Marc Gets Ready for his Prison Band’s Performance

Dear Jodie: On July 2nd, the band I am bassist in, called STUCK – because we are stuck in prison – performs live and amplified for the other inmates. We’re going to play Sunshine of Your Love (Cream), Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry), Red House (Hendrix), Little Wing (Hendrix), Tightrope (S.R. Vaughan), Voodoo Child (Hendrix), Star Spangled Banner (Hendrix, a solo song by lead guitarist Terry), and All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix).

Marc posing with his "Prince of Pot" Sweetleaf guitar in 2009Marc posing with his “Prince of Pot” Sweetleaf guitar in 2009Each day I practice four to five hours on acoustic bass, and practice in the sound studio here amplified on electric bass Monday & Thursday nights from 6 to 8 pm. I study 1-2 hours of music theory each day. Candidly, I have no talent or gift musically, I’ve always known that, but by intense concentration and work ethic, I hope to become a competent bassist. The other musicians in the band – Terry, the lead guitarist; Grizz, the vocalist and rhythm guitarist; and SAP, the drummer – are outstanding musicians. Grizz instructs me in the bass each day. No one else is available to play the bass and I’m the only person here who has shown any dedication to it, so I was drafted into the band, even though, as I say, I’m very rough and unskilled by any measure. My only ability is I can pick up the notes required to play quick enough, but I have no style, gift, talent or smoothness – yet. In six months I hope to be a competent bassist. The advantage I have is great instructors, commitment and time to jam/practice and even perform with these incredible musicians.

I can’t believe I’m in a band, as my ability does not justify it, but I am excited nonetheless. I have been welcomed into the circle of ten really excellent musicians that make up the two bands (Stuck, and Out Of Bounds). They are all always practicing or studying or writing songs or developing new licks, songs, riffs, etc. I am the only one who is a novice, but they are all very helpful and always ask for my opinion on their new songs and they’ll perform them for me to comment. I really enjoy their company and that they welcome me into their exclusive little clique.

In fact, that is my life here: I read music or musical biographies, and study music and practice the bass all day when I am not doing assigned tasks or eating, sleeping, etc. Songs we are going to do for the Labor Day set include ZZ Top’s My Head’s In Mississippi (one of my favorite ZZ Top songs, I can’t believe I’m in a band that will be playing this song!!!!), Dire Strait’s Sultans of Swing (love this song too), Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, Badge by Cream, Manic Depression by Hendrix, and Purple Haze by Hendrix. I’m hoping we can do a Nirvana song in the set, like Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, or Heart Shaped Box.

So far, while incarcerated, I’ve read biographies of Hank Williams, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Donovan, and am currently reading “Fire & Rain 1970” about that year’s music/career by Simon & Garfunkel, Beatles, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, and then I’m reading Off The Rails, the biography of Randy Rhodes with Ozzy Osbourne. I’m studying music theory, including reading music, understanding the guitar, harmony, chords, and all the details about music theory that boggle my mind for the most part. Like I say, I have little talent in this area but a lot of commitment I could never have had (Rockin’ in the) outside (free world). So I am making good use of my time, I think, and enjoying this process of becoming a competent bassist, and grateful to have such outstanding musicians to work with and teach me.

I’d like to thank Jodie, Dana Larsen and Rebecca Maverick for sending me loads of great guitar song books, Ree Lynch (sent me Neil Young), Tyler Markwart (sent me the complete Bob Dylan song book for guitar), Catherine Leach (sent me Eagles, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and others), and those who sent me Gordon Lightfoot, Guitar For Dummies, and others to round out my music book/song book library.

The other good band here, Out of Bounds, has written a great song called Prince of Pot”. Spike, the writer/singer, wrote such a wonderful song about me. It was inspired by the CNN show with Tommy Chong (who is in one line of the song) wearing the FREE MARC shirt, which all the inmates here saw on TV. He says I have had a profound influence on him here (he’s been here about 40 days, I’ve been on the bass about 40 days), which I’ll explain in detail when you visit because it really is a touching story. Just the usual me, but it sometimes has this great effect on people. Spike says he’s not angry anymore, he wants to stop being a jerk to his wife and he wants to be a good man now to her and his young daughter. He said his wife loves me for that. His songs are really wonderful and he could be big one day. All his songs are about his Dad (died), his daughter, and his wife, beautiful sensitive songs, and learning from his past stupidity and bad behaviour. Really prolific outstanding song writer. He said I’ve been great to everyone in the music clique, especially him. Terry says the same thing, all the musicians in our clique are improving dramatically, even Terry, who is already brilliant beyond compare, because I inspire them with my kindness and musical depth (history wise), and because I work so hard at the bass, so all the others are really putting forth a great effort to improve their art. And they are. These guys are all terrific musicians, but they have all really gotten so prolific and brilliant in the 45 days I have hung out with them.

I am going to be the guest bassist on the “Prince of Pot” song when they perform it on the Labor Day weekend. I can guest bass for one song in the other band, especially the one they wrote about me! They think that will be cool. So I’ll have to learn the bass of that song too. I told them we’ll get your BCMP jam night leader Adam Bowen to organize a band to record the song when I forward you the lyrics and music score, and then the band members in here can get a relative to play the YouTube recorded version over the phone to them so they can hear how Adam’s band performs it. Isn’t that neat?

•••

As of Thursday, June 30, I’m not nervous but very, very excited, and maybe by showtime Saturday, July 2, I’ll be nervous (a little), but after 45 days straight of four to five hours practicing, I feel confident. The rest of the band and the other musicians think I’m doing remarkably well! Yay for me! Tonight I had a great rehearsal, 150 minutes in the studio, we went over all our songs, whew! I’m pretty sure I have them all okay. We doubled the bass tempo of Johnny B. Goode, and boy did I sweat by the end of that one. It will be our finale song, and it will be 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius) when we perform, so I’ll be really sweating after that show!

I love you, and appreciate everyone’s kindness and support. Can’t wait to see you on July 3rd and 4th!

Your musical man,
Marc Emery


www.FreeMarc.ca

Write to Marc!

MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY – MEDIUM E-1
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS
39194

Marc Emery
Marc Emery

Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and politician. Known to his fans as the Prince of Pot, Emery has been a notable advocate of international cannabis policy reform for decades. Marc is the founding publisher of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV.

Comments

20 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    aweseme

  2. Anonymous on

    good lord mac you nailed it…marc wouldn’t suck up to anybody ,,,or cop a plea agreement , or cry in jail or whine non stop on the inter net or…

  3. owen_g on

    hiya—

    july 2 eh…. nice
    july 2 last year, i had a A&R bootlicker and a studio troll bang on my door.
    i had upped my first song just a day or two earlier…
    … i think it was her , my “wife” – that sent them.

    this year – july 2 – was the day i decided to release my new cd

    it is done and posted- it would be nice if my old pals from CC could check it out

    shameless self-promotion is not something i am capable of.

    i think i will marry her on july 2 … has a nice… continuity to it ….

  4. The Wizard on

    It’s great to hear Marc in such high spirits, i’m glad he’s using his time so productively. Music frees the soul truly.

    The policemen commenting on this thread, your minds keep you imprisoned in hatred. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what you truly love. Do you want to spend your life “fighting crime”, does not your soul long for creative expression? Shave off that moustache and follow Marc’s example to use your time wisely and creatively.

  5. Patrick on

    Marc, are you playing by ear? I think learning to read music would be a complete waste of time for you. Having a great ear is the biggest secret to becoming a good musician. Learn all the songs by ear. Practice figuring out the scale degrees of melodies and licks in your head (ie. without an instrument). And definitely throw out those tab books you got sent. You have a lot of time to get good right now, don’t waste it. Practice intelligently, the way that will give you the best results–by ear.

  6. Anonymous on

    If Marc develops his Musical skills along with his talent for writing there may be some great songs to come.
    Songs I’m sure will help get the message out there.
    God speed Marc.

  7. David Bourgeois BCMP on

    Marc Emery is no one’s “poor bastard”.
    I had the honour of running alongside him in the 2001 Provincial B.C. Elections.
    He is a bona fide genius, a true patriot, a humanitarian and a human of epic proportions.
    He knew of his fate and accepted it anyway; just like Christ.
    He is a flawed human like the rest of us but he is also the bravest man I’ve ever met.
    He gave me, a schoolteacher, the courage and the opportunity to come out and run openly for the BCMP.
    A lot of things have changed and will continue to change for the better because of Marc Emery.
    He should act in jail as he must to get home quickly and safely.
    You, anonymous, don’t get to comment on that!
    I mean, who the f. are you?
    Marc should keep a low profile, play bass, come out of the closet as the fervent Christian I know he has always secretly been, and when he gets home he’ll respect all the provisions of his release.
    It’s time for you to belly up to the bar, anonymous, and you lead us now because Marc has paid his dues. Oh that’s right, you’re gutless!
    How dare you impune Marc’s zeal? You little worm.
    And you don’t even have the huevos to put your name up?
    You are either a pig or one of those right-wing assholes that likes to stir up shit on this site.
    You don’t “worry about Marc”, you transparent piece of shit!
    You don’t even know how to mask the fact that you’re one of those right-wing losers that like to come on here to worry Jodie. (I know she can take care of herself.)
    —She shouldn’t have to lower herself to talk to a pig like you.
    “You Worry About Marc?”— don’t you even have the brains to hear what that sounds like? You think that sounds sincere?
    What kind of person takes pleasure in attacking a man in jail?
    Oh, you lowest of scum!
    We should kick this anonymous trouble-maker off of here. I recognize his lack of class from before. Seriously, read his comments for yourself and tell me this a**hole isn’t a sh*t-disturber.

  8. douglas mrblue1960 nilles on

    Start playing the blues Marc. Try some slide tunings. Open E. Hit the E chord then remove fingers and re-tune to the E. Just play no fingers or open E tune. Simple and fun. Anyone? mrblue1960.

  9. Anonymous on

    i am proud of marc , he rolls with the punches and doesnt let the bastards get him down , he is a true advocate ,love your letters ‘peace
    k

  10. Lionel on

    The great Miles Davis once said that music is what happens between the notes. So true!
    All the best to you and Jodi from the classical guitar guy in Hawaii!

  11. knowa on

    Although I miss his frequent blogs and letters. I think this is a much better place to be in than DRJ. We all follow him because he is brilliant and Music is a magical art and tool that some one like Marc can maybe some day use to the cause. One only has to look to some, of the protest songs of the sixty s. I don’t know where I saw it but there was one of your Steven Harper playing one of Beatles song getting high. An the Lindy’s music Video No Knock Raid shows how powerful music can be. I just wish I could have been there I bet even the guards were grooving to the beat. Marc has done more than his Share and still even behind bars is doing more than his share.

  12. Mac420 on

    Marc Emery has a lot of guts and he won,t suck up to anyone.

  13. Mac420 on

    I never knew Marc even played guitar.I like that Sweet Leaf axe, he is playing.I also hope to hear a recording of the band in the near future.I can,t wait until Marc Emery is free, and back here where he belongs.

  14. Melanie on

    Hi Mark! I am so hoping that someone will be recording your upcoming performance. Any chance of that?

  15. Anonymous on

    I do notice all the complaints and “improvement suggestions” have stopped. And the frequency of his communications have slowed since he transferred to Wahhoo.

  16. Anonymous on

    It’s called perseverance. He is the last person to worry about. Sounds like he has more guts than most. Staying positive is what he is doing.

    Not calling anyone a basterd and dwelling on the negative.

    You have a ton of prison experience by the sound of it……..NOT!

  17. Cheebs on

    How is keeping himself occupied and avoiding boredom becoming brainwashed? Should he just sit and stare at his cell wall?

    Sounds like he’s taking this opportunity to learn new skills and improve himself. I think its the opposite, he will come out and have more motivation than ever.

  18. Anonymous on

    I am worried Marc is becoming too brainwashed and submissive to the prison authority. He is going to come out a good little lab rat and probably repent of the crime he did, swearing he was wrong and will never touch cannabis again. He will probably speak at conferences about the evils of drugs.

    I am not saying Marc is not a good person, but I don’t think he is strong enough for Prison, he is obviously too eager to please the authorities. He won’t have the guts to continue any legalize marijuana crusade once he gets out.

    Poor bastard.

  19. Ray Christl THC Ministry Asia on

    Just love to stay up on the evolution of a true genius. Voracious reader and now a bass player out of necessity…Wow,if all could learn to live-large like the Prince. Wonder if Machiavelli would approve of Marc Emery ?

    Tell him that his letters to students in Cambodia have them thinking more critically,and me following Lew Rockwell,Tom Woods,Rothbard,Hayek,von Mises et al.