A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

So What Is It With Bands And Producers Not Liking Each Other After An Album Explodes?

What is it with artist’s dishing out hate on a producer that was involved in producing their greatest triumph?

A good producer is meant to be tough and opinionated. They are meant to challenge the artist, so that the artist delivers the goods. Look at what Bob Rock did to Kirk Hammet in Metallica, especially around “The Unforgiven” solo piece. If you look at Kirk’s legacy that will be the solo that he will be remembered by. I remember in the “Classic Albums” documentary of the “Black” album, as well as in the video, “A Year and A Half With Metallica”, Bob Rock said something similar like, “it is a great song and it needs a great lead. What Kirk is playing at the moment is not great. He has to live and breathe this solo.”

Bob Rock got the guys to slow down the tempo on “Sad But True” and detune everything down a whole step. He told Lars Ulrich to take drum lessons before he started to record his parts. Which producer does that? Lars Ulrich is coming off 4 definitive thrash albums and there is Bob Rock telling him to take drum lessons. He questioned James on his lyrics and his melodies, something that hasn’t been done before. He recommended vocal lessons as well to the formidable front man.

Lars even said that once the Black album was finished, he couldn’t talk or see Bob Rock for over 12 months. Bob Rock has even gone on record saying that it was a tough album to make. The end result is every bands dream coming true. The biggest selling album of the SOUNDSCAN era with a total of 16 million sales as at December 2012. The Black album still to this day moves 2,000 units per week in the U.S. A a lot of websites pointed out that it outsold, Megadeth’s new album “Supercollider”.

As much as Nikki Sixx dishes on Tom Werman, the facts are out there. With Tom Werman, Motley Crue had three multi-platinum albums in “Shout At The Devil”, “Theatre of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”. Each album has sold 4 million copies plus in the U.S. That is a total of 12 million plus sales in the U.S market. Furthermore, the bulk of the “Decade Of Decadence” album is made up of songs from these albums, and that album also sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. In addition, the “Music To Crash Your Car” box sets also had the three albums produced by Tom Werman on them.

If all the stories about the drug use from the Motley Crue members are to be believed, then Tom Werman deserves special recognition for getting anything musical onto tape.

Dee Snider also doesn’t have many kind words for Tom Werman. If anyone has read Dee’s bio, “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic,” you can connect the dots and come to a conclusion that Dee is also blaming Tom Werman for the failure of Twisted Sister’s next album even though Tom Werman never worked on it. The routine used to be that Dee Snider would be working on songs for the next album, while the current album is being mixed.

According to Dee, in his bio “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic” due to Werman being difficult to work with and Mark Mendoza doing his best to sabotage everything that Dee was working on, he couldn’t take the time out from the studio to work on songs for the next album. So when it came time to write the songs for Come Out And Play after the hugely successful “Stay Hungry” tour, Dee’s mindset was in a different place. He had money, he had fame, he had success and he didn’t have the same hunger, anger and motivation that he had during the Stay Hungry recording. If he wrote the songs during the “Stay Hungry” sessions, the output could have been very different. Super producer, Bob Ezrin even passed on working on “Come Out And Play”, because he didn’t hear any great songs.

However, the facts are there. The Tom Werman produced “Stay Hungry”, sold over 3 million copies in the U.S alone. The singles, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” also sold by the truck load and they sounded great on radio, due to special radio mixes that Tom Werman did for them. It’s funny that the song “The Price”, didn’t get the same radio mix and it tanked as a single, even though it is the strongest of all three songs.

In relation to Nikki Sixx and Dee Snider, Werman said the following on Popdose.com;

“There were two individual musicians who had a problem with me in the studio out of about 200 musicians I produced. Nikki Sixx was a friend until he revised history in his book. Dee Snider was a friend, until the Twisted Sister album became a hit, and he couldn’t deal with sharing the credit for its success. Both of these guys were literally back-slapping glad-handers; years later, they soured badly. I had fine relationships with all the other members of those two bands.”

Kix was another band that was critical of Tom Werman. Bassist and band leader, Donnie Purnell hated and distrusted Werman.

George Lynch from Dokken also had a problem with Tom Werman, when Werman requested that he play a better lead break on a particular song. If you believe Don Dokken, George Lynch has an uncontrollable ego. If you believe George Lynch, Don Dokken has an uncontrollable ego. Regardless who you believe, when Lynch was asked to play a better lead break, he had a dummy spit.

And now here are the facts for Dokken’s “Tooth N Nail” and Kix’s “Blow My Fuse”. Both albums on release went to GOLD status within a year. “Tooth N Nai”l was released in 1984 and ended up reaching PLATINUM status in the U.S in 1989 (yep that’s right, four years after its release), after the mega successful “Back For The Attack” album, got people interested in Dokken’s back catalogue. “Back For The Attack” reached PLATINUM status within 2 months of its release date.

“Blow My Fuse” was released on September 12, 1988. By November 2, 1988, seven weeks later, the album was certified GOLD by the RIAA. In May 1989, the single “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was released. By February 5, 1990, eight months later, the single was certified GOLD by the RIAA. Finally, on August 28, 2000, the “Blow My Fuse” album was certified PLATINUM by the RIAA. Yep, that is almost 12 years from when it was released. This is what the artist of today need to take into account. Great music will live on and it will keep on selling for a long time.

However, so many artists and record label executives want the platinum sales with the first release. Dokken’s back catalogue sold well after the mega successful “Back For The Attack” album (their 4th album). Metallica’s back catalogue sold even more, after the mega successful “Black” album (their 5th album). Motley Crue’s back catalogue sold well again after the mega successful “Dr Feelgood” album (their 5th album). However in today’s mindset of profits before creativity, most bands will not get to the fourth or fifth album. Most bands will not have a comeback like Aerosmith or Alice Cooper did in the Eighties. I digress.

Dream Theater, especially Mike Portnoy blasted Dave Prater on the “Images and Words” sessions, however with Prater at the helm, Dream Theater had their biggest album to date. Read the book “Lifting Shadows”. The interviews with Prater are brilliant. The rebuttals of the band members are in some cases subdued but fiery at the same time. Somewhere in between all of the stories is the truth.

Of course, Dream Theater with Dave Prater at the helm have had their most success in relation to album sales. “Images And Words” is the album that Dream Theater is still doing victory laps with in 2013.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

1986 vs 2013

BON JOVI

In 1986, Jon Bon Jovi was all about the music. He was in debt to his record label and still living with his parents. The “band” Bon Jovi released their biggest seller, Slippery When Wet.

Now, Jon Bon Jovi is all about the money. The band Bon Jovi released their biggest dud, in What About Now, Richie Sambora has been booted because of money and Jon Bon Jovi cancelled a New York Fair concert for an intimate Government concert that paid more.

 

BLACK SABBATH/OZZY OSBOURNE

In 1986, Black Sabbath released Seventh Star with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Ozzy Osbourne released The Ultimate Sin.

Seventh Star was originally intended to be the first solo album by Iommi, but due to pressures by Warner Bros. Records and the prompting of band manager Don Arden, the record was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

The Ultimate Sin featured songwriting contributions from Bob Daisley and Phil Soussan, however due to Sharon Osbourne (Arden) trying to keep as much money as possible in Ozzy’s corner, Bob Daisley was not credited on the initial release and Phil Soussan had an accounting disagreement with Sharon. Everyone got shafted by an Arden.

In 2013, Black Sabbath released 13, their first album with Ozzy since 1978, that also featured the talents of Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. Bill Ward said he would not participate until he was offered a “signable contract.” One B.W is out and another B.W is in. Again, someone was shafted by an Arden.

RECORD LABELS

The major labels wanted their artists to have careers. They spent a lot of money to convince the public that they should pay attention to their new artist or the latest release of an existing artist.

The marketing was from the label down to the streets. The labels had so much power and they set the bar. Either a band was signed to a label or they didn’t matter. Major labels were plentiful and the most powerful person in the music business was the Record Label head. Artists could live off the money from their record deal as people had to buy the expensive record to listen to it. Because it was expensive, we played it over and over and over again and eventually became a fan.

Now the marketing is from the streets and the record labels want the hit singles. They have shareholders to please, a board to please and all the label heads are interested in bonuses and short term profits. There is no long term vision anymore as the Record Labels do not have the same power.

The major labels have been reduced to 3, with Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.

In 1986, record companies were cool. In 2013, HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Twitter and Amazon are cool. 

 

LIVE

In 1986, all the acts did the arena and stadium tours because demand was high. If a band opened for a major act, they believed they had made it. The public discovered new acts when those acts opened up for our favourite bands. Look at the list below;

Metallica and Ratt opened up for Ozzy Osbourne.

Anthrax opened up for Metallica.

Marillion opened up for Rush.

 

Loverboy opened up for Van Halen.

King Kobra, White Lion and W.A.S.P opened up for Kiss.

 

W.A.S.P also opened up for Iron Maiden.

Cinderella opened up for Bon Jovi in the U.S and Queensryche opened up for Bon Jovi in Europe.

 

Queensryche also opened up for AC/DC.

Cinderella also opened up for David Lee Roth.

Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger opened up for Journey.

Dokken opened up for Accept.

Keel opened up for Dio.

Krokus opened up for Judas Priest.

Now only the classic rock acts of the Seventies and Eighties can sell out the arenas and the few modern superstars. The majority of acts play the club circuit. If bands have a small hard core fan base, they can raise enough money to make an album and own everything about themselves. No one cares who the opening band is.

RANDY JACKSON

In 1986, he played bass with Journey. He appeared on the Raised on Radio album and also toured with them. People judged him on his abilities.

In 2013, he is a judge on American Idol.

CHARTS

Back in 1986, the charts meant everything and albums sold in double digit millions. Slippery When Wet from Bon Jovi went to Number 1 for 1 week in October and then it re-appeared at number 1 for 7 weeks in 1987.

Now the charts are useless and artists are lucky to sell a million units. There are a few, like Adele that go into double digits. Bon Jovi’s What About Now went to Number 1 for 1 week and it didn’t reappear again.

ANTHEMS OF A GENERATION

In 1986, we had Addicted To Love from Robert Palmer, Sledgehammer from Peter Gabriel, Dreams from Van Halen, Livin On A Prayer and Wanted Dead Or Alive from Bon Jovi, Peace Sells from Megadeth, Battery from Metallica, Raining Blood from Slayer and The Final Countdown from Europe.

In 2013, nothing lasts.

THE MUSIC BUSINESS 

In 1986, it was all about the music and if a band was all over traditional media, it meant they had traction and that people would be hearing their music.

Now, our favourite bands are playing to the masses who just don’t care and now it is all about marketing. Look at the marketing campaign for the new Dream Theater album. It looks like the label is trying to monetize every little bit of it. If a band is all over traditional media, it doesn’t mean that they have traction and it doesn’t mean that people have heard their music.

In 1986, everything was expensive and the cost of music was different at every store. Due to the high prices of music, everybody had a little bit of it. We had to buy it to hear it, or we used to tape it of someone who purchased it.

Now, music costs the same everywhere, and it’s cheap and everybody has more than they want. Music is available to hear for free, whether on YouTube or streaming music services like Spotify.

In 1986, albums from our favourite artists would normally come out every two years. Due to this lack of new material, music was scarce, so when we purchased albums we played them to death. We became fans by over playing the music we purchased as it was all about the music.

Now, music is released constantly and it is plentiful. Due to these riches of new material, we don’t spend as much time with the albums we purchased. We become fans by looking for the song that grabs our attention on the first listen.

LADY GAGA

In 1986, Lady Gaga was born. In 2013, Lady Gaga is just Born This Way.

METALLICA

In 1986, Metallica released Master of Puppets and lost bass player Cliff Burton in a bus accident while on tour.

In 2013, Metallica will be released Through The Never a live/concert film and will be losing a lot of money when it doesn’t set the world on fire.

MEGADETH

In 1986, Megadeth released Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying, which in their case, everyone was buying.

In 2013, Megadeth released Supercollider and no one was buying.

KISS

In 1986, Gene Simmons from Kiss produced and co-wrote songs for the Black N Blue album, Nasty Nasty, that had a certain Tommy Thayer on guitars.

In 2013, Kiss released Monster, that has Tommy Thayer on guitars, as well as lead vocals on one song and a major co-writer of material.

STRYPER

In 1986, Stryper released To Hell With The Devil.

In 2013, Styper will release No More Hell To Pay. It looks they still have hell on their minds.

SLAYER

In 1986, Slayer reigned in blood.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman’s reign ended. RIP.

QUEENSRYCHE

In 1986, Queensryche was one band that released the a superior album in Rage For Order.

In 2013, Queensryche are two seperate bands that ended up releasing two inferior albums in Frequency Unknown(Geoff Tate version) and Queensryche (Todd LaTorre version).

The fans are screaming for order.

CINDERELLA 

In 1986, Cinderella released Night Songs and proved to the world that they are nobody’s fool.

In 2013, Tom Keifer the singer from Cinderella released The Way Life Goes, an album 9 years in the making with a song called Fools Paradise.

VINNIE VINCENT

In 1986, Vinnie Vincent invaded the charts, with a point to prove.

In 2013, Vinnie Vincent is …..

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Dream Theater has a listening party and invites the fans this time around – That’s what I’m talking about.

The Dream Theater post on the band having a listening party and forgetting to invite their fans was the most viewed post on the Destroyer of Harmony blog. It even started The Great Debate on a Dream Theater forum. Knee jerk reactions from forum members Misunderstood the intentions of the post.

As a fan, it is with a sense of renewed optimism to see Dream Theater rewarding London fans with a chance to listen to the album with John Petrucci and James LaBrie. Did the post on this blog cause this change of heart? Maybe it did. I will own it.

So what does this new listening party mean?

Dream Theater will give ten fans a chance to hear the new album. Casual fans will not be queuing up for this. It will be their super fans that will Take The Time to email. These same fans will have walked the Rite Of Passage and purchased the Lifting Shadows book each time it has been released.

They will have seen the band live every time they have visited and they will have purchased all of the Official album releases, DVD releases, Official Bootleg releases and merchandise. This is a chance for Dream Theater to form an everlasting connection with these super fans. Studies released have shown that super fans are worth about $700 to a band on a yearly basis. These same studies have shown that these super fans once enabled are better than any marketing PR firm. Just Google, “Hypebot Superfans”.

When Dream Theater started off back in the late 1980’s, the marketing was the actual narrative that would sell the product. Fast forward to 2013 and Dream Theater started off their marketing campaign in the same way as 1988. It’s good to see that the marketing plan has switched to the actual product, as the current day marketing is the actual product itself. Otherwise, the product will end up like Megadeth’s Supercollider, outsold by the Metallica Black album that is 22 years old regardless of the narrative that Dave Mustaine puts on it about being his best work as it is an album that has come from his heart, not his mind.

Perception is all that matters these days. If people start to believe that a band doesn’t care about their fans or if they have lost control of their career, then they are done, regardless of what the numbers say in relation to sales, tour and merchandise grosses.

Kudo’s to Petrucci and Co.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, Stupidity

Why do creators still follow the old way?

I just listened to the new Megadeth album.  Apart from the opener, Kingmaker and the cover, Cold Sweat from Thin Lizzy, I don’t really like it.  For me to say that, is a big thing.  If anything, you can call me a Mustaine Fanboy. I still cop flack for liking Risk.

The idea of the album has evolved since Megadeth released Killing Is My Business in 1985.  In this day and age, the fans want more.  Our time is valuable.  TV shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead can take us away from listening to music.  Gaming can also limit our time.  We live in a world of choice.  If something is not good enough, we just move on.  It could be another band, a movie, a TV show, a game, a book, a magazine, a holiday and so on.

I still purchased the physical CD of Super Collider, so that I can have it as part of my Megadeth collection, however I cannot recommend it.  I wish I could.  What disappoint’s me is that Chris Broderick is still utilised purely for his lead breaks.  Is that all he is capable off?  I don’t think so, however that is how it remains in Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine is the riff meister.  He is the songwriter, however in this case, I believe that the songwriter of the band has gone missing.  It’s not a bad album and it’s not a good album.

Going back to the meaning of the post.  Why did Megadeth and Dave Mustaine follow the old way?  He could have recorded and released more frequently and still toured behind Gigantour?

For example, he could have recorded and released Kingmaker one month and then released Cold Sweat from Thin Lizzy the next month.  During that two month period, the band could have fine tuned the other songs, written better ones or just kept them as the same, if the initial songs connected with the fans.

There is no need to follow the “spend six months creating and recording an album”, release it, watch it fade away from the minds of people’s within weeks and then go on tour of the world and hope that the tour will rekindle sales.

Don’t get me wrong, the above format still works for great albums.  Five Finger Death Punch released American Capitalist in October 2011, and it is still selling.  They got five singles out of it.  The fans spread it via social media.  They have a new album coming out in July and then another album scheduled for either a November 2013 or February 2014 release.  I really liked how Coheed and Cambria did the same thing with The Afterman releases and Stone Sour did the same with House of Gold and Bones.  The bands need to be here today, everyday.  If you are gone tomorrow, in this day and age, its game over.

Megadeth in this case didn’t have enough material for a great album, and that is all we have time for these days.  I still love the band, I will still purchase tickets to Gigantour if they bring it to Australia and I will be hoping that Megadeth return to writing great songs.

Keeping with the creators following the old way theme, there is an interview doing the rounds at Loudwire, with Shinedown singer Brent Smith.  Basically, back in April, Shinedown allowed their Facebook fans to vote on which songs the band should cover.  So after the results came in, the band went away and filmed themselves playing the cover songs.  They have no plans to sell the songs. All they want to do is release the video’s of them performing the cover songs on YouTube, so that they releasing content each week. However, they cannot release the songs due to licensing issues.

The licensing part of music, is the old way of thinking.  This the way it works in two sentences.  The creators write the songs and then sell the songs for a fee to a publisher.  The publisher then licences the songs to advertising, TV shows and collects monies for them.  In my view, Publishers should be all shot and buried.

If anything, Shinedown will bring more attention to the original versions of the songs they cover.  I know that I am keen to hear them do Nothing Else Matters from Metallica.

Shinedown is trying to do things the new way, releasing content more frequently.  Amaryllis came out in March, 2012.  It’s still in the minds of the public.  As at last week, it was sitting at 410,000 sold in the U.S. alone.  Now they are going to be involved with the Carnival of Madness Tour.  In between they also released the Warner Sound’s Live Room Sessions EP  and Brent Smith has been very vocal about getting fans to speak up and stand up for rock music via social media and the hashtag (#theriseofrockandroll).  They also have the covers YouTube clips up their sleeve.  

The game is changing every day. The old wayers’ need to get in bed with the new wayers’ and start thinking differently.  It’s not all about the initial pay-day on release day.  It’s about staying in the minds of the public and the fans.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Music, My Stories

Dave Mustaine – What Do Ya Mean? I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Megadeth has a new album coming out, called Supercollider due to be released on June 4, 2013.  It will album number 14.  That got me thinking about the lyrics that Dave Mustaine has written for Megadeth, throughout their 30 year existence.

Holy Wars – 1990, from Rust In Peace

Brother will kill brother
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion
Something I don’t understand

Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God’s command?

How prophetic is this song? It was written in 1990, and at the time it was in reference to the IRA and the Northern Ireland issue.  If you hear the lyrics for the first time today, you would make the connection to something different.  The song is intense.  If anyone asked me to play them three songs that would sum up the Thrash movement,  Holy Wars would be first, Master of Puppets from Metallica would be second and Seasons In The Abyss from Slayer would be third.

Symphony Of Destruction – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

You take a mortal man,
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch peoples heads a’roll

I have known people who have been put in position’s where they have a certain amount of power and control.  They start out with good intentions.  In time, they begin to change, they develop the god complex and people either start to turn away from them, or for they ones that stay, they end up getting burned.

Kick The Chair – 2004, from The System Has Failed

Justice means nothing today
Now that the courts are for sale
Pick a crime from the menu, pick a sentence and defend you
And pick up the down payment called bail
The system’s for sale!

Mustaine covers the topics of justice, corruption and freedoms a fair bit.  Kick the Chair is from The System Has Failed album.  The album title alone tells the listener what they are in for.  These days, Justice is given to the ones who pay the most.  We have the Entertainment and Publishing Industries using Copyright as a form of censorship.  Just recently a Latvian school teacher was arrested and interrogated, for creating a website that provided access to school children to certain books.  What is more important, Copyright or Education.  Back in my day, the teachers used to photo copy the text books and give them out to the students.

Bite The Hand – 2009, from Endgame

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see
The erosion of the people’s trust
Of what will come to be an FDIC Assisted Suicide

The depression of a depression
Worldwide suicide for the economy
Caused by the dialectic chaos when the
Mob on Wall Street took “We the People” for a ride

A song written after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). As each day went by, more information came out as to why the GFC happened.  It all pointed to greed, corruption and conflicts of interest between the revolving door of Government officials and Lobby Groups.

A Secret Place – 1997, from Cryptic Writings

There’s a secret place I like to go
Everyone is there but their face don’t show
If you get inside you can’t get out
There’s no coming back, I hear them shout

Didn’t we all have that secret place growing up.  That secret place in our heads.  Leave it up to Mustaine to make it sound sinister.

Skin Of My Teeth – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

I won’t feel the hurt
I’m not trash any longer
That that doesn’t kill me
Only makes me stronger
I need a ride to the morgue
That’s what 911 is for
So, tag my toe and don’t forget
Ooh to close the drawer

The opener from the excellent Countdown To Extinction has some of the best Mustaine lyrics ever committed to paper.  The last verse is a classic.  It’s a well-known fact that Mustaine has battled addiction, and as he says what doesn’t kill him can only make him stronger.

Peace Sells – 1986, from Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying

What do you mean, “I don’t believe in God”?
I talk to him every day
What do you mean, “I don’t support your system”?
I go to court when I have to
What do you mean, “I can’t get to work on time”?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, “I don’t pay my bills”?
Why do you think I’m broke? Huh?

Even though Peace Sells came out in 1986, I heard the album in 1988, just before So Far, So Good, So What came out.  Growing up, listening to metal and rock music, put you into this social class of troublemakers, drug takers and devil worshippers.  So when I heard Peace Sells, the words said what I and many others wanted to say.

“What do you mean” became the war cry.  To me, it summed up, the metal community.  Yeah we could get wild, we could get high and we could get rowdy, however in the end, we still paid our dues to the system.  We still worked, we still paid our bills/taxes and most importantly we still contribute to the system.

Foreclosure Of A Dream – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

Barren land that once filled a need
Are worthless now, dead without a deed
Slipping away from an iron grip
Nature’s scales are forced to tip
The heartland cries, loss of all pride
To leave ain’t believing, so try and be tried
Insufficient funds, insanity and suicide

This song was released in 1992 and like Holy Wars, how prophetic was it?  It could have been re-released in 2008 or 2009 and it would have fitted in with that time.  That is the power of music when it is done right.  It is timeless.

The Right To Go Insane – 2009, from Endgame

I barely get to the graveyard shift on time
After pulling another grueling nine to five
I live from credit card to check
The paper money’swhirling by
And I hardly just, just barely, only just survive

I could relate to this song.  Working like a slave just to give it all away to the taxman, the banks and the utility providers.  Then doing it again and again and again and again.

We The People – 2011, from Th1rt3en

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your Social Security
We, the people face unconstitutional lies
In greed we trust, in revolution we die

Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves
The land of liberty needs a regime change
Until you no longer know right from wrong
The constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on

Final say.

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