On March 4th 2017 two close friends of Old Style Music Nights where arrested, this is their story.
From crowdjustice.com, https://www.crowdjustice.com/blog/casedismissed
Under the pretence of a reported gunshot, which qualifies as an exigent circumstance, a property rented by Darren and Ethel was searched and raided. Both were charged with 7 felony counts. 2 were first-degree felonies holding a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, if convicted. Cannabis is still considered a schedule 1 substance under federal law.
Initially, the state’s prosecution was uncompromising, offering 5 years without possibility of parole if one other testified against the other. Upon refusing the offer, the state prosecutor subpoenaed Darren and Ethel to grand jury. Darren evoked his right to silence, and Ethel testified and argued for jury nullification. This led to an initial indictment that was disputed once the defence received transcripts of the jury instructions. A motion to dismiss the indictment was filed on the grounds that the jury was instructed to indict as well as a brief disputing cannabis’s contradictory status as both a schedule 1 substance and medically legal in the state of New Jersey. Judge John Young sided with the defence and dismissed 5 of the 2 counts. This positioned the case for a pre-trial negotiation to which Darren and Ethel agreed. All charges were formally dismissed on October, 26 of 2018.”
During this time Ethel and Darren started a new band, something they never did together. The Wedding Funeral was born… A dramatic gothic americana sound raising up from the deepest sewers of Jersey City.
The following is an interview I did with Ethel and Darren about that weird period in their life, from then to now… After the interview you can read all about the debut album “(you have been) Cordially Disinvited”.
ELO: In summary the police raided our grow-house without a warrant, robbed us, harassed us, and threw us in jail. This is often how they “protect and serve” our community.
DD: The pigs were summoned to our doorstep by one of their sheep. They initially tried to indict us on 7 charges for cultivating an ancient plant used by other shamans since time immemorial, 2 charges of which carried a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. We showed them failure. All charges have been dismissed.
ELO: What can I say?! We live eventful lives.
You guys had the support of one of the best lawyers when it comes to cannabis related crimes. How the hell did you get a hold of her?
ELO: Believe it or not, 191 plants will scare off most attorneys.
DD: Ruth Liebesman was summoned from the aethers to lead us to victory. When outsiders like us tap into our magical sides, we are capable of a tremendous power. Our story shows this to be true, because that is precisely what happened. Ruth Liebesman is truly a force to reckon with and one who has carried the banner into battle against the charlatans on many occasions. It was only natural that she side with us as she saw what we were up against for what it actually was.
ELO: She’s a musician too. We gave her bonus points for this.
What are your views on the American justice system, now that you have experienced it first hand?
DD: The American justice system is a joke perpetuated by the fearful and willing. The entire process is bought and paid for.
ELO: I’ve always known that our justice system was corrupt, but witnessing it first hand really put my face in its feces. Crimes that do no harm to others should not be considered crimes in the first place. Our prisons are corporations attended by sadistic sheep that rob you of your money, time, health, and sanity. There’s an incentive to fill jail cells for profit and most of our “justice” system caters to this.
DD: The problem is they picked a fight with two people that they underestimated. We are not of them, and we will find more of us that are born of this anger and resentment. Their failures will continue to be reflected back at them over and over again as we continue demoralizing these useless frauds.
So… for our stoner friends out there… How good was that weed you where growing? 😉
ELO: Anyone who knows Darren and I knows very well that we do not half-ass anything.
DD: It allowed you to see the 5th Dimension.
One good thing came out of all this, The Wedding Funeral, a musical project between the two of you. Tell us all about it please.
DD: In this struggle, our constitution was tested to its maximum. We experienced misery and rage unlike any kind we had experienced up until then, and in this we had visions, prophecies, and messages. What you are witnessing is the result of this grand, magical experience.
ELO: Also, Darren’s house has a poltergeist, which we’re fairly certain is Mexican. Sometimes it turns on the radio, sometimes it talks through the microwave, and sometimes it insists we start a new project. It also gets upset if it’s October, and we’re not celebrating Halloween or making beer.
DD: The wedding and the funeral are central human rituals representing creation and destruction, the beginning and the end, the totality of human magic. Magic scares the uninitiated unless it is filled with lies. We are reclaiming it for those who live comfortably in dissatisfaction. For them, there is no paradox.
What are your goals with this new band?
DD: We seek “the others”.
ELO: Join our cult. Eat your heart out Jim Jones.
DD: In each society or culture, our kin exist. For the benumbed drones, we offer the terror within them. We will seek out the weak and push them further to the brink. Society will be driven to madness. They are our enemies and we will not spare them of their own shadows. We take the primal call of music and wield it as an instrument of psychological discord.
ELO: The only way to really do this is hit the road, so we’re planning a cross-country tour starting in June.
You told me before that with this new band you will not be putting the music online, no Spotify, no streaming… The album is only available on vinyl or as a download. What made you go this way? How about promotion for the new record? Don’t you think that when people can listen to it online or via streaming, they would order the record?
DD: Ah yes, the old “exposure” argument. That’s been thrown at musicians often while parasites walk out the back door with all the loot.
ELO: If you say you’re worthless, then there’s no reason why others wouldn’t believe you.
DD: We’ve watched musicians flagellate themselves, broke without an audience. We are not the ones. We are challenging all frauds across the board, including the self-ordained taste-makers patting themselves on the back for bilking the weak. Pigs don’t just wear uniforms. Also, this disposable culture of instant gratification has rendered the human herd numb to the potential of their magical muse. We will not settle for such a shabby experience, streamed and deleted like so many text messages.
ELO: I’d much rather spend my time on the road making personal contact with our audience. I’ll even take an audience that hates us over hoping someone will notice us through the static of the internet. If you like our music, then you walk away with an experience and something tangible, which is something the internet strays away from.
DD: You Have Been Cordially Disinvited is selling very well, and we are most pleased by the tremendous outpouring. The entitled can continue stamping their feet. It tickles us.
OSMN: We talked about this topic on more then one occasion, that is why I threw it in there. While I disagree with Darren and Ethel, I respect their choice to not put their music out for grabs, as they call it. As a music fan and music buyer I love the streaming option and at the same time I hate it, for one, as Darren told me, musicians make shit money with it, and second, it directs me to way to many good music so I keep buying new records… I do need to buy food sometimes, for myself and our dogs…
You are planning a nationwide tour in June, how is that going? And how is the response to the record from fans?
ELO: Choronzon does most of our booking, so you’ll have to ask him about this. We’re just along for the ride.
DD: If anything, the response has been greater than what we could’ve anticipated.
ELO: There are plenty of people who are repulsed by us – they’re fun too, but I don’t think they buy our album.
DD: Many people have said to us, “This is exactly what I needed to see.” Our kin are coming out to be counted and ready to make no apologies for their discontent.
ELO: Last words are for the dead and we are very much living.
You have Been CORDIALLY DISINVITED
The debut record from The Wedding Funeral… You’ve read their story above, now lets talk about the music. With Darren on guitar and vocals, Ethel takes on a whole aggregate of instruments. The musical saw, her voice, bells, gongs and so on… All this together makes for quite the interesting sound. And not for an easy review. With songs in a very dramatic Gothic Americana style, others are straight up punk bangers, but then again not… I for one have never heard a punk song with a saw in it, until now! “You’ll be Safe When You’re Dead” kinda blew my mind! But this song is not what the majority of this album is about.
“Mannequin”, that’s what this album is about. Dark, eerie and uninviting, unless you’ve got the stomach for it. Vocal harmonies about the ugly side of mankind, that saw creeping aside the guitar-melodies and Ethel’s high pitched vocals.
We can also put the opening song “Seven Day Work Week” and “Tabitha’s Lullaby” in this same congregation.
With “The Drowning Sonata” and “The Maggots” we get to the real Gothic Americana vibe. A pinch of Tim Burton, a little neo-folk and a whole lot of hate and horror!
“The Land of Dead Pigs” reminds me of avantgarde artists Negativland and that’s why I love it! “Room 609”, also a very experimental song with djembe’s and a distorted garage punk guitar vibe, this song sounds very lo-fi but it just works…
If you are an open-minded music lover with an affection for all things weird and just a little darker you should order this record or the digital download, this comes in a nice box with pendant by the way… Just follow the links below…