“Wisdom comes by disillusionment.”
– George Santayana
All this saber rattlin’ and climate changin’ crap in the news lately makes me feel like we’re in this weird story where tensions are rising at home with fighting in the streets of Berkeley and abroad with North Korea. The entire time my heart is fucking breaking.
I want to believe in the American peoples’ ability to make well informed decisions and to have important conversations which frequently include conflicting opinions without resorting to name calling and violence. My country is breaking my heart, but it’s okay, because it’s my fault for giving my heart to my home.
This is where punk rock comes in and makes everything okay, even if for a few minutes at a time.
Lately I’ve been working my way through Pat the Rabbit Schneeweis’s musical career after finding Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains while looking for punk songs featuring harmonica.
So far I’ve listened to the hobo-blues/anarchy-punk album “Love Songs for the Apocalypse” by Johnny Hobo and the Freight trains and “Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!” by his next band Wingnut Dishwashers Union.
Johnny Hobo is more punk/ska with harmonica and horns and a rough-around-the-edges voice that is so dirty and beautiful. Wingnut is more rock and punk with more electric guitar and an accordion I cannot get enough of.
I plan to move through the rest of his career. I will likely post more about some of his other work. I’m currently listening to Ramshackle Glory – Die the Nightmare.
Anyway, I’m trying out a new format for music. I’m making a public playlist on the offbeat onpoint youtube channel. I may try and make a SoundCloud playlist too, time and availability permitting, but that will be for future posts.
Here’s a link to “The Changing Times Are Asking for a Soundtrack” Playlist.
And as usual, some of my favourite lyrics from each song.
Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains present:
Love Songs for the Apocalypse
New Mexico Song –
And in my dreams, I am dirty broke, beautiful, and free
My hands clenched in a fist, and my face in a smile, after hitching too many miles
We aren’t revolutionaries, but we are the revolution
And sometimes I think that the whole movement is just me and you
And that maybe we’d all be better off if that were true
Because then at least we’d know where we stand
Church Hymn for the Condemned –
But I’d take the beauty of chaos over ugly perfection
I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed every day since 1987
Nothing scares me as much as the fact that I don’t give a shit for redemption
But that’s OK cause if that’s where Falwell goes
Then I don’t even want any part of heave
Acid Song –
Well if I found God anywhere, it would be by the tracks
Face down in a box car, forty in both hands
And when I find God there, we’ll just sit and roll some top
Cause he’ll be just as confused as anyone else on this rock
I took two tabs of acid yesterday afternoon
And I woke up this morning with a torn pair of shoes
And found I’d ruined my life and everyone else’s too
I guess this is what my teachers warned me drugs would do
Election Song –
I can’t believe that bastard
Won this morning
It’s the kind of night for
My face when Trump was declared the next president of the United States.
Today’s the dawn of the draft
And tomorrow we’re shipped off to Iraq
Or else we’re cutting off a toe
Praying that we don’t have to go
Harmony Parking Lot Song –
This one’s for every drug problem that got stopped in its tracks
By a trip to rehab
I’ll miss railing pills with you in the park
This one’s for every friend who decided not to drop out
And stay at their mom’s house
I’ll miss you on the street corner when it starts to get dark
Here’s to our lives being meaningless
And how beautiful it is because freedom doesn’t have a purpose
Tonight I burn my bookshelf to be free
Because even a rebel tradition is slavery
Today a stampede killed Superman
And Apollo and Dionysus both got hanged
Today the revolution laughed and spit in my face
But all-expenses-paid Dada will take its place
Wingnut Dishwashers Union Present:
Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!
Proudhon in Manhattan –
And tonight, when I dream it will be
That the junkies spent all the drug money on
Community gardens and collective housing
And the punk kids who moved in the ghetto
Have started meeting their neighbors besides the angry ones
With the yards, that their friends and their dogs have been puking and shitting on
And the anarchists have started
Filling potholes, collecting garbage
To prove we don’t need governments to do these things
Fuck Shit Up! –
I don’t believe in cops, bosses, or politicians
Some call that anarchism. I call it
Having a fucking heart that beats!
I do believe in freedom and never giving up
Call my methods madness or call it a bluff
I do what I got to
To be able to breathe!
And If you quit your job well, you can do a little breathing with me
A punk rock song won’t ever change the world
But I can tell you about a couple that changed me
Urine Speaks Louder than Words –
But will somebody say
Is this resistance or a costume party
Either way I think black with bandanas is a boring theme
I don’t gotta tell you
Crackers are great with amnesia
When they wanna forget something like
Centuries of racism
They say look at the man on center stage
And pay no attention
While millions get locked in a cage
Riots break out in Oakland
Jesus Does the Dishes –
We’re kids building models of a world that we might wanna live in
And sorting feelings in our stomach–is this liberation or starvation?
But have we made it anywhere at all if the dishes are never done?
If we can’t live without dishwashers, how could we live without cops?
And so you’re asking me, who does the dishes after the revolution?
Well, we do our own dishes now, we’ll do our own dishes then
And it’s always the ones who don’t who ask that fucking question
Well I don’t believe in God, but I’m also not an Atheist
You know the universe is chaos, but chaos picks favorites
And lately I’ve been thinking about how I love Jesus
Because Jesus was a dirty homeless hippie peace activist
And he said, “Drop out and find God” to anybody who would listen
While turning water into space bags with lowlifes and anarchists
My Idea of Fun –
I swear i’ll run away from every home I ever have
So i’ll build a new house in every town i pass
Maybe then I won’t always feel lost and trapped
When I was growing up, i was the smartest Kid i knew
Maybe that was just because I didn’t know that many kids
All I know is now I feel the opposite
Like if you don’t want to work, then that becomes your job
There’s a lot of overtime, there’s not many days off
I hope you know that I’m not trying to complain
Come back next week! I’ll be interviewing Dr. Frankenstein, a horror punk band!