Social Consciousness

November 22, 2005

“I still write a lot of topical songs,” says Stephen Stills, “and there are some good ones that get through, but it’s very hard because the people who control the media—such as Fox News and Clear Channel—are trying to brow beat us down. The only socially topical song on my new record is called ‘Feed the People.’ The chorus is a little poem I wrote for President Carter back in 1979, and it now hangs in the Carter library. The atmosphere changed—everybody basically booed us social singers off the stage for a while! But people are starting to wake back up since the government went to sleep and let New Orleans drown. That made me white hot with fury. There’s a song coming from there—probably a line about the people left behind in the flood—but I’ll take my time. I have to put myself in a journalist’s shoes, and try not to preach. But you can’t be too arcane, either. People have got to get the point, although you can’t beat them over the head, because that becomes boring and dull. And above all, YOU CAN’T PONTIFICATE! Pontificating is more than preaching—it’s kinging. Those kinds of singers are the ones you want to throw tomatoes at.”

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