Welcome to Max and the Marginalized's page/blog, etc. We are a political band in Los Angeles. We write and record a new song every week (as of this writing we've been doing this for 32 weeks straight), always about something that week which we find worthy of our protestations. All the songs are available for download right here.

The idea is simple, really. How can bands claiming to want to make a difference write a song about, say, ending the war and then hold on to it to make a perfectly polished recording of it for their album which will come out in a year, secretly and shamefully hoping the war lasts until then so their song, marketed properly, will still be relevant?

We don't have any interest in that. We write songs about things that are happening now, record them, and release them with the hopes that they can be a small part of a big conversation that leads to real progress.

All of our songs appear on The Huffington Post with little blogs accompanying them explaining what they are about. Those can be found right here. We are also on MySpace like every other band in the universe, but are trying to move the operation to the non-Murdoch world at our Facebook Page.

Lineup: Max Bernstein - guitar + vocals. Dave Watrous - Bass. Jon Ryggy - Drums. Our friend Max Waker is a recording engineer and makes cartoons.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Moving to Wordpress

Moving this blog over to maxmarginal.wordpress.com due to better functionality and the built in MP3 player. Say hello over there please - thanks!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go make your living, boy. I'll go on fighting.

Since we're a tiny, tiny band that doesn't get a whole lot of action on our MySpace, blog, or really anywhere, the little correspondence we get resonates a lot. There's a comment on our MySpace that someone left the other day that said that the songs were great but it's time to stop and pick the best ones because the Bush years are over.

I hope he's right, but let's take a quick look at the elephant in the living room shitting in the corner, shall we? John McCain is running on the very same failed policies of the Bush years. Yeah, he believes in global warming. If that's what passes for progress when we are at a war that has killed over 4,000 troops, not counting suicides of returning vets, which are estimated well into the hundreds, perhaps the thousands.

The Straight Talk Express is a Trojan Horse, and one that I unfortunately believe is going to be very hard to stop - what talents we have are best served doing what little three dudes with instruments can do to place the tiniest of screws in the tires. Heaven knows it isn't much, but with a very popular Republican running on the same policies of his predecessor, an abortion ban on the ballot in South Dakota (you'll be hearing about this from us on Thursday), close congressional and Senate elections that could give us a veto-proof majority, and a lack of care for Veterans that may unfortunately last long after this election no matter who wins, I would say that the Bush years and whatever aftershocks we'll face from them are not over, and won't be for a long time. When they are, maybe we'll stop and pick the best ones.

I'm too tired to proofread, I just got home from seeing the almighty Leatherface and haven't gotten that sweaty at a show I wasn't playing since I was 20. Nite!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ted Leo sticks it to Radiohead, which makes him even cooler.

If you've never listened to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, I reluctantly ask that you do so now. I say reluctantly because while they are the best band in the world right now, if you listen to Max and the Marginalized and have never heard TL/Rx, you will listen to Ted + co. and consider the distinct possibility that we are a mere Wayne Newton to his Frank Sinatra. Indeed, if I could write songs as well as his I wouldn't have to write so damn many.

My bandmates will undoubtedly give me shit about being this self-deprecating and revealing of our influences in our public forum, but the fact is I spent a lot of hours driving late at night on tour with The Actual blasting Ted Leo to keep me awake while everyone else was passed out, taking in another day of playing songs I had written years ago that didn't mean much to me anymore. Repeated listens to such vitriolic political tunefulness from someone who clearly liked both 7 Seconds AND Thin Lizzy as much as I did made me itch to get home and write songs about what I read on the New York Times opinion page, rather than sing songs on the Warped Tour about my ex-girlfriend from 3 years prior. Hence, my happiest dive into debt ever, Max and the Marginalized.

Anyways, we're always down for a bleeding of a sacred cow here at Marginalized HQ, and I just read this interview with Ted where the interviewer asks him about Radiohead's releasing In Rainbows the way they did, and his answer is just awesome:

Honestly, I'm kind of pissed off at Radiohead for doing that because they're fucking multi-millionaires. So fuck them, you know, they can do whatever the fuck they want. It makes it harder for everybody else to try to figure out a workable idea. It's like a red herring or a cul-de-sac to me to go down that road. Now, if the whole world becomes 'you release your music for free' and playing live becomes the way that you get compensated for it, then so be it. But it's not at that stage right now, and the overhead for actually making a record with a label and putting it out still requires an investment, and nobody wants to lose money. Nobody wants to fucking wind up in the gutter in a year or two. The Radiohead thing also was like a weird scam in my mind because they knew that they were going to be releasing the hard copies of the record eventually. It's bizarre man... Public Enemy's been doing it for years as well. And that's a whole different model, that's just like 'you know what, we're just giving our shit away on the Internet. You wanna come to the shows... and we're self-releasing our record, etcetera etcetera.' We're not quite in a position to be able to accommodate either model properly, like having big label support or doing things completely gratis. It'll shake out as it will and we'll roll with it.

As a band who uses a similar model (we got our idea from Juliana Hatfield, whose b-sides she sells on the honor system would still be cash well spent at $1000 per song), I can't help but agree. They weren't taking a chance, and it was an amazing publicity piece that got them into the fucking Time 100, for doing what was really nothing more than leaking their album with a donate button. Last month we spent $1600 recording and made $340 in donations which was more than I ever expected to make on those things, and I'm honored that a few people shelled out 40 bucks for the Marginography - and while Radiohead are a fine band, but he's totally right. It took no balls for them to release their album that way, and tons of balls for Ted to call them out for this since the rock and roll pasture has no cow more sacred.

So, good work, Ted... and if you have a Google Alert for yourself (this goes for you too, Ms. Hatfield) and have landed on our page here, give us a listen and say hi 'cause we love you. Thanks!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Second Time Around

The fact that repeated deployments are killing our military is nothing new, but it hit home for a few of us last week. Like many urban twentysomethings with privileged upbringings, this war has demanded next to nothing from my peer group -- if it had, we might not have such a flaccid anti-war movement among us.

Not knowing anyone who had served on the ground, I and many others found gripping, chilling accounts of daily life as a soldier in Iraq reading Colby Buzzell's blog My War, one of the best and most widely read blogs coming out of Iraq.

Buzzel is being redeployed for a second tour in Iraq three years after leaving the army. He mused about his possible obituary in a heartbreaking op-ed in the San Francisco chronicle last week, which inspired this week's song The Second Time Around.

The Second Time Around

Write the info on the luggage tags
Loop the elastic through the handle on the bag
They say it ain't that bad, it ain't a folded flag
If that counts for something
400 some-odd days behind, they might not be over
The flipping calendar in mind, July through October
It's an awful lot of time, does that count for something?

And some might say that they signed up for that
When they wrote their names on down
And it's bad enough to readjust to the silence in this town
They'll keep jumping up the ante, in for a penny, in for a pound
The bombs get louder the second time around

400 some-odd days ahead, so much for high hopes
There's things they'd rather do instead, they're stretched like a tightrope
They say they planned ahead, but you know and I know

No one signed up for that when they wrote their names on down
And it's bad enough to readjust to the silence back in this town
They'll up the ante, in for a penny, in for a pound
The war gets slower the second time around

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just in case you didn't already see this Bill O'Reilly clip...

This is getting constantly put up and taken down on YouTube. Hopefully my friend Rami's link will work for a while:

Crooks and Liars has it here as well.

I think it's one of the 5 funniest things I've ever seen. Turn up speakers for maximum joy.

What every Monday lately has been...

Me going "Hmm... Maybe tomorrow's primary will be the last one and then we'll be in the general election, where some of us in the blogostomy bag have been hanging out for the past two months since we think that winning back the White House is more important than chiming in on a battle that is unfortunately very easy to write about."

West Virginia: I don't know you well. I've played one show outdoors in Logan and it was a lot of fun. I once ate at your Perkins. You're kind of shaped like a deformed teapot. I see no reason why you, next to only Delaware in the "most-forgotten" states category, can't make a name for yourself for something other than mine collapses by ending this tomorrow in one fell swoop. Thanks!

Leatherface comes to SoCal

To any of my readers and listeners in the SoCal area where I am:

One of the greatest bands of all time, Leatherface of Sunderland, UK, are coming to town next week. They'll be at Knitting Factory LA on Monday the 19th and Chain Reaction in Anaheim the following night and I will be at both shows screaming like a little girl.

I never thought Leatherface would come back to the US (I saw them last in 2000 with Hot Water Music, and I believe that was the last time they were stateside.)

They're one of the most unique and beautiful bands to ever grace punk rock, and less importantly, an obvious and gracious influence on all things Marginalized.

Here they are in all their withered glory playing "Hoodlum" in 2007:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Welcome friends from C+L

We <3 Crooks and Liars and as the (as far as we know) only band in the progressive blogosphere, being on their page is like making the cover of Rolling Stone!

Please feel free to download some songs and we hope you enjoy your stay here at our page. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Consider the Source (A Song and Cartoon for John McCain's Credibility)

It was laughable to watch John McCain, who has proven to either have a bad memory, a problem telling the truth, or both, to ask that we "consider the source" in response to Arianna Huffington's claim that he told her he didn't vote for Bush in 2000. Then again, he doesn't remember who he was back then, so why should he remember what he said either?

This is a man who flouts campaign finance laws by flying around from speech to speech on the Sugar Momma Express, telling people between landings that their economic hardships are largely psychological. He makes repeated misstatements about Iran training Al Qaeda. Loudly denies and later admits quietly to getting into a physical fight with a member of congress. Anytime John McCain opens his mouth, it's worth considering the source.

Enjoy this week's song and cartoon.

(h/t Emptywheel, Paul Waldman)

Consider the Source
As my television box would tell it
You're a trailblazing renegade of sorts
With convictions of steel, a dead even keel
A chara-character tour de force
Denying that you spoke against the king when he ascended
Now that you've followed him along with no remorse
So the next time you call someone a liar, consider the source

I've heard you give a lecture on morals
On integrity, fidelity and more
They fail to mention your carousing with the heiress
Whoever knows how long before your first divorce
You said you never would accept her contributions
As the Sugar Momma Express rides on course
So the next time you call someone a liar, consider the source

7 or 8 years ago I might have less to say
I don't care who you were back then, but who you are today
I don't expect no talking heads to say what you're about
So I'll keep singing all these songs until the truth comes out

They said nothing on the message multipliers
So I won't put a lot of stock in their reports
And indeed there's not a word they've said about you
That's been true since O.J. had his day in court
They'll say nothing of Cindy's missing taxes
Or the pastor you chased down to endorse
So the next time they wax about your honor, consider the source

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pretend he's a giant...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fucking awesome Teflon John video!

Animation courtesy of Max Waker, who engineers all our songs as well. Enjoy =)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Each week a new national outrage goes underreported beneath the primary noise. Last week it was the Pentagon puppets, this week it’s the deplorable living conditions at Fort Bragg, reported by a military father with a camera and a conscience.

If the people who are devoting their lives to fighting for one side of this primary devoted about 2% of their attention to some of the injustices being committed on the current administration’s watch, like the fact that we have soldiers returning from 15-month tours to living spaces not fit for a prison, we’d probably live in Candyland by now.

Enjoy this week’s song “If That Don’t Make You Madder”, and go to Vetvoice for a much better view of the tragedy at Fort Bragg than this highlight reel we put together.

If That Don't Make You Madder

I wasn’t born with a sense of outrage, just a sense of trust
7 years of disappointments, it’s managed to adjust
It’ll stay that way longer after this horrifying chapter is complete
And I’ve looked at all the pictures, kept them playing on a loop
Long enough to keep me angry, but the volume can’t cut through
The warring megaphones and billboards
And bumper stickers parked along my street

‘Cause sometimes it don’t matter which side you’re on
You don’t have to pick a side to look at this and know it’s wrong
And I don’t care what argument you make
If this don’t make you madder
If this don’t make you madder what will it take

You won’t see it reflected in the water on the floor
There’s a different kind of shit he’s in just a dozen hours before
They’ll cut corners instead of losses
But never pay respect that they demand
So if you’re begging for the perfect at the very good’s expense
May you focus on some things, that are actually worth fighting against
I know they’re fighting back now, some of us could really use a hand

‘Cause sometimes it don’t matter which side you’re on
You don’t have to pick a side to look at this and know it’s wrong
And I don’t care what argument you make
If this don’t make you madder
If this don’t make you madder what will it take
What will it take