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Thomas Stanley interview, 2021-06-20

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc031_10.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-06-20


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Thomas Stanley, PhD (a.k.a. Bushmeat Sound) is an artist, author, and activist deeply committed to audio culture in the service of personal growth and social change. He is co-author of George Clinton and P-Funk: An Oral History (1998, Avon paperback) and has written and lectured extensively on emergent musical cultures. As an artist, performer, and curator, Stanley has been an integral part of a vibrant visionary music scene straddling the Baltimore-Washington corridor. His audio work exploits the capacity of sound and music to anchor, frame, and energize our subjective experience of history. Thomas Stanley is a founding member of Transparent Productions, a non-profit volunteer collective that has produced over 300 improvised jazz and experimental music concerts since 1997. He hosts 'Bushmeat's Jam Session' a weekly collage of radical music on WPFW-FM radio. In 2014 he authored the Execution of Sun Ra, a critical response to the cosmological prognostications of the late jazz iconoclast. His doctoral research examined Butch Morris' art of Conduction as an extended meta-instrument offering unique opportunities for musical pedagogy and ensemble consciousness. He is also featured in “Stranger”, a documentary film about seminal P-Funk and Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


Thomas Stanley talks about being born in Cincinnati, Ohio and moving to Washington, D.C. during a tense political climate and personal challenges, dealing with racial bullying in middle school. Thomas studies psychology at Brown University, where he is first introduced to Sun Ra, whose work he will study in the future closely and write an important manuscript about. After meeting his future wife, Thomas leaves the DMV area and travels across the country to Wisconsin, where he established the Pan-African Library of Madison. After returning to D.C., Thomas works with Hadari Ali to create a literary legacy of the Pan-African struggle. He gets further involved and interested in Black liberation movements and considers joining the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa, before it is dismantled by the CIA. Thomas reflects on disenchantment with politics as a weapon for change and strong hope in the arts as that vehicle. He remembers first encounters with Rhizome DC community and how being a part of this space has given him confidence in his artistic practice. He says that Rhizome DC is a community and not just a building, that will be destroyed. The community will live on and we will understand that justice IS the technology.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001