We just released our new video for Go Call the Captain, so I’ll talk a little about the inspiration/process behind the song.
I started this song in the fall of 2008. Elie and I had been watching a lot of documentaries like Food, Inc. and The Future of Food. This was also right around the time of the financial crisis, and about eight months after returning to NYC from China…by which time we’d spent all our money and had to start working for the man again.
Needless to say, it became more and more apparent to me that the people in “power” are out of their fucking minds.
These people are like feral animals. They’re in survival mode. I mean, they must have such a crazy, fucked-up, scary, ass-backwards view of the world in order to do the things they do. They must believe that it’s necessary and/or okay to cause harm to large amounts of people in order to survive and flourish (survival of the fittest!). Or they’re in denial. Or they are just sociopaths.
They are the worst of the worst, really. Because they harm people for money, like assassins.
Yet they are not shamed, they are not outcasts – in fact they are usually respected and revered. They are the people your parents would like you to become. They’re the kind of “successful” and “upwardly mobile” folks that people try to associate with and emulate, instead of avoiding at all costs.
Where’s the online database listing these criminals? Where are the laws protecting us from them? The registries designed to alert the neighbors that there are dangerous people nearby? There are none….and they make the laws.
People shake their hands, people are honored to meet them, pull out their chairs and take photos with them.
It’s like people’s ability to reason evaporates in the presence of money – why do most people feel more comfortable with people who cause suffering on a global scale than they do with some homeless guy on the subway? The homeless guy might smell, but is probably not dangerous, and I’m pretty sure he’s never made a decision which caused a hunger epidemic, or done anything on par with releasing tons of untreated hog excrement into the environment every day without repercussion. We should feel more comfortable with the homeless guy, but we don’t…
Anyway, here are a few of the people I was referring to when I wrote the song:
Monsanto – and anyone who has ever done anything to further their agenda.
Smithfield Foods, in particular Joseph Luter III – I know most of you probably support these sociopaths every time you fry up your morning bacon, but in your defense you probably aren’t aware of what you are doing…now would be as good a time as any to find out.
Goldman Sachs – “The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” – Matt Taibbi. Yup, that about sums it up.
I could keep going, but focusing on these severely disconnected people makes me feel severely disconnected…and depressed – so I will stop there. But those are some of the people who’s behavior inspired Go Call the Captain.
I lied, one more – the Pharmaceutical Industry – okay, done now.
So that gives you a pretty good idea of where my focus was when the inspiration hit – now for the good part:
I was working at a maritime law firm, digesting a deposition for a case in which someone was injured on board a ship.
In the transcript, after the incident occurred a crewman yelled “Go Call the Captain.”
The simplicity of that phrase and the certainty with which this crewman called upon the chain of command, superimposed upon my heightened awareness of the injustices of the world hit me suddenly. The first verse and melody popped in to my head:
“Go call the captain and hold tight the rail, this ship is sinking and we need some help, someone please save us from these wicked men, who rule the world, rule the world, rule the world.”
This was by far the best thing that has ever happened to me while at work. I didn’t know it was possible to be inspired inside a cubicle, and was under the impression that my spirit checked out every time I entered the building, so you can imagine my surprise.
“Land of illusion and sleight of hand, land of delusion and suffering, false prophets, liars and thieves rule the world.”
I had been listening to Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations a lot during this period of time (I mean A LOT, it was a really long ride from Inwood to the financial district and the A train takes FOREVER, if it’s running at all, so I had some quality time with that album) and had originally imagined some kind of grand, Muse-ish rock opera crescendo for the song.
Elie came up with the backing vocals and the chords for the verse based on the melody I was singing, and then I think we wrote the B section chord progression together. Then we just played around with it and let it unfold.
The B section lyrics were pretty painless, but I had a hard time coming up with the lyrics for the third verse, and I settled for something which I still don’t think is very good – lazy writing on my part 🙂
“Their lips are moving, tongues smooth as knives, well versed in confusion, subversion and lies, guided by nothing but greed and pride, they rule the world.”
Yeah, I feel like the first half of that verse is slightly awkward, oh well.
For the final verse I wanted to touch upon the fact that we aren’t powerless. That we may have temporarily handed our power over to someone else, but that we are perfectly capable of reclaiming it and creating any kind of world we desire – which is really what I meant when I said “we can rule the world.” I didn’t mean “rule” as in wield power or control over others, I meant being in control of our own lives and the creation of our own realities…if that makes sense. Yes, I’m a big Abraham-Hicks fan.
So that’s basically it, my big “holy shit this world is fucking bonkers” song.