Live at Bazaar Cafe, Dec. 16, 2000
Carmaig de Forest
Reviewed by Megan Shaw Prelinger
Tuesday, December 19 2000, 3:40 PM
On Saturday President-"elect" George W. Bush announced that Colin Powell would be his Secretary of State. The next day, he announced Condoleezza Rice as his national security adviser.
In between these two announcements, on Saturday evening, I caught art-folk-rock mainstay Carmaig de Forest performing at the Bazaar Cafe in San Francisco. As I sat before the show enjoying my mushroom-barley soup, I pondered how incredible it is that our next President is going to whitewash his racist election debacle simply by announcing, in a sense, that it doesn't exist. African-Americans were harassed at the polls. Their votes weren't counted. The Electoral College was revealed to have been created to weigh elections in favor of slaveholders. Yet by announcing these high level appointments of prominent African-Americans, Mr. Bush effectively asserted that he is a racially inclusive leader whose presidency will represent all Americans, including those of color. George Bush lies.
Eight years ago, Carmaig de Forest had a modest college radio hit with a single by that same name, "George Bush Lies." It was a protest song that objected to the possibility of a second term for our Gulf War president. Carmaig has a knack for pop political ditties -- his Minutemen-esque "Crack's No Worse than the Fascist Threat" from 1987 will remain a timeless classic for as long as the drug war lasts.
Musing over the renewed relevance of the George Bush tune, I dared to hope that Carmaig would belt it out that night. And after some of the saddest songs I've ever heard about loss and heartbreak, and some side-splittingly funny takes on love and apocalypse, I was rewarded. Strumming ukelele and accompanied by bandmates Ned Doherty and Dan Olmsted on bass and guitar, he sang:
"I was watching TV Wednesday, our next president was making his speech. Saying he'll represent us all - across party lines he's going to reach. But as I listened to the words that he said, an old chorus popped up into my head, Sayin', "George Bush lies."
Chorus: George Bush lies.
He lies about his record. He lies on the campaign trail. He lied as governor of Texas. He (probably) lied while a student at Yale. Now he's president-elect (so to speak). We're in for at least two-hundred-eight weeks, of George Bush lies.
George Bush lies. It's a family tradition. Just like arrogance and ignorance and crimes of omission. There are people whom the man owes his pres'dency to; When they come to collect, what d'you expect him to do?
(spoken:) Govern from the center? Reach out to all Americans? Yeah right.
We'll keep supportin' less evils (who are liars too, I add to be fair). And there really is some common ground, eventually they're all gonna share. So let's live long, so we all can be 'round. For the day when we can dance on that ground Where George Bush lies.
As a light anthem of disconent, I say it's not bad for a song just three days old as it was the night he sang it. And performed live with an enthusiastic audience it had palpable comic and commentary life to it. All around it that night, songs about California places and dreamscapes and heartbreak carried the literary weight of the concert. Carmaig and his band concluded with a rousing, sing-along rendition of "Love Is Strong" (the B-side of the original GBL single). I recommend his current CD El Camino Real, though "George Bush Lies (2000 edition)" remains unrecorded for now.
Lyrics to "George Bush Lies (2000 edition)" copyright 2000 Carmaig de Forest. Reprinted by permission.
"George Bush Lies" (original) was released in 1992 on former Husker Du/Sugar frontman Bob Mould's now dormant Singles Only Label.
For more information on Carmaig de Forest, stop by Carmaig.com