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Ry Cooder Takes On Wall Street Greed

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Posted on May 25, 2011
Photo illustration from an image by Colin Grey

(Page 5)

Ry Cooder: No, that’s good.

Robert Scheer: You know, we were discussing earlier that Chris Hedges gave this speech at one of our fundraisers; it was the night bin Laden was shot; he gave a little impromptu speech; we transcribed it right away; it’s brilliant, as Hedges always is. And we had 100,000 people come to it in a matter of hours. And I know we’re going to do that with this album of yours. It’s coming out in September. And I think, through the Internet, we can. Now, I don’t know if it turns into record sales; I don’t know how iTunes works; I don’t know…

Ry Cooder: I have no idea. No idea.

Robert Scheer: But you know, it seems to me that the Internet is a great vehicle for letting people in on something. And if we do our job right, you know, and we promote this record, it will be a very good test for us. You know, we want to really push it. It comes out in September, and I’d like to see if we can’t find a big audience for it.

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Ry Cooder: Well, I think your audience is right there.

Robert Scheer: Yeah, but not only our audience. We want to share it with The Nation, and AlterNet, and all the other folks that are out there; you know, they’ll steal it anyway, so we might as well share it. [Laughter] In a good spirit; I don’t mean they are, particularly, thieves. But you know, the Internet is a place where people—you know, my column this morning was grabbed on about 10 different sites before I read it on Truthdig.

Ry Cooder: Wow.

Robert Scheer: Why not take advantage of that, get the word out. And then, I think—and you said you’re not familiar with it—but I think with something like iTunes or something, you must get some income … that … no?

Ry Cooder: Not that I know about. It’s tiny. The artist is usually at the bottom of that food chain.

Robert Scheer: Oh, OK. Well, that’s depressing. But anyway, as far as getting the music out, and getting the content of it out, I think the Internet is an incredible vehicle. And you know, someday we’ll figure out how to make a little money off it.

Kasia Anderson: Well, speaking of the Internet, I think this is the point where we’re going to share some of the message on Truthdig.com. And we will start by playing another track from the album. And Ry, can you set that up for us? It’s track nine, another of our favorites.

Ry Cooder: I don’t know how I got to this John Lee Hooker for president idea, except that I began to hear him campaigning. And hear him telling you, the audience, what politics means to him. … He was a very funny fellow, John Lee Hooker. He had a very interesting view of the world, and tremendous language; I just loved to hear him talk. And so, if he did run for president, what would be important, you know? And then juxtaposed along with certain issues like the horrible failure of the Supreme Court to do the right thing—what would he do about that? Would he reorganize the court? Who would be his running mate? [Laughter] You know, Jimmy Reed for vice president. And so forth. And then, so to extrapolate, I took certain passages out of some of his songs where he talks about himself, and just reworked the language a little bit. But I just like to play his music myself on guitar as best I can. It’s something that I like to listen to, and he’s not around to do it anymore.

Kasia Anderson: Let’s hear a couple of minutes from that track, then.

[Music]

Peter Scheer: That was Ry Cooder, singing a song off his new album, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down,” which comes out in September….That’s it for this week’s Truthdig Radio. Catch us next week. Thanks for listening.


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