In early April, we were watching the mind-melting "Joe Exotic: Tiger King" Netlfix series with its obvious parallels to Trump World and thought it was ripe for treatment in song. Melanie came up with the riff "Don Exotic: Lyin' King" and started singing "Wimoweh" which was used in the remake of the movie The Lion King. When we came up with the "Vote Him Away" sub-hook, we were off and running.
Then we remembered the song parody performed by the Raging Grannies of Mendocino - Roy had sung their "The Liar Tweets Tonight" with them a couple years ago - so we got in touch with Ede Morris, the Raging Granny who penned those parody lyrics, and asked if she'd mind if we took a pass at it.
After it was written, we decided to use “Vote Him Away” as the maiden voyage for our idea to get lots of people singing together in one of our videos. We hoped this “Virtual Sing-In” would help bridge the divide we’re all feeling in this time of social distancing. We appealed through our mailing list for people to join in with us in the making of the “Vote Him Away” video. We were so touched by the positive responses -- both financial contributions and video clips.
Special shoutout to our friend Sandy Riccardi who sang the high soprano descant part. She and her husband Richard write and perform hilarious political satire songs. We highly recommend that you follow them on Facebook.
A nostra culpa: We do recognize that the lack of diversity in the first iteration of “Vote Him Away” looks intentional and exclusionary, and just .... not good. We were so blown away by everyone's heartfelt individual contributions that we didn't consider the overall look. That was a failing on our part.
The good news is that we've decided to make a new video of “Vote Him Away” with new lyrics and a new group of chorus members every month until the election -- getting more and more people singing together -- and these next videos will certainly reflect the beautiful diversity of our world. Would you like to sing along? If so, please sign up for the mailing list as we’ll be organizing these Virtual Sing-Ins through our newsletters.
For most of Roy’s career, we’ve written solely original songs. In the last few years, we’ve loved adding song parodies to the mix. They’re a great way to reach people immediately and are an enormously effective tool for political organizing. Because they are instantly accessible, they are also often floating around in the political satire zeitgeist in multiple guises. A couple weeks after we posted “Vote Him Away,” for instance, Jimmy Kimmel did his own riff on Trump as the Lyin’ King a la Joe Exotic’s Tiger King ...
Since posting our video, we’ve learned of at least 7 other takes on the idea “The Liar Tweets Tonight,” and we applaud all our fellow satirists. Check out this glorious gem from our friend, the folk phenom Christine Lavin ...
And, of course, the song belongs to Solomon Linda, the Zulu tribesman who wrote “Mbube” (Zulu for lion) in the 1920s. Here he is performing his song in 1939 with his band The Evening Birds ...
-- Roy and Melanie