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.

Being Ecumenical

"Some of us come out to enjoy ourselves and not be confronted with political talk or music! Be ecumenical." Elizabeth (hand-written note left in my tip jar one night recently)

This is a topic I've thought a lot about over the last 6 or 7 years. It sounds like she's talking about being an "entertainer" and not expressing my views about anything. To that I say "get over it." If that's what she means, the old "entertainers should keep their mouths shut and not express their views" idea, then I'm not really interested in even giving what she says any thought. To that I say "grow up."

If she's speaking more about being more "universal" as opposed to openly "political," that is an idea I think about all the time. I try to not be preachy. I try very hard to walk the line between speaking the truth and offending people who maybe could stand to hear a little bit of truth, or at least hear something REAL to get them thinking and feeling a bit. To remind them they are human and alive and going to die, and not alone on this planet in the meantime, and that others are suffering even if they themselves are not. The fact that she uses the word "confronted" is what makes me interested in writing about what she said. Just in a basic sense, confronting people is sort of an artist's job. Making them think. Helping them feel. I'm going to confront people with SOMETHING in my work, or else stop doing it because I don't see the point in doing it otherwise. We get numbed every day by corporate-owned media in an effort to keep us consuming and supporting the industrial machine, and therefore their own profits. We have no real free, mass-media, untarnished by commercial considerations or out-right manipulation by vast, greed-driven corporations. So this brings me to the question of confronting people specifically with "political" ideas, in quotes because what is political and what isn't is an extremely gray area seemingly. A bunch of years ago I learned about deregulation of the media and the profit-motivated bias which comes with it, and I made a decision that if I was taking up any space in the media, no matter how underground, I was a form of "alternative media." Lately I've toned it down some because now more people in my audience are hurting due to outside circumstances. I've really tried to be universal and talk about how we are all in this together and we can make it if we just work together. But I'm not going to stop telling the stories of veterans, drug addicts, homeless folks, and others who's stories don't get told so much, just so some comfortable person can remain comfortable and never have to look at anything. She says "some of us" in her note. She has the audacity to speak for others but doesn't want me to speak for others. That I find interesting. My good friend Monty Delaney is a right-wing folk singer. He has some pretty "political" material, some of which I disagree with, and he says stuff at his shows which I disagree with. But he also touches humanity and remind me I am human, and that we're all in the same boat. The stuff I disagree with makes me think and the rest makes me feel. Usually I realize that we don't really disagree on the important stuff. So I love going to hear him. I think if you stick around for 6 or 7 of my songs you'll get the same thing. And I'll probably say something you disagree with. I think you can't get much more ecumenical than Sing Sing Sing, but I suppose that some people would disagree. If you disagree, I hope you will still come to my shows because there's a lot you can get out of the parts you don't disagree with. If you think I suck and don't come to my shows, that's totally cool but if you're not coming because either you disagree with me or you don't want to hear anything "political" than I guess I kind of feel bad for you because you must have quite a bubble of denial set up for yourself. I get the idea of escapist entertainment and sometimes it can be a good, fun, and helpful thing, but I think you're in the wrong place for it if you're at a local coffeehouse.... The coffeehouse has always been a place where people exchange real ideas. They do serve coffee, a stimulant!!!

Sunday, July 18th 2010

 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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