befreeyourself - Hey Mister

Hey Mister

If I may, and if you've taken the time to read some of these short stories that have inspired the tunes, you may assume my hardest challenge was to manage vertigo and you'd be wrong. It was to manage claustrophobia, an abnormal fear of confined places. When I was about five years old I developed a re accruing nightmare where I was surrounded by huge blocks slowly closing in on me. In my teens I remember similar feelings associated with stage fright, first in front of relatives and friends and later with various bands in concert in front of hundreds of strangers. I think I hid it well for the most part and would usually turn it into good energy. Many years later I find myself in what cavers call a squeeze in Pigeon Mountain, Georgia called Bingo. I didn't sleep well the night before. In truth I was seriously wondering if I could do this. Back around 1976 my friend Smokey (Larry Caldwell) had pushed the cave with the help of a small woman by the name of Tony Williams out of Knoxville, Tennessee. By pushed I mean patiently removing material or redistributing it within the passage so a mid sized person could squeeze thru the tight spots in the system, ultimately including a ten foot vertical drop (Shit Shute) at the bottom of which one has to crawl inverted for a few feet to get turned around and headed toward Tony's Room. Halfway there you come to Claustrophobic Relief, a bubble in the ceiling where you get to raise up on your elbows and I can assure you it's welcome relief. Overall Bingo is about two hundred and fifty feet into the mountain and after smoking a celebratory fatty in Tony's Room it suddenly occurs to you that now you have to crawl out. Personally I visualized I was reptilian in nature and that stimulated my focus. You tense up and guess what? You get bigger. Anyway, the reason I tell this story is to try and express how important it is to challenge our fears. In reflection now on the experience, there is only one thing left that wells up that claustrophobic emotion in me, and that is the racism among us. Even here in Canada. A current and obvious example is the missing and murdered native women in this country. If these women were white do you seriously think the authorities wouldn't have solved it by now? My dear friend Smokey told me recently that he's embarrassed to be an American. I'm sad to say that I feel the same about being Canadian these days. Both Chris and I are much aware of our white privilege so it was a challenge to write this tune. We hope you like it and pass it on. And if you're white, that you consider yours the next time you vote.

cheers. t