There is something about the American mind set on de- struction, re- lent- less, un- penitent, eager to bomb There is the hatred that fuels the A- merican mind, the shriveled-up heart the heartless always ready to kill & maim brutal with the urge to crush & destroy This is where they built Fat Man, Mr. U- 235 & they sent Fat Man & Little Boy to Japan to level Hiroshima & Nagasaki They love Fat Boy they feed him the sweets of their hearts singing their filthy songs into Fat Boy’s u- ranium ears & let the rest of us eat the shit of their hatred of anything or anyone that is not them Ah! Fat Boy so round & ugly so full of hate stuffed with the dead spirits of the Americans blinded & lost in the deserts of Iraq
Detroit April 9/June 1, 1982 Flint, MI April 4, 2003
If you been in America and ain’t sleep then I don’t have to begin where I wdda begun if you was just another dumbass American, souped up on not and aint. But suppose you had some feeling for what Dis is we in and how it’s the opposite of Art, and how as an Ain’t one of it’s chief physical/psychological/philosophical, soc-ec-pol, functions is to kill or make impossible the existence of Art. Then you would dig from the top, how rare and necessary is the John Sinclair work. Especially, if you know that many people think JS is, no shit, WHYTE!!!
(A dude told me this getting on the Mother Ship. I told the motherfucker that if the MS was segregated they was gonna shoot that johnson down! But you know, a hard head make a soft philosophy.)
The last irrelevance is not irrelevant here in Jungle Land because Animals are running shit and most of the place not yet fit for human habitation. They got the music lovers separated. You dig? Why, cause if they start digging the music from the same point of incorruptible ecstasy, even as different HUMANS (that’s the word, but that’s like a post-animal phenomenon, and ain’t in the house yet, too tough) then the Caucasian Crib, and the Absolutely Real Devils who run it and the world, like that old playhouse the old folks useta sing about, is gonna, like they said, get pulled right down to the ground. And the proprietors and they henchpersons gonna die, go to jail or be put back in the 4th grade ( for a long time).
What it is, is that JS, from way back, has been in the real world. And for bunches of white guys, certainly those who qualify as Straight Up Americans, that’s a trip not usually bothered with. Cause they doesn’t have to take it. What with the wall of bullshit and white supremacy, the straight out class removal from MOST of the world, including them poverty struck “white people” (technically speaking) in Appalachia, you know, them HILLBILLIES, and of course, any remaining hard ass unopportunist workers and the fucking Commies.
I say this, because I cant lie and the deep fuckup in Dis is that the majority have been bought by naught. With some shit thin as skin and “for a few dollars More” to help Toiletpop Bill and the demons rule and ravage the rest of the world, including the USA.
JS has been a WHITE PANTHER (NOSHIT) doing time for the crime of thought. And resistance to the continuing slavery of US imperialism and its prophylactic, racism. J has always been on the firing line, on the front line of saying and doing. He is a brother, in the real sense, of the flesh and the spirit, and his words, his stance, his loves, his perception and rationalization of the world, will bring him close to anyone not in the straitjacket of random imbecility and opportunism ( the “most finished form” of which, sd Lenin, is National Chauvinism).
John has always, since I been knowin him, dug the music. From the way back to the way out. Not in the “Gee Whiz” fashion of well paid critics, who are all much whiter than John. Hell, there’s a buncha wooden negroes much whiter than John, if it gots to be about something as flimsy as color. (Damn, Stan, you look mighty pale around the lips! But thass what money dooos.)
Because finally, it has always been about feeling and understanding. About Perception, Rationale and the Use, we make of the world. As my wife, Amina, says, “Whose side you’re on.” John, for instance, is one of the only dudes who cd pass for American, who really understands and can actually poet wit them word music Gleemen. Who begins from ON and can get to DIGNITARIA and even check SERIOUS. (As the Fon say.)
This book is about the Blues. The Blues is everywhere in America (Negro say, “I even give myself the Blues”) IT has to be killed, locked up, lied about, impoverished, character assassinated and oppressed, but it still don’t go away, it even stand out in the street where any silly motherfucker cd see it if they looked or even if they cd just hear.
John do hear and see the Blues. The old blues, the recent blues, the new blues, the blues, Europe (a black dude said), get in him when he “got to buy the baby new shoes”. All kinda blues be in John, and that’s different. Tell me white cats aint got the blues. It’s a lie. They might say they depressed. Or a nigger took they job. Or the iceman they real father. Or they psychiatrist feeling on they leg. But it still be the U.S. no shit blues.
“Fattening Frogs For Snakes”, yeh, that’s what Americans do, except the ones that really is Snakes. This is the United SNAKES ain’t it? So from jump, John know, what the definition of hope to die (say when) American is. And he rejects it like the music do. The music reject it because American is a definition of what ain’t got no use for the blues or for those who make the blues. Even tho, right up in its fucking flag, is a blues, some stripes, like real niggers (every body who gonna live) got on they backs.
The book is not a Homage to the Blues, it is a long long long blues full of other blues and blues inside of them. John all the way inside, and he got the blues. And he live in New Orleans, and all them motherfuckers got the blues, even the police.
John is drawn to the blues because it is real life, and ain’t much of that you supposed to have and understand that’s what it is. You can pay 9 dollars and get real life, after standing in line, in technical color. But if you stand up in the flick and say this ain’t real life gimme my money back, you trying to make a blues and chances are you will get the flag treatment before you split, that is there will be some white and some red in your life and on your head, before the owners through with you.
John has taken the Blues, many Blues, many Blues singers, their words, their feeling, their lives, their conditions, the places and traces of where they was and is, the Delta, Chicago under the El, in the streets of any anonymous Black and Blue America, and transformed them into a poetry a narrative epoch of PLACE and REPOSSESSION. He has given us the humanity of person, speech, description, song, dance, style, stance. What is political in the work is that it is about reality which is political like a motherfucker.
But everything got to do with people is political. “Whose side yr own”, again the definition. Like, “Cross Road Blues”, for Harry Duncan., about
“Tommy Johnson, Born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, in 1896 left home around 1912 with an older woman”.
Like that, the precision of research, but in the context of song. You get the facts and throughout, the same music that he talking about.
“& then returned south to Crystal Springs & his family & the peoples who used to know him”.
In the language and gentle rumble of the guitar itself, from the sound in John, laid there, by them, but brought back, the music and the facts, for further beginnings, somewhere in our mind. So it is mise en scene , like French dramatists say, the living drama of place and person, engaged in being them, then and back to now.
“His brother LeDell asked him how he had learned to play so well in such a short time….
“He said the reason he knowed so much, said he sold himself to the Devil… I asked him how?”
* * *
“You have your guitar & be playing a piece, sitting there by yourself. You have to go by yourself & be sitting there
playing a piece. A big black man will walk up there & take your guitar, & he’ll tune it….”
The book is a marvel, in that it is not only poem, but research, bibliography, discography, history, of the most copious yet careful and earnest kind. Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Robert Lockwood, Booker White, Jimmy Rogers, Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Sunnyland Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton and many peeps you don’t even know, all be in here. Where to find their music. What their lives were like. And what is, after all, the Blues, when it move inside you forever.
This is a rare and very flne book. An incredible work of passion, perception and song. John Sinclair, has been on the circuit more than a minute, and he has created a great many things, powerful incisive poetry and stinging analysis as well, but this book is something, entirely, else, and for this, even if he were not a long time roadie & comrade of mine, he should be celebrated with the respect one reserves for the wise and the courageously sensitive.
John Sinclair – Mohawk. The full length documentary….. John Sinclair, the renegade poet, scholar and cultural revolutionary releases his new album on 24th March 2014 on Iron Man Records. John, has been described as an Archetype of the 1960’s art, music and literary synthesis, and who today, is still kicking with both feet on his trajectory for cultural transformation. His new record features ten tracks from his book of verse: always know: a book of monk. Twenty poems planted firmly in a single-shot session, and carefully trimmed down to ten exhibits for this album. Beatnik poems, great odes and personal reflections of the Be-Bop jazz persuasion, all flowering together. First conceived of in Detroit City, spring 1982, and developed throughout the 1980s with streaks of fresh edits leading right up to the session itself, John navigates some of these texts for the first time in over twenty years, free-styling his energized sincerity and attention to every word, transforming the text on the page into his unique unmistakable spoken word. The music was written and arranged by Steve Fly who mirrored John’s poems in the music by initially combing the tempo of the original songs recorded by John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker and Thelonious Monk.
Steve The Fly is a native of Stourbridge UK, now an Amsterdam resident who plays drums, spins vinyl, writes novels and literary and cultural commentary. He also maintains a flock of websites and works in various other art forms without visible restraint. His other music projects have included New Flesh, Garaj Mahal, and now full time with John Sinclair. These songs are further utilized by John’s poetic method so that each title and the rhythm of his poetry can piggy-back upon the same song title, and rhythm, of an original composition set in history, for extra rooting. Steve put down drums, turntables, cello-bass, flute, and glockenspiel, shooting to play around the vocal lead lines and diverse expressions from John. “to take the hair off the sides of the head & leave just a strip along the top, scalping pretense for the baldness of statement building a new music on the bones of the old” — John Sinclair from the title track “Mohawk”
The album was recorded diligently by Tim Egmond at Ei Studios, Amsterdam and passed along to Simon Reeves at Framework Studios, Birmingham for mastering. Tim Egmond is a music producer, engineer and studio whizz, based in Amsterdam, who has worked with scores of international and locally based artists on a wide variety of projects. Simon Reeves has completed many projects for Iron Man Records already and he has been described as one of Birmingham’s finest independent studio engineers who has worked with bands from Napalm Death to Police Bastard, and a host of other brutal metal and punk bands.
(Detroit)—Poet/author/bandleader John Sinclair will release a plethora of new literary and recording projects with a variety of publishers and record outlets in 2020.
First to appear will be a 2nd edition of Sinclair’s ground-breaking blues poetry book Fattening Frogs For Snakes: Delta Sound Suite, initially published by Dennis Formento at the Surregional Press in New Orleans in 2002. The new edition will be published by Horner Books in Flint, Michigan. FFFS will be followed by a 2nd printing of the U.S. edition of It’s All Good: A JohnSinclair Reader by Horner Books in Flint, accompanied by the first U.S.Hardbound Edition of It’s All Good, also from Horner Books. Both FFFS and It’s All Good sold out their first editions.
FFFS will also be honored in the fall with the release of a 4-LP box set of the poet’s recording of the four sections of the text with ensembles from New Orleans, Detroit and Mississippi, accompanied in the box set by the new printing of the book of FatteningFrogs For Snakes: Delta Sound Suite. This major project has been undertaken by Jett Plastic Recordings of Detroit. https://www.jettplasticrecordings.com/
Cary Loren at BookBeat in Oak Park is completing his reissue series of Sinclair’s four publications by the Detroit Artists Workshop Press in 1965-67 with the release of a facsimile edition of FIRE MUSIC: a record, Sinclair’s second book of poetry originally issued in 1966. https://www.thebookbeat.com/
Sinclair’s long-awaited jazz work in verse dedicated to the music and life of pianist Thelonious monk, always know: a book of monk, volumes 1 & 2 will be issued in 2020 by the Trembling Pillow Press of New Orleans), who have earlier published his collection Song of Praise: Homage to John Coltrane. “I’m hoping the publication of the first half of this work, started in 1982, will inspire me to go ahead and compose the rest of the poems for volumes 3 & 4,” Sinclair chuckled. https://www.tremblingpillowpress.com/
RJ Spangler & the Planet D Nonet will issue a double LP recording of the Nonet with John Sinclair reciting verses from always know: a book of monk with music comprising entirely of Monk compositions performed by the nine-piece orchestra led by RJ Spangler & James O’Donnell. http://rjspangler.com/
A new Spanish-language edition of john Sinclair’s collection called Sun Ra Interviews & Essays, originally published by Headpress in the United Kingdom, will be published next year by Hojas de hierba Editorial.
Finally, Horner Press in Flint has just agreed to publish Sinclair’s new book of poetry titled Blow Baby Blow‑Uncollected Poems 1964-2020, which will be accompanied by a double-album digital download of poems from the book set to music and recorded with a variety of musical artists and ensembles, drawn from several of Sinclair’s more than 30 albums in release.
These products are released under the auspices of the John Sinclair Foundation, with representation by Ben Horner of Horner Books in Flint. Please contact Ben for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
always know: a book of monk, volumes 1 & 2 (Trembling Pillow Press, New Orleans)
POET: THE LIFE & POETRY OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN
ROOTS & BRANCHES 19
David Henderson, KPFA-FM, Berkeley CA, 1991 
Poet and biographer David Henderson pays serious homage to the great Bob Kaufman, pioneering beat and surrealist poet from New Orleans, in
Bob Kaufman—POET: The Life & Poetry of an African American Man. Kaufman is remembered and explicated by friends and fellow poets including Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Ted Joans, Bob’s brother George, his widow Eileen, and many others, with their testimony set against music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver and recitations of Kaufman’s poems by Roscoe Lee Browne, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Tony Seymour, and Bob Kaufman himself. Part Two looks into Bob Kaufman’s residency in New York City and return to San Francisco, his years of silence following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and his tortured final period.
Cast: David Henderson, writer & producer; hosted by Ed Markman; narrated by Al Young; family & friends George Kaufman, Eileen Kaufman, Raymond Foye, Jerry Kamstra, photographer Jerry Stoll, and Simon Alexander; scholars Nathaniel Mackie, Charles Nyland, and Maria Damon; fellow poets Allen Ginsberg, Ted Joans, Amiri Baraka abd Lawrence Ferlinghetti; recitations from Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness by Bob Kaufman, Roscoe Lee Browne, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Tony Seymour, Suzanne Cockrel; recorded music by Charlie Parker and Horace Silver.
A JOINT PRODUCTION
Written & produced by David Henderson
Post-production, editing & annotation by John Sinclair