Chris Guiton talks to Joe Solo about politics, music and his new single
The inimitable Joe Solo has a great new single out.
‘Let’s Kick Out The Tories (For Once & For All)’ is a re-recording of the song he wrote for the 2017 election. The song is an impassioned call to action. It reflects his burning anger at a government which puts ideology before the welfare of the nation. And at a party whose unforgivable greed, rank dishonesty and shameless hypocrisy has wreaked havoc on ordinary people across the country.
Joe nails it in a single verse:
“Austerity’s over!” The lies are well-drilled
Tell that to the people those policies killed
Out here in the real world, it’s not just a game
So rise up for our neighbours who died in its name.
We all understand the importance of this election. It’s a life-changing opportunity to build a fairer Britain that cares for the many, not just the privileged few, restore our public services and take serious action on the climate and ecological emergency. Let’s make history by returning a radical Labour Government and getting Jeremy Corbyn into No 10.
As Joe says:
Let’s kick out the Tories for once and for all
Come brothers and sisters and answer the call
Put your cross in that box, play your part in their fall
And let’s kick out the Tories for once and for all.
Joe has established himself as one of Britain’s best political singer songwriters, combining music with political activism. His songs champion solidarity, collective action and radical change. His energetic performances are legendary. So I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his current take on music and politics
How's your current tour/campaign been going?
I have been flat out all year and I was just getting ready for a rest when along comes a General Election! Not much chance of a sit down now.
‘We Shall Overcome’, the artist-led fight against austerity we started in 2015, has gone beyond its 1000th gig this year with an estimated £500,000 worth of food, cash, clothing and toiletries raised for those at the sharp end of Tory cuts. We extended it this year from an annual weekend to a full-on 365 campaign encouraging people to start events whenever and wherever need arose. It has been massively successful. But it means keeping on top of it all the time and the team at WSO Central has been incredible, making sure we get the word out as far as we can for every gig that pops up. Not easy, but sadly very necessary.
On top of that I've been up and down the land trying to fire people up and keep them fighting because this election was coming from a long way off and I hate to see pessimism and cynicism setting in when so much is at stake.
Why do think this is such an important election?
Like it or not this is make or break for socialism within the Labour Party. If we lose on 12th December there will be a change of leadership and the Labour Movement will lose its voice in parliament for another generation. If we win we have the chance to end 40 years of neoliberalism for good, and to totally transform this island, making it a better place for every man, woman and child. We have suffered too long. Enough is enough. There could not be more at stake.
How can we use music to get people interested in politics and get them out to vote Labour on 12th December?
Music makes you brave. I have witnessed this first-hand, every night I have taken to a stage in 32 years of playing live. When people raise their voices, and especially when they raise their voices TOGETHER, they witness, and play a part in something primal that is still there in the forgotten corners of our DNA. They see their own strength and feel their collective power. That is MASSIVE. I want people to leave my gigs undefeated, completely undaunted about walking back out into the world because they realise their own power to change it.
We need songs to raise our spirits and remind us of ourselves. It's like one of Newton's Laws. That energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another. A good gig converts the potential energy in all of us into kinetic energy, and it is that kinetic energy which gets your heart beating and your blood flowing. It is THAT which will get people out of the door on December 12th.
How does the recent commemoration of the Peterloo Massacre demonstrate the importance of continuing to fight for our democratic rights?
The road to universal suffrage was a long one. The Peterloo bicentenary was a timely reminder that people died so that we could put a cross in a box and decide who represents us. As far as I'm concerned, if you use that hard-won right to place a vote in any box other than Labour, you are choosing to vote for the very forces which attacked and brutally murdered those in St Peter's Field in 1819. Why would you vote for your oppressors? It is beyond me.
We are at a crossroads, and 12 December will decide whether we can take this country forward out of the politics of despair and into a new era of hope and compassion. Or whether I have another five years of wearing out the UK motorway system trying to keep people alive.
Please get out and vote!!
Listen to Let’s Kick Out The Tories (For Once & For All) here. Sing it, shout it, share it!
Chris Guiton is a copywriter, and founding member and Associate Editor of Culture Matters. He can be contacted at Wealden Wordsmith.