I was so revolted by the election-- legitimate election, no less-- of Richard Nixon that I left the country and lived overseas for nearly 7 years. Nor was I overjoyed by the advent of Ronald Reagan, not by a long shot and, frankly, I always recognized Bill Clinton as merely an infinitely more benevolent version of the same corporate tyranny that Republicans inflict on us. But not Reagan, certainly not Clinton or Bush the First, and not even Nixon (who drove me out of the country I love!) were as steeped in the kind of utter reprehensibility as is the current monstrosity in the White House. I do believe no president in the history of our nation comes close to the sheer destructiveness to the national cohesion as Bush and the crew of miscreants around him. Look, if you've read Down With Tyranny you would probably figured out I feel this way. And what's it got to do with a song that I neither wrote nor performed on?
I don't want to go down without a fight. And if we don't stand up and fight we are surely going down. Fuming and ranting to like-minded blog readers has been cathartic and rewarding in many ways-- and I like to think I played a little role in helping uncover the Republican Culture of Corruption, at least in terms of Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Jerry Lewis. And the community DWT has formed with Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars in the shape of Blue America is barreling towards the $150,000 mark (mostly in small donations) for our list of progressive candidates. But blogging still didn't seem nearly enough in light of the depravity the Bush Regime has dragged our country through.
Today is the official "release" of a song, "Have You Had Enough," that came together very organically. Before you read the rest of this, just click here and listen to the 2:45 ditty (no dirty words or images; I promise).
I hope you enjoyed it. Helping bring all the people who worked on it together-- the musicians Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, Andy Paley (producer), Mike at the pressing plant, Alisse Kingsley (publicist), Bob Divney (ace promotion man), Adam Fox (graphic artist), Irwing Ornelas (MySpace designer), Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith, Pachacutec, John Amato (my Blue America partners), all the folks at Firedoglake and Down With Tyranny with great ideas and suggestions that helped turn a flicker into something real... well, it made me feel like I was actually striking a blow for freedom for the country I came back to over 25 years ago-- and with a far greater appreciation for it's character, warts and all, than I had before I left.
Every Saturday at 2 PM (Eastern time), members of the Firedoglake, Music For America and DownWithTyranny communities get together for a live blog session with a progressive candidate at Firedoglake"s Blue America. On June 24th our guest was Larry Kissell, a grassroots, populist Democrat running against the ultimate rubber stamp bozo, Republican incumbent Robin Hayes. You can check out the archive of the session here.
That day over 50 members of our communities contributed around $1,500 to Larry's campaign. The first couple dozen donors "won" Eric Clapton CDs, which I mailed out on Monday morning. A week later I got an e-mail from a community member, Tommy Yum, who identified himself as Tom Maxwell, formerly of the late, great Squirrel Nut Zippers. Tom, a North Carolinian, excited about Kissell's candidacy, wanted to thank me for the Eric Clapton CD and also offer his help. This led to a discussion that went on for a week or so during which we decided that he would adapt one of his SNZ hits, "Put A Lid On It" (recognizable from the 1999 Superbowl) as a campaign song for our Blue America candidates.
Tom and his partner Ken Mosher, another former Squirrel Nut Zipper, worked on the lyrics and the 3 of us started exchanging files and e-mails every day. I loved the dynamic process and how enthusiastic and cooperative these two guys were. Before they totally finished the lyrics, they asked me what I thought about finding a woman singer to trade off lines with them. Judging from the music it only took me one second-- literally-- to come up with the perfect singer: a friend who I worked with when I ran Reprise and who is a very dedicated political activist and savvy idealist, Rickie Lee Jones. Rickie was on tour at the time but we communicated by e-mail and she loved the 45 second file I sent her and agreed to do it.
After that I called producer/musician Andy Paley, an old friend. I thought of Andy because I had been so impressed with his production work on similar music for the Dick Tracy film soundtrack on which he produced artists as diverse as Madonna, k.d. lang and Ice-T. We were doing this whole project with absolutely no money at all and Andy, like everyone else involved, was happy to help out and even got Dusty Wakeman at Mad Dog Studios to let us use his awesome and historic facility gratis.
A few days after she got back to L.A. from her tour, Rickie Lee drove over to Mad Dog. Basically she nailed it on one take. Everyone's jaw just dropped! She did a few more takes for good measure but Rickie's voice was just made for this song! The next day Tom and Ken had mixed it and sent it to me. We want to get it out to as many people as possible and, of course, we want everyone to enjoy and share the music for free. We're going to start a political action committee so we can raise some dough to make 30 second radio spots with this music for our candidates. If you want to send a check-- and even $5.00 will help-- you can make it out to Blue America and send it to P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. As soon as we get all the paperwork done with the FEC we'll get an Act Blue Page up for online donations. Meanwhile, enjoy the music and send it to everyone you know. You can download it right here.