Friday, January 14, 2011

Please help David Rovics record the "Song for Bradley Manning"

Dear friends,

I just got this email from David Rovics:
Hi folks,

Since I recorded “Song for Bradley Manning” on my iPhone less than two weeks ago it has been viewed many thousands of times. This is a lot more than usual for a song that was recorded badly and has received no radio airplay or media attention aside from the occasional blog. I've been getting emails from lots of people I don't know, which is a very good sign.

I have noticed that the songs and videos of mine and other people's that tend to go viral like that, without the help of conventional media, usually share certain things in common. One is they're songs that speak to people. The other is they're professionally recorded with a good band and they have a professional-quality video to go with them. Also, though independent music is never heard on the commercial airwaves and rarely on the “public” or on syndicated “independent” programs either, if there's any hope of a song breaking that sound barrier, it needs to be professionally recorded.

My business model, such as it is, is to write topical songs, make some kind of recording of them, release them on the web for free and hope that some of the people who hear the songs will want to organize a gig for me when I'm in their area. This model allows me to make a decent enough living, though I can't afford some things like health insurance and, since my daughter was born, I have not been able to afford to make any recordings with a band.

If you go to, where I have 248 songs up for free download, you can see that most of the songs to make it into the“Soundclick Top 50” or “Soundclick Top 10” are from the last studio CD I recorded that involved a band, which was in 2006.

I'm happy to live within my means and continue to make inexpensive, generally solo-guitar-and-voice recordings that I put up on the web.

Given the obvious interest in this song, however, I thought I'd put it out there, come what may, that I would be even happier to make a high-quality studio recording of the song with a great bunch of professional musicians and then make a music video to go along with it.

I can't pay for it, though, and there aren't any record labels approaching me about it either, and there won't be. I know that probably half of you reading this also don't have health insurance.

But for those of you with any disposable income, be it $10 or $100 or more, here's my offer, take it or leave it:

Any donations that come in via the “donate” button at (where you can also hear the song in question) by the end of this month will be used next month to make a high-quality recording of the song. This email will be the only effort I will make at raising this money. Here's what I will do with it, depending on how much people donate:

$500 I'll rent an award-winning studio for the day and make a high-quality solo recording

$2,000 I'll rent the studio for two days along with several amazing studio musicians and make a recording of the song with a band

$4,000 I'll hire the studio, the band, and a team of professional cut-rate videographers to make an MTV-quality video in the process

In the unlikely event of more donations than that, I'll hire a publicist to try to get the song some conventional media attention. To make the concept more interesting, anybody who contributes $500 or more gets a complementary house concert next time I'm in your country or region.

Obviously, feel free to share this email with whoever you want to.


Ok, by now most of you will now that I am a huge David Rovics fan, so you will not be surprised by the fact that I really ask you to help David raise the money needed for this recording.  Frankly, being quasi broke myself, all I could send is 20 bucks, but I did it with a strong sense that not only was I helping a true hero of mine, but I was also contributing to a truly immensely important cause: I strongly believe that David's music has a huge impact on the people who actually get to listen to it.  I have been living in the USA for a total of 15 years of my life, and I can tell you that every time I shared David's songs with an American the person was initially shocked - Americans are, sadly, not used at all of being exposed to any real opposition to the US Empire and political system - followed by amazement and, very often, a deep reflexion on the topics raised in David's songs.  Real art is, I believe, subversive and libertarian by nature.  It has to speak truth to power.  When it does not, it is merely entertainment.

Ask yourself that simple question: when is the last time you heard some really subversive music?

Guys, please, pitch in and help David as much as possible.  Helping him is really a way of resisting which everybody can afford.  Send him even just a couple of bucks, and you can go to bed knowing that you did you share, no matter how little, to help the resistance against the Empire.  Bradley Manning put his entire life on the line.  Surely we can spare a couple of bucks?

Many thanks in advance,

The Saker