Given grim headlines across America these days, it’s no wonder newspaper readership is tanking, though hopefully not at SMDP. I often take refuge in the sports section but since Covid the Times frequently shares sports with obituaries. So this past season I read about the Lakers losing and people younger than me dropping like flies. Numerous stories are about raging wildfires and possibly our worst drought in 1,200 years. In Phoenix as many people are dying from heat as from homicides.
Record fires are also scorching Europe, Africa, and Asia but climate deniers continue to deny. Al Gore compares them to the Uvalde police officers “waiting” during the shooting. Among the disbelievers is Hershel Walker, the Georgia GOP Senate candidate, and an apparent amateur meteorologist because he recently observed, “When our good air goes to China their bad air comes here.” (Say what?!)
Headlines also feature the illegal war in Ukraine entering its 6th month with no end in sight. At home we’re still averaging a mass murder every day and the Supreme Court reduced a woman’s rights to far less than what their mothers and grandmothers had and longs to overturn same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, based on perhaps the most evil of his 30,573 lies in four years, Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection coup on January 6, the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. (At least back then there was likely an occasional rain shower.)
In a temper tantrum fitting a four-year-old, Trump threw his ketchup-laden lunch against the wall but in the 187 minutes of the riots he watched gleefully, he ignored pleading calls from Ivanka, Don Jr., Sean Hannity and Kevin McCarthy and didn’t lift a finger to stop the bloody attempted coup. With politics being his best con ever, Trump, currently under DOJ scrutiny, was desperate to stay in power and prevent future investigations into his vast criminal conduct.
In perhaps my clumsiest segue ever, what better time for singer, songwriter and legendary satirist Roy Zimmerman to lift our spirits with his hilariously witty show at McCabe’s Guitar Shop on August 12th. Roy’s appearance at McCabe’s is essentially a family reunion because for fifteen years he gave guitar lessons there. And Melanie Harby, Roy’s wife and collaborating partner, also worked at McCabe’s for fifteen years. (Apparently “the family that works at a guitar shop for fifteen years stays together?”)
Roy has performed at McCabe’s over a dozen times and all over America, including wherever there’s a blue dot in a red state. But, after a two-year Covid hiatus the “Satire Delivery Service” is back on the road with Roy’s first live show unveiling his upcoming album “This Machine: The Best of Roy Zimmerman,”
Fittingly, the title of the tour stems from Roy’s heroes Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Woody wrote on his guitar, “This machine kills fascists” whereas Seeger wrote on his banjo, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
“This Machine: The Best of Roy Zimmerman” is a double album, 25 songs from 25 years but is far more than a “greatest hits” compilation. Roy and Melanie have chosen songs that, “Best answer crucial moments in history and turn our hearts, minds and ears toward the social justice battles yet to be won. “
The album includes laugh-out-loud originals like “Creation Science 101,” biting satire like “Thoughts and Prayers” and expressions of hope like “I Approve This Message.” (Roy and Melanie have re-recorded five songs including the YouTube 140,000,000 views mega-hit, “The Liar Tweets Tonight”, which if you haven’t heard, you must.)
I wrote about Roy ten years ago entitled “Saving America One Song at a Time.” I included, “Before moving north, Roy and Melanie lived in the Palisades when their two sons Joe and Sam, were young. Roy wanted to give them literature, music, peace and justice. And all they wanted was an Xbox.” (Such is one of the beauties of life in subsequent years they’ve taught Roy plenty on those subjects.)
Apparently I couldn’t resist a corny joke because I also wrote, “ There’s no truth to the rumor that Roy’s last name was originally Dylan before he changed it to Zimmerman.” I also shared with readers the magnificent compliment given to Roy by the legendary Joni Mitchell, “Roy’s lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection.”
Coincidentally, this past weekend Joni performed a full set for the first time in over twenty years at the Newport Folk Festival. It left her audience thrilled. However, I’m just as confident on August 12th Roy will leave his audience singing, laughing and with renewed hope.
Roy might have great fun with Herschel Walker who apparently is an amateur anthropologist as he asked rhetorically, “If man evolved from apes, how come there are still apes?” (Say what?!)
For tickets to Roy Zimmerman at McCabe’s, 3101 Pico Blvd., on August 12, go to: www.McCabesconcerts.com or phone (310) 828-4497. Roy is at: https://roy-zimmerman.myshopify.com/ while Jack is at: firstname.lastname@example.org.