Archive for December, 2006

Trying something new

Many of you have asked why I have not put out a new record.
One of the reasons is that I want to work out the choreography.

Comments (2)

Help Boots, the Coup, Mr. Lif.

Boots Riley of the Coup, Mr. Lif and members of both bands have escaped a terrible accident. After a show in San Diego their tour bus went over a 30 foot drop, flipped over and caught on fire.

The band crawled from the wreckage and are healing gracefully. Still, they have lost all their instruments, computers, clothes and income for the next few months while they regroup and repair. It might be a good time to dust off your checkbooks and let em know how glad you are for the wonderful music they’ve given us.

Here is a link to their myspace page where they explain everything.
The Coup and the paypal button is at the bottom of the essay on the main page.


I first met Boots Riley many years ago when I was helping to organize the “Tell us the Truth” tour with musicians like Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Jill Sobule, Tom Morello, Mike Mills, Lester Chambers and others. The tour was organized to raise awareness about media consolidation at a time when many news outlets were refusing to cover the issue. The idea was to start at the National Conference on Media reform in Madison Wisconsin and then snake down to Miami for the big union fight against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

miami cops
Insane amount of cops in Miami for FTAA protest

On the way the artists would collaborate, perform, host press conferences, meet media groups and do a lot of press to raise the alarm.

Boots with Al Franken at the National Conference

Boots contacted me because he supported the issue so strongly. I was worried there wasn’t room on the bus for him. He said he would sleep on the bench; he would sleep on the floor. I told him to meet us in Madison. From the first second that he began to rap over the incongruous but wonderful acoustic guitar backdrop of Tom Morello’s Night watchman persona, the audience went crazy.

tom and boots
They ran from their staid seats where they had patiently listened to Bill Moyers and other brilliant (but not rocking) speakers and they danced. This was tremendously powerful and we knew we couldn’t possibly continue the tour without Boots.
boots rapping over time has come today
Boots raps with Lester Chambers on “Time Has Come Today”

Boots has the incredibly unique ability to be funky, funny and powerfully political all at the same time.


His most recent record “Pick a Bigger Weapon” was my favorite album from the past year.
Soulsides writes quite eloquently about The Coup here.

But Boots is not just talented, he’s tremendously generous! This man has played as many benefits as he has paying gigs.


Just last month Boots joined me and a handful of other musicians in New Orleans. We went there to meet musicians who had lost everything in Rita and Katrina, to get a sense for ourselves of what was going on in that city we loved. We met Craig Klein of the Aribe Wrecking Crew (musicians who dig out other musicians homes); we met the folks at the Musicians Clinic, Music Cares, and The Mother in Law Lounge. We organized a show at Tips and we made personal commitments to raise money to help some of the fine people we met there get back into their homes. I’ve been meaning to write a post about that life-changing experience but life always seems to get in the way of posting.


Hand it to Boots to kick my ass (AGAIN) because, as you can see…I’m posting for the first time in six months.

Boots needs our help.
I’m writing him a check today.
Here’s the link to his paypal again.
The Coup and the paypal button is at the bottom of the essay on the main page.
if you love The Coup, like I do…you’ll do what you need to do.