Check out this article that appeared in the Los Angeles Reader from August 7, 1992. How do the Reverend’s statements from that era mesh with today’s revolutionary times. The Reverend Bud Green..a true visionary.
Fakir or Charlatan? ‘Reverend’ Bud Green Rolls Dope and Rock Into One Radical Doobie. But Is He for Real?
By Jack Briggs
To some, the Reverend Bud Green is a crackpot, an opportunistic pretender whose life revolves around cheap publicity stunts and television appearances geared to spread a message that has less to do with marijuana’s virtues than it does with promoting himself. To many right-wing alarmists, Green fulfills their worst prophecies – he’s a living embodiment of what they have long contended smoking marijuana does to people. Then there is the growing number who consider Bud Green a hero, a true champion of radicalism who combines rock music, far-left politics, and parody to demonstrate that marijuana can open one’s eyes to a genuinely new way of thinking.
Green conducts his “services” in such rooms as Raji’s and the Central, backed by a threepiece “choir” (the Just Say Yes Band) and accompanied by his girl friend (aptly nicknamed “Maryjane”) and his longtime associate, former porn-film actor Jack Bruce. These companions don caricaturistic masks of conservative political figures and mimic various sexual acts while Green and his band perform such numbers as “Dan Quayle Is Damien” and “Paraquat Nightmare.” The music itself is a well-performed, crazed admixture of punk, speed metal, and grunge that serves primarily as a background for Green’s shouted pronouncements. And, as a rousing finale to his show-service, Green throws joints – the real thing – to his congregation as “sacraments.” (After his set, he often conducts more private services outside the clubs.) Nothing is sacred at a Bud Green show except, that is, the herb itself.
So, who is this guy, anyway? Does he really see himself as a “man of the Lord”? Is all this a joke? Or does Green actually believe the subversive, pro-psychedelic, anti authoritarian words he so obviously loves to mouth off? “Well,I’m a revolutionary,” he says. “I just feel that marijuana is a way to get people together to sec the need for revolution. We’re probably the biggest minority in the country – if you add up all the pot smokers, you’d probably have fifty million people at least. It’s the true ‘rainbow coalition’ that Jesse Jackson talks about. …
“You know, it’s funny,” he continues. “A lot of my philosophy comes from the anti-marijuana thing from the sixties: it’s going to make you a radical, it’s going to make you communist, it’s going to make you anti-parental authority – which is all true. And that’s why people don’t like me that much sometimes, because they think, like, I’m a nightmare come true.”
Green has even “lit up” on the talk-show circuit, in front of the likes of Joan Rivers, Geraldo Rivera, and – most recently -Jerry Springer, whose show originates from conservative Cincinnati. Green believes these appearances lend credibility to his cause. They have provided him publicity. “I’ve had kids say to me, ‘I saw you lighting up on TV, and I lit up right with you!’ That makes me feel good .” Studio audiences, however, tend to be skeptical – hostile, in fact. Yet Green feels vindicated by the scorn of such people, as well as by the acidic contempt of hosts like Springer.
Much more supportive are the crowds turning up at Green’s shows, which he has been seeking to move from Hollywood’s underground clubs to more Establishment-oriented Sunset Boulevard venues. “I al ways get people coming up saying ‘Right on,’ you know,” he reports. “The message is the key; the music’s secondary. People aren’t coming up to me and going, ‘You’ve got a great voice’ or anything. They come up and say, ‘I like what you have to say.’
“And I’ve found that, since we’ve played the Strip a few times, that the people … are actually more intrigued by [my shows] than [those who go to] the underground clubs -it’s so shocking to them…. When we play the Roxy, the Whisky, we get the best reactions. It, like, shocks them, and they totally agree…. You see, they’re closet radicals.”
Curiously enough, the organized pro-hemp establishment – National Organizatio for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Business AJlliance for Commerce in Hemp, etc. – tends to dismiss the Rev’s agenda. Green maintains that his act and message are too radical for those groups, but the pro-marijuana people contend that that notion is nonsense. “He’s a wacko,” says Judy McGuire, managing editor of High Times magazine. “Most people [in the pro-hemp movement] ignore him. He’s a self-prom1ting kind of guy, and he does things that are detrimental. I don’t see him doing anything positive for the movement.” McGuire is specifically referring to Green’s TV pot-smoking antics. Pro-marijuana organizations have lately endeavored to present recreational pot smokers as responsible, nicely attired, well-monied pillars of society. Obviously, Green rejects this image, preferring instead to carry the sixties hippie concept to its limits.
Too – much to the pro-hemp camp’s consternation – Green favors pot’s current illegal status. “I feel that it’s already legal for religious purposes,” he claims. “I don’t mean to fight legalization. But the reason I feel it’s better to be illegal is because you have to break the law to worship the Lord. And by breaking the law you ‘re becoming a radical, and you’re realizing that other laws are corrupt, as well.
“I always have this argument with the hemp people,” he cominues. “They think that if marijuana is legalized it’s suddenly going to make society great. Well, if they legalize it, you still got a corrupt, racist society with rich pigs in power – [it] doesn’t do a damn thing. So, if the government was really smart, they would legalize it and get the people off their back. Well, they’re not; they’re oppressive people and they won’t give you freedom, so it’s better to have to break the law. It just gives you that whole mindset of being a radical. That’s why I like it illegal.”
For Rev. Green, it is marijuana first, radical-leftist politics second, and rock ‘n’ roll third – as a vehicle for the other two. All along, despite his off-the-wall, high humor approach, he clearly is committed to the current hippie-psychedelic renaissance. But does Green really consider himself a “minister”? Conventional persons of the cloth have predictably taken Green to task about this on various talk shows, calling him a fraud . Yet, even here, the man claims he is serious: “I am. It’s, like, in the beginning maybe I wasn’t. But I’ve been doing it for ten years, and so I’ve kind of evolved into a reverend. Since I’ve been advocating marijuana, I realized it really was a religion, and it kind of like came out of that.”
As for his show’s bombast and political irreverence, Green says, “My act is exaggerated [because of] what I believe. I really like going up there and hitting ‘Bush’ or strangling ‘Quayle’ or something – it’s the idea, the symbolic thing; it helps get the point across. I just have a fun time. I don’t even think of it as being humorous; I think of it as being the truth, but it comes out as humorous. You have to have fun at what you’re doing. If you take yourself too seriously, then you’d go crazy.” The words of a true pothead.
Green’s adversaries fuel and harden him, increasing his resolve. His followers also provide needed encouragement, while LAPD’s minions and DEA troopers look the other way. As a result, there appears to be no stopping Bud Green: as long as a certain five- and seven-leaf herb is available, this man has a cause. “I just want people to know I’m for real,” he concludes. “From the beginning, people couldn’t believe that somebody could be as radical as me. And I think they just can’t believe that somebody would be that open and be that truthful, but I am. I believe everything I say – this is my life…. And I believe that marijuana is the key to a different way of life. I believe it’s going to change the world.”