Download o' the Week

Photo by Jack Gould"Here it comes, the sound of terror from above/He flex his Texas twisted tongue/The poor lined up to kill in desert slums/For oil that burn beneath the desert sun/Now we spit flame to flip this game/We are his targets taking aim."

—lyrics from "March of Death," a collaboration between Zack de la Rocha and DJ Shadow, available for your listening pleasure at (Rich Kane) FREE BEN WENER!
"I know exactly what I want to say—only, I've kindly been asked not to say it," scrawled Orange County Register rock critic Ben Wener in his March 21 Pop Life column. Wener was writing about how his Reg editors had requested him to tone down any commentary he might have on the war, going on to drop not-very-well-hidden hints that what he would have to say about the war—had he been allowed to say them—wouldn't exactly be appreciated by numbnut Reg readers who subscribe to the rag just so they can cream all over the paper's faux-Libertarian editorial pages. But if "No politics in the music section!" is the new battle cry of Wener's bosses (guess he won't be allowed to quote from the new Zack de la Rocha song, like we just did), then published opinions are absolutely a one-way street at the Reg's Grand Avenue palace. Over the years, Reg editorial writers and columnists have been free to rail against whatever perceived music-oriented evil they want. We recall the lie-loaded page-length screed in 1993 that used Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" video as a jumping-off point to rail about the wickedness of public (whoops—"taxpayer-supported," in Reg-speak) school systems, and the wacky columnist a year later who said Kurt Cobain would never have killed himself if he'd just planted a garden and combed his hair. Of course, if Reg editors are duct-taping Wener's mouth shut, we have to wonder if other writers are also "kindly" being asked to not mention the war—or, say, not cover an anti-war protest. Flipping on our telly, we find much to loathe about the war reportage of embedded (more like "in bed with") correspondents for cable news networks, but, considering it has been eons since the Reg has had a full-time in-house TV critic, we guess the paper has already solved that problem. (RK) IMMIGRANT SONG
Since the Anaheim PD had their fun messing with Latin music cathedral JC Fandango's business, the Immigration and Naturalization Service—now a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, you know—wants in, too. The venue had to postpone their scheduled March 28 Skandangolandia festival because headliners Los Calzones had difficulties arranging their visas to get out of Argentina. And the JC folks are begging papers and mags to write about Mexican ska scoundrels Sektacore, who they want to bring in late spring—seems the migra wants newspaper clippings of artists to prove they're actually a band before letting them enter the country. This isn't the first time the INS fucked the club over, either: Mexican metal monsters Luzbel was a no-show a couple of years back, and pop/rock cuties Volovn couldn't make it to a October 2002 gig because of INS snafus. JC Fandango publicist Gabriela Gonzlez has some advice for bands that have problems maneuvering through the INS bureaucracy: go to Vermont. "The California INS offices are slammed, so we try to tell artists to file for their visas in smaller states like Vermont that have fewer cases," Gonzlez told us. She doesn't blame the INS for making it difficult for artists to obtain visas, though, instead putting the blame squarely on the musicians. "It's the artists' fault more," she says. "If they have everything in order, there should be no problem. But if they delay for too long, the INS has the right to deny them." Umm, that's not the answer we were looking for, Gaby. Sing the praises of open borders! (Gustavo Arellano) DOWN FOR THE CAUSE
Seems lately like we can't go a week without a benefit show being put on for somebody who's ailing—thanks for supporting universal health care for all, Dubya! Or not!—and unfortunately this week, there's no respite. Now we have Brian Pearson, a local surfer and graphic designer who was recently diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. But Brian has friends—even better, musician friends—who'll donate their time and talent Saturday to help Pearson pay what are surely some astronomical treatment costs. The gig goes off at 7 p.m. at Toonen's (2369 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente, 949-492-6228) and will feature sets from Smogtown, Broken Bottles, Split Decision, the Fuse! and several other local bands. Your $15 ticket—cheap!—includes a shot at winning a week's stay in Mexico or Hawaii. But sorry, kids—it's 21 and over. (RK)

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