Essential reading, especially for my fellow Philadelphians, is the recently published (to great acclaim) book On the Run: Fugitive Life In An American City by Alice Goffman (Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries, 2014). Goffman chronicles the stories of those living and negotiating lives of crime, poverty, and imprisonment here in Philadelphia, though the cycles they move through, are victims of, and themselves perpetuate, play out in cities throughout the US. The intimacy Goffman achieved with those whom she profiled gives the book an immediacy often lacking in sociology books that examine societal issues down the length of patrician noses or through the jargon of academia. For those who live in Philly, it's very easy to hear the voices of Goffman's cast of characters since their vernacular and speech patters are part of the rhythm of our city.
Being a new book, some may find the hardcover to be a bit expensive. An alternative for those living in the 21st Century is the ebook, which is just $9 from Amazon. This is how I'm presently reading the book.
On June 16, 2014 Alice Goffman spoke at the Philadelphia Free Library. You can listen to her on their podcast here.
Earlier this week I was interviewed on the Cinepunx podcast about LOUD! FAST! PHILLY!, the Cabbage Collective, Exhumed Films, and Diabolik DVD (among other things). There is much goofery (and nearly two hours of it)!
Give it a listen right here.
Feast your eyes on some new photos by Karen Kirchhoff! She re-photographed several interview subjects for her photo exhibit (still up at the Grindcore House in South Philly). She re-shot these folks because I originally photographed them when Karen wasn't available. The original photos are still those you first see, but if you click on the following interview subjects, you'll see superb new Karen photos:
Will McAndrew (added to her original shoot)
Frank "Blank" Moriarity
Stacey Finney (who has a new interview up with Jo-Ann Rogan of the band Thorazine)
Since there's no interview with Eric Bresler, I'm adding his photo here.
Recent interview subject Vincent Feldman supplied the following bit of information as an addendum to his interview:
"I forgot to mention that after Legitimate Reason broke up Grant Plunket and I played in a reggae/ska band called Just Us. We made a studio demo which I have no record of. We didn't play out much except at a few parties and most memorably a big punk rock block party in 1988 on Rodman Street around 12th street."
Upon completion of the interview, I was left with a follow-up question that I felt needed to be addressed for clarification. I wrote to Vincent:
You mentioned in the interview that your father applied for conscientious objector status during World World II. Considering Hitler and the Nazis were aggressively engaged in exterminating European Jewry and your father was himself a Jew, what was his reasoning for declaring himself a conscientious objector?
Here is Vincent's reply, which I post without comment:
"My father was a pacifist and politically very astute. If WWII was about saving the Jews then that war was entirely lost, never even engaged really. He was well aware of plenty antisemitism from within the US. My father lived in Baltimore for a while in the 1960s and he recalled to me that the beaches in Maryland had signs posted barring Blacks, Jews and dogs. The Jews who joined the US Army or worked in the Roosevelt Admin. were sourly disappointed in the war effort in regard to saving Jews."
Vincent adds this note, which is illustrated by the two pages of book scans he sent along to me and which I have posted here:
"The best example of my dad's political insights occurred within a day of JFK's ambush murder. I am attaching two pages from Praise From a Future Generation by John Kelin. He predicted Oswald would be shortly eliminated and a Jew would be used in the plot."
Please note: I (Joseph) present these materials as submitted to me by my interview subject. These are not my personal views.
My interview with photographer Vincent Feldman yielded a wealth of ancillary material for you to enjoy.
The City Abandoned book cover (Paul Dry Books, 2014)
Scans of the front cover, back cover, and insert in the Legitimate Reason 7" EP.
A letter from Lee Harvey Oswald's mother (!) to Feldman's father circa 1966.
A bonus shot of Feldman by Karen Kirchhoff.
A shot by Karen Kirchhoff of my brother Bull and me in Feldman's basement photography studio/workspace on the day of the interview.
Here is a message from one of my personal favorite interviews subjects, Thomas "Vosco" Adams of the band Ruin, about Darren Finizio. Thomas wrote this comment on one of my Facebook postings about the Darren interview and I think some of you will enjoy hearing this music:
Pete Sounds and I had the pleasure of being in one of Darren's identity bands, "The Open Minded Men" aka "OMM." He didn't mention the band in the interview though when he mentioned being Open Minded, I thought of us. This was about 10 years ago or more. That experience, seeing the brilliant Hoppy the Frog video, and catching the motivating Muscle Factory live, leads me to believe Darren was born to be a star. Pete has a couple of OMM mp3s available to download from his drugmusic archive mp3 page of his website: http://soundsoftomorrow.net/ and here the link to our theme song: http://drnoone.peregrinesalon.com/OMM.mp3
People occasionally ask me if I'll be attending reunion shows of this or that punk band that has been resurrected from the grave to shamble out and do their thing again. While there are a few that seem to have re-formed for legitimate reasons (I did enjoy seeing the reconstituted Amebix a few years ago and Ruin last year), most are embarrassing wrecks out to reclaim fame that was "denied" them (or so their self-aggrandizing narrative goes) or they'd like a cash in because Green Day got rich, so why can't they? The thought of the reformed bands that have strained the structural integrity of stages across the country with their added bulk makes me want to, as they punks say, gob. My feeling is now and will always be: If you missed these bands the first time around, too bad. You're not really seeing them at the height of their powers. You're seeing a flabby simulacrum. If you saw the band in their prime, congratulations (you're old!). Nostalgia is -- I feel and I have said often -- a form of depression; you are better off with your hazy memory. If you're going to leave your crypt to attend a live performance, you'd be better off seeing a band operating at maximumfuckingintensity. Then you can tell others in the rest home that you saw ____________ back in 2014 before they sold out, man. Besides, did anyone EVER give a fuck about The Addicts?
My treat for you is this note-perfect pisstake of punk's first wave (namely The Damned and The Sex Pistols) from the sharp satirical band Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias.
Yesterday my friend Sarah, the creator and maintainer this site, added sound uploading options to the blog area of the site so that I may post Darren Finizio's voicemail messages to me (see below post). This got me thinking about other uses for uploading sound to the blog. My plan as it stands is to sometimes use the blog as an ancillary interview site. That is, on occasional I'll present shorter interviews that may fall outside the focus of this project or follow-up interviews with folks who were previously interviewed here but with whom I may wish to speak about something we missed or things that have occured since the "interview proper." Having the option to present interviews outside the main thrust of the project and without a series of portraits (though they will likely be accompanied by some images, albeit less formal than in the interview section) should provide content for you and will allow me to explore some areas of interest that previously couldn't be brought to the fore in L!F!P!
When I called Darren today to tell him his interview/photos have gone live, he granted me permission to put up the three voicemail messages he left me earlier this month as we played phone tag. In each of these messages (edited together as one audio file) he sings me a song. Darren feels these messages are representative of the music he's making now, so they are, in effect, new and exclusive compositions. Enjoy!