Monday, November 29, 2010



If you heard The Ashes over at you can now buy The Ashes record Photoplay Music anywhere online that sells MP3's and for info on other Mint 400 Records releases you can check out

Check out New Fairmont reviews at: and at

Also thanks so much to all the amazing bands that made our 11/27 showcase at Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ so great... We'll keep you updated.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Fairmont Releases New Album, 'Destruction Creation' on November 2.

After successfully breaking into the CMJ top 200 with last year's Meadow at Dusk LP, Fairmont quickly returned to the studio this past September to follow with their sixth full-length record, DESTRUCTION CREATION which releases this November 2.

Destruction Creation Released Nov. 2

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 30, 2010 – After successfully breaking into the CMJ top 200 with last year's Meadow at Dusk LP, Fairmont quickly returned to the studio this past September to follow with their sixth full-length record, DESTRUCTION CREATION which releases this November 2. While the quartet will obviously look to repeat and build on the success of their last record, they certainly did not repeat their usual methods in the studio during the making of the new record. Instead, the band decided to take a completely new approach during the process of making of Destruction Creation, recording the album in just 70 hours over the course of six days.

In a recent interview, front man Neil Sabatino summed up the DIY spirit of his band’s recording experience for Destruction Creation:

“We did it in a small cabin in Lynn, Pennsylvania, with no phone, no internet and no TV. The water smelled like sulfur, so we only showered once or twice because it made us smell worse. It was quite an experience.”

Of course the album's tracks were eventually brought in from the wilderness and placed in the hands of trusted professionals; engineered partially by Ryan Sellick from defunct Northshore Studio (Gaslight Anthem and Armor for Sleep), and mixed by Bryan Russell (Fairmont’s past two releases).

With the band’s lineup from their previous album still intact, Destruction Creation also carries on the existential themes of past album titles like Hell is Other People and Transcendence. The tracks contain:

1. Oh Your Bitter Heart
2. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
3. In This House
4. You Haunt Me
5. Liars
6. Oceans
7. You Think It's All About You
8. Lucky Boy, Lucky Girl
9. Friends Like You
10. As The Sun Sets On Lonely Hills

The month of November following the release of Destruction Creation will be busy for Fairmont while they support the record. The end of the month will be a can’t miss Mint 400 Records showcase event at Maxwell’s on November 27th, which will also be the record release show for the new Fairmont album. Though the group’s LP is primarily set for digital release, the physical album will be available and well worth purchasing that night, featuring intricately hand sewn cover art that was crafted by Neil's wife Jamie Sabatino.

As far as other news on the band’s horizon, the group plans on contributing to a new compilation that will be out later this year through Mint 400 to benefit the Special Olympics. Be sure to look for that and be sure to listen for Fairmont later this fall all over College Radio as they partner up with their friends at Pirate Radio Promotion again this year.

Monday, October 4, 2010


"While I’m not usually a big fan of the alt country category, there are two things I do have a soft spot for – the pedal guitar and singer/songwriter Tim Williams. Both of which are featured on the debut project by him and Jacob Jones called Depression State Troopers. But don’t let the name get you down. It’s a refreshing breath of fresh air in a sea of music sameness. Lovely."

DST Review From

Nashville, TN

Another wonderful, easy to be with, hug me tight, good music release by Mint 400 Records. Nashville’s Depression State Troopers has a new album that drops on October 5th. Somewhere shortly thereafter, I see droves of groupies, radio/DJ personalities, bloggers and music fans jumping all over this and talking about them! The band is Tim Williams and Jacob Jones, equally talented, driven, to converge for this music experiment. Man, they write wonderful, touching music surely to create a frenzy as more and more people listen to them!

DST New Review from ThisIsModern.Net

Nashville singer/songwriters Tim Williams and Jacob Jones have joined forces and combined their talents to create the Depression State Troopers. The name is a colorful play on words, but the music is so much more. Despite the use of the word depression in their name, it seems as though the entire album sets out to fight the obvious and become so much more than a negatively emotional album. The music is whimsical at times and not always soft, indie, and strummy. "Take My Hair" and "Blood In My Veins" are the most familiar sounding songs, displaying the duos most accessible and singable lyrics. Some of the best songs are the short little numbers that are dispersed throughout, especially "Marie." When accomplished musicians set out to do something different, many times it just ends up being a carbon copy of their previous work. Jones and Williams have developed a whole new sound with the Depression State Troopers, and even though you hear their individual styles within, the combination of the two is so much more than you'd expect.
Posted by at 10:38 AM
Labels: cd reviews, Depression State Troopers

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Here's a quick review:

Do not know too much about this band, The Ashes. But recently, IODA (Mint 400 Records) put up three sweet tracks. Sultry, sweet, country, folk, rock favored,  genuine and simply beautiful music. The four guys that make up the band, blend it so sweetly together, using everything from trombone, slide guitar, mandolin, piano and harmonica. Get to know The Ashes and enjoy them as I much I do!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tree Leaving for Kentucky!!!

Reprinted from:

""As soon as I moved out of my parents’ house, I joined a rock band. And I started screaming. And that’s what I did until about three or four years ago.”

Tree Jackson, with short dark hair and a quick smile, is recounting her musical history on her roof at Wayne Street and Jersey Avenue in Downtown Jersey City. (“Tree” is a high school nickname that stuck to the 34-year-old; her birth certificate reads “Melissa.”) It’s a gorgeous late summer afternoon and the sun is setting, reflecting sunlight off the office buildings along both sides of the Hudson River.

Tree has lived in Jersey City for 10 years, but she’s Kentuckian by birth, which you can hear every time she talks about still guitars instead of steel. She’s going to be moving back to Lexington in just a few weeks, and is in a reminiscing mood befitting the occasion. As to the influence her home state has had on her character, and her music, she’s hesitant to draw any definitive conclusions. But since she switched her main performance genre back to country a few years ago — “though I ran from it at first, you always go back to your roots” — you don’t have to listen very hard at one of her shows to know that the country and bluegrass she’s singing is as dyed-in-the-wool as it comes.

There’s a palpable current of authenticity that runs through her music. It comes from a certain disciplined musical honesty that reflects Tree’s conviction that a song should be an actual expression of actual feelings that you’re having or have had — and if she’s performing it, she wrote it. Tree has only ever performed covers in public once, and that was when her band Any Day Parade performed as Creedence Clearwater Revival, so there was no mistaking the songs’ authorship.

“It’s very important for me to present myself and to present whatever I do as just the way it is. Maybe that’s because I’m from Kentucky,” she says. It makes sense that her biggest beef with contemporary country music isn’t the sound but that, with a few exceptions, “none of them write their own music.”

Like most musicians, Tree has been in and out of a variety of groups over the years. She originally came to the area after her Lexington band Delicious Trip Attendants, feeling the classic big-fish/small-pond effect, sat down and decided it was time to move either to L.A. or New York. Tree said, “anywhere but New York,” the drummer said, “I won’t go anywhere but New York,” and as she describes it, “as happens often in bands, the drummer won.”

She was bowled over by New York and picked a great time to come — it was October 2000, when the Mets and Yankees were battling for the World Series trophy (she loves baseball).

“It was Subway Series, and slices of pizza, all these beautiful women and dudes, and music. I was like a pig in shit,” she says. “It was everything you could dream of.”

Still, with all four bandmates splitting a two-bedroom in Hoboken and adjusting to their new surroundings, all while making a push for recognition in the much larger pond, tensions quickly rose.

“We just had a lot of friction in the house,” she says. “There’s two bedrooms, there’s four of us, the drummer who would only move here sleeping on the couch, we’re all struggling, none of us are really making other friends, so we’re really kind of in each others’ faces.”

That living arrangement lasted for a few months, and then the band broke up on the stage of CBGB after their first (and last) show there.

Tree was working as an office manager at an architecture firm in Hoboken at the time, and along with some of the architects there and a few other partners, she opened a coffee shop on Jersey Avenue. Ground occupied the storefront now home to Made with Love and was an early magnet for Jersey City’s fledgling arts scene.

“Out of the woodwork, all of these people with similar ideas and tons of optimism and … energy and passion” started coming together at the shop, Tree says. It was this same group, she thinks, that has matured and grown into the arts scene as it exists today in Jersey City.

Despite Ground’s closing, and the demolition of the arts scene’s other leading light of that era, 111 1st Street, Tree says the growth in Jersey City – measured in cultural value, not developments rising – has been profound.

“Somehow the scene still survived. And it grew, and grew, and grew. And I’ve watched it all,” she says. “To see that it’s still going on now, and … there’s more galleries, and Groove on Grove, and all the bands and all the artists and the writers. It’s pretty cool to have seen it from when I came and it was really … there was nothin’.”

Successfully sustaining music as a vocation eludes all but the luckiest performers. And while she’s been asked many times at parties what she “does,” she admits she’s never been comfortable with the question.

“What does it matter what I do? I’m here, let’s talk,” she says. “You wanna talk about baseball, music, it’s like, what does it matter what I do?”

Tree thinks the “what do you do” question is less common in Jersey City than in New York, because people in the Jersey City arts community share the understanding that others’ day jobs may (or even likely) have no bearing at all on their passion.

“I am not a dog walker,” as she puts it. “I am a musician who dog-walks.”

One of Tree’s Jersey City bands, The Outside, came close to bill-paying commercial success. They got flown out to L.A., played festivals, and were well on their way when a classic dispute between the business and the art of music came up.

“I was young and cocky, and very set in my ways. In retrospect, I see that a lot of the opportunities that we had, they were contingent on compromise. And being 27, 28, and thinking you know everything, is not the best position to have,” she says, chiding herself for decisions she might make differently today. “When you stand up in a room and say you don’t hate your day job enough to change something, and you walk outside, and your three other bandmates walk out behind you, it’s hard to see at that moment that you’re probably wrong.”

The Outside had been like family, and Tree remembers her son asking her, after they broke up in 2008: “What are we going to do on holidays?”

Any Day Parade formed in 2007 and it marked Tree’s decision to return to her country roots. The band, while short-lived, was touted by many observers as one of the best in Jersey City, and they gigged relentlessly, both in town and out-of-town.

“We really tackled it pretty hard, pretty heavy for a couple of years,” she says. “And then life just kind of got in the way. I think we’re getting older, our values are kind of changing.”

The Old Glorys followed, playing what Tree calls “good, wholesome, honest songs about heartache. And drinkin’. And hangovers. And doin’ wrong and being done wrong and all that stuff.” The sound is rich, with trombone, fiddle, guitars, bass, banjo, and even some harmonica cropping up. And the songs fit Tree’s bill exactly: a plea for a lover to return, an ode to the bittersweet understanding that age brings, yearning for the heavenly reward without all that hard work here on Earth.

Although Tree is quick to downplay her upcoming move back to Kentucky (“I’m just … changing ZIP codes, I guess”), it’s clear the decision wasn’t an easy one to make.

“Jersey City’s kind of a neighborhood. It’s almost become a family to me,” she says, before later offering these simple last words on her adopted home: “I’m gonna miss Jersey City. A lot. That’s it.”

The Old Glorys will remain “full steam ahead” when Tree leaves town, and she’ll be back to lead them on November 27 at Maxwell’s in Hoboken to promote the release of their album. Catch their last local show until the November date this Saturday, September 25 at 4:30 pm, at the Hamilton Park BBQ Festival."

Depression State Troopers Interview

Mint 400 Records Interviews Tim Williams and Jacob Jones of Depression State Troopers.

With their new full-length album The Reason for The Fall set to release this October 5th, Mint 400 got to talk to Tim Williams and Jacob Jones of Depression State Troopers about the group and its endeavors along with the anticipated record.

Sep 21, 2010 – With their new full-length album The Reason for The Fall set to release this October 5th, Mint 400 got to talk to Tim Williams and Jacob Jones of Depression State Troopers about the group and its endeavors along with the anticipated record.

Mint 400: To start off, what genre of music would you consider your work to be? Who/what are your major influences?

Tim Williams: Indie-Country. I'm really drawn to anything that is heartfelt and honest -
something you actually believe when it hits your ears.

Jacob Jones: There is something country about the record for sure, but I think it is a
simple, honest record about what was going on in our lives at the time, and the sounds
came easily after the basic tracks were written.

Mint 400: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

TW: Jacob and I have known each other for about 3 years. We met through a mutual
friend who I lived with in Nashville.
JJ: This is true. Even though we both lived in NYC at the same time before that and
never met.

Mint 400: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

TW: I had had the name Depression State Troopers in mind for a year or so before
anything was recorded. Jacob is one of the hardest working songwriters in the game
and he was the obvious choice to complete this outfit.
JJ: Tim told me the concept and the name, and was like "I love that name!" So, we
started emailing songs back and forth and the next thing you know, we had our record.

Mint 400: Where have you both performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? And do you guys have any upcoming shows?

TW: Both Jacob and I have toured extensively throughout the US and I even a bit in
the UK. World Cafe Live in Philadelphia is one of the nicest venues I have played. I
would also put The Foundation Room at The House Of Blues in LA and The Eastbourne
Theatre in England up there. We are in the process of setting up some Troopers shows
when Jacob and my busy schedules allow us to.
JJ: Yea, Tim and I are planning some DST shows for 2010 and 2011, but right now our
solo careers are too demanding. Union Pool in Brooklyn, The Basement in Nashville,
and Fitzgerald's in Chicago... those are my favorite places to play, great every single
time. The least favorites shall remain many and nameless.

Mint 400: Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?

TW: "Take My Hair" and "Blood In My Veins" are a couple of my favorites to play live.
No covers, no way! Jacob and I write enough on our on to fill an hour. We also write a
set list on a show by show basis.
JJ: We haven't tackled any covers yet, but I've been thinking of "Blame it on The Rain".
I haven't told Tim yet though.

Mint 400: What are the main themes or subjects for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

TW: The 3 L's: Love, Loss and Longing. I sure hope they change over time, this stuff is
depressing! (jk)
JJ: To be honest, they have already changed. This record is such a time capsule for
me, which is why I think its experience listening to it still takes me back
to the winter it was made. I think the topics should always change or else why make
another record?

Mint 400: Could you briefly describe the music-making process for the record?

TW: We did this record in a totally backwards way. We laid down all the acoustic guitars
and vocals straight to tape and then added bass, keys, and lastly drums to fill them out.
I think this is the reason the record is so loose and comforting.
JJ: Yea, at first, we didn't foresee even using drums or bass.... but that quickly changed
in the 3 days we made the record. We went in a Monday and by Wednesday night, we
had tracked everything.

Mint 400: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

TW: For me, I think I realized how nice simple chords sounded and how much fun
playing music with a band can be.
JJ: Haha, mine has gone almost the opposite, I started with a rather large revolving
door band of cast members, but now I mostly tour solo or as duo. I try to keep it as
simple as possible.

Mint 400: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

TW: Distance. Jacob lives in Nashville and I live in Los Angeles so it's not the easiest
thing in the world to play a show or rehearse.
JJ: agreed.

Mint 400: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

TW: I would say do something that you will love in 5 years time. Trying to sound like
another band or keep up trends won't get you very far.
JJ: Don't do it, go to a trade school...maybe become a carpenter. I need some things

Mint 400: Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?

TW: My girlfriend Sabrina and the city of Nashville. Both of whom took me places far
above and beyond I ever thought I'd reach.
JJ: There are so many, Andrija Tokic (the producer) was great to work with, he made
the record shape up sonically just as much as we did. My girlfriend Molly McClary also
sang back up on "I Love You Like The Night Loves The Moon" and is always a good
source of support, when I'm not sleeping on the couch.

Mint 400: Any last words?

TW: Pick up a copy of our record and listen to it from start to finish. You will thank us.
JJ: pick up 2 copies.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"With Mint 400 Records extra busy this fall with a number of exciting upcoming releases due out in the coming weeks, one of the the most immediate to note on the label's horizon is the latest album from The Ashes due out this October 5th, 2010. The trio's 16 song release, Photoplay Music, is a unique blend of old folk, southern blues/country and 60's pop; creating an album that is instrumentally vast and heartfelt with an occasional psychedelic-pop tinge (songs as "Many Years Ago" and "So Gently"). Swirling about the album's minimalistic singer/songwriter core is an abounding variety of instrumentation ranging from tuba, clarinet, trombone and piano which accompany the acoustic strings and syrupy southern sounds of slide guitar and fiddle.

Founding member and main songwriter, Shane Vidaurri recently plainly spoke of the band members' diverse instrumental proficiency while describing the band's freewheeling writing attitude for the record: "we just started playing all kinds of things and no one was really "the guitarist" or "the bassist" anymore...pretty much, if you think of the part, you get to play that part on the record". As a result, Photoplay Music, reveals a sneaky amount of layers and conveys a whimsical nature from time to time (in tracks like "More to Lose" and "Photoplay Music"), though the album normally maintains a strikingly intimate and tastefully understated tone ("Wash Us Away" and "Philidelphia Blues"), lead and reinforced by Shane Vidaurri's warm, temperate vocals. The end product from The Ashes in Photoplay Music is a Lo-Fi folky pop gem of a record that should entertain well after it's fall release."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Ashes

So October 5th 2010 is coming and that means The Ashes new album Photoplay Music will be available from Mint 400 Records, enjoy their first music video from the album right here:

Thursday, September 2, 2010



Just last year, early October, Any Day Parade played a sizzling set at the 4th Street Art Festival. So, I was sad to hear they broke up. The main songwriter and bandleader, Tree (who also goes by the name of M. Jackson and Melissa Jackson, but since I haven’t seen the actual birth certificate I’ll continue to refer to her as Tree) had formed a new Band, The Old Glorys sometime in the Spring. The couple of gigs around town that I had heard about I was unable to make until Groove on Grove, which was one of the last of these outdoor concerts of the season.

This acoustic sextet is steeped in Americana, heavy on the Appalachia. The band features fiddler, stand up bass, banjo, mandolin and a guitar player who also taps a pedal with his foot to hit a bass drum and/or cymbal for added effect. Tree of course also plays guitar. They were an impressive crew, and for the most part were able to be both authentic and original, not an easy task. I really didn’t know what to expect and was greatly impressed. Their myspace page only has three songs to stream, all of them played here, but the recorded versions feature a spare arrangements, live, with the full band, the songs had a rich texture. The fiddle player seemed to be having a great night.

Although many of Tree’s beloved ADP ditties would have benefited from these new arrangements, she only played new material, opening up with a poignant new song, Back to Me, which seems to be about missing a lover, and how the longer you’re away or neglect the relation adds more bitter than sweet to the reunion. A slow song, the mix of mandolin, fiddle and banjo highlighted the high lonesome aspect of this mournful song, creating much more of a lament than their myspace arrangement.

For much of the set, which was short, about 30 minutes, after the opener, Tree let the boys play their own songs. The band is new, still a little rough on the edges, and a couple of the other band member's songs bordered on Americana kitsch ,which I think was unintentional. It’s fragile task, attempting a mountain sound but avoiding the clichés, and for the most part, they were successful. Keep in mind, the band is new, the musicians though skilled are young and it’s Groove on Grove. The clamor of the cars, rucks and buses is relentless, a river of indifferent pedestrians constantly flows past the performers. In fact, something happened to the stage and they were playing at audience level, standing on an Astroturf mat. Any criticism based solely on this gig would be unfair. It is also worth noting, usually the Groove on Grove crowds are small, and half of them can’t shut up long enough to give the usually talented musicians a listen. This night—a late summer evening, dark at 8:00 PM, which was when they started, Autumn apparent, lingering just around the corner—the crowd was quiet, intrigued and attentive. I’ve been to just about every one of these shows, this is not common audience behavior whatsoever.

The band put me in mind of the acoustic roots music of the recent Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women, and the sound track of Winter Bone. Mid-set, the fiddler and mandolin player, who are brothers switched to tuba and trombone, respectively, and played a few new Orleans jazz-inflected Medicince Show numbers, which reminded me of Springteen’s Seeger Sessions band, which combined the folkie strings with a horn section. In the right hands, it works and this jaunty interlude worked. Whenever a tuba and a banjo jam, you are going to have some fun.

The set also featured a scorching number by the guitar player For My Love, which is called a Demo on their myspace, and is really just a barebones. More in the ballad mode, the full band version knocked it out to the park, adding a herky jerkey/stop & start rythmn similar to a Ralph Stanley bluegrass song.

Tree followed with With Time, an incredible song that delves into an honesty and spirituality that showcases not just her talent but how far that talent has been nurtured in the past few months. The song seems a sequel to her earlier song, I’ve Had Time, which is about regret of some past deeds and learning from mistake. With Time has the narrator counting her blessings, noting that even though there is some salt and pepper in my hair, then gives an almost Withmanesque list of things worthwhile in this world, like Guitar Strings when they’re new, Boots when they’re worn; but the most worthwhile is: “there’s no laughter like my son’s.” When she gets to this line, you want to laugh and cry. It’s so sincere and joyful. The song concludes with a Thank You Lord for life, a well earned spiritual conclusion. It’s a masterpiece, comparative to Emmylou Harris (Tree’s voice (and sensibility) resembles Emmylou’s); it would not have been out of place on Red Dirt Girl (perhaps the greatest Country album of the 90s).

A side note, Tree has an awe-inspiring voice. This gal can sing, and it’s not just her range, but how she goes from a brassy holler to sweet and high. I love to hear her voice move. It was a little hoarse around the edges at the Groove gig, but if you go to the myspace page and stream the With Time, notice the ending, when she gets to the Thank You Lord line, she does a vocal gymnastic that is remarkable, it is high caliber singing.

Driving You, an up-tempo, bluegrass inflected number ended the set, showing off the musical chops of the sextet. I felt I was on the front porch of say, the home of Ricky Skaggs after a barbecue with Kentucky Thunder. It was racous and rowsing. Everyone applauded, the band started to leave the mat, the applause continued. The Groove MC encouraged more clapping, Tree relents, straps her guitar back on, and says, this is a cover. Hootenanny time and they go into a foot stomping real folkie song which I think was a Carter Family number but I forget the name but in the middle the band segues into the Carter Classic, You Are My Sunshine. Bring on the New Folk Movement NOW! I've been waiting too long!

Look, either the music industry has really collapsed or there is no justice in this world because this Woman should be signed by a real music label and her songs released to an audience beyond the bars of Jersey City and Brooklyn. Unfortunately, both things are likely true. She is the real deal, singer, songwriter, musician. Her talent and art are truly trascendent.

I love this old acoustic country music (I am a Roy Acuff devotee) style. Old Glorys (why not Glories?) seems to be an interesting double entendre. Obviously the name of the American Flag, it also seems to indicate traditional philosophies, a glory that is tried and true. She and her new band have an understanding and respect for this music, as well as, more importantly, a deep feeling for it. Authentic and original, it’s hard to pull off with any kind of credibility, but when it is pulled off, why come to think of, it’s a kind of timeless glory, isn’t it?

Tree promised an Old Glorys CD in November. They did hand out stickers, their emblem is an American Beauty rose. Make of this what you will.

I didn’t pay attention when the names of the band members were announced. I apologize. Here’s the band from the myspace page:Nick Fierro, Dave Vondollen, Shane V., Thomas Hanslowe, Alec Hanslowe, M. Jackson

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hey, Actual Mint 400 Records NEWS!

Lots of exciting stuff coming up this fall from Mint 400 Records. The reason there have been lots of long delays in news is we have all been hard at work preparing new fall releases to share with you. Some new stuff we will be presenting is:

FAIRMONT: Destruction Creation
The 6th official full length from Fairmont continues down the path set forth on The Meadow at Dusk EP. Sweet harmonies shared between Neil Sabatino and Sam Carradori along with lush guitars, pianets and synths, and of course glockenspiel. This record is a summary of everything Fairmont is about from poppy indie rock to scathing punky garage rock to subtle ballads. This is 10 songs that will make you a fan of Fairmont if you weren't one already.

Mint 400 is ecstatic to be releasing this EP. As a long time Tim Williams fan this EP continues to the same great songwriting that Tim has exhibited on stellar albums like 2009's Careful Love. Recorded in Nashville, TN, Tim and long time friend Jacob Jones have crafted 11 tracks recorded in just 3 days to a beautiful MCI JH24 2" 24-Track tape machine. Look for this release to be available in October 2010.

Somewhat of supergroup composed of the former vocalist/guitarist and bango player of Mint 400 Records band Any Day Parade and the newly signed Shane and The Ashes. This group is comprised of acoustic guitars, piano, violin, upright bass, tuba, trombone, drums, bango and harmonicas plus a choir lead by the beautiful female voice of Tree (former Any Day Parader) and complimented by the heartfelt genuine voice of Shane of Shane and The Ashes. This group is sure to make you wonder how are these folks from New Jersey when they play country music like they grew up in Nashville.

THE ASHES: Photoplay Music
Shane and The Ashes while being a major part of The Old Glory's have an amazing more subtle project going which has cultivated in this amazing 16 song album. Acoustic bluesy country-esque folk songs peppered with instruments like harmonicas and trombone makes this album texturally very full yet intimate. The soft almost meek yet warm vocals compliment the music so well that it becomes almost another instrument gliding perfectly with the acoustic guitar. This is an exciting counterpart to The Old Glory's upcoming album.

Formed as a merger between Teeter Sperber formerly of The Ladybirds and Ley Royal Scam and Neil Sabatino of Fairmont. These two have worked together on many of their respective groups albums and they thought it was finally time to collaborate and come up with something totally new. A mix of electro punk and sugary sweet lofi pop M&A's EP will see the light of day this fall.

JESSE IAN DUNN: Jukebox Romance
With the release of last winters The Very Best Of Jesse Ian Dunn, 2010 has a brand new Jesse Dunn sporting a full band and transitioning from quiet finger picked songs to more jangly bluesy rock. Expect this release to solidify Jess Dunn as a very important player in the New Jersey indie rock scene.

From Kevin Metz, former band leader of Housebroken and former guitar/vocals of Fairmont is showing his maturity with a brand new EP that he has slaved over for the past year. Reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne this EP has lots of great guests helping out Kevin in creating his vision. This 3 song EP will be out in the fall and is sure to make your inner teenager smile.

This is just some of the exciting new things coming out on Mint 400 Records this fall. Please visit us at or at for links where you can buy these new releases.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This scares me.... a lot.

I think these are part kids show, part cooking show and part LSD trip.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kubrick & Clockwork

Recently I re-read A Clockwork Orange and checked out the movie again and was slightly disappointed in some of Kubrick's choices but this interview helped clear up where the late director was coming from:

Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange

An interview with Michel Ciment

Michel Ciment: Since so many different interpretations have been offered about A Clockwork Orange, how do you see your own film?

Stanley Kubrick: The central idea of the film has to do with the question of free-will. Do we lose our humanity if we are deprived of the choice between good and evil? Do we become, as the title suggests, A Clockwork Orange? Recent experiments in conditioning and mind control on volunteer prisoners in America have taken this question out of the realm of science-fiction. At the same time, I think the dramatic impact of the film has principally to do with the extraordinary character of Alex, as conceived by Anthony Burgess in his brilliant and original novel. Aaron Stern, the former head of the MPAA rating board in America, who is also a practising psychiatrist, has suggested that Alex represents the unconscious: man in his natural state. After he is given the Ludovico 'cure' he has been 'civilized', and the sickness that follows may be viewed as the neurosis imposed by society.

The chaplain is a central character in the film?

Although he is partially concealed behind a satirical disguise, the prison chaplain, played by Godfrey Quigley, is the moral voice of the film. He challenges the ruthless opportunism of the State in pursuing its programme to reform criminals through psychological conditioning. A very delicate balance had to be achieved in Godfrey's performance between his somewhat comical image and the important ideas he is called upon to express.

On a political level the end of the film shows an alliance between the hoodlum and the authorities.

The government eventually resorts to the employment of the cruellest and most violent members of the society to control everyone else -- not an altogether new or untried idea. In this sense, Alex's last line, 'I was cured all right,' might be seen in the same light as Dr. Strangelove's exit line, 'Mein Fuehrer, I can walk.' The final images of Alex as the spoon-fed child of a corrupt, totalitarian society, and Strangelove's rebirth after his miraculous recovery from a crippling disease, seem to work well both dramatically and as expressions of an idea.

What amuses me is that many reviewers speak of this society as a communist one, whereas there is no reason to think it is.

The Minister, played by Anthony Sharp, is clearly a figure of the Right. The writer, Patrick Magee, is a lunatic of the Left. 'The common people must be led, driven, pushed!' he pants into the telephone. 'They will sell their liberty for an easier life!'

But these could be the very words of a fascist.

Yes, of course. They differ only in their dogma. Their means and ends are hardly distinguishable.

You deal with the violence in a way that appears to distance it.

If this occurs it may be because the story both in the novel and the film is told by Alex, and everything that happens is seen through his eyes. Since he has his own rather special way of seeing what he does, this may have some effect in distancing the violence. Some people have asserted that this made the violence attractive. I think this view is totally incorrect.

The cat lady was much older in the book. Why did you change her age?

She fulfills the same purpose as she did in the novel, but I think she may be a little more interesting in the film. She is younger, it is true, but she is just as unsympathetic and unwisely aggressive.

You also eliminated the murder that Alex committed in prison.

That had to do entirely with the problem of length. The film is, anyway, about two hours and seventeen minutes long, and it didn't seem to be a necessary scene.

Alex is no longer a teenager in the film.

Malcolm McDowell's age is not that easy to judge in the film, and he was, without the slightest doubt, the best actor for the part. It might have been nicer if Malcolm had been seventeen, but another seventeen-year-old actor without Malcolm's extra- ordinary talent would not have been better.

Somehow the prison is the most acceptable place in the whole movie. And the warder, who is a typical British figure, is more appealing than a lot of other characters.

The prison warder, played by the late Michael Bates, is an obsolete servant of the new order. He copes very poorly with the problems around him, understanding neither the criminals nor the reformers. For all his shouting and bullying, though, he is less of a villain than his trendier and more sophisticated masters.

In your films the State is worse than the criminals but the scientists are worse than the State.

I wouldn't put it that way. Modern science seems to be very dangerous because it has given us the power to destroy ourselves before we know how to handle it. On the other hand, it is foolish to blame science for its discoveries, and in any case, we cannot control science. Who would do it, anyway? Politicians are certainly not qualified to make the necessary technical decisions. Prior to the first atomic bomb tests at Los Alamos, a small group of physicists working on the project argued against the test because they thought there was a possibility that the detonation of the bomb might cause a chain reaction which would destroy the entire planet. But the majority of the physicists disagreed with them and recommended that the test be carried out. The decision to ignore this dire warning and proceed with the test was made by political and military minds who could certainly not understand the physics involved in either side of the argument. One would have thought that if even a minority of the physicians thought the test might destroy the Earth no sane men would decide to carry it out. The fact that the Earth is still here doesn't alter the mind-boggling decision which was made at that time.

Alex has a close relationship with art (Beethoven) which the other characters do not have. The cat lady seems interested in modern art but, in fact, is indifferent. What is your own attitude towards modern art?

I think modern art's almost total pre-occupation with subjectivism has led to anarchy and sterility in the arts. The notion that reality exists only in the artist's mind, and that the thing which simpler souls had for so long believed to be reality is only an illusion, was initially an invigorating force, but it eventually led to a lot of highly original, very personal and extremely uninteresting work. In Cocteau's film Orpheé, the poet asks what he should do. 'Astonish me,' he is told. Very little of modern art does that -- certainly not in the sense that a great work of art can make you wonder how its creation was accomplished by a mere mortal. Be that as it may, films, unfortunately, don't have this problem at all. From the start, they have played it as safe as possible, and no one can blame the generally dull state of the movies on too much originality and subjectivism.

Well, don't you think that your films might be called original?

I'm talking about major innovations in form, not about quality, content, or ideas, and in this respect I think my films are still not very far from the traditional form and structure which has moved sideways since the beginning of sound.

The film makes a reference to Christ.

Alex brutally fantasizes about being a Roman guard at the Crucifixion while he feigns Bible study in the prison library. A few moments later, he tells the prison chaplain that he wants to be good. The chaplain, who is the only decent man in the story, is taken in by Alex's phoney contrition. The scene is still another example of the blackness of Alex's soul.

But why did you shoot this crucifixion scene like a bad Hollywood movie?

I thought Alex would have imagined it that way. That's why he uses the American accent we've heard so many times before in biblical movies when he shouts, 'Move on there!'

Do you think there is any relationship between this and your interpretation of antiquity in Spartacus?

None at all. In Spartacus I tried with only limited success to make the film as real as possible but I was up against a pretty dumb script which was rarely faithful to what is known about Spartacus. History tells us he twice led his victorious slave army to the northern borders of Italy, and could quite easily have gotten out of the country. But he didn't, and instead he led his army back to pillage Roman cities. What the reasons were for this would have been the most interesting question the film might have pondered. Did the intentions of the rebellion change? Did Spartacus lose control of his leaders who by now may have been more interested in the spoils of war than in freedom? In the film, Spartacus was prevented from escape by the silly contrivance of a pirate leader who reneged on a deal to take the slave army away in his ships. If I ever needed any convincing of the limits of persuasion a director can have on a film where someone else is the producer and he is merely the highest-paid member of the crew, Spartacus provided proof to last a lifetime.

You use technical devices which break the narrative fluidity, and the illusion of reality: accelerated action, slow motion, and an unusual reliance on ultra-wide angle lenses.

I tried to find something like a cinematic equivalent of Burgess's literary style, and Alex's highly subjective view of things. But the style of any film has to do more with intuition than with analysis. I think there is a great deal of oversimplified over-conceptualizing by some film-makers which is encouraged by the way inter- viewers formulate their questions, and it passes for serious and useful thought and seems to inspire confidence in every direction.

Why did you shoot the orgy in skip-frame high-speed motion?

It seemed to me a good way to satirize what had become the fairly common use of slow-motion to solemnize this sort of thing, and turn it into 'art.' The William Tell Overture also seemed a good musical joke to counter the standard Bach accompaniment.

The first three sequences are very striking, employing the same zoom pull-back shots, starting from a close-up and ending on the whole set. How do you prepare this kind of shot?

There was no special preparation. I find that, with very few exceptions, it's important to save your cinematic ideas until you have rehearsed the scene in the actual place you're going to film it. The first thing to do is to rehearse the scene until something happens that is worth putting on film -- only then should you worry about how to film it. The what must always precede the how. No matter how carefully you have pre-planned a scene, when you actually come to the time of shooting, and you have the actors on the set, having learned their lines, dressed in the right clothes, and you have the benefit of knowing what you have already got on film, there is usually some adjustment that has to be made to the scene in order to achieve the best result.

There are many sequences -- for example Alex's return to his parents' house or the prison -- in which the camera is very still and the editing reduced to a minimum.

I think there should always be a reason for making a cut. If a scene plays well in one camera set up and there is no reason to cut, then I don't cut. I try to avoid a mechanical cutting rhythm which dissipates much of the effect of editing.

You did a lot of hand-held camera work yourself, especially for the action scenes.

I like to do hand-held shooting myself. When the camera is on a dolly you can go over the action of the scene with the camera operator and show him the composition that you want at each point in the take. But you can't do this when the camera is hand-held. Sometimes there are certain effects which can only be achieved with a hand-held camera, and sometimes you hand hold it because there's no other way to move through a confined space or over obstacles.

Most of the shooting was done on location.

The entire film was shot on location with the exception of four sets which were built in a small factory which we rented for the production. Nothing was filmed in a studio. The four sets we had to build were the Korova Milk Bar, the Prison Check-in, the Writer's Bathroom, and the Entrance Hall to his house. In the latter case, we built this small set in a tent in the back garden of the house in which we filmed the interiors of the writer's house. The locations were supposed to look a bit futuristic, and we did our preliminary location search by looking through back issues of several British architectural magazines, getting our leads for most of the locations that way.

Was the idea of the Milk Bar yours?

Part of it was. I had seen an exhibition of sculpture which displayed female figures as furniture. From this came the idea for the fibreglass nude figures which were used as tables in the Milk Bar. The late John Barry, who was the film's Production Designer, designed the set. To get the poses right for the sculptress who modelled the figures, John photographed a nude model in as many positions as he could imagine would make a table. There are fewer positions than you might think.

It was with Dr. Strangelove that you really started to use music as a cultural reference. What is your attitude to film music in general?

Unless you want a pop score, I don't see any reason not to avail yourself of the great orchestral music of the past and present. This music may be used in its correct form or synthesized, as was done with the Beethoven for some scenes in A Clockwork Orange. But there doesn't seem to be much point in hiring a composer who, however good he may be, is not a Mozart or a Beethoven, when you have such a vast choice of existing orchestral music which includes contemporary and avant-garde work. Doing it this way gives you the opportunity to experiment with the music early in the editing phase, and in some instances to cut the scene to the music. This is not something you can easily do in the normal sequence of events.

Was the music chosen after the film was completed? And on which grounds?

Most of it was, but I had some of it in mind from the start. It is a bit difficult to say why you choose a piece of music. Ideas occur to you, you try them out, and at some point you decide that you're doing the right thing. It's a matter of taste, luck and imagination, as is virtually everything else connected with making a film.

Is your taste for music linked to the Viennese origins of your father?

My father was born in America, and he is a doctor living in California. His mother was Rumanian, and his father came from a place which today is in Poland. So I think my musical tastes were probably acquired, not inherited.

It would appear that you intended to make a trilogy about the future in your last three films. Have you thought about this?

There is no deliberate pattern to the stories that I have chosen to make into films. About the only factor at work each time is that I try not to repeat myself. Since you can't be systematic about finding a story to film, I read anything. In addition to books which sound interesting, I rely on luck and accident to eventually bring me together with the book. I read as unselfconsciously as I can to avoid interfering with the story's emotional impact. If the book proves to be exciting and suggests itself as a possible choice, subsequent readings are done much more carefully, usually with notes taken at the same time. Should the book finally be what I want, it is very important for me to retain, during the subsequent phases of making the film, my impressions of the first reading. After you've been working on a film, perhaps for more than a year, everything about it tends to become so familiar that you are in danger of not seeing the forest for the trees. That's why it's so important to be able to use this first impression as the criterion for making decisions about the story much later on. Whoever the director may be, and however perceptively he has filmed and edited his movie, he can never have the same experience that the audience has when it sees the film for the first time. The director's first time is the first reading of the story, and the impressions and excitement of this event have to last through to the final work on the movie. Fortunately I've never chosen a story where the excitement hasn't gone the distance. It would be a terrible thing if it didn't.

What were the various projects that you have dropped?

One was a screenplay of Stefan Zweig's story, "The Burning Secret," which Calder Willingham and I wrote in the middle fifties, for Dore Schary at MGM, after I made The Killing. The story is about a mother who goes away on vacation without her husband but accompanied by her young son. At the resort hotel where they are staying, she is seduced by an attractive gentleman she meets there. Her son discovers this but when mother and son eventually return home the boy lies at a crucial moment to prevent his father from discovering the truth. It's a good story but I don't know how good the screenplay was. A few years later, I wrote an incomplete screenplay about Mosby's Rangers, a Southern guerilla force in the American Civil War.

Around that time I also wrote a screenplay called "I Stole 16 Million Dollars," based on the autobiography of Herbert Emmerson Wilson, a famous safe-cracker. It was written for Kirk Douglas who didn't like it, and that was the end of it. I must confess I have never subsequently been interested in any of these screenplays.

There is also a novel by Arthur Schnitzler, Rhapsody: A Dream Novel, which I intend to do but on which I have not yet started to work. It's a difficult book to describe -- what good book isn't? It explores the sexual ambivalence of a happy marriage, and tries to equate the importance of sexual dreams and might-have-beens with reality. All of Schnitzler's work is psychologically brilliant, and he was greatly admired by Freud, who once wrote to him, apologizing for having always avoided a personal meeting. Making a joke (a joke?), Freud said this was because he was afraid of the popular superstition that if you meet your Doppelgänger (double) you would die.

Did you make a film for American television around 1960 about Lincoln?

It was in the early fifties, and I only worked for about a week doing some second unit shots in Kentucky for the producer, Richard de Rochemont.

Your films seem to show an attraction for Germany: the German music, the characters of Dr. Strangelove, Professor Zempf in Lolita.

I wouldn't include German music as a relevant part of that group, nor would I say that I'm attracted but, rather, that I share the fairly widespread fascination with the horror of the Nazi period. Strangelove and Zempf are just parodies of movie cliches about Nazis.

You seem to be very interested in language. Lolita and A Clockwork Orange are two films where the manipulation of words play an essential role.

Yes, of course I am. But my principal interest in A Clockwork Orange wasn't the language, however brilliant it was, but rather, the story, the characters and the ideas. Of course the language is a very important part of the novel, and it contributed a lot to the film, too. I think A Clockwork Orange is one of the very few books where a writer has played with syntax and introduced new words where it worked.

In a film, however, I think the images, the music, the editing and the emotions of the actors are the principal tools you have to work with. Language is important but I would put it after those elements. It should even be possible to do a film which isn't gimmicky without using any dialogue at all. Unfortunately, there has been very little experimentation with the form of film stories, except in avant-garde cinema where, unfortunately, there is too little technique and expertise present to show very much.

As far as I'm concerned, the most memorable scenes in the best films are those which are built predominantly of images and music.

We could find that kind of attempt in some underground American films.

Yes, of course, but as I said, they lack the technique to prove very much.

The powerful things that you remember may be the images but perhaps their strength comes from the words that precede them. Alex's first-person narration at the beginning of the film increases the power of the images.

You can't make a rule that says that words are never more useful than images. And, of course, in the scene you refer to, it would be rather difficult to do without words to express Alex's thoughts. There is an old screenplay adage that says if you have to use voice-over it means there's something wrong with the script. I'm quite certain this is not true, and when thoughts are to be conveyed, especially when they are of a nature which one would not say to another person, there is no other good alternative.

This time you wrote your script alone. How would you equate the problems of writing a screenplay to writing a novel?

Writing a screenplay is a very different thing than writing a novel or an original story. A good story is a kind of a miracle, and I think that is the way I would describe Burgess's achievement with the novel. A Clockwork Orange has a wonderful plot, strong characters and clear philosophy. When you can write a book like that, you've really done something. On the other hand, writing the screenplay of the book is much more of a logical process -- something between writing and breaking a code. It does not require the inspiration or the invention of the novelist. I'm not saying it's easy to write a good screenplay. It certainly isn't, and a lot of fine novels have been ruined in the process.

However serious your intentions may be, and however important you think are the ideas of the story, the enormous cost of a movie makes it necessary to reach the largest potential audience for that story, in order to give your backers their best chance to get their money back and hopefully make a profit. No one will disagree that a good story is an essential starting point for accomplishing this. But another thing, too, the stronger the story, the more chances you can take with everything else.

I think Dr. Strangelove is a good example of this. It was based on a very good suspense novel, Red Alert, written by Peter George, a former RAF navigator. The ideas of the story and all its suspense were still there even when it was completely changed into black comedy.

The end of A Clockwork Orange is different from the one in the Burgess book.

There are two different versions of the novel. One has an extra chapter. I had not read this version until I had virtually finished the screenplay. This extra chapter depicts the rehabilitation of Alex. But it is, as far as I am concerned, unconvincing and inconsistent with the style and intent of the book. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the publisher had somehow prevailed upon Burgess to tack on the extra chapter against his better judgment, so the book would end on a more positive note. I certainly never gave any serious consideration to using it.

In A Clockwork Orange, Alex is an evil character, as Strangelove was, but Alex somehow seems less repellent.

Alex has vitality, courage and intelligence, but you cannot fail to see that he is thoroughly evil. At the same time, there is a strange kind of psychological identification with him which gradually occurs, however much you may be repelled by his behaviour. I think this happens for a couple of reasons. First of all, Alex is always completely honest in his first-person narrative, perhaps even painfully so. Secondly, because on the unconscious level I suspect we all share certain aspects of Alex's personality.

Are you attracted by evil characters?

Of course I'm not, but they are good for stories. More people read books about the Nazis than about the UN. Newspapers headline bad news. The bad characters in a story can often be more interesting than the good ones.

How do you explain the kind of fascination that Alex exercises on the audience?

I think that it's probably because we can identify with Alex on the unconscious level. The psychiatrists tell us the unconscious has no conscience -- and perhaps in our unconscious we are all potential Alexes. It may be that only as a result of morality, the law and sometimes our own innate character that we do not become like him. Perhaps this makes some people feel uncomfortable and partly explains some of the controversy which has arisen over the film. Perhaps they are unable to accept this view of human nature. But I think you find much the same psychological phenomena at work in Shakespeare's Richard III. You should feel nothing but dislike towards Richard, and yet when the role is well played, with a bit of humour and charm, you find yourself gradually making a similar kind of identification with him. Not because you sympathize with Richard's ambition or his actions, or that you like him or think people should behave like him but, as you watch the play, because he gradually works himself into your unconscious, and recognition occurs in the recesses of the mind. At the same time, I don't believe anyone leaves the theatre thinking Richard III or Alex are the sort of people one admires and would wish to be like.

Some people have criticized the possible dangers of such an admiration.

But it's not an admiration one feels, and I think that anyone who says so is completely wrong. I think this view tends to come from people who, however well-meaning and intelligent, hold committed positions in favour of broader and stricter censorship. No one is corrupted watching A Clockwork Orange any more than they are by watching Richard III. A Clockwork Orange has received world-wide acclaim as an important work of art. It was chosen by the New York Film Critics as the Best Film of the year, and I received the Best Director award. It won the Italian David Donatello award. The Belgian film critics gave it their award. It won the German Spotlight award. It received four USA Oscar nominations and seven British Academy Award nominations. It won the Hugo award for the Best Science-Fiction movie.

It was highly praised by Fellini, Bunuel and Kurosawa. It has also received favourable comment from educational, scientific, political, religious and even law-enforcement groups. I could go on. But the point I want to make is that the film has been accepted as a work of art, and no work of art has ever done social harm, though a great deal of social harm has been done by those who have sought to protect society against works of art which they regarded as dangerous.

What was your attitude towards violence and eroticism in your film?

The erotic decor in the film suggests a slightly futuristic period for the story. The assumption being that erotic art will eventually become popular art, and just as you now buy African wildlife paintings in Woolworth's, you may one day buy erotica. The violence in the story has to be given sufficient dramatic weight so that the moral dilemma it poses can be seen in the right context. It is absolutely essential that Alex is seen to be guilty of a terrible violence against society, so that when he is eventually transformed by the State into a harmless zombie you can reach a meaningful conclusion about the relative rights and wrongs. If we did not see Alex first as a brutal and merciless thug it would be too easy to agree that the State is involved in a worse evil in depriving him of his freedom to choose between good and evil. It must be clear that it is wrong to turn even unforgivably vicious criminals into vegetables, otherwise the story would fall into the same logical trap as did the old, anti-lynching Hollywood westerns which always nullified their theme by lynching an innocent person. Of course no one will disagree that you shouldn't lynch an innocent person -- but will they agree that it's just as bad to lynch a guilty person, perhaps even someone guilty of a horrible crime? And so it is with conditioning Alex.

What is your opinion about the increasing presence of violence on the screen in recent years?

There has always been violence in art. There is violence in the Bible, violence in Homer, violence in Shakespeare, and many psychiatrists believe that it serves as a catharsis rather than a model. I think the question of whether there has been an increase in screen violence and, if so, what effect this has had, is to a very great extent a media-defined issue. I know there are well-intentioned people who sincerely believe that films and TV contribute to violence, but almost all of the official studies of this question have concluded that there is no evidence to support this view. At the same time, I think the media tend to exploit the issue because it allows them to display and discuss the so-called harmful things from a lofty position of moral superiority. But the people who commit violent crime are not ordinary people who are transformed into vicious thugs by the wrong diet of films or TV. Rather, it is a fact that violent crime is invariably committed by people with a long record of anti-social behaviour, or by the unexpected blossoming of a psychopath who is described afterward as having been '...such a nice, quiet boy,' but whose entire life, it is later realized, has been leading him inexorably to the terrible moment, and who would have found the final ostensible reason for his action if not in one thing then in another. In both instances immensely complicated social, economic and psychological forces are involved in the individual's criminal behaviour. The simplistic notion that films and TV can transform an otherwise innocent and good person into a criminal has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials. This notion is further encouraged by the criminals and their lawyers who hope for mitigation through this excuse. I am also surprised at the extremely illogical distinction that is so often drawn between harmful violence and the so-called harmless violence of, say, "Tom and Jerry" cartoons or James Bond movies, where often sadistic violence is presented as unadulterated fun. I hasten to say, I don't think that they contribute to violence either. Films and TV are also convenient whipping boys for politicians because they allow them to look away from the social and economic causes of crime, about which they are either unwilling or unable to do anything.

Alex loves rape and Beethoven: what do you think that implies?

I think this suggests the failure of culture to have any morally refining effect on society. Hitler loved good music and many top Nazis were cultured and sophisticated men but it didn't do them, or anyone else, much good.

Contrary to Rousseau, do you believe that man is born bad and that society makes him worse?

I wouldn't put it like that. I think that when Rousseau transferred the concept of original sin from man to society, he was responsible for a lot of misguided social thinking which followed. I don't think that man is what he is because of an imperfectly structured society, but rather that society is imperfectly structured because of the nature of man. No philosophy based on an incorrect view of the nature of man is likely to produce social good.

Your film deals with the limits of power and freedom.

The film explores the difficulties of reconciling the conflict between individual freedom and social order. Alex exercises his freedom to be a vicious thug until the State turns him into a harmless zombie no longer able to choose between good and evil. One of the conclusions of the film is, of course, that there are limits to which society should go in maintaining law and order. Society should not do the wrong thing for the right reason, even though it frequently does the right thing for the wrong reason.

What attracted you in Burgess's novel?

Everything. The plot, the characters, the ideas. I was also interested in how close the story was to fairy tales and myths, particularly in its deliberately heavy use of coincidence and plot symmetry.

In your films, you seem to be critical of all political factions. Would you define yourself as a pessimist or anarchist?

I am certainly not an anarchist, and I don't think of myself as a pessimist. I believe very strongly in parliamentary democracy, and I am of the opinion that the power and authority of the State should be optimized and exercized only to the extent that is required to keep things civilized. History has shown us what happens when you try to make society too civilized, or do too good a job of eliminating undesirable elements. It also shows the tragic fallacy in the belief that the destruction of democratic institutions will cause better ones to arise in their place.

Certainly one of the most challenging and difficult social problems we face today is, how can the State maintain the necessary degree of control over society without becoming repressive, and how can it achieve this in the face of an increasingly impatient electorate who are beginning to regard legal and political solutions as too slow? The State sees the spectre looming ahead of terrorism and anarchy, and this increases the risk of its over-reaction and a reduction in our freedom. As with everything else in life, it is a matter of groping for the right balance, and a certain amount of luck.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Darth Vader diagnosis: Borderline personality disorder

By Elizabeth Landau Health Writer/Producer

The manipulations of Anakin Skywalker, also known as Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" saga, have long been ascribed to the Dark Side of the Force. Now, psychiatrists suggests that the actions of the Jedi Knight could be used in teaching about a real-life mental illness.

A letter to the editor in the journal Psychiatry Research explores just what is wrong with Vader. French researchers posit that Vader exhibits six out of the nine criteria for borderline personality disorder. Unstable moods, interpersonal relationships, and behaviors are all characteristics of this condition, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health. It affects 2 percent of adults, mostly young women.

The young Anakin Skywalker was separated from his mother at an early age, and his father was absent, factors that could have contributed to borderline personality disorder. His "infantile illusions of omnipotence" and "dysfunctional experiences of self and others" are also indicative of this condition from an early age.

The researchers argue that Vader experienced two "dissociative episodes," one when he exterminated the Tuskan people after his mother's death, and the other when he killed all of the Jedi younglings. He often showed impulsive behavior and had difficulty controlling his anger. He also may have showcased a disturbance in identity by turning to the dark side and changing his name.

Darth Vader may thus be used to educate the public about borderline personality disorder and help combat stigma associated with mental illness.

But Emory psychiatrist Dr. Charles Raison,'s mental health expert, has a different take. In the original three movies - which are the last three chronologically - Vader appears to be under the control of an evil emperor, making his character difficult to ascribe to a psychiatric disorder.


I don't know why it hit me today but the movie Birth is a pretty amazing movie. It's one of the movies that I find myself pondering about the ending for days every time I watch it . I love everything about this film from the creepy kids performance to the low tones in the droning music to the amazing cinematography.

This is the plot:
"A narrator lectures to an unseen audience, mentioning that he disbelieves in reincarnation. We then see this man running through Central Park, where he dies of a heart attack. Ten years later, the man's widow, Anna (Nicole Kidman) has accepted a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Joseph (Danny Huston).
When Clifford (Peter Stormare), Sean's best friend, arrives at Anna's engagement party, his wife Clara (Anne Heche) excuses herself, saying she forgot to wrap Anna's gift. Instead, she buys a replacement after hurriedly burying the gift while a young boy (Cameron Bright) secretly looks on.
At a party for Anna's mother (Lauren Bacall), the boy who followed Clara claims to be Anna's deceased husband, Sean, and warns her not to marry Joseph. At first Anna dismisses the boy's claim. When Anna receives a letter from him the next day warning her not to marry Joseph, she realizes the boy truly believes he is her reincarnated husband.
That night Anna and Joseph discuss the letter. Since the building watchman seemed to know the boy (and that the boy is also named Sean), Joseph calls to get more information. When Sean answers the phone, Joseph rushes downstairs to confront him. He takes him to Sean's father (Ted Levine), where the three of them order Sean to leave Anna alone. Sean refuses to recant his story, and a pained Anna sees the young Sean collapse in his father's arms. She has begun to believe the boy may be a manifestation of her dead husband.
Sean leaves a message on Anna's answering machine, which her mother overhears. That day at lunch, Anna's mother mentions that Sean wants to meet Anna in the park, and that she will know where. Anna hurries to Central Park and finds Sean waiting in the spot where Anna's husband died. He offers to submit to questioning.
Anna's brother-in-law Bob (Arliss Howard), a doctor, talks to Sean, recording his responses on tape. He answers frankly all the questions, even giving intimate details of Anna and Sean's sex life. Sean is brought to Anna's by his fretful mother (Cara Seymour), and he is able to identify parts of the apartment. Everyone except Anna remains reasonably doubtful. Anna's family becomes worried, particularly her sister Laura (Alison Elliott), who treats young Sean with contempt.
When Anna misses an appointment with her fiance to spend time with Sean, Joseph begins feeling worried not merely about the boy, but about Anna's odd behavior. Joseph's jealousy is made plain when he physically attacks Sean. When Sean runs out, Anna follows him and kisses him on the lips.
Anna seems convinced by the boy's story and asks Clara and Clifford to meet him. Clara encounters Sean at the door and asks him to visit her later. When he visits, he brings a backpack full of Anna's love letters to Sean. These were Clara's spiteful engagement gift which the boy secretly unearthed and read the night of the party. We learn that Clara was Sean's lover before his death, and that he gave the letters to her unopened as proof of his love. Clara was jealous that Sean would not leave Anna, but abandoned her plan to give Anna the letters. When Clara points out that if he were really a reincarnation of Sean he would have come to her first, Sean runs out in a state of confusion and guilt.
When Anna finds Sean, she suggests they run away and marry when he is of legal age. He tells her that if he were really Sean he would have loved Clara, and since he loves Anna he must not be the reincarnated Sean.
Anna apologizes to Joseph, and they are married at the beach. Sean wrote a long letter apologizing to Anna, wondering why he had the delusion of being her husband. Anna wades into the sea in anguish after the ceremony. Joseph gradually pulls her back onto the sand and whispers reassuringly into her ear."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Mexican Marilyn Manson...

This is just too amazing to not share, I would say this one is self explanatory:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies

This is my new favorite website:

Check out every Time Travel Movie and why it works or doesn't work according to the laws of physics. I haven't read it all yet but it seems 12 Monkeys and Millennium follow the rules while films like Minority Report are completely torn apart. I recommend it highly.

Here's an excerpt from the Minority Report section:

"If you've already read the material on Frequency, you're aware that information traveling from the future to the past can be as damaging or even more damaging in time travel terms than people doing so. Viewed this way, Minority Report is an unmitigated disaster, a collection of hundreds of anomalies none of which can be resolved.

The core concept of the film is that psychics are able to predict the future. Three in particular, victims of drug use by parents which affected their unborn minds, have visions of emotionally charged events in the short-term future, especially murders. Using very sophisticated mind/machine interface technology, an experimental police organization is able to view these visions, identify people and situations from them, and arrive at the scene of the crime before it happens. They then arrest the perpetrator prior to the murder. Often this happens at the last moment, as the fragmentary visions are pieced together just in time to stop the attack. Yet these authorities are not unwilling to arrest someone a week before his crime, if they have the information in time.

It is evident that as a time travel situation this creates paradox upon paradox. Agatha and the twins, our three psychics lying in the tank and seeing the horrors of the future to come, receive images of an event, a murder, and pass these images to their keepers. The keepers act on those images and prevent the murder from being committed. Yet if the murder is not committed, the images cannot exist in any real sense. Thus if the murder is prevented, the images don't exist, and the psychics cannot see them; but if the psychics cannot see them, the police cannot be warned, and the murder cannot be prevented. Each time a murder is prevented, an infinity loop is created, and time is trapped in the anomaly.

There is another striking problem in all this related to the main story. Tom Cruise' character, Captain John Anderton, is seen in one of the visions killing a complete stranger. He does not understand why he would kill a complete stranger; but it is obvious that he is going to be arrested for it immediately, although the event is a week or so away and appears to be a planned murder, not a crime of passion (as most are now that everyone knows you will be arrested before the murder if you plan it). He runs; he puts a lot of time and effort into trying to discover who this victim is and why he would kill him. He kidnaps Agatha, the best of the three psychics, to help him in this. Ultimately he finds the man. It appears that the man is the kidnapper who took Anderton's son some years before. Anderton decides not to kill him, but to arrest him. Then things really start falling apart, as it now appears that this man is not the kidnapper, but was set up to look like it so that Anderton would kill him; and that the man is intent on dying, because he has made a deal with some unnamed person who will care for his family if and only if Anderton kills him. The result is that the man kills himself with Anderton's gun, and of course the police are already on their way, completely unaware of the truth of the situation.

The problem in this is that the cause is dependent on the result. That is, why does Anderton kill the man? He would not do so were he not there. He would not be there had he not attempted to find out who the man was. He would not have sought the identity of the man had he not seen the vision of himself killing the man. In the end, Anderton kills the man because he kills the man. We're fooled by the sophistry of the causal loop, sold the bill of goods (popular in fixed time stories) that because everything in this story has a cause in the story, it's all plausible. It is not plausible, because there is no cause outside the loop that will start the loop. Further, this is not and cannot be a fixed time story if the psychics are seeing actual future events, because in that case the best that could be done would be to have the police arrest the criminals immediately after murders which, in fixed time theory, they would have been inexplicably helpless to prevent (another problem in fixed time theory).

It helps in these situations to do a reverse negation of the causal chain. If Anderton does not see himself kill the man, he will not investigate. If he does not investigate, he will not discover the man's identity or location. If he does not discover the man's identity or location, he will not be in the room. If he is not in the room, he will not kill the man. If he does not kill the man, the psychics will not have the vision. If they do not have the vision, he will not see himself kill the man. There is no cause outside this chain that can trigger it.

Such chains can be created, under the theory of this site, by an original causal chain which is erased by altered circumstances. Perhaps someone calls Anderton with an anonymous tip regarding the man who kidnapped his son. Anderton responds, kills the kidnapper, and so creates the image for the vision. This image appears while he is in the office (creating the CD timeline) and so he has a new information source leading him ultimately to that man at the right time and place. In this case the victim is shot anyway, as the police arrive too late; thus the vision is preserved (possibly in altered form--now Agatha is in the room with him, although see more on this below) and this is a brief sawtooth snap terminating in an N-jump.

Apart from this one death, all the other arrests create infinity loops, if viewed as information traveling from the future to the past. However, there is reason not to view it this way, and this reason saves the movie."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Atari Teenage Riot...

I saw ATR once at CBGB's in the late 90's and the intensity of their gear and the low bass tones actually made me feel a little nauseous. I kind of felt like all of my organs were vibrating unnaturally and at any moment I might throw up. Supposedly they are releasing an ATR app for the iphone that lets fans play with sound samples that are designed to irritate people to the point that they will riot... well, if you bring a gigantic club size sound system with you to run your iphone through. Check out the article below:

From Pitchfork:
"Recently reunited German electro-punk spazzes Atari Teenage Riot are still causing controversy. ATR's iPhone app has been delayed by the German iTunes store due to a dispute over its content. The free app is set to feature every ATR album, song, and video, as well as photos, news updates, and more. But it also included something called "Riotsounds Produce Riots", an audio player that features sounds that ATR used at a May Day protest in 1999, at which the band members were arrested.

According to a press release, those sounds include "very low sub basses, square waves, noise sounds which trigger hysteria and panic within the audience." So your iPhone could make a whole lot of people very uncomfortable, if hooked up to big speakers-- which ATR encourages, via press release.

But Apple has held up the app's release while they investigate whether it's legal to release an app with all those noises on it. The band had hoped to get the app out in time for this year's May 1 protests, but that didn't happen.

Responding to inquiries about the app's status, ATR mastermind Alec Empire writes, "Today's status is that the ATR iPhone will be released within the next ten days. The Riotsounds player might be added later with an update. It's a legal loophole. So not sure yet what the outcome will be. But the free app which includes all ATR songs and videos plus a lot of extras will still be pretty awesome, even if the Riotsounds player is not included in this version. ATR plans regular updates for the app including free bonus tracks, unreleased songs, outtakes and more."

On May 24, the group will release the reunion single "Reactivate" on their own Digital Hardcore label."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Honor of Star Wars Day (Repost)

May 04, 2010
May the 4th be with you! (Or why all Stormtroopers are left-handed)
Posted by Steve Spears at 03:00:00 AM on May 4, 2010
in Geek to chic | Permalink

What's going to shock you the most: To know there's a "Star Wars Day?" Finding out that it's May 4 ("May the 4th be with you" ... dare I say, classic?). Or that while the rest of the world is waiting for an oil spill to wipe out the Gulf Coast of the United States, I spent the start of my work week digging up crazy Star Wars trivia for this very special day.

All of the above. I hear you. Hey, someone has to sort out Dantooine from Tatooine.*

It shouldn't even be Stars Ways Day. The movie itself was released May 25, 1977. But here we are. So while you run home to get your plastic lightsaber, here are 10 nuggets of trivia about the original flick that are worthy of inclusion in the Archives of the Jedi Order.

1. NEVER TRUST A LEFTY: Those evil Stormtroopers all appear to be all left-handed! It’s because their ammunition magazines on their weapons are on the left side, so it’s easier to hold the guns left-handed. Of course, it could also be because most Stormtroopers are cloned from the bounty hunter Jango Fett, who could have been a lefty.

2. MEET 'LITTLE ARTHUR’: Ever wonder how the droid names sounded in other languages? Confusing! That’s why some Spanish subtitled versions of the film renamed R2-D2 as “Arturito” (meaning “little Arthur”) in Spanish. C-3PO simply became “Citripio,” which has no meaning. (We would have thought "golden prissy one.")

3. TIE GAME: How did those one-man Imperial starships get the name TIE Fighters? TIE is actually an acronym that stands for “Twin Ion Engines.” The movie’s model-maker reportedly came up with it, though other fans maintain TIE stands for “Third Intergalactic Empire.” (How about "Time to Incinerate Endor" instead?)

4. OBI-WANTS OUT: The late Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi, infamously regretted his participation in the movie. Guinness once told an interviewer that he talked creator George Lucas into killing off his character because a ghost would be a better mentor for Luke Skywalker. “What I didn’t tell him was that I just couldn’t go on speaking those bloody awful, banal lines,” he said. His role was greatly reduced for the next two movies. (Sorry, Alec, but would you prefer us remember you for 1983's Lovesick?)

5. CHEWY'S FURRY FOR A REASON: Mark Hamill once revealed that studio execs were frightened that Chewbacca had no clothes on and suggested that his costume be adjusted so he could wear shorts.

6. NOW WHO'S THE ASS? Do those crazy, gutteral sounds that the Tuskan Raiders (Sand People) sound like a day on the farm? That because mules were used as the main basis for the sound.

7. JUST PLAIN NUTS: When Darth Vader crushes the neck of Captain Antilles, on board the Alderaan Diplomatic Cruiser Tantive IV, that's the sound of walnut shells being crushed. The same sound is used in 1983's Return of the Jedi when Han Solo is freed from his carbonite imprisonment. (I find your lack of faith in sound engineering disturbing.)

8. ON SECOND THOUGHT... Lucas once told an interviewer that Luke was originally conceived to be a girl and that Han was supposed to be an alien. Next thing you'll tell us is that Chewbacca got the last line in the film...

9. OH, HE DID: Chewbacca's language and growl was a combination of various large mammals, mostly bears. But he does have the honor of speaking the very last line of the movie after Han and Luke get their medals from Leia. Way to go, Chewy.

10. THE ULTIMATE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE: After opening in May, Star Wars officially dethroned Jaws in November as the all-time box-office champion. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial snagged the record in 1982, holding it until Titanic rose to the top in 1997. Nowadays, another soon-to-be classic holds the record: Avatar.

[* Dantooine is where Princess Leia says the rebel base is hidden, though it’s really on Yavin IV. Tatooine is Luke’s home planet. And yes, I need to get a life.]


Friday, April 30, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Movie that made them

This is my list of movies where a usually goofy actor/comedian plays it straight and it turned out to be the best performance of their career, well in my opinion anyway :

1. Zach Galifianakis: VISIONEERS

3. Adam Sandler: PUNCH DRUNK LOVE

4. Patton Oswalt: BIG FAN
6. John Belushi: NEIGHBORS

8. Robin Williams: THE FISHER KING
9. Peter Sellers: BEING THERE


My Current Favorite Video...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When I'm Dead...

Not for those with a weak stomach, personally I prefer to be stuffed and sat on the sofa when I go:

Enjoy, Yum.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Elwood Babbit

Elwood babbit was a world famous medium who supposedly channeled dead spirits from everyone from Lincoln to Jesus. A very good friend of Fairmont's happened to grow up in a Spiritualist church that worshiped him and we were able to use an original recording of Elwood in our song "Nowhere, Mass." The above video is of the actual Elwood Babbit giving a speech at Amherst College.


I'm really liking this site, wish it had more songs but it's good to throw on no matter your mood while working on your computer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sarah "Hopey Changey" Palin

My mom loves this Sarah Palin. I think I get it now, it's like the housewives of the United States, the ones who are so sick of being put down by their husbands and children's snarky comments now have their own political hipster Mom to look up to. She's so sassy and who cares if her arguments make little to no sense and are completely hypocritical like her defense of Rush Limbaugh's "Retard" comments (even though she has her very own down syndrome child). She just looks so darn, ya know, sassy as she delivers her own smug comments in that Fargo accent. Could this lady seriously become an elected official in a state that has a population? Can she possibly win a national race? How can people vote for someone who said, "So how is that hopey-changey thing working out?". So there you have it, the 50+ crowd has spoken , no hope, no change for you. Kind of sounds like the Soup Nazi. I guess it's because the older you get the more you like things to stay the same. I think once you hit a certain age maybe you are thinking that this country is kind of like getting a new VCR or if you're progressive a DVD player and being afraid it's going to be flashing 12:00 and none of the buttons will work. I understand the safety that Sarah Palin represents, she's just the TV, one simple button, on and off, channel up and down. Obama is like one of those HD TV's with a DVR, old people just can't commit to radical change because it's different, unfamiliar and more complex. So to all of you Palin fans, you sit and watch your black and white square TV with rabbit ears and I'll enjoy my big complex HD DVR TV and my streaming video game system. Anyone who can watch that clip of her reading off of her hand and using words like "hopey changey" and still support this numbskull makes me wonder why the red states don't just secede from the union and become their own United States of Dipshits.

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