No political protest is complete without music. Thanks to the demonstrations that have gripped the city the past two weeks, Madison bands and songwriters have been busy.
Lou and Peter Berryman's late-afternoon Capitol performance on Feb. 18 featured new lyrics to traditional folk songs. The duo turned "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" into "Bring Back Wisconsin to Me." The final verse declares: "They're trying to stifle our voices/They're trying to keep us derailed/They'll find it's not easy to do, though/McCarthy once tried and he failed." That's not Mike McCarthy, Packers fans.
Disco/funk outfit VO5 released the protest music video "Cheddar Revolution" on Feb. 25. Filmed inside and outside the Capitol building, the video features the nine-piece band decked out in disheveled Cheesehead-glam fashion (snow hats, "Praise Cheeses" T-shirt). Accompanied by trumpet, tambourine and accordion, several off-key voices jubilantly sing, "Unions make Wisconsin better; this revolution is fueled by cheddar!"
Peter Leidy's musical compositions have always been steeped in Wisconsin culture and politics. So it's no surprise he's released "Watching Scotty Go." The song is a parody of the 1970 single "Watching Scotty Grow," written by Mac Davis and performed by Bobby Goldsboro.
Leidy's lyrics ponder Gov. Walker leaving office before 2015: "Well, Governor, you woke a sleeping giant/We're coming out in droves, don't you know/In the Capitol wall to wall/People chanting 'Recall'/We may all be watching Scotty go."
National musicians have begun to support the Wisconsin cause, too. The Massachusetts Celtic-punk band Dropkick Murphys posted a new song, "Take 'Em Down," to their website Feb. 22. The band say they wanted to "acknowledge the struggles of the working people of Wisconsin and to pledge our support and solidarity." "Take 'Em Down" T-shirt sales benefit the Workers' Rights Emergency Response Fund.