Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RIP Michael Ruppert

Los Angeles, CA

Michael Ruppert passed away on Sunday night. Self-inflicted gunshot wound. Apparent suicide.

Although we started Tao of Fear years before we ever saw Collapse documentary, we were certainly influenced by Ruppert, an ex-cop turned investigative journalist. You might have seen him appear on the Joe Rogan Experience. But he was full-blown doom and gloom in Collapse. He really cut through all the bullshit and let you inside his world view, which includes peak oil and how we're living inside a ponzi scheme of a financial system. In short, we're on the brink of collapse. He's not someone who's fear mongering because the collapse is already underway. Just a matter of time before everyone else wakes up and see how fucked we really are.

Here's Ruppert in Collapse...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Good Times: JJ's Black Jesus

Los Angeles, CA

I recently finished reading Jimmie Walker's autobiography Dyn-o-mite! Excellent book with tons of great stories of how Jimmie went from a skinny kid in the Bronx, to working stand-up opening up for Black Pather rallies, to moving out to Los Angeles when he got his own sitcom and hiring an unknown dorky kid from Indiana to help him write jokes. Yeah, that last person was David Letterman. Jimmie had some great dirt on Jay Leno too. General consensus from every comedian that worked in LA in the 70s/80s, is that Leno is a fucking jagoff. Walker goes into some of the sordid details. Now, that's what I want to read from a memoir!

Thank God for YouTube. I did a deep dive of Jimmie Walker stuff and came across a classic episode of Good Times, when JJ causes some controversy when he paints a black Jesus.

Man, this episode would NEVER get across the censors today.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inside Dope: Behind the Scenes Ep. 11 [Sean Azzariti]

Los Angeles, CA

We had a special guest for Episode 11... Sean Azzariti,a  medicinal marijuana advocate and Iraq War vet who returned home with PTSD after two tours.

I'm friends with Sean and have known him for several years. Our mutual friend Jonas from Denver introduced us and we've been chummy ever since. I really didn't get to know the details of Sean's life when we first met, but I eventually learned about his constant battle with PTSD.

Sean struggled after he was given a heavy cocktail of pharmecutical drugs from different shrinks, but he didn't get any better until he started self-medicating with medicinal marijuana. He's since become an  advocate for using MMJ to treat PTSD. It's not listed as one of the approved ailments, but Sean is fighting for a bill that would add PTSD to that list.

Sean was tapped to become the first person to buy recreational weed. It's a great story, which he tells in this recent episode of Dope Stories. We spoke about a lot off different subjects and it was really one of my favorite episodes to date (up there with Dr. Carl Hart).

When Shane approached me to co-host Dope Stories with him, I mentioned Sean Azzariti as a potential guest. I'm so glay we finally got him in. It was really an enlightening chat.

Here's the setlist...


And listen here...


Download link for Episode 11.

Subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Website: www.DopeStories.com
Sound Cloud: soundcloud.com/DopeStories
Libsyn: dopestories.libsyn.com
RSS feed: http://dopestories.libsyn.com/rss
Twitter: @DopeStories

***

Listen to previous shows.... Episode 1 , Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10, plus Broke Stories Ep. 1.

Also, here's my other Inside Dope posts, which give you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the first few episodes:
Inside Dope - Ep 2: Philip Seymour Hoffman and 90s Heroin Chic
Inside Dope - Ep 3: Start Up Dot Weed and L.A. Cannabis Cup
Inside Dope - Ep 4: Crack 101
Inside Dope - Ep 5: The Oxy Years
Inside Dope - Ep 6: Tripping in the House I Live In
Inside Dope - Ep 7: Greg Merson (WSOP Champion)
Inside Dope - Ep 8: Dr. Carl Hart
Inside Dope - Ep 9: Media Dope
Inside Dope - Ep 10: Ridin' Dirty
Thanks for listening. Don't forget to subscribe to Dope Stories on iTunes.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rothko Moments [Mad Men]

Los Angeles, CA

During an early episode of Mad Men (middle of Season 2), Bert Cooper purchased a Rothko. He only paid $10,000 for it! In 2014 dollars, that's closer to $75,000, maybe $80,000. Of course, a Rothko of that sort is worth substantially more. A Rothko would fetch a several million today. At least 8 figures. Heck, one Rothko went for $75M at a Sotherby's auction in 2012.

Here's the infamous Rothko scene when a few of the copywriters sneak into their boss's office to take a look at his new painting...


I wrote a couple of things about Mad Men including their drug-related episodes from speed to weed to LSD. Check out...
Speed Men
Pete Campbell's Magical Mystery Tour
Roger in the Sky With Diamonds

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Writing Music: St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Los Angeles, CA

Love the name of the band. Of course, we share the same name. But I ain't no saint. But sometimes my body is so beat up, it feels like I'm lugging around broken bones.

Close your eyes and you'd think this tune below (Call Me) was recorded in the early 70s. But it's a post-modern, all-white soul band with church origins. The lead singer doesn't look anything like your typical front man. He looks more like the guy sitting in the cubicle next to you. That's why this band fucking rocks. So unassuming.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones is a throwback to 70s soul. They hail from Alabama but they're one of the hottest bands, considering it's neither country nor electronica. They've impressed critics especially prickly unimpressed music bloggers, but you just have to listen to 30 seconds of a live show to realize that you're hooked. It's call soul music for a reason and these guys deliver in an age of watered-down, auto-tuned derivatives of music that used to be cutting edge. Yeah, these guys are the real deal. They cut through all those poppy bullshit and crafted a magnificent album... Half the City.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones unleashed their gritty, southern-fried soul in February. In a short time, they've already made an impressive impression. Grab St. Paul's new album. Only cost $9. Support this band because I want to keep hear them making music over the next decade.

FYI... check out this good interview with St. Paul's frontman Paul Janeway.

Here's a catchy tune Call Me...


And here's a live performance of I'm All Torn Up from last April...


And here's a classic cover...

Monday, April 07, 2014

Silicon Valley - First Episode

Los Angeles, CA

Like a smart drug dealer, HBO is giving away their newest batch of drugs for free... and then they'll jack up the price.

Here is the first episode of Silicon Valley, which debuted last night. It's a new project from Mike Judge (Office Space). I dug it, but some of my techie friends were not impressed.

Watch via HBO's YouTube channel...