Monthly Archives: April 2013

Chemical Valley

CLICK HERE TO HEAR Chemical Valley by Kyp Harness.

Kyp Harness, the man, the legend.

Though he is no doubt humbled by the quality of Juno talent out there  (insert mad laughter) Kyp has written an inspiring canon of works that covers the heart and the heart attack – which is what brings my ears to attention for his song Chemical Valley.  Sagacious reflections of Sarnia and the “unexplainable”  higher rates of cancer there. The nerve of Canadian music writers asking  “How come there aren’t any protest singers?” Followed by  fluff pieces about one or two current bands who’s “protest” music is so cryptic people didn’t know what their songs were about.

I was born inside a city where just about everyone you saw
Was workin’ in the factory just like their ma and pa
Inside multicorporations where their destinies were bought
And the profits shipped across the river to the Bank of America
The factories fed off the land and people of the place
To produce their products profitably, disposing of the waste
Without fear of any consequence, they threw it all away
Into the purity of the soil and the river and the lake

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

Everyone was so surprised to witness the results
Of twenty years of flooding the atmosphere with chemicals
Suddenly the fish are dying, the birds fall from the trees
The environment is twisted by mutation and deformity
There’s people sick and dyin’, and no-one knows what for
There’s babies dyin’ in the womb before they’re even born
The people live their lives in fear of the sickness and disease
In the water that they drink, the food they eat, the air they breathe

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

The workers in the factories, they all say
“I don’t know nothin’ about it, don’t look at me that way
I just wanna do my job and collect my pay
And I’d just as soon forget about it by the end of the day”
The owners of the factories, they tell you just the same
“We’ve been doin’ it for years, we didn’t know it’d be this way”
But they knew it all along, they just decided to ignore it
Where money is concerned, human life is unimportant

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

You can cry out to the government but the government won’t hear
You can bet your ass the government ain’t gonna interfere
When they stand so much to lose, when anyone can see
The corporations are so crucial to the state economy
They just slap some fines upon the factories for their crimes
The factories pay them off and chalk it up to expenses every time
Then they carry on doin’ damage to the universe
That a million years of nature’s healing could not begin to reverse

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

Can ya tell me ’bout your money, can you tell me what it’s worth?
Does it justify this needless death, this poisoning the earth?
How many people have to die to satisfy your greed?
How much sickness must you spread throughout this world before you see
That you’re gonna have to pay for everything you get someday
And when your day of darkness comes you’re gonna pay and pay and pay
You’re gonna pay for all this twisted fiery hell you’ve left behind
For the future children of this burned-out wasteland world to find
You took the pearls of the world and left a legacy of waste
You make me feel ashamed to be a member of the human race

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

Back in Chemical Valley life continues silently
To feed the greed of people no-one here has ever seen
The people keep on workin’ and the factories produce
When you got a mouth to feed and a family what else can you do?
One by one the stars are fading as a blackness floods the sky
Through a conspiracy of silence and a multitude of lies
As a woman stands upon the shore beneath the setting sun
And she looks across the lake and cries “My God, what have we done?”

Chemical Valley Chemical Valley Chemical Valley

Neil Young at the Junos

neil“Let me get this straight, someone escapes from an insane asylum with a Neil Young cut out and spends the day with the cut out around Toronto. That’s your idea?”

“Ya” Says Garrett Jamieson nodding and smiling because any second I’m going to appreciate how brilliant this is.

“And Deb Robinson will produce it and Dan Tahmizian will shoot it?”

Garrett nods again.

“Okay let’s do it.”

The thing about a collaboration is you have to allow for things that don’t necessarily make sense (to me). In earlier years if it didn’t make sense to me I would expect a train wreck and then I would not move forward, I would have been discouraging toward Garrett but then how do you explain the Beatles? They hit the nail on the head so often. It isn’t about one person’s vision. Maybe the thing to grasp isn’t only the structure of great work but the dynamics behind it.  CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO featuring Garrett Jamieson and Anand Rajaram.