Monthly Archives: June 2009

Green Days in Iran

GreenRevolution

Just as orange became the color of revolution in the Ukraine during their “Orange Revolution” of 2004-2005, the color of green has become the predominant color of protest in Iran over the last few weeks. I’m not saying that Green Day had anything to do with this to promote their new tour… but… well… it’s just a coincidence, yes?

Five days ago, the Iranian people went to their voting booths in order to elect a new president. The battle for the presidency came down to two government-approved candidates, Ahmed Ahmendinijad (or as a friend calls him, Ahemenogenocide) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi Khameneh.

The vote seems to have been declared very quickly for Ahmadinejad and the next thing you know… all hell breaks loose. Five days later, there’s millions of people in the street claiming that they were robbed of their votes. The situation was somewhat similar to the United States election of 2000, but with one major difference: the great majority of the Iranian people seem to have taken to the streets in protest and we just let Bush become president. As a result of the flawed election and counting of the ballots, the ruling Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei is having a hell of a time putting the genie back into the bottle and serious trouble is on the way for the country.

I’d like to clear up a major misconception that Americans have about Iran: they kicked our ass in 1979, and we sorta deserved it. In 1953, the United States, along with the British, overthrew their prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, in order to take back Iran’s nationalized oil industry. In the process, we returned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power. The Shah’s rule was horrible and payback is a bitch. The Iranian Revolution occurred in 1979, and I remember clear as day watching the events unfold on my teevee as 52 American hostages were held in Iran for 444 days. Since I was raised in a Christian apocalyptic househould, I thought the end was neigh.

The apocalypse didn’t happen but something in Iran has changed since the Iranian Revolution brought forth an Islamic Republic with a pretense of democracy. The population has become younger and particularly in the urban areas, majorly hip. I used to know an Iranian guy back in the 80s. He had sea-green eyes and he was, as one may put it, hot. Today’s Iranian youth are highly educated, some are well-traveled, are very much connected with the world of the Internet and are pretty much demanding not necessarily an end to the Islamic Republic, but an end to living in an autocratic society. They want their freedom, whatever that means to one who lives under a government ruled by any religion.

Since I’m a member of the Idiot Club over at greenday.com (yes, I know I’m obsessed, leave me the hell alone), a poster seemingly from Iran started a thread about what was happening in his or her country. Unfortunately the thread didn’t go very far, but one poster in general made me shiver. They wrote that they didn’t care what happened in Iran as long as Islamic extremists didn’t come over here and kill people. Mind you, Idiot Club fan club members are from all over the world and that opinion was clearly in the minority (though of course, as the song goes, they might be happy being in that Minority). I couldn’t help but comment, however. What happens in Iran affects what happens to us here, I wrote. This person probably had something happen to friends or family that caused her or him to think this way. Obviously they didn’t know that Iran and Iraq went to war with each for years or that Osama bin laden hates Shia Muslims, the majority of which are Iranians. Or maybe she/he was just a person who only knew what they knew from their small, isolated communities and never dared to look at or learn about the dynamics that actually make up the world, the cause and effect of it all. No good deed goes unpunished and not everything is as it seems.

Whether Mousavi (a reformist candidate with a deep and nasty history in the actual events of the Iranian Revolution) had become or still will become the Iranian president somehow, doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship between the United States and Iran would get any better, but it certainly could not have gotten any worse than it already is. Or at least, I would hope it wouldn’t have gotten worse.

When describing “21st Century Breakdown,” Green Day usually says that it’s a (paraphrasing) “collection of pictures of things that happen in the world and America with a seeming new crisis everyday.” The onslaught of everyday living can be overwhelming, that’s for sure. I really hope, however, I never get to the point where I don’t care what happens to someone else, as long as I’m left alone. The planet really is too small for that crap. I may not be able to do much and I may not know everything or even anything, but this I know: Iranian men are beautiful and Persian culture is about 500 times longer than ours. I also know that what happens in Iran doesn’t stay in Iran. What happens in Iran affects us all.

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The Church of Lushotology

Foxboro Hot Tubs performing on teevee for the first time. Last Call with Carson Daly, June 13, 2009.

There’s this band called the Foxboro Hot Tubs that everyone keeps claiming is really the band known as Green Day. FBHT formed in late 2007, and have had one tour of small town venues in 2008. They finally had their big break this past week when Carson Daly had them on his Last Call show, as you can see in the wild Youtube video posted above. See the Pabst (labels covered with blue tape) flying! See lead singer the Rev. Strychnine Twitch fling himself forcibly into the audience spreading his legs and love to all! Can you dig it?

While many claim that they are GD, I only know them as the Foxboro Hot Tubs. They have a blazing retro 60s groove sound with an over-drived touch of something call, “Lushotology.” It seems that they are proud members of this Church of Lushotology, which is better, I guess, than Scientology. As far as I can tell, it’s the Rat Pack meets the Monkees, though the Monkees never sang about hookers or booze. Unless of course, you count Head, but Head is a cult classic we will not demean.

According to the Urban Dictionary, here’s the story of Lushotology:

Fake religion made up by the band “The Network” (who are actually the three members Green Day in disguise and two other people). It’s a joke, part of the elaborate creation of The Network. Basically followers believe intoxication is great. Here’s some of the fake history:

Controversial church established in 1981 by romance novel writer Hal Don Burre. He got the inspiration one day when he went to a bar, couldn’t decide what to order, had the bartender pour all of the liquor into one glass, inventing the “Long Island Ice Tea.” He then went into a drug induced coma, envisioned the church, and wrote a book called Intoxication is Intoxicating. It became the new religion’s bible.
Tré: Dude, I’m in Lushotology
Mike: What the hell is that, man?
Tre: Uhhh…it’s a great religion. We get drunk all the time

If you go to the Network’s website and click, “Church” you’ll find more about this strange cult of drink. This is where I found the prime directive of the church: “The Lushotologist creed is to free the people of any guilt of having fun.”

Ah… now that may be a religion I could get into.

I don’t know much about the Network. I hear they are very electronic, but I left electronic music when Soft Cell, Kraftwerk and New Order left the planet.

This rumor about both the Network and the Foxboro Hot Tubs being Green Day… sheesh. Everyone wants to be Green Day these days! Although I am sure that the members of Green Day are holy worshipers at the shrine of Lushotology.

Drink up, all you Alligators!


Back in the Day

Green Day on the Cover

Green Day on the Cover

This 1997 cover of Britain’s punk rock magazine Big Cheese cracks me the hell up. Shitty, snarky white punk boys with funny-assed faces completely on the edge of mayhem. If I had met these guys on the street back in the day, I would have crossed it. Scary looking dudes, if you ask me.

I didn’t pay much attention to the band back then. And I’ll tell you why:

Graduate School.

I went to graduate school from 1991-1992 and then again between 1996-1998. Prior to 1991 I had left New York to go back home to Detroit and between graduate school stints, I moved to Philadelphia before ending up back in NYC for a second torturous round of  grad school hell. If any of you have never been to graduate school, let me tell you, it sucks the living life out of you. I was broke and thinking about other things besides music or Green Day. I do remember watching them on MTV  in their 1994 Jaded in Chicago tour stop, though, and being completely blown away. Who the hell were these crazy motherfuckers?

And then… life as I knew it became a music-less proposition as school and work converged into one tired girl by 1995. Sure, I listened to the radio here and there, but I hate radio, particularly New York radio and I tend not to listen to it… and thus I get my music few and far-between.

Please, don’t cry for me, as I know you’re not. It’s my own damn fault that I probably bought less than 20 albums between the years of 1994 and 2004, the year that I finally came up for air from life in general. Yes, I had heard GD songs in-between and I knew who they were and I always thought that they were great, but I was more into Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my 80′s die-hard leftovers of the Talking Heads, the Police, U2 and some others when I had the time to listen. I also tried to keep on top of my former life in an acting ‘career.’ I had studied Experimental Theater at NYU in the 1980s and I wrote and performed several one-woman shows and curated a program of storytelling called Oral Text. I was a busy girl, so sue me.

One other vital fact: I am not a punk, but I tend to have a punk attitude, whatever that means. If it means hating overbearing authority, despising organized religion for the most part, liking loud music (I tend to gravitate to music with a heavy beat) and trying to do things on one’s own terms, then in some sense I have a punk sensibility without being one. If it counts, I’ve seen Gwar live twice and the Butthole Surfers once… does that help?

By 2001, I was a bit more settled in life, though not by much. (I am always living on the edge in some ways which really has got to stop.) I had a strange job as a researcher on the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and I traveled to Amsterdam, city of my dreams, in June 2000 and August 2001 and things were beginning to mellow out a bit.  Then came the Bush II Horror Show Part One followed by 9/11… well, let’s not even talk about 9/11.  I was angry and frustrated and felt as if I were ruled by a bunch of bumbling idiots, because, you know, in reality, I was ruled by a bunch of bumbling idiots from 2000-2008. Fear was everywhere, nervousness was in the air, and xenophobia was the impending meme. What a nasty, nasty time it was.

In order to alleviate a sense of helplessness that would turn into self-mutilation if I didn’t stop banging my head against the wall, I joined the satirical political group “Billionaires For Bush” to find some political relief, laughter, and outlet… and then… Green Day’s American Idiot album came out. After four years of living in an American society were dissent was publicly ridiculed and mocked, Green Day came out and said it loud and raucously: I will not be an American idiot. While we did turn out to be idiots anyway by voting Bush back into office… well, that’s a different story.

American Idiot dragged me through the years of 2005-2008, gave me some hope and helped me to focus my unending longing for a smarter, live-free-or-die and greater country than the one I was handed. I will always be grateful to Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt for the support that they gave me and millions of others (American or not) during these years as well as during their long and wacky career. They are always quick to laugh, have one of the greatest live shows ever invented, and well, they seem like fun people to hang out with as long as no one is crapping on anything.

Yay.

They have come out with a new album, 21st Century Breakdown, and I love it. It’s not the best of their records and its got its ups and downs, sounding more like the sequel of American Idiot than a standalone album. It’s not my favorite Green Day album, but really, after American Idiot, where could they go? AI was perfection and it would have been hard for anyone to top it. It took a good five listens to really fall deep, but it’s been in heavy rotation on my iPhone along with my other Green Day albums since it came out on May 15. I have also been to my first Green Day concert, at Good Morning America, of all places and no less! My goodness, I’m a geek.

That’s my backstory. I will add that I’m originally from Detroit, am adopted, racially mixed black and white, grew up in my father’s bar and my mother’s hardcore Pentecostal religion. I studied theater and I am now an archivist at an undisclosed location. I’m sane, but not by much.

I’m actually just a basket case.

Big Cheese Magazine picture found courtesy of the Idiot Club.


The First Time

TheFirstTime

May 15, 2009*

*not endorsed by either Apple, AT&T or Green Day. It’s just my iPhone.


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