Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bleed For Me

Punk rock is often about politics, but some bands are more effective than others. On one hand you have TSOL defiantly but sophomorically telling President Reagan that he can “shove it,” while on the other hand you have the astute and universal declarations by the Clash. Some bands are very specific, attacking specific politicians or policies while others tackle entrenched and perennial problems such as poverty, war or racism.

One band that handled very tough and specific issues in their heyday were the Dead Kennedys. While very specific, they were also incredibly astute in their observations and accusations. And, while focusing on the Reagan presidency, one thing has become abundantly clear in the new millenium: many of their songs are just as applicable today regarding the Bush presidency as they were in the eighties regarding Reagan.

As our current president more and more appalls me, I find more and more solace in the lyrics of Jello Biafra.

The following is a sample of lyrics that with a simple alteration of a name or place is as targeted and accurate as they were when they were first penned.

Regarding President Bush:

“Cowboy Ronnie comes to town, Forks out his tongue at human rights”
from “Bleed for Me.” Change “Ronnie” to “Georgie” and you have an instant hit.

“I am Emperor Ronald Reagan, Born again with fascist cravings, Still, you made me president” from “We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now.” Change the names and the sentiment remains.

Regarding foreign policy:

“They'll shoot you dead, make you a man, Don't you worry, it's for a cause, Feeding global corporations' claws” from “We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now.” Who is getting rich off of our wars?

“Making money for President Reagan And all the friends of President Reagan” from “We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now.” Can you say “No-bid contracts”?

“Electrodes on your balls” from “Bleed For Me.” Do we even need to change the lyrics? I guess we should as those housed at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo.

Regarding domestic policy:

“Tell me who's the real patriots, The Archie Bunker slobs waving flags? Or the people with the guts to work for some real change” from “Stars and Stripes of Corruption.” This is the administration that calls freedom of speech and dissent “unpatriotic” and “Unamerican.”

“You don't want abortions, you want battered children, You want to ban the pill as if that solves the problem, Now you wanna force us to pray in school” from “Moral Majority.” Well, that kind of speaks for itself. Intelligent design, anyone? Roberts and Alito?

We could go on like this forever, but I think you get my point. As much as we like to think things have changed, they haven’t.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the last ten songs my iPod has played:

1. “The Golden Road (Unlimited Devotion)” by the Grateful Dead
2. “Arnold Layne” by Pink Floyd
3. “Can’t Forget” by Yo La Tengo
4. “That’s Not Me” by the Beach Boys
5. “African Night Flight” by David Bowie
6. “Ruby’s Arms” by Tom Waits
7. “Too Bad About Your Girl” by the Donnas
8. “The Sanity Assassin” by Bauhaus
9. “Girl Who Lived On Heaven Hill” by Husker Du
10. “Black Comedy” by Bright Eyes


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