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08/19/05: Randy Biscuit/Big Boys dies at age 56
From The Austin Stateman:
'Beloved punk icon Randy "Biscuit" Turner was found dead in his home Thursday afternoon [August 18, 2005], the same day a feature story about him appeared in the The Austin Chronicle. Marc Savlov, a Chronicle reporter who wrote the cover story about Turner, told a group of neighbors who stood outside of Turner's South Austin home that he was the person who went to house, looked inside and called police. "I opened the door, and it was dead silent," he said, his hand shaking as he held his cell phone. He said he had just come from giving a statement to police.

Nationally, Turner was best known as the frontman for punk-funk pioneers the Big Boys. With the Big Boys, Turner subverted the rapidly entrenching dogmas of American hardcore punk in the late 1970s and early '80s with humor, eclectic songwriting and outrageous costumes. With guitarist Tim Kerr, bassist Chris Gates and drummer Rey Washam, the Big Boys, which lasted from 1978 to 1984, became known for explosive and funky live shows. They slowed down punk tempos to allow for syncopated rhythms and played with nonpunk bands such as the Washington, D.C., go-go act Trouble Funk. The Big Boys can be seen as a direct precursor to funky rock acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone. The band's encouragement of audience participation made them iconic punk rockers.

"It's hard to overstate how huge they were in Austin," Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey said Thursday evening. "They weren't just a punk band. A really wide spectrum of people would check out the shows. It was due in a large part to Biscuit. Everyone in the crowd would be dancing and having so much fun, and Biscuit was like the ringleader of this band that would sometimes have a full horn section on stage. The band's motto was 'fun, fun, fun,' and that was Biscuit to a T. People like Biscuit created an amazing community here. The Big Boys were the heart and soul of it, and he was the heart and soul of the Big Boys. He meant so much to the music scene here in Texas and to punks throughout the U.S."'

The initial medical result are that Randy died due to "gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to cirrhosis associated with chronic [alcohol] abuse" Welly of Four Letter Word, who toured the UK with Randy's latest band in 2004, posted the following on punknews.org:
"[Randy's death] would NOT be due to alcohol abuse as Biscuit didn't drink. The cirrhosis could've been caused by the fact he was a carrier of Hepatitis, which long-term can have the same effect on the liver and kidneys, as well as jaundice, coma and death. Biscuit also had diabetes. I wanted to point this out before people start assuming that he was some kind of alcoholic. He was also about 56 and had these conditions long-term."

Randy Biscuit had been touring and creating art through the present, and an art exhibition of new work at Austin's Pedazo Chunk is scheduled for Friday 8/19/05. This art opening is also now a wake for Randy.


08/16/05: Steve Chinn recovering from Aneurysm
Steve Chinn, long-time east bay band member (SOSA, Boom and the Legion of Doom, Fang) and recent AT t-shirt screener, is in the hospital recovering from a cerebral aneurysm. You can keep up to date on his progress here. We all hope he recovers fully and quickly.

You can make a donation towards his medical costs here.


07/26/05: KDHX 88.1 FM St. Louis hosts a show dedicated to Alternative Tetnacles
"When the Levee Breaks" hosted by BobEE Sweet on KDHX 88.1 FM in St. Louis, MO will air a two hour show dedicated to AT on Wednesday, 7/27 between 2-4pm central time. Tune in over the Internet here.


07/05/05: AT joins the My Space Masses!
It's finally happened. Alternative Tentacles has jumped on the My Space bandwagon! Stop on by, check out some free AT tunes, drop us a line, and/or just bask in the on-line glow of the Bat!

Heck, we promise we won't take any off-balance shots of ourselves in the bathroom mirror!


07/04/05: US Military = Big Brother (again!)
From our friends at Military Free Zone comes this July 4th news:

"Over the last month, military recruiters have changed their strategies several times and even created a database that further erodes privacy rights in America. Recruiters will now be able to target students by income and even by ethnic background! Keep reading - we are not making this stuff up....

Army recruiters have fallen short of their goal for the 5th month straight (lowered their goals to change perception!) learn more here!

Parents are mobilizing and taking action! - Read this news story of a mom miffed that military recruiters can talk to her 16 year old daughter but police can not under current government rules. Learn about the military's plan to get your information one way or another!!!

On June 23rd The Washington Post reported "The Defense Department working with a private marketing firm to create a database of all U.S. college students and high school students between 16 and 18 years old, to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches... The article continued " The program is provoking concern among privacy advocates. The new database will include birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity, and what subjects the students are studying." Read the article for free at the Philadelphia Inquirer .

Newspapers all over the country have reported on how bad this database is to America's civil liberties and even further erodes our Constitutionally protected rights!  A Florida newspaper writes: "The database likely violates the Privacy Act, which limits how much information the government can collect on its citizens...By outsourcing, the DOD is making an end run around those restrictions, a chilling precedent that opens the door for further unwarranted intrusion into the lives of private citizens."

Even the conservative Cato institute worries about our privacies being stripped through government created databases and even wrote in 2003, "If government is hell-bent on assembling and mining massive databases of our credit card purchases, car rentals, library books, airline ticket purchases, and so on, then banks, airlines, hotels, Internet service providers, and other private businesses we deal with have no choice but to routinely transfer our private information to the government against our wishes. They cannot promise to safeguard our privacy as they otherwise could." read this article for more info."


06/28/05: Minor Threat 1, Nike 0
Yesterday evening Nike released the following letter. Of course, if people didn't raise a ruckus this apology would've never have happened and the Nike corporation would've happily appropriated even more of the underground than it already has. Good work to everyone who responded, keep up the pressure until they start paying living wages to overseas workers and stop exploiting low cost labor in sweatshops and maquiladoras.

"June 27, 2005
To Minor Threat, Dischord Records and fans of both
Re: Major Threat East Coast Tour Poster
Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes for the creation of a tour poster inspired by Minor Threat's album cover. Despite rumors being circulated, Wieden & Kennedy and Odopod had nothing to do with the creation of this tour poster and should not be held accountable. To set the record straight, Nike Skateboarding's "Major Threat" Tour poster was designed, executed and promoted by skateboarders, for skateboarders. All of the Nike employees responsible for the creation of the tour flyer are fans of both Minor Threat and Dischord records and have nothing but respect for both.

Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984. And for the members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington DC, we felt that it was a perfect fit. This was a poor judgment call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records.

We apologize for any problems this may have caused, and want to make very clear that we have no relationship with the members of Minor Threat, Dischord Records and they have not endorsed our products.

Every effort has been made to remove and dispose of all flyers (both print and digital). Again, Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes to Minor Threat and Dischord Records.

Sincerely,
Nike Skateboarding"


06/27/05: Nike rips off Dischord and Minor Threat
Updated 6/27/05: Nike, the huge sneaker corporation that's infamous for both its dominance of the international sneaker market and for its habitual use of sweatshop labor, is using slightly altered images of 80's hardcore pioneers Minor Threat to sell skateboard shoes. The original ad for the skateboard events has been removed from Nike's site, but you see the images in this article in Transworld Skateboarding.

Here's what our friends at Dischord Records have to say about it:
"Many people have noticed that Nike has appropriated the Minor Threat artwork and logo for a new skateboard demo / ad campaign. To set the record straight -- Nike never contacted Dischord nor Minor Threat to obtain permission to use this imagery, nor was any permission granted. Simply put, Nike stole it and we're not happy about it. We are not yet sure what actions, if any, we can take to stop this campaign but in the meantime if you would like to direct your thoughts to Nike, that may be a good place to start.

Thanks to the many people who have written to Dischord express their outrage and support."

It's unclear whether Nike's use of the Minor Threat logo, Flex Your Head logo, and record cover constitute enough fair use to trigger First Amendment protections or if it is solely commercial speech and therefore regulated in other ways.

Regardless, please contact Nike via phone/mail or e-mail and let them know what you think about this latest corporate commodification of underground, anti-corporate culture.


06/16/05: The Sermon return BBQ Style!
In the tradition of great backyard parties everywhere, The Sermon return this Sunday afternoon in San Francisco! It's at The Attck, 24th and Mission, 3:00pm DJ Balls, 4:00pm The Sermon. Free, BBQ optional.

Let us pray!


06/11/05: Tribe 8 to Shock the Michigan's Womyn's Fest for the last time!?
That's right, Alternative Tentacles homocore superstars, Tribe 8, are continuing their series of farewell shows by rocking and shocking the Michigan Womyn's Festival one last year!

They're playing the Day Stage August 19th, during the 30th Anniversary Michigan Womyn's Festival outside of Grand Rapids, MI. In 1994, Tribe 8 first played the Michigan Fest, jumpstarting first ever mosh pit at the Fest and bringing fresh music and attitude to the venerable feminist gathering. This year, they'll be joined by fellow musical renegades Le Tigre, The Butchies, and Sistas In The Pit, as well as the more usual artists like Holly Near and the Indigo Girls. You can find out more information and purchase Fest Tickets here!


06/09/05: American Idol apologizes for using DK song!
This just in- the music supervisor from American Idol has apologized for the show using the Dead Kennedys version of "Viva Las Vegas" in an American Idol episode a few months ago. Many loyal AT fans sent us word of this happening, and thanks to a couple of alert folks we were able to get copies of the broadcast to prove that they had broadcast the band's version of the song. (The television show had asked the band, including Jello, if they could use the song for a hefty sum of $, but were turned down by all of the members of the band)

From: "Susan Slamer"
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 6:29 PM
Subject: Apology from American Idol

I wish to express our sincere apology to the Dead Kennedys' and their fans for the inadvertent use of their version of the song "Viva Las Vegas" in American Idol, Season IV.

Susan Slamer
Music Supervisor,
American Idol Productions, Inc.



06/07/05: Wesley Willis Art Retrospective/Concert in Belgium
From June 17th to September 17th, Mad Musee in Liege, Belgium is hosting a retrospective exhibition of the art of Wesley Willis!

There will be drawings, photographs, and films. The films and photos will cover Wesley's music as well as his visual art. The idea is to show many of Wesley's creations.

June 17th will be the opening of the exhibition as well as a Tribute concert with some 15 bands that will cover Wesley's songs. More information available on the Mad Musee website.


06/05/05: The new PMRC = PTC!
That's right, the descendant of Tipper Gore's Parent's Music Research Council (PMRC) is the Parent's Television Council (PTC), right down to the "liberal" figurehead of Executive Director Tim Winter, self-described "liberal" (6/1/05 interview on "Fresh Air" NPR).

More subtle than previous censorship efforts, the PTC calls for economic boycotts- er, scheduling restrictions, extending the FCC to cover basic cable- instead of basic government censorship. The PTC still relies on false information that blames teen sex and violence on television, not on biology. It refuses to call on parents to protect their own children, instead of demanding that adults sacrifice their artistic choices.

Please check out their website and tell 'em what you think about the censorious underpinnings of their initiatives! Their 800 number is 800-882-6868 feel free to call them on their dime.


06/02/05: Green Anarchy benefit led by ex-AT M-dawg!
There's a benefit for Green Anarchy Magazine Saturday, June 4th, featuring Myth Of Progress (with Michelle former AT Queen of Publicity), Doppleganger, Raum, and more exciting bands t.b.a.!

There will be a potluck at 4pm, followed by bands from 6-9pm, and a movie at 10pm. It all happens at Station 40, 3030 B 16th Street (@ Mission), San Francisco. $5 all ages!


06/02/05: The Sermon returns to the stage and the studio!
Alternative Tentacles recording artists, The Sermon, are back in action! After months of blistering rehearsals, founding members Matt Gabriel (guitar) and Mike Gabriel (vox and theremin), are joined by new members Greg Daniels (bass) and Dave Leonard (drums). Sacrificing none of the high-energy, over-amplified rock and roll dynamics of prior incarnations, the band has been sharpening its songwriting skills, fusing late ‘60s garage-punk with hard-hitting rhythm and blues.

The result is 6 new ferocious songs, charged with overdrive and distortion, that have snaked and swaggered directly from the black heart of rock and roll. Recording sessions at Studio 880 (Oakland) with Marco Martin and Louder Studios (San Francisco) with Tim Green, are tentatively scheduled for the upcoming months.

In the meantime, The Sermon will be performing in San Francisco and in the Pacific Northwest during the summer as well as Los Angeles in the fall. The Sermon are booked by Jason Cotter of the Chaka Kong Agency. See http://www.chakakong.com or write to chakakong@yahoo.com for details. Contact the_sermon@hotmail.com for more information.


05/28/05: Another Controversial AT/AK spoken artist!
From today's East Bay Express comes this foreshadowing of the controversy that will erupt when AT and AK co-release the new Norman Finkelstein spoken word cd "An Issue of Justice" about the Palestine/Isreal conflict:

"When intellectuals attack: A forthcoming UC Press book has come under fire from Harvard Law School professor and O.J. Simpson murder-trial defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who claims that De Paul political-theory professor Norman Finkelstein's 'Beyond Chutzpah' -- billed as "an exposé of the corruption of scholarship on the Israel-Palestine conflict"-- includes misinformation and defamation, some of it involving Dershowitz himself.

A sequel to 2004's 'The Holocaust Industry', Finkelstein's latest book, whose main section is titled "The Greatest Fraud Ever Sold," was originally set for publication by the New Press in New York. After Dershowitz wrote to the New Press leveling his charges, Finkelstein switched to UC. Now, with the help of a law firm, Dershowitz has leveled the same charges in missives to Arnold Schwarzenegger and UC. The book's publication date has been delayed. Enmity between the two profs is ongoing: After the release of Dershowitz' 2003 book 'The Case for Israel', Finkelstein accused him of having plagiarized a third writer's work. Moreover, he devotes a section of his personal Web site to what he calls "The Dershowitz Hoax."


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