I’m locked down and content. More than that, I am elated. I didn’t think I would be, not for this long, but I am. I miss touring. I miss performing and singing songs to people in the lanes at faire…Read more
THE STORY OF THE SONG: DEFENESTRATION
I finished this song one December evening in Chicago in 2019. It was missing an ending, a way to bring me back to a place where the story could end. There is no chorus or refrain, and I repeat one line and only once: The patriarchy must fucking die. I wanted to hear that line again. I don’t hear it often.
I propped up my sketchbook on the wooden banister on my back porch, and the lyrics began to flow. This six-minute tirade.
After a few phrases a light rain started to fall. As my intensity grew, so did the storm. We were one, together, on this ride. Together we wailed. The rain became a deafening downpour and I sang at the top of my lungs. Every injustice that I had ever read, heard or witnessed was extricated from my spirit and bled out of me in tantrumic, raging verse. I envisioned my voice smashing every wrong and setting the world to right in one volcanic, siren blow. Throw the mother fuckers out the windows! Was the mindscream I hurled into the night laced with the powerful imagery of exploding glass and by corrupt, hateful politicians, the system and all that is wrong in the world falling to their death. I was tearing, then sobbing in joyous release. Then beyond sobbing and struggling to even speak. And as the song waned, the storm slowed to a gentle patter. When the last chord rang, the storm had passed. I calmed and my world made sense again. But that is what this song is about: releasing all those pent up emotions and clearing our heads so that we can collectively create change in this world. Together.
When I think about this night, it seems unreal. But it happened. In that dance between the rain and I, there were no doubts, no reservations. It was a natural partnership between the storm inside of me and the storm outside of me. And of energy in solidarity, a unified force, together and acknowledged by the other. Seen.
I wrote the ending in a torrent of emotion after our dualstorm. I spent a few lines acknowledging what had happened and saw an ending. Saw death all around me. I saw people chained, in cages, dead. And I was in chains too singing to the corpses around me. Hanging on to my hope—a characteristic seeded deep in me. And there it bloomed.
I often wonder if anyone heard me. Was I alone that night? And if someone did hear my impassioned performance, did they feel what I felt in that moment? Did we connect? Or was I just disturbing their peace?
It took me almost six months to distance myself enough from the song so that I could perform it without coming to tears or welling up with emotion. And sometimes, I’m a little afraid of it. That is precisely why I had to record it. Follow the fear. That’s the rule. If I am afraid to put it out there for fear of what people will think, it must be powerful. Because to be that vulnerable, to be that exposed, is a frightening, but empowering, act.
This song may affect on you. It may not. It may not have any artistic merit whatsoever, but it’s real. And that is a good beginning.
“So like other amazing Chicago indie based bands like Homer Marrs and the Excellent Adventure or The Private Instigators or Jinx Titanic, Michael and his crew are doing things their own way and they’re making music that has a social conscious but are packaging it in an artful, creative way that allows them the freedom to do what they want.”