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Sinners / saints (Fazed cookies)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Yesterday, on my Twitter feed, Buffalo Tom singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz retweeted a comment made by journalist/rock-n-roller Brian J. Karem, who was covering President Trump’s toxic, MAGA-fueled wankfest in Charleston, West Virginia. The Tweet read thusly: “Honest to God: POTUS is scheduled to walk out in 10 minutes and the loud speakers are blaring ‘Sympathy for the Devil’.

Janovitz, a Stones and rock historian (in addition to being the leader of a fantastic three-piece Boston band) who wrote a book about the Rolling Stones’ classic 1972 album Exile on Main St., simply added the follow comment, “Relevant to a couple of my interests.”


And so here we are again, with Trump – backed into the corner like a rat – his “best people” charged with felonies and facing prison time, was going forward with this batshit-crazy campaign event in West Virginia's capital city.

As Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert noted in her report posted yesterday afternoon, “the presidency seemed on some sort of brink” and once on the ground in the Mountain State, the reporter noted the surreal nature of the event, commenting, “In the background, Mick Jagger was singing ‘Sympathy for the Devil.’”

What is going on with Trump and the Rolling Stones? Well, we have written about this before in our Jan. 15, 2018 post “Rocket men,” writing: “(T)he Rolling Stones asked Trump to stop using their hits, including 1969's "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and 1981's "Start Me Up," with the band's publicist saying in a press release: "The Rolling Stones have never given permission to the Trump campaign to use their songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately."

Reissued copy of Their Satanic Majesties Request by The Rolling Stones. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Continuing, I added: “Not that the future Trumpenfuhrer gave a damn what Mick Jagger thought, even though the early and vaguely misogynistic Stones song "Heart of Stone" (?!?!) was played at his inaugural concert - as the intro. Message received. Crystal clear. What is it with Trump and the Stones? I'm a fan because my Dad introduced me to the band at a young age, although he's disappointed that the psychedelic and weirdly foppish Their Satanic Majesties Request is my favorite, over the gritty Exile on Main St. (his favorite). Oh well. 

As I wrote at the time: "As the Wikipedia entry for “Heart of Stone” notes is that “(t)he song sees the singer discuss his life as a womanizer, and how one girl in particular won’t break his heart.”

As the lyrics go: “There’s been so many girls that I’ve known / I’ve made so many cry, and still wonder why / Here comes a little girl / I see her walking down the street.”

Hello, Stormy Daniels!!! Please spank me with that copy of Forbes magazine, you vixen!

Oh, and here's a little payoff, sweetheart ..."

And so here we are, more than half-a-year later and the corruption and illegality of Trump’s operation is coming to a head while a key Stones track, “Sympathy for the Devil” is blasting over the speakers in a state best known for King Coal-led corporate criminality, environmental degradation, high levels of illiteracy and poverty and, of course, the home state of that harbinger of doom: Mothman of Point Pleasant.

Just yesterday, as news of all this involving Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen was breaking, a white vehicle sped past me, well over the speed limit. It was movin’! The vanity plate read: JAGGER, of course.

What is particularly interesting, at least in the synchromystic and parapolitical realms, is that for me, “Sympathy for the Devil” is remarkably revealing, just as “Heart of Stone” was played at Trump’s inaugural concert, something I wrote about here.

Just as every cop is a criminal, and all us sinners? Saints! As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer / ‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint.” Jagger sings in a song that may, again, reveal what has been hidden. As Donnie Darko tells soon-to-be-exposed child predator Jim Cunningham in the 2001 film Donnie Darko: “I think you’re the fucking anti-Christ.”

Featuring some of the spookiest, dirty-blues electric guitar ever recorded, this sinister, samba-laden rock number was literally being recorded when 1968 Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. And so the line “Who killed Kennedy?” had to be changed to “Who killed the Kennedys?

Because this is the 50th anniversary of “Sympathy for the Devil,” where 2018 seems to be echoing, in certain respects, 1968 (if that is even possible!), the song has been receiving a lot of renewed attention. And over at Den of Geek!, writer Tony Sokol notes in “The Occult Influences of Sympathy for the Devil,” published back in June, he writes that 1968 was a “devilish year,” with the killing of RFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and riots on the streets of America and Europe and the ramping up of the Vietnam War. Jean-Luc Godard would film the recording of the song back in June 1968 and still images from that recording session can be viewed here.

A few years later, Keith Richards would tell Rolling Stone: “There are black magicians who think we are acting as unknown agents of Lucifer and others who think we are Lucifer. Everybody’s Lucifer.”

Speaking of which, it was 27 Club member and Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones who introduced Keith Richards to Delta Blues King Robert Johnson, a man who, legend tells it, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for singing and songwriting abilities.

Posted in a 2013 article at, Richards said: “To me Robert Johnson’s influence-he was like a comet or a meteor that came along and, BOOM, suddenly he raised the ante, suddenly you just had to aim that much higher. You can put the record on now, and it’s as fresh and interesting as the first day you heard it. Everybody should know about Robert Johnson. When you know about something, and comperatively few other people know about it, that’s a crime in a way; you’ve got to do what you can to tell people, “Hey, check this cat out. Because you’re in for something extra in your life.” You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.

In a piece I wrote shortly after David Bowie ascended in January 2016, titled “Sirius moonlight (Resurrection stone),” I note how Bowie plays the role of Pontius Pilate in the Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), I note connections between Bowie and the aforementioned Richard Kelly film Donnie Darko.

"Made damn sure that Pilate / Washed his hands and sealed his fate," notes a key line in "Sympathy." And we should also note that synchromystic actor Gary Oldman (who played “lone gunman” Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK) also played the role of Pontius Pilate in the lesser-known, 1999 film Jesus. Pilate had his role in the drama of Jesus Christ. As did Judas Iscariot. Trump's role in this current, mind-shattering drama, playing out minute-by-minute, has yet to be fully explained. I often wonder what historians 50 years from now will say about this dark period of American history - if America even exists 50 years from now.

Could the theme of sheer betrayal be bubbling up from our collective unconscious amidst all of this treacherous behavior by tulpa-in-chief Donald J. Trump? Is this why John Steinbeck's East of Eden keeps coming up in these past weeks? 

Referring back to Sokol's fascinating and in-depth piece on the occult qualities of "Sympathy for the Devil," I note that Sokol also highlights a worthy, musical cousin of that song - the voodoo-soaked charm of "Dancing WIth Mr. D," the song that opens up the Stones' underrated 1973 album (which forever stands in the shadow of Exile On Main St. of the prior year) Goat's Head Soup

Writes Sokol: "The original 1973 album cover of the Rolling Stones album Goat's Head Soup turned a rare ethnic dish into a conspiratorial free-for-all.

When Jagger spooned out “Dancin' With Mr. D” for the album, he infused it with a horror movie motif. The singer had his tryst “down in the graveyard” with a man with human skulls “hanging right 'round his neck.” He also found his dark presence “hiding in a corner in New York City” and looking “down a forty-four in West Virginia.” One night, while he was dancing with a lady in black, with black silk gloves and a black silk hat, he saw “the flesh just fall off her bones, the eyes in her skull burning like coals,” and realized he was dancing with Mrs. D, apparently on a vacant Hammer Horror lot.

Satanic sympathy pays off in the long run."

So, back on Sept. 26, 2016, I wrote a gonzo-political piece about the televised debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I titled it “Dancin’ With Mr. T: Tonight’s ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ debate.

I was in a foul mood when I wrote it. I loathed both Trump and Hillary. The amount of "baggage" these two individuals have could barely fit on a Chinese cargo ship. American politics in the early 21st century is decidedly ugly and corrupt and more and more people are looking beyond the political paradigm forced onto them. Trump's antics are really waking people up to how far we have fallen as a nation. 

So, in advance of this debate, I was keenly aware of Trump's deeply sinister qualities and that really worried me. I wrote: “We are entering absolutely uncharted waters here, folks. Even when thinking of John Adams’ time or in the dark days of Nixon, right around the time the Stones' Goat's Head Soup was released and Lester Bangs warned about the end of rock n' roll. Dancin' with Mr. D., indeed. Evil mediocrity in the Top 40, alongside Tony Orlando & Dawn and Lou Reed. What year is this? Frankly, we've never quite recovered and the layers of lies and scuzz seem like the New Normal.

So, here we are. New Normal, Illinois, y’all. A day after the nuclear bomb exploded in Trumplandia. Major figures linked to Trump are facing hard prison time. And yet, there are some really good people standing up to Trump. I look at engaging and whip-smart U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas and see a guy who strikes me as the reincarnation of Robert Kennedy. There is good out there, despite all the bad news we seem to be battered with, day after day. But the human spirit is rising in opposition to odious Trumpism and all that oozes from it, like a lanced boil.

And we can’t forget Keith Richards standing up to Trump. Sokol reminds us that after the 9/11 attacks, Richards (who will outlive us all!) called “Sympathy for the Devil” an “uplifting song,” something that the neo-fascist clucks and Nazis on Team Trump fail to recognize.

Richards continues, “It’s just a matter of looking the Devil in the face … you might as well accept the fact that evil is there and deal with it any way you can. ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is a song that says, ‘Don’t forget him. If you confront him, then he’s out of a job.

I suspect we are only seeing the beginning of what I suspect are serious changes on our planet. Some good. Some bad. It will shake us to the core. I have felt over the past year that 2019 will be a very important year as people, in the parlance of our times, "get woke." And Dust Devil Dreams will be there, reporting on it all. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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