MarseeMarci on Craig and Radar vs Wolf

During our fall tour we played Las Vegas, where I used to live for about four and a half years during 2006-2010. I hadn’t been back since, so it was great to return and see some friendly faces! It also ended up being one of our best shows of the fall. My friend Marci Aguilar has some kind words for me and Radar vs Wolf (although she did suspiciously leave out that I introduced her to Arrested Development. Ahem!), not to mention some rad photos! Check it out:

Hello November! This one is a quickie featuring my friend Craig in his band, Radar vs Wolf! (You can check out their latest music/news/updates here!) They toured all the way from Nashville, TN to play at The Beauty Bar here in downtown Las Vegas.. Craig taught me everything there is to know about baseball (GO ANGELS!) and will always be my favorite person to share cat photos with.. Baseball, cats and he plays the bass?? Sounds like a perfect combo to me! Now go check ’em out!

Flying Under The Radar: My Life As A Bassist

RvWHere’s a quick little interview I did with the Amarillo Globe back on November 5th while out on the road with Radar vs Wolf. Our show in Amarillo also happened to be one of my favorites on our fall schedule. Enjoy!

As a bass player, Craig Schlesinger is used to flying under the radar.

And that’s what he loves about his instrument.

“You have to be the rhythm with the drums but you also have to provide some kind of melodic movement to glue it all together,” Schlesinger said. “I think the real challenge is to find something simple and tasty that complements the song.”

“Some bass players can get lost in that need to stand out and be heard,” Schlesinger said. “There’s a time and a place for that, but it’s really about what does the song call for and what does the band need.”

It was his recognition of that need that made him part of the band in the first place in 2011, long after James Bratton and Tomas Gorrio first formed it as a duo.

Bratton and Gorrio booked studio time with producer Mike Marsh, who brought in Schlesinger to take part.

“Mike and I have been close friends for almost 20 years, and Tomas and James are really tight, and I think there was this real synergistic chemistry that was going on in the studio that felt like we were really onto something,” Schlesinger said.

He decided to tour with the band, while Marsh plans to join up again in time for the full band’s next album, due out next year.

Kyle Cox: The Plan, The Mess

the plan the mess cover artKyle Cox‘s much anticipated debut full-length album The Plan, The Mess is out now!

The album features producer/drummer Mike Marsh (The Avett Brothers, Dashboard Confessional, Paper, Seville, The Agency), myself on bass, Paul DeFiglia (The Avett Brothers) on upright bass on “Honey Let’s Run Away” and “Let My Love”, Cherrill Green (Eden’s Edge) on mandolin on “I Found Love“, Mike Docuhette (too many credits to list here) on pedal steel on “Never Looking Back” and “Old City Train”, Brian Seligman on banjo on “Honey Let’s Run Away”, and additional vocals by AJ Cheek, Corey Quintard, James Roquemore, and Rachel Smith throughout the entire album. Right, and some guy named Kyle on vocals, guitars, keys, organ, and harmonica.

Everything was recorded at Mike Marsh’s East Nashville recording studio The Paper Mill. Neal Cappellino did the mixing, and Eric Conn did the mastering.

You can purchase The Plan, The Mess on iTunes, on CD, and/or on vinyl. But before you do, watch the music video for the album’s first single “I Ain’t Been Lonely, Until I Met You” below. Plus you can stream three more tracks here before you inevitably decide to buy the album on all three formats. Or Something. Enjoy the #songs!

You Had One Job To Do

Fuck the UNAfter three months, we’re long overdue for a post in this space. Here goes…

Kevin Carson has a great piece up at C4SS on the United Nations:

The UN’s stated mission is to prevent aggression; yet it does absolutely nothing to restrain the one country whose aggression far outweighs all others in the postwar period —  perhaps in all of history. In the past seventy years the United States has invaded more countries, overthrown more governments and backed more dictators and terrorist death squads than any other country on Earth. There isn’t even a close second.

Feel Good Hit Of The Summer

Well it’s officially the first day of summer! Let’s celebrate with the Queens Of The Stone Age tune “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer” off their 2000 sophomore release Rated R. The lyrics are quite concise:

“Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, and alcohol. C-c-c-c-c-co-caine!”

Kyle Cox Album Teaser

Kyle Cox‘s debut solo full-length album — The Plan, The Mess — is almost ready for release!

The official album trailer just went up today and will have to suffice until that unscheduled date. Yup, Kyle’s a real Cox Teaser. Deal with it!

Recorded at The Paper Mill here in East Nashville with producer/drummer extraordinaire Mike Marsh and myself on bass. As I’ve stated previously, I consider myself very fortunate and proud to be part of yet another phenomenal album with such an eclectic blend of songs that paint with so many different colors. So much credit is due to Kyle for his brilliant songwriting, as well as Mike for bringing the album’s vision to life. I’m hard pressed to find more inspiring artists to work with!

And what a cast of cameo appearances! There’s some pedal steel by Mike Douchette, upright bass on a couple of tracks by Avett Brothers pianist Paul Defiglia, mandolin courtesy of Cherrill Green, and additional vocals from Armon Jay “AJ” Cheek, Cory Quintard, and Rachel E. Smith.

Check out Kyle’s features in American Songwriter here and here for winning their lyric contest an unprecedented two times! Can you say dynasty? Uh huh. #songs

A Bigger Tax Bill For Google Helps Neither People, Nor Profits

shakedown-1It’s not uncommon to hear populist cries for companies operating under foreign subsidiaries to pay their “share” in taxes or even repatriate assets. What’s extremely rare, however, is a company’s own shareholders demanding they cough up a sizeable chunk of change to Uncle Sam. After all, such an action will ultimately decrease the company’s net asset value, thus penalizing the shareholders themselves. So who would insist on such shenanigans? A faction of Google stockholders.*

At the annual meeting of Google Inc. shareholders, several co-filers, led by the Domini Social Equity Fund, submitted a proposal requesting that the company’s board of directors “adopt a set of principles to address the impact of Google’s tax strategies on society.” Although the actual proposal states that “this is not a vote on tax reform, or how much tax Google should pay,” it goes on to list the following as grounds for the proposal itself:

  • Corporate tax avoidance threatens economic growth and innovation
  • Even if they are within the law, aggressive tax minimization approaches pose regulatory, reputational and financial risks.
  • Other companies have adopted tax policy principles.
  • Google’s tax strategy should be consistent with its stated objectives and policies on social and environmental sustainability.

The consumer group SumOfUs, whose slogan is “People not profits,” also filed an online petition seeking 150,000 signatures, claiming that Google owes $2 billion in taxes worldwide. Marginalizing the importance of the profit incentive undermines the value that Google and other businesses provide. It also overlooks the fact that these dubious profits are used to create jobs, fund research, spur innovation, and generally increase the quality of life for the “people” that SumOfUs seem so concerned about.

While the faction of Google shareholders calling for the company to pay more taxes surely believe themselves to be well intended, they couldn’t be operating further from reality. Corporate taxation itself is one the largest, if not the largest, threat to economic growth and innovation.

With the United States currently boasting one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world, it’s easy to understand why so many companies flee American shores in search of tax shelters – one of the most basic laws of economics is that when you tax something, you’ll inevitably get less of that something.

Moreover, economist Steve Horwitz points out that a tax on a corporation is not the same as a tax on the wealthy. Individuals end up paying these corporate taxes regardless of wealth, with the working class bearing the brunt in the form of lower wages, higher priced consumer goods, and retirement portfolios of lesser value. Corporate taxes also encourage firms to waste resources on tax avoidance and utilize debt financing instead of equity as a means of decreasing tax liabilities, making the companies riskier.

Tax minimization posing regulatory, reputational, and financial risks is a dubious notion at best. Tax codes exist to subsidize an entire industry whose preoccupation is tax minimization. Google’s significant resources allow them to both comply with the law and achieve minimum tax liability. Simply because other companies, like eBay, have adopted tax policy principles and cost their shareholders billions of dollars, doesn’t make it a smart maneuver. It seems as though Google shareholders have forgotten the “if everybody jumped off of a bridge” quip.

Would you toss half of your company’s annual profits off of a bridge?

But the real knee-slapping dose of irony comes in the assertion that Google’s tax strategy should be consistent with its social and environmental objectives. If the message from this faction of Google shareholders and SumOfUs is that paying taxes is somehow patriotic, perhaps it’s even more patriotic to avoid them. By insisting that Google pay more taxes to the federal government, this faction of shareholders is indeed saying that Google is in favor, or should be in favor, of:

  • Countless undeclared, open-ended wars
  • Subsidizing big business to the detriment of the little guy
  • Prosecuting a drug war that adversely affects poor minorities
  • NSA spying illegally on Americans

The list can go on for miles. Is this really the type of social and environmental construct that Google or its shareholder have such strong feelings about?

*I own Google stock and don’t want them to pay taxes, ever. In fact, I’ll be submitting a proposal to redeem every penny of tax they’ve ever paid.

This post originally appeared at The Libertarian Republic

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