Monday, July 18, 2016

Pence Must Go: A Parting Gift for Our Soon-To-Be Former Governor

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 12:28 PM

click to enlarge pence_must_go.jpg
Thanks a lot, Donald J. Trump, for ruining our protest music video. You couldn’t leave well enough alone and let Mike Pence face the toughest re-election campaign of his political career. No, you had to sweep ol’ Mikey off his feet with the prospect of becoming vice president of the USA – and/or running at the top of the ticket in 2020.
What many of us here in Indiana had hoped for was a bruising gubernatorial election and crushing defeat for Pence, the moralist-in-chief who dedicated much of his time in office to turning back the clock in our state.

“He ain’t good for the community
Not women, kids nor LGBT
Pence must go, Pence must go today.”

Our song, “Pence Must Go,” began the way so many great projects do – with a bunch of guys drinking beer, playing ping pong and fiddling around with a guitar and ukulele. The guitar player hit a simple riff and we started singing, “Pence must go, Pence must go!” Then, in a moment of poetic inspiration that I imagine must have been exactly like what Wordsworth and Yeats experienced, I came up with the elegant rhyme for the beginning of the first verse:

“It’s no good for Indiana
When you got a rotten top banana...”

RELATED: Ten times Pence didn't make Indiana great again

It took me a few days to write three full verses, but in truth, given Pence’s job performance, the song kind of wrote itself. Next we decided to do a full-on home recording of the tune and, hell, as long as we’re at it, let’s film a video, too. The final line-up was one acoustic guitar, two ukuleles, a stand-up bass, me and six additional singers, including NUVO News Editor Amber Stearns. (I’d only known Amber from e-mailing stuff to her, but we needed women’s voices and I guessed – correctly – that she might be a singer, so I asked her to join us.)

“He took a job he could not manage
Now we’re left with all the damage
Pence must go, Pence must go today.”

And so, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday in June, a musician pal of mine set up his digital recording gear in my living room, an old buddy from high school who’s a professional film-maker and his lovely wife came over with video equipment, and ten musicians and singers – some pros, some not – gathered in my living room to record “Pence Must Go.” I gotta tell you, I’ve recorded music in lots of different settings and studios over many years, and it’s always a mixture of good times and challenges. But NEVER have I had more fun recording a song than on that day. The spirit of joy, cooperation, love and silliness flowed just like the cool afternoon beer.
Now that Pence is no longer running for governor of Indiana our little protest song seems kind of irrelevant. Or is it? We had planned on releasing this video in late August, closer to election time. But because Pence is out of the governor’s race, we went ahead and put out this version soon after we heard Mikey was joining Trump. (It’s actually an unfinished project – the original plan was to include shots of people standing in front of their homes with Pence Must Go signs.) I think the continuing relevance of the song is that we expressed the feelings that many Hoosiers have about our soon-to-be former governor. And the words of the last verse will still be important come this November.

“Now the rest is up to you
You know what you gotta do
Pence must go, Pence must go away
We don’t care what floats your boat
As long as you get out and vote
Pence must go, Pence must go today.”

(The song “Pence Must Go” is dedicated to the man behind all the signs with those same words – thanks, Kevin Warren.)

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