Entertainment Music Thoughts

Better than God’s Dope

3 minutes to read

Redgum was an Aussie folk and political band from Adelaide. They were around from 1975 to 1990 in various incarnations, and in that time produced dozens of hits – including their famous anti-war anthem I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green). Redgum was also responsible for some pretty potent activism: Where Ya Gonna Run To remains disgustingly relevant and Caught in the Act is the best Australian live album ever recorded. Everybody knows this to be true.

So please bring back Redgum.

I’m not entirely certain how that would be accomplished. I think some members might need to be exhumed, but there are procedures for that. John Schumann’s probably not keen.

But the Great Barrier Reef is dying and nobody knows what to do about it. Australia is still getting into overseas wars to further the agenda of our ally in the Red, White ‘n’ Blue. Three successive Prime Ministers have now been deposed by their own party – and all of three endorsed the idea of concentration camps. The Department of Defence is poisoning people’s water.

So please bring back Redgum.

They were funny. And they could poke fun at themselves. I’ve Been to Bali Too was a take-down of the commercialization of a sovereign nation, but also a tongue-in-cheek recount of Redgum’s own holidays there. Something else that the band understood was that criminality was a process; songs like Stewie were tragedies, accurately describing the fairly mundane string of events that could lead to jail time for petty thieves and drug smugglers. They were of the (occasionally unbalanced) mindset that corporations and politicians were the real criminals. No band could boast about committing credit card fraud – then turn right around and savage polluters and the government like Redgum could. And they hated America. The bastards wanted our uranium.

So please bring back Redgum.

Via the ABC
Via the ABC

They were always on the side of the people. They had great tips as to where the best marijuana could be found – the Atherton Tablelands – and believed in the immutability of human rights: something our politicians don’t quite seem to get. Plus, their music wasn’t shit. The Smith Street Band could use some pointers if they want to do the activism thing.

So please bring back Redgum. Just don’t let yourself get caught in the act.