MICHAEL MOORE'S TRACK BY TRACK AND ALBUM COMMENTARY ON SONGS AND ARTISTS THAT INSPIRED FAHRENHEIT 9/11
When I make a film, I take my portable CD case and place in it a series of albums which contain music that reflects the mood I am in and the reasons that are motivating me to make this film. I play these CDs for myself and for my crew. Sometimes we have them playing in the van while we are driving around and filming. Sometimes I listen to them at night, thinking about what I want to accomplish the next day on the shoot. It is not easy to crash Capitol Hill to ask Congressmen if they would like to send THEIR sons to Iraq. Music helps get us there.
The songs contained on this CD are either the actual songs that made up our "on-the-scene" soundtrack, or they are by artists whom I have listened to over the years and have given me much inspiration...
Little Steven -- "I Am a Patriot"... That is how I feel. That is what we are. People who love our country and are trying to save it. This is a great anthem (and I love Jackson Browne's version of it also).
Bruce Springsteen -- "Chimes of Freedom" ...What can I say? Bruce is THE man. I have had his music playing in all my work, starting with "My Hometown" in "Roger & Me." He is who we all aspire to be! He never broke faith. I have carried his "Chimes of Freedom" EP with me for years, an EP that not many have, and I am proud to include it here.
Bob Dylan -- "With God On Our Side"... I once drove a thousand miles, from Flint, Mich. to Quebec City, to see Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in concert. Dylan (along with John Lennon) saved our entire generation from Pat Boone. That we would have a president now using God in this manner to defeat those whom he sees as godless makes this song all the more relevant more than 40 years after Dylan first recorded it.
Zack de la Rocha -- "We Want It All" ... Zack, the lead singer of the greatest rock band of the '90s, Rage Against the Machine, is, in person, the most gentle of souls you will ever meet. But when he gets in the studio or on the stage, a fire erupts that consumes all who listen. This is his first song in five years and it's a barn burner! Welcome back, Zack, we need ya now more than ever...
System of a Down -- "Boom "... I directed the video for this song. It was actually a celebration of the worldwide anti-war demonstrations of February 15, the largest single-day protests ever in history. System of a Down was there, just like they always have been. Play this song in the car and play it loud!
The Nightwatchman --"No One Left" ...Tom Morello, guitar slayer extrordinaire of Rage Against the Machine and now of Audioslave, has an alter ego and it's The Nightwatchman. This brand new track is both beautiful and haunting -- and painfully true. Death in New York, death in Baghdad, it is all to be mourned. Tom sings, the guitar is acoustic, and I am compelled to play this song over and over.
Pearl Jam -- "Masters of War"... Damn right, Eddie Vedder! I hear every bit of your anger that we all feel right now. There is a judgment day, and I wouldn't want to be standing next to anyone in the Bush administration when the avenging angel comes a-looking. This version of the Dylan classic is so brutal, so piercing, you find yourself glancing around to see if anyone is going to arrest you just for listening to it.
Dixie Chicks -- "Travelin' Soldier"... I was not the first to call out the President when I did so on that Oscar stage. Ten days before, the Dixie Chicks did it first. How wonderfully ironic that the first blow against this madness did not come from any of the usual "lefty" places, but rather from three moms from Bush's Texas. But that is how the revolution usually starts, isn't it? Some average, everyday Joe or Jane just gets fed up and says, OK, I've had enough. I love these three women. Their courage -- and the abuse and censorship that they had to sustain and overcome -- did much to get me through this past year. In the end, they were back on top, more popular than ever (so much for that old adage of you better not rock the boat or you will lose everything). And this song, about a kid who dies in Vietnam and nobody really cares except one pigtailed girl, is a heartbreaker for all who have lost a loved one in this current worthless war.
John Fogerty -- "Fortunate Son"... Says it all. Bush, the fortunate son who didn't have to go to Vietnam, now sends the sons, not of the fortunate, but of the poor and working class. I would love to play this song at full blast outside the White House some night. And don't think I won't!
The Clash -- "Know Your Rights" ... The street fightin' men of The Clash (along with the Sex Pistols) saved rock-n-roll from certain death in the late '70s, and this song is another great anthem for all to stand up and demand the rights guaranteed to us.
Steve Earle -- "The Revolution Starts Now"...This is an artist you must listen to. So much of his music in the past few years has been a call to action. A mix of country and rock and something that is only his, Steve pulls no punches and gives me much hope. This song is from his new album -- and every song on that album deserves a listen. If I were a rock star, I would be Steve Earle!
Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake-- "Where Is The Love?"... My nieces first gave me this song when we were completing the programming for the "Bowling For Columbine" DVD. It was too late by then to include it as a musical bed for our bonus featurettes, but I kept it in my CD case because I loved the spirit and its audaciousness. It really is one of the first truly great songs of this new century.
Nanci Griffith -- "Goodnight, New York"... My wife and I were stranded 3,000 miles from home on the morning of 9/11, our daughter back in New York without us. We got in a car and drove home. The night we crossed the George Washington Bridge and looked down the length of the island to see the smoke still billowing was perhaps one of the saddest moments of my life. As a child, my mother used to take us to New York all the time. She loved this city, and we grew to love it, too. One day, I got to move here. This beautiful song touches me in a personal way and I love to think about the promise of New York, of this country and its ideals, and of my wonderful, loving mother.
Jeff Buckley -- "Hallelujah" ...While we were putting this record to bed, Tom Morello, Serj (from System of a Down) and I took over K-Rock in New York on the afternoon of the first day of the 2004 Republican convention. We played this song, not out of despair, but from a sense of hope -- a hope that perhaps a simple song can take us to a better place.
And I hope you enjoy this CD. Though the songs aren't "mine," I feel them in me, and they urge me on to do the work we all need to do. I hope it has the same effect on you. We're all in the same boat, we're all in this together.