[sixties-l] Fwd: ~ "Dangerously Eloquent" ~

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 10/31/00

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    >Discography : John Trudell : features  --  "Dangerously Eloquent"  --
    >    "Some people might think it's appropriate that Blue Indians, the latest
    >CD by John Trudell, is on a label called Dangerous Discs. Appropriate
    >because Trudell -- who served as national spokesman for the Indians of All
    >Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz between 1969 and '71 and as national chairman
    >of the American Indian Movement between '73 and '79 -- was viewed by the
    >U.S. government as a major threat to national security.
    >   Indeed, an FBI memo -- from its 17,000-page file on the Native American
    >icon -- says, "Extremely eloquent ... therefore extremely dangerous." On the
    >riveting, Jackson Browne-produced Blue Indians, the acclaimed poet offers
    >ample proof that he's still as eloquent as ever. Over a stark mix of blues,
    >rock, percussion, and Native American singing, Trudell offers incisive
    >commentary on life "in the unnatural society."
    >Errol Nazareth(EN): Please clear something up for us. I keep hearing that
    >the FBI amassed a 17,000-page file on you. Where does this number come from?
    >John Trudell(JT): From them [laughs]. This file was put together between
    >1969 and 1980. We requested it through the Freedom of Information Act in
    >1979, and in '80 they told us they had 17,000 pages, but they were only
    >going to give us 60 pages since it was a national security issue.
    >EN:  Do you feel you're still perceived as a threat?
    >JT:  They need enemies. I watch my back, but I have my careless moments.
    >Mentally, I'm always on the move. I don't think they're watching me every
    >day, but I do think they check up on me every now and then. And if something
    >political or controversial is coming along, they might dabble in my life for
    >a while to see if I have any relationship to this stuff.
    >EN:  That's scary.
    >JT:  I don't know how scary it is, but it tells me how insane they are. I'm
    >no economic threat, no political threat, no military threat, but it tells me
    >something about their paranoia, how disconnected from reality they are, and
    >their insecurity with what they perceive to be their own power. If they have
    >to pay all this attention to me, and all I do is think and talk, it tells me
    >more about them. If [the FBI has] to pay all this attention to me, and all I
    >do is think and talk, it tells me more about them."
    >EN:  Is it easy to stay in anger mode when you've gotta deal with all this
    >JT:  I look at anger as healthy. It's like sadness. There are certain
    >feelings we're given, and there's a reason we're given them. I think anger
    >is very necessary to our survival and reality, but we live in a
    >technological reality where people are being programmed not to accept their
    >anger. And when it's not accepted, it turns into rage or madness. If we
    >understand anger, I think we can use it as fuel for clarity and focus and
    >accomplishment. It doesn't have to be a distorting experience.
    >EN: Talking about anger and guns, "Dizzy Duck" deals explicitly with those
    >JT:  I wrote it about 10 years ago. I was walking down a street in San
    >Francisco, and I walked by a big and tall shop, and I got this idea of a
    >little duck walking by this store [laughs]. But this duck had an attitude. I
    >was very pleased with it when it was finished.
    >EN: "Wish You Were Here" qualifies as the most poignant love song I've
    >heard. I sense it was written for Tina [his wife, who was killed along with
    >their three children and his mother-in-law in a house fire hours after
    >Trudell burned an American flag outside the FBI's headquarters in
    >Washington, D.C. To this day, Trudell remains convinced government
    >operatives were responsible for the incident]. How hard was it writing it?
    >And is it hard reciting it in concert?
    >JT: It wasn't really hard. It was spontaneous, it was just something I
    >wrote. I wrote it back in '81, and I had it and always liked it, and had it
    >put away and thought about using it as a song, but the right music never
    >came along until the song we have with it now. There are certain songs I
    >don't perform, like "Tina Smiled" and "After All These Years." I may try and
    >perform "You Were," but it's very difficult to do that.
    >EN:  The last time we spoke you told me, "The music industry suppresses
    >feelings at the expense of getting an emotional reaction." Whose music do
    >you feel communicates reality and feeling?
    >JT:  I don't listen to a whole lot of music. I'm a big fan of Ani DiFranco.
    >I respect her writing and the fact she went out and made it happen without
    >waiting for a record company to make it happen for her. So, I know there's
    >depth in her music and that's it's based upon real feelings. I'm a big
    >Jackson Browne fan; I respect the intelligence in his writing.
    >EN: You'd also said you feel that "hip-hop's been very valuable to the black
    >community 'cause it's given it a power base in mass media; it's addressing
    >the political realities of the community." Is there an art form emerging
    >from Native American communities that's accomplishing what hip-hop is doing
    >for the black community?
    >JT:  The music is developing and starting to take form. Twenty years back,
    >most Native bands were doing cover songs, whereas now there's a
    >proliferation of Native groups that are writing original stuff.
    >EN:  A couple of lines from the title track jumped out at me. "Emotional
    >siege in civilized stains" and "oppressor man builder keeper of the cage."
    >JT:  Yeah, the world is now an industrial reservation, and everybody is the
    >Indian, and our common color is the blues."

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