Saturday, August 1

Videos from Purgatory #29: The Bus Boys - Boys Are Back

Yes, believe it or not besides the Glamish Metal Sound Barrier and the Jazz/Funk/Alt-Metal of Living Colour there was yet another predominantly-Black Rocking Band in the mid 80's... and that group was The Bus Boys!

Some may or may not remember, as is mentioned in this video, that the Bus Boys actually appeared in Eddie Murphys first film "48 Hours" as the house band during a Bar Scene. They also toured with Eddie on his second comedy album "Delirious". And they managed to land a spot on a Beer Comercial with their 50's style of Rock and

Promo Video

"Cleaning up the Town" - Video from Ghostbusters.

"American Workers" Live.

Brother Brian O'Neal (Piano/Vocals) and Kevin O'Neal (Bass) formed the center of the group with, Gus Louderman (vocals), Mike Jones (keyboards, vocals), Victor Johnson (guitar), and Steve Felix (drums). After 11 years touring and recording the "Novelty" of essentially being a "Retro" act wore off and the group eventually broke up. I knew Kevin in my time in the BRC as director of it's orchestra and you can see him being interviewed in various scenes from the "Black Rock Cafe" documentary. Brian went on for form a Hard Rock Sunset Strip Band called Black Bart which released one Indie Record "Bootleg Breakout". The one I knew best was Victor Johnson, who trust me was and is a seriously BADASS guitarist. He joined with Bernie K. and Dave Brown from Sound Barrier to create Total Eclipse which was real MUTHA FUCKA of a live band. Imagine Scorpions meet King's X, Led Zeppelin and Mother's Finest with a big lump of GROOVE.

TE was signed and did release one record before the label turned right around in the middle of their tour and dropped them. Victor eventually landed a new gig with Sammy Hagar and has been with the Waboritas pretty much ever since the mid 90's.

Judging by the Promo video I found above, it looks like Brian has reformed the group with all new members and is out touring again - good luck to him.


Videos from Purgatory #28: Jesse Johnson - Let Me In

If people remember the group The Time from Purple Rain with their songs "The Bird" and "Jungle Love" you might remember their pink suited guitar player Jesse Johnson. Or you might remember some of Jesse's funky dance R&B solo material from the next few years such as "I'm Gonna Be Your Man" and "I Want My Girl"...

This is NOT that Jesse Johnson, except for being the exact same guy.

Live in 1994.

Part 1

Part 2

Striped down to a Bluesy Power Trio - this guy ROCKS! I'd always heard that Jesse was a serious player, but trapped within the confines of The Time and even his own Jesse Johnson Revue he only occasionally had chances to truly let it rip. He apparently isn't hiding it anymore. Some of these songs including "Let Me In" and "Shock to the System" are included on Jesse 1996 solo CD "Bare My Naked Soul". Learning to play when he was just 15, Jesse had played largely with Rock bands through his 20's until a friend recommended he move to Minneapolis as was recruited by Prince to join The Time Time.

Some flashes of this Rock edge were actually visible during The Time's 1990 reunion record "Pandemonium" particularly on the tracks "Blondie" and 'Skillet" (Live versions w/ Tory Ruffin on Guitar).

Either way, this version of Jesse where he actually PLAYS his instrument is a long, long way from this one where he just wears it like a big bling necklace ....

I'm pretty sure I know which version the record labels liked better.


Friday, July 31

Videos From Purgatory #27: Infectious Grooves - Punk It Up

Branching out from his original group Suicidal Tendencies, in the early 90's Mike Muir and Robert Trujillo formed the multi-racial Funk Rock band Infectious Grooves, with Guitarists Adam Seigel & Dean Pleasants and Drummer Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction).

The group eventually released three albums, including doing a really awesome cover of David Bowie's "Fame' and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" in the process.

Stop Funkin' With my Head.

This track "Therapy" includes Ozzy on vocals. Eventually Robert joined Ozzy's touring band, and from there was recruited into Metallica.


Videos from Purgatory #26: Sound Barrier - Rock Without the Roll

Five years before Living Colour debut in 1983 there was another all-black band on the scene, Sound Barrier featuring Berie K (Kimbal) on vocals, Spacey T (Tracey Singleton) on guitar, Stanley E. on Bass and Dave (Skavido) Brown on Drums. These guys certainly didn't sound like Kool and the Gang, more like Krokus and Iron Maiden.

Eventually releasing three albums, the first Total Control on MCA failed to reach an audience. The second Born to Rock, they put out on their own indepedent label and the third Speed of Light on Restless Records. Eventually the band broke up in 1987, about a year later Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" was on the air.

Rather than run away an hide, I actually met (and roadied) for Bernie K's next band Total Eclipse which featured Dave Brown from Sound Barrier along with two former members of The Bus Boys, Victor Johnson (Guitar) and Andre Berry (Bass). Guitarist Spacey T has since been in a number of groups Mother's Finest to Fishbone and his most recent group Year of the Dragon.


Videos from Purgatory #25: Living Colour - Funny Vibe

This is a band that shouldn't need an introduction - Living Colour with Funny Vibe.

Living Colour was formed in the mid 80's, after guitarist Vernon Reid had founded the Black Rock Coalition with Greg Tate of the Village Voice, and Artist Manager Konda Mason. The purpose of the BRC was to help network and coordinate the efforts of Black and minority musicians who sought to pursue music outside the limited scope that the industry was offering (Beyond R&B or Hip Hop). Eventually drummer Will Calhoun, bassist Muzz Skillings and vocalist Corey Glover rounded out the band and they began some hard gigging at New York's CBGB's. After receiving support from Mick Jagger (who agreed to produce a demo and two album tracks after Vernon had played guitar on his second solo album "Primitive Cool") the group was signed to Epic Records.

Of course it wasn't anywhere near as easy as that last paragraph sounds but they did manage to get signed and out into the public at a time when the only other band like them around was essentially Bad Brains who were still largely underground in the D.C. punk circuit. Still, a lot of people tend to think they were an "instant success" from there but that's not the way it actually went down. Epic was afraid to put a picture of the band on the album cover because they expected Rock Radio stations would automatically assume it was an R&B or Reggae record and wouldn't play it. They also didn't think Black Radio (which is exactly what it was called at the time) wouldn't play it either. I know - I still have one of the original copies on vinyl.

That eventually changed with the release of what is still considered their largest hit "Cult of Personality" which eventually reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.

The following year they toured with Anthrax and eventually opened for the Rolling Stones on their Steel Wheels tour, but like many bands that have one single enormous hit - the novelty of being the "Lone Black Rock Band" in the nation eventually wore off.

Copies of a Rock magazine cover that featured by the members of LC and Anthrax were sent back with the pictures of LC burned out. Some Stones fans threw things at them and yelled racial slurs, just as they had done with Prince who had toured with the Stones almost a decade earlier. But winning the 1989 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance on "Cult" tended to soften the sting of rejection from *some* members of the audience.

They soldiered on, heading back into the studio for their second CD "Time's Up". This is where they began to mature and showed not only their chops but also considerable courage and humor with songs such as "Elvis is Dead" and Speed Metal/Funk of the title track "Time's Up".

Again they took home a Grammy for Best Hard Rock for their performance on the album "Time's Up" in 1990, and followed up with an appearance on the very first Lollapalooza tour along with Body Count. (I've already covered some of the N-Word discussion that we had with Vernon with the L.A. Chapter of the BRC which I had joined in '89)

On their third CD, now featuring former Tackhead Bassist Doug Wimbish, they actually managed to shift perspectives a bit, where they had previously written most of their songs from their own viewpoint on "Stain" many of the songs are actually written from the view of some fairly unsympathetic characters, particularly "Postman, "Leave It Alone" and Auslander about the rise of a new anti-Immigrant/Neo-Nazi movement in Germany.

After releasing a cover of Cream's Sunshine of your Love for the True Lies Soundtrack the group split and began to pursue solo projects. Vernon did a Jazz Project, but Corey released an album on R&B Label Laface records and still managed to squeeze Rock songs like Do You First, and Do Myself.

Eventually the band got back together and began to tour again, I saw them last in 2001 in Sacramento and still although it was a packed house and ton of my musician friends in town where highly jazzed to see them again, most seem to not really know much about the band beyond their first album "Vivid" and one big hit "Cult". Some actually complained about the long dub segments that they extended some of their live songs with, not realizing they'd been doing that kind of thing on their albums from the beginning and had really gone pretty far with it on both "Type" and "Stain".

In 2003 they released their fourth CD "Collideøscope" which features a cover of AC/DC's "Back In Black" as well as a collection of tracks that they had been working on over the previous couple years.

Their new Album "The Chair in the Door" is out in September and it's first single "Behind the Sun" is available now on their Myspace Page Their New World Tour begins August 10th.


Thursday, July 30

Videos from Purgatory #24: Funkadelic - Super Stupid

A lot of people say (or think) that when Jimi Hendrix died so did Black Rock. They feel that he was the LAST brother who was going to successful climb to the top of the Rock "n Roll Mountain, and maybe they might be right about that when you look at the career carcuses that have been left littered all the Musical Highway - but one thing you can't say is that the "Rock Stopped" - because it didn't.

It went on full speed with this band in particular - Funkadelic!

Super Stupid.

Funkadelic was originally the Psychedlic/Rock side of a two-sided band, the other side being George Clinton's Parliament. Starting out as a Do-Wop group signed to Motown all the way back in the late 50's, Parliament/Funkadelic gradually expanded into a musical powerhouse featuring ex-members of James Brown's group such as Bootsie Collin's and others such as guitarist Eddie Hazel. In their early formulation Parliment was more of a James Brown styled revue dance/funk band with a horn section while Funkadelic got to have all the loud guitars. Each group made their own distinct records but as years went on the distinction blurred and eventually Funkadelic would release dancible funk records like "Not Just (Knee Deep)".

But in their early days of 1971 - They Rocked. HARD!

I Got A Thang - Live 1970

Who says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?

Following up Maggot Brain Funkadelic was also decidedly more socially conscious than Parliament who couched their politics in humor - releasing records such as "America Eats It's Young" in response to Vietnam and "Chocolate City" to document the burgeoning Black Consciousness of the 70's.

40 years later George Clinton is still touring with the Parliament/Funkadelic All Stars after being ripped off literally for Millions by his record label, and still remains one of the most influential groups in both Rock and Funk over that entire period with a loyal and nearly rabid following a "Funkateers".


Videos from Purgatory #23: Brand New Immortals - Reaons Why

In his third appearance - so far - in Electric Purgatory we have David Ryan Harris' second signed band the Brand New Immortals with their song "Reasons Why".

Some great lines in this song.

Sweet Talk will work until you find out how bad it rots out your teeth.


Stick Figure Man with No Backbone, your brand new favorite toy - you teach but he'll never learn - and that brings you joy

Eventually the Immortals broke up and David has returned to solo work (Meaning back to R&B when he "belongs') when he isn't backing up John Maher. If you look at what he's already done with Follow For Now, then Brand New immortals, working with Dionne Farris and this example of some of his solo work - I often wonder exactly who should be backing up who?


Videos from Purgatory #22: Eric Gales Band - Sign of the Storm

Another group that came on the scene in 1991 (Sliding in the Window After Living Colour, Before it was slammed shut by Nirvana) was that of then 16 year-old Guitar Wunderkind - Eric Gales Band. You ever hear a guitarist for the first time and it feels like you just got hit with a 2-by-4 across the forehead?

Yeah, Eric's like dat.

Sign of the Storm

The lead singing and bass work was handled by Eric's older brother Eugene, but as they put out their second CD Eric began to take on more of the vocals himself, as shown during this performance I converted from VHS and uploaded myself from the Arsenio Hall Show.

After doing an all blues album with his brothers Eugene and Little Jimmy King, Eric eventually went solo in 2001 with That's What I Am, despite his obvious chops the industry has pretty much relegated him into the dustbin of "Hendrix Wannabe" and largely ignored him. Just read this from the primary guide for Music Distributors.

A newly matured Gales returned in spring 2001 to release his debut for MCA, That's What I Am. Often billed as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix, Gales, an adequate singer at best but a dynamite guitarist, suffered for the comparison. Always influenced by Hendrix and the power trio format, Gales' next albums, 2006's Crystal Vision and 2007's Psychedelic Underground, both released by Blues Bureau Records, seemed like facsimile Hendrix albums, right down to the album art. His next two releases from Blues Bureau, 2008's The Story of My Life and 2009's Layin' Down the Blues, found the Hendrix influence muted somewhat, but Gales, a breathtaking guitarist at times, still seemed to be looking for a way out of the Hendrix shadow and into his own voice.

I'll be honest, Eric Never sounded like Hendrix to me - he always HAD his own unique sound and unique voice even when he was 16. Apparently some people simply couldn't hear it, and preferred to just stick him the most convenient stereotypical box (Lefty Guitar Guy with Dark Skin = HENDRIX!) and that's really a shame. I rarely saw anyone do that to Stevie Ray Vaughn and he really did sound like Hendrix - On Purpose. They even do it to Prince, and Price himself points out that he actually plays a lot more like Santana. In the meanwhile Eric's fallen on hard times, including service some jail time drugs & weapons charges. Kinda pathetic, kinda sad, but par for the course in Electric Purgatory.


Tuesday, July 28

Bill O'Reilly Defies the Republican Lunatic Base and Debunks the Birthers!

Yeah, amazing though it may seem - sometimes Bill O'Reilly really is as much a "straight shooter" as he pretends to be an actually dares to Defy the Lunatic Base of the Republican Party - therefore he really should get credit for it.

Birth Announcements in Newspaper in 1961? Check. Statements by Head of Hawaii Health Department? Check. Meanwhile Lou Dobbs is trying to start a fight with Rachel Maddow because he says "He's a Birther..." Dobbs says "She Lies, I believe Obama is an American - But I still want to see the documentation"

What the Frack do you call that then? Birth-Lite!?

Tomorrow Dobbs is supposed to be appearing on O'Reilly - that should be like a visit to Opposite World.


Videos from Purgatory #21: Moke - My Degeneration

Moke is an English Band (yet again, from the Brits) featuring lead vocalist John Hogg - and frankly they ROCKED THA HOUSE! Releasing Four Albums since 1998 and eventually touring America with King's X.

Slide Live at the Hollywood House of Blues (opening for King's X)

This is how their first album "Superdrag" was reviewed on

Moke's 1998 debut album is hyper-eclectic, mixing a strong love for Led Zeppelin (à la compatriots Reef) with hints of rap-rock, blues, reggae, and of course classic rock. Superdrag often sounds like a Perry Ferrell take on Rage Against the Machine. Standout tracks include "Down" and "Wheel in Motion." The British press heralded Moke as one of Britain's most promising guitar groups and NME labeled them "Blues Against the Machine." Moke is also supposedly a hit with Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown. Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers) and engineered by Nick Terry (Primal Scream), Superdrag was recorded with authentic equipment from the '50s and '60s and the vibe is noticeable. A strong debut.

Here's the review of their 2004 CD "Carnival".

With the barrage of U.K. bands that have assaulted U.S. shores ever since Oasis hit big, you'd think the world would need another Brit-pop band like it needs another hole in the ozone. But this London-based quartet not only has the hype that most such bands seem to be surrounded by, it also has songwriting chops to back it up. The raucous opening cut, "My Degeneration," rides a balls-to-the-wall 4/4 rhythm tailor-made for arenas, then adds infectious singalong vocals and the type of rawk guitar solo you thought nobody played anymore; at just under three minutes, it's a perfect summer anthem. "Liar" is almost as infectious, with an ambient funk groove that devolves into a grinding guitar riff Rick Rubin would love. The songs do tend to get a bit same-y at times, and some of the tunes are a bit uneven in spots, but there are more than enough solid hooks here to make Moke one of Britain's better recent exports.

You'd think with reviews like that these guys would have actually made an impression on people - apparently not. I wonder what the issue could have been? How much more than Fracking Badass did they need to be?


Videos from Purgatory #20: Fishbone - Servitude

Fishbone is an important band. A very important band. During the mid-808's they help pioneer the sound of modern ska along with The Untouchables and England's Madness to forge a sound that has resonated through dozens of other groups from 311 to No Doubt to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime and the Long Beach Dub All-Stars. You name it Fishbone did it first, and about half the time they did it better.

Besides some occasion R&B and funk - they even did more than a little Metal too= and they did it good.

Swim & Servitude.

Fishbone are also masters of Funk with songs like "Fight The Youth" and Curtis Mayfield's "Freddies Dead". Then you have a gorgeous songs like Black Flowers.

Certainly a long way from their firs Ska Hit "Party At Ground Zero". in 1985 - but the point is if you can do it - why not do it? Fishbone flies directly in the face of the theory of music promotion that says you need to just stick to one type of music and build an audience solely around that and only that sound.
Fishbone don't play dat.

The only member of Fishbone I really ever got to know was their original guitarist Kendall Jones at a couple Black Rock Coalition events including a party t the park that sits between LAX and the Beach. He nabbed a couple Guiness my wife had brought specifically to save, so when I later ran into him at the side of the stage during the Gathering of the Tribes Tour which also included King's X and Primus, and he promised to pay us back (with another couple beers) sometime in the future.

That never happened as Kendell left the group not that much later and put a signficant dent in the quality of their writing with his departure. In recent years they've picked up former Sound Barrier guitarist Spacey T (who also did a stint with Mother's Finest during the 90's, and who has since been replaced by Rocky George of Suicidal Tendencies), and have managed to soldier on despite all hardships and despite anything the labels have to say about how they should sound and how they should be playing.

I've seen how crowds respond to this band, big ones like at Tribes and Lollapalooza and it's like a Thermo-Nuclear BOMB going off. (This is why they wrote "Swim", cuz that's what their shows were like) People would lose their entire minds and MOSH like there's no today, no tomorrow and no yesterday. It's was amazing.

But still these guys remain the most influencial almost unknown group in musical history - except maybe for King's X.


Monday, July 27

Cambridge 9-11 Call Reveals Multiple Lies by Sgt Crowley

Version with Subtitles.

The first issue is that the 9-11 caller does not ever say "Two Black Men", in fact only in response to the dispatchers question does she say "One looked kinda Hispanic". She also admits that she sees a set of suitcases outside and that she doesn't know whether they actually live there or not.

More from the Cambridge Chronicle

As you listen to the 9-11 Caller talking to Sgt Crowley, you can't hear Prof Gates "Yelling" in the Background.

You do hear Sgt Crowley say "There's an older gentleman who says he lives here - he's being uncooperative, send more units".

The first mention of "Two Black Men" actually comes from Crowley's Police Report.

When I arrived at 17 Ware street I radioed ECC and asked that they have the caller meet me at the front door to this residence. SNIP . As I reached the door, a female voice called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the voice and observed a white female, later identified as Lucia Whalen. Whalen, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the residence, held a wireless telephone in her hand and told me that it was she who called. She went on to tell me that the observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of 17 Ware street.

This is disputed by Whalen's Attorney.

Attorney Wendy Murphy, who represents Whalen, also categorically rejected part of the police report that said Whalen talked with Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, at the scene.

"Let me be clear: She never had a conversation with Sgt. Crowley at the scene," Murphy told CNN by phone. "And she never said to any police officer or to anybody 'two black men.' She never used the word 'black.' Period."

She added, "I'm not sure what the police explanation will be. Frankly, I don't care. Her only goal is to make it clear she never described them as black. She never saw their race. ... All she reported was behavior, not skin color."

So that's one "Lie/Mistake" made by Sgt Crowley. Whalen never spoke to him, never said anything about "Backpacks" (actually it was Suitcases which she mentioned to the dispatcher) and never said anything about "Black Men". She was also technically wrong about the "Hispanic", because Gates driver actually *is* black.

Another is the "Yelling" issue. According to Gates, he was just returning from China where he contracted Bronchitis, and as a result - He Couldn't Yell".

The police report says I was engaged in loud and tumultuous behavior. That’s a joke. Because I have a severe bronchial infection which I contracted in China and for which I was treated and have a doctor’s report from the Peninsula hotel in Beijing. So I couldn’t have yelled. I can’t yell even today, I’m not fully cured.

From Gates view "Uncooperative" means he first refused to come out of the house - which he had every right to do.

I’m saying ‘You need to send someone to fix my lock.’ All of a sudden, there was a policeman on my porch. And I thought, ‘This is strange.’ So I went over to the front porch still holding the phone, and I said ‘Officer, can I help you?’ And he said, ‘Would you step outside onto the porch.’ And the way he said it, I knew he wasn’t canvassing for the police benevolent association. All the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, and I realized that I was in danger. And I said to him no, out of instinct. I said, ‘No, I will not.’

My lawyers later told me that that was a good move and had I walked out onto the porch he could have arrested me for breaking and entering.

in his Police Report Crowley states:

As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would come out onto the porch and speak with me? He replied "No, I Wil Not." He demanded to know who I was, I responded "Sgt Crowley of the Cambridge Police" and that I was investigating a report of a "Break-in in progress". He responded with "Why, because I'm a Black Man in America?"

On this they agree, then comes the "Yelling"...

I asked Mr. Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While Yelling, he told me it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer. While i was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence I was quite surprised and confused by the behavior he exhibited toward me.

I think Gates was quite surprised to have Cop questioning him in his own house.

Eventually Gates provides his ID, after requesting Crowley's ID and not receiving it. Identify established Crowley begins to leave.

As I began to walk through the Foyer of the front door, I could hear Gates demanding my name. I again told Gates that I would speak with him outside. My reason for wanting to leave the residence was that Gates was Yelling very Loud and the acoustics of the kitchens and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units.

Ok, as we can hear when Crowley is speaking on the radio - this would appear to be Lie Number two - and his including this "detail" in the report seems more like an after-the-fact justification for luring Gates outide where a ton of officers (requested by Crowley) were waiting outside.

The thing that really betrays Crowley's Attitude is his statement as his commences the arrest.

I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of the officers and the citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed at Gates outburst. For the second time I warned Gates to calm down while I withdrew my department issued handcuffs from their case. Gates again ignored my warning and continued to yell at me, it was at this time that I informed Gates that he was under arrest. Gates initially resisted my attempts to handcuff him, yelling that he was "disabled" and would fall without his cane. After the cuffs were properly applied Gates complained that they were too tight

"Disabled"? What at sensitive guy.

Gates version of this sequence is this:

It looked like an ocean of police had gathered on my front porch. There were probably half a dozen police officers at this point. The mistake I made was I stepped onto the front porch and asked one of his colleagues for his name and badge number. And when I did, the same officer said, ‘Thank you for accommodating our request. You are under arrest.’ And he handcuffed me right there. It was outrageous. My hands were behind my back I said, ‘I’m handicapped. I walk with a cane. I can’t walk to the squad car like this.’ There was a huddle among the officers; there was a black man among them. They removed the cuffs from the back and put them around the front.

According to Gate there were No Warnings, Crowley did not depart the residence walk down the steps and then only walk back up the steps after Gates refused multiple requests to "Calm Down" because he was now "disturbing the peace" (and coincidentally embarrassing Crowley in front of his fellow officers and the public).

That's Lie Number Three.

Also Gates does use a Cane to walk, this is visible in the film footage and was confirmed by Mellisa Harris-Lacewell in her article about Gates in The Nation. Yes, he really is "Disabled" - you officious prick. This portion of the report is clearly intended to paint Gates as a chronic "complainer" and "exaggerator".

The last point is that in the Police Report both Sgt Crowley and Officer Figueroa - who attempts to "corroborate" Crowley's claims - the one truly offensives statement made by Gates was "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA" which Figueroa repeats twice in his portion of the report within a single paragraph.

‘What is your name, and what is your badge number?’ and he refused to respond. I asked him three times, and he refused to respond. And then I said, ‘You’re not responding because I’m a black man, and you’re a white officer.’ That’s what I said. He didn’t say anything.

...(Gates is then Arrested)

A crowd had gathered, and as they were handcuffing me and walking me out to the car, I said, ‘Is this how you treat a black man in America?

From Gates perspective it wasn't an accusation prior to his arrest, it was a question after the fact. The way that both Crowley and Figueroa attempt to distort this statement into a justification for the arrest itself is more than a little distasteful.

It may be that actual racism wasn't involved in this incident, but it's also clear that the catalyst for this was Crowley's Attitude and Tone of Voice which is initially what set Gates on edge by his own admission. Gates may have over-reacted, but he apparently wasn't as "Tumultuous" as Crowley claims he was, merely annoying. Yes, Crowley he did initially give Gates his name (or maybe e didn't since we only have his word on that), but he repeatedly refused to provide his ID and actually Prove he was a Genuine COP to Gates while invading his home. He then places multiple lies on his police report, so it seems to me Gates probably read his tone of voice and the subtext of his intent correctly.

If the Officers Union really wanted a "Trial of Fact" considering both Gates and Crowley agree that the crucial portion of the exchange occurred before both the police and the public, including Lucia Whalen, I think they would seriously regret if any of this had actually came before a judge.


Videos from Purgatory #19: Urban Dance Squad - Demagogue

Urban Legend has it that this was the group that directly inspired Rage Agaisnt the Machine - I've never been able to confirm that, but when you listen to songs like this as opposed to their mellow MTV Hit (A Deeper Shade of Soul), it suddenly starts to make sense why someone might say such a thing about the Netherlands Urban Dance Squad


Good Grief Live at Pinkpop 1994

Videos from Purgatory #18: Proper Grounds - Jezebel

Proper Grounds was straight-up Gangsta RAP METAL long before it become a played out. These guys were the first group and first record released by Madonna's own Maverick Label, in fact the first time I saw them was on some late night talk show where Madonna personally introduced them. They were WILD and scary. Like a Mash-up between a pile of Crips and Insane Clown Posse.

Unfortunately for them 1993 was a bad year to be doing Rap Metal since that's when the entire "Cop Killer" flap blew up - and it wasn't until groups like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park could add a little Milk and Cream into the Coffee that it became "Safe" again. Also Maverick records found they could make a lot more money following the Seattle trend with bands like Candlebox, until that gravy train crashed and burned too.

I actually did a gig with these guys in Hollywood once for a Hendrix Anniversary Show, where I sang "Spanish Castle Magic" with a cover band. At the time I was putting together my own group with Oscar Jordan but we didn't yet have a bass player and the entire thing fell apart before long. It was at that gig that I realized that Proper Grounds drummer was also someone I knew - it was Jon brooks from Ach Nein. He's even in the Video, I can tell because of the way he dances while he plays drums.


Videos from Purgatory #17: Terence Trent D'arby - Vibrator

Every once in a while you have an artist pull a rabbit out of their hat, and that's exactly what British Ex-Patriate American Artist Terence Trent D'arby did with the song "Vibrator" from his Second Album. Known predominantly for his Funky James Brown inspired hit "Wishing Well" and the sultry smooth "Sign your name" - this song was not exactly what most people thought was on the menu.

Here he is again in 1995 performing the Marc Bolan song "Children of the Revolution".

Terence now goes by the name Sananda Maitreya.


Sunday, July 26

Videos from Purgatory #16: Dionne Farris - Passion

Today's Electric Purgatory group, is really a solo artist - singer Dionne Farris - whose career tribulations show almost exactly how FRACKED UP the music industry is. In the early 90's she was a vocalist with the group Arrested Development who scored a pair of hits including "Tennessee" (where you can hear Dionne singing "Can you Help Me - Can you Help me Understand Your Plan?")

After a coupe. tours and an MTV Unplugged performance and album, Dionne went solo and released the album "Wild Seed, Wild Flower" in 1995. Most of it, like Lauren Hill who followed Dionne out of her own Hip-Hop group the Fuguees is R&B laced with 90's Neo-Soul.

But not all of it, there are also songs like this one - Passion.

Funny thing about the Guitar Work on this song, I actually happen to know this Guitarist. He's L.A. Black Rock Coalition member Tory Ruffin, who actually had his own Jazz/Metal/Hip-Hop group at the time called Civil Rite who were nearly signed to Death Row Records by Dr. Dre. I didn't even know Tory was on this song, or in this video until I heard it and recognized his playing. You've all probably seen Tory but didn't realize it - he was the Guitarists of "Sexual Chocolate" in Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" and his Day Job has been as the touring guitar player with Morris Day and The Time so if you saw the end of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" - you saw Tory.

Anyway, beside this song "Wild Seed" had another rock song - "I Know", which actually became a Number #1 Hit!

If you watch the Official Video for this song (which doesn't allow embedding) you'll notice someone else familiar - the guitarist shown here is David Ryan Harris of Atlanta's Follow For Now who I profiled last week.

Ok, so now we've got a Number #1 Hit, a track on a popular Soundtrack "Breathless" and naturally the Record Label has to start some Beef. Columbia refused to allow Dionne to release and record ANY MORE ROCK SONGS - they just wanted her to stick to Soul and R&B, period. Just like Tory and David had gone from fronting some fairly hard rocking bands (Civil Rite, Follow For Now) to being backup sidemen in pretty much straight R&B and Pop (With The Time and with John Mayer respectively) the Stepin Fetchit-izing of black musicians goes on and on. Dionne's label insisted she stay within the "Black Music Box" that made it easy and comfortable for them to market her (although she'd already hit #1 by LEAVING that box?)

Even for those people who think the only color that matters in music is "Green' - Does that make ANY Damn sense?

The dispute caused her to leave the label - and Music - for the next ten years.

She has just now resurfaced with her own label and music released as part of a series of short films in a project called "Remember My Name. Vol 1" - the Latest Release of which on her Youtube Channel is titled "Baggage"

For latest updates on Dionne you can check her Myspace Page She obviously took one (a decade) for the team.