A blues music video lampooning Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper made its debut Sunday evening on Salem Radio Network’s nationally syndicated “Armed American Radio” program with host Mark Walters. “Hickenlooper Blues,” which highlights the way the reelection-seeking chief executive has contradicted himself on Colorado’s politically toxic new gun laws, is being released on the heels of admissions by no less a source than Bloomberg News that the governor “faces [a] voter gun-control backlash.”
The video, which may gain wider media attention and grassroots sharing support as November’s election looms closer, had its origins last June on The War on Guns blog. Hickenlooper’s contradictions over his part in enacting Colorado’s anti-gun edicts, as well as his attempts to disassociate himself from accountability in a “buck stops there” move pointing to his staffers, suggested the opening lines of a blues song.
The news account sources in that post documenting the governor’s back-tracking spin were submitted by correspondent and news link contributor Cyd Lantz, a Coloradan and activist gun owner. Life went on and the blog post got superseded by others, essentially buried and forgotten, until two weeks ago, when Lantz sent an email with an .mp3 attachment.
“Bet you didn’t think this was going to happen,” she wrote. “We finally got our – er – stuff together today and got ‘er done. This was really quick and dirty – nothing fancy! I added two verses to your original, Dave Simpson (my husband and recording guru) wordsmithed them a bit. Dave’s on vocals and guitars. I’m on bass.”
I loved it. I listened and laughed. I immediately called Walters and played a bit over the phone, and then sent him the file. I then called multiple award-winning filmmaker Peter J. Gould, whose proposed documentary, “Infringed: Second Amendment in the Crosshairs,” was the subject of a 2013 report in this column.
Gould set to work remastering the sound recording to bring the vocal track to the foreground, and then added in stills, clips and additional voice overlays of Hickenlooper admitting he screwed up, to create the video. Indispensable assistance was provided by Gould’s colleagues Gary Theroux, whom he reveals “was directly hands-on” locating images and pairing them with lyrics, and Jennifer Larsen, who provided critique insights and alternatives “when the tight schedule meant we were always too close to it and needed an objective view.”
The result is the above video, hosted on the “Infringed” You Tube account. Gould also posted “the full version of the remastered song [both with and without Hickenlooper voice overlays, so that it can also be played as 'just the song'] in both uncompressed .wav and high-quality .mp3 formats” on the Hightail.com file-sharing website, allowing gun rights advocates to download and share them.
With outside moneyed interests like Michael Bloomberg’s deceptively-named “Everytown” doing everything they can to protect their political interests from gun voter retaliation at the polls, particularly after the ouster of two anti-gun politicians and the resignation of another to avoid being recalled, a convenient and fun tool now exists to help roll back the Astroturf. “Hickenlooper Blues” produced by grassroots activists at no cost and without authorization or participation by any candidate or political committee, throws radical Saul Alinsky’s “Rule 5” ridicule right back in the faces of so-called “progressives.”
Whether the tool is picked up and used over the next week and a half remains to be seen. Gun owners who wish to do so have only to share the song with their friends, asking them to become force multipliers and share it in turn, and with the media, asking them to cover it as a grassroots phenomenon that merits public notice and discussion. To facilitate sharing with the media, Gould has also posted the video in various broadcast formats.
If all that happens, perhaps it will be Hickenlooper, instead of his gun owner constituents, who ends up singing the blues.