J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, transphobia, Rolling Stones

British author J.K. Rowling, well-known for her Harry Potter books, recently came also in the news because of transphobic views.

This 16 September 2020 musical parody video from Britain says about itself:

The Rowling Stones – You Can’t Ever Be What You Want

J. K. Rowling’s Rolling Stones tribute band.

Neil Young opposes Trump, supports Sioux protesters

This 4 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Last night, Donald Trump held a rally near Mount Rushmore on the land of the Ogala Lakota Sioux, with the mountain itself being sacred. This angered Neil Young, especially when his song Rockin’ in the Free World and others were played without permission. He tweeted the following: “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me”

It’s also the case that the song’s lyrics criticize America, especially from a progressive perspective.

This was part of a scene where Trump’s white base was encroaching on Black Hills Native American land, and absurdly telling those people to go home and go back to where they came from, even though they have lived on these lands for thousands of years in some cases. Trump supporters shouted ‘go home’ at Native Americans protesting Mount Rushmore rally on their land.

This 4 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Chairs Ziptied together at Trump’s Mount Rushmore Rally, Preventing Social Distancing

As it is being reported by CNN’s Jim Acosta, Many of the seats at Trump’s South Dakota Rally and speech tonight at Mount Rushmore are being zip-tied together, guaranteeing no social distancing for scores of people attending the event. This is in addition to the fact that there are no social distancing protocols, and there are no mandatory mask ordinances, meaning masks are optional.

Tying chairs together at Mt Rushmore shows that the Trump campaign doesn’t care about the safety and well-being of attendees, and that they want to have a compact crowd to make for better TV, showing that Trump is putting image and ego ahead of human life.

Trump’s attacks on ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ are an anti-Semitic dogwhistle.

Trump sued for Rolling Stones music abuse

This 28 June 2020 Reuters news agency video says about itself:

Rolling Stones threaten lawsuit over Trump’s music use

The Rolling Stones are working with performing-rights organization BMI to try to stop President Donald Trump from using their songs in his campaign.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

It is not the first time that the band has complained about the use of its songs. In 2016, Trump frequently used the Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and at the recent campaign meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the classic resounded again.

Trump is not only opposed by the Stones. The family of Tom Petty, who died in 2017, has also objected to the use of his oeuvre in Tulsa. Petty’s I Won’t Back Down was played there.

Petty’s family says in a statement that the rocker and his descendants are fiercely against racism and discrimination. “Tom Petty would never have wanted one of his songs to be used for a campaign of hatred. He wanted to bring people together.”

Trump is not the only United States Republican politician with a history of abusing music.

In 2016, Tom Petty opposed far-right Republican politician Bachmann abusing his music.

As a 2016 post at this blog said:

The Rolling Stones are not the first musicians to complain about Trump. Also Adele (Skyfall) and Aerosmith (Dream On), Neil Young and REM were angry that their music was used during campaign meetings.

This tweet is about Trump’s Republican party abusing a George Harrison song.

Tom Morello fought against Republican Paul Ryan abusing his music.

Republican President George W Bush abused the music of many musicians to torture prisoners with. To the indignation of, eg, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. See also here.

After the failed Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump very probably won’t play K-pop music at his events.

Rock and roll singer Little Richard, RIP

This music video from the USA is called Little Richard – “Long Tall Sally” – from “Don’t Knock The Rock” – HQ 1956.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Rock and roll legend Little Richard (87) passed away

US American singer Little Richard passed away at the age of 87. His son has confirmed this to the American music magazine Rolling Stone. The cause of death is unknown.

Little Richard is considered one of the most important founders of rock ‘n’ roll. He is often mentioned in the same breath with greats like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.

In the mid-fifties, he had great success with songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly. …

With his exciting way of singing and performances with many show elements, he left his own mark on rock and roll. He influenced many other musicians, including Prince, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. …


Richard Penniman grew up in a very religious family. His father was a clergyman, and his mother was also very active in the church. At home he was called Little Richard because he was small and thin. Later he chose this nickname as the stage name.

At a young age he sang in the church choir and learned to play the piano. He was influenced musically by gospel singers like Joe May, Rosetta Tharpe and Marion Williams. When Tharpe heard him sing two of her songs before a concert, she was so impressed that she invited him to the stage. Since then, Little Richard wanted nothing more than to be on stage. …

In 1955 he released Tutti Frutti, which was an immediate success in both the United States and Great Britain. The successor Long Tall Sally (1956) did even better. With that he reached the first place in the US R&B list. Millions of copies of both singles were sold.

In three years he scored 18 hits …

Obscene lyrics

The surprise was great when he announced at a concert in Sydney in 1957 that he was quitting to become a preacher. He made that decision based on some ‘omens’, such as a red fireball that he had seen flying through the sky during the Sydney concert. He saw that as a warning from God to do penance for making music with obscene lyrics and his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Later, the red fireball turned out to come from the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Back in the US, he went on to study theology and then travelled the country as a preacher. He also recorded gospel songs again. …

In 1962 he was persuaded by his tour manager to perform again in Europe. The newly started band The Beatles played as a support act several times and he gave Paul McCartney vocal advice. …


In 1995 he told in an interview that he was gay. A sensitive subject for the deeply religious singer. He was married once, but that marriage didn’t last long. He had no children of his own. However, he did adopt a baby through his church, Danny Jones, who often acted as his bodyguard when he got older.

He continued to perform in the new millennium, although it became physically more difficult because he had problems with his leg and hip.

In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine wrote of his concert in Washington, D.C. “still full of fire, still a master showman, his voice still loaded with deep gospel and raunchy power.”

United States musicians about coronavirus crisis

This 8 April 2020 United States TV video says about itself:

John Prine dies of coronavirus at 73, Chicago singer-songwriter’s family says

By Elliott Murtagh in the USA:

Musicians speak out on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

“A devastating blow financially and emotionally”

9 April 2020

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, musicians and DJs in the United States who rely on live performances for a living saw their shows and tours cancelled overnight for the foreseeable future. Most of these artists already make considerable sacrifices to make ends meet, often living paycheck to paycheck and without health insurance. The pandemic has left them—along with all artists and workers in the gig economy—reeling.

The recently passed federal “stimulus” package provides a one-time check of $1,200 to most taxpayers and expanded unemployment benefits to workers in the gig economy, but it is unclear how many performing musicians will qualify for those benefits, and how much they will receive if they do.

With their income abruptly cut off, many musical artists have turned to social media, making appeals for fans to help keep them afloat by buying their music and merchandise. Bandcamp, a popular online music platform where artists can upload, stream and sell music, recently waived its normal 15 percent sales fee for one day, which raised $4.3 million for artists around the globe. Artists are also fundraising by streaming online musical performances from their homes and asking for donations.

These efforts, however, are a drop in the bucket compared to what is required. Many musicians will now see their careers damaged, perhaps irreparably. They face the real prospect of long-term unemployment. There is also the matter of what impact the present calamitous crisis will have on their thinking and their music.

The World Socialist Web Site recently spoke to a number of musicians affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Maria, a 27-year-old singer-songwriter and bandleader living in Chicago, told us, “All the money I make from music goes toward expenses related to music. So, in order to keep playing or recording music, I have to be performing and selling merch.

“This is all in the hopes of one day being able to support myself on music alone.” Maria worked two part-time jobs before she was forced to shelter in place, and has health insurance through the marketplace, but hasn’t “really been able to afford [it] since employment changes left me with lower income than I’ve had in years past.” She is also behind on student loan payments.

Two of Maria’s tours were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, one two-week tour for the SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival in Austin, Texas, and one month-long European tour in May. “That adds up to about 35 shows cancelled, which has been a devastating blow financially and emotionally.” She said she had invested a significant amount of money for merchandise and plane tickets for the tours.

When asked about the so-called stimulus package, she said that she thought it was not sustainable. Maria filed for unemployment but doesn’t know how much she will get. She said that the process was confusing and that the government website was not working.

She discussed the way in which the music community has reacted to the crisis. “We have all certainly banded together emotionally and over social media to support one another during this time. For a few weeks after the cancellations, many venues and organizations were making GoFundMe’s for donations for bands and industry workers that were put out by the closures of venues, etc.”

When Bandcamp waived fees, she noted that “These were morale boosts, and a bit of money, but ultimately not sustainable, and the burden should not fall on these institutions or on fans to provide livable wages to artists.”

Maria brought up the fact that the US government doesn’t support artists’ lives. “I think the government should absolutely take on this responsibility,” she continued. “My income provides very little wiggle room in the face of a crisis such as this. For the past four years, I have had to work two to three jobs that are somehow flexible enough to allow for touring, recording and writing time, and pay enough to support both living and business expenses like music gear, transportation and recording fees.”

In response to Trump’s desire to get the workforce back to work in a few weeks, Maria said, “It is absurd that we would put a higher premium on the maintenance of the economy when it puts thousands more Americans at a higher risk of getting sick or dying. It shows where the government’s priorities lie.”

Isaac, a 24-year-old Brooklyn-based DJ and electronic producer who supports himself entirely through music, told the WSWS, “Performing is essential—most of my income is from DJ gigs and freelance studio work.” Isaac, who does not have health insurance, said that the coronavirus pandemic has had a severe financial impact on him.

Asked if the federal assistance package was enough to support him, Isaac said it wouldn’t be. “The $1,200 would definitely help a lot right now since I can’t file for unemployment, but I definitely wouldn’t be able to survive on that alone.” Although he felt that the music community had been a major support during this crisis, he added, “I think government support is crucial, but musicians should have a hand in it.”

Kenny, a 27-year-old musician based in Kingston, New York, was in Houston, Texas, in the middle of a tour with his rock band last month when the rest of its shows got cancelled, including ones at SXSW, due to the coronavirus.

Kenny, who has a full-time job, said his band was looking forward to playing SXSW, one of the largest music festivals in the world, in order to connect to a wider audience. “A lot of us hope for that big break, and SXSW can be that for a lot a people. This was the first time we were going down, so we were just really hopeful in general, but that whole week sort of came crashing down.”

Kenny’s bandmate lives in New York City, and they don’t currently have plans to stream an online performance. “We specifically rely on our live performances to get ‘the punch’ and that’s sort of hard to do with live streaming.”

Speaking about the financial impact this crisis is having on musicians, Kenny said, “You know, a band is a business…and your business gets hurt when you’re losing all those sales you normally would have made at shows.”

He said that he has seen widespread support in the music community recently and believed that musicians had to support each other because the government wouldn’t. “They give us a measly $1,200 each and corporations get however much they’re getting, which is most of the stimulus package, it seems like, and people are still dying in hospitals.”

Kenny, who has asthma, said, “I have autoimmune diseases that make me really susceptible to this virus. Luckily, I have health insurance, but it’s not top grade. If I did end up in the hospital, I would lose a ton of work and I’m sure I would have medical debt.” He is already paying off medical debt from earlier treatment.

“I’m sure you’re going to still see a lot of people struggling,” Kenny said, “A lot of people dying, lots of people scared and not knowing what the hell is going to come next. I think we’re going to see more movements pop up to help support people.”

“We live in a capitalist society, so most of the rich don’t have any problems staying home with three pools and endless entertainment. It’s different for the day-to-day person who’s got to figure out what their landlord decides to do, what their job decides to do. If they get sick—there’s just so many questions that don’t have answers.”

Alex, a 35-year-old Brooklyn-based musician and freelance filmmaker, is part of Pleasure Jam, an organization that has been putting on a weekly series of virtual dance parties benefiting different New York City nightclubs and their staffs. He told the WSWS that the impetus for these virtual parties was seeing that New York City DJs, clubs and staff were suffering, and no one was providing them relief.

Of the various self-help groups that had been formed to help workers in need, Alex said, “All that stuff is really beautiful, but it’s also, personally, infuriating that it’s on individuals to make financial sacrifices to support small businesses and workers when that is 100 percent something the government should be doing with our tax money. It’s not happening. It’s going to the wrong people.”

Commenting on the trillions of dollars given to the financial aristocracy, Alex said he read that the same amount of money could supply $10,000 to every single American and supply billions to health care. “Why isn’t that the norm,” he said, “and giving it to the corporations the crazy thing? It’s so upside down.”

Alex said that it was necessary to transform society to address social need. “Hopefully, we can all take that logical step and change the paradigm in this country of what social safety looks like because right now it’s broken and it’s minimal, and it should be so much more robust so that when things like this happen, we’re ready.”

Heavy metal music in Syrian war

This music video says about itself:

Band: Maysaloon
Single: Warsphere
Genre: Syrian Death Metal
Country: Syria
Year: 2017

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How loud music helps to forget the war

About 150 people gather in a small, black-painted hall in Aleppo. They wear dark clothing and do head banging to the sound of rough guitars. The concert is called ‘live under siege’, but also ‘living under siege’. Outside, the civil war in Syria is going on.

The concert is a scene in the documentary Syrian Metal is War. Filmmaker Monzer Darwish, a refugee from Syria and now ended up in Dutch Noord-Holland province, followed people from the Syrian metal scene in 2013 and 2014. At the risk of their own lives, they organized concerts during bombing and traveled along routes full of snipers and paramilitary gangs. …

This video is called Syrian Metal Is War – Extended Trailer.

Even before the civil war, metalheads in Syria did not have an easy time, says Nasrah: “With long hair and a black shirt, you were a suspect quickly. Police were watching us and sometimes people were arrested after performances.” Even people in his own environment did not understand his lifestyle, the musician says. “Do you slaughter cats ritually, people often asked, or do you worship the devil?”

Things became different in the war. Metalheads no longer had to deal with the threat of police, but with the threat of war. “During a concert, we feared not only warfare, but also suicide bombers”, says documentary maker Monzer Darwish. Every meeting was a target for ISIS fighters, especially when music was being played. “Yet often 100, 150 people were together. Metal was the last bit of pleasure for them. They were literally willing to die for the music.”

Despite the passion of fans, the Syrian metal scene has had a hard time. Many bands have lost sight of each other in the stream of refugees. Guitar player Khodor Nashrah also said: “Our bass player is still in Syria, the drummer is in Austria and I am in Lebanon.” Despite the distance, the group is still active, he says: “Through WhatsApp we send pieces of music to each other. Our drummer then tries to make songs of it. But it is very difficult.”

New music

Documentary maker Monzer Darwish still plays the guitar in the Netherlands, although less often than before. “First find a house in the Netherlands, then a job. It is difficult to spend a lot of time with music”, he says.

His hope lies mainly with the metalheads in Syria itself, which he wants to bring more attention to with his film. “They still release new music, despite everything.” Darwish follows the bands closely: in the Netherlands he listens to music that appears in Syria. “I can’t live without it,” he says. “Without that music I would never have survived the war.”

Lebanese Christian leaders, in an bid to resurrect their influence, have entered into a Faustian pact with reactionary forces, anointing the indie pop band Mashrou’ Leila as its sacrificial lamb. Mashrou’ Leila, led by an openly gay frontman, has for years pushed the limits of social commentary in the Arab world. But never before had the four-man group faced censure in their home country, until now: here.

Indonesian Muslim girls play heavy metal rock

This video says about itself:

Heavy Metal Hijabis

25 July 2018

The town of Garut in Western Java, Indonesia is a quiet place—that is, until Voice of Baceprot takes the stage. While most people in the town live tranquil, pastoral lives, teenagers Firdda, Widia and Euis thrash out and rock hard. The band has shot to fame for playing heavy metal in the religiously conservative country. After gaining popularity, VoB began to face criticism for performing while wearing hijabs. Still, they continue to shred—an inspiration for everyone with a little bit of music and a little bit of hardcore rebellion in their souls.

Guatemalan rock band against racism

This video says about itself:

A Rock Band Fights Back Against Racism and Xenophobia

23 July 2018

The Guatemalan rock band Alux Nahual is fighting against recent attacks against Latinos simply for speaking Spanish in the United States with the song “I speak Spanish, y qué?!”. They hope they will raise awareness on racism and xenophobia.

96-year-old Holocaust survivor sings heavy metal rock

This music video says about itself:

93-year-old Metal Grandma Holocaust Survivor Spy! “Totenköpfchen” (Laugh at Death) -Swiss Eurovision 2015

31 October 2014

Inge & the TritoneKings “Totenköpfchen”

Inge Ginsberg survived the Holocaust and became a spy for the Americans during WWII, smuggling arms to fight the Nazis. She married a composer and they wrote songs together in the 1940’s and 50’s that were sung by Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney, among others. 60 years later, she got back into music and fell in love with Heavy Metal, which she now performs with world-renowned classical musicians Lucia Caruso and Pedro da Silva – a.k.a. the TritoneKings.

By Haley Cohen in the USA:

WATCH: Holocaust Survivor Known As ‘Death Metal Grandma’ Rocks The Stage

18 July 2018

Many decades after fleeing the Holocaust, a 96-year-old grandmother found her passion in fronting a death metal band, The New York Times reported.

Inge Ginsberg, originally from Austria, and her husband Otto Kollman ended up in Hollywood after spending some time in a Swiss refugee camp. Their new life included composing for some of the most well-known singers of their generation, including Nat King Cole and Doris Day.

As she continued to write song lyrics over the years, Ginsberg felt she had to make a change to stand out in a society where older women are silenced — which brought her to death metal, a genre in which you can shout your lyrics instead of sing them.

At age 93, Ginsberg formed the band TritoneKings, and continues to sing — or scream— about her own struggles and experiences.

Ms Ginsberg reminds me of another Holocaust survivor: Ms Esther Béjarano. She is one of two surviving members of the women’s’ orchestra at Auschwitz death camp; playing accordion and recorder. Now 93 years old, with both German and Israeli nationality, she is an active anti-fascist, chair of the International Auschwitz Committee, honorary chair of the German association of people persecuted by the nazis and member of the German communist party. She sings Jewish and anti-fascist songs; and she also sings rap.

This 2013 music video is Esther Béjarano and Turkish German rappers Microphone Mafia singing the Italian anti-fascist song Bella Ciao.