David McGraw- 1952-2011

Bartleby Press lost a member of its extended family when David McGraw died this week. You can read his obituary here in the Washington Post. He was only 59.
Dave kept our books and prepared our taxes for years. But I’m pretty sure that his heart wasn’t really into accounting. At least when I knew him.
This is not to say that Dave was not interested in numbers. He most certainly was. He loved gambling for instance. It might be more accurate to say that he loved the science of gambling. The odds and the strategy of various games of chance fascinated him. He taught me (not well) that management of the bet was crucial. I can only hope that I can soon go out and win a bundle of cash in his memory.
Dave could always be counted on to help in a pinch. More than once I called upon him in some emergency. Sometimes it required real hard physical labor, the sort that folks our age shouldn’t have to do anymore. But he was there. And in all the various crises that came up over the years, he was a steadying influence to everyone here. Even our disagreements were fairly calmly resolved.
Once, he helped us cart almost 100 boxes of books to a hotel near BWI, so that Sully Erna, the frontman for the band Godsmack could sign copies of his memoir, then just being published. The mostly young crew working here then was excited to meet the musician. Dave was excited too. He wanted to discuss Sully’s participation in the World Series of Poker.
Dave enjoyed betting sports too, even though I don’t know if he did it regularly. Here too, it was the play, not the money that seemed to thrill him.
But nothing could distract Dave from his love of his favorite teams the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins. He followed them during the season and off. Every move, every rumor caught his eye.
One other team deserves mention: the Wimbledon team in one English soccer league or another. Though the internet he was able to not only follow and even watch sometimes, but become a accepted member of their fan community. He would on occasion share some of the communications from over there.
I have to admit that nobody in our office cared at all about the comings and goings of a soccer team in the UK, but he so enjoyed the telling it was well worth listening.
And then there was politics. Dave followed the political world intensely. He was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh and other well-known radio hosts, daily followed conservative political blogs and other sites. I think he even attended a Tea Party rally or two and counted himself a supporter of Sarah Palin. He cared passionately about the direction of our country. And he was smart about it as well. I’ve often thought that if you were running for political office, David McGraw would be a good person to advise you.
In recent years, we didn’t hang out much. I can’t remember the last time we sat down and had a beer. But I’m realizing in the past few days what a fixture Dave was in our lives and how very much we are going to miss him.
–Jeremy Kay

Imagine John Lennon as a Tea Party Activist

Imagine John Lennon as a Tea Party Activist

Thirty-one years after his death, John Lennon’s political leanings are still the
subject of some speculation. What exactly were his political views?

In an interview featured in the documentary Beatles Stories, Lennon’s personal
assistant Fred Seaman suggested that the former Beatle had become quite
conservative in the late 70s and was even a fan of Ronald Reagan.

Some, including his publicist Elliot Mintz, claim that Lennon’s views remained
unchanged even in later life.

Today, the legacy of Lennon’s political principles is most closely associated
with the belief in the possibility of an end to war and world peace. However, a
little-known 1966 interview, revealed in the book, The Ship that Rocked the
World, suggests that had Lennon lived, he might have been a fervent backer of
the Tea Party.

Lennon’s thinking was made clear in the course of the conversation between the
Beatles and Tom Lodge, top DJ of the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline. The
mostly zany impromptu meeting took place in London in March of that year.

Asked if he had ideas about how he would change Britain, Lennon said he would
“like to change it a lot.”

“In what way?” Lodge asked.
“Well, the tax problem,” Lennon replied.
And what would he do about taxes, Lodge wanted to know. “I’d reduce it
drastically.”

If he were a member of the government, did he mean?
Lennon didn’t care. “If I was anybody, I’d reduce it…drastically.”
George Harrison, who is known as the main writer, along with Lennon, of the song
“Taxman,” piped in to share his thoughts as well, albeit tongue-in-cheek. “Give
the pop stars a fairer share of the country’s wealth,” he said.

“Complaining about taxes was not an unusual thing to hear from British pop stars
at that time,” Tom Lodge says today. “They were all young and most came from
poor backgrounds. Suddenly they had a lot of money that could be taxed.” Lodge
should know. As the top DJ on Radio Caroline from 1964-67, he is widely credited
for helping make stars out of many young musicians.

But Lennon was more outspoken than most – and more direct. “They can’t take the
taxes down because they haven’t got enough money. And they’ll never have enough
money while they’re buying all that crap”So if they pay off a few of the bloody
debts, then maybe they’d be able to cut the tax down a little.”

Sure sounds like someone who might have supported the Tea Party movement.

To listen to John Lennon from 1966, go to www.shipthatrocked.com/audio/lennon_on_taxes.mp3
To learn more about Radio Caroline, Tom Lodge, and the true story of Pirate
Radio, visit www.ShipThatRocked.com

Rock and Roll History

How did we miss this?

Our new book reveals the amazing, true but unknown story of the British Invasion, and how pirate radio changed the face of rock and roll forever.

It’s called The Ship that Rocked the World:  How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment, Launched the British Invasion and Made the Planet Safe for Rock and Roll, and was written by Tom Lodge, Radio Caroline’s top Deejay. It has a Foreword by Steven van Zandt.

Here’s a preview. There’s some great music in it, so make sure your sound is turned on:

www.shipthatrocked.com/radiocaroline.html

Think we’re exaggerating about the importance of Radio Caroline and Tom Lodge to the history of rock and roll? Pete Townshend said:

“Without Caroline we would not have sold a single record. Tom Lodge was a vital figure in Caroline’s most vital times.”

And, Paul McCartney said:

“Pirate radio, and in particular Radio Caroline, was a really exciting part of all of our lives in those days and summed up the spirit of the times culturally and musically.”