‘Strum Sum Up’ turns 13

dUg Pinnick’s ‘Strum Sum Up’ solo album turned 13 over the weekend. It’s one of those albums that everyone who participated in its creation looks back on fondly, a true testament to musical community. To mark the event, please enjoy this excerpt from ‘What You Make it: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick.’

Rex Brown [Pantera] was excited to play bass on the record but had to pull out at the last minute. He felt terrible about it, having long wanted to work with Doug. With Brown unavailable, Doug’s former tech, Kolby McKinney suggested he check out Big Wreck’s Dave Henning. Doug had never seen Henning play, but had heard people raving about his 12-string prowess for a while. McKinney kept pushing and Doug finally picked up the phone and called Henning, who agreed to come to Blacksound Studio.

When Henning showed up, however, there was one thing missing…his bass!

“Hey man, did you bring your bass?” Doug asked, thinking maybe he’d just left it in the hallway. 

“No,” said Henning, “I just thought I’d come over and we could talk.”

“No man, we’re tracking!” laughed Doug incredulously.

Wally, Parnin, dUg, and Henning

Michael Parnin produced ‘Strum Sum Up’ and worked at a pace that made even the efficient processes established with Michael Wagener seem slow in comparison, aided by his ProTools mastery.

When Henning showed up without his bass Parnin pointed and said “there’s a bass right over there against the wall. It’s a piece of shit, but play it.”

Henning plugged into an old SVT amp and cranked it up as the rest of the guys, with Kellii Scott [Failure] on drums, broke into ‘Coming Over,’ including the jam. By the time they reached the end, there was no doubt: this was the band.

Protest 100: Business Machines – ‘Biggest Little Whore House in Texas’

https://businessmachines.bandcamp.com/track/biggest-little-whore-house-in-texas

Artist:          Business Machines 

Song:           Biggest Little Whore House in Texas

Album:        Almost Automatic

Engineered/Mixed: Steve Albini

Label:          (self-released)

Year:           2003

Notes:
Here’s what frontman Lucas Juarez has to say about the current state of affairs:

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
People with more specialized platforms—law enforcement officials, garbage men, bus drivers, etc.—were compensated more for whatever role they felt comfortable playing.

Drunken business men
On a drinking binge
On the company dime
Mama I ain’t lying

Energy companies
On their knees
Bankruptcy
But you know them CEOs will be OK
Man, fuck Ken Lay

If you wanna strap money from poor people
Texas is the place to be

I saw this rich motherfucker on the tv
Saying that he needed a little more money
Well that shit ain’t funny
I hope someone comes and takes all your shit
And then they turn around and then they fuck you over

I saw this one motherfucker on the TV
Saying that he needed a little more money
Well that shit ain’t funny
When you spend your whole life working for the man
Then he turns around and fucks you up the ass!

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Fortunate Son’

Artist:          Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Song:           Fortunate Son

Album:        Willie and the Poor Boys

Producer:    John Fogerty

Label:          Fantasy

Year:           1969

Notes:
Pres. Trump has been blasting CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’ as walk on music during his campaign. Its use works like a charm, highlighting the limited comprehension, scofflaw tendencies, and general trollishness that have been highlights of his time in office. Its use has continued despite John Fogerty’s requests that it stop.

Fogerty’s initial response came in a September video.”I wrote the song back in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War,” Fogerty said in the video, as reported by Insider.com “By the time I wrote the song, I had already been drafted and had served in the military. And I’ve been a lifelong supporter of our guys and gals in the military, probably because of that experience, of course.”

Fogerty continued in his video, saying: “Back in those days, we still had a draft, and something I was very upset about was the fact that people of privilege, in other words, rich people, or people that had position, could use that to avoid the draft and not be taken into the military. I found that very upsetting that such a thing could occur, and that’s why I wrote ‘Fortunate Son.'”

He then noted the song’s opening verses: “Some folks are born, made to wave the flag / Ooh, their red, white, and blue / And when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’ / Ooh, they point the cannon at you.”

In his video, Fogerty compared the beginning lines of “Fortunate Son” to Trump using federal agents to remove protesters from a June demonstration at Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, so he could stand in front of St. John’s Church and hold up a Bible for a photo opportunity.

“It’s a song I could’ve written now, so I find it confusing, I would say, that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact, it seems like he is probably the fortunate son,” Fogerty said, ending the video.

Trump received multiple deferments that helped allow him to avoid service in the Vietnam War.

The song hasn’t lost an ounce of its edge. I’ve included a couple of my favorite covers at the end of the post (though nothing matches the intensity of the original).

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
People with more specialized platforms—law enforcement officials, garbage men, bus drivers, etc.—were compensated more for whatever role they felt comfortable playing.

Lyrics:
Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail To The Chief”
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh

But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Yeah!

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer, “More! More! More!” Yo

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no no no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son, no no no

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Brutal Truth – ‘Get A Therapist…Spare the World’

Artist:          Brutal Truth

Song:           Get A Therapist…Spare the World

Album:        Evolution Through Revolution

Producer:     Doug White, Sanford Parker

Label:          Relapse

Year:           2009

Notes:
Outside sources can offer comfort, validation, someone to blame; but peace starts within.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
“Bradley has been making steady progress toward reducing his therapy. This afternoon a new crease appeared. Though not troubling in terms of its potential for physical harm, it offers a window as to how profound Bradley’s condition might be.”

Lyrics:
Policy of war want more
Callous in your thinking need belief in
What you’d like to find a little piece of mind
But you only find the clandestine

Do as they say — stop thinking
Ask why — they lie
Straight line — cross ties
Genocide — life crime

Bark or bite with no reason why
Future crimes mankind
Graze the sheep are all rolling by
Man and slaughter — we’re all fine…just fine

Do as they ask, back off, behave
With their thoughts, your life
Their grip, feel life slip

All bark, no bite
Feel insane, that’s normal
No one likes this order
Time to ride let’s ride

All this bark all of this might… is it worth the fight
Change is hard for one, imagine global one
All this pain and suffering just go away
If we stopped to think – think

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Nuclear Assault – ‘Critical Mass’

Artist:          Nuclear Assault

Song:           Critical Mass

Album:        Handle With Care

Producer:    Randy Burns

Label:          In-Effect

Year:           1989

Notes:
There’s still just one Earth

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
Critics complained that knowing such events might be broadcast helped catalyze the behavior to be chronicled, abetting lawlessness and the general erosion of the country’s moral fiber.

Lyrics:

The bio-sphere, the place we live
It seems like we don’t give a damn
Other species flushed down the tubes
We need another race to rape
The way we live we will destroy
Every other living thing
‘Til none are left except our race
And then we will destroy ourselves

Another oil spill
Atomic waste displaced
Another forest dies
Bring on the acid rain

Slightly insane, the type of greed
That makes a world unfit for life
Toxic wastes destroy the seas
While poison gas pollutes the air
A waste of life, while no one cares
The earth becomes a giant tomb
Critical mass will be achieved
And ruins will be all that’s left

Another oil spill
Atomic waste displaced
Another forest dies

A Hell on Earth, what we create
Dragging life to death with us
All living things destroyed or used
By shortsighted human beeings
We do these things, let them be done
Apathy creates despair
The damage done will be too great
The world wounded beyond repair

Another oil spill
Atomic waste displaced
Another forest dies

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Sacred Reich – ‘One Nation’

Artist:          Sacred Reich

Song:           One Nation

Album:        Surf Nicaragua

Producer:    Bill Metoyer

Label:          Metal Blade

Year:           1988

Notes:
I know some have been taught otherwise. But we really are one people. All of us. Everywhere.

Phil Rind (vox/bass), The Republic, Aug. 22, 2019: “It’s up to us. No one is coming to save us. And it’s not enough to talk about it. An intellectual idea is great. But if you don’t put it into practice, it has no real value, Be the change you want to see. Be the example. Everything you need is already inside you. The truth is already inside you. How many billions of people are on the planet? If we weren’t all inherently kind and goodhearted, the place would really be a mess. It would really be a (expletive) show. And it’s not. I mean it’s certainly not perfect. And there’s other parts of the world where they have it much harder than we do.”

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
His ears had gone numb about two months back.

Lyrics:
A vision of unselfishness, a union of black and white
One nation of all races, it’s clear within my sight
I see it clear, no hate, no fear, no soldiers sent to die
A state that’s free and thrives on peace, no greed, no threat to life

We won’t build the weapons of war which looms over your heads
We’ll not feed the war machines that lead our youth to death

We won’t close our eyes to the atrocities which abound
We won’t stand and watch until we’re six feet underground

The future is our burden, we can’t stand and watch
As the world around crumbles, opposing armies march
We work towards our goal: one nation – unity
And you must be the convert who works towards world peace

Muthafuckers around us who stand and say no way
Opposing lessened armies, they say are here to stay
But no one knows until we try, what we all can do
I won’t watch children die, it’s up to me and you

Our world is divided, the boundaries have been drawn
Ideas are decided by where you have been born

You can’t judge people by the government of their land
They’re flesh and blood like us – why don’t you understand?

The future is our burden, we can’t stand and watch
As the world around crumbles, opposing armies march
We work towards our goal: one nation – unity
And you must be the convert who works towards world peace

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Power Trip – ‘If Not Us Then Who’

Artist:          Power Trip

Song:           If Not Us Then Who

Album:        Nightmare Logic

Producer:    Arthur Rizk

Label:          Southern Lord

Year:           2017

Notes:
If you want change, you must create it. Sometimes it’s just that simple. At the very least you can rest assured nothing’s going to change without some degree of effort.

Riley Gale, Metal Hammer, 2018: “[Current politics] is just making things black and white, and that’s not the way the world operates. It’s not even black, white and grey. It’s hard for people to grasp that it’s a whole spectrum of colors – and that’s not some hippie fucking energy bullshit! People only wanna see it one way or the other, or some people are able to say, ‘Ah, it’s in between’, but really, it’s a million different things, a million perspectives. Reality as someone sees it, and how the masses perceive it and all this stuff, it’s all a very rich tapestry of what people have gone through in their lives to reach that viewpoint and to do all these things, so I think calling it ‘left’ and ‘right’ is so simplistic. I mean, you’re basically saying that our political spectrum should be easier than a standardized test that has four options, right? Like, really? Everything about our political system is just a true or false answer? ‘The left is true, the right is false’? It’s just really simple-minded to me. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
If not for the warning it would have crashed straight through the back of his head.

Lyrics:
Get up,
Out of your cave and into the fire
Time’s short, this is our last resort
To get through to you, what have I got to do?
Who’s going to be the difference?
If not us,
Then who?
If not us, then who?

Sound off,
Take a look at your life, tell me to what do you aspire?
I want to know how far you’re willing to go
Can’t stop the force of ruin, this world will run through you
If not now, then when?
If not us, then who?
If not us, then who?

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Fever 333 – ‘U Wanted a Fight’

P100 – U Wanted a Fight

Artist:          Fever 333

Song:           U Wanted a Fight

Album:        Wrong Generation

Producer:    Fever 333

Label:          Roadrunner

Year:           2020

Notes:
Brand new music from a band featured earlier in this space following the killing of George Floyd. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler spent 13 days protesting in Los Angeles in the wake of Floyd’s death and began work on ‘Wrong Generation’ immediately afterwards.

Butler says: “This project is art as activism first. I’m talking about what’s happening and what needs to happen. I hope you understand there’s going to be pain in progress. After dismantling and deconstructing all of these things, we can find a beautiful place to be together. For me, this whole EP is that 13 days after 34 years. You fucked with the WRONG GENERATION.”

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
The government was pleased to have such a powerful ally in its fight against social evils.

Lyrics:
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one

Well you got one
Well you got one
Well you got one
Well you got one

No justice
Just us
No justice
Just us
No justice
Just us
Nothing left
But us

Anti racist
These black faces
We all screaming “FTP!”
Power to the people
Take a knee while chanting
“I can’t breathe”

You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one

Well you got one
Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got one
You wanted a fight? Well you got it

‘Cause you really, really thought that
That we’d go quietly?
That we would take it?

12 the biggest gang in the world
12 the biggest gang in the world
12 the biggest gang in the world
12 the biggest…
Yo, fuck that!

We the biggest gang in the world
We the biggest gang in the world
We the biggest gang in the world
We’re the biggest gang, gang, gang

Who’s the biggest gang in the world?
Who’s the biggest gang in the world?
Who’s the biggest gang in the world?
Who’s the biggest?
333

You wanted a fight? Well you got one
Oh, you wanted a fight? Well you got one
Oh, you wanted a fight? Well you got one
Oh, you wanted a fucking fight?

The game is fixed and the timer hands plead guilty
For centuries we’ve played a losing game
And today we find ourselves on the motherfucking winners’ circle
Take what is yours, get what you deserve
Today. Tomorrow. Forever. This is yours

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

‘Faith Hope Love’ turns 30!

‘Faith Hope Love,’ the album that arguably came closest to breaking King’s X to a mainstream audience, was released 30 years ago today. By early 1991 ‘It’s Love’ was in regular rotation on MTV and the band was booked to tour both the US and Europe as support for AC/DC. Megaforce’s work at radio also finally was starting to pay off, Atlantic taking the foundation they’d built and getting full rock airplay for the band.

Take time to listen to this now-classic record today and read about its creation in ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick.’

You can also watch a full set of the band’s performance on the road with AC/DC at the end the post.

Excerpt from ‘What You Make It’
King’s X returned to Rampart Studios for ‘Faith Hope Love.’ ‘Moanjam’ was one of the first songs recorded. It was 10 years old and had no words to it. Doug would simply hum the melody. The bass line prompted Doug to refer to it as the band’s “Motorhead song,” while the drum beat lent a gospel tone. Doug’s vocal approach came from the church as well: moaning the melody to a crescendo the way he remembered the singers on Sunday doing when they really wanted to punch things up, then bringing it back down to hook the audience.

When the band decided it should go on the record, Doug felt compelled to add lyrics. Not sure what to write he started with “I want to sing this song for you.” He knew it could be about a person or people but, with the subsequent references to glory, just as easily about God, and ended up penning an unintentional praise chorus.

Protest 100: Megadeth – ‘Symphony of Destruction’

P100 – Symphony of Destruction

Artist:          Megadeth

Song:           Symphony of Destruction

Album:        Countdown to Extinction

Producer:    Max Norman

Label:          Capitol

Year:           1992

Notes:
The powers that be will always pull the strings, which makes choosing the person at the top of pyramid exceptionally important.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
Monitoring any number of groups or individuals based on their associations, beliefs, or sympathies became acceptable ‘surveillance.’

Lyrics:
You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a’roll
A’roll, a’ roll

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like the marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

Acting like a robot
Its metal brain corrodes
You try to take its pulse
Before the head explodes
Explodes, explodes

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

The earth starts to rumble
World powers fall
A’warring for the heavens
A peaceful man stands tall
Tall, tall

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.