Mike Huckabee responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage with this gem; he said, “The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity.”
Whether you believe in a creator or not, it is fantastical to equate the laws of physics with an institution that serves humans.
If I recall correctly, podcaster Dan Carlin, has actually made the point that the idea of gay marriage should be irrelevant because he does not believe that marriage should be a government institution. If anything, he has argued, governments should provide a notary public to protect legal rights of a couple but that marriage should not be its business.
But, as long as marriage is a governmental institution for heterosexuals, homosexuals should be entitled to it. The worst and the best heterosexual marriages do not impact my own, so why would a homosexual marriage impact it?
Beautiful! In our world, it does not happen often, but LOVE WON today.
The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can marry in ALL 50 STATES!!! As one celebrant on the steps today said, it will bring happiness to not only same-sex couples but straight couples as well. Congratulations to my nation and fellow citizens!
Interview written and conducted for Tonight At Dawn by @KralTunes
“No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” (Quar’an, 41:35)
Xavier Dphrepaulezz, (pronounced dee-FREP-ah-lez) finally earned his good fortune as Fantastic Negrito. And he earned it by exercising a great deal of patience.
In his early 20’s, stardom appeared to be instantaneous for Dphrepaulezz. But he quickly learned the harsh realities of the pop music world; he said, the problem “when these labels get behind certain artists, they have so much juice and move so fast, the artist doesn’t grow into himself. If you dangle all the trappings of success in front of a kid like me, I’m gonna stumble toward it. But success has nothing to do with the real. And what I discovered when success seemed like it was never gonna happen is the real.”
Dphrepaulezz said that his record deal took away his creative control. Soon after his debut album failed, in 2000 he was involved in a major car crash. He was comatose for almost a month and his hand was so severely damaged that he has come to call it “The Claw”. After his recovery, he decided to secede from the music business and rely on his instincts. “I hustled and started random businesses, selling junk, furniture, random shit I found on the internet, and growing weed,” Dphrepaulezz said.
However, soon after his first child was born, Dphrepaulezz renewed his creativity in the form of Fantastic Negrito and made The Claw work for him. He said that he plays music now by “just beating the guitar into submission or banging on the keys with The Claw.”
Dphrepaulezz started to channel himself through a mixture of black roots music, soul, blues and funk. His debut E.P., Fantastic Negrito, is an impressive collection of music that clearly shows stardom quickly latched itself to him so early in life. He was content to play on the streets if need be, but his patience paid off when he won the NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest. These days, he is happily forced to re-release the Fantastic Negrito E.P. with several new tracks, one being a studio cut of “Lost in a Crowd, the song that won him that NPR award contest, thus rocketing him to superstardom.
For Dphrepaulezz, patience bred good fortune.
Here is the complete transcript of our discussion with Fantastic Negrito:
KralTunes: How nerve-wracking was it to perform behind that little makeshift desk in Oakland for NPR, knowing that it could be a make or break moment for your career at that point?
Fantastic Negrito: The struggle and fatigue leading up to that moment was immense. We’d been grinding hard, doing street shows, trying to force the world to hear this music and we’d almost forgotten about the contest. Field, the guy who runs things here in Oakland, pressed me to do the video the last day before the deadline. He was sure we were gonna win the second he saw the take, but I figured it wouldn’t happen. My voice was shot, I was clearly tired. The entire time the contest was unfolding, Field was telling the rest of the team “we got it, we got it.” When we won, I was stunned. But the second the flood came on social after we won, I knew it was gonna be a game changer. It’s still a struggle but it was definitely a turning point in my career. What’s crazy is it happened so fast, I’m gonna have to re-release my EP because I just–one week ago–finished recording the song that won.
KT: Prior to that performance, you quit the music business. If the NPR deal did not pan out, were you willing to persevere, or was this the moment that would decide you musical future?
FN: I’m not a quitter. The things I went through that made me quit back in the day, it was a lot. I’d been crushed internally by “failing” at the record label and crushed literally in that car accident. It took years and years to get back to music but once I was back in, it was all the way. I knew I’d never quit again because I knew I’d never hand my power and creativity over again. That’s what all the street shows were about. At some point I realized, “Fuck it, I can make a living playing on the streets if I have to.” I was committed entirely. The people that inspire me died broke, struggled their whole life…I knew I’d keep playing regardless of any mainstream recognition or success. When I put the EP out, if doesn’t get a single download, it won’t matter because I’m never stopping.
KT: Fast forward a few weeks, performing live once again for NPR, this time knowing that you have won their competition, what was your emotions at that point? What the feeling that you had made it, or now that you have won, did you feel that you had something to prove?
FN: It was and is surreal. Going to DC for that show was like being in an alternate reality questioning whether or not it was happening. As far as having something to prove, yes. Always. I am extremely competitive and my partners nurture and stoke that competitive nature. Every time I perform I feel like I have something to prove. It’s always a battle. Any time I’m opening up for someone, I want to prove my shit is undeniable. I feel zero hostility toward other artists, but I do want to crush whenever I do a show.
KT: Moving from Massachusetts to Oakland in the 1980’s must have been quite the culture shock for a youngster?
FN: Coming from a conservative Muslim household in mostly white Mass to Oakland California on the heels of it being the center of the black power movement–and the dawn of the gangster crack era was like you guys moving from your life now, to an underwater city in the ocean. Oakland isn’t just “any” other black city, it’s OAKLAND. Especially back then. This is the place that bred the Black Panthers, the Hells Angels, the Oakland Raiders…it was buck wild and vibrant with dangerous culture. I got swept up into the tide for better and for worse.
KT: To quote your own About page;
“By the time he was 20, Negrito had taught himself to play every instrument he could get his hands on”
After your life changing accident, how difficult was it to play any of the instruments you once mastered?
FN: It wrecked me technically. I can’t play. Not like a real player. But my feel is stronger than ever. My playing hand is crippled, I call it “The Claw.” If you’ve seen any of my performance vids, you’ll notice that I’m just beating the guitar into submission or banging on the keys with The Claw. It’s not like it’s random but there are mistakes–and I don’t hide from them. That damage is part of my sound now and if you pay attention, you can catch them on every song on the EP. I have other players of course, but I think it’s important to include my imprint on there as well.
KT: After being signed to a huge record deal so young, was it tempting to abort your instincts and follow the money trail and popular culture?
FN: Yes. I mean, I was in my early 20’s with a bunch of money and a bunch of people telling me how great I was and how rich I was gonna be, so THAT became part of the thing I was pursuing. I never aborted my instincts but I never got to fully identify them either. That’s the problem when these labels get behind certain artists, they have so much juice and move so fast, the artist doesn’t grow into himself. If you dangle all the trappings of success in front of a kid like me, I’m gonna stumble toward it. But success has nothing to do with the real. And what I discovered when success seemed like it was never gonna happen is the real. The real, truth, that’s the only thing that matters. Every word on every song on my EP is real. Fuck success and a hit single.
KT: Your music has a very intimate, earthy soul to it. Was that element always present, or is it a result of the obstacles you faced later in life?
FN: The primary element that guides me now is truth. Truth in my lyrics, truth in my sound. That was not always present because I was a kid when I started. I was imitating the artists I loved, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. I was finding myself. And before I really knew who I was, everything collapsed. Honestly, this first collection of songs is a journey in me finding that intimate soul you’re talking about.
KT: After quitting the music industry, what was your plan? Did you even have a plan?
FN: No. No plan. I’m a hustler and the son of an immigrant so my inclination is to be an entrepreneur as opposed to getting a 9-5, and that’s what I did when my “career” died. I hustled and started random businesses, selling junk, furniture, random shit I found on the internet, and growing weed.
KT: What can fans expect to hear from you in the near future?
FN: Well, as I said, we’re gonna re-release the EP with two new songs in late July and an album at the end of the year. I think An Honest Man and Lost in a Crowd are the clearest indicator on where I’m going. I think I wanna find a balance in doing songs where I turn myself inside out and put my personal truth out there and songs where I remove myself and tap into other people’s truth and give them a voice. Basically there are two types of songs, songs where you make people feel you and songs where you make people feel like you feel them. Also, beyond delta blues musicians, I’ve been listening to some African stuff and Kendrick Lamar, so…the future will be all of that filter through black roots music–black roots music for everyone.
Fantastic Negrito is scheduled for re-release July 24, 2015.
See FANTASTIC NEGRITO Here:
Jul 23 Rock & Roll Hotel Washington, DC
Jul 25 SummerStage, Central Park New York, NY
Jul 27 Brighton Music Hall Boston, MA
Jul 29 WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays Louisville, KY
Jul 31 Nightfall Concert Series Chattanooga, TN
Aug 01 The High Watt Nashville, TN
Aug 08 Outside Lands San Francisco
Text by K. Cecchini/Photos Courtesy of Edward Delaney
For a moment, a jazz horn blended with punk riffs in the crosswalk between Church Street and South Fullerton. Yesterday was Montclair Make Music Day and the Thee Volatiles were making punk music inside the East Side Mags comic book shop.
The Thee Volatiles was born among the East Village DIY scene of the late 1980’s which made for a particularly interesting interview for an article in the Montclair Times (with a wealth of stories left to be told, there is certainly fodder for more writing).
Not only was it fun to see the article roar to life in a live show, the Thee Volatiles have rekindled my love for punk music.
Naming your band after a member of the influential English rock band Wire, AND releasing your album on a label named after a song by said English band, can be seen as either unshakeable dedication or grounds for a restraining order. Fortunately for Pittsburgh post punkers The Gotobeds, option A is the more likely choice.
Comprising of former members of Pittsburgh native band Kim Phuc, The Gotobeds perfectly fit the role of class clowns that are waaay smarter than any of the faculty members give them credit for. Underneath the guise of beer swilling, goofball punk rockers lie the souls of contemporary poets, offering up some of the more witty and insightful lyrics you will hear in modern music.
Underneath a parade of bouncey riffs, thrashing guitars, and boundless energy, the group rails against the homogeneity of the current music landscape, a generation of iPhone zombies, and even offers up a thoroughly convincing argument against living in the Big Apple (“New York’s Alright”).
***This band has become my third favorite thing to come out of the Steel City, right behind the 1970’s Steelers and 2000’s Steelers.***
The unrelenting greatness of their debut album, Poor People Are Revolting, has secured them a permanent place on my playlist. Vocalist/Guitarist Hazy Laser was kind enough to take a few questions from my butt kissing self…
KralTunes: First off, Congratulations on signing with Sup Pop Records! How does it feel to be corporate music whores?!
HAZY LASER: FEELS GOOD MAN 🙂
KT: Lets get the most important question of the way…With the resurgence of the Pirates in recent years, do they have a legit chance of becoming the darlings of Pittsburgh, or will it forever be STEELER-NATION (and do the Penguins ever have a chance at being the city’s top team)?
HL: Steeler-Nation for sure, Pirates fans have had too many disappointments making them pretty fair-weather for our boys to ever trump football-mania. Pens maybe when Lemieux was in the game, but not currently, no matter how big Sid the Kid or Malkin are. (I like this answer!!)
KT:So how did you guys get together as a group? HL: We pooled like loose change, just knew these various people who were interested in what we were doing even when the early stages were pretty rough and most smart people avoided it. Cary had never played drums and I couldn’t sing so we were a perfect fit to just fuck around until something made sense.
KT: What is the thought process when writing these songs? Is there one person responsible for the lyrics? Is it a completely collaborative effort?
HL: Songwriting is usually in excited bursts and it usually led by either guitarist that has something on their mind. It’s fairly intuitive in that we don’t talk about it before hand we just show up and when there’s a minute of downtime someone starts playing something new and it just goes from there. Lyrics are my bag, baby. Don’t think anyone else cares to write ‘em though occasionally Gavin who plays bass and sings backups will change a line if it’s something he’d rather sing and he’s bigger than me so might makes right in those cases.
KT: Whats THE GOTOBEDS idea of the ‘perfect’ album? HL: The Kinks ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ or the Buzzcocks ‘Singles Going Steady’ though that last one cheats a bit cause it’s a comp. Perfect Lp’s flow well, have amazing artwork and say something different beyond what their peers had/have said. One thing I think is important is having some downtime or songs that are less interesting, like ‘just sitting their by the riverside’ not being the strongest track leading into ‘Animal Farm’ does more to set up that song than having say a better song precede it. My little brother once said they all can’t be bangers or else you’ve just written a ‘Greatest Hits’ lp and then you blew yr load.
KT: Tracks like ‘To And Fromme’ takes shots at contemporary culture and how homogenous it has become. Is this the bands consensus on the current music landscape? HL: Anyone denying that corporate rock & radio are homogenous or fed by the same few bullshit labels are as bad a climate change deniers. History will not look kindly on yr narrow-mindedness young man! I like lots of bullshit that is considered pop but there’s a disposable element that’s inherent in that stuff so giving it anymore thought or credit is a waste of time. Large music sites writing dissertations on it is pretty funny though.
KT: I see a lot of people comparing you to the likes of Protomartyr (I don’t know if that is your experience, but I have heard their name brought up several times already when mentioning you). Do you find it annoying as hell that people, rather than appreciate what a group is bringing to the music scene, immediately have to compare them to something similar?
HL: It’s an easy thing to say to someone ‘hey you like A so you should like B’ – though getting compared to the same thing wears thin but if it helps someone hear it at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Not everyone that listens to music listens to it in the same way that the scene’s that’ve fostered us does: it takes some real steps like doing SXSW or having sub pop interested in order to get different people involved. And that’s not good or bad, just the way it is.
KT: Speaking of Protomartyr. You recently concluded a tour with the group. How was it touring with another underrated gem of a band? Side note: Next time you come around to NYC, try not to schedule a show in the middle of winter on a Wednesday please!
HL: Protomartyr is the SHIT!!! Though this question is dated cause I was mostly drunk in a van and couldn’t eloquently elaborate on any of this shit on my phone but ideologically, musically and personality-wise those dudes were a great fit. We’re all fans of their band so we were honored that they asked us to come along on their magic bus. Though complaining about us being there on a Wednesday makes me laugh internally: we’re treating Brooklyn like most touring bands treat Pittsburgh – a midweek stop on the way to the REAL MONEY $$$$$$.
KT: Yes, you just released a new album mere months ago, but being the content whores we all are, we demand more of your time! What are your plans in 2015?
HL: More songs! Some good! Some not-so-good! Really just recording for the next LP that’s title is so great I can’t spoil the surprise here, so look for it at the sub pop airport store in early 2016.
Our Loss, Our Gain: Sleep and Weight How They are Linked
Feeling sleepy this morning and constantly reaching for more coffee and a doughnut to wash it down? Those potato chips also seem to be calling our name louder than we remember. We just want that salt. And why not? We could use that extra boost of energy. And the gym workout is out of the question because we have a headache. Tonight’s menu will be takeout because we do not feel like cooking.
It’s no surprise that just one night of sleep deprivation can result in an extra 600-1000 extra calories consumed in just one day. In fact, losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row caused people to pack on an average of about two pounds. Sleep has an effect on our appetite, physical activity, metabolism, and cues that tell us we are full. And a lack of it is enemy number one to our waistlines.
Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About the Link Between Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain
People who averaged 6 hours of sleep per night were 27 percent more likely to be overweight than those who averaged 7-9 hours. People averaging just 5 hours of sleep per night were 73 percent more likely to be overweight.
High quality sleep is associated with lower body fat while poor sleep correlated with higher body fat
Waking and going to sleep at the same time every day (particularly a consistent wake time) was most strongly linked with lower body fat
When enrolled in a weight loss program, getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep increased the chance of weight loss success by 33 percent.
Blame it On The…Hormones
We have hormones in our body that signal when the body is full and when the body is hungry. Ghrelin (sounds like “gremlin” without the “m”) makes our bodies want to eat; whereas, leptin tells our bodies that we are full. They act in a see-saw fashion and counterbalance each other.
A lack of sleep warps the way these hormones are released: More ghrelin, less leptin. This can significantly increase our appetite for high-calorie and high-fat foods. And if that wasn’t enough, we also experience a reduction in our rational decision-making abilities. A sleepy brain appears to not only respond more strongly to junk food, but also has less ability to rein that impulse in.
The Sleep Diet
Losing weight while we are sleeping and not even needing to break out a sweat? That is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Someone weighing 150 pounds will burn 95 calories per hour while quietly sleeping. Although we are resting, our body continues to work and use up calories to sustain vital functions; for example, it is maintaining our body’s temperature, repairing cells, digesting food, and pumping blood.
And we burn the most calories while in deep sleep such as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is because our brain is highly active; sometimes more active than when we are awake. Calories provide the fuel or energy, and we need lots of it to fuel our thoughts. That’s a scary thought and maybe we should all get back in bed to ponder it.
Changing food into a form that can be used by our bodies is called metabolism. And because sleep loss can cause insulin resistance, it can decrease our metabolism. Insulin is a hormone that functions as a “key” to allow entry of glucose into cells and change it into energy to fuel work. When cells become insulin resistant, they are unable to use the hormone efficiently and metabolism is decreased.
Getting your ZZZ’s is one of the best prescriptions to keep the weight off and can even help us lose it. That’s food for thought: A diet plan that makes losing weight as easy as losing our cell phones or keys. It’s time to tame that little gremlin…I mean ghrelin. So let’s commit to sleeping more and getting RID of that weight. After all, losing it may mean you will find it again.
Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.
Given the choice between C-SPAN or WWE Raw and most people will choose to watch chair shots to the head instead of public policy talk.
Bryan McPherson is the rare exception. And he thinks these broadcasts are interchangeable. He told KralTunes, “These people are characters who talk all kinds of trash and all kinds of game but at the end of the day they are actors and the fix is in and they go have drinks with each other and laugh about it.”
Calling Out the Bullshit
This is the kind of analogy that folk-punk troubadour Bryan McPherson weaves throughout his lyrics and you expect to hear more in his third release, Wedgewood, due June 10th. Fusing the styles of Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco and the Sex Pistols, Bryan tells compelling stories about society and everyday frustrations, all through a fusion of Americana, folk, alternative, and punk music. “I just express what Is going on inside me in some way or another. There is happy music and there is sad music. If someone wants to lighten the load there is plenty of shitty pop music out there to choose from.”
Wedgewood is filled with these type of stories, including his experience at the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011, where McPherson recalls instinctively picking up his guitar and heading down to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. While he was there, he said that he witnessed what became known as ‘Teargas Tuesday’ on October 25 when protestors attempted to retake an encampment outside the city hall. According to McPherson, the police met the protestors with a great deal of teargas and he said, “That’s when I started to notice that the police looked an awful lot like the military, like storm troopers, tanks, black SWAT gear, and all of these sort of sci-fi weaponry.”
Album cut “Here We Go” encapsulates McPherson’s response to the protests;
The government wants the internet,
Iran wants the bomb,
Our senators are the Hitlers,
‘Cause they’ll lock us all away,,
Bill of Rights burnt up right
Aside from societal woes, McPherson is not afraid to put personal trials into his work. In “Hearts In Boxcars“, McPherson expresses the difficulty of a couple moving their separate ways, while “Burn It Down” illustrates how the personal struggle with anger can either be used to fuel ones determination or devour its host in flames.
Off the Grid
McPherson stepped off the grid to record Wedgewood. Cut off from cell and internet service, he and a few crew members worked in a hut on the old Arrowhead mine in California. The rugged, isolated setting helped shape the sound of this new collection; Bryan went even as far as to name the album after the brand of the stove in the hut: Wedgewood.
Contrasting the album’s creation, Bryan turned to a more modern method to fund the album’s production; Kickstarter. Fortunately, the entire budget was fully funded in less than a week. This humbling achievement is not lost on the artist. “My mind was blown when it was hit in just a few days. I don’t want to give the impression that you can just throw a campaign up and get a bunch of money, but if you are giving it your all out there on the road and doing your best to make records and stuff then people will get behind you. I still find it incredible.”
Of course, such a feat does not go without some enticement, as several ‘backer rewards’ were offered to fans. People quickly snatched up the incentives such as living room concerts and early access to all future recordings. With everything on the auction block, McPherson said, “It is a little nerve-racking to think of what people might expect, like I hope they LIKE the record. This campaign went up with only 2 small samples of songs on the record so still amazing. I put the high dollar contributions on there because hey, someone might be down to do that. But again at the same time its like Holy shit this is intense! I’m also glad I don’t have to carve 150 sticks of wood as well!”
Off the Stage
An emotive performer, Bryan McPherson is not afraid to proudly display his heart on his sleeve. Such intensity can leave this artist completely exhausted at the conclusion of a tour. Although daunting, he is fully aware of the expectations, “Some nights I have to dig deep, but I always dig. Always. If you came to hear me sing and spent your hard-earned money, then you are going to get everything I have.”
Of course, being an open and honest musician can have more public drawbacks, especially when you are scheduled to play in a venue owned by the “happiest place on Earth.”
Slotted to open for the Dropkick Murphy’s this past fall, McPherson received the unfortunate news that the Anaheim House of Blues (Disney operated) would not allow him to perform on their stage. The reason, according to Bryan, was his “anti-political police views and drug insinuations.” McPherson said, “At first I was a bit outraged and then I was flattered that they went and listened to all of my music. Then I was even more flattered that I was the punkest, most dangerous person on the bill that night. 🙂 Really though, I have never been a fan of what Disney does…even as a child.” While Such notoriety only elevated him to Stone Cold Steve Austin-badass mode in the punk folk music scene.
On the bright side, he was paid for his ‘performance’, and was offered free tickets to the theme park. McPherson’s reaction…
“I did not oblige.”
WEDGEWOOD, via O.F.D. Records, comes out June 10.
See BRYAN McPHERSON Here:
JUN 11 Matthews Pub Portland, ME
JUN 12 The Midway Cafe Boston, MA
JUN 13 Map Room at Bowery Electric New York, NY
JUN 14 Russo Music Asbury Park, NJ
JUN 16 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA
JUN 17 The Court Tavern New Brunswick, NJ
JUN 18 The Mill Hill Basement Trenton, NJ
JUN 19 Gorham Brother Music Syracuse, NY
JUN 20 The Barn Oswego, NY
JUN 24 Newport Thompson House Newport, KY
JUN 25 Sabbatical Indianapolis, IN
JUN 26 The Waiting Room St Ann, MO
JUN 27 Reggies Rock Club Chicago, IL
JUN 28 Money Wolf HQ Kansas City, MO
JUN 29 Gust Gullie Laramie, WY
JUN 30 Forge Pub Fort Collins, CO
JUL 1 The Garage On Beck Salt Lake City, UT
JUL 2 The Colfax Theater Colfax, CA
JUL 3 The Crepe Place Santa Cruz, CA
JUL 5 The Night Light Oakland, CA