The Lone Justice
co-founder/songwriter and player-producer-writer extraordinaire lays out the
foundation for the real imaginary place called Marvin Country!
By RANDY HARWARD
In our interview with Marvin Etzioni about his double album Marvin Country!, we asked him to
conceive of an actual place called Marvin
Country! Here is that exchange – and just for fun, a detail-seeking survey.
(Go here to read Part 1 of Etzioni feature, by the way.)
BLURT: You talk about Marvin Country! being an expansive
place, etc. When I first heard the title, that’s where my mind went: I imagined
Marvin Country! as an actual country
and also in the sense that someone might say, “Oh, that’s Comanche Territory.”
ETZIONI: I was almost gonna do a [membership] card that said, “You’re
a member of Marvin Country!” We didn’t; there are only so many things you can
do when you’re assembling a package. It can become endless. People give away
t-shirts now, you know?
I liked the
idea that – America is a very extensive country. No matter what city you live in, you know you’re
part of something bigger. And most countries are not like that. If you go to France,
it’s like, this is pretty much it. This is kinda the entire culture, right
here. You know Italy, England – I’m not saying there’s not diversity
within those countries, but not the kind of diversity we have in America.
I’ve never really seen another country that has that.
more recent reflections, as I’ve been asked about the album, that maybe in some
way parallel – but I didn’t design it this way at all. But growing up in a very
extensive country, there are a lot of roots. You know, this morning I’m
listening to Merle Haggard. And I love the music from New York, like the Dolls and Patti Smith.
Then there’s Nashville and Chet Atkins and Billy
Sherrill and Bakersfield
with Buck Owens. This country has a rich and diverse heritage of really strong,
powerful songs and records and music. But I love all of it. I love so much of
what has come out of this country that I didn’t really see why I had to put
limitations on what [Marvin Country!]
could represent. I didn’t really want it to be defined by the genre it might
get put in. If anything, I’d like to help expand the genre.
After this phone
call, you may receive an email survey from Blurt asking you about Marvin Country! If
you could please answer all the questions honestly, my superiors would greatly
appreciate the information. And for your reference, my Representative ID# is
MANIFESTO: The Comanche
territory was the agreement between the Indians and “the white man.” Peace at
last. Although Marvin Country! is not
at war with anyone, I like where you are taking this. At the last show I did, I
asked if there was anyone who would like to become a citizen of Marvin Country!
Of course, everyone did. Especially after singing “Living Like
a Hobo” with just a mandolin. So if there is anyone reading this who would like
to become a citizen and card-carrying member of Marvin Country!, just contact me at MarvinCountry.com.
Motto: Ask not
what Marvin Country! can do for you. Ask
what you can do for Marvin Country!
Association?: Marvin Country! Wherever
you are, you can be in Marvin Country! For those who plan on space travel and visiting distant planets and galaxies,
take Marvin Country! With you. Not
just the album, but the state of mind. Anything is possible. There are no
borders or barriers in Marvin Country!
Flag: Clear flag.
like the Plexiglas Armstrong bass that Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath played.
National Anthem: “You
Are the Light.”
Foreign Policy: There
is no foreign policy because no one is a foreigner. No one is a stranger. If
you are a person and part of the human race, then you are in Marvin Country! if you choose to be. You
can leave Marvin Country! anytime you
like, and return anytime as well. You can come and go as you please, without
having to go anywhere at all. Time travel with your heart and mind. Be still
and see. Travel this world, and other planets to seek and find what lies in the
Wherever the mind can take you. Limitless possibilities of explorations, ideas.
at all. By sea, by space, wherever you can travel to.
general, people are encouraged to keep a cool head.
Product: Children’s art.
Chief export: Time.
Main industry: Human
food. I’ve never heard of anyone not feeling well after eating from a kosher restaurant.
Not always easy to find, but in Marvin
Country! we would encourage and give incentives to all restaurants to keep
kosher, including fast food chains. The Marvin
Country! world food policy: The United Nations will end poverty, every
single nation. This picks up where Martin Luther King left off. There is too
much wealth in the world, too much food (kosher or not), for anyone to go
hungry. How can Exxon and Apple have a trillion dollars of profits between
them, and there still be poverty? I know, I know. A company can make as much
profit as they like. Profit without prophets can lead to short-sightedness. This
isn’t about the 1%. There is no us and them. There is only us in Marvin Country! 100%. All of us. 99-1/2
just won’t do.
Official Beverage: Hot green tea. Also, spring water in bottles that can be recycled.
Poet Laureate: Hafiz.
Are you interested in
someday hosting the Olympics or a Quixtar convention? We are hosting the Olympics
in Marvin Country! As we speak. The
theme song is Joe South’s “Games People Play.” Why wait for an invitation when
you can invite yourself? Jump up and down on a bed as soon as you can.
Would you rule with
an iron fist or have an open-door policy? Open-door policy applies to the
doors of perception.
Most likely to
observe a Cold War with… The gas company. Keep the heat on, please. During
the winter nights especially.
Most likely to
attack… Cancer. We would like to eliminate its existence from all forms
of life until the word itself has no need to be spoken.
Illegal things that
would be legal in MC? Pot. Not Mary Jane, but P.O.T.: People Over Thirty. It
seems people over 30 don’t get much attention in pop magazines and in our
culture are discarded. (We’re not taking about über-celebrities.) Beauty is
only equated with the beautiful and young. Youth is overrated. Companies in the
near future will spend more time catering to P.O.T.
Thesis statement for
first State of the Union/Monarchy, etc. Address:
There is no time to settle for who you are not. It is time
to rise to who you can be. As we cross the threshold of time, in the not too
distant future, more and more people will live to be over 100 years old. What
is old? What is young? You don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter. You want to
live. Write your dreams. Attach yourself to others who dream like you, or at
least encourage your dreams to come to life. For those who want to make you
feel small and unimportant, as my grandfather would say, “Stay away from stupid
people.” If you would like Marvin to address your high school or university,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
would not outlaw McCartney’s overlooked album.
wildlife considered deadly to humans: Some have said the entire album is,
we leave that to the listener. so far, we have no reports of any fatalities due
to listening to “Wildlife.” If you know of any, please let us know.
Pet Laureate? Monkey.
Duration of work week: The concentration camps had a sign outside before entering: Work shall set you
free.” My grandfather used to say, “Do you live to work or work to live? So
take the idea of work and turn it into love. Life is too short to not follow
your passion, desire, and dreams. Take this moment and reconsider how are you
living your life. Can you make your life just a little bit better right now? Is
it easy living an uncompromised life? No. Is it hard not to? Yes. That is the
real work. To know who you are so others may see the real you. Be known for
what and who you love.
(Republican Guard? Stormtroopers? Hall Monitors?): Since Marvin Country! is a state of mind, and
exists through the universe and beyond, having a military is self-defeating. One
is discouraged from shooting their own foot. Of course, peace is not the absence
of war and evil. In Marvin Country! each person is encouraged to live without violence in thought and action.
Method of Law
Enforcement (Lone Justice! Every man for himself!): The fun police would be
required to have water pistols. Most problems can be avoided with a sense of
humor. Putting out a spark before a fire starts with water makes sense.
Would you issue an
edict that every citizen’s middle name be Marvin? Girls and women only. We
encourage girls and women to use Marvin as a first name as well. Please let us
know if you decide to name any of your daughter’s name to Marvin and/or if you
are a woman who decides to legally change your first name to Marvin, we’ll post
pictures on Marvincountry.com. Do it today.