“Uncle Sam & the JDAMs … responsible for such patriotic anthems as ‘Red Zone Bar-B-Q [Flat Foot Fallouja]’ and ‘Posing for Pix in Abu Ghraib,’ not to mention the Angry Samoans update ‘The Shrub Killings’)… a day will come when we look back and laugh. History works like that.” — The Village Voice, November 2004
Eight years later and still no one’s laughing. One of the final nails in the coffin of the national reputation.
Iraq n Roll was recorded over the course of a few weeks as a short piece of satire on the war, after the Weapon of the Week column had run its course at the Village Voice.
Often just instrumental punctuated by familiar lines, it was purposely brief, like the two weeks of humiliating national euphoria leading up to “Mission Accomplished!”
It was composed to be one piece, heard linearly from start to finish. You can’t cherry pick it or ignore the words and roll your own play list. The segues from song to song have purpose and the story falls apart if you apply the technology of iPod and shuffle play. (And, yep, I was Uncle Sam & the JDAMs, playing all the instruments except for drums, furnished either by a now old Adrenalinn I or programmable loops and acoustic single shots from Cool Edit Pro/Adobe Audition.)
In 2004 no one wanted satire. No Frank Zappa. They still don’t. There was just the slight beginnings of a surly national hangover that only became more fulminating over the years.
“Oh, yeah?” comes the belligerence. Yes it sucked but we suck less than the rest of the world, or something like that.
Make up an excuse, there are hundreds.
The war was and is a source of national shame. No movies that did great box office were made of it. (Remember Generation Kill? Didn’t think so.) Very few of our celebrity artists had the nerve to sneer at it. The most famous who did, the Dixie Chicks, paid for it with their career.
More records were made with the opposite sentiment, all of them certified dog crap.
I made about eighty Iraq n Rolls. Some were peddled on line, some given away to acquaintances. But most sold in LA County, in Poo-bah’s in Pasadena and Amoeba Records in Hollywood.
No one would review it. I got the feeling the few I sent copies to
didn’t even take it out of the shrink wrap. As today, no one can be bothered.
The tune that earned the most mileage was “I Think We Should Make a Carla Sandwich,” a bonus cut which had nothing to do with the war. It was a joke about Arnold Schwarzenegger and his unquenchable urge to paw women. It was referred on a comedy site and as a result, when I visited Pine Grove the same year, even there a couple people had heard it on the Internet.
Very much a hard rock/classic rock record, Iraq n Roll only departs from the style in its use of drop-in guest vocals by assorted characters.
Can you name them?
Spoiler: The Vice President, Don Rumsfeld, Comical Ali (stupidly called Baghdad Bob by GWB who could never get anything right) and Lyndon LaRouche.
There were even T-shirts made. This was through CafePress at a time when people, including myself, had the stupid idea that you could make anything reasonably priced through publish-on-demand services.
You can’t. All the publish-it-yourself and make-it-on-demand Internet fulfillment houses furnish terrible products which are almost always, by default, overpriced. To keep the prices down you had to select for the cheapest quality materials.
Did you get a T-shirt? I gave some away as promotions.
It will also occur to readers that the war was so long, people born during it, and the many children who grew up in the time frame, have no idea who these characters were or what was actually going on.
Except for GWB and Dick Cheney it’s as if the entire history of the war, its frauds and minor characters have been expunged.
Where and what was Fallouja? What’s a JDAM? (A computer-guided bomb that elicited magical thinking.)
What was the Thunder Run? (It was the armored ride up Baghdad’s main thoroughfare.)
Song title and libretto page from album art.
Few probably remember that while almost none would criticize the war openly in 2004, practically speaking, everyone else of suitable fighting age was privately running as fast as they could the other way.
Originally, the US Army could not meet its recruit/enlistment quotas. Nobody wanted to go to Iraq to get blowed up by IEDs fighting the insurgency and it wasn’t until the economy started to turn sour but good in 2007 that, by necessity, things turned around.
When options ran out there was the military, suddenly looking like the French Foreign Legion for anyone of the right age. (Except France has managed to keep itself out of war for a good long time, now.)
I’ve reissued Iraq n Roll for readers and the curious as an MP3 collection and an archive of .flac files, the latter of which reconstitutes the full audio content of the original CD.
I prefer the original sound — it was well before the Cult of iKit — but you will need a .flac to .wav converter to remake it.
Here is one. Once you have the .wavs, you want to burn it to a compact disc.
For that, I’ve also included the original printable album art for the finished disc and its original prototyping as a black and white mock-up in both archives.
Obscurity! Collector’s items. Have something nobody else wanted or knew about.
Iraq n Roll by Uncle Sam & the JDAMS (aka Dick Destiny) as MP3’s — here
Iraq n Roll by Uncle Sam & the JDAMS — complete album audio in .flac format — is here.
— you can throw me a tip/pay a slight amount for them, if you like.
Three dollars and fifty cents for the mp3 collection.
Four dollars and fifty cents for the .flac full audio collection.
Or five dollars even for both. What a steal!
Map of Iraq and secret plan of bad guy and gal strategy compiled by the ULTOR (Ultimate Victor) and MULTOR (Monster Ultimate Victor) combat artificial intelligence machine theologians in the Pentagon’s Special Office of Strategies for Reduction of Adversaries.
Uncle Sam is a trademark of the United States. Uncle Sam wants you, you may fire when you are ready, Gridley; we begin bombing in five minutes, shock and awe, remember the Maine, “We are Coming!”, Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), beware of careless talk, loose lips sink ships, Orange Alert, first pull up then pull down, potrzebie and “Mission Accomplished!” are also slogans & symbols which may add to the enjoyment of “Iraq ‘N’ Roll!”