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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘The Man Who Killed Reality’

In 1981, Xeth “Xerox” Feinberg was concerned with the “prefab messiahs” who had long infiltrated the American psyche: Ronald McDonald, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and other “friendly faces of corporate fascism.” Channeling his feelings about these figures, he decided to start a short-lived post-punk band.

“Talentless guitarist and drummer seeking bassist and lead guitarist to form post-punk new wave pop pseudo-psychedelic band,” he and a friend posted around Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where they were going to school.

The Prefab Messiahs lasted 16 months. They used garage-psych boppers to paint the surrealist dystopia that is American consumerism.

After nearly 30 years as a defunct act, the band saw an unexpected underground resurgence in 2011, when the label Fixed Identity reissued their album “Peace, Love and Alienation,” inspiring them to reunite, play shows, and write new songs for the first time since 1983.

The Prefabs combined music and culture jamming. On an early track, “Prefab Sun,” they commented on shopping centers as places of suburban worship: “I had a vision driving home from the shopping mall… Twinkie wrappers bind the dreams, the Golden Arches state / Walking down the aisles there, I saw the Savior’s face.” Later, they protested the daily 9-to-5 grind that so often causes psychic death (“Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive”) and how corporate homogeny makes every site along the highway look and feel the same (“Bobb’s Psychedelic Car”).

Given their penchant for commenting on how money and materialism destroy society, as well as making the idolization of capitalism’s key cartoon characters feel like a psychedelic nightmare, it makes sense that their latest offering, “The Man Who Killed Reality,” is an anthem explicitly against President Donald Trump.

The bright bursting guitars are best enjoyed while watching the prismacolor animation created by Feinberg.

Over a steady drum beat and a slow-building surf-rock riff, the song gets right to the point: “High in his tower, he is lying by the hour / He’s got plans,” it starts, as an illustrated Trump tweets away a bunch of nonsense. “Enemies cower as he rains a golden shower / On his fans.”

“And everybody hears exactly what they want to hear / He’s the man who killed reality / The man who killed reality,” continues the chorus.

The video concludes by depicting Trump as a bank robber running off with bags of U.S. money, and the band succinctly sings one last verse: “He’s got the golden touch, not gonna leave you much / It’s a SCAM!”

Listen to “The Man Who Killed Reality” by The Prefab Messiahs:

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Are you an independent artist who has written and/or produced a protest song that you would like featured? Or do you have a favorite protest song? Submit a song to protestmusic@Shadowproof.com

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Liz Pelly

Liz Pelly