. This album shall be called ìRandy Apostleís Apocalyptic Visionsî and it shall be FONKY.

Fear Not, Dear Unhumanoids. The Fonk is with you.

Wham Bam Studio Tan Tan

Ahh…Summerís here dear Unhumanoids, and as everyone knows itís time to work on yer studio tan, alienate your friends and generally miss the entire experience, only to look back dazed & confused at the fruit of your fonkly loins around Christmas time after several delays at an Eastern European pressing plant..No matter ñ itís all paying off – Apocalyptic Visions is sounding BADASS, 5 yes 5 tracks are now mixed for the new RÿGER album, and just this week Iíve been gettingí paranormal in the West Country working with Julian on ìDark Orgasmî – and even played a teeny, tiny bit of fonk geetar which youíll hear on a hidden track on side 6. Maybe ?

J Edgar brought his NEW Body Removers into the studio; fer those off ya who DONíT KNOW, the ìonce & future king of rock & rollî has recruited Tito Apostle and Naste Le Jasper as his new henchpeoples and those boys are deeply UNFONKY !! Also, his best pals John Leslie and Uri Gellar dropped by with a bevvy of bimbos, spilled mystery substances on the damn mixiní desk, talked jibber jabber to alien beings and generally snarled ní drooled like ex celebs gone bad done do.

As a result of yet more painful vault trawling of the by now mythical ìWherever…î tapes (at 140db), it looks like the ever popular crowd pleasers (so J Edgar tells me) ìIím Going To Hellî and ìRelease The Houndsî will be on the record WHENEVER it finally arrives…on that and ALL related whenís-the-record-out-mofo type questions – I donít know when itís dropping..things are takiní forever round here. Luckily, technically weíve GOT forever seeiní as normal time/space whatnots do not apply in the Kingdom ! Unggh !

Lastly, at the insistence of THE KIDS thereís a RÿGER myspace up at MYSPACE where thereís some streaminí goodies..including something u may not have heard before ñ whoah ! check it out & say hello, mothersuckas !

What’s In The Bag, B*tch ?

Not much work has been happening on the new ROGER albums, Iím afraid due to other commitments, namely working on other peopleís shit to earn a living now I’ve been cast out of the Kingdom Of Roger n’ all..Now by shit, dear Unhumanoids, I donít mean shit..I mean shiiiit ñ you guys like these peoples shiiiit, trust me – even if they ainít ROGER and it gots ta be done ! And when itís done, it shall be done as they say. Apart from my new regime of training underwater going very well (unlike, despite photographic evidence – Mohammed Ali, who couldnít actually swim but was himself quite badass on fuzzbass ) the other good news is that after the recent mildly successful G8 summit, the Roger F8 summit also began – ensconced in a London watering hole, dodging random bus shrapnel and using a secure channel on the rogerphone unbeknownst to The Rubber Legged Large Hatted One we sorted out a few things which have been holding up progress/the unshackling of the rest of The Roger Band from their unfonky bonds. Sheesh… Now – some folks REALLY need to get the FONK in their asses and cut that kind of crazy bombing shit out ! Now, all you Unhumanoids know Roger is a non-denominational Kool-Aid free kinda do your own thing thang and weíve got enough with Georgie Porgie riding his donkey into the sunset all guns blazing.. Yíall remember we will deliver Five Shots Of Fonk To Your Body Mass and will be cominí right back atcha with a brand new topical Roger Jam entitled ìWhatís In The Bag, Bitch ?î no doubt soon to become a firm, uhh… ìunderground favouriteî with commuters of a fonkier disposition AS SOON AS WE CAN !! Sorry ñ back to the normal programme.. We may well begin rehearsals for the Paard Van Troye show soon if we get a (jail)break, and maybe see some of you there, otherwise people will be utterly freaked out as we destroy all in our path with the power of fonk and have no friends there to see it !

October 12, 2005 UPDATE:
U Wanted It U Got It

Hey hey hey! What! Astley Le Jasper here, hip aristocat and purveyor of general good taste. I’m more excited than Kate Moss on a flight to Colombia at the moment and you know why? It’s cos the ROGER band have been in rehearsals so we can bring you groovy people the long overdue ROGER live experience, and let me tell you it’s starting to sound BADASS!!

We’ve been layin’ down and kickin’ out some serious jams in a secret London location and we’re all buzzin! By the time we play in the new year we will be ready to tear the roof of the sucka I’m sure. We’ve been playing about half of ‘This Is The Shit’ as well as lots of tasty new treats for you including ‘Nasty Dogg’, ‘Rawwer Than Raww’, ‘This Is Serious’, ‘Bring The Badboy Bass’ and J. Edgars Detroit headfuck opus’s ‘Take Your Dead Ass Home’ & ‘D.F.W.R’, all of which will be featuring on the new album.

Randy, Farnsworth & Mr G-Lover are playin’ and singing their asses off, even J. Edgar managed a smile before punching Farnsworth and smashing up one of my basses. It will be the biggest, baddest party ever, and I cannot WAIT to play for you.

More updates on live and the new album very shortly, but until then, stay beautiful. ROGER LOVES YOU!

Attention Unhumanoids ! There’s news and there’s news..and then there’s NEWS ! The long awaited follow-up LP to ROGER’s “This Is The Sh*t” has finally obtained clearance to land on planet earth, bypass the air defences and set the the sub-bass safety switch to UNSAFE before dropping 12 new fonk bombs on u-know-who…

The new album, entitled “Backing Off Is For The Other Band” is being mastered RIGHT NOW on your planet in a obscure yet picturesque country called “Wales.” An hour-long epic which picks up right where we left off..the year 2020. Catchier than bird-flu, the record contains never-before heard future-fonk jams such as “Rawer Than Raw”… reworkings of classic lost space disco stompers such as “This Is Serious” …to positively terrifying 10 minute fuzz bass solos proving that indeed – BACKING OFF IS FOR THE OTHER BAND !


Frank Rich: One Step Closer to the Big Enchilada

Sunday October 30, 2005 New York Times

To believe that the Bush-Cheney scandals will be behind us anytime soon you’d have to believe that the Nixon-Agnew scandals peaked when G. Gordon Liddy and his bumbling band were nailed for the Watergate break-in. But Watergate played out for nearly two years after the gang that burglarized Democratic headquarters was indicted by a federal grand jury; it even dragged on for more than a year after Nixon took “responsibility” for the scandal, sacrificed his two top aides and weathered the indictments of two first-term cabinet members. In those ensuing months, America would come to see that the original petty crime was merely the leading edge of thematically related but wildly disparate abuses of power that Nixon’s attorney general, John Mitchell, would name “the White House horrors.”

In our current imperial presidency, as in its antecedent, what may look like a narrow case involving a second banana with a child’s name contains the DNA of the White House, and that DNA offers a road map to the duplicitous culture of the whole. The coming prosecution of Lewis (Scooter) Libby in the Wilson affair is hardly the end of the story. That “Cheney’s Cheney,” as Mr. Libby is known, would allegedly go to such lengths to obscure his role in punishing a man who challenged the administration’s W.M.D. propaganda is just one very big window into the genesis of the smoke screen (or, more accurately, mushroom cloud) that the White House used to sell the war in Iraq.

After the heat of last week’s drama, we can forget just how effective the administration’s cover-up of that con job had been until very recently. Before Patrick Fitzgerald’s leak investigation, there were two separate official investigations into the failure of prewar intelligence. With great fanfare and to great acclaim, both found that our information about Saddam’s W.M.D.’s was dead wrong. But wittingly or unwittingly, both of these supposedly thorough inquiries actually protected the White House by avoiding, in Watergate lingo, “the big enchilada.”

The 601-page report from the special presidential commission led by Laurence Silberman and Charles Robb, hailed at its March release as a “sharp critique” by Mr. Bush, contains only a passing mention of Dick Cheney. It has no mention whatsoever of Mr. Libby or Karl Rove or their semicovert propaganda operation (the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG) created to push all that dead-wrong intel. Nor does it mention Douglas Feith, the first-term under secretary of defense for policy, whose rogue intelligence operation in the Pentagon supplied the vice president with the disinformation that bamboozled the nation.

The other investigation into prewar intelligence, by the Senate Intelligence Committee, is a scandal in its own right. After the release of its initial findings in July 2004, the committee’s Republican chairman, Pat Roberts, promised that a Phase 2 to determine whether the White House had misled the public would arrive after the presidential election. It still hasn’t, and no wonder: Murray Waas reported Thursday in The National Journal that Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby had refused to provide the committee with “crucial documents,” including the Libby-written passages in early drafts of Colin Powell’s notorious presentation of W.M.D. “evidence” to the U.N. on the eve of war.

Along the way, Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation has prompted the revelation of much of what these previous investigations left out. But even so, the trigger for the Wilson affair – the administration’s fierce effort to protect its hype of Saddam’s uranium – is only one piece of the larger puzzle of post- and pre-9/11 White House subterfuge. We’re a long way from putting together the full history of a self-described “war presidency” that bungled the war in Iraq and, in doing so, may be losing the war against radical Islamic terrorism as well.

There are many other mysteries to be cracked, from the catastrophic, almost willful failure of the Pentagon to plan for the occupation of Iraq to the utter ineptitude of the huge and costly Department of Homeland Security that was revealed in all its bankruptcy by Katrina. There are countless riddles, large and small. Why have the official reports on detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guant·namo spared all but a single officer in the chain of command? Why does Halliburton continue to receive lucrative government contracts even after it’s been the focus of multiple federal inquiries into accusations of bid-rigging, overcharging and fraud? Why did it take five weeks for Pat Tillman’s parents to be told that their son had been killed by friendly fire, and who ordered up the fake story of his death that was sold relentlessly on TV before then?

These questions are just a representative sampling. It won’t be easy to get honest answers because this administration, like Nixon’s, practices obsessive secrecy even as it erects an alternative reality built on spin and outright lies.

Mr. Cheney is a particularly shameless master of these black arts. Long before he played semantics on “Meet the Press” with his knowledge of Joseph Wilson in the leak case, he repeatedly fictionalized crucial matters of national security. As far back as May 8, 2001, he appeared on CNN to promote his new assignment, announced that day by Mr. Bush, to direct a governmentwide review of U.S. “consequence management” in the event of a terrorist attack. As we would learn only in the recriminatory aftermath of 9/11 (from Barton Gellman of The Washington Post), Mr. Cheney never did so.

That stunt was a preview of Mr. Cheney’s unreliable pronouncements about the war, from his early prediction that American troops would be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq to this summer’s declaration that the insurgency was in its “last throes.” Even before he began inflating Saddam’s nuclear capabilities, he went on “Meet the Press” in December 2001 to peddle the notion that “it’s been pretty well confirmed” that there was a direct pre-9/11 link between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence. When the Atta-Saddam link was disproved later, Gloria Borger, interviewing the vice president on CNBC, confronted him about his earlier claim, and Mr. Cheney told her three times that he had never said it had been “pretty well confirmed.” When a man thinks he can get away with denying his own words even though there are millions of witnesses and a video record, he clearly believes he can get away with murder.

Mr. Bush is only slightly less brazen. His own false claims about Iraq’s W.M.D.’s (“We found the weapons of mass destruction,” he said in May 2003) are, if anything, exceeded by his repeated boasts of capturing various bin Laden and Zarqawi deputies and beating back Al Qaeda. His speech this month announcing the foiling of 10 Qaeda plots is typical; as USA Today reported last week, at least 6 of the 10 on the president’s list “involved preliminary ideas about potential attacks, not terrorist operations that were about to be carried out.” In June, Mr. Bush stood beside his attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, and similarly claimed that “federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects” and that “more than half” of those had been convicted. A Washington Post investigation found that only 39 of those convictions had involved terrorism or national security (as opposed to, say, immigration violations). That sum could yet be exceeded by the combined number of convictions in the Jack Abramoff-Tom DeLay scandals.

The hyping of post-9/11 threats indeed reflects the same DNA as the hyping of Saddam’s uranium: in both cases, national security scares are trumpeted to advance the White House’s political goals. Keith Olbermann of MSNBC recently compiled 13 “coincidences” in which “a political downturn for the administration,” from revelations of ignored pre-9/11 terror warnings to fresh news of detainee abuses, is “followed by a ‘terror event’ – a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.” To switch the national subject from the fallout of the televised testimony of the F.B.I. whistle-blower Coleen Rowley in 2002, John Ashcroft went so far as to broadcast a frantic announcement, via satellite from Russia, that the government had “disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot” to explode a dirty bomb. What he was actually referring to was the arrest of a single suspect, Jose Padilla, for allegedly exploring such a plan – an arrest that had taken place a month earlier.

For now, it’s conventional wisdom in Washington that the Bush White House’s infractions are nowhere near those of the Nixon administration, as David Gergen put it on MSNBC on Friday morning. But Watergate’s dirty tricks were mainly prompted by the ruthless desire to crush the political competition at any cost. That’s a powerful element in the Bush scandals, too, but this administration has upped the ante by playing dirty tricks with war. Back on July 6, 2003, when the American casualty toll in Iraq stood at 169 and Mr. Wilson had just published his fateful Op-Ed, Robert Novak, yet to write his column outing Mr. Wilson’s wife, declared that “weapons of mass destruction or uranium from Niger” were “little elitist issues that don’t bother most of the people.” That’s what Nixon administration defenders first said about the “third-rate burglary” at Watergate, too.

Sound familiar?

The Radical Restructuring of a Germany Headed to War

October 26, 2005 New York Times


In “The Third Reich in Power: 1933-1939,” the British historian Richard J. Evans picks up where he left off in “The Coming of the Third Reich,” the first installment of a three-volume history that is shaping up to be a masterpiece. Fluidly narrated, tightly organized and comprehensive, “The Third Reich in Power” explains, in thematic chapters, how Hitler, after gaining control of the German government in 1933, immediately set about transforming the national economy, purging enemies, reversing the humiliating terms of the Versailles peace treaty and imposing a nationalist-racist ideology on a less than receptive population.

That’s a tall order, and Mr. Evans, as he carefully constructs a portrait of life in Germany under the Nazis, makes it clear that the Nazi program, in virtually every arena, met with only spotty success. He challenges the notion that Germany was, by tradition and history, uniquely susceptible to Hitler’s message and totalitarian rule. Under the kaiser, he argues, Germany was in many respects a modern state, with universal manhood suffrage, a flourishing Social Democratic Party and a dynamic economy. The Nazis, in 1933, ruled a nation in which the Communists and Social Democrats had received nearly a third of the vote in recent elections.

All the more impressive, then, that the Nazi Party, in a few short years, transformed Germany into a police state and dragged it into a European war that most Germans feared and assumed would end badly. It was able to do this, moreover, at a fraction of the cost, in human lives, incurred in Soviet Russia. It is noteworthy that more members of the Politburo of the German Communist Party serving between 1920 and 1933 were killed by Stalin than by the Gestapo.

The Nazis benefited greatly from the inability of the Communists and Social Democrats to cooperate, and from the virtual carte blanche handed to them by the German people, traumatized by the social disorder and economic dislocations of the Weimar period. Always, no matter what the excesses of the regime, the non-Nazi alternatives seemed worse. And an overwhelming majority of Germans thrilled to the promise of a resurgent economy and a rearmed Germany that could command international respect.

The Nazis were at their most efficient in establishing a climate of fear and convincing average Germans that even chance criticisms would be picked up by the Gestapo’s all-hearing ear. There was no such thing as a harmless joke. Schoolteachers, before grading essays, made sure to look over the main Nazi newspaper, fearful lest they criticize material that had been plagiarized from its articles.

It is one of history’s oddities that Heinrich M¸ller, the head of the Gestapo, once referred to Hitler as “an immigrant unemployed house-painter” and “an Austrian draft-dodger.” In one of his many small corrections of the record, Mr. Evans notes that the Gestapo, contrary to legend, was not made up of fanatical Nazis. Most of its members were career policemen who had joined the force during the Weimar period or even earlier. Of the 20,000 Gestapo officers serving in 1939, only about 3,000 belonged to the SS.

The Nazis tried to transform every aspect of German life, from music to sports to garden design. (“Formality and foreign plants were out, and a natural look based on native German species was in.”) Brownshirts confronted women on the street wearing too much makeup – the new German woman was expected to rely on exercise to create a natural glow – and sometimes snatched cigarettes from their painted lips. (Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress, defiantly smoked when the F¸hrer was not around, and freely used Elizabeth Arden cosmetics.) Victor Klemperer, the German Jew whose recently published diaries provide Mr. Evans with invaluable glimpses of daily life, noticed in March 1933 that the toothpaste tube he bought at the drugstore was decorated with a swastika.

Mr. Evans manages to weave a wealth of statistical information into a smooth narrative enlivened by eyewitness commentary from diaries, Gestapo reports and observations by Social Democratic opponents of the regime reporting to their colleagues abroad. This method works particularly well in his chapters on Nazi persecution of the Jews, which vividly convey the slow smothering of Jewish life, punctuated by episodes of fantastic violence, and the inexplicable double-think of ordinary Germans who stood by silently. Mr. Evans, here and throughout, maintains a dispassionate tone. He lets the facts, and the voices of the times, speak for him.

The attempt to refashion the German soul encountered resistance, mostly passive. As Mr. Evans points out, most Germans had formed their characters before the Nazis came to power. The Nazis made only limited headway in their confrontations with the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches. Constant bombardment from the propaganda ministry caused many Germans to tune their radio sets to foreign stations or retreat into a private, nonpolitical world. The average German quickly grew tired of constant political pestering and the ceaseless charity collections by Hitler Youth and brownshirts, which amounted to a quite substantial unofficial tax.

In the countryside, where tradition ran deep, local loyalties often trumped Nazi policy. In the Hessian village of Kˆrle, storm troopers tried to seize bicycles from a club with ties to the Communist Party, but the local innkeeper, a longtime Nazi, said that the club owed him money, and that the bicycles therefore belonged to him. He stored the bicycles in his loft and returned them to their owners after the war.

The Nazi machine, as Mr. Evans describes it, moved forward with a good deal of creaking and squeaking. The economy was no exception. On many fronts, the Nazis managed nothing more than to bring the economy back to the status quo that existed before the Depression. As late as January 1935, one estimate put the number of unemployed at more than four million, and food shortages were still a problem in 1939. Workers put in longer hours simply to stay even.

Even miserable stability looked good compared with the alternative: the hyperinflation, mass unemployment and uncertainty of the Weimar period. Most Germans did not realize, however, the dirty little secret to the German economic recovery, which, by the late 1930’s, had reached its natural limits. The only way forward, in 1939, was war and foreign conquest.

Playing the swing rhythms of the Indians…

The Viking of Sixth Avenue
(Honest Jon’s Records – UK)
Format: 2LP
Price: $24.00
Catalog #: HJR 018LP

“This new release from Honest Jon’s is the first overview of Moondog’s amazing artistic life — including recordings spanning from 1949 till 1995, with numerous 78s and various other vanished records revived for the first time (not to mention a couple of Weegee photographs!). Though the compilation is rooted in the decades Moondog regularly lived rough in New York City, performing on street corners — The Viking Of Sixth Avenue — at the same time it lays the music’s claim to the future. It makes vivid sense of his inspiration of fans from Igor Stravinsky to Bob Dylan, Mr. Scruff to Frank Zappa, Charlie Parker to Elvis Costello, Janis Joplin to Anthony And The Johnsons. As Moondog put it himself in 1989 — ‘I still love horned helmets and swords and spears. I like to feel that I’m loyal to my past. I wouldn’t want to be on the street anymore. But, you know, that led to a lot of things.’

“Moondog was born Louis Thomas Hardin on May 26, 1916, in Marysville, Kansas. Noting the five-year-old’s interest in percussion, his father — an Episcopal minister — took him to see an Arapaho Sun Dance. During the ritual the budding musician was allowed to sit on Chief Yellow Calf’s lap and play the tom-tom. This experience — and later playing tom-tom and flute with the Blackfoot tribe in Idaho at another Sun Dance — would have a profound and lasting effect on the development of his own music and ideas. ‘The American Indians have this basic beat,’ Moondog said in 1995, ‘a heartbeat in two speeds — a walking beat (in twos) and a running beat (in four). I use those rhythms to this day. In fact it just came to me recently that American Indian music is just so syncopated that any jazz musician — especially in the swing era — would see a clear connection between jazz and Indian music. Those songs are not improvised — they’ve been handed down from generation to generation — they’re extremely old. I think of America as an ‘Old World’ too, maybe older culturally than Europe.’ And elsewhere: ‘Harmonically, my music is the same as Bach, Beethoven and Brahms; rhythmically, it goes back to the past — the swing rhythms of the Indians. You really couldn’t find anything more syncopated.'”