Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Elizabeth Sealey: Hi, everyone! This is Elizabeth with Music Beat from Fantom Penguin. I am here with Sherman’s Ashes who just finished one of their sets. Guys, why don’t you introduce yourselves for the new fans out there who don’t know you guys?
Chris Bentley: Chris Bentley, drums.
Gray Harris: Gray Harris, guitar and vocals.
Eric Thompson: Eric Thompson, bass.
Elizabeth Sealey: Alright, so guys, I’ve seen you guys play in the past and I actually got an interview with one of the fans earlier who is a new fan to you guys. They really got into to you! How would you define your sound for your new fans?
Gray Harris: Metal. I’d say Rock and Metal. If it sounds good to me or us, we rock it. We try to make it sound better, I think.
Chris Bentley: Yeah.
Gray Harris: Yeah. Rockin’, heavy. Groove! You want to rock out and be all Metal but you also wanna be able to dance to it and do things to it so . . .
Elizabeth Sealey: I saw some dancing going on out here earlier! Not just the little mini mosh pit, some of the people really got into you guys! With being part of the music scene you want your music to stand out more than anybody else’s. What are some of the songs that you think makes you stand out more than some bands around here?
Eric Thompson: Blood and Romance.
Elizabeth Sealey: Blood and Romance? Why don’t you tell me about Blood and Romance?
Eric Thompson: Uh – You’ve heard it.
Gray Harris: Why’d you say Blood and Romance?
Eric Thomson: I don’t know, it just has like a kind of a thrash kind of opening but it doesn’t really go there, that whole extra . . . you know.
Chris Bentley: I think the main thing is there’s melody involved. There’s definitely singing.
Eric Thompson: Yeah, that’s how it breaks.
Gray Harris: Yeah. That’s important, a hook, a melody, something that you can sing along to. Dynamics is another thing. Dynamics. That one we really show off, Dynamics. And then I don’t know about these guys but I’ve come to like the lead part, I like to try and show off and that’s where I want to try and stand out from other people. This is how I play solo. This is how I play guitar.
Elizabeth Sealey: So it’s not just you guys standing up there and singing and playing instruments; you really put a show on for the crowd?
Gray Harris: Yeah.
Elizabeth Sealey: You pull them into the music.
Gray Harris: Uh-huh.
Elizabeth Sealey: And a lot of bands, really get on stage and they just sing into the microphones and they play their instrument. You guys really get into this, especially you as the drummer. I mean you were going at it tonight! That was insane! How long have you been playing the drums?
Chris Bentley: Oh, about twenty years?
Elizabeth Sealey: Twenty years?
Chris Bentley: Yeah, I’m old!
Elizabeth Sealey: Was drums really your first avenue into the music?
Chris Bentley: Absolutely – well, other than piano lessons when I was a kid. Everybody starts there.
Elizabeth Sealey: So what with being a drummer, do you draw inspiration from other drummers in other bands or do you have your own unique style, your own unique sound?
Chris Bentley: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. When you hear something cool, you go wow! I could nick that, play with that. Absolutely, all the time.
Elizabeth Sealey: What are some of you guy’s musical influences, bands that you grew up listening to that you wanted to be like when you first started playing the music scene?
Eric Thompson: Prong, Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Primus but we don’t get really, you know, get anywhere close to that shit but stuff like that. Alice in Chains is a huge one for me personally.
Gray Harris: Alice in Chains. Anything that you hear on the radio. I don’t want to sound like a sell-out geek or nothing like that but if I could sell out, I would. If I could get played on the radio, I would. If I could get my video on something, I would. I’d do it at the drop of a hat.
If the posters about the effects of Cannabis were true, many women in the United States would be using it to improve their sex lives. “Unleashed Passions, Wild Orgies, Weird Parties,” or “Marijuana Girl: She traded her body for drugs... and kicks,” and the well known: “Reefer Madness: Women cry for it - Men die for it - Drug crazed abandon.” These were posters used to demonize pot. The Spanish term, “marijuana” was changed to “marihuana,” to utilize racial prejudice to sway opinion. Anyone who has ever smoked or used pot can tell you that pot does not lead to the insanity depicted in these types of social media. If it did, my girlfriends would be putting it in their husbands’ food on a regular basis.
Early history of our country shows large hemp imports that lead to laws like Virginia state passed. You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769. Davvy Kidd, journalist for the U.S. Observer tells us, “George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers grew hemp. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America, and it processed hemp.” The word ‘canvas’ is a Dutch word for cannabis (Webster’s New World Dictionary). Ships sails and ropes, textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, bed sheets, oil, animal feed, etc., were made from hemp until the 1820’s. The first Bibles, maps, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, were all written on hemp (U.S. Government Archives). Even our first flag was made of hemp, and hemp was one of our country's largest cash crops until the 20th century. In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940’s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need be cut down. Government studies reported that one acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees for paper production. Plans were in the works to implement growing programs (U.S. Department of Agriculture Archives).
When it doesn't make sense, follow the money. What happened to this wonderful plant and its amazing uses, that it became illegal? Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil; 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935. Henry Ford’s first Model-T automobile was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp! The car, “grown from the soil,” had hemp panels with impact strengths that were ten times stronger than steel. At the same time, medical preparations used cannabis for a variety of ailments. This is where the first restrictive laws began. During the time of alcohol prohibition, hemp had to be prescribed by a doctor. Even so, it was fashionable by upper class persons as a recreational drug. The hemp industry was growing and it was a threat to Andrew Mellon, who was DuPont's chief investor and also Secretary of the Treasury in the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover administrations. Mellon moved to place someone loyal to him into a position to protect his investments. He appointed family member, Harry Anslinger, former assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Prohibition, to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Anslinger had been traumatized by the effects of morphine as a child, and cannabis was grouped in with opiates. Anslinger was a crazed, ambitious drug enforcement officer with Mellon's agenda. Hemp was a threat to billion-dollar enterprises for both Mellon (Mellon Bank) and his close friend, Randolph Hearst. Hearst Paper Division of Kimberly Clark, owned vast acres of timberland near McCloud, CA, and in Mexico. The Oil industry, Mellon Bank/ DuPont, and the Hearst stood to lose billions because of hemp.
A propaganda campaign was started, claiming the “problem” was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and Black Jazz musicians. Anslinger created “gore files” to influence the attitudes of the American people. Hearst used his newspapers with quotes such as: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” Hearst used his newspapers to create “Yellow Journalism” or propaganda. Hearst's pretend world of the dangers of pot led the American people like sheep to believe these lies. Their purpose was to gain public support so that anti-marijuana laws could be passed and they were. The media had been successful and pot became illegal.
Many people still believe the “Yellow Journalism.” We even passed a Shasta County ordinance against pot being grown outside. Pot is no more a contributor to hard core drug use than cigarettes or beer. Just like anything else, if used in excess, it can have harmful effects. It has amazing uses, is a great soil amend-er, can be refined to help many ailments, especially cancer, makes durable clothes, and some of the finest rope. It can be used to make the same “stronger than steel” plastic replacements and reduce our oil dependence. It would threaten the oil industry, the cotton industry, pharmaceutical companies and the paper industry. If we can just step back from the Yellow Journalism, and see the better choices. It would be good for the country and maybe, even good for our sex lives.