I am devastated by the loss of a very dear friend, Jewlia Eisenberg.
Jewlia was a valued comrade and longtime musical collaborator as well. She was a musician, an activist, a cantor; a radically spiritual, political, and musical person, and one of the most dynamic people I have ever known...
We met in the late '90's and worked together extensively throughout the 'aughts', playing on each other's projects at various benefits and recording sessions, co-organizing, hosting and playing monthly at a Radical Film Series, creating a duo project (Red Rosa, setting letters of Rosa Luxemburg to bass and voice music) and marching in the streets together against war and for social justice. We remained in close touch in the years since, meeting up when we happened to be in the same town (not a small feat for a couple of traveling musicians). We were most recently planning to do a record of Mordechai Gebirtig songs when time and health allowed. Sadly this was not to be.
I am finding some solace in looking through messages, photos, flyers, and listening to recordings, primarily the Charming Hostess record Sarajevo Blues that I am very proud to have contributed to. Sending love and light to Jewlia, now as ever.
I wrote and recorded this song for Jewlia yesterday. There will likely be more....
The EMMA GOLDMAN BUST OUT BRIGADE (Mike Watt, Joe Berardi, DH)
out 2/28/21 on Nomad Eel Records!!
the Emma Goldman Bust Out Brigade
(by Devin Hoff)
The Emma Goldman Bust Out Brigade was born out of conversations that
started several years ago between Mike Watt and Devin Hoff. After a Dos (Watt and Kira Roessler's two bass band) show in Oakland that Devin opened for playing Solo Bass, he handed Watt a copy Paul Avrich's 'Anarchist Voices' with an image of Emma Goldman on the cover. "EG was way cool," Watt said through the driver side window, which launched he and Hoff into a conversation of the finer points of Red Emma's theories of the reciprocal nature of social harmony and individual sovereignty. Kira laughed at their nerdiness, and the punk bass legends headed out to the highway.
Since then, Watt and Hoff have referred to each other as Comrade
(without irony). The first time the Emma Goldman Bust Out Brigade was used as a moniker was at a benefit for Leonard Peltier
that Watt and Hoff played at together, which eventually led to the recording session for this record. Watt organized the session and brought in the fabulous drummer Joe Berardi, and Hoff made the trek from L.A. to Pedro on the Red Line, his buddy Rusty's vintage Ampeg Baby Bass in tow.
The music itself consists of improvisations based on bass lines by
Watt and Hoff. The point was for the three to build non-idiomatic drums and bass-based improvised music, to hopefully enact in music some of EG's words on the relationship of the individual to the collective. Watt found phrases in Goldman's writing to name the songs after. The tracks are mostly instrumental, with the exception of the one word chant Atamansha that Hoff and comrade Tivona sang, a reference to early 20th century revolutionary Maria Nikiforova. The music is both free-improvisation― inspired by the revolutionary avant-garde musicians of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Julius Hemphill, Alice Coltrane, etc.,―and also very much punk rock in its ethos of DIY egalitarianism.
To paraphrase D. Boon: Punk is whatever we make it to be. Or as E.G. said:"I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things."