British Home Secretary Patel, punk rock parody


This 29 July parody music video from Britain is called Sacked Patels – Priti Vacant (lyric video).

It is a parody of Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols.

It is about Priti Patel, the new Home Secretary in Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

It says about itself:

Why did Priti Patel, our new Home Secretary, have to leave her previous ministerial role? Find out on “Priti Vacant” by her Sex Pistols tribute band, Sacked Patels, fronted by the iconic Priti Rotten.

LYRICS:

There was no point in asking the Foreign Office
Because Boris Johnson was out on the piss
If anyone asks, yes they did have a hunch
That Netanyahu and I went out to lunch

Oh I’m so Priti, I’m so Priti
I’m vacant
I met with Bibi, met with Bibi
On vacation

Don’t ask about the meetings ’cause I wasn’t there
Okay, there were a couple, but just that – I swear
Alright, I confess, there were a dozen or so
I said we’d send them money
Don’t tell the FCO

Oh I’m so Priti, I’m so Priti
I’m vacant
I met with Bibi, met with Bibi
On vacation

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German secret police spying on punk rockers


This live music video, recorded on 28 February 2015 in Hamburg, Germany, shows a concert by punk rock band Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch.

The word ‘Undeutsch’ in the name of the band, meaning ‘un-German’ was what nazis during the Hitler era called opponents of nazism.

By Martin Nowak in Germany:

Punk band files lawsuit against surveillance by German intelligence agency

20 June 2019

Last week, the German punk band Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch filed a lawsuit against the Saxony State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the German domestic intelligence agency at the state level, LfV). The injunction seeks to ensure that the 2018 intelligence agency report, which lists the band in the category “left-wing extremist music scene”, “can no longer be published in this form.”

The band, based in the eastern German state of Saxony, justified its lawsuit by arguing that it was not clear “how our music infringed on the freedom of art and made us enemies of democracy.” The band also states in its press release: “What is obvious, however, is that this classification criminalises us and will be used by the authorities to make it harder for us to obtain venues, hosts and concert promoters.”

The press release refers to the disproportionate deployment of police at the band’s concerts and the fact that organisers are pressured on a regular basis to cancel concerts by Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch, or concerts are cancelled for no good reason. This took place most recently in Leubsdorf, near where the band is based in Grünhainichen, when the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) mayor canceled an entire Alternative Rock Night concert.

The LfV has included the “left-wing extremist music scene” in its reports since 2015. In the current report, eleven bands are named. Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch was first mentioned in 2017. The LfV in Bavaria also listed the band for the first time in its 2017 report, although it has only played two concerts in the south German state.

The Saxon “constitution protection” report for 2018 had already hit the headlines prior to the punk band’s lawsuit, after it accused the organisers of an anti-Nazi concert, attended by 70,000 people in Chemnitz following riots by far rightists, of giving left-wing “extremists” a platform to spread “their extremist ideology to non-extremists.” The report cited as proof for its claims shouts by the crowd of “Alerta, alerta Antifascista.”

In a similar manner, the report indicts Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch for its anti-fascist stance, its opposition to repression and its alleged “rejection of the democratic constitutional state.” The report offers as evidence lyrics from the song “Punk” from 2017 (no longer on the market) which ended: “I hate the system. I hate this state.”

“Upon closer examination of the individual who is president of the Saxon State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Mr. Gordian Meyer-Plath”, the band writes, “it quickly becomes clear why above all in Saxony, there is alleged to have been an above-average growth of left-wing extremist music. The former undercover agent in charge of the NSU [neo-fascist National Socialist Underground]
Carsten Szczepanski, alias Piatto, remains up until today one reason why a thorough and proper review of the NSU murder series seems almost impossible.” Between 2000–2007 the National Socialist Underground carried out a series of ten murders and numerous bank robberies under the noses of and possibly in collaboration with German intelligence agencies.

The fact that the LfV president Meyer-Plath is also a member of the Marchia fraternity, which until 2011 was affiliated to the far-right umbrella organisation, German Fraternity, the band points out, demonstrates that he “is not exactly a democratic role model.”

The public prosecutor in Potsdam is currently examining whether to take action against the Saxon LfV president for making false statements. Meyer-Plath, who had previously worked for the Brandenburg state intelligence agency, was interviewed in April 2018 by the NSU investigation committee of the Brandenburg state parliament regarding his role in the case of neo-Nazi and undercover agent Szczepanski.

The Left Party chairman of the investigation committee, Volkmar Schöneburg, accuses Meyer-Plath of having helped the neo-Nazi, who has been convicted of attempted murder, to produce a magazine for the militant Nazi scene while in prison. Meyer-Plath denied the claim that he had exchanged mail with relaxed safety rules with “Piatto”. Schöneburg told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that Meyer-Plath’s version of events had been refuted by documents and statements by prison staff.

Szczepanski, a former functionary of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD), also participated in establishing the Ku Klux Klan in Germany. Meyer Plath is alleged to have passed on information to Szczepanski relating to weapons procurement and raids planned by the NSU terror gang. In order to protect his undercover agent, Meyer Plath allegedly did not forward this same information to the police.

The action undertaken by the state office of constitution protection against Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch is an attack on basic democratic rights and, above all, on the freedom of expression and art. The band’s lawsuit should be supported.

The Socialist Equality Party (SGP) is suing the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which illegally classified the party in its 2017 report as “left-wing extremist” and therefore subject to surveillance. The criminalisation of antifascism, criticism of capitalism and state repression, as the SGP writes, is “a component of government policy that is increasingly based on authoritarian forms of rule and the reliance on right-wing extremist forces so as to enforce militarist policies, the strengthening of the repressive state apparatus and attacks on social spending, and to suppress all opposition that emerges.”

Fukushima, Japan, nuclear plant disaster news update


This 18 August 2014 live punk rock music video by Japanese band Scrap, consisting of Fukushima disaster survivors, is their song Fuck TEPCO; about the corporation owning the Fukushima disaster nuclear plant.

The tune is based on the song Rockaway Beach, by the Ramones.

From Al Jazeera, 20 February 2019:

Fukushima operator told to pay over 2011 nuclear disaster

A court in Japan has awarded nearly $4m in new damages to 152 residents forced to flee their houses after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown eight years ago, the world’s most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Yokohama district court on Wednesday ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay 419.6m yen ($3.8m) to the residents, a court spokeswoman told AFP news agency.

Triggered by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake, a tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, overwhelming reactor cooling systems, causing multiple meltdowns and sending radiation over a large area that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

Nearly 19,000 people were killed or went missing and 160,000 lost their homes and livelihoods in the massive earthquake and tsunami.

Presiding judge Ken Nakadaira said the government and TEPCOcould have avoided the accident if they had taken measures” against the tsunami, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The verdict was the fifth time the government has been ruled liable for the disaster in eastern Japan.

In March last year, a court in Kyoto, western Japan, ruled that both the government and TEPCO were responsible and ordered them to pay 110m yen ($992,300) to 110 residents.

However, in a separate case in September 2017 in Chiba near Tokyo, the court ruled that only the operator was liable.

Around 12,000 people who fled after the disaster due to radiation fears have filed various lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.

Cases have revolved around whether the government and TEPCO, both of whom are responsible for disaster prevention measures, could have foreseen the scale of the tsunami and subsequent meltdown.

Dozens of class-action lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation from the government.

Is life in Fukushima really getting back to normal? — The Washington Post: here.

[Japan’s] Prime Minister Abe uses the Tokyo Olympics as snake oil cure for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns — Fairewinds Energy Education: here.

San Diego judge dismisses U.S. sailors’ Fukushima radiation lawsuits, rules Japan has jurisdiction — The San Diego Union-Tribune: here.

Japanese man marries robot girl


This 21 December 2013 punk rock music video from Scotland says about itself:

The Valves – Robot Love

Live at Edinburgh Liquid Rooms

The Scottish band The Valves wrote this song much earlier, in 1977.

However, now something happens not in song lyrics, but in reality.

From the New York Times, 19 January 2019:

Do You Take This Robot …

When Akihiko Kondo, a 35-year-old school administrator in Tokyo, strolled down the aisle in a white tuxedo in November, his mother was not among the 40 well-wishers in attendance. For her, he said, “it was not something to celebrate.”

You might see why. The bride, a songstress with aquamarine twin tails named Hatsune Miku, is not only a world-famous recording artist who fills up arenas throughout Japan: She is also a hologram.

Mr. Kondo insists the wedding was not a stunt, but a triumph of true love after years of feeling ostracized by real-life women for being an anime otaku, or geek.

‘Jingle Bells’ music by animals, by punk rockers


This 19 December Christmas music video is the song ‘Jungle Yells‘. It is really Jingle Bells, but sung by animals of Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands: a young elephant, tigers, flamingos, chimpansees, prairie dogs and others.

This 1979 punk rock music video is the same song, mixed with We Wish You A Merry Christmas, as A Merry Jingle; by The Greedies.

Buzzcocks punk musician Pete Shelley, RIP


This music video is called THE BUZZCOCKS – FAST CARS (LIVE 1981).

From the BBC, 6 December 2018:

Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley dies at 63

Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley has died at 63 of a suspected heart attack.

The punk band are best known for their hit, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).

Their management told the BBC that Shelley died on Thursday in Estonia where he was living.

BBC music correspondent Lizo Mzimba said Buzzcocks, who formed in Bolton in the 1970s, were regarded as more polished, but musically no less influential, than the Sex Pistols.

The band have tweeted saying Shelley was “one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks”.

His music inspired generations of musicians over a five-decade career with his band and as a solo artist, they said.

American punk bassist Steve Soto, RIP


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Adolescents: Amoeba. Live at the house of blues

16 December 2014

Ripped from Adolescents’ live performance at House of Blues.

Adolescents are:

Tony Cadena: Vocals
Frank Agnew: Guitar
Casey Royer: Drums
Steve Soto: Bass
Rikk Agnew & Steve Roberts: Guitar

By Josh Varlin in the USA:

Punk bassist Steve Soto dead at 54

10 July 2018

Steve Soto, bassist for Agent Orange and Adolescents, passed away June 27. According to his musical collaborators and the Orange County, California coroner’s office, he died in his sleep of natural causes at the age of 54.

During his four-decade musical career, Soto was the bassist and sometime vocalist for several punk bands, including Agent Orange, Adolescents, Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic, 22 Jacks and Punk Rock Karaoke. He also fronted his own band, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts.

Soto was born August 23, 1963, and grew up in Southern California. He grew up listening to the Beatles and Johnny Cash, whose famed live album At San Quentin (1969) he termed “the first punk rock record that I ever listened to.” In the late 1970s he began listening to punk bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned, who were responding to the more ornate music of the bands that preceded them by stripping their music down and speeding it up.

This musical stripping down was also a social reflex, a reaction to the decline of industry and the increasingly straitened circumstances for wide layers of the working class population. Under these conditions, to a certain stratum of musicians and music listeners, the overblown, orchestral sounds of the mid-1970s now seemed inappropriate and even offensive.

When Soto, whose father’s family emigrated from Mexico, was in high school, he co-founded Agent Orange, which combined surf rock and punk with an especially nihilistic bent. Soto left the band before they released their first album, but the version of “Bloodstains” on which he played bass is included in the 30th anniversary edition of Living in Darkness (originally 1981).

“Bloodstains” exemplifies many of the qualities of Soto’s bands and punk rock more generally: lyrics expressing alienation … fast-paced music, menacing bass and distorted guitar. On it, Mike Palm, who wrote the song when he was 15, sings, “Well, I know they know the way I think / I know they always will / But someday I’m gonna change my mind / Sometimes I’d rather kill.” Despair and nihilism, genuine and exaggerated, were prominent in the music of the Southern California hardcore scene of the early 1980s, which included bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Fear and the Germs.

Soto is best known for his work with Adolescents, a seminal hardcore punk band of which he was the only constant member. In between numerous break-ups and reunions, Adolescents released eight records, with their ninth record, Cropduster, just released July 7. They had just finished a tour of the eastern US and were preparing for a European tour at the time of Soto’s death.

After some personnel changes, Adolescents coalesced into a lineup consisting of Soto on bass, Tony Cadena as lead vocalist, Casey Royer on drums and brothers Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitar. Their debut record, the eponymous Adolescents (1981), was a formative album in the emerging hardcore punk subgenre. Soto was only 16 at the time.

Adolescents is a blistering album, with 13 songs clocking in under half an hour. Like hardcore as a whole, the album expresses the dissatisfaction and restlessness of a layer of working-class and middle-class youth, which only deepened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

However, this generally expressed itself in confused and antisocial ways. Hardcore Punk fans (as distinct from the earlier punks of 1975-80 in Los Angeles) often fought each other, as well as hippies and gays. (They in turn were frequently brutalized by the Los Angeles and other local police forces.) Adolescents protested against this, stopping their shows if fights got beyond the consensual activities of the mosh pit and criticizing senseless violence in their lyrics: “It’s like Clockwork Orange, a bit of twenty on one / Breaking heads, well that don’t sound like much fun” (“Rip It Up”).

This music video is called Adolescents – Rip It Up.

Another reflection of this alienation was self-destructive behavior, including the widespread use of drugs and alcohol. (Soto struggled with alcoholism for years.) One of Adolescents’ best known and most musically ambitious songs, “Kids of the Black Hole,” deals with this.

This music video is called Adolescents – Kids of the Black Hole.

At its best, Adolescents expressed youthful discontent in a musically innovative way. Soto’s co-written lyrics on tracks such as “Who Is Who” and “Democracy”, as well as his relentless bass playing, were part of this, along with the interplay of the Agnew brothers’ guitar playing.

Adolescents was one of the first Southern California hardcore albums sold widely out of the region, selling over 10,000 copies. However, the band broke up shortly after the record’s release, before they even toured outside of California.

While they reformed and broke up again multiple times over the years, Adolescents’ later material doesn’t reach the heights of their self-titled debut, although some songs dealt more directly with political matters, especially opposition to war, including “Babylon by Bomb”, “Brats in Battalions” and “Wars Aren’t Won, Wars Are Fought.”

Also noteworthy is the song “A Dish Best Served Cold”, from their 2014 album La Vendetta. Soto explained in an interview that the song was about the police murder of Kelly Thomas, a young homeless man with schizophrenia who was beaten to death by Fullerton, California police in 2011. “We were coming out to peaceful protests in front of the police department”, Soto said. After the police officers who killed Thomas were acquitted, band members continued their involvement with the issue, including working with Thomas’ father on changing laws protecting police from legal accountability.

This music video is called Adolescents – A Dish Best Served Cold.

Soto’s other projects were more lighthearted. He was active in Manic Hispanic, a supergroup of Hispanic punks who cover punk songs while changing the lyrics to discuss Chicano life, including dealing with immigration authorities. Soto also toured with Punk Rock Karaoke, which features audience members as lead vocalists.

… Adolescents put out anti-war songs during the Obama years, something relatively rare in the punk genre.

In the weeks before Soto’s death, Adolescents’ Twitter account retweeted articles on the separation of immigrant children from their parents and posted statements opposed to war, police violence, the bombing of Syria and the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Soto’s impact on music is indicated by the reaction to his death, with the Offspring, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, the Vandals, Suicidal Tendencies and Frank Turner lamenting his passing in social media statements.