Mike Ruppert’s Stereo

Mike Ruppert’s Stereo


Michael C. Ruppert – Memoriam.2

“In a campground, when a bear attacks, you don’t have to be the first or fastest camper to get out, but you don’t want to be the last. MCR

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On July 22, 2014, the Verge.com published a post-mortem on whistleblower and uber-activist Mike Ruppert titled, ‘The Unbelievable Life and Death Of Michael C. Ruppert’.

Writer Matt Stroud interviewed associates and friends of Ruppert including Wes Miller, Carolyn Baker, Jack Martin, Jessy Re and Ruppert’s ex-wife from a brief two year marriage of twenty years ago. Hungry for first-hand accounts and quotes from those who knew Ruppert most personally and intimately, Stroud and The Verge chose to quote me using something I supposedly shared with Carolyn Baker during my only conversation with her immediately following Mike’s suicide. From the Verge article:

Doug Lewis, Ruppert’s close friend, Colorado roommate, and bandmate in New White Trash, declined to be interviewed for this story. But Baker told me: “About two weeks before Mike left Colorado to come out to California [in February, 2014], Doug confronted him and said, ‘Mike you’re an alcoholic.’ And Mike grabbed Doug by the collar and slammed him against the wall and cursed him out. A week later, [Ruppert] gave notice that ‘I’m leaving.’”

Six weeks earlier, on June 4, 2014, I was contacted by Stroud who requested an interview. His approach was casual, “…writing a long obituary…just came back from a trip out west…would love to talk with you about Mike…”

When I asked him, he said he didn’t have an angle. Ruppert was a man made of many sharp angles. Not to disparage those who did interview with Stroud, but I declined the invite, not wanting to go fishing.

Until now. relative to my personal and creative relationship with my most excellent and closest friend, bandmate and creative partner Mike Ruppert, my goal, short of an initial tribute, was to keep silent and let the music of the New White Trash do the talking and to push the future forward by producing a third and final NWT album, to be a work of tribute to Mike, his memory and our friendship.  NWT bandmates Kristen Vigard and Andy Kravitz agreed, and we recently set in motion a fundraiser in hopes of raising enough to produce the work.

Considering the circumstance – of being quoted out of context and wed to a storyline wildly out of sync with reality – I’m writing to set the record straight, first with Carolyn Baker and the Verge, then with the story itself.

That Ms. Baker has nothing positive to say about Mike is odd considering how he continually opened doors by promoting her works and personage including inviting her to be guest host on his popular live radio show, the Lifeboat Hour.  His final offering to Carolyn Baker was to insist, in a very last breath and underscored in his suicide note, that she take over as host of the Lifeboat Hour, a position she now fills.

After reading the Verge article I contacted Carolyn Baker to remind her how the conversation we had immediately following Mike’s death was private, personal and confidential, and wondered how any of what I shared with her would end up as an attributed quote. To do so is unethical and disrespectful to Mike Ruppert and to the personal and creative relationship we shared.

I reminded her also that the story she spilled to the reporter for the Verge was false on counts of timeline and how the events portrayed in the article as occurring ‘two weeks before Mike left Colorado…’ actually occurred in February of 2013 – at least a year previous, and under circumstances dynamically different than those described. To use for her retraction, I wanted Carolyn Baker to know how these events of February 2013 did not lead to Mike leaving Colorado, but to a positive change in Mike and in the day to day dynamics of our overall relationship. I suggested to Ms. Baker that a public apology and retraction was in order. To date there has been no response from Ms. Baker other than an email to say how she was unaware our conversation was private.

For the record, what did occur in February of 2014, about two weeks before Mike left Colorado, was a civilized conversation between us where I recounted for him my recent trials and tribulations from being immersed in a situation with a alcoholic sister while taking care of my 92 year mother who was 8 weeks in a San Francisco hospital due to a debilitating accident. That conversation with Mike, in which I recounted the difficulty and dissonance on numerous levels of dealing with an alcoholic, may or may not be considered a reason (among many) for him leaving Colorado. But to state as much, or to insinuate as much as the writer does is wrong and does a disservice to Mike and to our relationship.

Reading the Verge article and attempting to deconstruct the journalistic intent of the writer, It is unseemly how in one paragraph the article acknowledges I declined to be interviewed (quoted) and then follows this by attributing a quote to me without confirming authenticity and without seeking my permission to attach my name to my own “quote”.

On July 27, 2014, I wrote to Verge Editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky and to the writer Matt Stroud to let them know the quote is false, as is the information it contains.  In my letter I outlined how actions attributed to my person or my word did not take place as described, and by publishing a false and unattributed statement, I alleged how the Verge has published a libel and committed negligence. There has been no response from the Verge to my request for a retraction.

Here is what transpired between Mike and I back in February of 2013 –

Months earlier, in June of 2012, Mike sent me an email from Sebastopol.  He was despondent, said he was paying too much rent, that he had grown weary of the radio show and was looking to make a move and get back to the music.

Colorado would do him good, but I knew Mike needed to convince himself so I sent a series of links to my neighborhood, the great San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, a place I had discovered on my travels twenty-five years earlier.

I pointed out to MIke the raw and epic beauty of the valley. I emailed pictures of the Sangre de Cristo range as seen from my living room windows.  I also sent him links to the rich history of the valley, geographically, geologically and through time as a sacred Native American space – known as the Big Space to those tribes. I made sure he knew about the fine well water here at my ‘el rancho’ and about the hot springs just a mile up the road. I also let him know about the extremely cold winters and windy springs because Mike did not do well in the cold.

And I outlined the plan to be recording Age Of Authority, the second NWT album, by mid-November of 2012.

Mike reacted positively, and on August 20, 2012 with his dog Rags riding shotgun, Mike pulled his loaded Rav4 through the front gates leading from Cosmic Highway 17 to the front door at Red Cloud at the far north end of the San Luis Valley, ten miles north of Moffat, a place similar to what the English would call a ‘wide spot in the road’. We were well beyond the spot and way beyond the wide.

Red Cloud Ranch is 40 acres of quiet solitude, no TV or radio, only the sound of me picking and scratching on my guitar. In the months prior to Mike’s August 2012 arrival, I was feeling a renewal of sorts, I was falling in love all over again with the overtone of sound.

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Mike settled in to the master suite at Red Cloud and was on air that next Sunday live-broadcasting the Lifeboat Hour from Southern Colorado. Mike Ruppert was back in his groove and no one was more pleased than me.

Mike and I first met in late February 2008 at a dog park in Venice, Ca, We initially bonded because of our dogs. Squishy, my rough and tumble brick of a dude; and Rags, Mike’s happy-go-lucky mutt full of slobber. But the two became fast and best friends, a precursor of what was in store for me and Mike.

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When our conversation came around to music, and I gave him a copy of a recent project, Mike was overwhelming in his praise; he dug the bare and rough edges and heard the message thread of social commentary throughout the material.

One thing led to another, and soon Mike was invited to my place, the Venice Arts Club located in the heart of Venice.

I realized much about Mike his first night at the VAC. He was impacted by the scene, emotionally, outwardly, and in every way he was thankful and grateful for the invite. He had been lonely and in need of a scene and of company and conversation from people of all ages, including my two teenage daughters and a steady gaggle of friends. MIke hung his hat that night at the VAC, and that night a childlike quality emerged from him, like a genie escaping the prison of his bottle.  There could be no doubt how Mike was in the mix to stay.

Mike and Rags became household figures. Mike was ever courteous, always a gentleman, always brought food items for the grill and wine for the evening. He would wash dishes when they needed, clean up a wine spill, whatever, he just got busy doing what had to be done.

Mike was floored with how we could record a guitar or vocal track in the middle of the room with a dozen party people within reaching distance of the mic. Occasionally we’d ask for quiet, but we weren’t after quiet, we were after vibe. And we got it in spades. To quote Andy Kravitz, ”we like ambient and background noise with our music.” So yes, the sound of tinkling ice cubes and clinking glasses can be heard on numerous recordings put out by the VAC, including the NWT releases.

That next morning Mike rang me – woke me up – wanting to know at which dog park to meet that afternoon. And so this became our regular thing, that we would check in with each other and figure out where to meet. That same afternoon he turned over a signed copy of Crossing The Rubicon.  Until then I didn’t know his past, only knew he was good to his dog, he liked music and that he grew up in Venice.

So he spilled the beans – former LAPD cop, whistle blower, author, personality, the works. Impressive achievements but most of all he came across as solid of character, impeccably sincere and honest, forthright, funny, and dry with a down-twist of ironic humor.

There was a shameless quality to MIke. Relative to the music, it allowed him to ‘step up to the mic’, and to ‘dare to suck’. Almost immediately he was itching for the opportunity to take on a musical role.  He explained how, when he was out of high school and living in Venice, he would occasionally sing covers with a local bar band.

When Mike first did step up to the mic, it was with a swagger and a richness of voice, and we figured this was someone we could work with.

Andy and I had been plotting a next project and were toying with the term ‘New White Trash’ because it represented what was current in  2008/2009 America relative to the financial collapse and meltdown.

We explained to Mike the concept of the New White Trash and how there was a ‘manifesto’ being written relative to the music and the message. Mike insisted I send it to him. He sent it back with added content, polished and ready for publication, hence the foundation of the NWT would always and forever include a cornerstone bearing Mike Ruppert’s name.

Cross and Phil De Void

Other good things were happening for Mike. In early 2009, Mike called me one morning and insisted I be at a certain dog park that afternoon. “I’ll be there with a filmmaker,” he said, “with a camera and crew. There will be a sound guy.” That was Mike when he was on a mission. Facts came first.  Then second. Even third.  “He’s someone interested in doing a documentary about me and I want you to check him out.”  Mike knew and appreciated my own history in Los Angeles and in the film business.

Later that afternoon Squishy and I walked to the park and met Mike with filmmaker Chris Smith who went on to write and direct the documentary, Collapse.

There was a lot of Hollywood in Mike, a shade of flair, even a dash of savoir-faire, and occasionally a juggle of joie-de-vivre. He had graduated Venice High School, Class of 1969.  Venice is Hollywood, Hollywood is Venice, even back then.  The movie Grease was filmed at Venice High School. Give the man some perspective.  This wasn’t Kansas.

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By all accounts he was beyond a model student. He was setting a precedent, he had a obligation to some higher calling, some fixed star called justice. Mike operated with a sense of purpose and a strong turn of mind – always a direction.

MCR HS GRAD

There are important, crucial and essential elements to consider when assessing someone as dynamic as Mike Ruppert. Here are two excerpts from Mike’s self-penned biography:

”I was taken by a desire to follow in the family tradition and place myself in harm’s way for a good cause – a rite of passage and an initiation.”

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…and…

“Buried within mainstream news sources were precious nuggets of information that if located, understood and pursued, could reveal the actual intent and direction of government actions, as opposed the glossy, slick and sterile patina of government and media spin.”

As our friendship deepened, Mike shared with me his struggles with depression, anxiety, alcohol and a not altogether pretty picture of an emotionally fragmented family history. Mike could be impatient with the world, as if time was against him. You could be whip-smart, but if you didn’t see what Mike saw coming then in his mind you were a fool. Mike did not suffer fools.

The recording of the New White Trash debut album, Doublewide, began mid-2009 and continued into 2010. It had grown to include 37 songs. Eventually, I cut back on the party scene to focus on mixing the material.  Mike began experiencing difficulties, withdrawals from a diminished party and music scene and was growing impatient with wanting to hear finished songs.

His impatience boiled over into demands for specific songs to play on the Lifeboat Hour. I was all for the exposure but not until the material was ready for public consumption. So I told him to chill out and wait for the material to be processed. I had to remind him I was the driver and unless he was willing to risk the life of the project, don’t bother the driver. He understood and backed off and our relationship resumed a seamless and respectful course. Doublewide was released January 11, 2011.

Whereas Doublewide was recorded in the laid back and bohemian atmosphere of an open-air studio in Venice, recording Age Of Authority was a whole other trip.

We were sequestered in Colorado at Red Cloud Ranch, at 8000 feet and twenty-two miles from the nearest town. Mid-winter daytime temps hovered at zero and the nights dipping down to minus 25 degrees. And then some.

By early November, 2012 Mike had made himself a staple figure in Crestone, a local town full of spiritualists, cowboys, musicians, hippies, freaks, basically an eclectic mix, a real slice of multi-flavor Americana pie. Mike’s appointed mission in Crestone was to make contact with musicians and other fun people to tap into. One evening in late-November, soon after we had set up the studio, Mike rang and said he was returning with some new friends.  One of those friends was Jessy Re, a thirty-something banjo playing woman with a sweet and shy voice. Over time, her and Mike evolved their friendship and their relationship became more intimate.

Mike was a soul man, he could sing and he could dance. He moved like John Belushi, would get overheated in the same way, and would make sure he had your attention. It was not only Mike’s desire to be at the center of any situation, but a force of inertia, a gravitational pull that put him there and gave him the essential qualities of a frontman.

By mid November the days were short and the weather cold with snow.  I had worked out the music for two dozen songs and we began recording basic tracks. Mike, an ever keen observer and listener, had become familiar with the material and kept ongoing lyric notes. Occasionally he would shout out, “what song is that?” I would shout back a song number, e.g. #4, or #24, etc.

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Mike with dogs couch

Kristen Vigard, another New White Trash member, had moved to Taos from Los Angeles after we had completed and released Doublewide. Soon she and her husband Bryan and daughter Emily Rose began making the 2+ hour drive north from Taos beginning mid-Nov and staying for long weekends then throughout the holiday season and on for weeks through the 2013 new year.

Another NWT collaborator, the artist James Mathers, stopped off at Red Cloud late October 2012 with his girlfriend Lea Petmezas.  On their third morning, Lea let us know how her and James and her four kids would be moving to the valley, just down the road from us, on the county road to Crestone.

You don’t know who someone is until you see them under pressure.  You also don’t know who someone is until you live with them.

Kristen Vigard and I have been friends for 33 years and have been making music together for almost as long. Few can match Kristen’s vibrancy and creative output. Her history is formidable – the original Annie on Broadway, Morgan Richards on the Guiding Light, singing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and as a solo recording artist. Kristen brings a unedited and unfiltered creativity. There have been numerous wild rides with Kristen.

In the pressure of the cooker we put ourselves in, blowups were inevitable, par for the course. Soon after the 2013 new year, Kristen and Mike got into it briefly over creative differences but it was over almost as soon as it began and we maintained our resolve and attention to the material.

By mid-February, 2013, recording was complete and so a shift of gears was taking place. The drinking, smoking and partying needed to cease and it became necessary for me to dive deep into the mixes, something that required a more focused, sober and less social approach.

Mike, being Mike, wanted the party to continue.  He was never shy about conveying his relationship with alcohol, or about his long history in AA, or how he turned from AA. But by mid-February his intake had escalated, largely due to the come-down one experiences at the end of a highly charged creative period, especially when there is no where to go, and nothing to immediately replace the high one gets from making music.

So I called l him on it, reminded him that once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Mike didn’t appreciate the assessment and we got into it in a fairly in-your-face kind of way. There was some general bashing about and I reminded him how this was my house and if he didn’t like the rules then he would need to leave. Simple.

A half hour later the situation had calmed, we gave each other a hug and that was that. To his credit, Mike took responsibility for the situation and immediately curtailed his drinking. We put it behind and life went on between us, smoother and better than before and for another year until he took his leave late February of 2014, eighteen months to the day from when he arrived.

Indeed the most positive, dynamic and endearing aspect of our personal relationship was a foundation built on Mike being at a place in his life where he was willing to surrender to the music, and the making of the music. It proves the man to be someone who was adaptable, rational and able to recognize his place in the mix, any mix, music or otherwise.

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Mike Ruppert was a  gentleman, a thinker, an intuitive, an Aquarian, a leader, a doer, a sayer, a man of movement, a generous man of deep passion and conviction. He was a trailblazer and an incorruptible agent for the truth. He was an evolution of being and a fool for r&b, soul and rock and roll.

Mike Ruppert wore his heart on the sleeve of his conviction – that there are two sides to every story but only one truth, and that the truth of our tangled reality is found through the looking glass.  Time and again he peered in, wandered through, took notes and returned with resolve.

Mike Ruppert made a name for himself exposing aspects of investigative truth to do with large scale crime and constitutional injustice and coverup. I toast Mike Ruppert for being such a portal through which the tides of truth whipped and the winds of justice howled. He arrived into this life with a sense of purpose, a destiny of soul. I’m sure he left with the same.

Finally, in character, action and deed, Mike Ruppert was a heroic figure, an errant knight messenger who in the face of all adversity had been delivering messages and is now to be considered on his way home.

The author –

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Beyond The Rubicon – StartJoin Hosts Fund Drive For Mike Ruppert Tribute Album

The death of uber-activist Michael C. Ruppert on April 13, 2014 sent shockwaves through numerous communities including his most intimate circle – friends and bandmates who make up the NEW WHITE TRASH, of which Ruppert was a founding member. Founded in 2009 as a music project launched in Venice, CA with fellow musicians Kristen Vigard, Andy Kravitz and Doug Lewis, the New White Trash recorded and released two albums, DOUBLEWIDE in 2011 and AGE OF AUTHORITY in 2013. At the time of Ruppert’s passing, the band was writing songs and preparing to record a third and final album titled BEYOND THE RUBICON.

The NWT is pushing ahead with plans for Beyond The Rubicon, to include previously unreleased material featuring Ruppert from the Doublewide and Age Of Authority sessions in combination with new songs in the works. In order to fund the project, the band has turned to STARTJOIN, a funding platform launched by MAX KEISER.  According to NWT member Doug Lewis, “we chose StartJoin because Mike and Max were friends – Mike had appeared on Max’s show, THE KEISER REPORT on numerous occasions, also because StartJoin accepts crypto-currenices, a form of payment of which Mike was a fan, and in line with Mike’s notable adage, that ‘until you change the way money works, you change nothing’.”

Those friends and fans interested in pushing this project forward can do so here, at the StartJoin project site for Beyond The Rubicon.

Thanks for tuning in.

NWT.MCR.BTR

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‘Brother Can You Spare A Paradigm’ – A Musical Tribute To Michael C. Ruppert

In mid-2009, Mike Ruppert began recording with the NEW WHITE TRASH (NWT), a music project launched at the VENICE ARTS CLUB (VAC) in Venice, CA. For Ruppert, playing and recording music was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.  In 2007, Ruppert returned to the Venice/Culver City area and reestablished himself in the neighborhood of his youth, a place where decades earlier Ruppert had graduated from Venice High School then went on to become a LAPD cop. In early 2008, Ruppert met VAC founder DOUG LEWIS at a Venice dog park, the two became close friends and it wasn’t long before Ruppert had found a home at the VAC and with the NWT, a project originally conceived by Lewis and his long-time musical collaborator, multi-platinium producer ANDY KRAVITZ. Broadway/TV actress and songstress Kristen Vigard would round out the core NWT group.

Early on, Lewis and Ruppert wrote out a NWT manifesto designed to articulate the music of the NWT. And in this video, viewers can watch a relaxed Mike Ruppert wax eloquent about his involvement with the NWT and ABOUT the importance of music in his life.

The debut album from New White Trash was DOUBLEWIDE , a 37 song double CD released January of 2011. Notable songs featuring Mike Ruppert include, AVALANCHE & EARTHQUAKE, RUNNING ON RUMOR, WEIRD KIND OF SENSE, GIRL’S GOT, THIS DAY IS DONE and BACKROAD.

Next from the NWT came AGE OF AUTHORITY, a 18 song CD released July 7, 2013.  Notable songs featuring Ruppert include, LONG COLD WINTER, FOREIGN SOLDIERS, SUN OF YOUR LOVE, INNER REACH, DRIFTED, and FREE FROM.

When Ruppert passed away on April 13, 2014, plans were in place for a third and final NWT album.  BEYOND THE RUBICON would complete the trilogy.  The New White Trash have decided to go ahead with the production, recording and release of Beyond The Rubicon, a music project now dedicated to friend and bandmate Mike Ruppert. A campaign on STARTJOIN (www.StartJoin.com/btr) has been created as a platform for friends and fans of Mike Ruppert to fully fund the project.  Additionally, the first song of Beyond The Rubicon titled, WHO I ONCE WAS, featuring Mike Ruppert on vocals, has been mixed and is now available on the NWT Bandcamp site.  Who I Once Was is available as a free download, though listeners are encouraged to pay what they can – a little or a lot.  All revenue from this song will go towards the production of Beyond The Rubicon.

Another opportunity for friends, fans and listeners to move this project forward is to purchase an electronic download or Sponsor Edition of Doublewide and/or Age Of Authority. Leave a short message indicating that your payment should go towards Beyond The Rubicon. Anyone doing so will in return receive a gratis copy – via electronic download – of Beyond The Rubicon before its official release.

Thanks for tuning in.

BEYOND THE RUBICON

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WHO I ONCE WAS

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MIKE RUPPERT – ‘RUNNING WITH THE NEW WHITE TRASH’

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Michael C. Ruppert – Interview – Running With The New White Trash

Interview with Michael C. Ruppert and Mark Baer for SmartChannel.tv. From early 2009, conducted at Venice Arts Club in Venice, CA. Click image to watch video.

 

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Mike Ruppert – Running With The New White Trash


Michael C. Ruppert and the New White Trash – ‘Beyond The Rubicon’

After considering the future of the New White Trash relative to the passing of bandmate and friend MICHAEL C. RUPPERT, we are moving forward with plans to record and release a third and final NWT album titled BEYOND THE RUBICON (BTR) to include unreleased material featuring Ruppert from the DOUBLEWIDE and AGE OF AUTHORITY sessions, as well as new songs written while Mike was housing with bandmate DOUG LEWIS at Red Cloud Ranch in southern Colorado. Our focus, as always, will be on releasing material relative to the original NWT manifesto – matters of head and heart, war and peace, love, longing, and social commentary/protest torn from the pages of tomorrow’s news.

Beyond The Rubicon will complete the trilogy begun in 2009 at the Venice Arts Club in Venice, California. Along with Lewis, original NWT band members Kristen Vigard and Andy ‘AK’ Kravitz will be deep in the mix. In order to fund the project, our intention is a word of mouth campaign geared towards raising enough funds to appropriately record, produce, mix and master this final NWT album, dedicated to the life, work and memory of Mike Ruppert. Outside funding will be essential – we cannot begin this project without you lovely people – fans of Ruppert and the NWT. Our fund-raising strategy will be made public once we’ve settled on a course of action, either through a Kickstarter style campaign or by releasing one song on the NWT Bandcamp site and asking for double and triple digit payments for that one song to go towards BTR.

In the meantime, those inclined to immediately begin to move this project forward can purchase an electronic download of Doublewide and/or Age Of Authority.  Leave a short message indicating that your payment should go towards BTR.  Anyone doing so will in return receive a gratis copy – via electronic download – of Beyond The Rubicon before its official release.

RIP MCR

BEYOND THE RUBICON

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RIP MCR
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Michael C. Ruppert – Memoriam.1

In September of 2012, shortly after Mike arrived here at Red Cloud Ranch in the great San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, and before we got busy recording Age Of Authority, we were visited by two men who pulled in along the long drive leading from Highway 17.  The older, the driver, said he and his son were looking at property and did I know anything about the property in the distance, how to drive there, what it was like, etc.

I’m looking at these guys, thinking to myself, no way is this younger guy the son of the older. Meanwhile, Mike had come out of the house and made his way over.  He stood behind me and to the side. Of course he was packing. Without introduction, he called out, “So, you guys government men?’

It was a tactic, a quick jab. And it worked. Caught off guard, the younger looked at the older who hesitated, fractionally speaking, and it became obvious how they were, in fact, government men.

Their recovery attempt was hilarious.  The older said, “No, no, were longshoremen, we’ve come down from Denver.”

After a beat, I said, “You’re a long way from shore, men.” Mike chuckled behind me. The older added, “But we’re from Oakland.”

It was too late.  They were had.

Mike chimed in with a broad sweep of his arm, indicating the vast lone prairie surrounding us, “This used to be an ocean, once. And Dougie used to be a longshoreman.  Isn’t that right, D?”

As they retreated, Mike muttered, “Government men”, and walked away.

 * * *

Mike Ruppert was a soul man. He could sing and he could dance. Of late, the vision I have of Mike Ruppert is one of him knocking on heaven’s door. After a brief disclosure, the doors open and in he goes.

I take great pleasure knowing how Mike reached those gates before Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, or any of that host of unholy others.  Upon their arrival, I imagine Mike’s conversation with the Gods of High Noon going something like this…

The Gods to Mike: “Dick and Don are here. And they want to come in. It’s your call, how do you want to handle this?

Mike, who has already stood up, snubbed out his cigarette, and is headed down the gangplank to meet the ‘little men’, looks back with a wry smile and says, “Let’s see if they can dance.”

My advise to Dick, Don, George and the rest of that ill-conceived ilk is this – If you’re thinking of heading heaven’s way, and knocking on those doors, think twice.  You’re going to have to get through Mike Ruppert to get there. And you’re going to have show him you can dance. Good luck with that.

RIP MCR

Doug Lewis

@ RCR

MCR @ Red Cloud Ranch

Red Cloud Ranch

Red Cloud Ranch

DL @ Red Cloud Ranch

DL @ Red Cloud Ranch


Music of the Post-Paradigm – The New White Trash and the Age Of Authority

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 5, 2013

“This is dangerous music…in many ways. But Doug Lewis has always been a subtly subversive artist. So AGE OF AUTHORITY, the latest release by musician/producer Lewis and NEW WHITE TRASH, should not come as a surprise to lucky listeners who have enjoyed his previous political/philosophical/surrealistic musical journeys (especially the tour de force “Crudland” and “Tell The Time”). Those just getting into Lewis will discover a pleasingly quirky collection that shows calculated disregard for sonic tropes and clubland clichés. On Age Of Authority, Lewis pairs his truly insightful writing and lyrics with those of bandmates Kristen Vigard and Michael C. Ruppert to explore the moral ramifications of the disenfranchised masses struggling to survive in the new world order. It’s not exactly a message being trumpeted by mainstream media…and for good reason — in the Age Of Authority, we are ALL New White Trash.”  –  Michael Lynn-E Entertainment/True Hollywood Story. 

A discussion with Doug Lewis:

VAC: This is the second album from New White Trash, with much the same ‘cast’. How did it come about?

LEWIS: After completing DOUBLEWIDE, the first NWT album, I moved the studio from Venice (CA) to the north end of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. Kristen and Mike Ruppert had moved out of Los Angeles a year before me, Kristen to Taos, NM, and Mike to Sebastopol.  In August of 2012, Mike made the move to my place in CO, which was a year after I had established a base. Another NWT contributor, James Mathers, paid a visit with Lea Petmezas in Oct of 2012 and when Lea decided to move out here, James made the move as well.  During the spring/summer/fall of 2012, I had worked out some songs on the guitar along with some bass lines and so making an album was a great way to spend the winter of 2012/13.

VAC:  The music and vibe of Age Of Authority feels  like a continuation of Doublewide, thematically anyway.

LEWIS: The big picture hardly changes – love and war, heart and head, these are the themes of the real world and of our music, so our songs are either wry love letters or views on events torn from the news of the day.

VAC: The tagline for the New White Trash is ‘music of the post-paradigm’; do you consider this a genre?

LEWIS: It’s more of a personal brand, in that, collectively, we encourage the music to move in ‘meaningful directions’, one of which, for us, is social commentary/criticism, another is the draw of our experiences in the form of – usually and ultimately – cautionary tales. The ‘post-paradigm’ reference came out of Mike and I drawing up a raison d’être to offer insight into the NWT in name and in musical direction.

VAC: Your bandmate Mike Ruppert is fond of quoting you – “You can’t write a protest song on a full stomach.” How does that relate to your work throughout the years?

LEWIS:  The music of the New White Trash is the outcome of a shared and outspoken sensibility between Kristen, Mike, myself and others.  We are all on the same side of the cultural fence, so to speak. And we share an appreciation for the process and the sacrifice it takes to make an art project and create a body of work like an album. Also, we’ve all been doing this a while and in our various different way – Mike with his activism, Kristen has been writing, recording and performing music her entire life, and me, Age of Authority is my 22nd album as a musician/producer.  I’ve only ever made music with a cultural lean and a political pov. And I’ve only ever made music with those mining the same ground. Anything else, at this late stage of the game, feels pointless.

VAC: Over the course of making all this music, all these songs spread out over twenty-two albums, how has the process on songwriting  changed for you, personally speaking.

LEWIS: For me, the most profound change to the process happened in 1995 when I amputated the ring finger on my left hand. My guitar playing, post the loss of that finger, continues to evolve in ways of physical dexterity and personal style. Chopping off a finger then expecting to resume playing the guitar is not something I would recommend as a career choice, but for me, over time, I have no regrets. Otherwise, playing guitar, writing melodies and lyrics, crafting a song is a task like any other; you commit to the effort and embrace the experience of tuning in, musically and creatively speaking.  It’s about inhabiting a world and also enjoying the creative process as a form of meditation/work.  Over the years I have become particularly fond of treating the recording process as a community event, open door/open room style.

VAC: Being a guitar player with an amputated finger places you in an exclusive club…

LEWIS: Like I said, not something I would recommend.

VAC: What next for you and the New White Trash?

LEWIS: Looking forward to creating the third of the NWT trilogy, and hope to begin recording by mid-November (2013), although I’ve just received word that my 91 year old mother, who lives in San Francisco, needs some care, so I’m headed there now.  We’ll see.

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority New White Trash

Age Of Authority
New White Trash

NWT logo sticker grey


RED CLOUD RANCH & RECORDING STUDIO in Moffat, Colorado

Scenes from Red Cloud Ranch & Recording Studio in Moffat, Colorado. Home of  music producer Doug E Lewis. Red Cloud Ranch is currently host to the New White Trash and the production of their second album, The Inner Reach. Check out the music of the New White Trash here.

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MELTDOWN – Music of the Post-Paradigm with the New White Trash

MELTDOWN – Music of the Post-Paradigm with the New White Trash

The LIFEBOAT HOUR, hosted by MICHAEL RUPPERT and broadcast over the PROGRESSIVE RADIO NETWORK, is ranked as one of the top five internet radio shows. It’s no secret the mainstream media is losing stream; listener share is dropping fast as the 99% seek new and proven alternative sources of news, information and entertainment. Ruppert, who is also a founding member of the Venice, CA based music project known as the NEW WHITE TRASH, refers to the Lifeboat Hour as ‘a nightclub at the end of the world’, in that a healthy mix of music is included alongside those enlightened guests whose research, views, and opinions are now the mainstream.

Ruppert launches each week of the Lifeboat Hour with AVALANCHE & EARTHQUAKE, his theme song, one of 37 originals found on DOUBLEWIDE, the debut release from the New White Trash. For the show airing April 22, 2012, the song of the week was SACRED SOUND by the amazing Diane Patterson, from the album World Awake, available through her website.  Ruppert also queued up MELTDOWN from Doublewide, a song whose lyrics illustrate the fall of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the New White Trash, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color.

This from the NWT manifesto: The New White Trash demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding.

 The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.

As Woody Guthrie filled a musical vacuum by acknowledging the pain and the suffering of the Great Depression, the New White Trash fills a bigger and more insidious vacuum left by a rampant, programmed consumerism that serves only corporations and their shareholders. 

This is a new breed of American music in which the message is clear: You’re f**ked.  But now what?  

NWT portrays a post-paradigm, ‘less beautiful’ America, brought to life through music, media, theatre and message – those of, love,need and a desire for social justice. ‘Drop it down’, ‘don’t dig too deep’, ‘we charge extra for this’, ‘take these’, ‘we can’t escape from’, ‘meltdown’, all are the language of the NWT.  And for good reason.

Meltdown/lyrics excerpt:

You only wish you could take the money and run 
Cash it all in for some fun in the sun 
But the bailout came and left you blind 
Now the taxman’s comin for your behind

The New White Trash is your new face 
Fallen from the middle and you’re facing a hard race 
Sock it to me baby, and you can’t win 
Got more goin out than you got coming in 
Everything you know is looking like a lie 
You only want to work and not one bite 
Now you’re selling something 
For cash on the side 
You’re the New White Trash and you can’t hide 

The New White Trash is your new line 
Ain’t no doubt about it, you’re losing big time 
When everything was good, it all turned bad 
You’re the New White Trash and you’ve been had 

All the news is fresh from the TV set 
You’re the New White Trash, that’s what you’ll get 
Being played like a fish made to jump 
You’re the New White Trash 
And it’s coming round to nothing for you 
And you’re sunk

MELTDOWN – THE NEW WHITE TRASH

THE LIFEBOAT HOUR with MICHAEL RUPPERT
 

DOUBLEWIDE – NEW WHITE TRASH

NEW WHITE TRASH – Music of the Post-Paradigm


PBS DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: “Collapse” – Are We Doomed?

via Doc Soup: “Collapse” – Are We Doomed? | Doc Soup | POV Blog | PBS.


DOCUMENT THIS! – Cara Tompkins and the VAC

Photographer and visual artist Cara Tompkins documents all aspects of life at the Venice Arts Club.  Her images bring the scene to life and serve as reminders of what was, what is and what will always be, historically speaking, when it comes to remembrance, recognition and the telling of the tale and the involvement of who, what and when.

Cara’s recent career move to Vancouver has left a hole in our collective heart, but her talent and work with the VAC will live on. Cara not only documented the many people, events and happenings that poured through the VAC, she is responsible for the cool graphics, logo’s and packaging that make up so many of the recent VAC projects including the NEW WHITE TRASH, VAC MUSIC, GUNTER VILE, THE CHEETERS, and ALDEN MARIN MUSIC.

And in the spirit of true creativity, Cara refused to be limited by her visual talent; as a founding member of the New White Trash (with Wade De Void, Michael Ruppert, Kristen Vigard, Malia Luna, James Mathers and Andy Kravitz), when it came time to step up to the mic, Cara stepped up to the mic and let herself flow into the music leaving her mark on such songs as Train To Paris, One Good Reason, and Lu Lu Lemons among many. Have a look and listen to Lu Lu Lemons, dedicated to Cara Tompkins, and check out her work at Extraordinary World Creations.

NEW WHITE TRASH – LU LU LEMONS
dedicated to Cara Tompkins

 

CARA TOMPKINS

VAC IMAGES by CARA TOMPKINS
Wade De Void

Malia Luna & Bailey Rye

Alden Marin

Mike Ruppert & Wade De Void of the New White Trash

Acoustic Backyard at the VAC


AVALANCHE AND EARTHQUAKE – Michael Ruppert and the Lifeboat Hour

The LIFEBOAT HOUR, hosted by Michael Ruppert, is now one of the top rated shows on internet radio. Broadcast over the Progressive Radio Network, the Lifeboat Hour can be heard live Sunday evenings at 9pm Eastern. The subtext for the Lifeboat Hour is ‘A Nightclub At The End Of The World’, a theme Ruppert developed due to his love of fresh, relevant music. As many listeners know, Ruppert is a founding member of the New White Trash (NWT), a music project from Venice, CA.  Other members include Wade De Void, Kristen Vigard, Andy Kravitz, Cara Tompkins, Malia Luna, Michael Jost, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini. DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, double CD debut release from the NWT chronicles the slide of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the ‘new white trash’, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color. Since its release on January 11, 2011, Doublewide, dubbed ‘music of the post-paradigm’, has sold thousands of copies (independently of any record company) to listeners and fans around the globe.

For the show airing, Sunday, April 15 2012, Ruppert chose to play AVALANCHE AND EARTHQUAKE, a song from disc 1 of Doublewide. A&E is also Ruppert’s theme song for the show and is heard each week at the top of the show, as an introduction to the hour. The video for Avalanche & Earthquake features two of the Venice Arts Club mascots, the dogs Rags and Squishy at play in the VAC studio.  Enjoy Avalanche & Earthquake.  NOTE: the version of the song as it is heard on the video is a slightly different version than what appears on the final release. Doublewide is available here.  Thanks for tuning in!

NEW WHITE TRASH – Avalanche & Earthquake

NWT co-founder Mike Ruppert in the VAC Studio. Image/Cara Tompkins

NWT founders Mike Ruppert and Wade De Void. Image/Cara Tompkins

NWT/VAC Mascots RAGS and SQUISHY. Image/Cara Tompkins

NEW WHITE TRASH


DANCING WITH CANCER (part 3): The Kindness of Strangers – Mel Gibson at the VAC

This is part 3 in an ongoing series titled Dancing With Cancer. Here is Part 1 and Part 2. The introduction to this series and to this blog is available here.

It was mid-December, 2009 when Mel Gibson and his then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva knocked on the door of the Venice Arts Club in Venice, CA. Mel had heard about the VAC through Michael Ruppert, a regular at the VAC and a founding member of the New White Trash, one of several music projects produced by the VAC. Being a Sunday evening, it was a slow night, with perhaps only a half-dozen people in the studio. I answered the door, greeted Mel and Oxana then ushered them through the studio and into the backyard where a fire was blazing in the outdoor firepit.

I can tell much about people according to how they react to the VAC dogs, especially to Squishy, a pit bull with a poker face.  It’s typical of Squishy to wait until the other dogs have made their introductions before coming around and introducing himself.  His big mug can be intimidating, and on more than one occasion someone visiting the VAC has refused to enter, simply because of catching sight of Squishy.  This was not the case with Mel, who, upon spotting Squishy, let out a big chuckle and made his way over and introduced himself to the Squish.

It was a great start to a fun evening, all of us sitting around the fire, telling stories, playing music. Oksana explained how she was looking to re-mix a track off of her recently released album, Beautiful Heartache, and would the VAC be interested in the project?  In getting to know Mel, it turned out we had both lived in the same area of Sydney (Paddington) at the same time back in the late 70’s.  I mentioned Zelda the ‘cat lady’ and he knew exactly who I was speaking of.  Small world. Mel took a genuine interest in the years I spent fishing on the Great Barrier Reef, turned out his love of Australia was equal to mine.

Somehow Mel and I got on to speaking about my bouts with cancer.  When I told him I had twice been given 6 months to live and had pulled through on both occasions, he let out a low whistle, put his arm on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and just kind of nodded his head.  And that was that, no more was said about it.

A short while later Venice guitar god Michael Jost showed up, unpacked his axe and played for all of us.  Fortunately, mix-guru Andy Kravitz was in the house, at the board, and was able to capture the moment.  From that, CAMPFIRE SONG was born and now appears on Volume 6 of the VAC MUSIC PROJECT. Mel makes a cameo appearance at the end of the song with some words of praise for Jost’s playing. Around about midnight, Mel and Oksana said their goodbyes and drove off. And so ended another evening at the VAC.

The next morning around 10am my phone rang from a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and said hello.
“Doug, it’s Mel.  Thanks for last night. How are you?”
“Mel? Fine, how’s everything?”  My mind was racing; having figured that he or Oksana had left something behind I walked outside to check the grounds for anything stray or out of place. “What’s up?” I asked.
“Doug, I want you to come up to my house, there’s some people I want you to meet.” Mel asked if I could make it the next day. I said yes, he gave me the address and said see you then.

I spent the rest of that day thinking, WTF? My first thought was that I had mentioned to him about an Australian writer he had never heard of and that he wanted more info.  So the next day, armed with that writers book, I drove up to Malibu and found his house.  Mel greeted me at the front door, gave me a bear hug and invited me in. He then introduced me to his family, who were there for the holidays, including his kids, his sister and  his father.  Mel then ushered me into another room where a team of health care practitioners were waiting to discuss my health/cancer concerns and offer advice and information on various forms of treatment.  After a while, Mel stuck his head in and asked me if I was hungry.  I said sure. He went into his kitchen and proceeded to make me a sandwich which he brought on a tray with an iced tea!

This went on for several days, each day I would meet with experts in the field of health and healing, all of whom had insightful information  about treating cancer and maintaining my health. And each day Mel would offer me whatever it was I wanted in the way of food and drink.

In the end I realized there was no motive to Mel Gibson’s generosity, he was simply doing what he was able for someone in need of what he had to offer through what he could arrange.  His cause for concern followed by his acts of kindness were genuine and touching and real.  I am sorry to hear about his ongoing troubles.  The Mel Gibson I know has a heart as big as a house and a warm and generous spirit geared towards sharing light and love.

Doug Lewis
April 16, 2012

CAMPFIRE SONG – Venice Arts Club Music Project

VAC BACKYARD  Image by Cara Tompkins

MICHAEL JOST at VAC  Image by Cara Tompkins

SQUISHY!

SQUISHY.2  Image by Cara Tompkins

DOUG LEWIS  Image by Malia Luna

 DL AND SQUISHY  Image by Cara Tompkins


HELLO LIFE – Kristen Vigard and the New White Trash

The song HELLO LIFE is from DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD release from the NEW WHITE TRASH. The music of the NWT can be heard each week on Michael C. Ruppert’s LIFEBOAT HOUR broadcast every Sunday evening at 9p Eastern on the Progressive Radio Network.

Hello Life features NWT member Kristen Vigard on vocals.  Kristen is also a founding member of the Venice Arts Club. Check out the video for Hello Life

HELLO LIFE – NEW WHITE TRASH

NEW WHITE TRASH – DOUBLEWIDE

NEW WHITE TRASH – MUSIC OF THE POST PARADIGM

PRODUCED BY VAC


THE LIFEBOAT HOUR – Michael C. Ruppert and the Post-Paradigm Era

Venice Arts Club member and New White Trash founding member Michael C. Ruppert hosts the LIFEBOAT HOUR tonight at 9pm Eastern over Progressive Radio Network (PRN). Voted most popular show on PRN, Mike’s guest tonight is Derrick Jensen. Tuning in is strongly advised.


MUSIC OF THE POST-PARADIGM: Running With the New White Trash

From the Nightclub At The End Of The World, Michael C. Ruppert’s LIFEBOAT HOUR on PROGRESSIVE RADIO NETWORK, Sunday, March 25, 2012.

Each week on the Lifeboat Hour, host Michael C. Ruppert plays a song from a place known as the Nightclub At The End Of The World.  The song of the week for March 25, 2012 is RUNNING WITH THE NEW WHITE TRASH from DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD debut release from the NEW WHITE TRASH, a Venice CA music project founded by Ruppert, Wade De Void, Andy Kravitz, Kristen Vigard and others. Since its January 11, 2011 release, Doublewide has attracted a worldwide audience, evident in album sales to nearly every corner of the globe – Australia, South Korea, Japan, Canada, India, Egypt, Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, the countries of Africa and Europe, and throughout the Americas. The music of NWT is played at Occupy rallies, on the crumbling steps of city halls and on the angry streets of towns and cities across the USA.

From the NWT manifesto:

The New White Trash (NWT) demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding.

The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.

THE MUSIC OF THE NEW WHITE TRASH

As Woody Guthrie filled a musical vacuum by acknowledging the pain and the suffering of the Great Depression, the New White Trash fills a bigger and more insidious vacuum left by a rampant, programmed consumerism that serves only corporations and their shareholders. 

This is a new breed of American music in which the message is clear: You’re f**ked.  But now what?  

NWT portrays a post-paradigm, ‘less beautiful’ America, brought to life through music, media, theatre and message – those of, love,need and a desire for social justice. ‘Drop it down’, ‘don’t dig too deep’, ‘we charge extra for this’, ‘take these’, ‘we can’t escape from’, all are the language of the NWT.  And for good reason.

If you got no credit and you got no cash, you’re NWT.  If you got more going out than you got coming in, you’re NWT. If your 401k is MIA, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, if you find yourself living in a trailer or back with your parents, if your unemployment has run out, if your roads have holes and local schools are closing, if you lost your health insurance to a pre-existing condition, you are the NWT. If you bought the hype and borrowed on a dream,and now your house is gone and you’re selling your things, you’re the NWT. If you’re pissed off, yet you keep a sliver of love in your crossed heart and at least a post-ironic smile on your lips, you’re NWT. If what you had is gone – just like that – then you know you’re running with the New White Trash.

The NWT offers what popular music does not: it recognizes and acknowledges all those who are being marginalized and dropping off the radar screens of “official” life. It is not all depressing. In fact, the NWT celebrates the joys, simple pleasures and love that are often re-discovered only in the darkest times.

DOUBLEWIDE is available as a digital download, as a physical 2-disc package, and as a sponsorship edition. Produced by the VAC.

THE NEW WHITE TRASH – Running With The New White Trash


MUSIC OF THE POST-PARADIGM: American Spring 2012

THE AMERICAN SPRING OF 2012

Liberty hangs in the balance at every moment, never still and always moving to maintain a footing. A nation at a crossroads has historically proven to be a less than pretty sight.  The 21st Century, arriving with the epic and viceral collapse known as 911, has continued a tidal wave of collapse trajectory through the first decade and now, in the year 2012, is taking hold. In America lines have been drawn and distinctions have been made.  Those few with most are drawing their battle plans, hording their riches and seeking to influence those who can change the law do change the law in favor of limitations that restrict democracy, freedom and liberty.  Meanwhile, the many with little have little.  But they do have a name.  They are the 99%.

We are the 99%.

We are men, women, children.  We are doctors, housewives, janitors, war veterans.  We are artists, poets and car mechanics.  We are ranchers, farmers and schoolteachers.  We are mothers, fathers and grandparents. We are journalists, watchkeepers. We are the anonymous and the known. We are everyone, everywhere. We are in America. We are in France and Spain and throughout Europe.  We are in all countries of Africa.  We are the people of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Israel. We are in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hungary, the U.K. We are in every city of every state of every country and we are of every nation. We are the 99%.

The 99% understand how the concept of infinite growth has come and gone, the paradigm exhausted. One is reminded of the only graph used by Michael C. Ruppert in his speeches on Collapse to illustrate the dramatic spike in world population, a trajectory in line with its main and finite ingredient and catalyst, oil. Burn-off from the era of petroleum man is collapsing our ecosystem.

Now on the streets and in the neighborhoods and cities of America we are headed into spring followed by the long, hot days of summer. Crimes are being committed, liberties are being removed and there is a giant contraction taking place fueled by the greed, fear and the arrogance of the few.

Do not go back to sleep.

THE NIGHTCLUB AT THE END OF THE WORLD (NEW)

NEW is a space conceived by Michael C. Ruppert from the cabin of his Lifeboat Hour, a weekly radio show hosted by Ruppert and aired by Progressive Radio Network, Sunday at 9p Eastern. Ruppert points out how NEW and the Lifeboat Hour is not all bad news, that it is an original mix of music with madness, laughter with loss, skills with sorrow, community with calamity, love with grief, and joy in the moment.

Musically speaking, Ruppert is fond of playing cuts from a Venice, CA music project called the New White Trash (NWT), of which Ruppert is a founding member with Wade De Void, Andy Kravitz and others. The theme of the NWT is ‘Music of the Post-Paradigm’. The NWT manifesto reads like this:

Mining a new groove, and with a kind of rough grace, DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2 CD set from the NEW WHITE TRASH, chronicles the slide of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the New White Trash, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color.

The New White Trash (NWT) demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding.

The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.

As Woody Guthrie filled a musical vacuum by acknowledging the pain and the suffering of the Great Depression, the New White Trash fills a bigger and more insidious vacuum left by a rampant, programmed consumerism that serves only corporations and their shareholders. 

This is a new breed of American music in which the message is clear: You’re f**ked.  But now what?  

NWT portrays a post-paradigm, ‘less beautiful’ America, brought to life through music, media, theatre and message – those of, love,need and a desire for social justice. ‘Drop it down’, ‘don’t dig too deep’, ‘we charge extra for this’, ‘take these’, ‘we can’t escape from’, all are the language of the NWT.  And for good reason.

If you got no credit and you got no cash, you’re NWT.  If you got more going out than you got coming in, you’re NWT. If your 401k is MIA, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, if you find yourself living in a trailer or back with your parents, if your unemployment has run out, if your roads have holes and local schools are closing, if you lost your health insurance to a pre-existing condition, you are the NWT. If you bought the hype and borrowed on a dream,and now your house is gone and you’re selling your things, you’re the NWT. If you’re pissed off, yet you keep a sliver of love in your crossed heart and at least a post-ironic smile on your lips, you’re NWT. If what you had is gone – just like that – then you know you’re running with the New White Trash.

 The NWT offers what popular music does not: it recognizes and acknowledges all those who are being marginalized and dropping off the radar screens of “official” life. It is not all depressing. In fact, the NWT celebrates the joys, simple pleasures and love that are often re-discovered only in the darkest times.

NWT was produced by and at the Venice Arts Club. Other music produced by VAC promotes a similar tune and travels a road populated with the familiar themes of the Lifeboat Hour and the NEW. The VAC supports Ruppert’s effort for truth and social justice and gives a nod to his journey and his vision by presenting a gathering of relevant songs from our collection. Thanks for tuning in.

THE NEW WHITE TRASH – ‘It Would Be Strange’

NEW WHITE TRASH – ‘Running With The New White Trash’

FELL MUSIC – ‘Dangerous Ground

FELL MUSIC – ‘American Lite’

FELL MUSIC – ‘Somewhere South’

THE CHEETERS – ‘Bombshell Breakup’


BACK ROAD – Mike Ruppert and New White Trash at Venice Arts Club

Mike Ruppert’s song of the week on the Lifeboat Hour for Sunday, March 18, 2012, is BACK ROAD from DOUBLEWIDE, the debut release from the NEW WHITE TRASH, a music project Ruppert founded with Wade De Void and Andy Kravitz.  Other members include Cara Tompkins, Kristen Vigard, Malia Luna, James Mathers, Michael Jost, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini. The 37 song 2-CD collection was recorded at the VAC and mastered by Bob Rice. NWT producer Doug Lewis says this about Back Road: “I liked it immediately and was surprised by the strength of Mike’s performance and how he poured himself into the music. I kept thinking, ‘Meatloaf, Bat Out Of Hell’! And Back Road fit a theme of the NWT which is ‘where the heart is’ as opposed to the apparently more immediate themes of Meltdown, or Running With The New White Trash, or Realize The Lie of war. Back Road is a cousin song to Wherever There, One Good Reason and Trailer Light On, and maybe a couple more.”

In introducing the song Ruppert mentions how a musician friend, Jim Sullins, sent him a hummed hint of a melody over the piano track.  From that Ruppert fashioned Back Road.

MICHAEL RUPPERT @ VAC

NEW WHITE TRASH.com

NEW WHITE TRASH. music


REALIZE THE LIE – Music of the Post-Paradigm with the New White Trash

DOUBLEWIDE, the 37 song, 2-CD debut album from the New White Trash, chronicles the slide of the former American middle-class down a steep and slippery slope to the New White Trash, a place impartial to race, religion, creed or color. Dubbed, ‘music of the post-paradigm’, NWT members include Wade De Void, Michael C. Ruppert, Andy Kravitz, Kristen Vigard, Robit Hairman, Phil Maggini, Malia Luna, Cara Tompkins, Michele McVicar, Michael Jost.

About the New White Trash and the Post-Paradigm era:

“The New White Trash (NWT) demographic is the outcome of the former middle class being folded in with the working poor and, for good measure, the unemployed and uninsured.  The NWT defines and represents a majority of people whose common bond includes and exists beyond the demographics of age, race, location, education. The people of the NWT are the new ‘have-not’s’, and by its nature and size, this vast swath of population (99%) is now squarely at odds with the 1% who own, operate and dispense our corporate universe, big pharma, big food, big oil, big defense and big government included. ‘By the people for the people’ is receding. The Post-Paradigm Era describes the vacuum left by the sudden disappearance of the former American middle class.  It is in this vacuum we now find ourselves, tumbling in turmoil as home losses mount, bank balances shrink, and shelters are jammed with the likes of you and I. The good old days are done and dusted. That party is over. The coming chaos of the post-paradigm era will lead to a radical and immediate rethinking and remaking of America or it will lead us to complete devastation.” (from NWT Manifesto/VAC.com)

The durge-like quality of REALIZE THE LIE underscores the message: Running with the dogs of war/We’ve run this race before/It’s rotten to the core/When only War can save you – Realize The Lie

Realize The Lie features Wade De Void, Michael Ruppert, Kristen Vigard, Cara Tompkins, Malia Luna, Michele McVicar. Produced by the VAC. Mastered by Bob Rice.

NEW WHITE TRASH, ‘MUSIC OF THE POST-PARADIGM’. Artwork/Cara Tompkins@EWC

NEW WHITE TRASH – DOUBLEWIDE. Artwork/Cara Tompkins@EWC

 NEW WHITE TRASH HEADQUARTERS, VENICE CA USA. Image/Cara Tompkins@EWC


THE NEW WHITE TRASH – From ‘Dangerous Ground’ to ‘Doublewide’

In 1997, a decade before a fortuitous meeting between Michael C. Ruppert and Venice musician Doug Lewis in the spring of 2008, Lewis was busy recording his on-going Fell Music project. The meeting of Ruppert and Lewis would lead to the forming of the New White Trash and the making of their debut album, Doublewide, a 37 song double-disc set chronicling the slide of the former middle class down a ‘steep and slippery slope to the new white trash, a place and genre impartial to race, creed or color’. Doublewide was released January 11, 2011 and has since found a home with a worldwide audience of truth seekers investing in alternative and conscious voices to match the signs of the times. One song from Doublewide, titled We Can’t Escape From found its way onto the soundtrack of the DVD release of Collapse the Movie, directed by documentary filmmaker Chris Smith and featuring Michael Ruppert as the only character in the film. Roger Ebert said this of the film: “I don’t know when I’ve seen a thriller more frightening. I couldn’t tear my eyes from the screen. “Collapse” is even entertaining, in a macabre sense. I think you owe it to yourself to see it. ”

Some people meet over drinks; Ruppert and Lewis met at a dog park adjacent to the Santa Monica airport near Venice, CA. In an excerpt taken from the article ‘Grooving With The Archetypes‘, a piece about the VAC written by Bud Theisen, Lewis says, “Mike and I met at the local dog park, our dogs got on very well and so did we. I gave Mike a copy of the Cheeters first CD and he loved it. He gave me a copy of Crossing The Rubicon, which I devoured.”  Lewis, always on the prowl for new musical talent, took an interest in Ruppert’s desire to play and record music. “I made him work for it,” says Lewis. “I pushed him pretty hard and he didn’t fold. In fact, he blossomed. Mike is a great teacher about what he knows, and a terrific  student when it comes to learning new skills.”

For Ruppert, those new skills included learning how to work the microphone while developing a more ‘left brain’ approach to writing, away from the factual reporting of his day to day and into a more sublime world of the trans-poetic, lyrical experience.  In a word…storytelling. Fortunately for Ruppert, Lewis had been mining this ground for decades, with themes and songs of cautionary tales to do with protest, eternal war, with revealing commentary swiped against a background extending from Vietnam to the big bomb.

For Lewis and Ruppert, there were no issues in reaching common ground in the recording studio. With their two sensibilities cut from the same desire to formulate words into the action of social commentary by speaking out through popular song, Lewis and Ruppert, along with Andy Kravitz, Kristen Vigard, Cara Tompkins, James Mathers, Malia Luna, and a host of others, poured their time and energies into recording their collaborations for what would become Doublewide.

Could two people be more different?  Lewis – tall, lanky, whip-smart with movie-star looks (think Willem DeFoe meets Chet Baker) and more rock and roll attitude than most rock & rollers vs Ruppert – a former LAPD cop who looks like he could be Wilford Brimley’s kid brother. Yet, for Lewis, meeting and recording with Ruppert had a reassuring effect. “Mike and my sensibilities are perfectly aligned. I’d been working this ground a long time, steering each of my collaborative projects into a direction of relevance, refining the message, speaking out. Working with Mike was a breath of fresh air. Between us, we hit a groove and didn’t waver”

Dangerous Ground‘ from Lewis’ Fell Music project was recorded in 1997 at Arthur Barrow’s Lotek Studios in Mar Vista. The message is familiar, the imagery informed and the lineage apparent from the Dangerous Ground to Doublewide.

Mark Baer, President, Museum of Monterey and Managing Director of SmartChannel.TV
March 2012

DANGEROUS GROUND video from FELL MUSIC TWO
THE FELL MUSIC PROJECT
DOUBLEWIDE from THE NEW WHITE TRASH. Artwork/Cara Tompkins
THE NEW WHITE TRASH. Artwork/Cara Tompkins
MICHAEL C. RUPPERT and DOUG LEWIS. Image/Cara Tompkins
RUPPERT/LEWIS at the VENICE ARTS CLUB. Image/Cara Tompkins

DOG LOVE – New White Trash members Squishy, Monster and Rags @ Venice Arts Club

We LOVE our dogs at the VAC!

Images: Cara Tompkins @ EWC

SQUISHY & RAGS. All images/Cara Tompkins @ EWC

SQUISHY & MONSTER

SQUISHY & MONSTER

AVALANCHE & EARTHQUAKE – NEW WHITE TRASH VIDEO WITH SQUISHY & RAGS


ANOTHER KID WITH A GUN – Music & Social Commentary in the Post-Paradigm Era

Music as narrative, social commentary, and as a voice and act of protest threads a particular path through the American cultural and political experience.  Venice Arts Club promotes recording artists who use music and song as tools of recognition, and who forge rebellion and revolution through song lyric, rhythm, and melody.

The tone of much of FELL MUSIC is apparent by song title, including War Eternal, More War Now, Dangerous Ground, American Lite, Big Bird Over Baghdad, Made In The USA, Frontline.

Likewise, THE CHEETERS, a rock and roll ‘art band’, covers similar ground with Lies In High Fidelity, Baton Rouge, Bombshell Breakup, and Bring Me The News.

The NEW WHITE TRASH, a music project produced by Venice Arts Club, and whose members include activist Michael C. Ruppert, musician Wade De Void, grammy-nominated Andy Kravitz, and recording artist Kristen Vigard, released DOUBLEWIDE, a 2-disc, 37 song collection of ‘music of the post-paradigm’. Tracks highlighting such a paradigm are Running With The New White Trash, Don’t Dig Too Deep, Meltdown, Running On Rumor, to name a few.

Likewise, the 8 volume Venice Arts Club Music Project includes By Degree, Appointment In Samarra, Liberty, Got Your Gun Yet, Paralyze Me, No Love In Haiti, and Another Kid With A Gun, a song featuring VAC regulars Michael Jost, Spring Groove, Malia Luna, Michael C. Ruppert, Doug Lewis.

Check out this video for Another Kid With A Gun:


LU LU LEMONS – Phil Maggini and the New White Trash

PHIL MAGGINI, bass player from Grammy winning Shadowfax, was in the VAC house for a New White Trash recording/party session and laid down his signature sound on LU LU LEMONS. Video and pics below.

AT THE VAC – New White Trash members Andy Kravitz, Phil Maggini, Robit Hairman

Bass player Phil Maggini playing the ’64 Precision.

New White Trash Headquarters at the VAC | Image/Cara Tompkins


MICHAEL RUPPERT – Epoch Times Profile: Peak Oil, New White Trash, Collapse

Michael Ruppert profiled in The Epoch Times : Chelsea Green.

As if leading the charge of the seemingly post-catastrophe society was not enough, Ruppert also takes some time to make music with his band The New White Trash—although the themes are predictably not far from his heart.

“New White Trash is not a euphemism for modern rednecks, the name represents the discarded middle class from the current economic crisis,” he said. “Our music is the music of the post-paradigm, much in the way Woody Guthrie sung about the depression we are doing the same for now.”

Mike Ruppert (aka Cross DeVoid) playing with the New White Trash. Image/Wade De Void