Q&A: JD Samson of MEN on Playing Occupy Wall Street on May Day

JD Samson
JD Samson and MEN are helping to close down today's May Day events with a free concert at 7 p.m. at 2 Broadway in the Financial District. We sat down with Samson on a sun-dappled stoop recently to talk about the show, what Occupy Wall Street means to her, and her band's upcoming album.

Village Voice: How did you get involved with playing this show?

JD Samson: The first week of Occupy last year started the day we left on tour, and we were gone for six weeks, so we kind of watched from the road the rise of the whole community and the whole movement. And it was so incredible to go through each different town, and this geographical aspect of the movement was so awesome for us.

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Q&A: Dan Deacon Talks Politics, Patriotism, And Occupy Wall Street

Frank Hamilton
Dan Deacon will play a free concert as part of tomorrow's May Day demonstrations.
Dan Deacon is one of several big name musicians playing a free concert in Union Square tomorrow at 4 p.m. We spoke to him recently about why Occupy Wall Street resonates with him and why he considers himself a political artist.

Village Voice: You're playing a free show in Union Square for May Day, along with Das Racist, Tom Morello, Immortal Technique, and Bobby Sanabria. How did you get involved?

Dan Deacon: Someone sent me an email.

Cool. Great interview! Thanks!

No, the main reason I wanted to be a part of it is because during the peak of the Occupy movement last year I was recording the entire time. I was in Baltimore, so I never made it up to New York, I never made it down to Occupy Baltimore, and I felt like a huge shit-head about it the whole time. I was very excited for winter to end, to get more involved because I knew I'd have a lot of time and I'd be able to be less of an armchair activist and more actually in the mix. So when I got the offer it was something I had to do.

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Stand Up, Man: Das Racist, Immortal Technique, Dan Deacon, Tom Morello To Play May Day For Occupy Wall Street

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Ben Rowland
Das Racist will be playing Union Square as part of Tuesday's May Day events.
Occupy Wall Street's plans for May Day are starting to take shape, and amidst the pickets and skill-shares and marches and mayhem, it's looking like there's going to be a lot of music too.

We already told you about the Guitarmy being mustered for next Tuesday, but organizers have also announced a number of free performances in Union Square by some big-name musicians.

Among them: Dan Deacon, Das Racist, Immortal Technique, Tom Morello and Bobby Sanabria.

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Occupy Wall Street Dreams Of A Giant Jam Session May 1

occupy guitarmy
"Band seeking 1000 guitar players. Other instruments also welcome. Influences include Woody Guthrie, Tom Morello, Willie Nile, and Sergio Ortega."

Occupy Wall Street is raising a "Guitarmy."

For months, activists have been preparing for May Day, laying plans for teach-ins, bank blockades, marches and civil disobedience. But they're also looking to stage an enormous jam session.

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DJ Spooky, Occupy Wall Street, and the Frictions of Radical Chic

DJ Spooky spinning at Work in Progress last night.
It was an unlikely marriage from the start.

When DJ Spooky invited the Occupy Wall Street Library to hold a book-party / dance-party at the chichi Vandam club Work in Progress, it was an open question how the revolutionary politics of the occupation and the glitz of the downtown nightclub scene would mesh.

The answer is: Not at all. The collaboration ended early with harsh words between the librarians and the club's management, as the occupiers packed up their books and left just as DJ Spooky was beginning his set for the club's well-dressed patrons.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part IV: The Joys Of Nicola Roberts And The Problem With Odd Future

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Nicola Roberts, having herself a lucky day with the Village Voice.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Hey all. Again, thanks to Maura for putting this together, and thanks to Katherine for not only writing another outstanding recap of 2011 but also handing off to me no less topics than Bon Iver, PBR&B, K-Pop, all hip-hop, the cloud, and trollgaze. Where should I start?

Not with trollgaze, but we'll get there, for better or for worse. How about Nicola Roberts? I completely agree with you on that record, Tom, and I know from conversation that Maura and Katherine do too. (Eric?) I'd imagine that my experience with it was pretty common: Blown away by the singles, and by the fact that Cinderella's Eyes was almost a Girls Aloud album, it took me a while to allow it to develop into much more than that. I still enjoyed it plenty—amid the worst year for music ever, how could you not?—but not as much as I did once I started paying closer attention to its latter half.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part III: Occupying The Year Of The Woman Cliché In Hopes Of Blowing It Up

Kanye West at Occupy Wall Street; confused woman.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Hello all, and thanks! I'm honored to be here. Let's talk about the collapse of the global economy.

Or rather, let's not; as tempting as it is to link early 2011's glut of apocalyptic dance or late 2011's druggy numbness to financial panic or cultural malaise, you'd have to glibly ignore 99% of both music and the cultural moment. Even the arguments that almost worked didn't, like the reductive meme that Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne was just about being rich, not about the experience of being black and having become rich. And speaking of the 99%, it's far too soon to anoint any Occupy Wall Street anthem. (Sorry, Jonah, Miley's track is just a fanvid.) There's been music on the ground, of course, and there's an album coming out, but it's telling (of my now-bastardized Google Reader feed, if nothing else) that my main associations between music and Occupy are three things: the Radiohead non-concert that turned out to be a new-media bro's prank, the musicians whose Zuccotti cameos were probably out of good intent but in practice indistinguishable from photo ops, and the albums in Occupy's library, which was seized after the NYPD raids—alas, the cloud couldn't save it.

Nor can megastars—they're too busy mythologizing themselves to survive in lieu of those megasales. There are exceptions; candor in interviews and mega-megasales aside, you can't really call Adele a "celebrity," at least not using that term. (Contrary to rockist belief, this is not a selling point.) But take Rihanna, who's wearing herself out being better at this sort of thing than anyone else. Icky news stories? Out-ick them on Twitter! Gossip cackling about Chris Brown? Tease it in the "We Found Love" video! Moral guardians carping about being too sexy? Send racks of raunch down the Talk That Talk assembly line!

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Jackson Browne, Third Eye Blind, And Dawes Are Playing Zuccotti Park Today

Third Eye Blind.
This afternoon at 12:30 or so, Zuccotti Park will host a concert starring activist/rocker Jackson Browne, the still-potent-to-the-kids Third Eye Blind, and the Los Angeles retro outfit Dawes. And this isn't one of those "omg Radiohead is on the way down there now" fake-outs, either; not only has the Third Eye Blind twitter semi-obliquely confirmed that they're going to be at the gig, but Browne and Third Eye Blind will appear on the forthcoming album Music For Occupy alongside Yo La Tengo, Toots and the Maytals, and Michael Moore. Third Eye Blind's rallying anthem for Occupy, the peppy "If There Ever Was A Time," after the jump.

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Miley Cyrus Takes Her Party In The USA To Occupy Wall Street

Here is a fun sentence to type: Miley Cyrus released a video in support of Occupy Wall Street! The clip, posted Saturday, pairs a remix of her 2010 song "Liberty Walk" with footage from the Occupy protests, and is so incongruous that when I first saw it I spent about five minutes verifying that it was an official Miley production. If the song hadn't gotten such wide coverage, I'm not sure I'd still be able to say with complete certainty that the former Disney Channel star was responsible for it. The clip looks like a tribute video (fan-made clips that take, say, a Taylor Swift song and put it over footage from Twilight or Glee to emphasize the deep emotional relationships between the characters); it even opens with the suspiciously iMovie-looking white-text-on-black-screen epigraph "This is dedicated to the thousands of people who are standing up for what they believe in..."

In truth, it's not so out of character. Cyrus is a longtime vlogger, and her ability to use new media in an accessible, authentic-seeming way has been a huge boon to her popularity. But for those more used to the image of Miley Cyrus as a slick, corporate pop star, the apparent sincerity and homegrown flavor of the video were hard to process.

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Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, And The So So Glos Are Playing An Occupy Wall Street Benefit At Shea Stadium Tonight

Benjamin Lozovsky
Newly minted social-media strategist (and Titus Andronicus frontman) Patrick Stickles.
If you aren't doing anything this evening, perhaps you'd like to catch this hot bill that's playing tonight at Shea Stadium: Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, and the So So Glos. The show, which was announced last night, will benefit the National Lawyer's Guild, who's working with people in need of legal assistance because of their involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Tickets are $15 a pop and go on sale at noon today at Main Drag Music's Bushwick Supply Store, located at 268 Meserole Street. Sales will be capped at 200 and tickets won't be sold at the door, so if you're interested in attending maybe you should, you know, go out there to get on line now. Titus Andronicus singer Patrick Stickles wrote a long blog post about the event, and it includes this reasoning behind having the show at the low-capacity Shea Stadium as opposed to, say, the Music Hall of Williamsburg or another large space:

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