Last night I had the pleasure to shoot Jedi Mind Tricks at The Firebird and there will be a short write up about it and a few other things I’ve done recently but right now I would like to step up to the pulpit and do one of my favorite things: talk shit.

Let’s begin with my arrival at the venue.

As I waited for the doors, I stood in line with an extremely varied cross cut of folks. It was very interesting to see thuggy dudes with facials tats next to mail order hippies, next to kids from the burbs, next to people who know more than one horrorcore rapper. Generally speaking, the conversations around me weren’t exactly high concept but they stayed within the realm of idle chit chat one makes to pass the time. It wasn’t until the line started moving that it became apparent that there was an undertone to the evening that I had not assumed.

See, as the line moved a wiry kid with glasses and a backpack began to speak loudly with a taller, equally wiry guy with a shaggy red beard about how the radio is bullshit. They talked about their shitty corporate jobs and how mindless people were for listening to the radio, commenting that the medium was “the soundtrack of the working class”, how they hated their co-workers fighting over the rock station or the rap station. They weren’t standing in line but alongside it, facing those waiting to get inside, projecting themselves as if they were rebelling against the venue which they were going to no doubt enter.

As the venue filled up, it was almost humorous how diverse and odd the crowd had become. There was a good vibe even though there was some tension due to a few elements floating around. I got my beer and talked with the staff until it was time for the first act, Garden Plot Jackals.

Garden Plot Jackals

Garden Plot Jackals describe themselves on their Facebook page (they have no Myspace) as “FREE anarcho-poetic terrorist rap group from saint loser, misery” and if that sounds like some awkward, incestuous posturing, you’re right. The first few songs I tried to keet my professional composure but eventually I had to walk away because, quite simply, I was going to start laughing.

You can check out their blog (notice in their bio the mention of “spectacular society”) and see that they’re really against the man, money and government. However, there is no conviction to go along with these values other than tired, cliche rhetoric. A little over a week ago one of the wittiest socially and politically aware rappers of this generation, Sole, played at The Firebird and to hear 4 awkward guys rapping in mid-tempo about some Disinformation shit really shows not only that these guys exist in their own little bubble, but maybe even 10+ years later the backpacker movement, for all its positives and negatives, has failed to resonate within the creative minds of St. Louis.

At one point they played a sample of M.I.A’s “Paper Planes” but modified the hook to go “I get fly like paper, get high like … CHEM TRAILS”. I wish I was making this up. And though I probably don’t even have to mention it, these dudes said “zeitgeist” at least a half dozen times.

Garden Plot Jackals

It’s all hopelessly shallow, presented in a form that has no desire to inform or spread ideas but to posture that they, through their superior intellect, have risen above the common man and imparted among themselves the ultimate truth about out fake, capitalist society where morons are bred with other morons to give a fuck about Lily Allen. They don’t have to worry about sick beats or clever tropes, they’re not sheeple like you.

Jacob Cohen, above, is the wiry fellow with the red beard I mentioned before. Jacob would seem to be the most involved member, or at least the one with the most initiative. That doesn’t prevent him for being condemned for his contribution to the neo-bohemian equivalent of Birther Rap. I feel that the video speaks for itself.

Also, it was funny to see how a group such as this can play one of the best rooms in the city, open for an established national act, and still be ungrateful. They complained about charging “people who don’t have money” $12 to come to a show. Not to speak for the venue but image the cost of doing business, plus paying the national(s), plus paying the employees. Sometimes the locals don’t get paid but those are the breaks, a good venue will work with you to put you on night that will in the future and quite simply, if you’re not mature enough to work with the venue and build a relationship there is a simple solution, don’t play. You think you were making a statement, even in humor, by burning a dollar as everyone cleaned up (working) around you but instead of coming off as intellectual dissidents free from the oppression of modern society, you’ve shown that you live in small, cramp cages that you long ago told yourself were good enough.

Get This Fool Some Books
When I’m not getting ready for the next show I like to sit down with a good book. Help support www.ishotguydebord.com and my reading habit through my Amazon wishlist. You can always order a print from my large archive of awesome rock shots if you need something rad on your wall.


Questions, Comments?
Do you have any questions, comments, or feedback? Leave a comment below and let me know.


  1. Michael says:

    Yeah man, these guys, with all their ideas and stuff. Jesus. Who do they think they are? People affected by the polluted air and water, poisoned food and broken ideological systems of control? Give me some of that bumpin shit and I don’t even mind when Jedi Mind Jerks clearly espouse homophobia in their songs. “You ain’t a ghetto thug, you an actress. That’s unnatural, like love between faggots!” Now THAT is hip hop. Give me a fucking break. GPJ never said they were better than anybody, but I think they may be better than you. Just saying. Nice pics though, good job, high five.

  2. an awkward quantity of bitching and moaning but seems those jackals for better or for worse made more of an impression on yr complacent ass than the headlining act. so why devote an entire blog entry to something you so clearly dislike? doesn’t make sense bro, and sounds like a bunch of awkward posturing on yr own part, but it’s cool, it’s way easier to wine than to actually try and write or contribute any thing serious or well thought out, so its good to know scenester fucks such as yr self keep taking the easy route and make sad blog attempts to trash talk anybody try to make heads or tails about the sad state of amerikkkan society today. good work buddy.

  3. Michael,

    The issue is that people have been wearing tinfoil hats and expressing these criticisms, fears, and conspiracies for a while and to present them in this fashion in 2010 is, in short, alienating and laughable. Garden Plot Jackals seem content with presenting these issues and ideas that have been beaten to death, offering little progression from “everything is fucked, ya’ll”. A good portion of their lyrics sounded like slogan shirts you could have purchased from Unamerican.com back in 2002. Fuck work. I’m going to kill my boss. Who watches the Watchmen?

    Do I have issues with Jedi Mind Tricks? I do. No doubt they’ve fooled some people and indulged others with their content but homophobic lyrics are about as outdated and irrelevant as lyrics about how we’re all living on a prison planet because of T.V, chem trails, and professional football.

  4. Josh says:

    Dear lord, Bryan. I need to start visiting your site more often. I love this shit, haha.

  5. yusef stemlock says:

    A diverse and odd crowd is humerous. Everyone knows everyone should act and dress similar. The creative minds of st. louis have seemingly breached your visible spectrum, this is apparent by the camera work which seems to be shot by a 13 year old girl whos training bra was on too tight. As you said it is very apparent you would rather talk shit than improve your photography and writing. For your pennace my son, you should search throughout the cities rich art scene and write a nice little blog about.

  6. Michael says:

    Well, for one, Hip hop has lost most of it’s politics in the last 15 years, including the fuck heads Jedi Jerk Offs. So, the fact that the Jackals are addressing any issues beyond mind numbing bling and “i’m the hottest mc since McDonald’s” is refreshing. If you listen to the lyrics, they are not a s trite as you make them out to be. Also, the fact that TV, Chemtrails, work prison, and cop assholes are STILL a motherfucking problem, shows that they need to be talked about a little more. What can you make of this? “We up PROTEST, it’s a total revolt, we up RESISTANCE, it’s a total revolt, we up ACTION, smash systematic hope….” this coming from the GPJ. doesn’t sound like it offers no solutions to me. sounds like it offers one of the only real solutions there is. Or, we could just crump a lil and tilt my shit to the south cause i’s don give a fuck, dawg. right?
    seriously, wasting your own time trashing on a local group that is actually doing something beyond tipping 40’s, smo9king blunts, and repeating the same garbage that Dose or Technique spit. Think about it.

  7. Andrew says:

    Excellent work! Couldn’t have said it better myself. No, do not give some local clowns credit just because “they’re tryin’ to do some shit.” If I see another skinny white kid with a sideways hat, scraggly beard and his ass hanging out I’m going to deny that I ever listened to hip hop in the first place. You all look the same because you think the same because same-ness is safe and safe is lame. Thank you and goodnight! Again, excellent reporting, for real.

  8. Micheal,

    Yes, hip hop isn’t what it used to be.

    In retrospect, I was too quick to go for the knee jerk in my original post and by doing this I presented sensationalism that degraded the subtleties of my statement. Do I believe that these young men lack the ability to make socially and politically aware music? No, I don’t. I do believe that they need to step out of their academic and mental safety zones and become more intellectually well rounded.

    I know what it’s like to have radical ideals. I spent much of my youth reading Situationist texts, Eduardo Galeano, Samuel Beckett, Naomi Klein, and others. Believe me, I wasn’t much fun to be around because I was convinced that there were only manipulative and negative things about the world. I lived a life where the sun never rose. My ideals held me hostage.

    Then one day I realized that it just wasn’t working and I looked at the world differently. The intellectual pursuits of my youth serve me well as a young adult, but only because I have the frame of reference to see the beauty of the world, knowing that the world persists because of and despite myself.

    Alan Watts, in regards to Christianity, mentioned the idea of “imperialistic thought” when dealing with concepts of the metaphysical and intellectual. That, in short, it is near madness to argue with someone who is beyond a doubt sure of their beliefs because (again, truncated) you just don’t know the truth yet. The basic issue of this mindset, aside from the inward viewpoint, is that in fact there are no absolute or universal truths. To look at the world in such a linear mindset leaves out so much else.

    My intention was to provide contrast to any praise given to GPJ and while imperfect in my execution I feel that I have exhausted any further explanation of my viewpoint.

  9. Lindsay K. says:

    I can’t get past their juvenile reference to their hometown as “Saint Loser, Misery”. But when I do it’s just self-indulgent bullshit. Okay, HFCS is bad for you and FUCK THE FEDS, but it’s completely irrelevant to the community their playing to. Up PROTEST and up RESISTANCE to your own self-imposed unhappiness. Fucking slavery.

  10. too quick on the judgement for me says:

    it’s at least honest to say you used to be a radical, how you’ve read guy debord and naomi klein, and now you have given up and gone on to bigger and better things, whatever you think those are. i personally think it’s a little creepy you went through all the trouble to find a dude’s personal facebook page, but whatever, i see you’re trying to stay in tight with the firebird so you can see artists like jedi mindless tricks and sole (the most arrogant person i’ve ever met) for free taking photos. i would say think twice before you assume you know any of these guys personally, you overheard one conversation and immediately turned into what you accuse them of, being better than someone else. i was at the show, i liked these guys just fine, just seems like you really jumped to judgement. they didn’t cocme off as “birthers” or “shallow” to me, just seemed like they were passionate about the fact that times are rough right now, and they have certain solutions. a lot better to me than just whining about how no one is as good as your favorite rapper.

  11. Chris says:


    Did I really just witness a bunch of people bitching about you trash talking while simultaneously trash talking everyone else around them and claiming that they were participating in a “total revolt?” Through rap music? I’m sorry, but maybe the definition and ideals of revolution have been lost through time but I’m pretty sure they were never heading in the direction of “sell records = change society.”

    Nor do I believe that revolutionaries sit around on their computer bitching about people who stand up and speak their own opinions. If anything, I’d expect them to take criticism in an honorable manner instead of poking fun at your photography like little children and seek to better themselves as human beings and therefore better their own movement…if such a thing actually exists.

    Yes, I just trashed you, get the fuck over it.

    Opinions, opinions, opinions. Everyone has them, accept it and argue as a person who uses their brain to full capacity. Don’t regress to playground politics.

    Someone who’s been to prison for terrorism (no joke)…assholes.

  12. Chris says:

    p.s. Don’t fuck with the working class. Any intelligent revolutionary would know that. Karl Marx wrote a book dedicated to not fucking with the working class. It’s called: “FUCK WITH US AND DIE.”

    Or perhaps you forgot what happened to the last Czar of Russia.

    I can’t possibly imagine why that singer would thought it cool to voice such opinions in front of potential followers of his “revolution.”

  13. dave says:

    “these guys with all their weird ideas and stuff” ??? Did he really say that? What a pompous moron. i mean why bother to post a comment and subject yourself to humility when you know your mentally retarded and shouldn’t be allowed around electronics. As for the shit bird that wrote the expose’…..its not the cohen’s fault your dickless unimportant ass didn’t like the music. Moby wasn’t playing? Check out alternatives next time tough guy. i bet your soft ass didn’t say shit to the band? Thought so. Die of a venerial disease you worthless toad. Peace out.

  14. This is still funny.

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