Burn the Earth, Leave it Behind
There’s not one song on this album that I can single out as my favorite, as the most impactful to me, or as the ‘most essential’ listening. Depending on my mood, it could be any of the ten tracks. These thirty minutes are Pat the Bunny at his best. (At the time these renditions were recorded he wasn’t personally at his best, but musically, that’s besides the point.)
Pat the Bunny, born Patrick Schneeweis, is the person responsible for a great deal of my favorite folk-punk songs. Burn The Earth, Leave It Behind by Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union is, in their own words, “gutter rock at it’s finest!” I certainly can’t argue with that.
Pat doesn’t have the cleanest voice, but considering the crusty anarcho-folk junkie aesthetic, and the passion—holy shit the passion—passion oozing through each syllable strung out to match the strumming, the vocals sound perfect. Unlike his earlier releases under the Johnny Hobo & the Freight Trains moniker, albums full of angry, bitter drinking anthems drenched in a ‘fuck the world’ mentality, his worldview has softened somewhat during the Wingnut stage. There’s more hope for the future. The Johnny Hobo tracks can be overly screechy, and a little too nihilistic at times, but they shouldn’t be overlooked either. They’re perfect drinking music for this administration, to be honest. I recommend the album Just Traveling Through, Will Sleep On Your Couch For Beer if you can find it, as it’s the best sounding (in my opinion). But that’s not the album we’re talking about. Coincidentally, Burn The Earth, Leave It Behind has its fair share of drinking anthems and bitterness too, being gutter rock at it’s finest and what have you. I’ve come back to this particular well a lot over the past three months.
While the recent actions by those in power have me anxious and worrying more than usual, as they no doubt have you too, the overwhelming response to those actions have me hopeful for what part of the future we can still save. It’s going to take a strong intersectional coalition, and actual work. Not cheap sloganeering and empty tweets. I didn’t want to make this too political, but it’s hard not to be political when talking about Pat’s work.
The Democrats won’t save us. The Republicans are actively working to kill us. This is our best chance to burn the earth and leave it behind. Those currently in power are finding countless ways to enact worst-case scenarios for the widespread institutional rot that we’ve let fester for decades, across probably every sector of government at this point, by not holding our elected officials accountable. By being unwilling to look America’s ugly past in the face. We’re not even two months through twenty-seventeen and Jefferson fucking Beauregard Sessions is about to become the Attorney General of the United States. Literal nazis are willing to show their colors and preach their hate in public and some people are worried that punching them will impugn those very same nazis’ freedom of speech! What fucking timeline are we living in? Don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s not okay to punch a nazi. Punch nazis. If someone comes at you with nonsense about “protecting their freedom of speech” or “violence is never the answer,” please understand that person is most likely an idiot who doesn’t understand the first amendment and/or was never about non-violence in the first place. Practice nonviolence with those who are nonviolent with you. Nazis… I shouldn’t have to explain this. You know where they don’t have to explain this? Germany. Why isn’t America’s ugly past covered in the same way? Sadly, we both know the answer to that.
We need to come together as an American people and do the right thing. The necessary thing. Burn the earth. Leave it behind. What comes after? Here’s Pat with the gist of it, from the album’s last track:
We’re building a new world, all of my friends and me
it’s not an exact science yet, but we have the technology.
now all we need is an economy
where everybody finally will get enough to eat,
even the suburbs. no powers getting too crooked to stand
on its own feet for much longer than it has.
So I don’t want to kill a cop,
what I want is neighborhoods where they don’t have to get called
when the shit goes down
cause our friends, they are enough, and our neighbors have enough.
finally we’re enough.
cause our friends, they are enough.
and our neighbors are enough.
and finally we’re enough
please help me be enough.