12 Jun

Some things have to stew for a long time and then they come to fruition at an almost blindingly fast speed.

I love Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newest (and youngest) member of the House of Representatives, from the 14th district of New York. She’s a breath of fresh air in a stale Congress, and against everyone’s bets that she’s too young or inexperienced to do anything valuable, she’s been consistently good at challenging the norms and trying to affect real positive change. Check out this clip of her asking why tax payers pay so much money for a “non-vehicular clutch disc” when…you know…we shouldn’t.

A year ago she released this great campaign video. Her day job was bartending in NYC at the time. She won the election. She hasn’t stopped working since, and thanks to her social media prowess, she’s taken us along with her on the journey.

Visiting her office on Capitol Hill in January was a highlight. We were there to discuss improving the healthcare system…and while she was not present, her staff spent quite a bit of time with our group. When we were about to leave, they held up a phone for all of us, because AOC had sent us a video from the car on her way to her event in NYC that day. She’s that in touch and wanted to give us a message of thanks for being involved, while we were there. Pretty on top of that response time, I’d say.

So, the other week when Jeff Plankenhorn (who is a master at about a million things but listen to this song right here) asked me if I wanted to write a song (YESSS) and what we should write about…I threw out the idea of an AOC tribute because…what better way to tell someone they’re awesome than to write them a song? I was trying to couch it in a Dylan/Baez metaphorical thing…maybe not mention Rep. O-C but allude to her awesomeness. You know, like call her a phoenix or a lion or something majestic but make it all poetic and stuff.

Plank, to his fearless credit, said…let’s do a folk-punk song…and let’s yell “A! O! C!” for the chorus real loud and BAM! Off we went. I was at home and Plank was navigating the Vancouver airport while we texted back and forth with ideas. He sent me a hummed riff from the fish and chips stand line and I made a voice memo with the guitar part. Before we knew it, we had a mostly formed song in a few hours, and we tweaked it via Google doc over the following days.

Plank was on his way back to Texas to play a string of shows, one of them being the main stage at Kerrville Folk Festival. He suggested we debut the song there, which was an enthusiastic “YES!” from me followed by lyrics cramming and scrawling some line prompts on my arm. We had a blast, and had folks in the audience yelling “AOC!” in our direction on the festival grounds afterwards. My friend Christal got the debut on “tape”:

We got to play it one more time at The Resentments Sunday at the Saxon…a true honor because those guys are cream of the CROP.

All of this in a span of 2 weeks…pretty cool. Most of the time I take forever to write a song and even longer to get it out there. Many thanks to Plank for his willingness to run with the idea from spark to completion and then awesome opportunities to play it live!

More of that, and more A!O!C!

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