GUITAR ARMY ARRIVES!!!
"A GUITAR ARMY is what we are - a raggedy horde of holy barbarians marching into the future, pushed forward by a powerful blast of sound, a whole new people singing a whole new song of ourselves. . ."
After more than three years of working and scheming to get it edited, sold and published, we're finally able to say that GUITAR ARMY, a collection of the street and prison rantings and ravings which helped to land John Sinclair in the penitentiary and 2 1/2 years later helped us all to get him out, is due in your local bookstore any day now.
Many of you reading this newspaper, which was also inspired in part by some of the writings in this book, have come across the pieces that are collected in GUITAR ARMY in their original incarnation in the SUN, Sun/Dance, Fifth Estate, Ann Arbor Argus, Big Fat, Creem and the Michigan Daily. Originally totaling more than 600 pages, these pieces were edited down, slightly revised and pieced together into the present 360 page unified whole while John was being held at gunpoint in Jackson Prison and the Wayne County Jail. More finishing touches were put on the book after the FREE JOHN NOW! movement brought about his release last December.
GUITAR ARMY takes its name from the killer tune of the same name written by Scott Morgan and recorded back when he was with the Rationals (Scott is now with Lightnin', a band managed by Rainbow Multi-Media), and which starts off:
"Some folks talkin about burnin down
Well I ain't talkin about burnin down
l'm just talkin about GETTIN DOWN!"
That's what this book is all about, how we need to get down and start marching together as the unified, conscious people we need to be if we're going to bring the rock and roll soul-charged vision of our music into joyous reality at last.
Before you start getting into the book you might take John's suggestion as he states it inside and "get your hands on a copy of KICK OUT THE JAMS, by the old MC5, put it on the record machine, turn up the volume, light up a joint, maybe take all your clothes off, roll around on the floor for a minute, and return with us to the thrilling days of yesteryear." Which is just what'll happen as you leaf through the over 100 posters, leaflets, cartoons and photographs from Michigan Rainbow History which appear through the book, in a design executed by Rainbow Graphics artist Gary Grimshaw.
Rushes of history will come to your head as you peruse old MC5 and TransLove posters, notorious graphic items including the jacket design from the first MC5 album which was censored by Elektra Records, pictures of John burning his draft card while blowin sax and getting arrested or beat up by the forces of law and repression on several different occasions, mass freak-outs at the Grande Ballroom, Pun and Genie in handcuffs; along with more recent photos and documents of the Ann Arbor Rainbow Community getting high in the Parks, the People's Ballroom, the Community Center, building the Tribal Council and engaging in other activities which were first proposed in large part by the writings in this book.
The writing starts with the Preview, a long theoretical work which narrates John's history and through it the history of all of us from when we first appeared on the set during the first rock and roll era of the 1950's, through the successful repression of the first energy charge by the rock and roll imperialists, the re-emergence of the bad black music we love with the second rock and roll era of the sixties and groups like the Beatles, Stones and later the visionary San Francisco Sound of bands like the Dead and the Airplane, and the eventual collapse of that era too at the hands of the vampire corporate power addicts who control our music and use it consciously against us. The point is that the third rock and roll energy revival is upon us and if we do it right this time we can make it last forever.
Street Writings takes you back to the midst of the second era when LSD was opening millions of people's minds to a whole new way of life and the new music which sung about that life was reaching out to "crumble the morals of Amerika." It was a Total Assault on the Culture by any means necessary, which through continual dope busts, arrests and harassment evolved into a total assault on the dying Amerikan system and the realization that we can't be free until that system is put out on the junkheap of history. Trans-Love Energies turned into the White Panther Party, and the writings go from the incredible MC5 saga through the White Panther statement and other pieces on how our culture is a revolutionary culture and what we need to do in order to defend it and make it grow.
Prison Writings begin with John being sentenced for two joints in the summer of 1969 by Recorders Court Judge Robert Colombo, the dinosaur of all time (who has a new associate in that same court, Chuck Ravitz, recently elected one of the first people's judges in America and the attorney who eventually had Colombo's ruling in John's case overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court). The writings which follow the transcript of John's being sentenced are given to developing a theory of what's happened to our culture and its vital components, rock and roll music and our righteous sacraments, both of which have been purposely poisoned by the Amerikan imperialist octopus, and both of which we need to reclaim and purify for use in our struggle for a new world. Through We Are a People, Bringing It All Back Home, Poet is Priest and the other pieces what emerges is a detailed analyses of the coming fall of the forces of Amerikan death and destruction and the coming dawn of the communal rainbow world of the future, along with some fairly precise instructions detailing what we have to do to bring that world about as quickly as we can.
GUITAR ARMY is bound to be greeted by many people, especially outside of Michigan, as total fantasy and impossible dreams, but here in Ann Arbor much of what is laid out in the book already exists at least in embryonic form. These writings have helped us over the years to define the phenomenon around us and move from there to transform those definitions into reality in the desired manner. The institutions, culture and the Rainbow community of the future that we're bringing into life right here in the midst of the monster are a testimonial to the power and coming victories of the GUITAR ARMY. PLAY THIS BOOK AS LOUD AS YOU CAN!
GUITAR ARMY is a Rainbow book, published by Douglas Book Corp. and distributed by the World Publishing Corp. It's available for $3.95 in quality paperback and for somewhat more in hardcover edition. You can get a copy of the book by sending $3.95 to GUITAR ARMY, 1520 Hill St., Ann Arbor, Ml 48104,
David Fenton, RPP