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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Superfund’ by Mother And The Boards

Kazoo Studios, who grew up in the New York City suburbs, is the lead singer for the band, Mother & the Boards. She sent along this recently released protest song about our collective apathy toward the degradation and destruction of Planet Earth.

In the song called “Superfund,” Studios sings about being down at the East River near Astoria Park. It is where the Chemical Waste Disposal Corporation’s toxic site was converted into a park. She highlights the absurdity of kids playing and not thinking about what humans have done to pollute the Earth.

Studios launches into the chorus. “And I’m wondering if there’s anything we hadn’t fucked up yet? Anything we hadn’t fucked up yet? Anything we hadn’t fucked up?”

She acknowledges the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, blasts people for their unjust apathy, and lists off several things she believes people can do to help unfuck the world.

Studios told Shadowproof how she came up with the song.

“I found it kind of hilarious how all these kids were running around, having fun, playing in this park, likely with no understanding of why it had become a park, and what lay a few feet down under their joy.”

Ideas about environmental destruction “in the face of great apathy” swirled around in her mind. She decided to create a song with an “upbeat pop feel” to accentuate the hypocrisy of life in the United States, how we claim to be the greatest nation while underfunding the Environmental Protection Agency so it cannot do its job. Or we accept “clean coal” or “clean” natural gas fracking propaganda and barely bat an eye.

Mother & the Boards describes their sound as a blend of folk and blues with “notes of hip hop.” They name Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Brother Ali, Erykah Badu, and Fugazi as influences.

“Back in the 80s and 90s, there were tons of public radio programs that focused on liberation music, progressive hip hop, blues, and alternative rock,” Studios shared. “I remember learning about Bob Dylan’s life as a runaway, and being inspired by the lyrics of his music to read up and understand what was the man in the trench coat actually looking for?”

“And why was Nina Simone so upset about ‘Mississippi Goddamn’? My mind was blown open by the voices, so raw and emotional, and especially the lyrics—honest, revealing, compelling.”

Studios remembers when she first heard Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” while listening to a Fordham University radio program. It led her to read a book about the horrible history of lynchings and recently inspired a forthcoming protest song.

She learned to play guitar and bought a book of music from Tracy Chapman’s self-titled album. While in college, she saw Fugazi perform in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it inspired her “fuck the system attitude and straight edge lifestyle.”

“I myself had been smoking cigarettes and drinking beer since I was twelve, weed since thirteen, so the idea that you could be badass and sober was kind of transformational.”

Studios has written songs for ten years. She has worked with the Mother & the Boards for about a year.

“Superfund” is a “call to the listener to get off their proverbial asses and do everything they can to fight corporate dominance of our planet,” Studios declared. “We find our various vices—TV, phone apps, drugs, alcohol, sex, and we use them to numb out all the degradation we endure to reproduce capitalism.”

“There is so much blood on our privileged hands as U.S. citizens that we are driven to numb it out. If we actually looked at the destruction that our way of life has ravaged on the earth, we would not be able to hold those smart phones, buy those cheap clothes, ignore all those wars, or consume the mass media.”

Listen to “Superfund”:


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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."