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Protest music revisited

Ginger writes about protest music from the 80s. I’ve been thinking about this subject recently. We think of the 60s as an era of political/activist music, mostly inspired by the Vietnam War and all the social upheaval surrounding it. The 80s, as Ginger rightly notes, was also a period where a lot of this music was recorded. That was largely inspired by Cold War fears and uncertainty.

The 70s and 90s, on the other hand, are more known for music that was fluffy (disco, boy bands) and self-indulgent (art rock, grunge). The 90s, of course, were a reasonably carefree decade, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall and ending with the longest economic boom in our history, so it’s easy to see why pop music might have reflected that. The 70s weren’t exactly a period of peace and prosperity, with the culmination of Vietnam, Watergate, oil embargoes, double digit inflation, and the Iranian hostage crisis, yet for the most part pop music paid little attention.

So I’ve been wondering – With the current decade off to a lousy start, and with all of the anger, fear, and anxiety we’ve gone through since September 11, will we see a resurgence in political music? I’ll state up front that I am an Old Fogey who listens to Music That Caters to My Demographic (ie, classic rock and 80s stuff) because I think that most music produced today sucks. As such, there may be plenty of political music on the airwaves right now that I’m overlooking, and if so I’m sure someone will correct me. Assuming that’s not the case, do you think the next wave of Bob Dylans and Tracy Chapmans are warming up, or do you think it’ll continue to be All Britney All The Time?

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4 Comments

  1. Rob Moitoza says:

    Dear Charles,

    I think there are a whole lot of us doing political music out here, but getting “Clear Channel” to play it or a record label to sign us has become almost impossible. There are some great artists right here in my own home town, Seattle, WA, and I’m sure they exist all over the country, but you have to seek them out over the net or at political rallies and anti-war events. We have an oldie here named Jim Page who, as far as I’m concerned puts Bob Dylan to shame, but labels won’t touch him with a ten foot pole. There is also a cool Hip hop group here called “Cyph Alliance” that does great political stuff. I am an old 60’s guy who loves new stuff. My new CD tries to bridge the gap between us old sixties guys and contemporary hip hop. To a true hip hop fan, my stuff is probably way too corny. To a true “old guy” it may be too “hip hop”. But I do my best. Here’s some info, or you can visit my website at http://www.robmoitoza.com

    Thanks, and best wishes to you!

    Rob Moitoza

    I have recorded a political protest CD entitled, “Speak Out!” It is in a contemporary pop/R&B style. It includes songs such as, “George Bush National Park” (Where the air smells just like diesels), “Chicken Hawks”, “Faith Bass” (About playing the bass), and “The Great Deceivers” (About the GOP).

    Rob Moitoza’s “SPEAK OUT!” Responses as of April, 2004

    Every time I’ve played a cut from “Speak Out” on my
    show, the e-mails flood in. There’s so much hunger for your
    kind of humorous, pointed, musical commentary. Thanks
    for filling an alarmingly huge vacuum.

    Lynn Cullen
    WPTT AM 1360
    Pittsburgh, PA

    We played portions of 4 cuts on the air last night and have had 6 requests today for information.

    Duke Skorich
    KUWS FM 91.3
    Superior, WI

    I love it! You are a true American trying to use humor to bring sanity to an increasingly insane world.

    Lynn Samuels
    WABC AM 770 News-Talk
    New York, NY

    I wanted to let you know I received your CD “Speak Out” and love it. I’ll be giving it a lot of air time.

    Meria Heller
    Phoenix, AZ
    http://www.meria.net

    Hey, I’ve been playing the crap out of your CD and have it linked to my site at http://www.peterwerbe.com You rock!

    Peter Werbe
    WRIF FM 101.1
    Detroit, MI

    I want to tell you about a great new album that I appreciate very much, “Speak Out!” by Rob Moitoza. It needs to be played loud and often these days! Some pieces are great fun, some are totally inspiring, it’s all hip, and It truly gets a vital message across. I hope you’ll check out his work at his site ) as we appreciate good work in service to the people of this planet!

    Chris Pringer

    I played the chickenhawk song and it was a hit…I have the disc at home…what is your web site so I can post a link on our site.

    Ski Anderson
    Ski and Skinner Show
    WLS Newstalk 890 AM
    Chicago, IL

    To Ski and Skinner:

    – Few weeks ago you played a song around 2:00 p.m. by someone called “Moitoza”. It mentioned various admin. names and how they didn’t serve in the military. Could you please give me the full name of the band, where I can find those songs? Or if you can play a clip of it, on air I would really appreciate it….
    Keep up the good work.

    Sincerely,

    J.W

  2. Johnny says:

    Protest music is censored by all mainstream radio and record companies. FACT!
    http://www.agendaC21.com is where you can find rebellious underground parodiy of George and Tony.
    You heard it here first – step on it!
    Peace and thanks
    Johnny

  3. deena quirk says:

    Listening to you on c-span today tues/26th. You are great. How can I listen to you thru internet stream. Thanks.

  4. deena quirk says:

    Listening to you on c-span today tues/26th. You are great. How can I listen to you thru internet stream. Thanks.