How the fearless members of Pussy Riot teach us to fight the fight in grand and small ways.
Photo by Igor Mukhin.
The week of February 16, 2014, brought us yet more horrific reminders of how brutal life can be across the globe. High-definition videos and stills of Ukrainian civilians battling police in streets of fire have streamed to our devices in real time, troubling us with their graphic violence over issues most of us know only trivial details about. We probably know less about as-bad or worse conflicts going on right now in Syria, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Sudan, but that doesn’t decrease the poignancy of seeing riot-gear-clad regime officers wielding automatic weapons against everyday people lobbing bricks.
We also winced, jaws dropped, as we saw the women of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot whipped by police in Sochi as they attempted to film a video protesting President Vladimir Putin in front of a billboard for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Between the press of work (including deadline week for this mag) and everyday life, I’ve snuck glimpses and tried to keep up with news on all this stuff, and when I boil it down, what’s really struck me is the power of “No.” (Note the importance of the period—its finality.) No, we won’t be oppressed. No, we won’t be bullied. No, we won’t shrink from principle in the face of danger.
Unrest around the world is certainly more complex than our scope here, but I do want to publicly salute the fearless women of Pussy Riot. In the West, we certainly have our urgent issues—everyone everywhere does—but in contrast to other conflicts around the world, at least we can decide whether to speak our mind or mind our own business and still go home safely at night.
Since Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, Masha Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested and imprisoned in early 2012 for their first headline-grabbing anti-Putin performance, I’ve watched closely as they’ve gotten well-deserved support from around the world. In solidarity, I donated to efforts, signed online petitions for their release, and even purchased a T-shirt with the “¡No Pasarán!”—“They shall not pass!”— declaration, just like the one Tolokonnikova was wearing when she was arrested.
Samutsevich was released after a few months, but Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were held till December 2013. But even when the latter two made it safely out of their country and made charmingly witty and astute appearances on programs such as The Colbert Report, they refused to settle in and seek asylum. They headed back to their troubled homeland to continue their efforts to thwart a government that pretends to be democratic but leans despotic. Say what you will of their brash music, these ladies are freaking badass—both for their guts and their ingenious use of art for progress. They will go down in history. They already have.
What the hell does this have to do with guitar? Lots. Besides being fearless revolutionaries for justice in the same way as revered Western punks, their music is pretty damn rad. (For proof, go to YouTube and watch the new video that they were trying to shoot when they were whipped this week.) Beyond that, Pussy Riot’s fearless attitude is also reminder of the power of “no” in things that are perhaps of smaller consequence, but still of great import. No, I won’t ignore my conscience. No, I won’t be complacent and self-absorbed. No, I won’t take my loved ones for granted. No, I won’t solo for 12 minutes straight. No, I won’t fetishize gear at the cost of musicality.
Of course, saying “no” usually means nothing unless you also say “hell yes” to something else—a course of action to remedy the situation or forestall gridlock or equally bad alternatives. But the pace of life and technology these days makes it so easy to either be distracted from a better path or just go with the flow. That’s why I’m grateful for true musical heroes who remind me of the power of “no.”
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
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Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
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This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.