The Occuponics is a musical collaboration inspired by the energy, experience and values of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Founded by musicians Paul Stein on accordion, melodica, claviola, and vocals and Stephen Carl Baldwin on guitar, percussion, and vocals, The Occuponics is inclusive, eclectic, and participatory. Paul currently anchors The Occuponics and is joined by other musical agitators.
The Occuponics have been consulting and playing with The Occupy Guitarmy, an open source music collective that allows musicians of all stripes to perform socially conscious songs together.
There is a lot of work that goes into organizing The Guitarmy, but also a lot of fun when we can put down our Word Docs and Spreadsheets and jam together. The following video captures the Guitarmy’s second rehearsal together; the song performed is Florence Reece’s “Which Side Are You On.”
The Occuponics perform “Wall Street Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” a song based on an old gospel song that was taught to the group by Painless Parker, AKA Noam Berg, back in November of 2011.
This song is regularly performed by The Occuponics because it is so aligned with the charter of the band to be “inclusive and participatory.” The song allows people listening to it to sing along with each verse and also to interactively contribute lines to it. It’s also easy to teach to other instrumentalists, because if follows a very simple Dm to A7 to Gm chord progression.
This recording of the song, captured by videographer CocoAndBrownie, includes lyrics calling out Monsanto, Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, as well as unspecified “plutocrats.” The guitarist vocalist is Stephen Carl Baldwin, accompanied by Carlos Mandelbaum on tenor saxophone.
The Occuponics’ Paul Stein was on hand this past Tuesday to provide musical accompaniment for The Tax Dodgers as they strolled around town in support of the May Day protests in New York City. At Union Square, the Dodgers were approached by Amy Goodman, of Democracy Now, and had a chance to be interviewed and perform their original song, “Take Me Out to the Tax Game.” This is the complete (slightly edited) interview of the Tax Dodgers (and of The Occuponics briefly at the end) with a transcript. Part of this interview and the complete “Take Me Out to the Tax Game” found here was a segment of the national broadcast of Democracy Now on May 2, 2012.
Our friend and fellow musician Carlos Mandelbaum expounds on Occupy Wall Street in this video, recorded by Allegra Culpepper, at Union Square on Saturday, March 24. You can avail yourself of more of Carlos’ thought-provoking views at his site, http://www.carnivalofideas.com.
The Occuponics jam with the renowned Carlos Mandelbaum at Union Square Park, NY, playing “This Park Is Your Mark,” a slightly modified version of Woody Guthrie’s classic “This Land Is Your Land.”
One of the great joys of playing folk music is that this kind of music, by definition, is subject to modification as times change. Like the United States Constitution, folk songs are “living documents” which belong to the people and can be modified to their current needs.
The Occuponics had the rare pleasure of jamming with the polymath Carlos Mandelbaum (AKA David Intrator) on Wednesday, March 21, the fourth day of the Occupation of Union Square. Here the band performs “I Don’t Know But I’ve Been Told (Occupy People Are Mighty Bold),” an original composition by the Occuponics’ Stephen Carl Baldwin. This song has proven to be popular among the demonstrators, and is often requested when the Occuponics are on the scene.
The Occuponics jam with The OWS Sax Man at Union Square during the American Spring concert series, March 20, 2012.
Union Square became a locus of activity for Occupy Wall Street following the 6-month anniversary of OWS, which, while a joyous day, deteriorated into violence late in the evening. Many protesters came to Union Square in the following days, believing that they might be safer in a different part of Manhattan.