Protest 100: Bad Brains – ‘Rock for Light’

Artist:          Bad Brains

Song:           Rock for Light

Album:        Rock for Light

Producer:    Ric Ocasek

Label:          Passport

Year:           1983

Notes:
All you need is love. And peace. And the absence of war and violence. We might have gotten used to the presence of the last two, but we can leave better for our kids. The fact that Cars vocalist and songwriter Ric Ocasek took time between ‘Shake It Up’ and ‘Heartbeat City’ to produce this album still fascinates me. 

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
As an adolescent he’d partner with adults running pigeon drops and lookie loos and rocks in a box, interjecting as the sympathetic third-party to sink the hook in further.

Lyrics:
So you say you gonna live the truth
Well have you checked out the future of the youth
Doesn’t seem to be much left for them
But there is an answer for all of Jah Children

We don’t want no wars
We don’t need no violence
We just want what’s right
Some peace and love
We don’t want no violence
We don’t need no wars
We just want what’s right
Rock for light
Rock for light
Rock for light
Rock for light
Rock for light
Rock for light

We come
We come to rock for light
We come
We come to rock for light
We come
We come to rock for light

‘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: The (International) Noise Conspiracy – ‘A New Morning, Changing Weather’

P100 – A New Morning, Changing Weather

Artist:          The (International) Noise Conspiracy

Song:           A New Morning, Changing Weather

Album:        A New Morning, Changing Weather

Producer:    Jari Haapalainen

Label:          Burning Heart/Epitaph

Year:           2001

Notes:
Boredom leads to aggression. But so does oppression. Mix them together and you’ve got an explosive blend. The (International) Noise Conspiracy were formed by Refused vocalist Dennis Lyxzén not long after the latter’s breakup. The music is masterfully executed garage rock with some extra flourishes (e.g. organ) not just added around the edges but woven right through its core. Lyrical content borrowed heavily, and sometimes directly, from the avant-garde Situationist International movement. Was lucky enough to catch this tour (with Rival Schools and the Hives no less!) at Mary Jane’s in Houston

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
…it was such a new moon that you couldn’t even see it.

Lyrics:
God damn let’s hit it on the weak spot
Everybody knows that we all had enough
Smell the scent of gasoline fumes
‘Cause we’re not victims and we know what to do

Right now a systematic shutdown of
New world orders and restructuring plans
Hold tight ’cause here comes the latest craze
I’ve got news baby and this is what I say

Yeah, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Yeah, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Cha’, hey, hey, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Cha’, hey, hey, a new morning

God damn let’s build a new movement
Dead time pacifies so let’s do it
This time all these slogans will come alive
We’re not going to be bored this time

Right now a systematic shutdown of
Neo-liberals and assorted clowns
So strike the match and baby clench your fist
Here comes a party that we don’t want to miss

Hey, hey, hey, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Hey, hey, hey, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Cha’, hey, hey, a new morning, the weather’s changing
Cha’, hey, hey, a new morning

Hey, hey, hey, independence
We are playing a little game, I said
Hey, hey, hey, independence
We got it on the way

Hey, hey, hey, independence
We are playing a little game, I said
Hey, hey, hey, independence
We got it on the way

Hey, hey, hey, independence
We are playing a little game, I said
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey

‘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: Valient Thorr – ‘I Hope The Ghosts Of The Dead Haunt Yr Soul Forever’

Artist:          Valient Thorr

Song:           I Hope The Ghosts Of The Dead Haunt Yr Soul Forever

Album:        Immortalizer

Producer:    Jack Endino

Label:          Volcom Entertainment

Year:           2008

Notes:
And just like that…I’m back! Everybody ready for the final sprint to the finish line? Good. Today’s offering comes from Greenville, North Carolina’s Valient Thorr, a band that has overtly combined high-speed, party rock n’ roll with political lyrics since the first song off its debut album, ‘Showdown’ from 2005’s Total Universe Man). The track presented here addresses class warfare, the quest for oil, and native American rights all in just over three minutes. Jump in! The water’s fine!!

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“You alright there, hoss?” Cookie asked. “You look like you just saw the ghost of yo mama’s cooch.”

Lyrics
All these Caesars, slicker than the oil
they own, scheme plans for years
Crack their fingers and smile real big,
While yer family drowns in tears

Someday, when your feet are up,
you’ll soon be shouting NEVER!
I hope the ghosts of the dead come
haunt yer soul forever!

Whatcha gonna do?
Money can’t save you
AAAAAIGHHHHHH!!!!
What was that?
Gonna give yourself a heart attack!
My family! They trust you!
The ghosts of my family
Will crush you!

Skeletons in closet
Lawyer suing
Natives reservations
Casinos ruined, all nations!
They trust you!
The ghosts of all nations!
Will crush you!

Drowns in tears
Someday, when your feet are up, you’ll
soon be shouting NEVER!
I hope the ghosts of the dead come
haunt yer soul forever!

Its too late to save your skin!
Playing the role of dumb, religious men
you’ll regret all those you’ve fucked
when your demons eat you up.

(All these Caesars, slicker than oil)
Can’t get forgiveness, its too late
(All these years, still the same)
So many wishes drowned in hate
(I would make the more adequate decisions)
For all of those lives that you made rough
(To not follow in my fathers name)
instant karmas not enough.

All these Caesars, slicker than the
oil they own, scheme plans for years
Crack their fingers and smile real
big, while yer family drowns in tears.

Someday when your feet are up
You’ll soon bem shouting NEVER!
I hope the ghosts of the dead come
haunt yer soul forever!

‘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: T. Rex – ‘Children of the Revolution’

Artist:          T. Rex

Song:           Children of the Revolution

Album:        n/a

Producer:    Tony Visconti

Label:          Reprise

Year:           1972

Notes:
Let’s lighten things up a little bit. Time was, when you hit the spot after a day on the front lines thwarting the man, some fun could be had with your fellow free thinkers. Those days will be back. And when the needle drops on this one, I’ll meet you at the bar for a Jim Beam, Lone Star back. No way, yeah, wow…

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
all the children of all ages laying peacefully together. What wasn’t to like about that?

Lyrics

Yeah

Well, you can bump and grind, it is good for your mind
Well, you can twist and shout, let it all hang out

But you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No, you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no

Well, you can tear a plane in the falling rain
I drive a Rolls Royce ’cause it’s good for my voice

But you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No, you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no, yeah

But you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No, you won’t fool the children of the revolution

No, you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No, you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no way, yeah, wow

‘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: Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine – ‘Taliban USA’

Artist:          Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine

Song:           Taliban USA

Album:        Tea Party Revenge Porn (not yet released)

Producer:     Jello Biafra

Label:          Alternative Tentacles

Year:           2020

Notes:
Released last month (guy always had a good senses of timing), the first new music from Jello Biafra in 7 years is a ripper! Do you know what the current regime thinks of you? Jello does.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
Overt displays of might, though efficient, just proved the argument of those on the outside looking in; in addition to being disenfranchised, they were oppressed.

Lyrics
[1ust watch the video]

‘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: Luke Juarez – ‘Mind Control’

Artist:          Luke Juarez

Song:           Mind Control

Album:        n/a

Producer:    Lucas Juarez

Label:          n/a

Year:           2020

Notes:
Business Machines’ frontman Lucas Juarez hasn’t been laying idle since the band’s late-2019 reunion. COVID-19 tore a hole right through further rock n’ roll domination, so instead he’s expressing his disaffection with the current state-of-affairs through an EDM prism. ‘Mind Control’ would have fit right in with the ‘80’s greats, but at the same time it urges us to rise above our collective  past by forsaking the old norms once and for all. Here’s hoping an extended remix lands soon!

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“Bradley’s mind drifted. He had long ago given up on redemption.”

Lyrics
The lights are on
The (Republican) party’s over
The mask is off
But no one knows it
Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!!

We’re being led through the wilderness
By the light of a fucking gas lamp
With a huff and a puff
Down comes your house of cards

Wolves in sheep’s clothing
Wearing nothing at all
There’s nothing to see here
Nothing at all
If you don’t want to die don’t get involved!!!

Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! Mind KKKontrol!!!

Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! (Right now!)
They’re fucking with you!
Mind KKKONTROL!!

…now
if I were to come to yer house and tell you
“Don’t go outta your house
‘cuz there’s a man out there
with a machine gun
that’s gonna blow you away.”
Now, whether I’m telling you the truth or not
is immaterial
What really means something
is if you believe me
And if you believe me
then you act upon what I say
And I control you

It’s 2020! Not 1984!
It’s high time
We shut and lock the fucking door
On the old ways
We were born into
It’s not our choice
It’s not what we believe

The Nazis lost.
You’ll lose again
It’s time to draw your line in the sand.
I was blind but now I can see
All the ways you been fucking me!

Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! Mind KKKontrol!!!

Right now!! (Right now!)
Right now!! (Right now!)
They’re fucking with you!
Mind KKKONTROL!!

‘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: The Temptations – ‘Ball Of Confusion’

Artist:          The Temptations

Song:           Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)

Album:        Greatest Hits II

Producer:    Norman Whitfield

Label:          Motown

Year:           1970

Notes:

When the band played on in 1970 it addressed the Vietnam War, segregation, white flight, drug abuse, crooked politicians, and a multitude of other topics. Not much has changed, but it makes clear one of the starkest dichotomies between then and now. Then it seemed normal for the people to question their government. Now…it’s not gonna work out as well if you don’t get out and vote. I don’t give a fuck if you never voted before and never do again. Now’s the time.

[alternate recording at the bottom]

Lyrics:

One, two
One, two, three, four

People moving out, people moving in
Why? Because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run but you sure can’t hide
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
Vote for me and I’ll set you free
Rap on, brother, rap on

Well, the only person talking about love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration
Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to my nation

Ball of confusion
Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today
Woo, hey, hey

The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walking round with their heads in the sky
The cities ablaze in the summer time
And oh, the beat goes on

Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul
Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
And the band played on

So, round and around and around we go
Where the world’s headed, said nobody knows
Oh, great Googamooga
Can’t you hear me talking to you?

Just a ball of confusion
Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today
Woo, hey, hey

Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast, the Beatles new record’s a gas
And the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation
And the band played on

Eve of destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand, population out of hand, suicide, too many bills
Hippies moving to the hills, people all over the world are shouting
‘End the war’ and the band played on

Great Googamooga
Can’t you hear me talking to you?

It’s a ball of confusion
That’s what the world is today, hey, hey
Let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya

Sayin’ ball of confusion
That’s what the world is today, hey, hey
Let me hear ya, let me hear ya
Let me hear ya, let me hear ya, let me hear ya
Sayin’ ball of confusion

The version that introduced me to the song.
Numbers, 1985

Protest 100: Chambers Brothers – ‘Time Has Come Today’

Artist:          Chambers Brothers

Song:           Time Has Come Today

Album:        The Time Has Come (1967)

Producer:    David Robinson

Label:          Columbia

Year:           1966

Notes:
It’s in the title. It’s in the chorus. It’s in the ticking clock and chants of “Time!” Now is the time to act. Later might not get here otherwise.

Columbia Records boss Clive Davis forbid the band to record the song. Willie Chambers told the story in a Songfacts interview: “After we signed with Columbia Records, there was a big party with all the food and booze and all this stuff. All the important people were there and we got to meet all of the head hogs and Clive was there. He was there for a couple of hours and he says, ‘Well, I must be going, I have other appointments.’ He immediately leans back in the door, ‘Oh, by the way, that song ‘Time Has Come Today’ that you guys do, we won’t be doing that. We won’t do that kind of shit on this label.’”

[alternate recordings at the bottom]

Lyrics:

Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can’t put it off another day
I don’t care what others say
They say we don’t listen anyway
Time has come today
(Hey)

Oh
The rules have changed today (Hey)
I have no place to stay (Hey)
I’m thinking about the subway (Hey)
My love has flown away (Hey)
My tears have come and gone (Hey)
Oh my Lord, I have to roam (Hey)
I have no home (Hey)
I have no home (Hey)

Now the time has come (Time)
There’s no place to run (Time)
I might get burned up by the sun (Time)
But I had my fun (Time)
I’ve been loved and put aside (Time)
I’ve been crushed by the tumbling tide (Time)
And my soul has been psychedelicized (Time)

Now the time has come (Time)
There are things to realize (Time)
Time has come today (Time)
Time has come today (Time)

Time [x11]

Oh
Now the time has come (Time)
There’s no place to run (Time)
I might get burned up by the sun (Time)
But I had my fun (Time)
I’ve been loved and put aside (Time)
I’ve been crushed by tumbling tide (Time)
And my soul has been psychedelicized (Time)

Now the time has come (Time)
There are things to realize (Time)
Time has come today (Time)
Time has come today (Time)

Time [x4]
Yeah

Original version

Album version

 

The version that introduced me to the song

Protest 100: Aerosmith – ‘Nobody’s Fault’

Artist:          Aerosmith

Song:           Nobody’s Fault

Album:        Rocks

Producer:    Jack Douglas

Label:          Columbia

Year:           1976

Notes:
This one might seem like a stretch to some, but it’s one of my favorite Aerosmith songs and I heard it the way I heard it for decades before learning what actually inspired it. Written by guitarist Brad Whitford and vocalist Steven Tyler, ostensibly about earthquakes and flying, ‘Nobody’s Fault’ can be easily heard as offering a view of a world gone mad due to man’s neglect. That’s my interpretation and I’m sticking to it!

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“To do that we’ll need to head up the bridge and make sure nobody’s gonna be messing with the throttle.”

Lyrics:
Lord I must be dreamin’
What else could this be
Everybody’s screamin’
Running’ for the sea

Holy lands are sinkin’
Birds take to the sky
The prophets are all stinking drunk
I know the reason why

Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
Shit piled up to the knees

Out of rhyme or reason
Everyone’s to blame
Children of the season
Don’t be lame

Sorry, you’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now they say it’s nobody’s fault

Old St. Andres
Seven years ago
Shove it up their richters
Red lines stop and go
Noblemen of courage
Listen with their ears
Spoke but how discouragin’
When no one really hears

One of these day’s you’ll be sorry
Too many houses on the stilt
Three million years or just a story
Four on the floor up to the hilt

Out of rhyme or reason
Everyone’s to blame
Children of the season
Don’t be lame

Sorry, we’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late

Eyes are full of desire
Mind is so ill at ease
Everything is on fire
Shit piled up in debris

California showtime
Five o’clock’s the news
Everybody’s concubine
Was prone to take a snooze

Sorry, we’re so sorry
Don’t be sorry
Man has known
And now he’s blown it
Upside down and hell’s the only sound
We did an awful job
And now we’re just a little too late

‘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.