Merging music and the arts with local community networks of activists is both very attractive and not altogether free of risks. But signing with a label seems like one huge risk to me. Been there, done that and have seen enough scary contracts to run away pretty fast. Always shower afterwards too.
So at a initial organizational meeting of Transitions in my local, Venice, FL (a suburb of Sarasota), I got to meet several community individuals who are like minded in that they all support greenness. Nobody raised any political affiliations. I think, however, you’d have to be pretty uninformed not to realize that the green movement is identified much more strongly with one side of the Congressional aisle than the other. But it’s my feeling that as soon as that other side realizes they can make just as much $Green off of the green than they’ve been making off of the dark brown crude, things will change. This article hints that this change may be coming. In the meantime, I try hard to avoid obvious political posturing in my music. I’m not after the fringe market.
I know there are plenty of big names in music who seem to have no fear of separating themselves from potential fans. And even turning some of their own off by making bold political statements in and out of their lyrics. Neil Young certainly hasn’t been hurt by it. But The Dixie Chicks are another story. Hank Williams Jr. comes to mind more recently in the “Did I Really Say That?” department. Just really risky and of questionable value, most of the time, in my view.
I don’t engage in political arguments. I’m not gonna change anybody’s mind and they’re not gonna change mine. So why waste the energy? I have many good friends and acquaintances who walk a different road to “salvation” than I do. We stay friends by avoiding certain topics. Most of the time. A little good natured kidding is as far as it goes. None of us carry guns.
I have a few songs that might be considered political in some sense. One other that used blasphemous language, according to a church lady who got pretty vocal with me. And I don’t mean she was singing backup. That song, “Meltdown,” was co-written by my friend James Braha (Find it on the Tune Widget in the right column) . When I wrote “Underground,” (Find it on the Tune Widget in the right column) I didn’t want to record it but my producer, Helen Avakian insisted. I played it for a family member who is an Army officer and an instructor at West Point. He assured me it wasn’t at all offensive. So maybe I’m a little over sensitive. But that was in 2005. The country wasn’t as blatantly polarized as it is today when one side in particular just objects to whatever the other puts up. Even if they had previously put it up themselves.
Then there is “A Way” (Find it on the Tune Widget in the right column) which I wrote about environmental disaster and the error in ignoring it. I even wrote an additional unrecorded verse about the Gulf BP Oil Spill. It’s a favorite locally anyway. But I hesitate to get too militant in anything else I write since EVERYthing is so political these days. Who needs to piss off people who might otherwise buy your music? Yes, some of you out there actually buy music.
But I will be attempting to merge my music with topics I think deserve objective public consideration. And if my own point of view shows it’s head above the chorus, well I can duck pretty fast. But I won’t flip or flop.