R.I.P. Spencer Dryden

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Jefferson Airplane drummer dies. (San Francisco Chronicle) Since the ’60’s San Francisco psychedelic era still figures large in my musical tastes, this is probably more of note to me than to nearly any other of my readers. Dryden was the emphatic, fearless and much underrated lynchpin of a monstrous rhythm section with the Airplane during their greatest days (listen to any live bootleg, or “Bear Melt” from Bless Its Pointed Little Head), although he was not even invited back to their 1989 reunion. He also drummed for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and another of my favorites, Dinosaurs, comprised of luminaries from most of the great SF bands. Dryden’s later days were full of misfortune, including a prior bout with cancer, the loss of his home and all his possessions in a house fire in 2003, double hip replacement last year, and the stomach cancer to which he eventually succumbed. Pigpen, Jerry, Keith, Brent, Janis, John Cipollina and Skip Spence are likely welcoming him at a rehearsal of the Heavenly Band even as we speak.

‘This is my tribe’

Anti-Bush Bracelets Say, ‘Count Me Blue’ “After spending 10 days in London with friends who were outspoken about their disdain for President Bush (news – web sites)’s policies, Berns Rothchild came home wishing she had a way to show the world she didn’t vote for him.

“I sort of felt ashamed, and didn’t really want to be associated with being an American,” said Rothchild, who lives in New York City and voted for John Kerry (news – web sites).

Her mother had a suggestion: bracelets, inspired by the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s popular “LIVESTRONG” bands, that would signal opposition to Bush.

Thousands of miles away, two women in Idaho had the same idea. So did a woman in Kansas. The result? At least three separate bracelet ventures targeting left-leaning citizens who want to wear their political affiliation on their wrists — and at least one competitor bearing the opposite message.

Rothchild, 35, is selling blue bracelets that say “COUNT ME BLUE,” while Laura Adams, of Fairway, Kan., offers blue bracelets that say “HOPE.” The McKnight family, of Moscow, Idaho, is even more direct; their black bracelets proclaim: “I DID NOT VOTE 4 BUSH.”(Yahoo News! )

Ethiopia gears up for late Bob Marley’s 60th birthday

“Ethiopia is preparing a massive party next month to mark the 60th birthday of late reggae superstar Bob Marley, the first time the annual event has been held outside the singer’s native Jamaica. Some 200,000 people are expected to attend the giant celebration featuring concerts from scores of African and international musicians that will start five days before Marley’s February 6 birthday, organizers said Friday.” (Agence France Presse)