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The Illustrious Jazz Past of Political Blogger Charles Johnson

From fusion to filibusters

Charles Johnson (holding guitar) with Steve Bach, Simon Phillips and Stanley Clarke, 1980. Photo courtesy of Stanley Clarke

Every day on Twitter at @Green_Footballs, Charles Johnson takes caustic and intelligent aim at the Republican right as well as the global Wikileaks/Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald fan club. The self-described “ex-wingnut” blogger of Little Green Footballs, seen as right wing in the years following 9/11, is now reliably center-left. Toggle to his bio, however, and it starts thus: “Scientist of Love. Guitarist w/ George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, others.”

Yes, it’s the same Charles “Icarus” Johnson heard shredding like a fiend on “Life Is Just a Game,” from Clarke’s famous 1976 album School Days. Now 60 and based near Los Angeles, this political pundit and “code monkey” was far more than a six-string dabbler in an earlier life. He took the stage name Icarus at the urging of a girlfriend. There’s YouTube footage of him playing with drummers Simon Phillips, Sheila E. and Steve Gadd (in bands led by Clarke, Duke and Jarreau, respectively).

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