The verdict and sentencing of Pussy Riot today demonstrates the urgent need to fight for the rights of all artists to incorporate politics in their art without retribution. When my partner and I founded Bloodshot Records 18 years ago (as an independent label whose music came from an underground and punk rock esthetic, but mixed American roots forms deep), it felt absolutely natural that our artists include their social and political views and passions in their art. Punk rock was the soundtrack to my college years. Generations ago, early American roots forms spoke of every day human struggles and oppression. Today the most compelling music still comes from the heart; a personal dramatic life experience to another's injustice, is what best drives a musician to create.
When artists are allowed these freedoms and supported, they not only enrich culture and educate, but they also affect and create change, as evidenced in two of our new releases, Jon Langford & Skull Orchard's "Drone Operator" 7" and Firewater's new album, International Orange!. Langford's "Drone Operator" focuses sights on America's new love of the low-risk stay-at home Warrior Class who rain down Armageddon across the planet while never leaving the comfort of their office, while Firewater's "A Little Revolution" draws on the frustration of a generation with limited options and even fewer outlets: "Got no job and got no cash / going nowhere and going fast" and can and should be applied to the current presidential electioneering, as well as riots in the UK.
In her closing statement, detained Pussy Riot Yekaterina Samutsevich member said, "We have lost. On the other hand, we have won." And she's right—as long as there are artists out there willing to take these risks, a little revolution, in song, will go a long way.