How did we miss THIS all-timer? Came out in April! This isn’t out of nowhere… Sly’s always been a Lord Buckley freak — but what a pleasure to hear…


Via georgeclinton.com

The single “The Naz” features Sly Stone on vocals telling the story of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as told by beat poet Lord Buckley in his famous poem “The Nazz”. Sly uses his trademark radio rap that he used to kick as a DJ on San Francisco’s radio station KSOL-AM. “He just laid it down and we built the entire song around it,” says Clinton.

The second song on this single is “Nuclear Dog”, an instrumental rock reworking of Clinton’s 1983 chart topping hit “Atomic Dog.” In classic Funkadelic tradition, “Nuclear Dog” features blazing solo after solo from long time P-Funk guitarist DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight. Jazz fans should know Blackbyrd from his start with the great Sonny Rollins and subsequent legendary work as a member of Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters before he joined P-Funk.

Available on itunes

DEFENSE INDUSTRY REPORT FIVE: Give a bum a gun and he can take it from there.

Synopsis of Defense Industry Reports 1-4 : Reeves took the krona he made from selling a documentary about North Carolinians drinking window cleaning fluid to a Swedish television channel, got drunk on Mexican beer in San Antonio and made a thousand T-shirts with “Defend Brooklyn” written on them.

Cleanermouth 1998

Now he’s hanging the shirts up from the “Don’t Walk” sign outside the L stop, steeled for ad hominem criticism, ex-girlfriend attacks or people who would tell his mom that, despite years of pretension, her son is out on the street slanging T-shirts. And his mom would whoop his ass if she heard that shit.

People got off the train, looked at the shirt and asked “How much?” Like many artists I misunderestimate my massive talent and sold that second pressing of “Defend Brooklyn” for just ten dollars. Cheap.

Business was slow the first night. I made just enough money to buy a giant bottle which I shared with my roommates to help them forget the monolith of T-shirt boxes I’d parked in our loft. I tried to have a good time, but no matter how fast I drink my money away, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that I’m an impulsive drunk with terrible business sense.

The next day came up clear and sunny. Perfect T-shirt weather, but I was afraid to attend my own opening. It’s brutal for a sensitive artist type like myself to confront his critics at the purchase point with no agent, gallery or even a frame to hide behind. There’s a lot more honest dialectic on the street. When they shout “Defend Brooklyn from what?” you answer “What you got?” If they try to get “Brooklyner than thou” you tell them “fugeddaboutit.” If they talk about “Why does there have to be a gun?” you let them know that you’re armed and they can take that line of jive on home.

It was nothing less than fear of abject impecunity that forced me to shake off the stage fright, pick the melted Twix bar out of my hair, untangle myself from the lime green bra and drag that box of shirts to the corner and sell those motherfuckers to some insane people.

From my corner vantage that sunny Brooklyn day, Williamsburg was a small town idyll where we’d found each other. I saw a lot of talent riding around on bicycles on a Sunday free of zealots, control freaks or speed traps.

Now those without sin might try to denigrate my contemporaries by calling them “hipsters” to which I reply “it takes one to know one.” If I have to be hipster then I take the word back, like when Lord Buckley was one of us or when all the “colored people” turned black.


I sold a shirt, then another. Then ten in a row. The price went up to 20 dollars. I still sold a couple dozen more by the end of the day. Those shirts sold like hot fire. Wildcakes. All that. It was as if the neighborhood saw “Defend Brooklyn” the first night, slept on it and come back the next day, ready to buy. What dream did they dream that night that made it okay for liberal types to wear a gun on their chest? What Jungian archetype was agreed upon from behind the wall of sleep?

I suspect it was one of the old dreams about how that nowhere called utopia was now here, even if it were for only a little longer.

By the end of the weekend I’d accrued enough money to move out of my windowless room at the kibbutz. I can’t explain the satisfaction of graduating from a mewling artist with no money to a character from a Reagan speech, bootstrapping my way to financial freedom by standing on the street corner peddling dub sacks of apples or whatever.

ted rall centered and better

Then I hired a beautiful girl to sell the shirts and she clocked between four hundred and eight hundred dollars sunny weekends. She was an Arab whose fierce eyes evoked caravans of opium rebels, resisting armies of infidels with only their Kalashnikovs. It was the summer before 9/11 and freakonomics was different then.

Soon enough I was a certified T-shirt genius, which happened to be coolest thing to be that year, right after the grafitti artist/drug addict or bike thief. I was so cool that some fashion magazine called Vice let me write articles which were then changed completely and printed under someone else’s name, but I didn’t care. It was such an honor to be invited to the Viacom frat party. I made buddies with a bunch of really neat guys who are still my great friends to this very day. They helped me advertise “Defend Brooklyn” on Tap Dancing Outlaw Jessco White and his lovely mama in their photo issue.

jessco white

Suddenly, I had enough money to return to the real work of overthrowing the government and get back at those goddamn Jump Off Rock cops.

Apparently, the rest of the country was with me on this. There was a palpable anger at the government. It was right when greedheads were having a hard time meeting anywhere without thousands and thousands of radicals fighting back and defending Brooklyn all over the world, wherever it was. I know we can’t remember this because those precious Twin Towers burned and fell. Patriotically, we have forgotten those issues which are important enough to throw rocks at cops and burn down banks.



Today's Autonomedia Jubilee Saint – CEM KARACA


Turkish folk and protest singer, street activist.

APRIL 5 festivals:
* Christian PALM SUNDAY.
* Tibet: SUNNING OF THE BUDDHA. Lamas bring buddha statues out of temples of abstract tranquility to enjoy the sun.
* Zurich: SIX RINGINGS FESTIVAL: Boog (Old Man Winter), a giant snowman stuffed with explosives, is jeered, taunted, and then blown up.

1624 — Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.
1800 — Luminous flying ship spotted over Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1837 — Algernon Charles Swinburne born, London, England.
1856 — Black educator Booker T. Washington born, Hales Ford, Virginia.
1906 — Hipster, flipster musician Lord Buckley born, Stockton, California.
1926 — H. L. Mencken arrested in Boston for selling The American Mercury.
1945 — Turkish rock protest singer, activist Cem Karaca born, Istanbul.
1958 — Castro declares war on dictatorial Batista regime in Cuba.
2006 — “Happenings” event creator Allan Kaprow dies, Encitas, California.


From the Sunday, July 28, 2002 LATimes Sunday Book Review:

DIG INFINITY!: The Life and Art of Lord Buckley
By Oliver Trager
Welcome Rain
406 pp.
$30 (including CD)


The welcome full-scale biography of Lord Buckley may signal the long-overdue
revival of this avant-garde stand-up, nonstop jazz-talking ecstatic visionary
preacher with a three-octave range and febrile surrealist imagination who
loomed decades ahead of his time. His death in 1960 was largely overlooked
by the standard obits, except as an opportunity to dismiss him as a “cult

Those obits neglected to add that the ever-growing “cult” quoted at length
in Oliver Trager’s exhaustive tribute, “Dig Infinity!,” included Steve
Allen, Ed Sullivan, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Robin Williams, Ken
Kesey, Henry Miller, the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Studs Terkel, Jonathan
Winters, Frank Sinatra, Laurence Olivier, Frank Zappa, Dick Gregory and
the Nicholas Brothers. Not to forget an early employer, Al Capone, reputed
to have called Buckley “the only man that ever made me laugh.”

Those familiar with Lord Richard Buckley only on recordings tended to assume
he was black and were aghast to discover that, in the flesh, he embodied
the Hollywood stereotype of a crusty British Lord, what Eric Hobsbawm,
who writes as a jazz critic under the name of Francis Newton, described
as “a Colonel cashiered from the Indian army in 1930.” His Lordship, a
title self-conferred and lived to the hilt, offstage as much as on, was
noted for recasting Shakespeare, the Bible and the lives of Jesus and Gandhi
into the jazz argot of a black hipster. At 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing
185 pounds, his barrel-chested gymnastic physique reflected an early stint
as lumberjack in the environs of Tuolumne, Calif., in the High Sierra,
where he was born in 1906.

Teaming up with Red Skelton as emcee in the walkathons, those grueling
marathons of the Great Depression, Buckley reinvented his persona even
more radically than Jay Gatsby did. A charismatic con man and bunco artist,
he lived the flamboyant epicurean lifestyle of an oil-rich potentate, conferring
honorific titles on his “royal court” of idolaters (“Lady Doris, Prince
Valentine”) eager to lavish him with free rent, motorcars and unlimited
credit. Tubby Boots, who joined the Buckley Royal Court at the age of 12,
said, “Buckley should have been born with money because he thought he had
money. He’d go out and tell the butcher, ‘My God, I’m having a party in
your honor. Every Hollywood star is going to be there. I know you’re going
to want to put the meat in the party.’ And before you knew it, Buckley
had all the trimmings for a party. He was always in debt, but people loved
him because he only took advantage of his friends. If he liked you, he’d
con you. If he didn’t like you, he avoided you.”

His road manager, Charles Tacot, recalled: “Buckley led sixteen nude people
through the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian where [Frank] Sinatra was performing.
Sinatra had got him the job. When he learned of this caper he phoned Buckley.
‘It’s the funniest thing I ever heard. Just don’t ask me for any more favors.’

Trager also quotes the late comic Adam Keefe: “Buckley was working in a
Chicago club, the Suzy Q. He hired an open-backed hearse and was lying
in an open coffin in the back of the hearse. There was a big sign that
said, ‘The Body Comes Alive at the Suzy Q’ and he’s lying there in the
coffin smoking a joint riding around Chicago.”

Buckley carefully tailored his act to fit the audience. His frequent gigs
on “The Ed Sullivan Show” stuck to safer material, including his audience
participation Amos ‘n Andy ventriloquist routine and the phantasmagoric
sounds of a Fourth of July picnic replete with brass band and double-talk
political speechifying. Working a hipper crowd, like the one at the Coffee
Gallery in San Francisco’s North Beach during the heyday of the beatnik
invasion of the 1950s, Buckley openly smoked pot on stage while he regaled
the societal dropouts with “The Nazz,” shorthand for “The Nazarene”: “So
The Nazz and his buddies was goofin’ off down the boulevard one day and
they run into a little cat with a bent frame. So The Nazz say, ‘What’s
de mattawid you baby?’ And the little cat say, ‘My frame is bent, Nazz–it’s
been bent from in front.’

    “So The Nazz put the golden eyes of love on this little kitty and he looked
right down into the window of the little cat’s soul! And he say, STRAIGHT-EN!!!
Ka-zoom! Up went the cat like an arrow and ever-body jumpin’ up and down
say, ‘Would you look what The Nazz put on that boy! You dug Him before–re-dig
Him now!’ “

Half a century ago, you might have had only a hazy notion of what he was
talking about, unless you were a new wave comic, actor, writer or a jazz
musician like his protege, Anita O’ Day, who considered him “the forefather
of Professor Irwin Corey, Lenny Bruce, Mike Nichols and Elaine May.”

Actor-comic Larry Storch “never saw him write anything down. He was able
to pick four people out of an audience and do a routine with them, but
it would take him fifteen minutes–it was absolutely hypnotic: ‘You! Up
on stage immediately! You don’t want to make me angry!’ And by God, they
would go right up on stage. I saw old people with canes hobble up on stage.
And he’d sit them on stools in front of him, and tap each one on the back
and tell them to move their lips and suddenly here ‘vas un olt Chewish
man’ and Buckley would tap someone else and they’d move their lips and
out would come Louis Armstrong’s voice, and it was absolutely hysterical.”

The public notoriety that evaded Buckley in life surfaced immediately after
his death in 1960 at 54, when the Manhattan media led by the Village Voice
discovered that he was another victim of the New York Police’s notorious
“cabaret card” law, which prevented anyone convicted of a felony, no matter
how remote or trivial, from being employed in a venue that served alcohol.
(Buckley had been charged with a minor misdemeanor 15 years earlier.) His
death set loose a firestorm of organized protest among theatrical unions,
show people and journalists, including Nat Hentoff, that resulted in the
abolition of the “cabaret card” insanity.

Comic and political activist Dick Gregory provides a clue to the possible
reasons behind a revival of interest today in Buckley’s recordings and
appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your
Life”: “His use of the African American idiom was brilliant. It wouldn’t
take nothing to do that now, but imagine the guts and integrity it took
for him to do that in his time. Political Correctness notwithstanding,
I think his material would go over big now because America, despite its
many problems, is more mature than it was then.”

Trager’s obvious labor of obsessive passion covers Buckley’s obscure origins,
with expansive interviews with nearly everyone who had contact with His
Lordship, including his beauteous, supportive and infinitely patient wife,
“Lady” Elizabeth Buckley. The CD included with Trager’s book contains some
of his most memorable live routines to suggest why Buckley was embraced
with messianic fervor by leading writers, comics, actors and opinion makers
of our time, many of whom can still recite “The Nazz,” “The Bad-Rapping
of the Marquis De Sade” and “Willie the Shake” from memory. Perhaps His
Lordship’s time has finally come.

Grover Sales Is the Author of “Jazz: America’s Classical Music” and Teaches Jazz Studies at Stanford
University. In the early 1960s he handled Publicity for Lord Buckley in the San Francisco Bay Area.