HST & Friends
About HST+ Who is HST?
Biographies+ E. Jean Carroll
+ William McKeen
+ P. Paul Perry
+ Peter O. Whitmer
Sound Bites From The Counter CulturePage added Jun-21-99
Released in a time when the US was plagued by censorship of all forms and when spoken word was incredibly trendy, Sound Bites has something of an anti-censorship and citizen empowerment message.
I was a little amused to see a big warning on the inside and outside of the CD that read:
May contain explicit lyrics descriptive of, advocating, or encouraging one or more fo the following:
The following turned out to be: sodomy, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, adultery, any form of sexual conduct in a violent context, nudity, satanism, murder, morbid violence, the illegal use of drugs, or the use of alcohol.
Hmmm...who has the first track? Why, HST of course! Titled "Fear and Loathing", it is not a reading from the book. That made me glad - it is possible to overdo FLLV, as much as I love it. Instead, it sounds like a lecture stop or some sort of gathering, as people are cheering and hooting. HST is introduced by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick. Slick called reading HST a "demented spiritual experience". HST asks the audience how they would like to be the last dope fiend and civil rights activist. He calls the times a "Calvinist period". HST gets a good response to the lines "I never claimed to be anything more than a nice guy and an athlete" and "If I had any DMT with me right now, I'd share it with you." He talks about drugs and alcohol and is quite coherent actually.
Next to HST, I really liked Timothy Leary ("Think for Yourself"), Abbie Hoffman ("Just Say No"), Jello Biafra ("Excerpts from Tales from the Trial") and Danny Sugerman ("On Jim Morrison"). Probaby those last two are the most hilarious tracks. while the first two are the strongest and most heartfelt. There's something about the way Abbie Hoffman screams "Just say no!" to Reaganism, apartheid, war in Central America, student apathy and Contra-Aid that makes one want to stand up and kick some ass. I think every high-schooler should listen to this speech, even if it seems a bit dated. There is something about hearing "Change doesn't come from conformists" would make a kid or two burn their head-to-toe Nike clothes. And heck, who else can give better advice on questioning authority than Leary?
I thought Eugene McCarthy was quite an interesting inclusion, since he appears on the outside to have nothing in common with the others. His speech is probably the least animated as well, maybe frank is the word. He talks about the indifference of students today towards activism and politics and despairs over the lack of academic leadership as critics of society. He seems to possess the most wisdom. He disses the IRS, saying that they totally violate the Bill of Rights.
Of all the 9 tracks, I didn't care too much for Henry Rollins or Jim Carroll. I liked The Basketball Diaries and its sequel, but whether it was their way of speaking or what they were saying that I didn't like, I'm not sure. But hey, it's my right not to like something as much as it is their right to say it.