By Gary Sohmers, 2017 copyright, All Rights Reserved
Chapter Nine – Stand Up and Be Counted
Sid starts the next song with the drum and bugle corp beat. A march to inspire people, with a familiar sound to most folks from parades and sporting events, and a sound that can inspire emotions. When I wrote the song a long time ago, it was a protest song against corporate rule, but until current times it fell upon deaf ears. But now with a new audience with a real problem, I hope that it resonates.
The producer provided me with money to hire a great horn section and several other drummers to add to the build of this last song in the first set. The audience are cheering and nodding in unison to the fun sounds.
The citizens coddle themselves and their leader to the side of his riser to assess the situation. The music really appeals to their basic patriotic instincts, like John Philip Sousa marches or the Ohio State University halftime show. Music that had always been considered comfortable with them, the music of Friday Night Football, so that many appear torn between enjoying the sound or concentrating on their taskmaster’s requirements.
Musically arranged by Bill to “sing” to their programmed conservative mentality in a style they blindly accept as friendly and march to it mindlessly, T.Raitor’s citizens and their beasties now appear to be curious, joining in unified movement in front of the concert stage.
In front of us we witness a sea of humans, and their beasties, representing all of the human emotional characteristics marching to their own beating hearts emphasized by our added instrumentation. The weather is beautiful for an unnatural experience in the park, with a breeze gently fluffing our colorful banners and messing up of DT’s coiffed hairstyle on his platform. No matter how imaginary everything could be, with beasties, evil and coincidences, maybe we are getting some assistance from Mother Nature.
Now is my chance to state my case to what may be the largest in-person audience we have ever had, and I am seeing imaginary beasties everywhere. I choose to accept my state of mind as normal, feel we are prepared, step up to my microphone and sing the first verse to a unified attentiveness, “There’s a call to arms in the world today, fear and greed seem to lead the way, driven by invertebrates, who can’t stand up, yet we’ve become their slaves.”
To my surprise, my newest old friend is right by my side with microphone in hand to chime in the next line, singing, “To control your world, and drive you mad, make you think that it all has gone bad, without a knowledge of the past, or sense of logic even if crass,” to which Terra and I sing in reply, “We’ll take a pass.”
“Stand up and be counted,” Terra and I sing. “Listen, heed the call,” Gra adds singing to and chiding the crowd.
“Stand up and be counted,” we again plead to the masses of humans in our audience.
Gra points to Terra singing, “You’re an individual.”
We three boldy exclaim to the crowd to “Stand up and be counted.”
In response to the band, and the audience’s attention, Donald T. Raitor’s ominous voice comes through the PA systems once again to challenge us and our message, grunting, “Hey you, up against the wall!”
Continuing our resistance, Terra and I counter with another proud call to the audience to “Stand up and be counted,” and again in response, DT interrupts, changing my lyrics to “You’re no individual,” again throwing out handfuls of money.
With a short musical march interlude in the song, our roadies attempt to find a way to disconnect DT from our systems, but having been unprepared for this kind of crazy, his trolls keep them in a dance of wires and cables. I am not particularly concerned with the intrusion. As the music plays, I’m thinking maybe I can use his appearance at our show to our advantage and embarrass the giant fucking jackass to leave, as I go back to sing the second verse.
“Who among us will heed the call,” I challenge, and as rehearsed Terra adds, “To support the cause to freedom’s hall.” Singing back to Terra, “With a sincere sense of it all,” Terra sings back to me, “As we stand up, see the cracks in their wall.”
Pointing to the side of the stage where DT’s campaign rally had been set up without my knowledge, I point out, “To control our food, our air and minds, truth so painful, sheep stay blind,” gesturing towards his followers.
Terra sings emotionally about her cause, “Destroying our climate is so unkind, there is no sense in letting it slide,” and as if in finality sings, “if this is the future, we’ve run outta time.”
Terra and I repeat the chorus to the crowd, many of whom are mouthing the words with us, “Stand up and be counted,” following which I emphasize, “Watch the bullies fall,” as I point to T.Raitor.
“Stand up and be counted,” again comes from unified voices, and Gra sings out my message that there are many more of unique thinkers than blind followers with, “You are many individuals.”
We all sing in unison again with, “Stand up and be counted,” which is countered by the irritating noise of DT’s voice again threatening, “Hey you, up against the wall.” With an overwhelming vocal attack from the stage and the audience of “Stand up and be counted,” T.Raitor again uses his same demeaning accusatory defense, proclaiming gruffly that “You’re no individual.”
The mood of the music changes from an uptempo proclamation of unity and courage to a somber dirge, similar to a march played for caskets returning from a war.
Terra’s goal to save the environment is aligned with my hope to change the political structure to benefit all, not just the wealthy, even though I had also hoped to become wealthy. Hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, fire, floods and eruptions are messages from within the planet’s soul that something is wrong, so I figure let change start here.
Moving to the front of the stage to join me, Terra assists me in reciting my ominous lyrics, “They attack our culture, attach our bonds,” to which I respond with, “They detach our future, they’d rather build bombs.”
Terra then looks to the audience, pointing out the obvious, “They divide to conquer,” after which I point to the unauthorized rally set up next to our stage adding, “And take our funds.”
Terra proclaims defiantly, “We can take down their egos, open their flaws,” and I follow up with, “We can teach them some lessons about passing bad laws.”
Terra shouts to the audience to “Stand up to the bullies, stand up to the fear.”
“Stand up to the cowards, stand up to the sheep,” Gra sings proudly.
And in unison she and I conclude with, “We’ll stand up as humans, stand for our needs.”
Gra jumps right in to sing the third verse, “Bullies come and bullies go, history has the skill to show.”
I continue, singing, “What happened before we now know, can happen today if you don’t grow.”
“Small-minded beings inhabit the earth, millions of creatures primordial birth, beings not capable of filling the dearth, breeding new bullies without any worth,” Gra sings to the crowd hoping they will get the message, as I ask in song, “Can we defeat them, they seem so immersed?”
Terra and I add incentive, pointing our fingers at the audience, “Stand up and be counted.” Gra is now pointing towards the citizens who are enjoying the stirring marching music, and challenge them with, ”Hey you, hear the call.”
Again, Terra and I sing with defiant jubilation for them to “Stand up and be counted.”
I look to Terra and acknowledge the confirmation of her personal commitment, “If you’re an individual,” to which she smiles broadly.
The entire crowd responds with a massive callback of, “Stand up and be counted.”
Gra replies, pointing directly at the platform where DT and his cronies are standing, and sings, “Watch the bullies fall.”
The crowd again responds with, “Stand up and be counted,” and Gra adds to his plea singing, “Sheeple need not stall.”
Again the crowd joins us at full volume singing, “Stand up and be counted,” as Gra concludes with, “Many individuals,” pointing to the masses of moving bodies in front of us.
“Stand up and be counted,” comes roaring from the crowd again, and again Gra points to the punks and sings, “HEY YOU, time to move that wall!” A unified audience offers another rousing vocalized, “Stand up and be counted,” to which Gra hammers my point singing, “You’re all individuals.”
From my perspective, it appears we may have made progress.