Of the twenty-one songs on this CD, eighteen of them were written since last September. George W. Bush has certainly been a great inspiration, but the general themes of my songs have not changed, only the details. Because, for the people of the world, things have not changed so much since September 11th. There was suffering and resistance before September 11th and the suffering and the resistance continues. I suppose these are the themes that have occupied my mind and my songwriting ever since I left the suburbs.
It might be said that the main theme that I keep on coming back to is terrorism. Sometimes to the terrorism of small groups of fanatics, but much moreso to the incomparably more deadly and widespread phenomenon called state terrorism. The terrorism of aiding fascist dictatorships and apartheid states. The terrorism not just of one, two or four planes, but of an air force. The millions dead from bombs and sanctions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and so many other places. The world held hostage by the IMF. The very air, water, and soil destroyed by the capitalist monolith that lies behind all of these overt and covert forms of terrorism. Before and after September 11th, long before George W. Bush was born, the United States Government has been the leading sponsor of terrorism worldwide. Sometimes people respond in kind, which is what happened on 9/11. What I seek to do here, in my own small way, is to help us think about our peculiar situation, to add one more voice of dissent against Pax Americana. And hopefully, to play my small part in finding a way out of the madness, and into an entirely different world.
The live tracks were recorded at a concert in Boulder, Colorado by Andrew Brislin of 4th Stage Studios. The studio tracks on this CD were recorded in Hyde Park, Massachusetts at Melville Park Studio, which is also where they were mixed and mastered. Duplication services were provided by the Tape Complex in Boston. The songs herein are all original songs that include me on vocals and guitar and Allie Rosenblatt on harmony vocals. The harmonies were all written by some combination of Allie and her wonderful mother, Lucy Rosenblatt.
Big thanks to Allie for being such a kick-ass singer, friend and great road rat. Thanks to Orin Langelle, Terry Flynn and arbeiterfotografie.com for the photos, to Jon Sulkow for the graphics, to all the good folks around the world who work their asses off to organize gigs for me, and to my amazing community of friends, lovers and comrades who make life worth living.
Yours for the OBU,
The Next Attack "The next attack is coming." This is a headline I saw in some tabloid in Europe. I am pretty sure the article did not get into the reasons that I list as to why the next attack is coming, but it was a good headline.
Hang a Flag in the Window US foreign and domestic policy is a hotbed of contradictions. Many of the lines in this song came directly from the mouth of the president-select himself.
Drink of the Death Squads True story first told to me by Katie Knight from the Colombia Support Network in Montana. Something like half of the union organizers that are killed in the world each year are Colombian. Colombia is also the biggest recipient of military aid in the hemisphere. This, of course, is a coincidence.
The Village Where Nothing Happened Based on an article by Richard Lloyd Parry that originally appeared in the Independent (UK).
Bomb Ourselves Another song inspired by Dubya.
Jenin Want to understand the non-state terrorists? Go see the bulldozed, occupied city of Jenin.
Good Kurds, Bad Kurds I wrote this after watching a documentary of the same name. There may not be a more glaring example of the contradictions in US foreign policy than our policy towards the Kurdish nation.
Song for Basra This is one of the two songs on the CD that also appears on Living In These Times. It's about the second city of Iraq, the most bombed city in one of the most bombed countries in the history of the world. I would say that I included it on this CD because of the ongoing relevance of the subject material, but mainly it's on here because I like Allie's harmony so much. (If you want to hear Allie's harmonies to songs that are not on this CD, you have to come to a show.)
I Have Seen the Enemy Any relation to any politicians, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
One Night in Greece I heard this story from a friend in Brighton, England. Believe it or not, no dates or names have been changed.
The Pirate Radio Song Dedicated to the good people seizing the airwaves throughout the US and the world, but it especially goes out to the folks at Free Radio Santa Cruz.
Ballad of a Cluster Bomb A song from the perspective of a piece of unexploded ordinance. Based on a story I read from Bosnia.
Vanguard If you are offended by this song it is probably about you.
Mi Amor I need to learn Spanish. But in the meantime, I have gotten so much from translations of the poetry and lyrics of Pablo Neruda and Silvio Rodriguez. This song is about a revolutionary Latina sparrow.
Sit Down to Piss The German autonomous movement pioneered many new traditions, and it is now the case that in every leftist household in Germany, men sit down to piss along with the women. In the name of helping in some small way with gender relations outside of Germany, I thought I'd write this song to try to help export this practice.
By the Time They Nuke DC As research into mini-nukes continues at the Y-12 Nuclear weapons factory in Tennessee, the specter of nuclear terrorism becomes ever more real.
Song for the ELF Think what you will of their methods, but as far as I am concerned, they do not differ significantly from those of Plowshares or other groups employing various illegal but nonviolent tactics. This is one of the three songs on this CD that I wrote before 9/11. I was going to put it in Living In These Times, but when I was finished recording that CD I realized that I had forgotten to record it.
Outside Agitator The true story of what happened when I tried to cross the Canadian border to go to the G8 protests in Calgary last summer. (When Allie and I were in the studio to record some of these songs, I was recovering from a nasty cold of some kind, and it's fairly evident in my voice here in this song, but I figured, what the heck, it just makes me sound a bit rough, which isn't all bad.)
In One World Based on a story I read in the Palestine Monitor about a Palestinian refugee from the city of Haifa who went to visit the home of his birth and met the Jewish refugees from Iraq who were living there.
We Are Everywhere It's true. I would say this is the single most important fact that we should always remember.
Behind the Barricades This is the other song that also appears on my CD, Living In These Times, which I also include here because of the transformational effect of Allie's harmonies.