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Michael Simmons
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As leader of the band Slewfoot, Michael Simmons was dubbed "The Father Of Country Punk" by Creem magazine in the 1970s. He was an editor at the National Lampoon in the '80s where he wrote the popular column "Drinking Tips And Other War Stories." He won an LA Press Club Award in the '90s for investigative journalism, has written for MOJO, LA Weekly, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, High Times, LA Times, The New York Times, CounterPunch, and The Progressive, and scribed liner notes for Bob Dylan, Michael Bloomfield, Phil Ochs, Kris Kristofferson, Arthur Lee & Love, and others. Michael can be reached at

Entries by Michael Simmons

Steve Earle: "Mississippi, It's Time!"

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 8:31 AM

"It's largely about empathy," says Steve Earle of his mandate as a songwriter. "The job is about empathy whether you're writing love songs or political songs." The musician, author, actor and activist's newest song hits iTunes today and it clearly shows how empathy can be the prime motivation...

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Carlene Carter and the Unbroken Circle

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2014 | 11:44 AM

If there's a better hardcore country record in 2014 than Carlene Carter's Carter Girl, I haven't heard it. And yet despite being a tribute to the legendary Carter Family and deep-fried in tradition, its universal themes and liquid, swinging musicality help it transcend any category. Carter and crew have brought...

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Tripping With Jorma Kaukonen At The Psylodelic Gallery

(13) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 8:57 AM

Ah yes -- I remember it as if it was yesterday! 'Twas way back in the aughts, kids -- the first decade of the 21st Century. Maybe four, five annums back. I was at a medical facility for a procedure related to what remains of my back. The cute young...

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Bob Fass and Radio Unnameable

(3) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 10:31 AM

"I wanna be a neuron -- I don't wanna be the brain," said all-night radio host Bob Fass in the 1960s to his audience. "We're all the brain."

Fass began his show Radio Unnameable at non-commercial, listener-sponsored WBAI-FM in New York City in 1963. By 1966 when I began listening...

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Van Dyke Parks Keeps On Cyclin'

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 2:53 PM

In 1967-68 I was office boy at a short-lived magazine that my father published called Cheetah. Of Bar Mitzvah age, I considered myself a man, one who had thoroughly absorbed all tributaries of what is now called the counterculture, especially its music simply called ROCK, having dispensed with its appendage...

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I Was a Texas Jewboy!

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 4:22 PM

My first live sighting of Richard "Kinky" "Big Dick" Friedman was at Max's Kansas City in New York in 1973. He was headlining Upstairs at Max's with his band the Texas Jewboys and I was an 18-year-old hometown Jewish country singer who revered both Hank Williams and Lenny Bruce. The...

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Phil Ochs Lives!

(13) Comments | Posted January 3, 2011 | 5:06 PM

A recent study maintains that empathy has declined in young Americans over the last thirty years. My own unscientific observations tell me that us Americans as a whole don't seem to give a damn about our fellow citizens as much as we used to. Iraq and Afghanistan --...

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For The Benefit Of Tuli Kupferberg

(17) Comments | Posted January 20, 2010 | 2:19 PM

"Disgusting!" said my father.

"Revolting!" seconded my mother.

"Tuli!" explained I.

I was 12-years old and it was the beginning of 1967's Summer of Love. When you're born strange and the largest mass bohemian movement in human history invites itself into your consciousness, you set a place for it at...

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Barry Goldberg & Bob Dylan's Secret Gem

(6) Comments | Posted December 28, 2009 | 5:05 PM

Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again. Was he right?

One of the quiet gems of 2009 was an album originally produced by Bob Dylan in 1973. Other than his own work under the pseudonymous Jack Frost, it's the only album Dylan ever produced. It's not,...

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To Jim Dickinson's Health

(2) Comments | Posted August 7, 2009 | 1:33 PM

Jim Dickinson is a musician's musician, one of the well-kept secrets of rock 'n' roll. His chair has swiveled from producer to sideman for Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder, and the Rolling Stones, Big Star, the Replacements, and Mudhoney. Inside the ubiquitous Memphis maverick lives a honky-tonk lounge pianist...

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Will Dailey Does Peter Lemongello

(2) Comments | Posted June 2, 2009 | 6:52 PM

Remember Peter Lemongello, Zamfir, Boxcar Willie, Slim Whitman? They were all musical artists who were known in the 1970s and '80s for selling their albums on late-night television. (Willie Nelson was briefly a member of that club at the behest of the Internal Revenue Service.) Will Dailey is a...

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Karen Dalton Lives

(3) Comments | Posted December 29, 2008 | 11:07 AM

My favorite singer of 2008 has been dead for almost 16 years, yet "new" recordings by her continue to be released. For the second year running, a new Karen Dalton record is my choice for The Album of the Year.

I've never much believed in the artificial man-made time...

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Ed Sanders: The American Bard Takes On Katrina

(2) Comments | Posted April 1, 2008 | 1:48 PM

Ed Sanders' language advances in a direction of production which probably isn't even guessed at...That is, it takes the earth to make a feather fall.

- Charles Olson, 1964

They'd privatize your assholes if they could get away with it!

- Ed Sanders, 2007

There is a giant in...

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When Is Film Art?

(3) Comments | Posted March 12, 2008 | 5:45 PM

When is film art? The question might be better phrased as "When is ANYTHING art"? But I've specifically pondered this film-as-art quandary. It's kept me up at nights, leaving me wide awake at daybreak, munching Xanax and counting sheep, masturbating furiously, draining sour mash whiskey bottles, red-eyed and...

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Daydream Believer - John Stewart 1939-2008

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2008 | 7:43 PM

John Stewart -- singer, songwriter, guitarist, artist, husband, father, grandfather, Californian, American -- was scheduled to perform at McCabe's in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 2. He missed the gig, but he had a good excuse. Stewart suffered a sudden stroke at the age of 68 and died on January...

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Yo! What Happened To Peace?

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2007 | 5:27 PM

War is a four-letter word with only three letters. The inability of the human race to stop waging this obscenity can't be blamed on artists. If all humans were artists, at worst we'd endure mindless competition, catty egotists, pretentious performance and overpriced chachkies. Yes, Hitler dabbled in watercolors and was...

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One Jew's Views

(3) Comments | Posted September 6, 2007 | 4:04 PM

I'm dying.

After consulting numerous websites, I've self-diagnosed myself with the eleventeenth variety of terminal cancer that's afflicted me ever since I could first Google disease in 1999. I don't know how long I've got, so if this column seems rushed, it's because I'm typing as fast as I...

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Terrorizing the Artists in the USA

(2) Comments | Posted June 14, 2007 | 7:16 PM

"This film is dedicated to Hope."

Thus reads the opening epigraph in Lynn Hershman Leeson's film Strange Culture that opens the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival this Friday, June 15th in New York. It's a lovely sentiment for our era of unremitting pessimism. When one realizes that Hope...

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Beating Off the Squares

(2) Comments | Posted June 9, 2007 | 4:15 PM

Before the laughter, there's a moment after a joke has been told when the listener understands or "gets" the joke. It's an instant but a glorious one. It has the same effect on brain chemistry as being in love. Liberating. Cerebral and physical. A supreme and sublime rush.

A handful...

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What To Do Without Stew

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2007 | 5:57 PM

For Stew Albert 1939-2006

We've had a year to ask:
"What do we do without Stew?"
When the shit hit the fan
He knew what to do

Talmudic scholar and acidhead Miss Manners
Gentle Brooklyn baritone searching for bottom line truth

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