What is the RLI?
July 21, 2017 8:47 AM   Subscribe

The song "Radio Bomb" by the Matthew Good Band makes a reference to an organization called the RLI. The song is about pirate radio operators and the lyric in question is The RLI and the FCC will be driving around in their little undercover RVs. The context is (probably) 1990s Canada. What the heck is the RLI?

Here's what I know so far:
1) The lyric is definitely 100% correctly transcribed. If the name "RLI" is an error, the error is Mr. Good's.
2) The album was released in 1995 and the band was based in the Vancouver, BC area.
3) Google is stumped. I also asked an intellectual property lawyer who has been working in the radio and TV industry since 1980, and he had no idea what this referred to either!
4) The band makes a lot of references to media, particularly sci-fi novels and movies, so it's possible this is a fictional organization.
posted by capricorn to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Matthew Good references are often not only obscure but flat out obtuse - I am pretty sure he's referring to the Rhodesian Light Infantry which did a lot of driving around in undercover vehicles trying to find the enemy so paratroopers/support could come in and kill them.

My cousin ran his tour operations during the 1990's (has a couple of album credits to boot) and I'll pop him a note to see if he knows or could ask Matt. Apparently Matt's not exactly on speaking terms with many from back in the day so that might be fruitless, but I'll give it a go.
posted by notorious medium at 9:04 AM on July 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Ha, awesome, thank you! I've usually been able to catch a lot of those obscure references but this one alluded me. This is what makes my $5 MetaFilter signup fee worth it so many times over.
posted by capricorn at 9:14 AM on July 21, 2017

Apparently Matt's not exactly on speaking terms with many from back in the day

Also as a longtime fan, I am approximately 0% surprised by this... haha.
posted by capricorn at 9:15 AM on July 21, 2017

I've heard this lyric a few hundred times (I am a long-time fan as well) but never thought to question it, so thank you for asking this question! I would believe the Rhodesian Light Infantry, given the info above.
posted by Alterscape at 4:48 PM on July 21, 2017

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