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.
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.
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.
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
NEW WHITE TRASH – Music of the Post-Paradigm
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
VAC IMAGES by CARA TOMPKINS
Wade De Void
Malia Luna & Bailey Rye
Mike Ruppert & Wade De Void of the New White Trash
Acoustic Backyard at the VAC
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
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 – NEW WHITE TRASH
NEW WHITE TRASH – DOUBLEWIDE
NEW WHITE TRASH – MUSIC OF THE POST PARADIGM
PRODUCED BY VAC