Musician, singer, Pepper Spray Times writer/editor, Fiddlers for Peace founder, poet, activist. Veteran of civil liberties and social justice movements, voted Best of the Bay 2001 by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Best Solo Performer by the 2002 East Bay Express readers’ poll. Honoree of the 2003 City of Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women for civil liberties activism, 2004 honoree by the City of Berkeley for homeless advocacy, 2009 Oldtime Spirit Award winner from the Augusta Music Heritage Festival, curator of the Deep Poetry Project. Innovative guitarist and English concertina player, original and traditional songs. Voted Best Female Artist at PirateCat Radio in SF in 2010. Nominated to the Revolutionary Poets’ Brigade by former poet laureate of San Francisco Jack Hirschman in 2010. Inventor of the chairapillar. Restored the right for the Berkeley community to post fliers in BART Plaza in Berkeley in 2014.
CDs, ‘The Rich Will Never Be Poor,’ ‘The Cruel Lullaby,’ ‘You Are Spending Too Much Money on Your Hair,’ ‘The Riley Boys,’ ‘A Toast to the Union,’ ‘Unless of Course You Die,’ and ‘Because We Upon This Earth Are One,’ include support from banjomeister Jim Nelson, guitarist Nina Gerber, mandolinists Radim Zenkl and John Wetzel, and fiddlers Brian Theriault and Kerry Parker.
Denney was the author of the comic cardboard saws (inscribed ‘I Came, I Saw…’) which inspired the UC Regents $250,000 civil suit against her. The regents argued that her stage props and songs were responsible for People’s Park’s unrest in 1991. The Regents declared her a public figure in 1992 so that she could not sue them for defamation. Responsible for Berkeley’s smokefree bus stop law in 2004, and one of the California-wide coalition members who successfully campaigned for a smokefree UC campus, which became a reality in 2014.
Part of Free Radio Berkeley’s original clandestine crew, spending two years as ‘Laura Drawbridge’ co-hosting ‘Thinking Globally, Revolting Locally’ with Stephen Dunifer. Denney also wrote, produced and performed with the Jolly Roger Comedy Troupe, micropower radio’s premiere comedy team. She was a featured actor in George Coates’ 1999 and 2002 productions, the ‘Mock City Council’ playing the City Attorney, and is also the creator and editor of the satirical newspaper, Pepper Spray Times.
Featured writer at the Centre for Political Song, Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland. First female frycook at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, a hard-fought victory over gender-based work roles.
Organizer for ‘Fiddlers for Peace’ in response to the threat of war.
Regularly featured in the Bay Area at the Freight and Salvage, Strings, San Francisco’s LaborFest events, folk festivals and, of course, picket lines and demonstrations, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, the California Urban History Compendium, and columnist Alexander Cockburn. A unique voice.
Would you like to hear a song? ‘It’s Better Not to Sail’, written in March 2006, recorded by happy accident in Rodney Freeland and Ann May’s living room in Raccoon Hollow, with Rodney on mandolin and Ann on guitar. We hope you will contribute to our “Save the Dinosaurs” fundraising campaign; your dollars can make a difference. “Please, sir, can I have some more?” More shameless self promotion disguised as biographic history, which is how history works anyway.
Carol Denney’s bake sale for bankrupt utility PG&E made the San Francisco Examiner’s front page January 23, 2001.