Poetry Written in Gasoline: Black Mask and Up Against the Wall Motherfucker - Gavin Grindon

detail of artwork includng the slogan "We are Outlaws!" with a gun wielding cowboy and excerpts of other texts

An interesting article from 2014 about 1960s New York revolutionary group Black Mask / Up Against The Wall Motherfucker. Includes good quality reproductions of photos, artwork etc.

Author
Submitted by Fozzie on March 31, 2023

Comments

adri

1 year 2 months ago

Submitted by adri on March 31, 2023

Grindon wrote: The poster’s [the "Outlaw Page"] text was adapted as lyrics in Jefferson Airplane’s 1970 [it was actually 1969] song ‘We Can Be Together’, perhaps passed to them by ‘political adviser’ Charles Radcliffe. UAWMF similarly influenced MC5, who played a benefit gig for Morea’s court costs.

Came across this a while back... They actually use the "up against the wall" phrase on the song. I hadn't thought Jefferson Airplane were all that radical, but it's certainly a nice tune, along with the whole Volunteers album (obviously a reference to the Vietnam War). It seems the guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner, who wrote/borrowed the lyrics from the "Motherfucker" John Sundstrom, was fairly left-wing.

Fozzie

1 year 2 months ago

Submitted by Fozzie on March 31, 2023

Thanks Adri - I never know whether it's a positive sign that this stuff is "in the air" or whether it actually is recuperation. I guess both.

adri

1 year 2 months ago

Submitted by adri on March 31, 2023

Yeah, I'd largely agree that radical stuff tends to become diluted when incorporated into music and other items of consumption. "Radical music" itself hasn't really helped to bring about a socialist society, though it's often been an important part of various social movements and struggles. The protest music that emanated from the American counterculture and antiwar movements of the '60s and '70s certainly added pressure on the U.S. to de-escalate its war against the Vietnamese (as both the Nixon administration and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam acknowledged), so in a sense I suppose it wasn't entirely useless.