Michael Rank and Stag

By Geordie Pleathur

“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y.
This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.” (-Terence McKenna )

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and it’s speaker a raving lunatic.” (-Dresden James)

“IF you never say anything contentious or provocative, ask yourself why not?”(-Ray Gange)

“People don’t go to church too much anymore. Churches used to be places where people with common beliefs went to celebrate. That’s what rock and roll is now. At our concerts, we share our feelings through the music.” (- Stiv Bators)

“Look at the Wall Street protestors. Now, whether you agreed with the Wall Street protesters or whether you didn’t, they still should have been fully supported and here’s why. All they were doing was exercising what is supposed to be written in their First Amendment rights. What happened? They were run off with pepper spray and dogs. What hypocrisy. Right at the same time all of these demonstrations were happening in the Middle East and our country was heralding it. How wonderful that this was going on over there. Well, at the same time in their own backyard they were pepper spraying and running off protesters with dogs. The reason why everyone should have supported them is that right, maybe you didn’t agree with the Wall Street protestors, but some day you’re going to want to protest something. Some day it may be you and that right will not be there for you anymore.” (Gov. Jesse Ventura)

“In other words, the Obama administration has received far more resistance to its due process-free imprisonments and assassinations from Afghans than it has from its own citizens in the US. If only more Americans, including progressives, were willing to point out the most basic truths in response to these Obama power seizures, such as: ‘If you go off to kill or capture them, how do you prove that they are really guilty in terms of legal process?’
Instead, many Americans, particularly in the age of Obama, are content to assume that anyone whom the US government accuses of being a terrorist should, for that reason alone, be assumed to be guilty, and as a result, any punishment the president decides to dole out – indefinite imprisonment, summary execution – is warranted and just; no bothersome, obsolete procedures such as ‘trials’ or ‘indictments’ are necessary.
It is that mindset that will ensure that Obama’s vigorous fight to preserve the power of indefinite detention will provoke so little objection: among Americans, that is – though obviously not among Afghans, who seem to have an actual understanding of, and appreciation for, the value of due process.” (-Glenn Greenwald)

“Yesterday the Pentagon announced that “the surge” of 33,000 troops in Afghanistan, from two years ago, is over. 68,000 troops will stay. What will 68,000 troops accomplish that 101,000 troops could not? The Afghan “government” is hopelessly corrupt, immersed in murder, bribery, extortion, bank fraud, electoral fraud, drug trade — a business of its ‘first family’; stolen weapons, helping to move billions in cash out of the country in boxes and suitcases, to purchase villas at resorts. The US has already “invested” $558.2 billion in taxpayers’ money for the invasion and occupation. Members of the Afghan army and police (or Taliban in stolen uniforms) stealthily shoot and kill unsuspecting US troops at close range. Everything about our presence in Afghanistan is wrong: Picture a carnival of corruption in the lowest circle of Dante’s Inferno. The “surge” is over. Really, should we keep the other 68,000 troops there until 2014? How much more of your tax dollars do you want to send to Afghanistan?”(-Dennis Kucinich)

“I am happy to express from this darkness and draw a true picture of the condition in which I exist. I am moving towards a dark cave and a dark life in the shadow of a dark prison. This is a prison that does not know humanity, and does not know anything except the language of power, oppression and humiliation for whoever enters it. It does not differentiate between a criminal and the innocent.”(-Guantanamo inmate, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, in a letter to his lawyer, dated December 26th, 2010. He was the ninth captive to die at Gitmo, never charged with any crime. No Trial. No charges. Obama recently oversaw a four million dollar expansion of Gitmo in spite of promising to close the notorious torture camp.)

“I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit. Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets.”  (- Lupe Fiasco)

“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star…”(-Nietzche)

“Justice is what love looks like in public” (-Cornel West )

“What do you value? Love or money? Let us teach corporations a lesson. Let us remind their founders that we should take what we need and give the rest to those who are still in need.
The Occupy Movement has shaken this world out of its slumber. No longer will we allow the money of corporations to hold more power than the love of humanity. Don’t let the petty divisions, that create massive ridges in the solidarity of our community, break us apart. This is a time for the people to take a stand. We have slumbered for too long. Remember: United we stand; divided we fall. United, we speak with a roar! Divided, we whisper in defeat.
The Occupy Movement is creeping into its toddler phase. We are not fully grown yet. We are waiting for you, your help. Help your neighbor. Be the one who speaks and acts on the behalf of those who can’t.
Please stop by our info booth and sign up to volunteer. It takes a community to grow a movement. Whatever skill you have, we need it. Please sign up online at our website, or in paper at the info booth. Take some literature and a business card to reference after the march. We can’t do this without you.
Don’t let the illusionary dominance of corporations and petty divisions of tactics, or interpersonal strife, stop you from this service to humanity. Do it for love.” (-Jennefer Harper)

“Where is the man you respect, and where is the woman you love?” (-Morrissey)

“There is a serious class war going on in our country and I’m trying to underline it and bring it to the mainstream media who all but ignores it. There is a war on poor people by rich people in this country and it really should be looked at.” (- Roseanne Barr)

“Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public schools.”(-U.S. Federal Judge Melinda Harmon)

“Have fun, get wild, drink whiskey, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested.”(-Hunter S. Thompson)

“These people round here wear beaten down eyes sunk in smoke dried faces So resigned to what their fate is But not us, no never, no not us, no never We are far too young and clever…”(-Dexy’s Midnite Runners)

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. “(-Samuel Ullman)

“I hate the very idea of prison. But I know, if I am sent there, I will not be alone. I can only speak for myself, but I have every faith that the others subpoenaed to these hearings will likewise refuse. And I know that hundreds of people have called the US Attorney demanding that they end this tribunal. Hundreds of organizations, representing thousands of people, signed onto a statement expressing solidarity with those of us under attack and demanding an end to this sort of repression.”(-Leah Plante, one of several Pacific Northwestern kids thrown in prison for refusing to cooperate with F.B.I. government witch hunts)

“All that oppressors ask from the rest of us is to mind our own business..” (- Tim DeChristopher)

“What happens when you’ve had enough of oil companies illegally passing pipelines through your tribal land? You practice self-determination and your sovereign rights to occupy that land. That is exactly what a group of Red Lake Tribal members are doing. Prayers this morning to the people that will be going out to stand for our land and against the pipeline industries.  We the people of Red Lake Nation do not want this enemy Enbridge pipeline, or any pipeline, going across our homeland.  We are not here for the dollars. We are here to protect the homeland that was given to us by the Creator.  Idle No More, for this is for our children and their future.” (-Enbridge Blockade)


So I went to the mall, in search of affordable packages of white socks, ’cause all of mine have holes in ‘em, I had a good friend send me some socks last year, but since my Grandma died, I have been pretty sock deprived. Bitching about the mall is so 80′s–”Valley Girl”, but what hit me about the mall experience, this time, was it was so sparce(!!) since the last time I visited. There used to be a lot more product on the racks, but nowadays it’s all about loss prevention, so half the inventory is gone. I could not find anyone to direct me to socks, or a restroom, but man, oh man, you feel them electronic eyes and store detectives staring you down, my old lady said we were being watched because I “don’t look like mall material”. It was real weird, man. Saw some mirrored shades at Sunglasses Hut, but was so put-off by the over-zealous rent-a-cop vibe and overpriced shit, I just had to get the fuck out of there. Notice how every store has like 12 cash registers and only one cashier, thanks to Corporate America? D’ya ever feel sorry for the poor girls trying to emulate the “Jersey Shore” and Kardashian sisters?

I remember a time in my youth where I begged the old Cheap Trick ladies who ran the record-store in the mall to give me a job, but they said they “couldn’t” because of my hair length, when in fact, they had half a dozen preppie guys who worked there all sporting that Bon Jovi perm. The difference was they were all Kip Winger preppie looking male model types, while I was a weirdo Joey Ramone. Some of my high-school friends never left the mall, they are the mall people. When the video-arcades and record stores were finally squeezed out of existence, they just went to work for Spencer Gifts, or Pier One, or whatever. They have this mallified world-view. Loss Prevention before customer service. Aggressive hospitality. Insincerity as a way of life. As soon as they see you, they compliment something you’re wearing. Everyone’s been devalued and objectified. Belittled and left to die. We replace our actual intimates with stuff and social-networking virtual relationships. I think I gotta get the fuck out of here. Indefinite detention, chem-trails, GMO’s…the high-school sporty mall people don’t wanna know. All the cable zombies care about is their cable subscription and television heart-throbs, sports shit, and the thinnest illusion of high-school popularity. Myself, I want nothing to do with any of that shit. I don’t have cable, there’s nothing in your mall that I want. Not even a Hot Sam pretzel on a stick with jalapeno cheese dip. Not even the $10 purple spiked bracelet from Hot-Topic. You know that Cinnabon smell is piped out with some artificial chemical fragrance? That can’t be healthy.

You think those chem-trails are just con-trails, otherwise Brian Williams or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly or Tom Brokaw would tell you otherwise? Those dudes are overpaid actors pretending to be newsmen to advance the agenda of the global elites. Just like your politicians. I got no room for millionaire disinformation agents and media-class spectacle whores. We live in a full spectrum dominance, total police state, ruled by the top one percent of the top one percent—secret grand juries, total control of the media, NSA fusion centers smelling all our dirty underwear, no fly lists, executive branch kill-lists, illegal wire-taps legalized by supreme court, full immunity for torturers, no accountability for B.P. ecocide in our Gulf, Monsanto has poisoned the food supply, our water is tainted with fluoride, you can’t sue vaccine-makers, Wal-Mart killed the unions and the Main Street Mom and Pops, sent our living wage manufacturing jobs to Chinese sweat shops, and consolidated half the nation’s wealth under seven Walton family members, meanwhile, the pig media has half of us trying to Keep Up With The Kardashians. The music on the radio is insufferable. Even Gwen Steffani is more talented than the new stable of corporate whores and heiresses and ex wives they currently promote on cable tv unreality. The peace prize accepting drone prez is bombing folks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, and soon, Iran. We’re on the bleed, it goes from bad to worse.

Meanwhile, out here where the real sidewalk is wet, there are 3.5 Million Homeless Americans-the vast majority are women WITH children, and 18.5 Million Vacant Homes, 10,000 more families are evicted each day. Both political parties ignore the will of the people and prohibited Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr, Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson and other third party candidates from having any meaningful access to the pig-media in the last hopelessly rigged Presidential elections between two shills for war on behalf of big oil, Bilderberg, the banksters, and AIPAC. Exxon and Bank Of America pay no taxes. Many states turn over to corporate giants the state income tax collected from their corporations’ employees! This form of bribery is demanded by outrageously perverse companies like G.E., Dow Jones, Ford, Chrysler, Motorola, and others as part of the price of doing business in those states. Many states also allow big retailers like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and others, to keep all, or part of the state sales taxes they collect. Target is just a greenwashed Wal-Mart with an emo marketing sheen. Anti-union, anti-gay, “expect more, pay less” is their policy towards their overworked employees. Schedule-making Assistant Managers keep everyone waiting by the phone, forever, because they want you on-call, at all times, but they don’t want to ever pay overtime or benefits to full-time employees, you can never be promoted to a management position without a four year college degree, management are paid incentives for manipulating the elderly Latina grandmothers into folding and rehanging the clothes teenage girls uncaringly drop on the floor all day long, at a faster pace. Four year state college business management degree dickheads with clip-boards telling lifelong care providers and home makers how they don’t fold and hang efficiently enough. These are a few of the reasons why I object to already rich grunge and 70′s glam musicians and former models going into business with Target to merely supplement their steady incomes and senselessly lavish surfer dude grunge lifestyles, on the backs of poor people, making minimum wage. All the war-profiteering chicken-hawks, take gigantic government pork kickbacks, and pay little to no taxes, as they smugly go back and forth, between positions as corporate lobbyists and law-makers, and hide their filthy lucre, over-seas. All our regulatory agencies have been captured. Monsanto poisons the food supplies, the Congress refuses to label G.M.O.’s in our food while pig-media denies chem-trails and global warming. Anything the corporations don’t like has been branded terrorism by the Bush/Cheney agenda carried on by phony-baloney faux liberal, Barack Obama. You’d think people would be hip to the sham by now, but nobody’s paying attention to DHS ammunition buys, botched drug raids, police brutality and taser deaths. They’re talking about sports, cable tv, and ceaselessly vilifying any poor folks who dareMichael Rank take any principled stand against fascism and injustice. Meanwhile, the gold watch and Axe cologne wearing, big fish in a small-pond, Jersey Shore emulating jocks who inherited local businesses and their consumerist, status-starved groupies, all mindlessly parrot the tired old Fox News shit about dirty hippies and lazy welfare recipients. They are the “Not-Sees”. Beware of “Not-Sees”.


Only a handful of brave spirits still make music with any soul or meaning, in this crumbling evil empire of illusions. They are black-listed and shunned by consolidated media, who’s primary agenda is to mislead, distract, and dumb down the population, keeping us misinformed, while we’re being poisoned and enslaved. One artist who has consistently created a diverse, challenging, and always powerful catalog of poetic worth is Michael Rank, from SNATCHES OF PINK. His band started off as a folky trio of loud, Bo Diddley damaged, glam junkies, seemingly en thrall to Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Hanoi Rocks. Already, this was quite a departure from the usual assembly-line of generic metal bands that all stowed-away on the Motley Crue/Poison/Guns N Roses 80′s poof-metal train. They had that obviously funny smutty, double entendre, but lyrically, Michael Rank’s work was always abstract, even cryptic, and opaque, at times, more like Rowland S. Howard, or even early Michael Stipe, than your usual juvenile horndog metal dude lyrics that everyone else berated you with, back then. They were fantastic, original, stylish, and cool, and played with every good band that ever performed in their part of the country. The Ramones, Thunders, Iggy, the Cramps. They were the perennial opening band in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Michael Rank looked like a lacey new romantic Jim Morrison garbed as a ruffled dandy Brian Jones. He had a singing voice that was similar to Jacob Dylan from the Wallflowers and since I was discovering that band’s first LP at around the same time I was turning on to SnatchesSnatches of PinkOf Pink, I always tend to classify them together. Also alongside the Bounty Hunters, Royal Trux, Epic Soundtracks, and the first two Goo Goo Dolls albums, believe it or not. Snatches Of Pink were a great band who never got enough airplay on radio or MTV to rise above cult status. After some really great albums, they suddenly changed their name, in the Evan Dando/Soul Asylum/”Alterna-Hunk” era to Clarissa, which only confused fans. Think about the sneering, leather jacketed biker glam hoods that would buy a record called Snatches Of Pink. Dudes with dangling skull earrings and Lords Of The New Church t-shirts, right? Are they gonna buy a record by a band called Clarissa? No way. That name probably only ever appealed to maybe, mmmm…Lisa Loeb fans, am I right? A few years went by, the whole college music trend fizzled out, and Michael Rank returned with another BADASS drummer, resurrecting the controversial SNATCHES OF PINK moniker and continued playing the New Barbarians style, raunchy, red brocade rocknroll their fan-club loved. Strangely, this sleazy Stones sound found a broad new audience among swampy Georgia Satellite Fans and that “alternative country” audience of tattooed college grads who subscribed to “No Depression” magazine, listened to public radio, threw devil horns at Corey Parks when Nashville Pussy came to town, and listened to old Burrito Brothers vinyl at backyard cookouts where they ironically displayed vintage beer advertisements from the seventies, the bicentennial KISS poster,  framed prints by that guy, the Coop, of old Reverend Horton Heat concert posters, and confederate flags in a non racist gesture of white trash romantic trailer park culture, minus the actual hardships, or consequences, of actual poverty. All those people, the hipster college grads, computer geeks, and math nerds who grew up on Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks, Wilco, all that shit. The Bon Iver/Iron & Wine/Ryan Adams people had embraced SNATCHES OF PINK as their own. How peculiar, how strange, butPabst somehow, also perversely, delightful. Those pick-up truck driving, Pabst swilling, newly minted yuppies with engineering degrees, solar homes, and ZZ Top beards were suddenly digging our own personal rootsy gutter punk rabble rousers, accepting them as their own. Who the hell saw that comin’? It’s like if the public radio beardos were mysteriously embracing the Hangmen. It only makes sense in this weird way. Yeah both the Hangmen and Snatches Of Pink have always been the genuine article, quickdraw-artist black hat motherfuckers, but since when did all you greenwashed,  ironic hayseed, glossy magazine subscribing, micro-brewing, organic gardeners like genuine article, quickdraw-artist black hat motherfuckers?


RIFLE DAYS…. Snatches Of Pink were never what you’d call a campy band, even in their scarved and feathered glam years. They always had that grave country edge, an “Exile On Main Street” or Creedence Clearwater Revival southern blues twang, but these new school Hee-Haw yeehaws, with their tongue in cheek “Smoky & The Bandit” chic, had come along, long after cats like me had abandoned the bars to the grunge kids-who were finally discovering Motorhead and pretending to be southern-fried, G.G. Allin  booze-brawlers with their Candy Snatcher 45 collections and Patsy Kline tattoos. Me, I could never stand those people, the hipsters with the kooky facial hair and ten thousand dollars in tattoos, but you don’t always get to pick your audience. The faux hicks in the smartass “Git R Done” baseball caps and John Deere t-shirts started showing up to all of SNATCHES OF PINKS shows, driving those guys to play blistering versions of glittery old Alice Cooper and David Bowie anthems, probably in spite(!) for too many repeated calls for not just “Freebird”, but probably “Sweet Home Alabama”, too. Good for Michael. Those Wilco wankers started buying his C.DMichael Rank.’s, and even playing them on their ya’all-ternative country radio shows. Michael Rank was attracting not only a now fully flourishing flock of smart, public radio listening, milf women, but also the accolades of all those Jeff Tweety worshipping, flannel shirted, Diesel-Only, rocking chair on the front porch beer drinkers, who watch those manly tv shows about crab fishing.

Old school glam people who loved SNATCHES OF PINK all the way back in their Bounty Hunters/Jacobites/Quireboys/Dogs D’Amour affiliated heyday, still pledged allegiance to Rank’s crew of honky tonkin’ hellraisers, as Michael had grown up with us. He had gone from wearing eyeliner and imitating Michael Monroe to being a Dad and no longer looking quite so good in drag, right alongside his diehard original fanbase. He also drew-in an ever expanding group of wonderfully talented, like-minded musicians, just stellar players, from the cream of all those local bands, and the music was re-energized by all that collective bluegrass influenced soul-power. Michael wrote about love, love gone bad, the crippling aftershocks of betrayal and the whole hopelessly agonizing torment of trusting and believing in intimacies that go slowly sour like curdled milk. Again, most everyone in our age group had gone through something akin to that. A torturous, confidence killing, optimism eroding, life-destroying heartbreak that just alters your identity, your faith-system, your entire worldview, permanently.  A heartbreak that leaves you staggering, confused, profoundly distrustful, questioning everything. The walking wounded.  As ever, if you need to hear a song that sees the dull, aching pain you’re in, it’s like Mike knows your woes.

Miraculously, Michael Rank, that rare breed of authentic artist, who defies all categories with a shrug, was still making beautiful music, with broadening appeal, that enchanted fans of Gram Parsons, the Long Ryders, Jon SpencerGram Parsons Blues Explosion, the Rolling Stones, and even David Allen Coe. His last self released L.P., “Kin”,  was an emotional collection of pained brilliance, that reflected this single Dad’s devotion to his family, and the untameable spirit of filthy, unbridled rocknroll. He continued to document his personal experiences with birth and death and love and the death and rebirth of love. Heady, deeply spiritual, gut wrenchingly sincere works of abiding beauty. Baptism by fire, phoenix from the flames. It’s little wonder that people who used to look to the Black Crowes or Guns N Roses for their bluesy rocknroll fix, were now steadily defecting to the SNATCHES OF PINK camp, in droves. Where those longhaired rockstars of the “Headbangers Ball” stadium age could only find petty, power-mongering, ungrateful, angry, spoilt, ego-trip shit to sing about, our fearless songwriter, Michael Rank, had been through the wringer of flirting with major league stardom, cultivating a following of true believers, falling short of mainstream success when the big labels consolidated in the 90′s and promptly dropped all the cult bands, accompanied by the inevitably ensuing romantic hardships and ongoing economic challenges that crippled and immobilized so many less talented rocknroll dreamers. He’s the real deal. Like Kevin Junior from Chamber Strings, Nikki Sudden, Paul K., or Cranford Nix Jr. Each album was better than the last. MICHAEL RANK & STAG’s dynamite new Long-Player, “IN THE WEEDS” is explosively good. Buy a copy for your mama, another one for your sweetheart. I’m thrilled this right-on song survivor is getting some attention from various expanding new audiences, because it’s been an outrage he’s gone neglected for so long.

Ya know, in the old days, people worked together, helped each other to advance, learn, move, and grow, there might be a one-off spat between Handsome Dick and Jayne County, or the Cramps might decide to snub the Deadboys, or I know there was some early friction between Patti Smith and Debbie Harry, but all the real magic mostly happened in the rocknroll underground because of a solidarity and community that existed between bands, journalists, disc jockeys, photographers, club owners, and the fans. The Ramones helped discover the Deadboys. Tony James wrote songs for the Lords. Hanoi Rocks and Lords Of The New Church supported and helped to promote each other. Usually, nowadays, in this greedy, corporate war-culture, everyone’s out for themselves, man. People go pro and start that slide into selfish mediocrity, lose their own coolness, trying to impress the in-laws, or payoff college loans, or get ahead in the work place. MICHAEL RANK & STAG “IN THE WEEDS” is an exceptional work of gutsy confession created by some true friends from various genres and different walks of life who are coming together to create something moving and wonderful. This type of tender artistry is seldom seen while so many are competing and wanting to merely one-up each other, but with this game-changing communal creation, led by our weary old bard, Michael; those inspired folks in Chapel Hill—Nathan Golub, John Teer, Emily Frantz, Alex Inglehart, Marc E. Smith, JesseChapel Hill Huebner, Billy Feather, and the remarkable John Howie Jr. are pointing the way, to how more of us can achieve actual undeniable greatness. It’s by dropping the whole talent show competition, high-school back-stabbing, ratrace horror show, and enhancing and uplifting and encouraging one another. He’s got like ten people on this record and they’re all beautiful at what they do, it’s really like the Waterboys. They are coming together for a common cause, Michael Rank and Stag are busy being born. It’s called being awesome. The evolution of Snatches Of Pink, and Clarissa, that has now segued into the tear-jerking adult-alternative roots-rock of Michael Rank & Stag is documented in a film called, “Now It’s A Rock’N'Roll Show” that is pretty worthwhile. They went through lots of changes and rotating personnel, but always had this fierce commitment to making real rocknroll that was thoughtful and artistic.



I don’t know anything about this dude’s personal life, besides what you can know from his songs, that love hurts, that love’s an ass-kicker, that we all make mistakes and carry these heavy, burdensome regrets, and love gone bad can damn near killMichael Rank ya. In recent years, he’d obviously gone through some bitter heartaches and disappointments and he’d changed his band name again, it became MICHAEL RANK AND STAG on the last critically acclaimed disc, “Kin”, and it was probably time. It’s fecking great, the new one, “In The Weeds” is like twice as good as his last one. It’s really unbelievable. You know lots of us loved that Mick Jagger solo L.P., “Wandering Spirit”, except for the cheesy Lenny Kravitz duet and pointless Bill Withers cover, right? And “Kin” was approximately that good. Maybe not as good as Paul K. & The Weathermen’s “Love Is A Gas”, but way better than anything those Black Crowes Deadheads have shat out since “Amorica” spilled all over your favorite indian rug like bongwater. The rest of us badly aging rock lifers are all glad Michael Rank’s FINALLY showing some age on his face in the close-ups. His new songs are the best new tunes I’ve heard besides Gary Sunshine’s stuff available on-line, https://soundcloud.com/garysunshine/sex-pistols-the-ramones
and really since….oh…gosh, it’s been awhile now. Probably since that last Captain Zapped album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpf37ji66B0O or the Dylan disc with “It’s Not Dark Yet” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZgBhyU4IvQ

Or…ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT…maybe this here is the best song (aside from Ian Hunter or Boots Riley) in recent years:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1jY62Of9ME Breathtakingly deep and powerful, innit? My ole lady swears it’s what shamed that Pope into stepping off the gold throne…but, listen here, my love beaded outlaw boogie children,

…If you buy C.D.’s, and I know many of you still do, be certain to buy MICHAEL RANK & STAG “IN THE WEEDS”…but ONLY, if you like Rod Stewart’s 70′s band, the Faces, cold beer, and beautiful women. The rest of you should probably stick with video games, the Black Keys, and adorable footage of cute, furry kittens on Youtube. But for those of you who like unhinged countrifiedMichael Rank and Stag guitars and hot girls in tight blue jeans, ripples on the pond, and a cooler full of cold ones, doing burnouts in the highschool parking lot after-hours, glazed doughnut holes, pinball, and sometimes, GETTIN’ HIGH….you lot should promptly purchase the new compilation of rodeo shirted outlaw motherfuckery that is MICHAEL RANK & STAG “IN THE WEEDS”, stat, post-haste, pronto, Tonto. If you are a program director at a public radio station who sometimes still enjoys old Aerosmith, or Hank The Third, or “Some Girls”, you need to start spinning some tunes from the hot new release, MICHAEL RANK & STAG “IN THE WEEDS”, right fuckin’ now…but I understand, if some of you, don’t care for oldschool badass coolness, anymore. Washboards and Cadillacs and hillbilly music ain’t for everybody. I know some of you out there have “moved on”, with your grown-up lives and professional careers, and mortgages and white leather couches and stuff and maybe you prefer listening to say, um, Usher, nowadays, stuff like that. I respect that, you know…that’s your prerogative. You no longer see things through a mildly hallucinogenic cough syrup haze. Mature adults should not be clinging to the fringed and rhinestoned remnants of our stripper-seducing, chaps-wearing, moonshine guzzling, fitted blue leather flaunting, cowgirl in the sand fucking pasts. That Usher, he’s good, Lady Gaga, Just as long as you got your George Clooney suit and tie. I understand. Some people don’t like old Bob Dylan, the Waterboys, or “Beggar’s Banquet”, or Emmylou Harris, and that’s okay. It takes all kinds. Some people hate pizza. That’s just how it is. But for those surviving, injured few who, deep down, secretly, still wish they were sitting next to me on this haystack in the flicker of the bonfire with a dobro beneath a bloodshot moon, dosey-doe-ing to the strains of Tex & The Horse-Heads…Michael Rank made this record just for you. And me. And Her. “Round My Head” is the only known, contemporary cure-all to the shitty commercial country Tim McGraw pop-product that ails you so. Australian music lovers, who value the Cruel Sea, Tex-Don-&-Charlie, and BeastsEmmylou Harris of Bourbon, will similarly, find a special place in their hearts for this triumphantly timeless, masterpiece achievement, “IN THE WEEDS” by Michael Rank & Stag. “Confederates” is so good, it’ll still be good when mine and Michael’s barefooted kids are grown and tryin’ to excavate the reasons their childhoods were marred by bad choices on the part of all us dumb, so-called, grown-up’s, it’ll still ring true 100 years from now. ”Hunters” is as warm and wounded as a Willie Nelson song, but as dark and dire as Townes Van Zandt. The anguished Emmylou and Gram harmonies accented with all those luscious and autumn-toned banjos, stand-up bass, country fiddles, and steel guitars, will make the hardest man weep for long lost love if listened to under the influence of any alcohol, so do beware, this isn’t some run of the mill Izzy Stradlin album for dudes with blue/black hair still self consciously trying too hard to smoke their cigarettes with style. This is some sad Cat Stevens shit. Rough stuff. I can remember when I walked around with my heart on my sleeve like this dude. No idea how I survived those years, whatsoever, I’m still fairly surprised by the sun through the blinds when I wake up each morning, still here, sadder Budweiser. “The Surrender” is better than anything Mick Jagger or Steve Tyler have written in years. At least since Aerosmith’s “What It Takes”. It’s about that good. He is nitty, gritty, and his clothes are torn. It’s three o’clock in the morning and he’s tearin’ his hair out. Askin’ Hank Williams howMichael Rank lonesome does it get. “I guess yer just a girl that I never knew…”



Sometimes, some of you may wanna momentarily forget about all those fat fucks you only invested in because they seemed rich or popular in your late twenties, when you were pressured to conform, and secretly still wanna let your hair down, if only, behind closed doors, quietly remembering the laughs we shared, lighting some candles and swaying to the boom-box, oh what a beautiful buzz, what a beautiful buzz. “All The Rope” will remind you and all our close-knit friends of America’s other greatest unknown songwriter, Paul K., it is THAT GOOD. I will wait right here for them. I’m grateful Michael Rank is around to help carry some of the weight, because you know, this unappreciated songwriter business, all this pain of opening veins, and spilling guts, for all the down n out, real rocknroll, people can’t rest on mine and Tex Perkins, and Kris Kristofferson’s shoulders, forever. The streets ain’t paved with gold no more. Like I told my old lady, I should hate this guy, ’cause I wrote a record just like this(!!) ten years ago but never got to properly record it, but I don’t…at all. I love the motherfucker, because all his shit is RIGHT THE FUCK ON TIME. The same black line that’s drawn on me is drawn on him. Michael Rank is a brave and courageous Doc Holiday diamond geezer, and a helluva guitar player, a fine vocalist, AND a loving, protective, doting parent and all around, stand-up dude, if you ask me…and if you can listen to five or six of his soulful songs from this new C.D., without having your faith in the sweet, sweet sound of heroic rocknroll confirmed, and without remembering I WAS RIGHT, brother, you have changed your place in this world. It’s a shame for the angels. “IN THE WEEDS” takes you ,with your stupid hat and gloves, on a sentimental journey through your ownHave a Chew memories, picks you up and gives you a ride past the old barns with the fading Mail-Pouch chewing tobacco murals, payphones in the rain, roses in the hospital, the pawnshops, cemeteries, that lonely Christmas, the keg-party where you met, the alley-way where she threw her cellphone at you, the greasy spoons where you used to love the home fries, drop biscuits, and gravy, and she drank hair of the dog Bloody Marys, the tanning salon that now stands where your old band house used to be, the steps where you once shared screw-top bottles with the old-timers, the library where you used the computer to apply for temp. service jobs, the empty storefront where the college record store used to be, and the country bar that used to let your college buddies play Talking Heads records on Thursday nights, and shows you how it looks from where we weep. It’ll be years before you get over it. If you still love rock’n'roll, do the right thing, and USE that stupid credit card. You probably NEED this album more than I do. Why hasn’t David Fricke written about this amazing work for “Rolling Stone”? You’d have to ask him, but me, personally, I’ve given up on all those over-paid baby-boomers. They don’t know the truth no more, they just take a gigantic paycheck to hype that manufactured corporate robot-pop, or help shift more classic rock re-issues, and they get the good seats next to hedge-fund billionaires and lawyers upfront at Patti Smith and Ian Hunter gigs. So anyway. It’s up to you to keep the embers burning. Michael Rank is doing his part.  Let him steal your heart away….

God Save Us Poor Sinners!