Blowback Blues

Greetings from Bathshireonavononstoketwikamchurchonwhistlebogmoorshireonkentshire. It’s the last day here in the UK with the Jmos…before heading back to the US and Morgantown, WV. Bath to Morgantown being just the type of routing we’ve been looking for for some time…

It’s been enlightening to say the least…I have been trying to break into the UK for a long time…breaking into pharmacies having been a much more successful venture in my life. Slowly however, we seem to be making headway. One fan at a time. We are hoping to sell out Royal Albert Hall some time in 2058 according to our numbers. One place the Jmos always get good is a series of small shows where we need to excel in front of small handfuls of people. And for me and the Steves, it puts “why the fuck are we doing this?” very much on the table…putting our dedication to playing the music we want to play as opposed to what’s recommended…at the forefront. It’s rewarding when people like it. I had a promoter tell me Brits couldn’t deal with anything over 3 min a song…and we pretty much blew that theory into the ole bog based on our survey of the 8 people who saw us over the last week. In Bath now…one of the jewels of British cities. My hope is to keep banging into this island until we get traction or deported. Thank you to everyone here that came out and were so beautiful and kind to us.

I had a blog full of witty and untrue anecdotes from this tour…then…

Paris happened

My politics and thoughts on many of the issues surrounding the current debates about villainy, Islam, American and EU complicity and reaction, religion and (as unfuckingfortunate as it is that it has to even come up) gun control…are out there ad nauseam and easy to access and I’m not sure I have a lot to add to the current conversations (not that anyone is looking at me to add anything)…

We were talking last Wednesday about the book Shantaram (one of my most loved books, and the sequel just came out) and I was saying how Leopold Café…the expat bar in Mumbai where a lot of the action takes place…was (because of its new found popularity in western and popular culture) targeted by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba during the attacks on the city. Leading to me saying that that kind of multi-pronged attack on popular culture was going to happen in western city soon…now, I’m no Nostradamus or Ron Paul…but two days later…

And here we are…brutal and horrific and on many levels, close to home. I have been to Beirut recently and have friends and family there (my grandmother was from the Bekaa valley) and the recent bombing there was massive…I think about our friend Thomas saying…when asked about how daily life goes on in a siege environment…”Look up, Jerry…it is a very big sky…if a missile or bullet hits you out of that sky…it’s simply your time.”

Death, hatred and fire raining down on you…it’s probably hard to take solace in those words. On a Friday night in the 11th arrondissement watching Eagles of Death Metal when some, never-been-laid angry fundamentalist teenager blows your girlfriend away in front of your face. Probably even harder…I would imagine.

The question here for me…

Is this war? Hollande says it’s war…Obama and Putin say it’s war…ISIS certainly says it’s war. So is it?
(here I go…) because if it’s war…then I think it’s a different type of grieving…and all the global atrocities and human carnage and misery of this war…need to be included in the grief. Collectively.

For a variety of reasons I find the carnage easier to understand in the context of war. 9/11 didn’t affect me as much as Newton, Conn. 9/11 was a act of war…the World Trade Center being a legitimate target.

Paris…Act of War?

Lining up 21 little children and executing them in front of each other…’cause your mom didn’t make you take your meds or call the cops about your guns…or your ability to acquire guns. I’m sorry…on a scale of one to ten for horror and terror…Paris being a 8. I’d put Newton at a 100.

I say this…because we have become so accustomed to having a “them” to seek revenge from in these acts of global brutality…and…though the same (unlaid angry young) man in Newton is identifiable…there’s no “them” there (except for us liberals who think the NRA should actually go to jail).

As an act of war…Paris joins a long litany of massacre…as an act of war….I’m not sure we can call it mass murder (though it absolutely is in my mind) without calling Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and on and on, scenes of mass murder…and clearly without calling the USA and Israel and Turkey and Saudi Arabia and on…just as guilty of mass murder on a grand scale. Look…it was fucking rock concert. I can connect with that. But as an act of war?! Get in line.

Isis – al Qaeda- Boko Haram – al Shabaab – the Taliban – these lunatics didn’t come out of a vacuum.
America takes out the Sunni leader who likes you and gasses your Shia neighbors…Shia take revenge…your children are playing in uranium dosed ordinance…your dad was in Abu Ghraib…and your mother was raped in front of a American M16. I gotta tell ya…blowback is all you are thinking about. Ask a teenager in the Gaza or the Baltimore projects…one big round of “make the motherfuckers pay”
And thus…as I write, French warplanes are raining vengeance on ISIS …and you know what I think?…fuck ‘em…fuck these fundamentalist 12th century ignorant mass fucking murderers. I am by no means a pacifist. However…somebody’s kid is going to survive watching his family die in a hail of hellfire missiles….and he’s going to come for us the same way we are coming at them…but instead of F-16s…he’s a got a backpack of C4 and submachine gun and last Friday’s rain of literal death metal…will attain “small blip” status.

Then there’s social media…I could write for the next two days…just commenting on comments.

My two favorites

“If only they had guns at the Eagles of Death Metal concert”
“let’s put all Syrians in their 20s in concentration camps”

This is on my feed…dude…enough said

One parting thought…if we could have stopped Syrian immigration for the outset, my grandfather Boulas wouldn’t have been able to get into America…never meeting my grandmother…never having my father…and thus…no Jerry Joseph. If I was one of these fucktards on my feed…I would be taking that little factoid to the bank.

There’s no God but God.
Jerry Joseph. Bath, UK.

New Blog

And here we go again… my friend and social media expert Alex is insisting on a blog schedule to rival high school English homework. Sadly… I never went to high school (well, there were versions but they involved polygraph tests) so this is daunting.

Apparently the kids/public would rather read a blog than buy a record… I’m not sure what this says about kids/fans (I’m pretty sure the only kids who are my fans are my children… and that’s over as soon as they can operate their own Spotify channel)… but in the spirit of teamwork and promotion I’m diving in again. As I’ve always said “there’s no ‘your blow’ in team”… arguably… this preempts songwriting… but… see above.

One thing I’m going to attempt is to not make these things so fucking long. If you are familiar with my music and 30minute two song records you’ll understand editing myself is difficult… and it involves discipline… Humility and discipline being attributes I have been told I lack.

Landed in Reykjavik.
It’s 10:30am in Reykjavik Iceland… the sun just came up (I think… it’s been pissing rain for days… actually a version of rain they call Elf Piss) Alex championed a new laptop for me specifically for this writing… but I couldn’t figure out how to get it out of the box so I’m writing in Notes on my phone. There is a huge music festival here called Icelandic Airwaves Festival. It’s pretty amazing… front loaded with a gazillion Icelandic bands (and there are indeed a gazillion) and some great international headliners. John Grant, Beach House, Sleaford Mods… I didn’t see any of it… I had a clutch of acoustic shows in bookstores and such. And I’ve been trying to absorb non-music Reykjavik. My friend Smári Tarfur took me out the first night. Smári was a metal guitar player (as are most Nordic teenage boys… well pretty much teenage boys everywhere, I’ve found) who became a Chris Whitley (my hero) protege… now he plays… I can’t make this up… under a waterfall. He records slide guitar and waterfall and sells thousands of records (http://thesonofthewind.bandcamp.com/releases) Smári took me out for his favorite Icelandic foods…

I have eaten whale before, Japanese canned whale blubber you used to buy in Mexico… But this was Minke whale steak. As my brother Michael says… when you have 50 words for ice… you eat whatever the fuck you can get your hands on… I am not down with the whale as a BBQ item… beyond environmental morals and such… it tastes like a Porterhouse wrapped in burlap and soaked in a lagoon for two days… and not in a good way (I don’t like eating turtle and iguana… anything that couldn’t commit to climbing out of the water or staying in the pool) if the whale wants to be featured prominently on Fox Bros menus… it needs to make up its mind… fish or cow? You can’t be both bro!!!

Whale meat steak
Whale Meat Steak
And then there’s the fermented shark… fermented in its own urine… now… I’ve been there… I get it… you get fucked up and wake up days later on the floor of some Danish chick’s boyfriend’s apartment… still… you’re not claiming to be lunch. My friend Cee Digs in Berlin calls this Litter Box Shark… anyways… now I’m hungry.

So it’s amazing here… boys in pink and orange hand knit sweaters with pointy shoes and fuzzy hats with yarn balls hanging off them singing in megadeath/elf (and these are the straight boys) with their frikken Viking princess goddess girlfriends who are busy transcribing Mogwai and Iggy Pop tunes to Valkyrie lute. The fucking sun doesn’t come up till ten dude… you need hobbies. Plus everyone’s related… I have a friend here, Brooks Hood (the go to guitar maker/fixer) he’s from Alabama… and he’s already related to half the country… there’s 320,000 people total… the chance of awkward tinder hookups is very real… so they have an app… to tell you if that cute pink sweater elf Viking boy is actually your mom’s cousin (and he probably is… different rules apply on frozen volcano islands). The music industry has a way of making any cool location seem stupid and trite… I live in Portland, OR… but this scene is thoughtful and proud and having a beard is actually a thing you need to live here (and a Viking goddess for a scarf).

We reached out to the festival three weeks out… and they immediately set me up in some offsite venues and put me in their app. The idea that an American festival would do that (think Bonnamountainsierrapickasquatch… being helpful… much less hiring me) is absurd. So… this is lovely tho my coffee just cost five bucks… Bon Iver Restacks is on… I have a day to kill sweater shopping before I fly to Edinburgh… I think I’ll go try the puffin… supposedly delicious soaked in seal yogurt and Arctic fox sperm… more soon.