You know, it’s kind of funny how our minds work. OK it’s nucking futs how this Wulf’s mind sometimes works, and I do NOT mean that as a self-compliment. Seriously. Out of nowhere my memory kicked in about a concert I went to in 1983. It was to see the band Styx who were playing 4 shows at a place called the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
Amused Reader: Wulf, I thought this was about your crazy mind.
BW: It is…work with me.
Amused Reader: OK, but you owe me a beer.
BW: Got it. Hey, Amused Reader, you have to be Tom.
Amused Reader: Not telling…just don’t forget the beer.
BW: Riiiight. OK, I won’t. Now back to my post.
The tour was in support of and to make a concert movie for the album Kilroy Was Here.
Kilroy Was Here is the eleventh studio album by the rock band Styx, released on February 22, 1983. The album is named after a famous World War II graffito, ‘Kilroy was here‘. It was the final album of original material to be released by the “classic” lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, John Panozzo, and Chuck Panozzo.
The band created the album Kilroy Was Here partly as a mocking response to fundamentalist Christian groups and other anti-rock-music activists who had previously influenced the Arkansas State Senate to pass a bill requiring that all records containing backward masking be labeled as such by the manufacturer. Cited in the legislation were albums by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Styx. ELO made a similar response with their own 1983 album Secret Messages.
“Heavy Metal Poisoning“, the fifth track on the album, begins with the backmasked Latin words “annuit cœptis, novus ordo seclorum“. Translated from the Latin, these words mean “[he/she/it] has favored our undertakings, a new order of the ages”. These are the two mottoes from the Great Seal of the United States on the reverse side of the United States one-dollar bill.
The album’s somewhat rock-operatic story tells of a future where rock music is outlawed by a fascist and theocratic government and the “MMM (the Majority for Musical Morality)”. The story’s protagonist, Robert Orin Charles Kilroy (DeYoung), is a former rock star who has been imprisoned by MMM leader Dr. Righteous (Young). He escapes using a disguise (according to the album’s famous song “Mr. Roboto”) when he becomes aware that a young musician, Jonathan Chance (Shaw), is on a mission to bring rock music back.
So I thought about a song from this album and was immediately caught in a time loop. Then to now…now to then…back and forth…forth and back. How long are we to be hamsters in a wheel? Are the cycles of the wheel turning faster? Are we doomed to splinter?
I look around
I feel the razor slashes from
The anger of my generation.
I look behind and see
The apathy of my generation’s shadow
More than evident.
I look past them, but
Too far removed
To see a reason to hope.
So I grope.
(Apparently I can’t avoid poetry even why I try. Not good poetry mind you.)
So listen to the words of the song Cold War from the album Kilroy Was Here. (See, I told you my mind is not a place you want to go.) I am including the (longer) live video. Yes…Wulf is somewhere in this crowd, and was probably part of the reason Tommy Shaw mentions what he does 10 seconds into the video.
I’m tired of your psychology
To bring me to my bended knees
And if I could only talk to you
I’m sure that I could make you see
‘Cause time has a way
Of bringing even mountains down, down, down
Storm clouds are coming
I suggest you head for higher ground
I say you’re a thing of the past
And you ain’t gonna last
No matter what you say or do
It’s all caught up to you
You’re duty-free, you’re tax-exempt
You party with the President
And you dance the dance so naturally
Why not believe you’re heaven-sent
But time has a way of bringing
Even mountains down, down, down
There’s a storm cloud a-comin’
I insist you head for higher ground
You talk talk and you get so intense
That you almost make sense
And that’s what scares me the most
You as the host of Celebrity Lies
It’s prime time, baby
Can’t you see in my eyes, it’s a
Cold war-runnin’ in the streets
Everybody you meet knows
It’s going down, don’t you know
Cold war-blowing in the air
Everyone everywhere says it’s time
To get ready for a cold war
Don’t you look now
But the skinny boy’s becoming a man
You say it’s the luck of the draw
And you can’t have it all
And I’ll die young trying to make it
Into something that ain’t gonna last
You ought to reconsider
‘Cause I’m coming fast with a
Cold war-running in the streets
Everybody you meet
Know’s it’s going down, don’t you know
Cold war-blood is in the air
Everyone everywhere says it’s time
To get ready for a cold war-looking at me
From behind every tree
There’s a scared man running from a
Cold war-don’t you look now
But the skinny boy’s a streetfighting man
[extra verses sung in concert during the Kilroy tour:]
Try as you will, you can’t escape the chill
that penetrates your clothing,
demanding that you feel
all the trouble that surrounds you,
the bad mixed with the good,
the heartless bits of data waiting to be understood
Information Central promptly processed your request,
the task we’re told honestly requires you acquiesce.
Well, blind faith put you where you are now
You’re a selfish old cow gettin’ high on society’s milk.
We pay your bills, life should be so tough.
You’d better watch your fat ass, ’cause we’ve had enough!
Peace everyone…Wulf out!