Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

Posts in "R-A-W-K"

April 1, 2014

Artists to Sing House Leaders’ Praises at GRAMMYs on the Hill

The Recording Academy’s annual gala, the toe-tapping GRAMMYs on the Hill awards show, will once rock and roll its way through The Hamilton on Wednesday.

Chart-topping performers Lady Antebellum are slated to be honored with The Recording Academy’s Recording Artists’ Coalition Award, while House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will move from behind the scenes — McCarthy became co-chairman of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus in 2013; Pelosi addressed GRAMMYs on the Hill advocates during their 2010 lobbying day — to center stage to receive the GRAMMYs on the Hill Award.

Other musicians expected to mix and mingle with lawmakers and their entourages Wednesday night include:

Hanson

The nearly shot-for-shot remake of the Ray Charles-led number from the original “Blues Brothers” they did for their “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’” video was absolutely brilliant. Full story

March 24, 2014

GWAR Loses Frontman, World Loses Bloodthirsty Political Equalizer

Entertainer Dave Brockie, the human counterpart to intergalactic swordsman Oderus Urungus, died Sunday, leaving behind a massive void for metal-heads used to having the GWAR singer settle political scores for them.

As first reported by Style Weekly, Brockie, 50, was found dead at his home in Richmond, Va., on Sunday afternoon.

The inexhaustible showman carved out an amazing career for himself as the co-founder and face of GWAR, a heavy metal band as well known for its grotesque costumes and fake blood-soaked skits as it is for its ear-splitting performances.

Whether clad in his horned mask and generously proportioned body suit or not, Brockie was never one to hold his tongue. A few years back, he chewed out the U.S. State Department for presumably dragging its feet in fighting for the return of Lamb of God singer David Randall “Randy” Blythe from imprisonment in the Czech Republic, and waded into New Mexican primary challenges by endorsing then-House hopeful Sean Closson.

Brockie, however, did his best work on stage — mercilessly disposing of political foes, both domestic:

 

President Barack Obama

 

Full story

March 3, 2014

Don Beyer’s ‘Cups’ Song Campaign Assist

How do you stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field with nearly a dozen well-connected, viable candidates?

Distribute a catchy ditty created by children of your family friends.

That’s what former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer is doing in the Democratic primary in Virginia’s open 8th District race.

Beyer, who recently finished up a stint as ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, is one of 11 Democrats running to replace retiring Rep. James P. Moran in this heavily Democratic Northern Virginia House seat.

His campaign recently release a YouTube video created by Mae and John Keating, two middle-school students whose parents are friends of the Beyers, which touts Beyers’ credentials for the race. The video, released Feb. 17, already has more than 1,400 views.

Full story

February 26, 2014

Reykjavik Provides ‘Simply the Best’ Party Pitch We’ve Ever Seen

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — A Marist College poll released Wednesday shows District Mayor Vincent Gray ahead of a crowded pack of candidates vying to capture the Democratic mayoral nomination on April 1. But when queried about their level of excitement for the upcoming race, only 32 percent of Democrats polled claimed to be “very enthusiastic” about voting. That number might be different if we were in Iceland, where the mayor here told a magazine he would only work with politicians who have watched “The Wire” and agree it was the best thing to happen to TV.

Reykjavik Mayor Jón Gnarr, a comedian turned elected official, took office in 2010 after running mostly on a lark as a Best Party candidate. He promised to “do away with all debt,” get a polar bear for the Reykjavik Zoo and to economize, saying, “We only need one Santa!”

The Best Party platform is worth digging into. Thankfully, they’ve made that an entertaining task by shooting a “We Are the World”-esque music video laying out their priorities to the tune of, you guessed it, “Simply the Best.” (The production values are impressive, but we’d expect nothing less from a party that counts the Sugarcubes’ Einar Örn Benediktsson as a member; he joined the city council in the same election cycle.)

Unfortunately for us, the mayor announced in the fall he would not seek re-election, which means we only have until May to enjoy his antics.

Sure, Gray attends the 17th Street High Heel Race, but being photographed with drag queens is different than donning the wig and gold earrings yourself, as Gnarr did in 2010 at the Icelandic capital’s Pride parade.

February 7, 2014

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

A city of iconic monuments and architecture, Washington, D.C., is known for historic sites — and now you can own one, though it is lesser known.

On Dec. 13, 1980, Minor Threat, a seminal D.C. hardcore band, played its first show at 1929 Calvert St. NW. The eight bedroom, seven bathroom Victorian townhouse is on the market for $2.09 million.

Located in the Kalorama neighborhood, the house has been divided up into four luxury two bedroom apartments, according to the Long and Foster listing.

But the place should probably be turned into a museum. Also on the bill that night was The Bad Brains, S.O.A. and a few other D.C. bands that had taken the baton from ’70s punk rock and launched a thriving music scene in the District.

Hardcore History, Hardcore Price

(Screenshot Pinterest)

After breaking up in 1983, Ian MacKaye, Minor Threat’s lead singer, went on to found Fugazi. He also founded Dischord Records with drummer Jeff Nelson.

Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker went on to play with Junkyard, The Meatmen, Dag Nasty, Government Issue and now plays with Bad Religion.

The Bad Brains is a legendary D.C. hardcore band formed in 1977 and famous for playing fast songs, but also for its reggae numbers.

S.O.A, short for State of Alert, was Henry Rollins’ first band. Back then he was known as Henry Garfield. A District native, Rollins later went on to be the lead singer of L.A. hardcore band Black Flag before embarking on a solo career and eventually branching into acting.

January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Struck a Chord With America

Famed folk singer Pete Seeger has died, leaving a void in the socially conscious musicverse that’s been felt all the way to the Oval Office.

“Once called ‘America’s tuning fork,’ Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song. But more importantly, he believed in the power of community — to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be,” President Barack Obama eulogized the nonagenarian balladeer in an official statement.

“Over the years, Pete used his voice — and his hammer — to strike blows for worker’s rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pete’s family and all those who loved him,” Obama shared with the nation.

Seeger was never one to fear ringing the White House’s bell, directing one of his clearest call to arms, “Dear Mr. President,” to then-commander in chief Franklin D. Roosevelt:

 

 

December 6, 2013

Deutch Doesn’t Play When It Comes to Piano

As far as Rep. Ted Deutch is concerned, there’s always time to tickle the ivories.

Deutch Doesn’t Play When It Comes to Piano

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

The Florida Democrat spontaneously began playing a few bars Wednesday, following a Recording Academy briefing for lawmakers interested in intellectual property rights. As part of the advocacy effort, hit-maker Harvey Mason Jr. — who has worked with performers ranging from Aretha Franklin to Justin Bieber — treated Deutch and Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Tom Marino, R-Pa., to a sneak preview of “Who Do You Love,” an unreleased track from Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson’s forthcoming album.

According to an HOH tipster, Deutch “stole some limelight when he gave an impromptu (and very short) riff on the keyboard.”

Not that anyone should be terribly surprised. Full story

November 8, 2013

Shed a Coat, Score a Beer During Charity Pub Crawl

HillVets has organized a philanthropic pub crawl Friday night where you can trade a warm winter coat for a tour of local watering holes, gratis draft brews and a show by some hometown rockers.

The Veterans Day weekend collection effort kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Bullfeathers (410 First St. SE) and will include stops at The Dubliner (4 F St. NW) and Béarnaise (313 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) before the evening is through. Interested participants are requested to bring a new winter jacket to donate to the cause.

The contributed clothing nets each attendee one free draft beer at each location, with each bar offering up their full catalog of freshly poured suds — ranging from four craft brews at Béarnaise (including DC Brau’s The Corruption, Delirium Tremens and Eggenberg Pils) to the 30-plus lines at Bullfeathers.

Local funkmeisters the B Side Shuffle are scheduled to serenade the group when everyone stumbles into the Dubliner:

Can’t crawl this evening?

Béarnaise, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza will be accepting coat donations through Saturday. But the free beer deal is only good tonight.

Business Leaders to Rock Out With Reality TV Star

How does one properly reward those willing to spend the better part of a day debating the nuts and bolts of intellectual property rights and innovation policy? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center figures a few tunes from a long-forgotten “American Idol” winner ought to about cover it.

The GIPC is hosting its inaugural global IP summit Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a daylong gathering featuring guest speakers — including Rep. George Holding, R-N.C. — and discussion panels galore.

Once it’s all over, attendees will be treated to a 15-minute performance by singer/songwriter Lee DeWyze.

Name not ringing a bell for you?

That’s probably because DeWyze won the ninth cycle of American Idol — and immediately faded into obscurity. Full story

October 30, 2013

Roger Daltrey Keeps Shirt On at Churchill Ceremony

“Who better to represent rock royalty than Roger Daltrey … an icon on both sides of the Atlantic,” Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday as he introduced The Who co-founder, who performed in Statuary Hall at the dedication ceremony for a bust of Winston Churchill.

The Ohio Republican showed a bit of giddiness in introducing Daltrey, who went on to sing Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” perhaps a reference to the “special relationship” of the United States and Great Britain.

For anyone wondering whether Daltrey would add some rock ‘n’ roll to what are typically dry affairs, it must have been disappointing. Although some of the speakers at the ceremony, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, made mention of Churchill’s legendary humor and irreverence, most everyone made sure to note how very serious it all was, and that Churchill indeed saved the world, etc. Daltrey’s gospel-like rendition of the American pop standby was as tame as it gets.

Boehner made bringing a bust of the former British prime minister to the Capitol one of his first priorities as speaker. During that debate, he called the British politician “the best friend America ever had.”

Full story

October 7, 2013

Hill Vets Aim to Scare Up Some Fun

The last time they co-hosted a Camp Freddy rager here in D.C., campaign operatives John Murray and Doug Davenport drew an enthusiastic crowd that partied hard, rocked out and kicked in $70,000 for the military-rehab-minded folks at Rivers of Recovery.

Hill Vets Aim to Scare Up Some Fun

The folks behind Warehouse Productions, Bruce Gates, with eyepatch, and Joyce Gates, left, are helping produce this year’s event. (Courtesy Mike Kandel)

The duo are now hoping to sell out the 9:30 Club (815 V St. NW) by dangling the free-form super group and a timely excuse for cosplay in front of those who wouldn’t dream of missing the “2nd Annual Bipartisan All Hallows Eve Costume Party.”

The show is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26. General admission tickets start at $50 — or you can spring for a VIP sponsorship package, which includes access to an open bar, semi-private breathing room on the cordoned off second floor and a meet-and-greet with the featured performers — with all proceeds flowing through to the Boulder Crest Retreat. Full story

September 20, 2013

Howard Coble Gets a Call From the Fashion Police

Howard Coble Gets a Call From the Fashion Police

Coble takes a call from the “fashion police,” according to his office. (Courtesy Howard Coble)

He may be one of the oldest members of the House, but North Carolina Republican Rep. Howard Coble, 82, is still looking to start trends on the House floor.

During the House’s rancorous debate over a continuing resolution that would fund the government but defund Obamacare, Coble rocked a light blue and green madras sport coat.

His fashion choice lit up Twitter and even earned the congressman a call from the fashion police, according to his office. Full story

August 19, 2013

How Tipper Gore Helped Danzig Become a Household Name

Happy Birthday, Tipper!

The former wife of ex-Sen./VPOTUS/Internet “creator” Al Gore turns 65 today, granting her the full rights and privileges — discount movie tickets, early-bird dinner specials, carte blanche to yell “Get Off My Lawn!” until her voice cracks — associated therewith.

Then again, she’s been acting like a fuddy-duddy for years now: 28, to be exact.

It was nearly three decades ago that she birthed the Parents Music Resource Center campaign — a nanny-state effort to purge the world of offensive music that actually helped a number of underground artists, including horror-core front man Glenn Danzig, gain more mainstream attention.

Tipper’s crusade to crack down on certain tunes by branding them with the now-ubiquitous “Parental Advisory” label galvanized the music community, leading to a standoff in the Senate between lawmakers and a united front led by Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider, country legend John Denver and sonic iconoclast Frank Zappa.

The movement so infuriated Danzig, he wound up penning his break out song “Mother” — a thunderous indictment of authoritarian short-sightedness which helped catapult Danzig from “Headbangers Ball” favorite to heavy rotation on regular radio — about it. Full story

July 10, 2013

The Smooth Sounds of Radio Dan Coats

We can’t say for sure whether Sen. Dan Coats, who spent the early part of the last decade serving his country as ambassador to Germany, definitively left his heart in der Fatherland.

But we can confirm that he’s still sinking a few bucks into the joint.

Per his latest batch of financial disclosures, the Indiana Republican has a piece of Berlin-based Radio Paradiso, an easy-listening station determined to make life, well, easier.

“Radio Paradiso is Berlin’s only wellness-based radio station and connects with listeners between the ages of 30 and 49, who are trapped in the rat race. Let this station take the stress away and bring some peace and quiet to your life!” the FM broadcaster boasts online.

Team Coats confirmed that the boss used to tune in — “It was a Christian station … when he lived in Germany,” an aide told HOH — but suggested he’s more likely to scan SiriusXM these days.

The current RP playlist hopscotches across several decades (from ’70s to ’90s) and various musical genres, though the program appears to skew toward nice, soft tuneage.

Here’s just a sampling of what Coats’ investment feeds German listeners:

Madonna — “Secret”

No shame in being down with Madge. Full story

July 3, 2013

Anti-NSA Demonstration Ready to Roll

We Act Radio personality Kymone Freeman has cued up the playlist and plotted a route for his inaugural “NSA Mixtape Bike Ride,” a rolling protest of widespread government surveillance practices poised to take place Thursday.

The 13.5 mile trek will depart from the W.A.R. station (1918 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) at 5 p.m. Thursday, leading participants from Anacostia through Capitol Hill and Bloomingdale, down U Street Northwest, looping around Dupont Circle and barreling straight down Seventh Street Northwest before filing into Freedom Plaza.

Freeman’s ride playlist features a number of thought-provoking tunes threaded by media clips of President Barack Obama, administration officials and members of Congress weighing in on the whole government eavesdropping vs. personal privacy brouhaha.

The songs that most resonated with us include:

Imagination – “Just An Illusion” Full story

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