Alberto Gonzalez protest music
February 16, 2008 12:31 PM   Subscribe

My university is hosting a speech by former secretary of state Alberto Gonzalez. I'm ethically opposed to a lot of things he's done but I'm going to be protesting against his visit primarily because my university is paying him over 30,000 dollars to speak here; money that will no doubt be immediately spent on defense for his pending court date. Anyway, a band and I will be playing at the protest, so I was wondering if anyone had recommendations as to songs that would be especially appropriate to play at his visit.

While general protest music would be OK, something like Rage's Testify is even better. (We have a full group with 5 horns, bass, drums, guitar, piano, 3 percussionists and a singer, so we can play from any genre or band.)
posted by ignorantguru to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You should probably figure out his position before protesting.
posted by null terminated at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


(unless you're in texas, sorry)
posted by null terminated at 12:33 PM on February 16, 2008


Some Woody Guthrie might be fun. Can't resist suggesting "All You Fascists."
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:39 PM on February 16, 2008


My favorite protest song ever was a Strom Thurmond protest and Live and Let Die.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:42 PM on February 16, 2008


The Puppet - Echo and the Bunnymen
It's Fun to Steal - Monopuff
I Have a Secret - Half Japanese
President Forever - Local H
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 12:42 PM on February 16, 2008


"I fought the law and the law won," of course. Clash style.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:51 PM on February 16, 2008


Habeas Corpus - The Agony Scene

There's also a band on iTunes called Habeas Corpus that is an angry sounding punk band with lyrics en espanol.
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:55 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


All of these can be molded into whatever style your band is:

For What It's Worth - CSN(Y?)
Lies - Knickerbockers
Lies - Rolling Stones
No Lies - Riot
Beyond Belief - Elvis Costello
Boys Don't Lie - Shoes
Charlie's Enormous Mouth - Frank Zappa
Cheated And Lied - The Vipers
Don't You Lie To Me - Flamin' Groovies
Daydream Believer - Monkees
Don't Think Twice It's Alright - Bob Dylan
Never Hated More - The Berserker
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Tell Me To My Face - Keith
Trust Us - Captain Beefheart
Your Lies - Adult.
posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2008


Lawyers, Guns and Money by Warren Zevon. If that isn't the Bush crew in a nutshell, I don't know what is.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:05 PM on February 16, 2008


There are an awful lot of Public Enemy lyrics. Wuwei, you are a bad person.
posted by Phred182 at 1:10 PM on February 16, 2008


Be sure to come back and tell us what you decided on and how it went. Good luck.
posted by mulligan at 1:15 PM on February 16, 2008


With all those horns you should play Phil Ochs's "War Is Over" if you have a sufficiently angry and sarcastic-sounding lead singer.

(The best protest, I think, would to be to recruit donations to match AG's $30k speaking fee and establish a scholarship fund or a sufficiently effective left-wing cause.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2008


ill in the head - dead kennedys
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 1:27 PM on February 16, 2008


"I Don't Remember" by Peter Gabriel has some deliciously appropriate lyrics, and a sufficiently pessimistic tone.

I got no means to show identification
I got no papers show you what I am
You'll have to take me just the way that you find me
What's gone is gone and I do not give a damn
Empty stomach, empty head
I got empty heart and empty bed
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
-anything at all

Strange is your language and I have no decoder
Why don't you make your intentions clear
With eyes to the sun and your mouth to the soda
Saying, "Tell me the truth, you got nothing to fear
Stop staring at me like a bird of prey
I'm all mixed up, I got nothing to say
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
i got no memory of anything
absolutely anything at all
I don't remember

posted by Rhaomi at 1:30 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Minor Threat - I Don't Wanna Hear It
Napalm Death - The Code Is Red...Long Live the Code
posted by ignignokt at 1:56 PM on February 16, 2008


Theme from Bonanza
posted by A189Nut at 2:07 PM on February 16, 2008


"Masters of War" - Bob Dylan
posted by Mikey-San at 2:08 PM on February 16, 2008


(Which is probably one of the best songs ever written and performed.)
posted by Mikey-San at 2:10 PM on February 16, 2008


The verses don't really fit, but the chorus to "How to Be Dumb" by Elvis Costello fits. "Now you know how to be dumb/Are you ready to take your place in the modern museum of mistakes?"

I suppose "don't you know how to play dumb" would fit better here.

Liar by Queen.
Loyal to My Sorrowful Country by Ted Leo.
You Fucked Up by Ween.

Kid Charlemagne by Steely Dan is a good rise and fall song, but it's about a famed drug dealer in San Francisco. Just trying to think of "jig is up" type songs...
posted by ibmcginty at 2:15 PM on February 16, 2008


Mod note: a few comments removed -- rickrols and discssions of need to be in MeTa. If you have an earnest suggestion, you can phrase it as if it really was one
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:47 PM on February 16, 2008


A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. (Amazon link, has a preview of the song)
posted by Funky Claude at 2:56 PM on February 16, 2008


"La Cucaracha" seems apt. You only need 4 bars ( La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar).
posted by hexatron at 3:20 PM on February 16, 2008


I'm surprised no one has suggested Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. Everbody knows the lyrics and you might get some audience participation. Other songs that should work: I will survive, You're no good, and perhaps Thriller (with zombie George W. Bush on stage?).
posted by iviken at 3:35 PM on February 16, 2008


Memories.
posted by pompomtom at 3:54 PM on February 16, 2008


If I had 5 horns backing me, I'd do War's "Get Down" (off All Day Music).

In the "Lies" genre, "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac is instantly recognizable and should get a laugh.

The correct Steely Dan song is not "Kid Charlemagne;" it is either "Black Friday," "King of the World," or, most probably, "The Goodbye Look," (technically not Steely Dan because WB wasn't involved.) No Steely Dan is really appropriate; lyrically, they are unflagging optimists.

Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" is endlessly customizable; you should easily be able to fit in a few verses about the current junta.

Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had A Rocket Launcher" is little known but probably the most apt to get you investigated by DHS, which would be good publicity.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:15 PM on February 16, 2008


Taps
posted by okbye at 4:35 PM on February 16, 2008


As far as Steely Dan goes, "The Goodbye Look" is about a tourist in the Caribbean who finds himself witnessing a revolution; I don't think it fits. "Chain Lightning," however, is about two guys at a fascist rally. But it's a little hard to tell that at first listen (as opposed to "Goodbye Look," which, being a Donald Fagen solo song, is much more direct). "Black Friday" makes sense, too.

"How Do You Sleep" by John Lennon would probably be pretty easily reworkable.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:43 PM on February 16, 2008


TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP by the Romantics
posted by cinemafiend at 4:53 PM on February 16, 2008


How about "War (What is it good for?)" by Edwin Starr?
posted by arishaun at 5:20 PM on February 16, 2008


Lives in the Balance

and yes, Masters of War
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2008


Considering Gonzales's tenure as Attorney General (please remeber to spell his name right and mention the correct job, when you're doing your signs), Guantanamera would probably be most appropriate. Joan Baez did a really nice version of it, though there are many others. It's not a general protest song, as you requested, but it really is apropos and a beautiful ballad to boot.
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:48 PM on February 16, 2008


Why not do perform an exorcism on the building where he's appearing? The Village Fugs did something like that but at the Pentagon, a long time ago chanting "out demons out, out demons out!!"
posted by mamaraks at 6:51 PM on February 16, 2008


I Shot the Sherriff (might get you arrested, though)

Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore - John Prine
posted by Rumple at 6:57 PM on February 16, 2008


"Suspect Device" by Stiff Little Fingers

Lyrics here
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:04 PM on February 16, 2008


Well, there is always "Bullet the Blue Sky," which gives you a handy-dandy space to make a speech.

My suggestion to you was going to be "Interesting Drug" by Morrissey, but alas, I have been misunderstanding the lyrics all these years. He sings "rise" when I thought he said "right."

Still, you could just change the lyric. Then you would get:


There are some bad people on the right
There are some bad people on the right
They're saving their own skins by
Ruining other peoples lives
Bad, bad people on the right
Young married couple in debt
- ever felt had ?
Young married couple in debt
- ever felt had ?

On a government scheme
Designed to kill your dream
Oh mum, oh dad
Once poor, always poor
La la la la la
Interesting drug
posted by 4ster at 10:27 PM on February 16, 2008


Fortunate Son by CCR. And rock it loud.
posted by eclectist at 11:28 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, good call eclectist.

Get up, stand up would be a good choice too.
posted by Rumple at 11:43 PM on February 16, 2008


I can't believe nobody's mentioned Twisted Sister yet.

We're not gonna take it
No! We ain't gonna take it
We're not gonna take it
Anymore


That's pretty much your all-purpose rebellion song right there.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:43 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really like Rhaomi's Peter Gabriel suggestion. If you have any electronic/dj musicians you should do a remix using loops of Gonzales' own "I don't remember" "I don't recall" Or at the very least, include a video installation and at the end of the song play a nice long mashup of his "forgetful" testimony.
posted by sic at 6:41 AM on February 17, 2008


Related thread.
posted by beagle at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2008


Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag (Country Joe and the Fish)
anything by the Dead Kennedys
posted by Afroblanco at 8:23 AM on February 17, 2008


I think it would be lovely (and striking for the audience) if for one of the songs you took a break from the full ensemble and did a piano/guitar/singers version of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".
posted by lhall at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2008


Also: Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg/Wilco 'Christ for President" would be quite delicious:

Let's have Christ for President.
Let us have him for our King.
Cast your vote for the Carpenter
that you call the Nazarene.

The only way we can ever beat
these crooked politician men
Is to run the money changers out of the temple
And put the Carpenter in

O It's Jesus Christ for president
God above our king
With a job and a pension for young and old
We will make hallelujah ring

Every year we waste enough
to feed the ones who starve
We build our civilization up
and we shoot it down with wars

But with the Carpenter on the seat
away up in the capital town
The USA would be on the way prosperity bound!

posted by Rumple at 2:44 PM on February 17, 2008


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