Fred Gillen Jr.

Fuel for the Revolution

This is my blog. I started it back in 1998 when the term "blog" was new and I'd certainly never heard of it. At the time I didn't know I was blogging, I just wanted to post some non- edited pieces I'd written in my notebooks. I do not revise or censor this material in any way. Please feel free to email me through the "contact" page on this site if you have anything to say about what you read here.


Hope Machine sings songs which are universal. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie did that. Phil Ochs wrote a few universal songs, but really his songs were more PERSONAL. Even his "political" or so-called "topical" songs were more personal, expressing HIS truth (which was sometimes THE truth) as opposed to Pete and Woody who more often touched on UNIVERSAL truth. "The gamblin' man is rich, the workin' man is poor," etc... Matt Turk says Woody Guthrie was a populist. In his HEAD he might have been a populist, but in his HEART he was socialist, and in his dreams and yearnings, judging by what he wrote, he was a socialist (and humanist.) Pete Seeger, it seems, in his HEAD and HEART, is a socialist. They both wrote UNIVERSAL songs from a socialist perspective. These songs are very spiritual. Society is a "higher power" than an individual so the spiritual in Woody's work especially could come from that "God-concept." Gillen & Turk, like each guy's solo stuff, write and sing personal songs and universal songs. (as did Woody and Pete, but they are remembered for their universal songs.) Hope Machine sticks to the universal, but we perform them in a very open, personal, real way. Unlike Pete and Woody we write from a Spiritual perspective. (although all of these separations of spitrit/ individual/ society are illusions.) I am Christian, Steve is spiritually native-American, and Matt (although a part-time Hope Machine) is a Jew, so coming from 3 different perspectives kind of waters it down so that it remains spiritual and never in jeopardy of supporting any dogma or doctrine. Steve and I write and choose songs which express that we are all in this together, that life is sacred, and that together we can change the world. When Matt plays with us he brings not only his traditional Hebrew folk music foundation, but his very Jewish since of social justice. Judaism is the religion of law. Not oppressive law but protective, life-giving, Father-law. Christianity is the religion of forgiveness and indigenous spirituality is the religion of the oneness of all life and all things. They all bring the same thing but from different perspectives. Our spirituality defines Hope Machine and all of our work as artists. Steve first embraced Pete's participation stuff because Steve is basically native. Song is communal. The People sing. It is simple. Steve looked at Pete Seeger through eyes which had been immersed so long in native-American spirituality and recognized Pete as "one who brings together." Western culture supports a model of leadership where the leader is at the top of a pyramid above the people. Native leadership turns the pyramid over. The chief is at the bottom holding up the people, serving. (When and where our pyramid got flipped over I don't know...) Anyhow Pete is the chief kind of leader. Pete sings and people sing along and come together. I jumped on board from a Christian perspective of forgiveness because I see how this community singing heals, cleanses, and restores The People. Matt walks into the room bringing a sense of empowering The People to fight for justice. The most amazing thing for me is that the more I work with these 2 men the more I become a "Christian-Jew-Indian" in my heart. My worldview, which is a spirituality- based worldview to begin with, gets broader by this work with these guys, and with all of Hope Machine's "special guests." This, in my opinion, is the basis of all of my hope for the future. ALL_ONE_GOD_FAITH, as the famous, "crazy" soap maker Dr. Bronner says. Love, hope, peace, justice, kindness, generosity, self-control, etc.. what the Christian bible calls the "fruits of the spirit." Hope Machine loves to invite others to play with us and celebrates these other because it is our job to lift them up, to hold them up to the light so they will walk away from the experience with renewed hope. Transcendence. Our big egos need us to do this as our one hope of humility, and it is somehow part of what we are. Besides which it is much more fun to play with others then it is to keep inward in a striving to be perfect and rehearsed. Besides which perfection is an illusion and it is also the most boring thing I've ever seen. We are vessels for the light of God or Great Spirit or Shining Star or whatever you want to call it. As such we can only include people, not exclude them. This includes the "audience" too. If they sing we give them more songs they can natural as breathing. We can't "make" them sing. Sometimes they do sometimes they don't, because it isn't US that gets them to sing.It may be the words or the tunes, but I think it is Spirit. Spirit moves through them and they sing. God's spirit, their own spirit, community spirit, whatever... I try not to question, just do. Why me? Why us? I guess the question is why not? For some reason we were chosen for this particular job. I don't even know that we are very good at it. Maybe that's part of why we were chosen. So people can see that even schmucks like us can help facilitate transcendence. Transcendence.... What it is all about.

Monday, February 11th 2008

 04/29/2023     Last Thoughts on Covid
 03/14/2023     March 2023
 03/14/2023     BLM, Covid, ALM
 02/8/2023     Fitting In
 12/4/2022     Addiction
 11/4/2022     Small Talk
 10/3/2022     Every Bullet
 10/3/2022     Order and Chaos
 07/20/2022     Childbirth
 06/6/2022     Breakup Songs
 05/26/2022     Thoughts and Prayers
 05/26/2022     Pro
 05/26/2022     Guns and Capitalism
 04/30/2022     World Religions
 02/14/2022     Spotify
 06/26/2021     Civil Disobedience for Climate Justice Verses the Power of Song
 05/28/2021     Art work IS work!
 05/24/2021     Healthcare
 12/28/2020     Inauguration Day
 11/6/2020     Facebook Community Standards
 11/3/2020     Masks, Red Arrows, and Entitlement
 07/29/2020     Stella Immanuel
 05/8/2020     Respect the Elders
 03/24/2020     Buddha, Jesus, Patriarchy, President
 03/21/2020     Covid 19 Virus Days
 09/13/2019     9/11
 05/13/2019     Look to the Kids
 07/4/2018     Independence Day 2018
 05/20/2018     Abortion and Guns
 05/2/2018     Civil Disobedience
 12/1/2017     Price of Progress
 01/28/2017     Prayer for America
 05/27/2014     "Free" music
 12/30/2013     Happy New Year
 09/26/2013     Ignorant Bliss
 11/29/2012     Gillen & Turk 2008 Opening for Todd Rungren
 08/27/2012     Shallow Money Trench
 06/22/2012     Crazy Horse
 05/9/2012     Talk
 01/19/2012     Freedom
 12/31/2011     Happy New Year
 12/13/2011     Men of Business
 11/19/2011     WAR
 11/18/2011     Earth And Spirit
 10/10/2011     Occupy Wall Street
 10/6/2011     Independence
 09/20/2011     Anger and Love
 09/6/2011     You Can't Have Everything
 09/1/2011     The Instruments
 08/30/2011     Fathers
 08/2/2011     On Being An Artist
 05/11/2011     Speaking The Truth
 04/25/2011     Tuning the lead vocal
 03/17/2011     Instilling Values
 01/14/2011     The Current Music Business
 11/5/2010     Even The Air
 10/19/2010     Rednecks, Racism, This-ism, that-ism
 09/8/2010     9/11
 07/18/2010     Being Ecumenical
 07/6/2010     Dust
 06/30/2010     Gay Rights/ Marriage
 03/11/2010     The heart
 03/11/2010     Culture
 01/5/2010     Coats
 12/11/2009     Pete Seeger
 12/2/2009     Environmental Protest Songs
 10/5/2009     Adam & Eve
 06/18/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/11/2009     Clearwater
 06/10/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/10/2009     War Machine
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 05/14/2008     God
 02/24/2008     broke
==>02/11/2008     HOPE MACHINE
 01/6/2008     Dennis Kucinich
 12/27/2007     NYPD
 10/4/2007     Mitakuye Oyasin
 05/21/2007     The Past
 04/15/2007     Kurt Vonnegut, Indian Point
 10/8/2006     God
 06/26/2006     From the Pe Sla -the heart of the heart of Lakota sacred land -the Black Hills of South Dakota
 06/5/2006     Mowing The Lawn
 03/24/2006     Gone Gone Gone
 02/25/2006     grace
 09/26/2005     Sky To Mountain
 09/22/2005     Love
 09/14/2005     Look Down
 04/19/2005     April 2005
 01/27/2005     Poverty
 01/11/2005     Grace
 12/3/2004     Standing Up 2
 12/1/2004     Tired
 11/29/2004     Standing Up
 11/29/2004     Mercy
 09/18/2004     Beaten
 08/7/2004     Half Full
 07/16/2004     Hallelujia!
 07/16/2004     Battered Feathers
 03/14/2004     gifts
 03/1/2004     Ancestors
 03/1/2004     A Prayer
 12/24/2003     "The Bomb"
 05/16/2003     Safe
 05/16/2003     Satan
 05/5/2003     Faith, Hope, Love
 03/10/2003     Tatoo
 02/11/2003     Folk Music is alive and well!
 01/13/2003     Revolution
 01/2/2003     January 2003
 11/17/2002     FEAR
 11/9/2002     Election Day
 10/30/2002     Election Day
 10/14/2002     Checkpoint Charlie
 06/17/2002     Revolution
 06/3/2002     Gold
 06/3/2002     WAGE LOVE!
 06/3/2002     Mercy
 06/3/2002     New World Order?
 04/4/2002     Real?
 04/4/2002     Billboards
 04/4/2002     Faith
 03/22/2002     Living into the 21st century
 03/22/2002     Comfort
 03/22/2002     Barren Ground
 03/22/2002     Dreams
 03/14/2002     March 11, 2002
 02/25/2002     Germany
 12/14/2001     NOW
 09/19/2001     September 11, 2001
 08/6/2001     #5 Taking Responsibility
 07/12/2001     Television
 06/11/2001     #3: Sprawl
 05/16/2001     #2
 05/16/2001     #1

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