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This week we unwound a little to have a musical interlude and discuss some of the great 'protest songs' that became anthems of liberty during the otherwise bleak 'American Century', inspiring many with hope for Truth and Justice.

What makes a 'protest song' anyway? We also talked about some lesser known songs that didn't quite 'make it', but nevertheless struck a powerful chord with some because they record a truer version of history the victors would prefer we forget.

We were joined by Tim Trepanier, singer-songwriter and travelling troubadour from the prairie lands of Canada. Lead singer and guitarist for folk band Relic, we even convinced Tim to play a couple of his tunes for us live on air!

Running Time: 02:19:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript:

Intro Music: John Lennon
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Say you want a revolution
We better get on right away
Well you get on your feet
And out on the street

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

A million workers working for nothing
You better give 'em what they really own
We got to put you down
When we come into town

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

I gotta ask you comrades and brothers
How do you treat you own woman back home
She got to be herself
So she can free herself

Singing power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on
Now, now, now, now

Oh well, power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Yeah, power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people
Power to the people, right on

Joe: Hi and welcome to SOTT Talk Radio. I'm Joe Quinn. With me, my co-hosts this week are Niall Bradley, Jason Martin and Juliana Barembuen. This week as you may know, we're going to be talking about and listening to protest songs and the historical time and events that inspired them. We'll also be looking at some protest songs gone wrong and asking the question "Have any protest songs achieved a presumed goal of, at the very least, informing the public about some form of social injustice and perhaps as a result forced some change? And if so on what scale and to what, if any, lasting benefit?" With us also in the studio this evening is a very special guest. He's a singer/songwriter and guitarist for folk band Relic, Tim Trempanier.

Tim: Hi guys.

Joe: Tim's repertoire includes protest songs, unsurprisingly and we'll be hearing some live music from Tim a little later on. So getting to the topic at hand with my panel of experts here, which includes Tim because he's an expert, probably more than everybody else, what good are protest songs? Are they simply a useful form of emotional expression on any given topic for the singer and the listener just like any other song that a person listens to or is there something inherent?

Jason: Well I do wonder sometimes if protest songs, as long as they are played and survive, record a kind of history of the consistency of what the people want and the consistent fact that the elite never actually give it to them because protest songs have really kind of said more or less the same thing since they've been around and they keep saying it. So aside from obviously the cathartic effects for the singer and the listener being validated by someone else who thinks that, and it's expressed in a catchy tune, I think they have historical relevance for sure. I don't think they ever have any positive effect in the world beyond that.

Joe: Although that's a positive effect in and of itself.

Jason: That's a positive effect. Of course it's very awesome but every person who probably sings them obviously wants to effect some kind of change. I don't think they're just thinking "I just want to complain about the elites." They may want to get some recognition and they want to effect some change, but that's never happened and never will.

Joe: Yeah. I personally think there have been excellent protest songs. I think protest songs tend to be, for me anyway, the best songs, the ones that I like, because not only are they good songs in the terms of catchy tunes that you like listening to, but they also carry a message that you can really identify with, depending on who you are. There's so many songs out there that just carry a crass message, not very deep in any way and maybe even not such a good message that people actually internalize.

Jason: My lumps, my lovely lady lumps??

Joe: Like that, that kind of thing, yea. It's catchy but it's missing the deeper emotive lesson or teaching. I'm not sure there's much in that. But for example, if there was anybody who ever wrote a protest song who had the potential to effect change as a result of maybe not just his songs but also who he was and what he said, was maybe John Lennon. And I say this mainly because as far as I'm concerned he was assassinated for what he was saying. Because there's really lots of historical evidence in other cases that he was "Sirhan Sirhaned" by Mark David Chapman.

Jason: Why is it that assassins always have three names?

Joe: I know, yeah. The FBI had 281 pages of files on John Lennon so obviously he was of interest to them. They were recording his speeches, what he said on TV shows, following him, that kind of stuff. And then he gets shot in very strange circumstances. Of all people anybody would want to shoot in the US around that time, in the '80s, really? John Lennon? But of course there is this psychological explanation that this guy is crazy and wanted to be him or something. Whatever! Catcher in the Rye... But it's all a bit suspicious especially as I said, given the kind of evidence for mind programmed or hypno-programmed patsies like Sirhan Sirhan who definitely was one. So yeah, John Lennon, because of the audience he had and how many people knew him, counting the Beatles, if he was going to push it and sing songs, even more importantly maybe, talk to people and organize rallies, well then, you could see how he'd be a threat, you know?

Tim: I believe he was coming out of a hiatus of about seven years of not recording anything at all. He did Double Fantasy with Yoko and this was the first time he'd actually entered back into the music world. And so yeah, he was poised to enter the public arena again.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. So our plan tonight basically is to just do a rundown on a lot of protest songs and discuss them and give a bit of history to them. Some that probably many people are aware of and know quite well even if they don't know what they're about. And also songs that you're really aware of, that you've heard, that you had no idea were protest songs in the first place which is something we'll talk about. What's the point in having a protest song if nobody knows that it's a protest song?

Jason: What's an example of that, or a song that's kind of like a smuggled protest song?

Joe: A smuggled protest song would be - well I don't know, maybe I'll just play a little bit of the song here and see if you recognize it and see what you think.
"Orange Crush" (REM)

(Follow me, don't follow me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(Collar me, don't collar me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I've had my fun and now it's time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

(Follow me, don't follow me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(Collar me, don't collar me)
I've got my spine, I've got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I've had my fun and now it's time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

High on the booze
In a tent
Paved with blood
Nine inch howl
Brave the night
Chopper comin' in, you hope
Joe: That is REM, Orange Crush. I think that song maybe wasn't so popular in the US for some reason, but it was very popular in the UK. It was in 1988 and people had a lot of Emos, early Emo type thing. People were running around kind of like lolling around the dance floor to that song. And it's called Orange Crush and it's by REM.

Niall: It wasn't about an orange juice drink.

Joe: It wasn't about Orange Crush. It wasn't about Fanta or Tab or anything like that. It was supposedly about Agent Orange.

Jason: Really?

Joe: The title of the song is a reference for the chemicals, the foliant, Agent Orange manufactured by Monsanto and the US department of defence and used in Vietnam. So even the words of it "I've got my Orange Crush. Collar me. Don't collar me. I've got my spine. I've got my Orange Crush. We are agents of the free. I've had my fun and now it's time to serve your conscience overseas. It's just vague, vague references. Why something as serious as that, millions of tonnes of Agent Orange being dumped on trees in Vietnam and causing all sorts of cancers and heart disease and deaths, mutations, all sorts of horrible stuff for the people in Vietnam and also US soldiers who were there, dropping it basically.

Jason: There's a big Gavin Rothfield there with the sort of abstract lyrics. You're not quite sure what he's saying.

Joe: Exactly.

Jason: Does he mean something important? I don't know! Please tell me.

Tim: Michael Sykes is like that. A lot of his lyrics are very kind of vague and skirting around.

Jason: Whereas you have End of the World As We Know It.

Joe: Exactly. Be direct, clear and to the point if you want to get a message across and you feel strongly about something, just say it. There are a lot of songs that do that but most of them singing them are relatively unknown. There's a lot of good songs but they don't get the air time.

Jason: Well maybe he was worried about being a little bit too political.

Joe: Yeah, you have to wonder.

Jason: Because every kind of singer who has become what I would refer to as relatively political - I'm not talking about Bono or any of these artists and actors now that are all pretending to be political - but when they really say something truly political and truly against the current elite, they do have a tendency for things to happen to them. They either die, which is the easy one, and then the other one is that they get kind suddenly besieged with scandals and different types of things. So obviously he had something to be afraid of.

Niall: Scandals and tax audits.

Jason: Yeah.

Niall: Lauren Hill comes to mind. Fugees.

Jason: Well Fugees as I recall were always very kind of... a lot of rappers are actually are. Tupac [Shakur] certainly was, coming from the background that he came from. So there's actually a lot in the African American hip hop community that do actually say. It's mostly down on the ground. It's not grand strategy stuff. But yeah.

Joe: Yeah. So that REM song was from 1988 and was talking about Agent Orange. A bit late in 1988.

Jason: A little bit. About 14 years or so?

Joe: Yea, but at the same time, at the time one of the major eras for protest songs so obviously the whole...

Jason: That was the Born in the USA age. Like with Tom Cruise - Oliver Stone did that one, wasn't it?

Niall: You're thinking...

Jason: Born on the Fourth of July or something like that. Tom Cruise is the Vietnam vet or something, an Oliver Stone film.

Joe: That's right yeah. But obviously the whole hippy movement in the '60s, free love and - what do they call that? What kind of era was that?

Jason: The flower child phenomena.

Niall: Flower power.

Joe: Flower power or whatever. Woodstock right in the middle of the "Vietnam war".

Jason: Well you notice that whole thing came about really kind of all of a sudden because that whole movement started with a very anti-war, peace movement. They had just come from seeing Gandhi. It was successful. And then Martin Luther King had come through so successful and so everyone was like "Yeah, we can give peace a chance!" And then suddenly it got turned into sex and drugs really quick.

Joe: Yeah.

Jason: It's just kind of a little suspicious.

Tim: It does seem like that's the last time that true protest songs were played on mainstream radio and making top 10 lists on Billboard. I don't hear that anymore. It was a time in history when Country Joe and the Fish and all these other songs were up there with the other ones.

Jason: Country Joe McDonald or whatever it was.

Tim: Country Joe McDonald and the Fish I think it was.

Joe: Yeah, exactly.

Jason: That could give an explanation. Everyone's always saying "Why do they always have this constant parade and stream of Brittney Spears' and Aguileras and all these different people and it's like a flavour of the week type of thing. And they get this new hot band in and then they're there for a week and then they're out again. Everyone's like "Why does it happen that way?" And maybe it is just kind of like Operation Distraction. Make sure nobody's there long enough to get a conscience and say something.

Joe: And one of the major events actually of that era, of the Vietnam war era and all of the protest songs that came out of Woodstock and stuff, was the Kent State University shooting. I'll just play a little bit of the song since we're playing songs. It's by Crosby Still & Nash and Neil Young. It's called Ohio.

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Jason: I did not know that was a protest song, to be honest.

Joe: Well, that one's kind of better in a certain sense. Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. We're finally on our own. The summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio. Gotta get down to it. Soldiers are cutting us down. Should have been done long ago. What if you knew her. And found her dead on the ground. How can you run when you know?

Jason: I never listened to the lyrics.

Joe: Exactly. So this is part of the problem in a certain sense. Even those that aren't in your face enough and we'll have some examples of songs which in my opinion are the way a protest song should be done. But we'll get to that later. So yeah, this is Ohio, Kent State shootings and people probably know more or less about it, more or less what happened. It was student protests against the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon had been elected in 1968. So the Kent State University shootings in Ohio were on May 4, 1970. Nixon had been elected in '68 on the promise that he would end the Vietnam War. And in fact a few days before the shooting in 1970 he had announced the bombing campaign of Cambodia, so was just basically mass murder/genocide type thing. So students all over the country were protesting and there was supposed to be four days of protests at Kent State University by students. And the National Guard was called out because rumours were spread...

Jason: Conveniently.

Joe: ...downtown that businesses had received threats that students were going to destroy the city. And the mayor met with the city officials and the representatives of the National Guard and Ohio National Guard. So they basically made the decision on the fourth day to call out the National Guard and there was pitched battles between the police and the National Guard and students. And then at a certain point the National Guard opened fire and fired 67 bullets and shot dead four students. Two of them were actually involved in the protest and two of them were just going to class and weren't actually involved in it. And shot and injured nine other people.

But there's been a lot of information about it in later years and in 2007 one of the wounded, a guy called Alan Canfora located a copy of a tape of the shootings in the library archives. And there was an analysis done of the tape by forensic experts and they concluded that the Guardsmen were given an order to fire because at the time it was explained away and I suppose history records that it was just the Guardsmen feeling that they were under pressure and just lost control, lost discipline, opened fire, that kind of thing. But it seems that someone was recording it and heard someone basically saying "Alright, prepare to fire. Get down." And people saw National Guardsmen get down, aim and shoot and fire and there's even references to one of them aiming specifically at one of the leaders of the protest and stuff, the guy who was actually killed. He was shot in the mouth.

So at the particular time a conspiracy theory point of view which is far closer to reality these days than the official narrative, was that that four days of protest and not backing down, somebody gives the order from on high to actually scare these students into submission by killing them. Actually a couple of years later on Bloody Sunday, which is another protest song but not by U2, another protest song about Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland. The same was done there where orders were given from on high to shoot civilians in the case of protest, justifiable protest. There might have been a few rocks and bottles thrown and stuff, but that's within the realm of a protest as far as I'm concerned when you're confronted with baton-wielding police and stuff. So that was the song Ohio by Crosby Stills & Nash. Were you going to say something?

Tim: Yeah, I was just going to say that Neil Young himself is an interesting character because he actually wrote Ohio. And he also wrote a couple of anti-racist slavery songs, Alabama and Southern Man. But he also later on wrote that song Let's Roll referring to the 9/11 plane that was shot down and Rockin' in the Field. So his politics turned a little strange.

Joe: You have wonder there what happens to people.

Tim: Yeah.

Joe: I suppose it's no wonder therefore that things don't change as a result of protest songs when the people writing the protests are so easily swayed by propaganda.

Tim: Yeah.

Joe: And by their own identification with nationalism or patriotism, because they can be...

Tim: He's catching a lot of flak in Alberta just at the present time because he described the oils sands, the tar sands in Fort McMurray as looking like Hiroshima. And of course that's where I'm from so all the blue collar workers, the guys tied to the oil, the people who benefit from the industry, are saying he's a traitor, he lives in California and has no right to declare military service to our veterans.

Joe: He's complaining about the exploitation of oil in Canada because it's destroying the environment.

Tim: Yes.

Joe: And he's an environmentalist.

Tim: Yes, yes. He (bad audio) with David Suzuki and so a lot of people in western Canada don't like him anymore. They're boycotting his music, things like that.

Niall: Arguably the singer/songwriter who's associated with the protest movement in the '60s is Bob Dylan.

Tim: Yeah.

Niall: Now, here's a recent article Bob Dylan-The Ethics of Market Fascism. He did a Chrysler advertisement at the latest Superbowl.

Tim: I saw that.

Niall: And that's not his first. That began about 20 years ago, endorsing corporations that he wrote about 30, 40 years ago. So what's going on there?

Joe: What is going on, yeah? You know what? I have a confession to make. I never liked Bob Dylan.

Jason: Neither did I.

Niall: Me neither.

Joe: I never liked his music. I think he's got a crappy voice and...

Jason: (imitating Bob Dylan) How does it feeeeel?

Tim: I like Bob Dylan. I'll be the dissenter here

Joe: Exactly.

Jason: Really?

Joe: You can't make a virtue out of having a bad voice.

Jason: He did. He did.

Joe: It shouldn't be allowed.

Niall: And that's partly what happened in the'60s. You had this creativity that turned into this schizophrenic "anything goes, let it all hang out". I think the actual music degraded.

Jason: (Singing softly) The time of the season. Who's your daddy?

Joe: And it's interesting. Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind is very often said the best song of all time, at least in the western, English-speaking world. It stays as number one on a few lists that I saw of 500 best songs of all time. Blowin' In The Wind. I don't know about that but...

Niall: There are some great songs from the '60s of course. But okay, if you go and actually listen to lyrics and then read about what the writer intended, often they never intended it to be any kind of protest at all. But because of the momentum of the movement socially at the time, it became associated with.

Tim: Like what?

Niall: The guy who wrote - uh-oh, the name escapes me. It's one classic. I think it was a Creedence Clearwater song.

Tim: Fortunate Son?

Niall: Maybe.

Tim: For What It's Worth.

Jason: For What It's Worth was not such a...

Joe: It was about the hippy riots in LA sometime in the '60s or something. That wasn't really protesting anything other than hippies not being allowed to hang outside after 10:00 at night. You can protest about more serious things.

Jason: Well I would say in defence of Bob Dylan selling out... we kind of realize and accept how no matter how loud you speak or scream, and no matter what you do, it would never really tend to make it better when you're dealing with the sort of pathology that we're dealing with. And sometimes I kind of think that maybe he got tired and a little bit strapped for cash and he was like "You know what dude? I've been saying this for years and years and nobody's listened to me. I'm going go do kiss their ass. Because you know what? I need to buy some steaks or something".

Niall: Yeah. It happened to Willie Nelson.

Jason: Yeah.

Niall: But people didn't come down too hard on him because they liked him. He sold out. He did a couple of ads, but we can forgive Willie.

Jason: The red-headed stranger. Everybody loves him.

Juliana: But you know, I was thinking, sometimes these subtle songs or whatever, are due to certain circumstances. Sometimes yeah, it's accidental. But it made me think of the case of many South American singers who were forced to tone down their songs so much because they were chased by the powers that be. So in those cases, it's actually kind of easy to see why they did what they did or it could also be to save their reputation nowadays. Sometimes it's the necessary thing to do. Unless you want to end up dead. There was a whole movement in the '60s in South America. It wasn't so much into the hippy thing, but there was a whole movement called the Nueva Cancion or New Song. And they just started. When you look at the origins, it basically started just to bring back the folk music and the local instruments and stuff like that. And then they added things like "well let's fight poverty". And then they became kind of anti-American. And with reason. And even though the governments at the time were kind of defending their own in Argentina, they actually issued a law that said "half the songs in the radio have to be national" because they didn't want to the US to come in and do the whole imperialistic thing.

And then when the dictatorship came, they just killed, tortured, murdered, all artists, or a lot of them, or said that they had to go in exile. And then after a while when these dictatorships started falling, well then - the power that those years had on people made it so that people became so afraid of speaking out that they had to talk about butterflies and things like that while the actual message was "We don't want elites in power. We don't want more torture." So sometimes you're kind of forced to do that.

Tim: Had to disguise it in a way?

Juliana: Yeah!

Tim: Use metaphors in a sense.

Juliana: Absolutely! While the dictatorship was still in power a lot of them hid that way. The authorities couldn't say "You're singing a protest song here. You're singing about butterflies and whatever". But the real message, when years later they could actually speak up, they said "This song was about Pinochet." Do you see what I mean?

Tim: Do you think the audience would get it at the time?

Juliana: Yeah. And there were hundreds of artists that disappeared and one of the most famous ones, Mercedes Sosa, she's kind of known in the US, but a lot of them weren't released in the US like there's a Cuban guy, Silvio Rodriguez who was denied a visa in the US especially when Seeger turned 90 they wouldn't allow him to go. There's still kind of an oppression thing. And I don't know if it's because a protest song is so dangerous that it makes the powers that be go holy Moses! Or is it because they don't want people to even think about those things. The actual things that people are going to write about because they...

Joe: I think they can see where it goes and they just have a knee-jerk reaction to anybody singing about things that are totally the opposite of the ideals which they espouse, which is control and domination and keeping people down. And you start singing a song about "rise up people, let's overthrow our masters", immediately you identify yourself as a target for any kind of oppressive regime. In Latin America that meant life would be forfeited very, very easily. In the US there's more of a controlling aspect to it in the sense that they can basically just via the big music corporations and stuff, basically own the rights to all your songs and stuff and mass produce a bunch of nonsense or they can silence people who start doing that and you just don't get played. They can make you just go away in a certain sense, therefore any potential you have for changing anything through song or music is totally nullified.

Juliana: Like the Dixie Chicks for example.

Joe: Yeah, how easily it can happen. The media propaganda can sway public opinion against what you're trying to do.

Tim: That's why we don't hear it.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. I think we'll go on. We talked about the '60s and free love and fight the power era, but arguably, and Niall is of this opinion, arguably that wasn't the era when protest songs and fighting the system was the strongest, let's say, or as prevalent as maybe 30, 40 years beforehand.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: So we want to talk a little bit about that. But maybe before we do that, since we have promised some live music on the show tonight, exclusively, maybe we'll get Tim to play us a little song here. He's just getting set up. Tim, as we said, is a wandering troubadour in town and he's going to sing one of his own songs, his own protest songs that he penned himself. And we reckon you're going to like it.

Tim: Okay yeah. This song is called Crooked as a Dog's Hind Leg. And people who've heard my music before know I have a special fondness for idioms. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. If you're crooked, you can be a little bit crooked but if you're crooked as a dog's hind leg, you're pretty crooked. Crooked as crooked can be.
Jesus loves me this I know
'Cause some old book told me so
And if you don't mind I'll take a different road
I gotta go

They said say god is on my side
This time I'm gonna let it slide
Maybe sign up for a different ride
I gotta go

See the preacher pleased to meet ya
Can't keep track of the lies you teach us
Going to feel pure and safe
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg

I pledge allegiance to the flag
Just some washed up dirty rag
Sorry buddy that's just ain't my bag
I've gotta go

Exercise my right to vote
A flock of sheep don't rock the boat
See you later, that's all she wrote
I gotta go

Politician keepin fishin
Can't keep track of the babies he's kissing
Gonna steal, borrow and beg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg

I seen your ads in those magazines
Hypnotized by your movie screens
Sorry baby that just ain't my scene
I gotta go

They're trying to sell me a brand new car
Upwardly mobile and going far
But lord, I ain't no movie star
I gotta go

Television what's it selling
Can't keep track of the lies it's telling
Gonna steal, borrow and beg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg
They're all crooked as a dog's hind leg

Tim: Thanks guys.

Joe: That was excellent Tim and Juliana on backing vocals and Jason on keyboard.

Jason: The pianee.

Joe: That was a great song. I love that song. Actually I've heard it before. I have to admit that I actually love it. I think it's brilliant. And it fits my criteria for a power protest song where it's all very clear and just listen to the words. You can't pretend that "Oh, he's talking about something else there, some metaphor". (Tim laughing) No! It's about corrupt politicians and dirtbags.

Jason: If you try to categorize protest songs that are simply saying "Oh we don't want them to do X", sometimes we don't want them to do anything, at al. It's kind of like... And then you get a social commentary song, but it's still kind of in that vein.

Joe: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jason: Cause in there we're talking about preachers and TV, the media, everything.

Tim: Media, politics and religion. That's the three main ones.

Joe: So there's no point in really asking you why you wrote that song.

Tim: No, just three things sort of pretty much about social control. The three pillars of control in our world.

Joe: Which are?

Tim: Politics, religion and the media.

Joe: Okay. (laughter) Pretty much, that sums it up, yeah.

Jason: Really? I didn't catch that in the song at all!

Tim: It's very subtle.

Joe: We're going to have some more from Tim later on and show another number. But as I mentioned before that song, Niall wanted to hold forth on something about the origin maybe of modern protest songs in the 20th century anyway. And it's not necessarily the Vietnam era. It's before that.

Niall: Yes. A lot of the big singer/songwriters in the '60s, Dylan included, they always cite at least two guys, and others from the 1930s and '40s. Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. And Pete Seeger was in the news recently. He just passed away at 95 years of age. Still playing music. He was apparently chopping wood a week before he died. He was this big tall guy and been active his whole life. So Pete Seeger was an inspiration for a lot of people in the '60s. Let's see. What songs of his that people ought to know? Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Joan Baez sang a version of that and...

Joe: Made it popular.

Niall: ...pretty much made her in the '60s. We Shall Overcome. That was written by him as well. Now We Shall Overcome for example, became 10, 12, 13 years after he'd written it and it was first aired on radio in the US, then became the anthem for the black civil rights movement.

Joe: Right. The only thing I know about We Shall Overcome is people just singing we shall overcome over and over again. There's a song that that came from though. Can I just play a bit of it here just get our listeners to hear?

Niall: Go for it.

Joe: Because I don't actually know that song.

On the road down in Montgomery Alabama. And they said "we are not afraid". And the young people taught everybody else a lesson, all the older people that had learned how to compromise and learned how to take it easy and be polite and get along and leave things as they were. The young people taught us all a lesson.
We are not afraid.
We are not afraid.
We are not afraid today.
For deep in my heart
I do believe
That we shall overcome some day.

The whole wide world around!
Joe: I think I know it but I just have a memory of seeing or hearing people just singing "we shall overcome" over and over again, but it's from that song.

Niall: Well I think this comes back to something Juliana said, that part of what makes an anthem so to speak, is recognition in your audience. For them Pete Seeger would have long since been known and associated with the civil rights movement and much else besides. In the '30s the US had, at least on paper, a leftwing government. After the Wall Street crash there were protests; there was widespread poverty; the country was decimated. And this is what brought Franklin Roosevelt to power. And his New Deal was supposed to begin bringing the United States into the 20th century in line with other countries in Europe, for example, where you had...

Joe: Social welfare.

Niall: Basic social welfare, protection for people from the market. This is the year in which Guthrie and Seeger were coming out of. So their songs were about workers' rights. They had one album together called Talking Unions as in talking shop. And they don't know to what extent they inspired other people to think about them. Rather there was this wave, this movement in America at the time. There were mass protests in the '30s that were larger than any of the protests in the '60s.

Joe: Essentially workers wanting rights and people just coming off the back of the great depression.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: Which was engineered by the Wall Street bankers.

Niall: Yeah. That incident in Ohio, whether it was based on a complete fiction or some truth, that they were afraid that Kent State and the town could be destroyed, Detroit city was pretty much burned to the ground in a major riot in I think 1939.

Jason: So we can see where they got the idea from. They were afraid from the '30s.

Niall: Oh yeah. Big time.

Joe: Well it's kind of interesting because it's part of history that's kind of forgotten and ignored. And as you said, it was probably, in terms of popular civil unrest and riots and demonstration, it trumps the '60s. But it's kind of interesting that a lot of it was informed by 20, 30 years previously with the kind of - almost like a social awakening or a popular awakening among the working people of the world that was fuelled and was given legs by the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution, which was overthrowing the corrupt oligarchy, the Czar regime and...

Jason: ...corrupt military.

Joe: Yeah exactly. Ultimately what caught people's imagination was this idea that "Hang on a minute! Who runs this country? Who makes this country work?" Well it's the millions and millions, the 99% or whatever it is of people who actually go out to work every day and do the hard labour that actually makes the country run. So these people automatically and naturally kind of caught on to this idea that "Well, we should have a lot of say in how the country runs and certainly we shouldn't be being treated like second-class citizens and animals almost in some cases, worked to the bone for nothing". So it was an idea whose time had come and it's kind of interesting that since the early 20th century the idea's been going around and there's a lot of movements, especially in western Europe where these ideas as to how a country should function, what kind of form of government it should have and what kind of rights workers should have was really to the forefront in people's minds all over western Europe and further afield and in the US.

Niall: And this is why they had a platform. They were nationally known. Guthrie and Seeger were on the radio regularly because there was a general consensus that this is popular. They weren't necessarily saying anything.

Joe: They didn't have the controls at that time because it was a new thing, right?

Jason: Radio was new.

Joe: And even the popular uprisings were kind of new in that sense, to the new American state. But I find it interesting that that all culminated in or was kind of snuffed out in the second world war.

Jason: Well it was very convenient actually.

Joe: Well you had millions and millions of people (lost audio). We're back folks. We got cut off by Blog Talk Radio again. I'm going to write a protest song about Blog Talk Radio.

Anyway, what I was saying was that you had this movement of workers' rights in the beginning and early 20th century leading up for 20 years and then you had this mass movement of ordinary people. So what happens before it can actually effect any real change? You have the second world war and 65 million of those ordinary working people are dead within four years. Kind of convenient and people traumatized as a result of the whole thing. That just put an end to the whole...

Jason: I don't understand too much of that particular history so I can't call myself an expert, but I did read Liddell Hart's book on the military strategy that was used and it was very obvious. I don't think he out-and-out says it, but he does kind of hint that basically it was a fight that got picked and that America and most of the European nations really were kind of itching to try out their war tactics and they bit off more than they chew and they kind of made that whole situation a whole lot worse than it could have been and that Hitler could have been taken care of much more efficiently.

Joe: Absolutely.

Jason: And 65 million people didn't have to die. So it makes you wonder if they were like "Oh Jesus! We need a war to distract these people!"

Joe: Exactly.

Jason: And get rid of a surplus of bullets.

Joe: Yeah, well it's kind of like they say, "We've got a lot of popular energy here among these masses. What do we do with it? Either they're going to overthrow us or effect some change with this energy, or we can direct it into a war! A world war! That first one didn't really kill too many of them."

Jason: It killed enough, you know?

Joe: "Let's go for 65 million this time."

Niall: I think it was Churchill who said a number of incriminating things regarding "God guys, we really have to get the States into this war! We need them!" So you can imagine the stuff they were thinking behind the scenes. They're on the record as saying that "Okay, let's see how we manage this. If we can get the Nazis and the Soviets to destroy each other, cool! Let's keep it that way." And of course when you look at the history of the war, the substance of the war took place in eastern Europe. It wasn't until the end that the US and UK...

Joe: The Americans rolled in and claimed the victory.

Niall: "We'll take it nice and slowly. We'll go by Africa nice and slowly." But actually the story of the war is told in what happened to these two guys, Guthrie and Seeger. A guy who's still alive today, Billy Bragg; he's an English folksinger/songwriter and antiwar activist. He described Guthrie as the original punk rocker and the reason he said that was because I think the US had either just announced it was going to war or was building up to it and there was a popular song on the radio 'til 1940 and it was originally called God Bless America.

Joe: You can tell it's satirical.

Niall: One of those patriotic songs. No, this was...

Joe: Pro-American.

Niall: Yeah, it was nationalistic, jingoistic. It was written by Irving Berlin and it was playing on the radio and it was driving Woody Guthrie nuts. So he decided to take essentially the same song structure, put it to a different melody, one from Oh My Loving Brother which was an old Baptist gospel hymn. There's a story behind that. That was recorded by the Carter Family as in June Carter who later married Johnny Cash. But anyway, he took part of her song, took Berlin's God Bless America and changed the words and that became the famous This Land is Your Land.
Franklin D. listen to me
You ain't gonna send me 'cross the sea.
Cross the sea, cross the sea
You ain't gonna send me 'cross the sea.
Joe: Okay. That's the wrong song. What is that song?
You may say it's for defence
But it's that kind of talk that I'm against.
I'm against, I'm against.
That kind of talk ain't...
Niall: That comes next. That was one of the antiwar songs they wrote.

Joe: Okay, well that's mislabelled here.

Niall: Oops!

Joe: What was the name of that song?

Niall: This Land is Your Land.

Joe: No, that one that we just heard.

Niall: The one we just heard was...

Jason: Maybe Across the Sea?

Niall: I think it was Washington Breakdown. So Guthrie and Seeger...

Joe: Yeah, we don't have This Land is Your Land. Unless we can sing it.

Tim: This land is your land, this land is my land.

Niall: Well chances are good that the version we know today, because it was changed later, Guthrie had a particular paragraph in it. Again, it's not very subversive on the face of it. (same song again)

Joe: No. Okay, we've got the same one uploaded twice. Doesn't matter. Anyway, we don't have This Land is Your Land. But it's actually a pretty well known song. Most people know it.

Niall: The version that comes down to us today was already changed by the '60s. It has a verse in it that goes "There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me. A sign was painted. It said 'private property'. But on the backside it didn't say nothing. This land was made for you and me." Now the end there, "This land was made for you and me" in the original, it was sung "God bless America for me". Just me. But just in changing that, that became a big hit on its own because people recognized what Guthrie was doing with it. It's you and me. The country doesn't belong to the rich sort of thing.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: So this was a kind of protest song. But that was nothing compared to the work they did together. Guthrie and Seeger formed a band called the Almanacs. They got in hot water in 1940 because their album was antiwar, against the second world war. And we have a couple of songs, one of which we can play that one now actually, the one about Franklin D. It's called Washington Breakdown.
Franklin D., listen to me,
You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea,
Cross the sea, 'cross the sea,
You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea.

You may say it's for defense,
But that kinda talk that I'm against.
I'm against, I'm against,
That kinda talk ain't got no sense.

Lafayette, we are here,
We're gonna stay right over here...
Over here, over here,
We're gonna stay right over here.

Marcantonio is the best,
But I wouldn't give a nickel for all the rest
All the rest, all the rest,
I wouldn't give a nickel for all the rest.

J. P. Morgan's big and plump,
Eighty-four inches around the rump...
Around the rump, around the rump,
Eighty-four inches around the rump.

Wendell Wilkie and Franklin D.,
Seems to me they both agree,
Both agreed, they both agreed,
Both agree on killin' me.
Niall: Now, those lyrics might be a bit "Hm, what's he talking about for us today?" But at the time it would have been well understood. He's talking about the big money on Wall Street, JP Morgan got mentioned. People knew about the power of Wall Street. Wendell Wilkie was the republican candidate against Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. So he's saying there that both parties are the same. They all want to push us to a war of defence. Yeah right! And then the third thing he mentions is a guy called Marcantonio. He's alright but all the rest suck, all the politicians. Marcantonio was later raked over the coals for being a communist, which also happened to the two musicians. But what was interesting was that this album they made, the Almanacs, it was banned. They just didn't play it on the radio. I think an emergency act came into play where the radio stations were not going to play this. Somebody bought up the whole stock.

Joe: Just was canned.

Niall: It was basically canned. That wasn't the end of them of course. They continued on. Guthrie eventually died in the '60s, and Seeger's been playing and singing his songs all the way up until a few weeks ago.

Tim: He was blacklisted though, in McCarthy's America in the '50s because he joined the communist party as a young man and then he got disillusioned and he quit and even after that he was pulled in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was basically silenced for a number of years I believe.

Niall: Yeah, he was called up. Many people were. He got called up in 1955.

Joe: For being un-American.

Niall: For being un-American.

Joe: That's un-American.

Niall: He was alone. He was the only one at least of the artists, who when called up refused to plead the Fifth Amendment, which would have asserted his testimony to be - so you'd say "I have nothing hide." You'd plead the Fifth. And he instead said "No, I'm going to use the First Amendment, Free Speech. I'm going to say what I want." And he was alone in that because that was a terrifying time and most people capitulated and said "No, no. Well some of my friends might be communist." But he just saw right through that. Here's an example of someone who was consciously trying to use his music to educate people.

So he was actually helping someone campaign in 1948, a guy named Henry Wallace. Now Henry Wallace had been Vice-President of the United States from 1940 to 1944. The powers that be basically, to summarize it, were terrified of this man. And they organized a little coup to get him off the ticket so that he wouldn't be Vice-President from 1944 onwards because he was actually intent on implementing the changes that Roosevelt had slowly, slowly been putting in. Of course Roosevelt died eight months later and Truman comes in.

Joe: Pen pusher.

Niall: Pen pusher. Anyway, this guy Henry Wallace, was campaigning with Seeger. He had him as President. I think that's when he got hauled up for being un-American.

Joe: Well as I said, it's a whole period of history that is kind of too long ago to be included in people's very short-term memory these days. And so is the Vietnam War by this stage. But a lot of stuff was happening then, like you mentioned, as a result of the whole social justice type ideas that had been spread, if deceptively or erroneously or falsely by the Russian Revolution and stuff in the early 20th century. And it took hold. But as you mentioned, the second world war put pay to that and then communism, as I just mentioned, immediately following on the heels on the second world war so that anybody who dissented in any way against America and America's ideals, was a commie. And that very successfully suppressed the vast majority of people.

Niall: And Seeger had been a member of the American Communist Party, but so were 300,000 other people. He changed his mind. Both he and Woody Guthrie changed their tune literally, during the war. And they gave their reasons for it. Well they saw the face of Fascism in Europe and they said "Alright, this is the wrong war to be against. Okay, totally we're behind it." And then later the band Almanac's songs reflected that. They were for the war but they always made sure they were making clear "Yeah, we're up for fighting the Fascists and we're going to fight the Fascists at home too". Woody Guthrie always had on his guitar, wherever he played, "This machine kills fascists".

Joe: Fascism was defined almost in the modern conception of the term by Hitler, and that basically means an authoritarian, dictatorial leader who wants to control. Fascism didn't originally mean that. When the idea was first mooted it was just another idea of a way to organize society but it became associated with Hitler and Mussolini and conquering other countries and enslaving people and stuff. So it was basically what we have today, ruled by an elite.

Jason: Yeah, well they really picked the fight with the right guy when it came to the Second World War because I think he turned out worse than they thought. And so in the end you are kind of glad he got taken down. But at the same time we know that the reasons going in were not as honest as they said.

Joe: Absolutely not. Tim, on that topic, has a song. So we're going to call on him once more to bring us some live, uncensored music.

Tim: Here I am.

Joe: What have you got for us Tim?

Tim: This one is called Bring On the Eschaton.

Joe: What does that mean, eschaton?

Tim: I believe it's like end times, Armageddon, apocalypse. I think it's a biblical term.

Joe: Okay. So basically the idea behind the song is that psychos in power are bringing on global destruction?

Tim: Yeah. In a sense.

Joe: The modern day Hitlers.

Tim: It's my response to what happened on 9/11. I had just finished reading 9/11 The Ultimate Truth, but back then it was The Occult Significance of 9/11. Laura had just written it. And it deals with the possibility of 9/11 being an inside job and the involvement of the Israelis and the secret service in America and that kind of thing. So it's got the god of the new testament and the god of the old testament in here and a whole bunch of other good things.

Joe: Excellent. Well take it away.
Bring On the Eschaton
How do you know when it's time to change course
When things are going south, heading north
Life is pretty bad down south of 49
Where power is rewarded for crime.

And who's responsible for this
Neo-cons, Zion-ists
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton

Build another prison in the land of the free
In the home of the brave the smart ones plea
They'll be leaving in droves
By boat, plane and bus
Baby this ain't your grandma's exodus

Who's responsible for this
The Neo-cons, Zion-ists
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton

And them two towers was an inside job
A six-sided key in the Pentagon
And why would a country want to attack itself
And do you really want to wait around to find out

Who's responsible for this
It's the Neo-cons, Zion-ists
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton
Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon
Jehovah's ready to bring on the eschaton

Joe: There you have it.

Juliana: Your subtlety Tim, is amazing.

Jason: Amazing. What was the song about?

Tim: I'm at a loss for words so I can't answer that.

Niall: That was a great song. I heard it first a few years ago and yeah, it hit home.

Joe: Yeah if anybody's interested in getting hold of these songs...

Tim: Yes, I have a Bandcamp account.

Joe: Bandcamp? How would I find that?

Tim: You go to Relicsongs. The name of the band is Relic. So Relicsongs, R-E-L-I-C-S-O-N-G-S, one word, dot And they're all up there.

Joe: Right. And you can buy them.

Tim: Yeah, they're a dollar each or something. And all the proceeds go to

Joe: Well that's very generous of you.

Tim: And you can find the link on the Signs page. If you go to Songs of the Times on the right-hand side, near the bottom. It says Relic. If you click on that, that'll take you right to Bandcamp as well.

Joe: Okay. Cool! So that's another way for listeners to support...

Tim: Support this great radio station.

Joe: This radio station and everything else we do and at the same time, listen to some protest songs that are going to cause you to rise up and overthrow the evildoers in this world. So everybody wins!

Tim: Down with pathocrats.

Jason: This one time at bandcamp... (laughter) I had to they named it band camp! They knew it was an obvious reference to the movie, right?

Joe: Yeah, that was excellent. Jesus is coming to prep for Armageddon.

Tim: Yeah, the son's going first to clean up a bit, get it ready and then the big guy Yahweh's on his way in.

Jason: For some reason when he sings that song I imagine Jesus and Jehovah in a kitchen making an omelette or something.

Joe: Call it Armageddon.

Jason: The omelegeddon and eschaton is like some sort of spicing or something. It's a foody song.

Joe: And they're going to serve it up for everybody.

Juliana: But you know, that song for example, it's a great protest song for several reasons. And one of the things I can think of is you can educate people so much first through music. You can do it in a peaceful way, which is something that the powers that be don't like. The revolutionary leaders that were killed mostly were for peace. John Lennon; Martin Luther King. You could do so much plus bring people together. The whole limbic resonance, people thinking together, singing together. And it would be such a perfect means for education and for raising awareness and stuff. Why doesn't it work?

Tim: Well I think there's probably at least two reasons. Because, like we mentioned earlier, the music industry being controlled by the oligarchs and people with money who control the media just don't allow this kind of music to be played.

Juliana: Yeah.

Tim: And also any singer in the spotlight who's not just there for the fame and the money, who actually has a consciences and has his or her eyes open and sees what's going on in the world, essentially has a responsibility to say what's going on. But as soon as they do that, they're marginalized.

Jason: Or take the Chevy to the levy. (laughter) You know what I'm talking about here!

Tim: So there's just no way to win. So essentially a singer/songwriter just has to say what he says or she says and let the chips fall where they may.

Juliana: It's so sad. I want a revolution with music. Tim, you're the leader.

Tim: (laughs) I like music.

Joe: So where do we go next? We were at the Second World War and how it kind of put an end to any kind of movements for social change beforehand. It killed off most people and was probably a collective trauma in many places around the world as a result of the Second World War that focused people on other things like staying alive. Not the song, by the way.

Jason: (Sings) Oh oh oh oh staying alive, staying alive... But didn't they jump right into the Korean War and all these other differently little Asian...

Joe: Vietnam had been prepped actually during the Second World War and it took a good 20 years for people to get on the bandwagon again and the whole new age movement and love and antiwar movement in the '60s and '70s. But just prior to the Second World War there was a war in Spain, the Spanish civil war. Franco was the dictator of Spain at the time, basically rightwing, conservative, ultimate totalitarian control. And he was opposed by the local republican...

Niall: Well no, there was a democratically elected republican government in Spain and he came in...

Joe: Franco came in and overthrew that.

Niall: And overthrew it.

Joe: Yeah. And so that spawned a civil war from 1936 to 1939. One of the most well-known things that came out of that was Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica which was a town in northern Spain called Guernica that was bombed by the Nazis because in that period, '36, '39, the Spanish dictator Franco was in league with the Nazis. And the Nazis loaned a few bombers to go down and bomb a republican stronghold.

Jason: What about the kind of deposit you got to put on something like that...

Joe: Exactly. But at the same time, because of the whole ideology going around at the time of people being against totalitarian rule and oppressive leaders and stuff, there were international "brigades", as they were called, of people who came from all over the world actually to fight on both sides. The international brigades I think were primarily anti-Franco and they came to support the Spanish people in their fight against dictatorship. But there were also people on the other side. And this is an example of how polarized the whole idea was and you had very different views among ordinary people supposedly, about where it should go. And there were people who actually went to Spain from around the world to fight for Franco. And this included people on both sides from the same countries.

One of the most celebrated ones, at least in song, is the people from Ireland who went against Franco but they also went to fight with Franco. They were called the Blue Shirts because some reference to St. Patrick's blue colour or something, they wore shirts and stuff. But the Catholic Church at the time went out and supported them. So the people who went from Ireland to support Franco and to fight for Franco, for dictatorship, they were basically sailing from Ireland to Spain beneath a swastika essentially; flying a swastika flag, wearing blue shirts. And at the same time on a boat leaving behind them was a bunch of guys, their neighbours sailing behind them to go and "When we get to Spain we're going to be shooting each other" type of thing. For our different ideologies in foreign countries.

But people came from the US and from the UK and from France and from most European countries. And they were called the international brigades. And there's a song made most popular or most famous these days by an Irish singer/songwriter called Christy Moore. The name of the song is Viva la Quinta Brigada which means Long Live the Fifth Brigade but it should have been 15th brigade because it was the 15th International Brigade that they were originally attached to. So I suppose the best thing is to play a little bit of it, if I can find it somewhere here as we have a long list of songs. Here it is.
Ten years before I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifteenth International Brigade

They came to stand beside the Spanish people
To try and stem the rising fascist tide
Franco's allies were the powerful and wealthy
Frank Ryan's men came from the other side

Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on
Truth and love against the force of evil
Brotherhood against the fascist clan

Viva la Quinta Brigada
'No Pasaran', the pledge that made them fight
'Adelante' is the cry around the hillside
Let us all remember them tonight
Joe: That was a live version played a few years ago in Glasgow and you can hear the crowd singing along behind it. But that was Viva la Quinta Brigada by Christy Moore and the lyrics are... (repeats lyrics). "'No Pasaran', the pledge that made them fight", the pledge that they will not pass like Gandalf of Lord of the Rings. And "'Adelante' is the cry around the hillside", adelante meaning "walk forward". And it gives then a list of various different individuals who went and one of them was Frank Ryan. Frank Ryan is a kind of interesting character. He's kind of celebrated to some extent and in certain circles in Ireland still he was a guy who went to fight against Franco. Previous to that he was a member of the IRA in Ireland. He was a bit too late to fight against the British but the IRA was still there after the Irish state was given freedom in 1920 from the British, but the IRA was still formed afterwards. Because they weren't happy about partition in Ireland, which was the fact that only part of Ireland got freedom. The north remained part of the UK. So the IRA was still there. The section of the IRA who had kicked the British out, they broke in two and one of them was not happy with partition and the other ones were. So he was a part of the ones that weren't happy. He went to fight because the whole IRA movement and kicking out the British and fighting the British in 1916 and getting freedom in 1920 was informed again, by the whole Bolshevik revolution and those ideas of "overthrow the evil taskmasters and power to the working class" and stuff.

Niall: They naturally identified with it.

Joe: Absolutely. So then went to help out the Spanish. And they had a history of being fighters and stuff. So he went to Spain and he was arrested. He fought in the Spanish Civil War against Franco. He was arrested and imprisoned for 16 months. And then through the help of the Irish state he was handed over to the Germans. There was a German military intelligence organization at the time called Abwehr. He was handed over to them at the border between France and Spain and they took him and this is the strange thing. So the Nazis and Franco were in league and he was there fighting Franco. But he then realized that this was 1939, right at the beginning of the Second World War, so then he said "Okay, I'm in the hands of the Germans now and the Germans are saying 'you're in Ireland right? You don't like the British, right? And we've just started a war with the British. So how about we hang out?'"

So it originally started off with "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" type of thing, but then the enemy had a friend who was also his enemy. But anyway, it doesn't matter. The point being that he saw an opportunity depending on the way the war had started, depending on the way the war was going to go, it would have been profitable for him and the IRA to associate themselves with the Germans and get their help to get rid of the British. If the Germans were going to win and take over all of Europe, then that was the side to be on. But he didn't necessarily adhere to their ideology, but he saw, but what was he going to do? So he ended up going back. There were various different ideas the Nazis had for setting up kind of spy bases in Ireland and even to use Ireland as a transmitter. They were thinking of transmitting Nazi propaganda from Ireland to America. All sorts of crazy ideas.

But that's just an interesting little anecdote about the guys that were mentioned in that song, Frank Ryan. And to this day he's got a statue in Dublin and some kind of right-wingers, after the war have been attacking and damaging his statue, writing things on it, claiming that he was essentially a supporter of Nazis and fascism when... it's bizarre because he was actually fighting against fascism in Spain and then because he just had some contact with the Nazis, which he couldn't really control, he's then condemned later.

Niall: Well, there's an interesting tie-in here with what we discussed before. The 15th international brigade was actually also made up of the Abraham Lincoln battalion that came from the United States. I think they figure something like 20,000 American volunteers went to Spain and about a third of them were black. I think a much higher ratio than actually fought in the Second World War, for example, that came immediately after. For me the take home message of the significance of that war is that unlike what normally happens, normally you only get certain types attracted, desperate enough or to be drawn enough into violence, wherever it springs up. You might get mercenaries. They've no compunction with going to a war anywhere, to see that they'll benefit from it.

This was unique in that you had such huge voluntary effort, citizen effort. There was no American military force going to Spain. There was no British military force.

Joe: Absolutely not.

Niall: The British and American governments obstructed supplies getting to what was essentially a citizen army whereas the fascists on Franco's side had the full technological support of the Nazis.

Jason: Because the west was grooming Hitler for the big fight that they wanted to start.

Niall: Yeah, grooming and/or appeasing. And citizens said "Well, they're not doing anything about it so we're going to do something about it". And it stretched on for three years. That was the build-up. It ended and then the Second World War started straight away.

Joe: Yeah. It's all very interesting. Since we're on Irish topics, I'm just going to just get this out of the way. Probably most people know a song by U2 called Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Jason: I don't like U2.

Niall: That's a great protest song.

Joe: No it's not.

Niall: It's not?

Jason: I hate U2.

Joe: Well according to Bono it's not, because Bono came out after however many years at a concert, just before the song was played and said "This is not a protest song" or no, "This is not a republican song". He was basically saying that it was not what people had taken it for, which was an anti-British song. I never liked Bono anyway, but the thing is there's another song called Sunday Bloody Sunday and it's by John Lennon. Most people probably have never heard it but it's the song that U2 should have written and John Lennon made no bones about the fact that it was a protest song and in the words of the song it is pretty clear what he was saying. And this obviously, for people who don't know, Bloody Sunday was a day in 1972 when Irish catholic people in the north of Ireland who were holding a civil rights demonstration and 14 of them were shot and killed by British troops, as we mentioned earlier in the show, most like on direct orders from "on high" because obviously civil rights demonstrations and stuff were not allowed by the ruling elite.
So here's what John Lennon had to say about it and what Bono of U2 should have said.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"

Well it was Sunday
Bloody Sunday
When they shot the people there
The cries of thirteen martyrs
Filled the free Derry air.
Is there any one among you
Dare to blame it on the kids?
Not a soldier boy was

When they nailed the
coffin lids!

Sunday bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday's the day!

You claim to be majority
Well you know that it's a lie
You're really a minority
Oh this sweet emerald isle.
When Stormont bans
our marchers

They've got a lot to learn
Internment is no answer
It's those mother's turn
to burn!

Sunday bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday's the day!

You Anglo pigs and Scotties
Sent to colonize the north
You wave your bloody
Union Jacks
And you know what it's worth!
How dare you hold on to ransom
A people proud and free
Keep Ireland for the Irish
Put the English back to sea!

Sunday bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday's the day!
Joe: Keep Ireland for the Irish. Put the English back to sea.

Jason: So that's what little Yoko does to you. (laughter) That was like the worst song he has ever written in his entire life.

Joe: I think it's a great song.

Jason: The lyrics are fantastic. Listening to the music is...

Joe: Well the thing about it is, in between the chorus there, it is sung by Yoko and she's wailing, as she did a lot.

Jason: She can't sing. She really sucks.

Joe: She's a wailer.

Niall: She gets a bad rap, but he went on his super creative spell, I won't say thanks to Yoko, but she was there by his side. He became who he became...

Jason: I think he did it in spite of her.

Tim: I agree.

Niall: I don't know. I think she was the creative impetus.

Joe: I like John Lennon a lot and I'm proud of him because of the kind of stance he took on most things. It was the right stance in terms of justice. And he tried his best type of thing. And he had other songs. There's another song called the Luck of the Irish which is a good one if you check it out, by John Lennon. But this is kind of getting us onto the topic of protest songs aren't only always for social justice. There are people who write what appear to be social justice songs that kind of miss the mark. Just on that same topic, there's a song by the Cranberries, which is another Irish group, pretty famous, well-known.

Niall: Their song Zombie.

Joe: Yes.

Niall: Now it was funny because people saw the video and they heard the song and they thought "Oh yeah, well that's edgy. That's about Northern Ireland. Yeah! Injustice in Northern Ireland." Actually what she says both in the song and what she has said publicly, is nothing to do whatsoever with making a stand. It was in no way a protest song. It's the opposite. The Cranberries and U2 are like this clean Irish rock that we saw so much of, basically since 1989. I don't know at what point we could say rock music became cool because it was clean, but for me after the '60s things started to go pear-shaped because the music they'll promote, some of it's awesome music. It's catchy and it does stand out and for people making an association with it being a revolutionary song. But really it's all been cleaned out.

Joe: The song Zombie, I don't actually have it here if you want to play it.

Jason: No. Screw the Cranberries. (laughter)

Joe: It's a commentary on Northern Ireland and the conflict in Northern Ireland. And Dolores O'Reardon who is from the Republic of Ireland typifies a kind of attitude amongst - no offence Niall, you're not one of them - amongst people in the south of Ireland towards the conflict in the north where it's all just "Oh just stop will you? This is too much for us. We can't handle it." And so she penned the song Zombie and the words are kind of like "In your head, in your head they are fighting with their tanks and their guns and their bombs and their guns in your head, in your head they are fighting." And she even has a line in there "It's the same old theme since 1916". Nineteen-sixteen was the Easter rising in Ireland that led to Irish independence, partially for Ireland.

So she even has a dig at that. And she totally misses it. It's kind of like this sanctimonious moralizing when she knows nothing about it. She thinks it's just "Would y'all just stop fighting?" And she's blaming everybody and complaining about people being killed and mothers. Pushing an emotional button and stuff. And sure war is horrible, but the point that she doesn't understand about the conflict in Northern Ireland was that it was entirely orchestrated and financed and funded by the British and they kept it going for a specific reason, because it was in their interests to keep it going.

But even more than that, the reason for the conflict in Northern Ireland wasn't even about unification of Ireland. It was about civil rights, at the beginning. That's what kicked off the conflict in Northern Ireland beginning about 1970, or 25 years, was about civil rights. It was about people protesting for civil rights and then being shot. Kind of like the Kent State University shootings; being shot for protesting for simple, basic civil rights that everybody should be entitled to. And that's what started it and the British were not willing to give that.

I'm not going to blame anybody in any community for taking up arms and waging an armed struggle against that kind of oppression. But apparently Dolores O'Reardon of the Cranberries is willing to do that because she was safe down in the south of Ireland and it didn't affect her. But she felt entitled to moralize and judge it from her ignorant...

Jason: (laughing) And the Irishman comes out! "While we were up there fighting for freedom..."

Niall: It's okay Joe. I'm with you all the way.

Joe: No, I'm just saying...

Jason: I am. I hate the Cranberries. I think she's a tool.

Joe: So she doesn't know what she's talking about so just shut up.

Jason: She's just a total tool.

Joe: Unless you're informed on a particular topic, shut up or at the very least, don't write a song about it.

Niall: Yeah, she's annoying. What about some of these other musicians? You're never sure, is it a protest song? Hmm. It was very popular. Well it kind of said something. Someone that comes to mind is Bruce Springsteen. Did he write any protest songs?

Joe: Low key. Born in the USA had some little...

Niall: Well that became nationalistic.

Joe: I know! That's an example of how it was turned around.

Niall: He didn't mean it that way.

Jason: No.

Joe: He kind of had a bit of a jab in there of people being sent off...

Tim: It's still very mild.

Joe: It's very mild. It's about...

Tim: The chorus is "born in the USA". If you're just listening to the chorus, and most people do, they're not paying attention.

Joe: Which is most of them. And there's the problem with songs. But then there's other songs. You had a song that you were talking about Jason.

Jason: Oh yeah, because there's a little bit of a story. This guy apparently is kind of popular and maybe some people like him. I kind of really got rubbed the wrong way and then I even heard some more songs from him and got rubbed even more the wrong way. Tim actually recommended him. He's a Canadian. Baba Brinkman. He's a white rapper. And he sings I guess you could almost call them political songs. He's what you would call a "middle-ist". Play that example from Social Contract.

Joe: It's just 30 seconds or so.
Sometimes freedom is violent; it gets derailed
The system fails whenever freedom tips the scales
When a sadistic freak is freed from a prison cell
Or a big business victimizes people with its sales
Some say we need chaos, but when a government falls
Another one pops up; it's like juggling rubber balls
We don't need more freedom; we need tougher laws
Electricity should be double the cost
With subsidies involved for those with no money
It's gonna be pretty hard to keep this show running
If nobody believes there's any room for change
We need fewer cars and more commuter trains
And new laws to make sure polluters pay
For what they do to our food chains; these are the changes
Institutions can make, if we just use our brains
Instead of TVs and computer games
Joe: It's a bit of a mixed bag there isn't it?

Jason: Yeah, well if you read Political Ponerology you'll know about the schizoid declaration and paramoralizing and stuff. And if you know anything about logical fallacies you'll know about the parade of horribles and black and white thinking. So he says sometimes freedom is violent and it gets derailed. That is true, but that doesn't mean that freedom or fighting for your freedom or wanting your freedom is any bad. And yeah, sometimes a sadistic freak does get freed from a jail and that's really kind of unfortunate, but then you have the opposite which is where lots of people who are innocent end of in torture chambers. So, take your pick. And then he kind of goes on and says "We don't need more freedom. We need tougher laws". So here's a guy that automatically got thrown into the authoritarian category. He's got another thing. And he says to the idea that we should never be restricted but sometimes it's just hilarious how addicted we are to the idea that we should never be restricted at all. But if freedom means driving an SUV and never having to clean up the mess you leave, then I say we need to be less free.

He's really kind of gone sort of extreme. "You want to be free. That means you just want to drive an SUV and pollute the environment". This guy basically is insulting people who really struggle for their freedom. Joe was talking about this O'Reardon character who doesn't know what's going on. These people are getting shot just for basic civil liberties. "All you want to do is drive your SUV" and "overthrow the government and chaos" and "we need more institutions and laws". And I'm just like, dude...

Niall: And we need to double electricity bills.

Jason: Yeah. Double electricity bills. We already have this massive problem with poverty, right? And he's like "then we need to subsidize the poor". Oh come on dude! And this guy's like, at one point he's like, "if you want change run for political office". You know what dude? Why don't we run together? Alright?

Joe: You first.

Jason: I dare you! I dare you to get elected to government and make a positive change. Then you can keep singing your song because that's just a ridiculous response that people give you. "You want to change something, run for office. You could be President". It's like dude, there's been like what, 44 Presidents in the United States? Come on! You're more likely to win the lottery than to become the President or even a senator these days because the incumbency rate is 99%. That's just ridiculous. It's a perfect example of somebody who's a total authoritarian and kind of passes himself off as some sort of social commentary thing. And some of the things he says are kind of a little bit okay.

Tim: I think perhaps in the case of Baba Brinkman it's a question of him having a conscience but being misinformed, not having the proper data.

Joe: That's the problem.

Tim: If you believe in global warming and you care about the earth, you're going to talk about that kind of thing.

Jason: Right.

Tim: Is it so much that he's an authoritarian follower? Because he has a song called Don't Vote for Meanies, which...

Jason: Yeah, which I kind of almost like.

Tim: And he's anti-Stephen Harper. But he still says you should vote for the good guy.

Jason: Right.

Tim: He doesn't understand that the whole voting process is a sham, right? So I wouldn't blame him for that.

Jason: In all fairness Don't Vote for Meanies was a catchy tune and I didn't really have such a problem with that one. It was a little bit of a lame video because he's got all these people supposed to be the audience and they're really very unenthusiastic. It's like "Don't vote for meanies" and they're all like (quietly) "Don't vote for meanies". It was just like, dude, you could have had them be a little bit more enthusiastic about that. (chuckling)

Joe: Tim, do you want to sing us another song?

Tim: Sure. We can sing one.

Joe: Let's get some live action here on the radio show.

Tim: This one's called Seeing Red. It is also available at the bandcamp site.

Joe: Was this from a point in your life where you were?

Tim: Yeah, it's sort of a response to, I think it was 2006, when Israel bombed the crap out of Lebanon for some imaginary reason.

Joe: Yeah. Just a bit of blood lust.

Tim: And it made me really, really angry. And I find music sometimes is a way of expressing these emotions I have when I see things in the world that I don't like. And rather than punching my pillow or screaming into the void, I'll write a song about it. One of the difficulties with writing songs, I've found, and people who've seen me play live, a lot of my songs are humorous. And I find it's an interesting way of reaching or getting a message out through humour. I'm not playing too many humorous songs tonight, but it's sort of a way to couch your message in a way that makes people happier that they can laugh about it.

Joe: Yeah. But also get the message across.

Tim: Exactly.A lot of singer/songwriters, the problems they face are being too preachy, for example, too self-righteous, too self-important.

Joe: Or shoving it in people's faces too much.

Tim: Yeah, and you don't want to do that. So it's always a fine line you have to walk when you're writing a song. But this one is definitely from an emotional point of view, as real as it gets for me.

Joe: Seeing Red by Tim Trepanier.

Tim: Seeing Red with backing vocals by Juliana. I'm going to pick this one so bear with me. I'm not a very accomplished picker. I'm going to do my best.
Take some angry men
Stick 'em in the sand
Put guns in their hands
See what happens

When you sign up for war
Brother you get what you pay for
How many dead children
Will settle the score?

Babylon can't be much fun
When the dead are the lucky ones
And I hang my head
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
It's poundin' in my head
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
And lord he's just a kid
I'm seeing red.

The streets of Lebanon
Are riddled with blood
The innocent are gone
But not forgotten

And have you heard the news ma
The Zionists thinks the Jews
They're just a government that they choose
And I'll criticize 'em if I want to.

And how can conscience win
When the media blames the victim
And I hang my head
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
All bombs and no bread
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
Only the rich get fed
I'm seeing red

What human can relate
To all those heads of state
Whose heads are full of hate
And whose hearts are never broken

'Cause it's those that make the rules baby
They're playing us for fools
And we're giving 'em the tools
To annihilate us all.

And I'll never apologize
For being mad as hell at all the lies
And I hang my head
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
We're so easily led
I'm seeing red, I'm seeing red
I'm gonna shout it 'til I'm dead
I'm seeing red.

Tim: Thank you.

Joe: That was excellent Tim.

Tim: Thank you very much.

Joe: And as you say, that was kind of inspired by the Israeli attack on Lebanese civilians in 2006. The end result was 1,200 Lebanese civilians dead and two Israeli civilians dead. So figure it out from that. They also attacked the UN compound as well, killed UN personnel, the Israelis did. And all financed and funded and encouraged by George W. Bush.

Speaking of George W. Bush, when I was talking earlier on about protest songs that should be clear and to the point and stuff, there was one song that I heard several years ago and it kind of epitomized for me the kind of protest song the way it should be; direct and clear and to the point and with fairly simple concepts or ideas in them. And this one was written about George W. Bush by an American kind of punk rock group called NOFX.

Jason: Yeah, NOFX. They're great.

Joe: They've got a lot of songs and have been around for quite a long time and they're kind of punky.

Jason: They're real punk.

Joe: But they wrote this one. It's quite short. Have a quick listen to it.
"Idiot Son Of An Asshole"

He's not smart, a C student
And that's after buying his way into school
Beady eyes, probably dyslexic
Can he read? No one's really quite sure
He signs stuff and he executes people
Maybe that's why, he doesn't have any friends
Cocaine and a little drunk driving
Doesn't matter, when you're the Commander in Chief.

The idiot son of an asshole
He's the idiot son of an asshole
The idiot son of an asshole
He's the idiot son of an asshole

He's too dumb, to eat pretzels, apparently smart enough to fix an election.
Moved boldly into the White House,
but most people voted against him.
He likes naps, He really likes naptime, A couple of naps and then a nap and then he's ready for bed,
He may be from Bush descent, but he's always gonna be the unpresident.
Joe: He's always gonna to be the unpresident. That was The Idiot Son of an Asshole. And for me after eight years of George W. Bush, what more can you say about him? And it's great because it actually takes it back a generation as well. He's got daddy Bush in there as well. But again, who knows of NOFX? Not many people really.

Jason: The assholes and idiot song.

Joe: Yea, exactly.

Niall: Well that gets me wondering. Today, in the last 20 years or so, what protest songs come to mind for any of you?

Joe: The last 20 years?

Niall: Yeah. Recent enough.

Jason: I don't know. The last 20 years I would say changes. Social commentary songs. Changes by Tupak definitely one. And what is another song?

Joe: That were really popular?

Jason: That were really popular? Where Is The Love? That was not really particularly protest but it was kind of. Black Eyed Peas.

Juliana: What about that song you usually played in Weapons of Mass Destruction? That's fairly new. Is it famous?

Joe: Yeah. That's probably one. Weapons of Mass Destruction by...

Niall: By Faithless.

Joe: Faithless, yeah.

Niall: They're a UK band.

Joe: But again, you don't see much of it coming out of the US. And maybe Dixie Chicks. But again...

Jason: They do a lot of protest songs. She did Not Ready to Make Nice, but that was more like talking about her experience. She was outspoken.

Joe: Yeah, she was outspoken. Not Ready to Make Nice was a result of...

Jason: Of her speaking out.

Joe: The crap that she got and they got for saying that they were ashamed that George Bush was from Texas.

Jason: But he's not from Texas.

Joe: I know he's not.

Jason: He's from Martha's Vineyard.

Joe: They were ashamed that he was in Texas, ever.

Jason: They should be.

Joe: And she said that just on stage, just once on stage in London in maybe 2005 or something.

Jason: It harks back to them being mad at Mohammed Ali for talking shit about the way black people were treated when he went to Russia or something like that.

Joe: Oh yeah?

Jason: He got in a lot of trouble or something.

Joe: Yeah, but there isn't a lot.

Niall: They generally don't get air play. It's that simple.

Jason: Yup.

Niall: There is one though, it was another UK band. It became quite popular before they made an album that just wanted to say what was on their mind a bit. That's Muse. Again I suppose it's punk rock but it's more...

Joe: A popular song.

Tim: Muse?

Niall: Muse. They have one song called Uprising. That pretty much lays it all out; gets into CIA mind control, elites engineering 9/11, you name it.

Jason: Still waiting. Sum 41.

Niall: Don't know it.

Jason: Oh yeah, that's a very popular song and was definitely antiwar.

Niall: Actually there's a little add-on to that. The lead singer of Muse who was later, let's say, forced to recant and say that "No, no, I don't think 9/11's a conspiracy after all"; the problem of course is they see the money bags starting to fly away...

Joe: Exactly.

Niall: So who do you have? There are people out there who have made it. They've got to survive too, but they're dedicated to writing songs that mean something. You just generally don't hear them. Another British guy, well he's actually originally Israeli. He stands out. He's actually a jazz musician. His song lyrics anyway, aren't really about what his main message is. He uses his concerts and now his fame, at least within a certain genre, to speak out, and that's Gilad Atzmon.

Joe: Yeah.

Juliana: I guess nowadays you could call a protest song, you could say everything's so wrong in the world that even if you complain about our materialistic society or your song, Makin' Bacon, Tim, for example, it's not a protest song per se, but everything is so friggin' bad in this world that anything that goes against what the authorities are selling us, kind of turns into a protest song. Anything that appeals to humanity, to helping each other, whatever. Nowadays that's what we have. There's a lot to complain about.

Jason: There was also American Idiot by Green Day. Jesus of Suburbia was kind of social commentary in a certain sense. It was protesting the way kids are drugged and bombarded with the media. And Boulevard of Broken Dreams. So there were some. But I don't know if people really listened to that album.

Juliana: Well it doesn't need to be about a war per se, but something that awakens peoples' conscience and interest and that educates them.

Niall: Well on that note, things are so bad, that really anyone with any creative ability can sort of take their pick, choose a topic and go for it. Another person I want to give mention to is Tracey Chapman. Now her songs were very successful commercially. I'm wondering what was it that it just flew under the radar. I think talking about a revolution, her big ones were in the '90s and I guess there just wasn't the sensitivity or reactionary...

Joe: But everything was good in the '90s supposedly, while the CIA was waging its covert wars all around the world under cover and under media censorship. The era of '80s, '90s was the era of wealth and everything was great as far as people knew. There was nothing for people to complain about, you know? But what's amazing is that people should have so much to complain about now since 9/11, but there's so little. The most you see is kind of from the people who have been made a target of the warmonger's bloodlust is Muslims. Not even necessarily Muslims but people whose origins are in the Middle East or from North Africa or Pakistan or somewhere like that, particularly in the UK because there's a lot people of Pakistani and Indian descent in the UK. I think there's a guy who calls himself Lowkey.

Niall: His real name is actually Kareem Dennis. The Karim is because his mother was from Iraq.

Joe: Right. And he's written a song called Terrorist, wrote it a few years ago. Obviously it's not on every radio station in the UK. What do you put that down to? Is it just the quality of the song, or is it...

Jason: With the shit that they play on the radio? Are you kidding me?

Joe: Yeah. Have a little listen.
So, We must ask ourselves, What is the dictionary definition of "Terrorism"?
The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
But what is terror?

According to the dictionary I hold in my hand, Terror, is violent or destructive acts
Such as bombing committed by groups in order to intimidate a population,
Or government into granting their demands

So what's a terrorist?

They're calling me a terrorist
Like they don't know who the terror is
When they put it on me, I tell them this
I'm all about peace and love
They calling me a terrorist
Like they don't know who the terror is
Insulting my intelligence
Oh how these people judge...

[Verse 1:]
Tell me, what's the bigger threat to human society
BAE Systems or home made IED's
Remote controlled drones, killing off human lives
Or man with home made bomb committing suicide
I know you were terrified when you saw the towers fall
It's all terror but some forms are more powerful
It seems nuts, how could there be such agony
When more Israeli's die from peanut allergies
It's like the definition didn't ever exist
I guess it's all just depending who your nemesis is
Irrelevant how eloquent the rhetoric peddler is
They're telling fibs, now tell us who the real terrorist is

They're calling me a terrorist
Like they don't know who the terror is
When they put it on me, I tell them this
I'm all about peace and love
They calling me a terrorist
Like they don't know who the terror is
Insulting my intelligence
Oh how these people judge...

Lumumba was democracy - Mossadegh was democracy
Allende was democracy - Hypocrisy it bothers me
Call you terrorists if you don't wanna be a colony
Who used to bow down to a policy of robbery
Is terrorism my lyrics?
When more Vietnam vets kill themselves after the war than died in it?
This is very basic...
One nation in the world has over a thousand military bases
They say it's religion, when clearly it isn't
It's not just Muslims that oppose your imperialism
Is Hugo Chavez a Muslim? Nah... I didn't think so
Is Castro a Muslim? Nah... I didn't think so
It's like the definition didn't ever exist
I guess it's all just depending who your nemesis is
Irrelevant how eloquent the rhetoric peddler is
They're telling fibs, now tell us who the terrorist is
Jason: I love that refrain! That's real good.

Joe: He makes a few good points there, talking about terrorism and said that more Israelis died from peanut allergies in the past 10 years than they did from terrorist attacks.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: And also talking about after Vietnam he mentions the fact that more Vietnam vets committed suicide than died in Vietnam, since Vietnam.

Niall: Prior to this he was critically acclaimed in the UK, so he had some recognition. Enough recognition that he was aired in the States. And Glen Beck then of Fox news, did a whole show dedicated to taking him down. They played that song and they mocked at each turn. "Oh yeah, a country with a thousand bases. Yeah. Whatcha gonna do about it?" sort of thing. In your face. And Lowkey then in response to that, made another song called Obama Nation and he teamed with a couple of American hip-hop stars as well. I say stars that probably weren't that famous, but still. I grew up in the '90s and I never liked hip hop because all we'd hear is about the "whores and cars and the money and the drugs" and stuff. Yeah, okay whatever. But now you come into contact, there are a lot of people who use hip hop really, really well. He's one of them.

Joe: Yeah, well that's how it works. Somebody gets on Fox News and defames him and people listen to it and that's the end of it.

Jason: I think Glen Beck's such a tool anyway

Niall: The biggest rapper at the time, Eminem - I don't know what he's up to today - I was always kind of like "Well, are you going to say anything? What have you got to say?" He kind of did. There was a song called bin Laden that was recorded in 2004, not released until 2005. It's actually by Immortal Technique. He's a hip-hop artist who's been constantly on song with getting the message out, getting the message out and hence he's not that well known. But he did team up with someone else called Mos Def.

Jason: Mos Def, yeah.

Niall: And Eminem produced this. Could we possibly...

Joe: Hear a little bit? Okay.

Niall: Yeah.
Bin Laden didn't blow up the projects
It was you, nigga
Tell the truth, nigga
[Jadakiss] (Bush knocked down the towers)
Tell the truth, nigga
[Jadakiss] (Bush knocked down the towers)
Tell the truth, nigga

Bin Laden didn't blow up the projects
It was you, nigga
Tell the truth, nigga
[Jadakiss] (Bush knocked down the towers)
Tell the truth, nigga
[Jadakiss] (Bush knocked down the towers)

[Verse 1: Immortal Technique]
I pledge no allegiance, nigga fuck the president's speeches
I'm baptized by America and covered in leeches
The dirty water that bleaches your soul and your facial features
Drownin' you in propaganda that they spit through the speakers
And if you speak about the evil that the government does
The Patriot Act'll track you to the type of your blood
They try to frame you, and say you was tryna sell drugs
And throw a federal indictment on niggaz to show you love
This shit is run by fake Christians, fake politicians
Look at they mansions, then look at the conditions you live in
All they talk about is terrorism on television
They tell you to listen, but they don't really tell you they mission
They funded Al-Qaeda, and now they blame the Muslim religion
Even though Bin Laden, was a CIA tactician
They gave him billions of dollars, and they funded his purpose
Fahrenheit 9/11, that's just scratchin' the surface
Jason: That is some good stuff right there.

Niall: There you go. It says it all really.

Jason: Pretty much. He even got like bin Laden working for the CIA and everything. Eminem did two. He did one, I couldn't find it again, I'm an American. It was kind of a social commentary. It wasn't really too edgy. It was more about the police and stuff which was kind of typical. He did one Rock Bottom which was really kind of a social commentary. And he did another one recently though and debuted on YouTube and I don't remember the name of it, but it was kind of a bit anti-that. And then he of course immediately got into a whole bunch of trouble for drugs and kind of disappeared from the stage. So kind of curious. (laughing) Because here's a guy rapping about all the drugs he does and nobody does a thing until he says something political and all of a sudden boom! He's in jail. You're like "Wait a minute. Hold on a second."

Joe: That's exactly where their priorities are.

Jason: He sings a song listing all the drugs he's doing as he's recording and then all of a sudden. It's crazy. It really is.

Joe: Yeah. There's another buy Dan Bern. He's been around for a long time, but not very well known, again. He wrote a song called Talking al Qaeda. And it's A-L-K-I-D-A.

Jason: Oh, the ALKIDA Blues.

Joe: Well it's called Talking al Qaeda and he makes reference after all this stuff about al Qaeda to some guy up in Ohio or something.

Jason: Named Al Kida.

Joe: Named Al Kida and he's crapping himself. (laughter)

Jason: A-L-K-I-D-A!

Tim: They're after al Qaeda.

Jason: He's freaking out man!
Dan Bern:

It was a beautiful day in New York town
Folks jogging back and walking 'round
When a couple of airplanes came around
And hit the big towers, knocked them down.

Worst disaster on US soil ever

And of course there's the Indians
and a few million slaves
and Enron

But anyway, it was worse than Pearl Harbour

President W was flying around
Far away from New York town
When finally he came on TV
He said "Why do they hate us? 'cause we're free"

Free to round up dark-skinned bearded guys
Free to detain anyone who might have ties
to (Osama) Al Qaeda.

Somewhere in Cleveland
There's some guy named Al Kida
K-I-D-A. He's freaking out!

Congress quickly rang the bell
And tried to fight those terrorist cells
With laws to that and never let
This country fall to a terrorist threat

Anyone who knows of anyone
Who knows of anyone who knows anyone
who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone
Who might know a terrorist.
He's a Terrorist!

Well there's terrorists using your email names
Sit next to you at the ballgames
Terrorist hiding in your bed
Terrorist barring your head.
Never seen so many terrorists

I had to turn in my own ma.
You know what they say
Unpaid parking tickets
They's terrorists.

Now there's laws for this
And laws for that
To keep those terrorist under wraps
Some folks disagree with these
And talk civil liberties

But it's like the attorney general says
If in times like this
You can talk about individual freedom
You're probably a terrorist
Jason: (laughter) Yeah, it's so true.

Joe: He's spelling it out there.

Niall: That was very funny.

Joe: That was Dan Bern. You should check out some of his stuff. He's got other stuff. D-A-N-B-E-R-N. He's an American.

Niall: That's the song Bob Dylan should have written.

Joe: Exactly.

Jason: Didn't he have a Bob Dylan...

Tim: That's a Woody Guthrie style. Very Woody Guthrie.

Joe: Yeah, it's actually going back to the '30s.

Jason: Yeah, it's old school.

Niall: The '30s need to make a comeback.

Jason: They need to bring back that banjo and that Franklin D song. I really like that. I enjoyed that.

Joe: Yeah, Tim do you have any more in your box of tricks there?

Tim: I think I can pull one more out of the hat.

Joe: The rabbit?

Tim: Sure. This song was particularly difficult to write. It was inspired by one of Laura's articles called Let's All Light Up. It's a pro-tobacco song and programming...

Joe: That's kind of protesting these days.

Tim: Yes it is. And it started hitting me kind of like a flash because I was playing with it and I tried different chord progressions then I came up with the first verse and I realized the way in to describe this song and make it kind of humorous as well as informative was to talk mostly about famous people in history who were not only smart but were smokers, either of cigars, pipes or cigarettes. So this is called Let's All Light Up.
Sherlock's pipe was elementary
Fidel Castro's cigar is muy bueno
And for Einstein the matter's not relative
He knows tobacco is good for your braino

Thomas Edison would have loved the electric cigarette
Alexander Graham Bell heard tobacco's call
And George Orwell hid his habit from Big Brother
Adam and Eve chewed on leaves before the fall

And then along came a most unholy alliance
Of corrupt politicians and fraudulent science
The first smoking ban of modern times
Was started by Hitler in 1939
And nobody likes a Hitler

So strike up a match for freedom
Take a long drag for liberty
We'll gather outside in solidarity and pride
For smokers make the best company

And let's all light up
Let's all light up
We love tobacco won't ever give it up
And let's all light up

Dr. Seuss was no grinch with his pipe
Charles Darwin studied species of shag
Gandalf had a hobbit of smoking every day
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung shared a bag

And Mark Twain smoked 40 cigars a day
And like Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh
He said if smokin's not allowed in heaven boys,
Then to heaven I shall not go.

Then along came a most sinister coalition
Of the boys in big pharma and their puppet politicians
For natural tobacco is not organic anymore
The fascists added chemicals in 1984

And nobody likes a fascist

So strike up a match for freedom
Take a long drag for liberty
We'll gather outside in solidarity and pride
For smokers make the best company

And let's all light up
Let's all light up
We love tobacco won't ever give it up
And let's all light up

John F. Kennedy, he was partial to Cubans
Marilyn Monroe always kept a secret stash
John Lennon imagined he'd be sharing a smoke
With Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash traded Luckies at Folsom
Frank Sinatra smoked cigarettes his way
And without a stogie Alfred Hitchcock went psycho
John Wayne rolled his own on the range.

Yeah he rolled his own on the range
When a plague hit the planet one day
Those who smoked all their lives
Were the ones who survived
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Then along came the dictates from the elite classes
A bunch of greedy governments and corporate jackasses
For the biggest crackdown on smoking that world has ever seen
Was started by the neo-Nazis in 2000 and 14

And nobody likes a Nazi! a neo-Nazi, a meta-Nazi, a proto-Nazi or a pera-Nazi

So strike up a match for freedom
Take a long drag for liberty
We'll gather outside in solidarity and pride
For smokers make the best company

And let's all light up
Let's all light up
We love tobacco won't ever give it up
And let's all light up

Everybody sing!

Let's all light up
Let's all light up
We love tobacco won't ever give it up
And let's all light up
Tim: Awesome background vocals by Juliana and piano playing by Jason. Very nice guys.

Joe: I like that one in particular. That's an excellent song.

Tim: That's my brand new one. It's only two weeks old. Fresh off the writing block.

Joe: Yeah, so just to give another to people where they can buy?

Tim: Ah! Or Signs of the Times on Songs of the Times.

Joe: Okay. And that's a way you can support what we're doing here, all of our projects, and have a good listen to some excellent tunes at the same time.

Jason: Most excellent.

Joe: Most excellent. So we've sort of kind of run over our time, but we're doing that a lot these days.

Niall: It was a fun show.

Joe: It was a fun show.

Tim: It was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.

Joe: We could have gone on for a lot longer.

Juliana: Thanks for having us.

Joe: Because there's so many other songs.

Jason: It's a great topic.

Joe: Stuff to play. Exactly, it's a great topic and we should do it again. But I think we'll leave it there for this week because it's getting late here and we're all tired out. So thanks Tim in particular for coming on.

Tim: You're welcome. Thank you guys for having me.

Joe: And playing us some of his most excellent tunes. And to Jason, Niall and Juliana and to me.

Niall: Thank you Joe for doing a great show.

Jason: Hey Joe! MCing and taking care of the chat and everything.

Niall: Next week we're going to be interviewing Finian Cunningham. He's an Irish journalist who's been on the front line so to speak, in the Middle East. So we'll hear what he's got to say on what's going down at the moment.

Joe: Excellent. Okay, and since this is a musical show, there's several songs we didn't actually play but instead of our usual outro, I figure we'll play a little famous song, it's a catchy tune. And it's called Fixing to Die Rag. It's from the '60s and it's an anti-Vietnam war, an antiwar song as you know. It's kind of upbeat although its message is something to think about. But we'll leave you this one and we'll see you next week. Thanks to all our listeners and our chatters and everybody else for listening. Have a good one.

Niall: Bye-bye.
Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.

Now, come on general let's move fast;
Your big chance is here at last.
Now you can go out and get those reds
The only good commie is the one who's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.

(DIALOGUE) Listen people, I don't know how you expect to ever stop the war if you can't sing any better than that. There's about 300,000 of you fuckers out there. I want you to start singing. Come on!

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
And send your sons off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.