Not In My Name

Ladies and gentlemen, your protest song is ready.

Note: If you don’t want to read the following long explanation,
you can download the song (“Not In My Name”)
by clicking or tapping on this clenched fist, or just press “play” right here:
I’ve been having a lot of fun for the past four or five months writing a protest song for the 21st Century. I’ve been able to spend about eight minutes a week working on it, so it’s not like I’m only producing like a minute of music per month or anything. If I were working on it full-time, adding up all these eight-minute segments I figure I would have finished it in a day or so.

For those who weren’t here or don’t remember, let me fill you in on this project.

On June 6th of this year, my good friend MPH at the blog Heightened Thoughts wrote the words “Where’s the music?” You can read the entire post here, but the gist is that we live in a world of violence, injustice and corruption, and our musical artists are strangely silent about it. Silent, that is, compared to the power and the energy exhibited by the musicians and songwriters of the 1960’s and 70’s. In MPH’s words, “What you had was a collection of artists really responding to the world around them…And it was powerful.” Today’s music scene, according to MPH, is just not providing us with the inspirational rallying songs of days gone by.

Fair enough, and maybe even true.

So, to help rectify this state of affairs (and have a little fun at the same time) I issued this challenge: If you are really angry, if you really want to protest, if you really feel like marching and singing, send me your angry lyric ideas and I will set them to music, record them and post the results on my blog. Who better to do this, than someone like me, the Oldest Blogger, who was actually there in the sixties and seventies, even though I don’t remember a lot of it? You can find my original challenge in the comments on Heightened Thoughts.

Then I began to hype the “uncontest.” Those of you who weren’t here for it can catch up by reading…

Those are the main three posts in which I exhorted you, dear readers, to send me your song ideas. If you take the time to read them now or later, you will also have the pleasure of re-reading the entire lyrics to “Eve of Destruction,” which I posted to show how easy it is to write a protest song.

Most of you were not eager to try this. Maybe you are not as angry as I thought you were. Maybe it was a stupid idea in the first place. But I did hear from some of you, and I also visited a lot of your blogs and captured your ideas for use in the song. Because, as I told you, the penalty for not writing this song with me would be that I would write it myself.

So here it is at last: “Not In My Name.” Those of you who helped, wittingly or unwittingly, I thank you. This list includes (but is not limited to)

and all the others from whom I may have stolen an idea. My plan here is to spread the blame around, so everyone gets a thin coat of it and no one – especially me – has to bear the entire responsibility. Don’t bother emailing me to have your name taken off the credits, because I won’t do it.

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29 Replies to “Not In My Name”

  1. My machine’s too slow; the buffer goes on and on. Maybe someday I’ll be at a faster machine and can listen. I’m getting blinder and can’t work up much patience. Good luck. boy, how will I see the next motherfucking alphabet delight?

  2. I was actually able to listen to it! Awesome–it’s so professional! Kind of Replacements-y music w/Tom Petty-like vocals, IMHO. I was also stoked to see my name on the list up there 😛 Bloggers are such narcissists

  3. Far out, man! Seriously.

    I’m a newbie on this thread, but I’ve often thought about the difference between our generation and the current generation in terms of protest against the establishment. We, the boomers, have always made our presence know simply because of sheer numbers. We’re huge.

    On the subject of war – we were drafted. We were not volunteers.

    And the press has become lapdogs…

    I could go on and on.


  4. Ron – If you send me a mailing address I’ll send you a CD. You’re sharing the blame, so you might as well hear the song.

    Steph – You are the wind beneath my wings.

    Dick – Welcome! Maybe it was just numbers. I hope not, but you never know.

    My challenge word for this: aszrdmv

  5. Congratulations!!!
    This is a great accomplishment. I think you’ve done remarkably well in doing something of this magnitude in your free time.

    I can’t imagine what my contribution might have been except to cheer you on, but I’m proud to be included.

    My challenge word for this: njhixl

  6. I’m sure there are more factors than just numbers. But you have to admit, for whatever reason we have always made an impact – and will continue to make an impact.

    Larry, I’m looking forward to following your blog.

  7. I LOVE the music to this (pretty bouncy & fun rather than angry), I’m also honored to be a part of the liner notes for such a fun, quality piece.

    Was that a layered guitar? The song is definitely catchy, my husband just listened with me & went downstairs to watch football singin’ “not in my name…” My favorite touch was the claps you added in for texture just past half way (during one of the choruses I think?). The drums are great too. So much fun! I’m burning a copy to download into my ipod so I can run to it!

  8. G.D. – Thanks babe. I wish I were able to do nothing but. Then I would be really cool!

    Anonymous Brent – Blogger has a time limit between posts. If you exceed it, you are automatically reclassified as “Anonymous.”

    Dick – Don’t get too complacent about your huge majority. Some of these kids are quick, and mean.

    T1 – Wow, you really listened! There are three acoustic guitars and one electric guitar, which was played through a flanger. I did the claps myself, four tracks of them. Sincere thanks for your interest.

    My challenge word for this: kxouhgjt

  9. I downloaded the whole thing because as someone said earlier, all bloggers are narcissists and I had to see where Slinky appears.

    Plus, I’m a complete guitar slut, as everyone knows.

    I LIKED it. Bit heavy on the repetition though. But goddamn, why are you in the job you hate and not rockin’ the free world, hm?

  10. Slink – Of course you’re welcome to the whole thing, and if you look into it you will see The Cat.
    Guitar Slut – It’s not really a Guitar Slut song. I’ll work on that next time.
    Repetition – just in case the intended audience doesn’t hear me the first time. (Also makes a good chant for marching.) Like this:
    Blood for oil? Not in my name!
    Stolen elections? Not in my name!
    Homophobia? Not in my name!
    Looting the Treasury? Not in my name!
    Fake science? Not in my name!
    Torturing prisoners? Not in my name!
    A Presidential pardon for Scooter Libby (and probably Karl Rove? Not in my name!
    You get the idea.

    I already rocked the free world for a long time. Thought I’d try something I hate for a while. It’s part of God’s Plan.

    Love ya for saying nice things, though.

    My challenge word for this: acsqkzuk

  11. The song is great.

    Silly, but I found a *lot* of solace in your commenting about having 8 minutes a week to work on this.

    One of my friends had just asked me what the deal was with my x-number of incomplete paintings on the easel, and suggested that I might be afraid of success.

    I’ve been analyzing hell out of that, and your song-writing explanation shed a new light on it for me. I only have 8 spare minutes a week too…and it takes that long just to clean a brush.

    I’m soothed; I know they’ll be finished, as was your song. Thanks.

  12. L – The meteoric rise took place a while ago. Maybe you missed it?

    gnightgirl – We have to live our lives and meet our obligations. This sometimes gets in the way of what we really want to do. I really want to make music, and I keep trying, despite the obstacles (many of which I create myself). I’ve seen some of your work, and I hope you keep at it, too.

    My challenge word for this: orehloxm

  13. What the hell are we supposed to be doing with the “challenge word?”

    Are we supposed to try & define it? Use it like an acronym & come up w/a word for each letter? Work it into our comment?

    I’m confused….BTW, my challenge word for this is: ssntcc

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