Mississippi Music Man Marc & The Pussy Riot

MP3 Players are coming, MP3 players are coming! It’s official, on Monday, August 13, we can buy a prison issue MP3 player for $70, and on August 20, songs will be available for download on them at $1.20 and $1.60 a song. For me this is the best thing that could happen.

Currently I am practicing songs for our August 18 concert, it will be my band YAZOO’s 9th concert, and yet oftentimes I am learning a song from sheet music and my instructor and good buddy Terry, without having heard the song in months or years. We are still able to recreate these songs pretty well identically to the recorded version, although our songs have two solos per song as compared to one solo in most of the originals.

With MP3 players, I can download all the songs we currently play (about 35), and more importantly, any song I’m learning or plan on learning, and play them endlessly to understand how the bass lines go, or the overall structure of the song is, or any aspect of its performance. That’s true for our drummer Sapp, who, though remarkable as he is in getting a song just right, has actually never heard most of the songs we perform. This will be a great help to him, to all of us in the band.

Here is my next concert’s set list, which has five new songs we’ve yet to perform live marked with an asterisk:

1st Set:
1) * Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
2) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
3) * Cathedral/Eruption/You Really Got Me/Ain’t Talkin Bout Love (Van Halen medley)
4) Crazy Train (Ozzy)
5) Whole Lotta Love (Zeppelin)
6) * Enter Sandman (Metallica)
7) * Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Zeppelin)

2nd Set
8) * Much Too Young (to Feel This Old) Garth Brooks
9) Stormy Monday
10) Hotel California (Eagles)
11) Black Magic Woman (Santana)
12) Wind Cried Mary (Hendrix)
13) Little Wing (Stevie Ray Vaughan/Hendrix)
14) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

Cathedral and Eruption are two solos by Eddie Van Halen that Terry, the band’s lead guitarist, will perform, and then the band will come in with You Really Got Me, then segue into Ain’t Talkin Bout Love then come back to You Really Got Me. Most commercial versions of the songs we play have one brief solo, most of ours have two solos, one by Terry, and one by Don. For the Garth Brooks song Terry and I have come up with a unique base line that follows the chords of the song, as we don’t have any bass tab sheet music, nor have I ever heard the song, so we’ve come up with a very nice bass line for the verses and chorus.

I’m paying attention to the trial of the Russian female punk protest band PUSSY RIOT (a terrific name for a punk girl band, I must say) who have been jailed in Moscow for SEVERAL months after their protest with a song performed commando-style in church criticizing the close collaboration of the Russian Orthodox Church with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. (Just because people voted, doesn’t mean they don’t end up with dictators – see Hitler, Putin, Harper, et al). These three women face up to seven years if convicted and sentenced to the maximum; the charges are outrageous on the face of it. It’s an affront to civilized norms that these women have spent anytime in jail for these provocative but essentially victimless guerrilla protests.

As an aside, there is a cannabis culture in Russia, albeit intimidated by police; they even protested my arrest for extradition in Moscow and Saint Petersburg on September 10, 2005 in a worldwide day of protest.

I would urge any young musicians or concerned activists to spend a day with a picket and a sign “PROTEST RUSSIAN GOV’T TYRANNY OVER MUSIC & POLITICS: I SUPPORT PUSSY RIOT” at the Russian consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles (and other US cities) and at the Russian embassy in Ottawa and Washington.

The three women, Yekaterina, Nadezhda, and Maria, are charged with hooliganism and religious hatred. Below I’ll include some lyrics in the songs performed at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow, essentially calling on the Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin, to expel Putin – thus offending church and state in one song. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, an ominously-named Patriarch Kirill, is a devoted follower of oligarch V. Putin, having labeled Putin’s dictatorship as a “miracle of God.”

The case is part of a broader Russian establishment crackdown on civil rights in what is a quasi-democracy where the people are trying to come out of 400 years of czarist autocracy, communism, and now the Putin oligarchy, facing resistance and repression from churches and state, and a criminal mafia that colludes with them both.

The members of Pussy Riot were arrested when much of the Russian people were protesting the inevitable presence of Putin as head of state (or defacto head of state) during so-called elections last March.

Now the Russian government under Putin’s orders are restricting internet access, increasing fines for “illegal” demonstrations (sort of like the Charest government in Quebec), and “libeling” political officials in now a crime as of this month.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers voiced their support of Pussy Riot at their Moscow concert recently, and Anthony Keidis of the band wore a Pussy Riot t-shirt during the RHCP performance, as has Peter Gabriel in concerts recently.

You might say, “but Marc, do you condone trespass into a church to make sacrilegious statements as well as political dissent?” And I’d say, depends on the nature of the protest. If the church I was briefly usurping the altar for was one that had shielded or protected child abusing Priest molesters, then certainly yes. If that church had lent credibility to the dictator of that country, then yes. If that church advocated violence or hatred or hostility toward any minority (pot smokers, homosexuals, racial minorities, et al), then yes.

Churches are only buildings, that don’t even pay taxes, and are not sacrosanct or free from public reaction. Religion and churches oppress and support oppression all the time, so they are fair game. Of course, when you take action, you have to defend your action, certainly in the court of public opinion, and possibly in court. Actions in defense of individual liberty, and to counter the oppression of the state or establishment institutions, trumps all other considerations.

These are the lyrics to the song Pussy Riot performed uninvited, in the church:

—–
Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away

(choir) – Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Put Putin Away, Put Putin Away, Put Putin Away

Verse:
Black Robe, Golden Epaulettes
All parishiners crawl to bow
The Phantom of Liberty is in Heaven
Gay Pride sent to Siberia in chains,

The head of KGB their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort.
In order not to offend his holiness
Women must give birth and love

Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!

(chorus)

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators,
The cross bearer procession of black limousines,
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class -bring him money
Patriarch Gundayeav believes in Putin,
Bitch, better believe in God instead.
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass meetings
Mary, Mother of God is with us in protest

(chorus)

——
Two other Pussy Riot songs of note are translated below:

PUTIN GOT SCARED

A rebellious column moves through the Kremlin,
Windows explode inside FSB offices
Bitches piss behind red walls,
Riots call for the system’s abortion

Attack at dawn? Am not against it
For our joint freedom, a whip to chastise with
Madonna to her glory will learn to fight
Feminist Magdalene Go Demonstrate

Revolt in Russia – The charisma of protest
Revolt in Russia – Pissed on by Putin
Revolt in Russia – We exist!
Revolt in Russia – Riot! Riot!

Take to the streets
Live on the Red
Set Free the Rage
of civil anger

Discontent with the culture of make hysteria
Wild male devours brains
The orthodox religion of a hard penis
Patients are asked to accept conformity

The Regime heads towards censorship of dreams,
The time has come for a subversive washing,
A pack of bitches from the sexist regime
Begs forgiveness of a feminist wedge

Revolt in Russia – The Charisma of Protest
Revolt in Russia – Pissed on by Putin
Revolt in Russia – We exist!
Revolt in Russia – Riot! Riot!

—–
DEATH TO PRISON, FREEDOM TO PROTEST

The joyful science of occupying squares
The will to everyone’s power without damn leaders
Direct Action the future of mankind
LGBT & feminists defend the nation

Death to Prisons, Freedom to Protest!
Fill the city, all the squares and the streets
There are many in Russia, beat it,
Open all the doors, take off the shoulder straps,
Taste the smell of freedom together with us

Death to prisons, freedom to protest
Occupy the city with a kitchen frying pan,
Go out with a vacuum, get off on it,
Seduce battalions of police damsels
Naked cops rejoice in the new reforms

The fucking end to sexist Putinists!

Kropotkin- Vodka splashes in the bellies
You feel good, but those Kremlin bastards
Face the revolt of the toilets’ fatal poisonings,
Flashing lights won’t save you, Kennedy will meet you

The fucking end to informant bosses!

Caught some zzz’s, time to oppress the day
The knuckle-dusters ready, feminism’s sharpened
Take your soup away to eastern Siberia
So that riot will become rough enough

The fucking end to Sexist Putinists!
The fucking end to informant bosses!
Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest!

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

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    Say Robert …all back home here in Mobile say Hi…a special greeting from Aleigha !!

  2. Anonymous on

    Awesome story and thanks for the translation. Bless their hearts.

    They got two years.

    Music actually is universally understood but it is nice to know the lyrics, gives a little insight why Putin is so pissed. What a jerk.

  3. Anonymous on

    Is your cell mate named Daniel Addison?

  4. Anonymous on

    Russia’s “Pussy Riot” Stunt Supported by US State Department.
    http://tinyurl.com/8ksn6lv

  5. Anonymous on

    marc…now that your known the globe over don’t you think you should tone things down a bit re: your critiscm of russia ,putin etc….this could make things worse for the pussy riot…unless they also get mp3 players , band practice and internet etc…now if THEY DO get these perks i apologize in advance

  6. Anonymous on

    Yesterday, I was listening to Joe Cocker’s : I get high with a little help from my friends. What a great line. Great music which speaks truth.
    I bet even Stephen Harper likes the song. He idolizes the Beatles who have a long history of drug use, writing & performing many classic hits under the influence of m.j. Same with many Jazz,
    Blues and Rock n Roll greats that are idolized today by many budding musicians and fans. I’m sure many American & Canadian politicians & law makers listen to this same music which is about real life while they persecute free thinkers that smoke cannabis which is basically harmless.
    Marc you are heading down the right path. Music can be used to express your opinions.