Music, man, was a revolutionary tool before we even became revolutionaries, man
Music is what made us, really
I know, there has to work a connection, man, with revolutionary political ideology
There is none of that in there
Right, that's the thing
There is a contradiction, we have to get to the root of that
I wouldn't, man, because I gotta understand what it means
Let John explain exactly what he means
Because I don't understand it
To me it doesn't make sense
I can understand it as a metaphor but I can't understand it as an objective reality
It has something that ... the language has to be specific
and I want you to explain specifically what you mean when you say 'Music is a revolution'
I didn't say it was the revolution
I said music is revolution by its very nature
So is poetry
So is art
There's no connection there
There is if it's printed next to that
The discussion between the White Panthers was taken from the CD Music Is Revolution, issued by Bookbeat Gallery/The End Is Here docusound.
After the Detroit riots of 1967 The White Panther Party grew out of the Detroit Artists' Workshop, a collective under the leadership of John & Leni Sinclair, which radically dedicated their creativity to 'a total assault on the culture'. Politics, music, psychedelia, and arts were fused into a revolutionary force, with The MC5's rock and Gary Grimshaw's graphic design as best-known exponents. The White Panther Party was organised and named after The Black Panther Party. Two members of the White Panthers ended up in prison: John Sinclair and Pun Plamondon, the former was framed by the FBI, the latter was ranked among the FBI's ten most wanted.
On the track Rocktastic Revolution The White Panthers Jesse Crawford, Pun Plamondon, Bob Rudnick, John Sinclair, David Sinclair, Gary Grimshaw and Genie Plamondon can be heard discussing the revolutionary nature of music. The discussion has been mixed with a slow recording of a battery operated toy guitar of the brand Rocktastic.
The track commemorates the spontaneous solo John Sinclair gave on this toy guitar when he came across it at our home in Rotterdam some years ago. When operated by a push on one of its buttons, the Rocktastic guitar repeats a riff that has been copied from The MC5's first single Looking At You from 1968. Sinclair could appreciate the absurdity of the fact that a once revolutionary riff, recorded under his management, had become a harmless toy some 35 years later. As a matter of fact John laughed his head off.