John Sinclair
The Coat Puller (a column)

It shouldn’t be news to anyone--but it probably is--that the local gestapo is responsible for ending the performance of LeRoi Jones’ “the toilet” and “the Slave” at the now shut-down Concept East Theatre. The plays, directed by Woody King (who is now back in New York) and performed brilliantly by such Detroit actors as Sam Blue (Toilet) and Harrison Avery (Slave), began their run in August, made it through a couple of weeks, and then were brutally closed by the guardians of law & order--and “morals”--in our fair city.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller a column

Live (i.e. alive) musical activity continues to grow here in Detroit, and on its own terms, which makes it all the more valuable. Pianist Andrew Hill made his first concert appearance in this part of the country here last month, under the sponsorship of the WSU Artists’ Society and his Detroit-based agent, Lutz Bacher. In doing so Andrew also became the first major artist of international stature to be sponsored by the young student organization (only six months old), and the first such musician to undertake a totally cooperative musical venture outside the New York Area. The most significant extra-musical fact about Andrew’s concert is that he (& Bacher) worked directly with the society, on a person-to-person (rather than businessman-to businessman) basis, with music rather than money as the determining factor in the arrangement. This is the only way the rotten music-as-business situation is going to be overturned, and it must be revolutionized—and fast—if the music is going to be as an art form otherwise all anyone but the most privileged listeners will be able to hear in public performance will be the tired “entertainment” music that clutters the “jazz clubs” now.

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John Sinclair
Breakthrough

“He who lives by the sword dies by the sword,” but the men who are now dying have no such simple entrance into their own lives—the swords they bear (whatever “side”) are not what they live by, not the terms of their living, but alien & unnecessary tools forced into their hands by men who have taken themselves so far from such actual simple tools.

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John Sinclair
The Coatpuller

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote this column, and I still don’t know what’ll come of it, but all we can do is ride it out and see what we can do with it. My own situation has changed a great deal even though I certainly don’t feel any different as a human being, but it sure is weird to walk or drive down the street and have strangers smile and wave because they saw me on TV and were given to believe that “John Sinclair is the high priest of the hippies in Detroit” or whatever.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller a column

It looks like straight people will do just about anything in their power to keep the love organism from growing and spreading, just because they can’t “understand’ it and don’t know what’s happening in the world around them. If you haven’t noticed, straight people are always putting love people down, sending their kids to psychiatrists to get “straightened out, calling the police on their kids, beating hippies who try to start honest and loving business operations, stealing from hippies and terrorizing their homes and gathering places, hitting and kicking people who have no eyes to fight back, and things like that. I’m tired of it, for one, and I just wish these people would wake up and start seeing what their stupid lives are all about and how vile they are being in their relationships with each other and with us.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller a column

You know that it would be untrue / You know that I would be a liar / If I was to say to you / “Girl, we can’t get much higher”—/ Come on baby light my fire / Come on baby light my fire / Gonna set the night on/FI-YUR

—“Light My Fire,” The Doors

“Light My Fire” rises through the radio ranks for weeks and, when it hits number one on the stations, the people respond and burn the city down. Or play Archie Shepp’s “Fire Music” album as background music for the Detroit purification: the scope and feeling of the people’s mood is there; an elegy for Malcolm X.

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John Sinclair
Union Moves to End Rock-Band Exploitation

In one of the largest steps in its history, the American Federation of Musicians has drafted plans for a huge apprentice program for teen-age rock musicians which could alter the present music industry considerably.

The program, to be implemented by Detroit’s Local 5 under the supervision of business agent Dennis Day, calls for concerted action by the union on two major fronts: to convince teen musicians to join the union under its new “affiliate membership” plan, and to convince club owners that they should sign “union shop” agreements with Local 5 which would provide for employment only for union bands at union scale.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller

I was speaking of the change taking place in this nation, and would say that in America the change is most evident in two sectors or subcultures of the civilization. In the black stinking ghettoes of the poor and exploited, and in those sections of cities and land where the enlightened young have gathered for all intents and purposes outside the rigid general social framework of this America. These two sectors illustrate the two “major steps” outlined in this column last time.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller

“Do you love it, do you hate it

There it is, just like you made it”

—The Mothers of Invention

You have to live in the middle of the city to know what is really happening there—otherwise all you have to go on is what the “newspapers” and people tell you, and they very definitely have a vested interest in keeping the real news from you. The official responses to the Detroit insurrection have very little to do with what was actually happening, and people will soon find that out, although it may prove to be too late to do them any good.

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John Sinclair
Sweep-in

The filthy streets of Detroit’s Warren-Forest Area, center of the city’s hippie community, will be the scene of a giant Sweep-In Sunday, August 20.

The Sweep-In, planned by Trans-Love Energies as a last-ditch effort to rid the Warren-Forest Area of such foul elements as discarded beer bottles, garbage and old copies of The News, was decided upon after Trans-Love tried unsuccessfully to convince the DPW that it should exercise its craft in the stricken area.

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John Sinclair
Books

a review of

Pot: A Handbook Of Marijuana, by John Rosevear (University) Books, $4.95).

I first met John Rosevear when I was dealing grass in 1964. He came to my apartment with two notorious Ann Arbor dealers who had a bag of imported Panama Red, the finest grass to hit Detroit since I’ve been here. It seems they were in the habit of flying to Panama to pick up the grass themselves, to make sure nothing went wrong in the shipping. At that time Rosevear had just recently been turned on to the joys of marijuana smoking and he told me of the plot of pot he was growing in a vacant lot across from his house in Ann Arbor. He was already working on his book of grass, which he claimed ecstatically would turn on a lot of straight people to marijuana.

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John Sinclair
Rock & Roll Dope

This is my first column for the Fifth Estate in a long time and I’ll probably be a little rusty, so please bear with me, OK? and I’ll try to do something useful here.

I stopped writing for the Fifth Estate in January mainly for two reasons: I was tired of hassling the editors to get my columns printed intact, and I was even more tired of coming on like some kind of public personality and/or race-track tout in this space, and that was the context that’d been developed over a two-year period of writing a column almost every issue. I’d like to start over again now, if that’s possible, and do something different if I can get away with it.

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

The following is a press release I wrote for the MC5 this week; we’re running it here because we promised to take you behind the scenes in the rock and roll industry, and these events illustrate what bands have to go thru just to do their thing. If you just paid your money and sat and waited for MC5 at the ballroom last Sunday, you deserve to know that it wasn’t the band that kept you waiting in the heat—it was the people who took your money. Be advised.

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John Sinclair
Narks Bust Trans-Lovers in Ann Arbor

The Trans-Love commune of Ann Arbor (late of Detroit) was plundered by police June 18 when Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Deputies took into custody Lawrence “Pun” Plamondon on a warrant charging him with “sale and dispension of marijuana” in Traverse City, Michigan, on the 17th of March, 1968.

Also charged on the same warrant is artist Gary Grimshaw and editor of the Sun newspaper. Grimshaw has not yet been apprehended.

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

In the past two weeks since the last issue of this paper a bunch of new developments have taken place: Almost every job for the MC5 brings a new and different creep scene into being.

At a Wednesday night job in Tecumseh, Michigan, at the local teen center, guitarist Wayne Kramer ripped a pair of pants early in the second set and went off to change them. Later in the same set he ripped the second pair of pants, this time accidentally exposing his genitals to the tender crowd.

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John Sinclair
Flash

Pun Plamondon is still in jail in Traverse City in lieu of $20,000 bond. We haven’t been able to get an attorney to work for him for free, and we can’t possibly get the bond up. If there are any attorneys out there who are interested in working on this or similar cases out of the goodness of their stoned little hearts, please contact us at Trans-Love, 769–2017 in Ann Arbor or through the Fifth Estate office in Detroit. Also, any donations to the Trans-Love Defense Fund can be sent to 1510 Hill Street, Ann Arbor 48104.

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John Sinclair
Pigs Attack Sinclair

Poet John Sinclair and MC5 guitarist Fred Smith were brutally assaulted, beaten, MACEd, and arrested by members of the National Security Police and the Oakland County (Michigan) Sheriffs Dept. while performing at a Michigan teen-club on July 23rd.

5-a-59-august-1-14-1968-pigs-attack-sinclair-1.png

The scene took place at the Loft, located on Army Road in Leonard, Michigan (between Pontiac and Lapeer), where the MC5 had been contracted to play a dance job.

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John Sinclair
The Coat Puller

Editor’s note: Brother Sinclair’s Coatpuller column is re-printed here exactly as it appeared in this paper one year ago. It was written at the height of the July Rebellion and contains one of the best impressionistic sketches of that week.

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

Now that things have cooled down a little for the MC5 and myself after all the excitement of recent weeks maybe I can get into some of the things I promised when I started this column—although the stuff you’ve been reading about the MC5 saga serves as an illustration of the original point: that there’s a lot more to the rock and roll industry than just paying your $3.50 and digging the show stoned on your ass. All those things you read about in the last three or four issues really happened.

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

I want to take up where I left off last time and get into some of the alternatives to the present scene in the local rock and roll industry. There has been some fantastic response to my last column—even Russ Gibb gave me a call on a Saturday afternoon, and I hadn’t heard from him for some time—and I want to detail some of the things that are starting to happen.

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

It’s really good to see that Brother Ear is hearing the Detroit bands and digging them, especially since people around here have to be told how heavy the bands are. The Frost and the Thyme aren’t the only together groups working in this area, either—there are a number of bands whose music is consistently interesting and moving, and these bands are improving every day.

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John Sinclair
Rock and Roll Dope

Hi kids, sorry I wasn’t here last time but I got a little depressed by Cella Alderson’s letter and just couldn’t get it together in time for the deadline. The only reason I write this shit is because people seem to dig reading it and if you don’t dig it I’d rather not write it. It takes some effort and a lot of dope to get my head into this linear trip anyway, but it’s worth it if it’s appreciated.

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John Sinclair
Letter from Prison

John Sinclair

Southern Michigan State

Prison Jackson, Michigan

Dear Leni & Everybody:

My letter yesterday from the Wayne County jail should be disregarded in large part since I was transferred up here this morning. It’s really good to get here at last—just like when you’ve been threatened with something for years and find out it ain’t so bad after all.

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John Sinclair
Poem for Warner Stringfellow

Detective Lieutenant,

Detroit Narcotics Squad,

who has been single-handedly responsible

for busting me on two separate occasions

for possessing and selling marijuana

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and who stumbled into my new apartment last night by accident

over a year since the last time he saw me

& two years to the day after he first busted me —

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John Sinclair
Prison Letter from John

Sept. 30, 1969

Dear People,

Sorry I haven’t written in so long but I wanted to get settled up here before writing you again. There seems to be a lot more going on out there in the streets than happens here in prison, but then that seems to be the idea of locking people up, so they won’t be able to participate in the activities they enjoy.

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John Sinclair
There is no ‘hippie movement’ and there are no ‘hippie leaders’ reprint from Fifth Estate, May 30, 1967

“Leaders” are created by the media image freaks and sold to the people to keep them happy. They have to have “leaders” or nothing could get done-why, they certainly couldn’t do it themselves. Or could they? The media exists to keep people from asking that question, and it has done a pretty good job of blinding them to their own absolute reality, that they are FREE and can do anything they want to, if they believe in it hard enough.

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John Sinclair
The People Own the City in Detroit Uprising reprint from Fifth Estate, July 1967

“Light My Fire” rises through the radio ranks for weeks and, when it hits number one on the stations, the people respond and burn the city down. Or play Archie Shepp’s “Fire Music” album as background music for the Detroit purification: the scope and feeling of the peoples’ mood is there--an elegy for Malcolm X.

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