Donovan Drayton & The Million Man Mosh

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For the past 50 plus months – sometimes several days a week – Ronny Drayton has made the journey to Rikers Island.  It can be a dehumanizing experience.  Just getting into this place can break you: intense and intrusive searches by authorities met you as you enter this cold, unforgiving facility.

Yet he goes.  Faithfully and diligently.

Ronny Drayton goes there to see his son Donovan, who has been held there for the past 50 months without bail.  This despite the fact he has no previous record and no prior convictions.  Ronny makes that weekly journey into a pit of hell because he knows his son was innocent.  Donovan never copped a plea.  He never dimed anyone out.  Donovan Drayton had one demand and never wavered from it: He wanted his day in court.

The path to that day in court usually grinds the defendant into a plea deal.  But it make Donovan and Ronny’s resolve even stronger.  The outpouring of support from family, friends and associates – all of different ethnic backgrounds and faiths – was tremendous.  Here’s this young Black man, one of far too many ensnared in the criminal justice system, having this much support with each court appearance and being lead by his father – an active father – confounded even the most cynical of court observers.

Yet, despite facing the prospect of life in prison, despite the fact the back-breaking reality that going to trial would put them in financial straits – perhaps for good, despite all of the pre-trial stall tactics, Donovan and Ronny didn’t waver.

Donovan wanted – and finally got – his day in court.

As the trial unfolded, it became crystal clear that Donovan Drayton was not at the crime scene much less the trigger man.  No forensic evidence – which is pretty much the standard in any murder case – was presented.  No gun was produced and the two major witnesses for the prosecution – both armed with sweetheart immunity deals – contradicted and perjured themselves on the stand.

The outcome was inevitable.  Not guilty on all major charges.  For the minor charges, the jury was hung: 10-2 in favor of acquittal.  The only reason Donovan didn’t come home was because of the lack of alternate jurors.  In a court of law, Donovan Drayton was able to clear his name.

Yet he remains in jail.

Despite overwhelming evidence that says the contrary, Queens District Attorney Sean Clark – facing a spot on an otherwise spotless conviction rate – decides to re-try Donovan.

Still no bail, even though Donovan has no prior criminal record and insisting on a trial.

Still in Rikers Island, trying to keep his nose clean and his dignity intact.

And Ronny still makes the deep, dark journey to the cold Island in Queens.

But Ronny – like his son – is a fighter.  A good fighter has strong weapons.

Ronny decided to use his best weapon to take a stab at a system that has been attempting to drain the heart and soul of everything he holds dear.

His guitar.

Ronny called a couple of his long time friends.  Jimi Hazel of the genre-bending 24-7 Spyz. Vernon Reid, Will Calhoun, Corey Glover, Doug Wimbish of the Grammy-award winning band Living Colour.  Hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.  LaRonda Davis, Darrell McNeill, Greg Tate and yours truly of the Black Rock Coalition.  He wanted to make a beautiful noise for his son and for all of those who are getting crushed – emotionally and financially – by the criminal justice system.

We all had the same answer: Yes, we’re down.  We will stand with you the way you have stood with your son.

On January 4th, The Black Rock Coalition will present ‘The Million Man Mosh: A Benefit For Donovan Drayton’ featuring Living Colour, 24-7 Spyz, Ronny Drayton, and on the decks, Afrika Bambaataa at The Highline Ballroom in New York City.  Tickets are on sale now online and through at The Highline Ballroom box office.  You can also go to http://www.4donovan.com to make a donation or to find out more information.

All proceeds will go to cover Donovan Drayton’s legal expenses.

Ronny Drayton has been for his son, his family and for all of those who love Black Rock.

Let’s be there for him.

Justice for Donovan Drayton.

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Remembering Hubert Sumlin (1931-2011)

When Hubert Sumlin passed away earlier this month, it truly marked the end of a significant era.

You can a strong case that Hubert Sumlin was the most influential guitarist of his generation.  His near 20 year association with Howlin’ Wolf, they laid the blueprint of what every major band would follow for nearly 50 years: the inseperatable dynamic between lead singer and lead guitarist.  Think about it: Without Wolf & Sumlin, there’s no Jagger-Richards, Jeff Beck-Rod Stewart, Jimmy Page-Robert Plant, Steven Tyler-Joe Perry, it goes on and on.

As a guitarist, he was a direct influence on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Vernon Reid (Reid considered .  Listen to Sumlin’s work on the classic ‘Killin’ Floor’ and you’ll hear the basis of what would later become the sound for The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

After Howlin’ Wolf passed away in 1976, Sumlin continued to perform as a solo act and as a featured guitarist for some of the artists that he influenced (Levon Helm, David Johansen and Keith Richards) and contemporaries (Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton and Sunnyland Slim). Even the loss of a lung didn’t stop Hubert from performing.  He simply strapped himself to an oxygen tank and continued to play ripping leads.

Always with a smile and an upbeat attitude, Hubert Sumlin was a true gentleman to the end.

Do yourself a favor and pick up any of the classic Howlin’ Wolf recordings or his solo work.  You’ll hear one of the best guitarists ever.

Rest in peace Hubert.

 

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Make ‘Black Rock Volume 1’ Part Of Your Holiday Shopping!

Black Rock Volume 1, my collection of photographs of some of the great men and women of the Black Rock scene is available now in print and e-book form!

Some of the artists featured include Living Colour, Cee Lo Green, TV On The Radio, Nona Hendryx, Booker T. Jones, Bernie Worrell, Angelo Moore of Fishbone, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tamar Kali, CX KidtroniK, Sophia Ramos & much more!

The response has been terrific.  Blurb Books, which is handling the print version, named it as a Staff Pick.  I’m also very honored that The New York Public Library of Performing Arts will be adding Black Rock Volume 1 to The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives Of Recorded Sound library!  I’ll be recording a segment for their oral history series to discuss the book, The Black Rock Coalition, and Black Rock in general.

I’m honored and humbled by all of the kind words of encouragement and support.

Mad props to The Black Rock Coalition, Ron & Fez, Opie & Anthony, The Creative Unity Collective on WBAI-FM, Lincoln Center and The Hard Rock Cafe for giving me platforms to promote the book.  Also, major thanks to Anthony Pizziatolla and Pat Aievoli at The Digital Age Group for making the e-book version a reality and Danielle Cordovez at The New York Public Library for Performing Arts  for making the book part of their archive happen.

Black Rock Volume 1 is now available as an e-book through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com for only $9.99!

Click here for the links:

AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B004JHYU24/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1295452829&sr=8-9

BN
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1/Earl-Douglas/e/2940012692887/?itm=1&USRI=black+rock+volume

For those who still prefer a physical copy, you can go to Blurb at:http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1138998#store-price

Make Black Rock Volume 1 part of your holiday shopping!  Also, be sure to support all of these wonderful artists latest efforts!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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‘Black Rock Volume 1’ Added To NYPL Archives!

I’m honored to announce that Black Rock Volume 1 will be added to The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives Of Recorded Sound library!  In addition, I will be recording a segment for their oral history series to talking about the book, The Black Rock Coalition, and Black Rock in general. 

To say that I’m honored and humbled would be an understatement.  I will have more particulars as they become available.

Major thanks to Danielle Cordovez for making this all possible.

While on the subject of the book…

Black Rock Volume 1′ is now available as an e-book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $9.99!

Special thanks to Anthony Pizziatolla and Pat Aievoli at The Digital Age Group for making the e-book happen!

Click here for the links:

AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B004JHYU24/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1295452829&sr=8-9

BN
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1/Earl-Douglas/e/2940012692887/?itm=1&USRI=black+rock+volume

For those who still prefer a physical copy in hard or softcover , you can go to

http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1138998#store-price

‘Black Rock Volume 1′ is a collection of photographs of the great men and women that make up just a small portion of the vast Black Rock scene!

Some of the artists featured include:

The seminal rock group Living Colour!

The Lady Killer Cee Lo Green!

Brooklyn noise rockers TV On The Radio!

Miss Mama Funk – Nona Hendryx!

South African art rockers BLK JKS!

Legendary keyboardist and producer Booker T. Jones!

The Wizard of Woo & keyboard genius Bernie Worrell!

Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Tamar Kali!

Leader of the Krak Attack CX KidtroniK!

Rock’s primal force of nature Sophia Ramos!

And much more!

Make Black Rock Volume 1 part of your holiday shopping!  Also, be sure to support all of these wonderful artists latest efforts!

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Pick up ‘Black Rock Volume 1’ As Part Of Your ‘Cyber Monday’ Shopping!

Black Rock Volume 1′ is now available as an e-book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $9.99!

Special thanks to Anthony Pizziatolla and Pat Aievoli at The Digital Age Group for making the e-book happen!

Click here for the links:

AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B004JHYU24/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1295452829&sr=8-9

BN
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1/Earl-Douglas/e/2940012692887/?itm=1&USRI=black+rock+volume

‘Black Rock Volume 1′ is a collection of photographs of the great men and women that make up just a small portion of the vast Black Rock scene!

Some of the artists featured include:

The seminal rock group Living Colour!

The Lady Killer Cee Lo Green!

Brooklyn noise rockers TV On The Radio!

Miss Mama Funk – Nona Hendryx!

South African art rockers BLK JKS!

Legendary keyboardist and producer Booker T. Jones!

The Wizard of Woo & keyboard genius Bernie Worrell!

Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Tamar Kali!

Leader of the Krak Attack CX KidtroniK!

Rock’s primal force of nature Sophia Ramos!

And much more!

For those who still prefer a physical copy in hard or softcover , you can go to

http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1138998#store-price

Celebrate Cyber Monday by picking up a copy of ‘Black Rock Volume 1’.  Also, be sure to support all of these wonderful artists latest efforts!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Support Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday with ‘Black Rock Volume 1’!

Black Rock Volume 1′ is now available as an e-book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $9.99!

Special thanks to Anthony Pizziatolla and Pat Aievoli at The Digital Age Group for making the e-book happen!

Click here for the links:

AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B004JHYU24/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1295452829&sr=8-9

BN
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1/Earl-Douglas/e/2940012692887/?itm=1&USRI=black+rock+volume

‘Black Rock Volume 1′ is a collection of photographs of the great men and women that make up just a small portion of the vast Black Rock scene!

Some of the artists featured include:

The seminal rock group Living Colour!

The Lady Killer Cee Lo Green!

Brooklyn noise rockers TV On The Radio!

Miss Mama Funk – Nona Hendryx!

South African art rockers BLK JKS!

Legendary keyboardist and producer Booker T. Jones!

The Wizard of Woo & keyboard genius Bernie Worrell!

Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Tamar Kali!

Leader of the Krak Attack CX KidtroniK!

Rock’s primal force of nature Sophia Ramos!

And much more!

For those who still prefer a physical copy in hard or softcover , you can go to

http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1138998#store-price

Support Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday by picking up a copy of ‘Black Rock Volume 1’.  Also, be sure to support all of these wonderful artists latest efforts!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pick Up ‘Black Rock Volume 1’ For Your Black Friday Shopping!

Don’t want to deal with Black Friday madness?  Pick up a copy of ‘Black Rock Volume 1’ from the comfort of your own home!

Black Rock Volume 1′ is now available as an e-book through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $9.99!

Special thanks to Anthony Pizziatolla and Pat Aievoli at The Digital Age Group for making the e-book happen!

Click here for the links:

AMAZON
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1-ebook/dp/B004JHYU24/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1295452829&sr=8-9

BN
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Black-Rock-Volume-1/Earl-Douglas/e/2940012692887/?itm=1&USRI=black+rock+volume

‘Black Rock Volume 1′ is a collection of photographs of the great men and women that make up just a small portion of the vast Black Rock scene!

Some of the artists featured include:

The seminal rock group Living Colour!

The Lady Killer Cee Lo Green!

Brooklyn noise rockers TV On The Radio!

Miss Mama Funk – Nona Hendryx!

South African art rockers BLK JKS!

Legendary keyboardist and producer Booker T. Jones!

The Wizard of Woo & keyboard genius Bernie Worrell!

Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Tamar Kali!

Leader of the Krak Attack CX KidtroniK!

Rock’s primal force of nature Sophia Ramos!

And much more!

For those who still prefer a physical copy in hard or softcover , you can go to

http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1138998#store-price

Make ‘Black Rock Volume 1‘ part of your Black Friday shopping!  Also, be sure to support all of these wonderful artists latest efforts!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment