EVERYBODY KNOWS SOMEBODY: a sing-along with art by manuel oliver {official thing}

(public post)

hola comrades.

i wrote a new song.

it’s a sing-along about mass shootings.

watch it here and…SING ALONG. really…do.

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the story?

well…..timing here in patreon-land is always a bit bizarre….but, hey, that’s why i do things like this.

remember my old “how patreon is changing everything” video, where i thrill about the ability to use funding to make immediate art about the world all around me?


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i never do things right. which is why i’m me and not a pop star.

the “drowning in the sound” video came out only a week ago, and by all “marketing” and “social media strategy” standards, i should totally back off from releasing any new & shiny content for a few weeks at least, to let it flourish and breathe.

but i just wrote a new song, it’s relevant to the world, and i wanna put it out.

and because i have this patreon, i get to do what i want. so i am throwing caution to the wind and just putting it out, because i think NOW!, FAST!, ART! that responds to life, now, is important.

it is important because art and artists should be able to move at the speed of life.



last week i wrote a new ukulele song. i haven’t written one in years.

after the news about el paso and dayton happening back-to-back, i was just like…


there’s a mass shooting MORE THAN ONCE A DAY in my country.

at the rate we’re going…won’t almost every town, every person, eventually, be affected? won’t the pain go fully viral?

i got an idea for a song.


i played it live on the patreon webchat two days ago (and i almost changed the title to “the gun song” by popular demand…but it just doesn’t sit quite right. i mean….it is A Gun Song, The Gun Song, but that’s not the title. just like “a mother’s confession” has become “the baby didn’t die” song. i’m fine with that.

a few days ago, on twitter, i sent out a call to artists, so i could whip up some album cover art for this single:


a few people wrote to me suggesting manuel oliver, including david hogg, a survivor of the parkland shooting and anti-gun activist….


and then….manuel saw it:


manuel oliver not only a great activist/artist….he’s also the dad of joaquin oliver, who was murdered in the marjorie stoneman douglas high school shootings in parkland, florida.

joaquin…. i recognized his name. i recognized it because i recorded it once.

if you were here on my patreon after the parkland shootings….you may remember that i re-recorded and re-released my school-shooting song “strength through music”, and put it out with all the prcoeeds going to march for our lives.

in that remix, i read every victim’s name from parkland aloud.

i didn’t know how to pronounce joaquin’s name right. i didn’t want to get it wrong. i asked around.

people helped.

this is joaquin.


he was seventeen.

my heart was pretty much in my throat when i got my first text from manuel and he asked to take on the job.

we went back and forth over a few texts and emails…talking about music, this art and project, about joaquin and how he was a rebel and loved the ramones.

this is the artwork manuel made for us:


manuel wanted to also share these words with you:

Gun Violence is beyond schools, beyond Parkland, beyond our sadness and reactions. 

It’s about waiting for that unexpected moment when you become the next victim.

Every mural, sculpture or song inspired by any victim of gun violence, represents a unique and beautiful way to read, feel and listen to their voices.


amen, manuel….amen.


you can see his artwork being used HERE where the public can download the song on bandcamp. ($3+ patrons, your downloads will be in your inboxes in a second).

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100% of the profits from the bandcamp downloads will go to CHANGETHEREF.ORG, a non-profit started by manuel and patricia oliver started after joaquin was murdered during the parkland shooting. is under the umbrella of March For Our Lives, and is trying to empower younger kids to get into politics and make REAL CHANGE around gun safety.

here is a picture of the whole family – joaquin, patricia and manuel – that manuel sent me.


love, life, art, family, pain, loss…

politics, confusion.


sometimes the internet can still create real magic.

i have never felt more honored and emotional collaborating with another artist, even if it was fast and brief.

i can sing about this topic and feel all the feelings: but…manuel lost his son. i cannot start to imagine how that feels.

making art isn’t always as direct as voting or calling your congresspeople.

yet art can get directly into the emotional heart of the matter.

this song was written in response to the insanity going on in our country. gun violence and the deaths of ordinary people all over america is becoming NORMAL.


let’s call it what it is: a public health crisis. too many senseless deaths. too much pointless tragedy that could be avoided with better, safer, smarter gun laws.

too many people are dying.

too many children are dying.

when there are cheerful, multicolored bulletproof backpacks and being sold to children…

it’s too dark, it’s too wrong.

we cannot let this become normal.


art at the speed of life.

this isn’t new, this way of making art. look across the whole folk canon of history and you will see musicians picking up instruments and responding to the news cycle.

like, oh…..

four dead in ohio by crosby stills nash & young. (in response to the kent state shootings)

sunday bloody sunday by U2. (i mean, it took a few years to come out, but c’mon it’s a great fucking song…in response to the1972 bloody sunday incident in derry where british troops shot and killed unarmed civil rights protesters)

i don’t like mondays by the boomtown rats (in response to the cleveland elementary school shooting in san diego)

mississipi goddam by nina simone (her response to the racist murder Medgar Evers in Mississippi)
all of these songs had NOW-power, people-power, political power.

but the songs’ reach into the hearts of the people was limited to the shows they played, the radio waves that allowed those songs to broadcast, and the physical record took ages to get printed. there was still a corporate, profit-driven bottleneck if you wanted to reach The People.

then came the internet. you could make fast art, and upload anything to the airwaves, but you would never be paid for your work if you wanted to go directly to the people and work fast.

i want to remind you:

in no other world of music-industry-approvals and major labels are you able to do this kind of thing this FAST – make a political song, record it fast, put it out fast, get paid fast so you can live another day to write more songs. usually there are long meetings, there are strategies, there are plans! things take weeks, months, years. or you can put it on the net…and never make a sustainable living.

over here on patreon, i am able to write a song like this, record it on my phone as a video the next day, get about 20 volunteers from the upstate new york patreon community into a recording studio with me a couple days later, and a day after that:

VIOLA. my song can come out. and make money. and that money goes to pay my team for working so hard, and means that we can divert all of the digital profits of the song to an important charity.


there is a revolution happening here on a few fronts. and i believe that we need to hear from the artists out there who are usually in the unheard minority: people who aren’t usually handed the mic by the media-people-in-power because they are too threatening/too female/too black/too political/too divisive/too young/too old/too “un-marketable”, and on and on….

the capitalist-driven art-factory-system that drives most of our culture does not WORK FOR THE PEOPLE. it works FOR PROFIT. it does not want to reward artists who speak directly to the people without profit as the ultimate end-game.

just you watch. these artists will find their own platforms and be funded by the people.

the revolution will not be televised. 

the revolution will be fucking crowd-supported.


for the studio recording, which i did YESTERDAY (!!!!)….i drove over to applehead studios right here in woodstock. the engineer, christopher bittner, was a total pro and ran around setting up last-minute microphones….


and, obviously, i needed a crowd to sing the PART.

i couldn’t just overdub myself. that would have been….wrong

so i put out a call to the patreon for crowd-singers.

three HOURS later…about 25 people showed up.

here they are….(a few people had to jet, so not all are pictured)



the EVERYBODY chorus:

Aileen Morgan
Amber Rodriguez
Betsi Krisniski
Brian Duffy
Chris Wells
Christopher Schiller
Daniella DaCaro
Drue Pennella
Elizabeth Lesser
Glen Brandow
Gregg Goodbrod
John Sturman
Laura Becker
Lauren S.
Liam McComiskey
Linda Winnick
Lukas Bittner
Megan Badger
Mike McGary
Nancy Geaney
Nikki Stein
Stephanie Carlin
Sydney Dean
Vince Berzal

thank you frrom the bottom of my heart to everyone who came so far to do this.


the studio/mix and mastering engineer for the bandcamp recording was christopher bittner.


here are the lyrics.

they say
this land gets more and more divided
if i may
i think that’s not the only side why
just today
i saw the late edition paper
and no way
i saw the north and south united

like the blood
that flows every color body
it’s enough
we’ve finally all at the same party
looking down
it may not be the thing we wanted
but there’s finally enough to go around

from new york
to california
from detroit
down to the border
we all have more in common now than we do not
everybody knows someday
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows somebody
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows somebody
who got shot.

they say
there’s trouble brewing in the union
hip hooray
look human beings being human
laying blame
wherever there is room to lay it’s
all the same
you want the red pill or the blue one

but it’s all
about to change there’s something
getting us aboard the SS progress
one big funeral for all the people
that we used to call before they
risked their lives to head out to the
mosque or to the mall

from new york to california
from detroit
down to the border
we all have more in common now than we do not
now everybody knows someday
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows somebody
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows somebody who got shot.

from the mountain rivers to the public squares
everybody’s getting really good at sending thoughts and prayers
from the heart of dixie up to oregon
we can can all rest assured there’ll be a slaughter somewhere by the dawn

and in the nightclubs all the dancers in the dark
they will twist the night away with extra fear inside their hearts
and from new england to alaska every child
will know exactly what to do now when a shooter opens fire

from new york
to california
from detroit
down to the border
we all have more in common now than we do not

everybody knows someday
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows someday
(everybody knows someday)
everybody knows somebody
this land is your land
this land is my land
this land is our land
until it’s not

everybody knows somebody
(everybody knows somebody)
everybody knows somebody
(everybody knows somebody)

until everybody’s gone.


i love you all.

thank you for supporting my work, my life, my staff, my everything.

let’s do more.
let’s change hearts.



p.s. a special thank you for this one goes out to nick, braxton and brittney, who busted ass FAST to get this one out. and an extra special thanks to michael mccomiskey, who not only donated HIS SON to the chorus, but sat by my side for the past 24 hours to make this fly.

and also…we had a special guest savior. i was just giving up hope that we could insert manuel’s artwork into the end of the video in time to get this out today, when michael pope HAPPENED TO STOP BY. you know your friends are your friends when they drop everything, let you make them coffee, and sit and slave over a quick video edit while you look anxiously on. pope: you’re one of my best friends, for so many reasons. thank you.



and here’s michael (mccomiskey,. my assistant) and michael (pope), savior video editor….slaving away at my incredibly messy desk…




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