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Protest the Hero Frontman on Band’s Far-Right-Wing Fans: “I Don’t Want Those People Listening to Our Music”

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Protest the Hero have released two singles from their forthcoming album, Palimpsest, so far — “The Canary” and “From the Sky” — but I haven’t seen its lyrical topic discussed… until now.

Which is a shame, because the whole record is essentially an anti-Trump album, according to vocalist Rody Walker, looking back at important events in U.S. history without the nationalistic lens most textbooks apply. What’s more, the band started writing it three years ago, amidst Trump’s inauguration and the rise of MAGA, but while the album’s recording was delayed because of Walker’s vocal issues, the lyrical topics take on a whole new meaning in light of the pandemic and civil unrest currently roiling through America.

In a new chat with Loudwire, Walker, who, like his bandmates, is Canadian, elaborates on what led to the lyrical concepts on Palimpsest:

“Well, it was being written like three years ago. Trump had just taken office and all this stuff was happening; all the MAGA hats were out in full force and all sorts of stuff like that. And I started thinking about the definition of greatness. And I have a feeling people are going to view this as though it’s talking negatively about the United States, and that is not entirely it, because the greatness that Donald Trump and all his cronies want to return to is only great for the old, white, male, rich elite.

“That is the greatness of America that the rest of the world views as its tragic flaw. And I wanted to discuss that aspect of things, but I also wanted to discuss the greatness that we actually view as America’s greatness. Because there is greatness, there’s beauty, there’s all sorts of stuff. There’s innovation, there’s an incredible history. And I wanted to discuss both the negative and the positive and identify what I personally find the greatness to be.

On the way these songs have taken on new meaning in light of current events:

“The song that actually kind of scared me a little bit was “The Fireside.” My wife was editing the lyrics to that when this all started, like the pandemic, and everyone started taking more seriously all the shutdowns and stuff like that. And it’s talking about the fireside chats during the Second World War, when the president [Franklin D. Roosevelt] came over the radio and spoke to everyone on a daily basis.
And she’s going, “This is kind of fucked up. It seems like it was written yesterday about today.” It’s supposed to be about the Great Depression, so when it’s as general as that, I guess you could apply it to our current times. Because they keep calling this a recession, but I don’t see how we’re going to get out of this without something that really resembles an actual depression.”

On whether conservatives in Protest the Hero’s fanbase will feel alienated by the new album’s lyrics:

“Honestly, even if that happened — good. If we got a bunch of [the] super right-wing, alternative conservative element that are listening to our band thinking everything’s hunky dory, it’s not hunky dory. I don’t want those people listening to our music anyways. They can kick rocks as far as I’m concerned. Fuck ’em.”

Palimpsest comes out tomorrow, Thursday, June 18, after being moved up one day to honor Juneteenth. Pre-order it here.

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