Culture vulture

Last of the true believers
“This is not an audience! This is a fucking army!”

Shouted literally over the heads of the 30 or so adolescents and a few curious adults gathered at the Crux Artist Collective in South Chico, punk rock rabble rouser Sid Locksley’s call to political action brought more quizzical and/or ironic grins to the surface than raised fists and vehement oaths to rise up and rid the country of the current corrupt regime.

Backed on bass by Joe X in camouflage cargo pants and a crocheted beer can hat, with Jack Dammit on guitar in rock star leather pants, a black knit cap and playing through a Marshall stack, and Steve Bragg behind the drum kit with no funny name or goofy clothes, Locksley was reveling in the chance to perform with the all-original-member cast of his Con-Tra-Band.

A brief flourish of bagpipes introduced the set, which Locksley termed his “State of the Union Address.” With Dammit’s guitar cranked to an eardrum-shredding roar and a PA system that would have been adequate for an acoustic folk music concert but which proved woefully inadequate for rising above the din generated by the musicians, Lockley’s lyrical acuity was impossible to discern on such political tirades as “Anarchy in the U.S.A.,” “Georgie Porgie” and the Timothy McVeigh-inspired “Exterminate,” which was presaged by the comment that, “The U.S. government taught him how to kill.” The same could be said for Osama bin Laden and the mujahideen that follow him, but as far as I could tell the topic never came up.

What did come up was the tempo for a breakneck run through of “Skippy—the George Bush Kangaroo,” which I’d have loved to hear the lyrics to, but didn’t. Ditto the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky expose, “The Six-Million Dollar Man,” which Dammit introduced with a smirking, “This one’s really current.”

The set ended with a cover of the Sham 69 classic “Borstal Breakout,” which left the Crux crowd clamoring for more as the band began breaking down their equipment.

Having known Locksley for several years of friendly acquaintanceship, I can attest that the man has more punk rock political sincerity in his bleached forelock than all the members of the Offspring combined. It takes a lot of faith to believe that music can change the world, and it takes a lot of integrity to perform music with the declared intention of bringing political enlightenment to the masses. It’s good to know that someone working within our community hasn’t given up hope.

A call to Spark & Cinder fans
Chico cultural historian Carey Wilson is currently collecting material for a CN&R cover story commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Spark and Cinder band. If you’d like to contribute an anecdote, an image or a tirade please contact Carey Wilson, care of this newspaper, drop it off at our receptionist desk or e-mail it to <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> </script>. If you’d prefer to correspond with <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> </script> I’ll make sure he gets it. The one caveat is that he needs these things by no later than Feb. 21 to meet deadline. All contributions will be credited as requested.