Dispatch From the Glass Museum
As many of us may be aware, there are Renegades in our midst. Though they are normally perceived as thugs, anarchists, layabouts, dissenters, troublemakers, pirates, or bandits, this is all smoke and mirrors. It’s not necessarily the Government’s fault. Yes, frightened lawmakers did react strongly, and without thorough investigation, after the assassination of President Mckinley. Yes, protesters nowadays are caged with barbed wire into “free speech zones”. And yes, the unholy marriage of government, media, and multi-million dollar conglomerates threatens not only our livelihood, but also our environment. As all of this bad mojo flies around us on various waves in the air as well as in the minds and collective subconscious of every poor sap among us, we must remember the Renegades; we must remember to hustle.
Everybody can hustle. Hustling, in this context, refers neither to the calamitous dance, nor to the stylized inner city, but rather, to the kind of folk that have begun to redefine the possibility that one can do whatever one chooses. Moving through the cheese like a deft tiny mouse, they scrape and keep themselves afloat while dedicating their time to their art and communities; and most importantly, to themselves.
This brings me to the task of identifying one such Renegade, though he is actually the Son of the Renegade. I’m speaking of course about Ben Rogers. Ben’s nine to five (which is anything but) was initially being a soundman, working mostly with Henry Moreau. After jamming through one hundred nights together, on coffee and Thin Lizzy, the two struck up a proper partnership, opening Loud Sun Studio in Jaffrey, NH. Henry helms the live sound tentacle of the beast, while Ben does most of the engineering. Though Henry is a veritable brittanica concerning acoustics, microphones, blocking, wiring, panning, or any other field that can help when problems arise when you are working, it has been his protege’s impressive track record that has begun serious momentum for Loud Sun’s recording reputation. With an 1800 sq. ft tracking room with eighteen-foot ceilings, anything is possible. Especially when Ben’s main goal with the studio is to offer independent groups and labels the chance to make and share records without having to rely on a large budget. It makes me think of the back of Harvest Moon, with the band all in that barn together, heads down and headphoned, knee deep in the ceremony of making a record.
Having first traversed the rocky halls of teenage punkdom in myriad combos, Ben’s first “working group” was the experimental quartet (later a quintet) Death to Tyrants. DTT was rumored to have lived somewhere in the north, in a psychotropic laboratory / recording studio where they altered minds and sounds alike. There are other myths about this particular group, but they are better left to hearsay and speculation, like the Missouri Monster or Elvis Presley. Ben has also played with a variety of other accomplished folks: Knifeman, Moving Pictures, Skin Bicycle, and all alone as the Son of the Renegade. Named in reference to Ben’s father (himself an Appalachian Wildman motorcycler who cut his teeth on Albert King and Mission of Burma) SOTR is subtly anthemic and unique. The songs grow out of the complete canon of American alienation, individualism, and an unhinged passionate retelling of the electric guitar.
Ben and other sons of other Renegades, and Renegades themselves, whether they are hustling already, or working toward the goal, can show us that while we may feel like we are prisoners, we aren’t being watched that closely. It is possible to find satisfaction.
Imagine what could happen if everyone found a way to be satisfied in their own work, in working with others, and in providing sincere help to those who they can help in their own specialized ways. So. As you start on your adventure, or continue walking the line, beware the rampant evil cutting through our lives like swallows, and don’t let the Man get you down.
You can get handmade editions of albums by Skin Bicycle, Moving Pictures, and Son of the Renegade at the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, or Turn It Up in Keene, where I believe the Knifeman record is also for sale.
To get in touch with Ben Rogers for recording, drum lessons, media transfer, or soundwork, visit www.sonoftherenegade.com
Dispatch From the Glass Museum