Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin represented the Dread Deadbeat Performer Kimberlin in a LOLsuit against the U. S. Bureau of Prisons. The TKPOTD from six years ago today described the case.

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In November, 1997, Brett Kimberlin filed a complaint because the Bureau of Prisons would not allow him to play music on an electric guitar. An amendment in the Budget Act had banned the use of electric and electronic instruments in prisons except during worship services. The U. S. District Court in D. C. decided his case (in favor of the BOP) in late May, 2001, just a couple of weeks before his second release. The following is from the court’s decision [Kimberlin and Rice v. U. S. Department of Justice and Bureau of Prisons, 318 F.3d 228 (2003)]:

Plaintiffs assert that an acoustic guitar is not equivalent to an electric guitar. According to plaintiff Kimberlin, it is impossible for him to play his songs on an acoustic guitar. He is not able to make long, sustained notes. Also, he cannot perform a technique called “vibrato” because the strings on an acoustic guitar will not bend or sustain like those on an electric guitar.

Notwithstanding, BOP has not prohibited all musical expression, only the use of electrical instruments. An active music program and other informal means of musical expression still exist. Plaintiffs contend that an electric guitar is essential to their musical expression. Thus, they argue, banning this instrument is an absolute ban on their musical expression. Plaintiffs are incorrect in asserting that music created by an electric instrument is a distinct expression protected by the First Amendment. This Court has not found, and plaintiffs do not cite, any cases addressing this proposition. Accordingly, the issue is whether BOP’s policy impermissibly limits a prisoner’s First Amendment right to express himself through music by banning one of several mediums by which a prisoner can musically express himself.

Plaintiffs argue that to require them to express themselves musically on an acoustic instrument would be akin to requiring rap musicians to sing ballads, or Muslim prisoners to attend Catholic religious services. Plaintiffs insist that they cannot perform their music on acoustic instruments.

Plaintiffs are free to express themselves musically using other instruments, such as an acoustic guitar. Like the prisoners in Amatel, plaintiffs are only limited, not deprived. They can perform music written for an electric guitar on an acoustic guitar. This is not the same as expression on an electric instrument, but it is certainly an alternate to such expression. Moreover, plaintiff Kimberlin has stated that he has written a song which he can hear in his mind, but cannot perform, edit, polish, or get feedback. He may discuss the notes, lyrics, and ideas with others as a means of expressing himself through his music and getting feedback. Again, this is not the same as playing the electric guitar, but it is an alternate that allows him to express himself musically.

Well, like a group of real musicians once said:

No, you can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometime, you just might find
You get what you need.

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Given the lack of of success that The Dread Deadbeat Performer Kimberlin has had with his attempts at a musical career (as evidenced by “music” videos on YouTube, the Bureau of Prisons might have wound up with suits from other prisoner raising Eighth Amendment issues if Kimberlin’s LOLsuit had been successful.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The Dread Deadbeat Performer Kimberlin’s music has been a subject of pointage, laughery, and mockification at this blog for years. The TKPOTD from five years ago today is an example.

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Brett Kimberlin has had a desire for a career in the music business for decades. Between his first release from prison on his bombing sentence and when his parole was revoked, he tried to make it as a rock musician. Mark Singer tells of how he started Brettsongs, a publishing company, and put together a demo tape and promotional package.

Brett is American; he grew up on rock and roll in a musical family. At odds with the right-wing Administration during the 1980’s, he was jailed as a political prisoner. While there, he experienced first-hand suffering of the underclass and the cynicism of governments. He became a champion for those less fortunate and rose above the evil around him.

It was while in prison that Brett wrote 29 “Songs of Passion.” These songs will resonate in the hearts of people throughout the world because of their insight, honesty and directness. Moreover, many of them will, through controversy, raise the consciousness  of people everywhere. Brett’s combination of social conscience and anger, as represented  in the songs, brings comparisons to Lennon and Sting.

—”Song of Passion” Promotional Package quoted in Citizen K, p.306

I don’t know that I have ever heard any of those 29 song, so I can’t say how they resonate, but there were several items in that puff piece that struck a chord with me. The chord contained a flatted fifth.

Political prisoner? Not really. Brett Kimberlin was convicted of smuggling dope and bombing charges. I don’t care what country in the world you pick; get caught doing either of those things, and you’ll spend a long time in jail—if they don’t execute you.

Raise the consciousness … Oh, goodness! That’s a feminist term that was spun out of the Marxist idea of false consciousness.

Comparisons to Lennon and Sting? Perhaps, but certainly not favorable ones.

OK, it’s an advertising piece, and it’s puffery, but … oh, never mind.

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A legend in his own mind, but a false narrative nonetheless.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

The most widely viewed post ever published here at Hogewash! was this review that Mrs. Hoge and I did in July, 2012, of the CD Nothing Else by Bret Kimberlin’s band Epoxy.

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Back in 2002, Brett Kimberlin fronted a band named Epoxy and released a CD called Nothing Else. The story he spun promoting the album was that it contained songs that he had written while he was being held as a political prisoner in the federal prison system.

The band consisted of Brett Kimberlin on guitar and vocals, Wade Matthews on Bass, and Robbie White on Drums. The genre of the album is someplace between grunge and punk, neither of which are among my favorite musical forms.

Let me first comment on Mr. Kimberlin’s voice. I had heard his speaking voice in court, and I understand why some people refer to it as whinny. His singing voice reminds me of the silly voice that Weird Al uses on tracks such as Eat It. Mrs. Hoge, who listened through the CD with me, said, “Eddie Haskell.” On most of the tracks his voice was off key, usually flat.

Most of the songs could have been filler tracks on a generic grunge album. Some of the alienation in them seems to be more appropriate for a 17 year old, not someone 30 years older. Mr. Kimberlin was in his late 40s when the recording was made. However, three of the songs stood out. Vicegrip was actually interesting musically. Donuts had clever lyrics. It’s about lousy prison food and would probably get a nod of approval from G. Gordon Liddy.

Then there’s the last cut Keyhole. It was outstandingly bad. Mrs. Hoge and I met while we were in the music business, and during her career as a recording engineer, she recorded more gold and platinum records than I did. Her comment was, “If you’re gonna mike a guitar that close, you should use a better guitar and make sure it’s in tune. And get a better guitar player.”

While he didn’t do especially well with the acoustic guitar on Keyhole, Brett Kimberlin is actually a reasonably good guitarist. He probably couldn’t cut it in Nashville or LA, but could make a living in a minor market (such as Seattle) or playing the Holiday Inn circuit. Indeed, the world would be a better place if he did ignore the usual advice and give up his day job.

Nothing Else by Epoxy (Pollen Records, $16.04 from Amazon) is interesting because of who recorded it, but I can’t honestly recommend it for the musical experience it offers.

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It’s still available through Amazon, but the price is now $17.51 for a new CD. Used copies are $2.05 and up.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Here’s a post from five years ago today—

Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin

Posted on

Team Kimberlin has a new website called Bloggers Offense Team. (No, I won’t link to it.) The site’s logo is shown on the left. The choice of the pirate-related logo is interesting. Pirates aren’t semi-sympathetic, comedic characters from a Johnny Depp movie. They are criminals.

It think a mask just slipped.

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And that’s how Brett Kimberlin came to be called The Dread Pirate Kimberlin. That nickname later expanded to include The Dread Performer Kimberlin, The Dread Pedo Kimberlin, and The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin. A couple of days later, I published this further explanation—

The Dread Pirate Roberts, so the story goes, is a pirate of near-mythical reputation, someone feared across the seven seas for his ruthlessness and swordfighting prowess, and who is well known for taking no prisoners. Ships immediately surrender and give up their cargos rather than be captured, a fate they imagine to be certain death.

The Dread Pirate Kimberlin is more like a legend in his own mind, a pretender who wishes to be feared for his ruthlessness and legal ability and to be known for vanquishing all comers in court. Critics, he thinks, should immediately stop telling the truth about him and give up their First Amendment rights at his command.

It turns out that Dread Pirate Kimberlin’s legal acumen seems to be as fictional as Dread Pirate Roberts’ existence. And no one will surrender to Dread Pirate Kimberlin.

And that’s been pretty accurate thus far.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

bkepoxyThe most viewed post here at Hogewash! is my review of the CD Nothing Else by Epoxy, a band fronted by Brett Kimberlin. It’s still available via Amazon.

The following is from Amazon’s product page and was apparently provided by Kimberlin.

Product Description
If you take the best of guitar based punk and garage rock, add vintage analog technology, replace the theatrics of most modern bands with the real pain of being a real U.S. Government political prisoner, stir well, and you have Epoxy’s Nothing Else — the definition of rock for the 21st century. People are saying that this album will define the standards and the sound of alternative rock for years to come. Here’s what some people are saying about this album.
About the Artist
Brett Kimberlin, guitar and vocal, wrote all the songs on Nothing Else while incarcerated as a political prisoner by right-wing elements opposed to his First Amendment rights to speech and political activity. Many prisoner rights groups came to his rescue, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, American Civil Liberties Union and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and he was released after several years of suffering. A portion of each album sale will be contributed to these four organizations.

Have I ever mentioned that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of perjury?

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Here is one of the allegations The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin made in his Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness which was recently dismissed.

ECF 231 EX7-9Personally, I believe that the implosion of his musical career was caused by his music videos be exposed to the public on the likes of YouTube, but, whatever the reason, it is true that his “appeal is becoming more selective.”