This compilation came together as a result of a very divisive election, and the unfortunate increase in hate crimes that happened in its wake.
All the songs on this compilation are original songs that in some way showcase activism, social issues, or protest. As that can be left open to individual interpretation, this album is wide ranging in subject matter and styles of music.
The people associated with this compilation probably don't all share the same opinion on many things, but we all agree on this:
1. Hate crimes are not an appropriate response, ever!
2. The organizations this compilation is benefiting, Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, are just two of many worthy causes that will be in desperate need of funding over the next four years.
- Lazlo (BlowUpRadio.com, Curator of 'Rock Against Hate' Compilation)
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.
Click here to donate to Planned Parenthood & download Rock Against Hate.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Click here to donate to The Trevor Project & download Rock Against Hate.
1 The Campfire Flies - "We Can See America From Here"
2 Jon Caspi & The First Gun - "Drill A Whole"
3 Val Emmich - "It's All Right (No!)"
4 Rachel Romanowski - "History Made Easy"
5 The Successful Failures - "The Ballad of Julio Cuellar"
6 A Halo Called Fred - "Pignocerous of Spleebonia"
7 Lifeguard Nights - "Dire Straits"
8 Psykidelic Oven Mit - "Trigger The Tiger"
9 Beatrix Potter - "A Change in Empathy"
10 Craig Greenberg - "Death On The Liberty Line"
11 DDA - "Fight The Good Fight"
12 Diego Allessandro & Lot 25 - "Disillusioned Blues"
13 Kimon - "Truth To Power"
14 New Day Dawn - "The Broken"
15 Aquino - "Giants Will Fall"
16 Ember Swift - "Tapped & Wired"
17 Ben Hughes - "Ambitiously Afloat"
18 Levy & The Oaks - "Slowly In The Water"
19 Sally Draper - "This Election Season, I'll Quit The Internet"
20 Brett Fuentes - "Thought Police"
21 Happy Joe - "An Angry Voter"
22 Zak Smith - "Awake In The Flood"
23 Friction 57 - "Mad As Hell"
24 Colie Brice - "Life Ain't Fair"
25 Logs In The Mainstream - "Don't Come to Maryland"
26 Ziggy Grover - "Back from the Dark Re-Record"
27 Catherine Wacha - "Chump (live @ Espresso Joe's)"
28 Joe Schroeck - "Keep Fighting The Good Fight"
29 SonOfDov - "Mercy"
30 Dr. Void & The Death Machines - "Angels Descend"
31 HAL - "The Shape of Society"
32 Sarah Donner - "With Pride"
33 Lisa Coppola - "I Can't Make Sense of Your Crazy"
34 The Afraid Brigade - "The World Is All Just Awful"
35 Jim Testa - "I'd Like To Be A Christian"
36 Just Some Punk(s) - "Pipeline"
37 Rachel Romanowski - "Marry My Girlfriend"
38 Jon Caspi & The First Gun - "Don't Bend"
39 DownTown Mystic - "Way To Know (feat. Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent)"
40 Shotgun Bill - "Political Blues"
41 Keith Monacchio - "The Courageous Getaway of Ciro & Madelina Fuentos"
42 Reconstitute - "Dear America"
43 Talley Summerlin - "Wow"
44 Old Smile - "Over This Wall"
45 Beth Wimmer - "For The Living"
46 Laree Cisco - "Never Be The Same (Lord Have Mercy)"
47 Vin Colella - "Breakdown"
48 Mazeffect - "Even A Lion"
49 September's Ghost - "Corporate Zombie (2016 version)"
50 Lifeguard Nights - "Put Down The Gun"
51 Atom Driver - "For The Cause"
52 Psykidelic Oven Mit - "Apologies"
53 Don Lee - "Part Of Nothing"
54 The Dark Brothers - "May the Bridges We Burn Light the Way"
55 Break Away - "Realize"
56 Dub Proof - "In A Rush (ft. pK- Blisstique)"
57 Meeko Brando - "98 (89 remix)"
58 The Skullers - "Silently Violent"
59 Billy Hector - "Callin' On Love"
60 Tony Appleseed - "Color Blind"
61 Fairmont - "Bones (Transcendance Version)"
62 Miss Ohio - "Home To You"
63 Justin Evan Thomas - "Lifeline"
64 Bruce Tunkel - "We Play The Game"
65 Tris McCall - "I Like America"
66 The Porchistas - "Hope for the Flowers"
67 The Bitter Chills - "Sleep Tight, Ya Morons"
68 Ben Godwin - "Peace Mango"
Articles About Rock 'Against Hate'
North Jersey musicians respond to election with album (North Jersey Record)
Rock Against Hate (New Jersey Stage)
Jersey musicians contribute protest songs to
‘Rock Against Hate’ benefit compilation (NJ Arts)
New Jersey Musicians “Rock Against Hate” With Music Compilation To
Benefit Planned Parenthood And The Trevor Project (Aquarian)
Tweets by RockAgnstHateCD
About The Songs
The Campfire Flies - "We Can See America From Here"
I wrote "We Can See America From Here" during primary season, about the American character, itself, "part rock and roller, maybe a gangster, a bit of a preacher and a merry prankster" flirting with and wooing us all, on a road trip where the landmarks are tainted water, mass murders, homeless people living underground and grand displays of wealth. "So reckless, bound for a fall, hustling everyone and no on at all." We laugh, and are entertained, glued to our phones, eating donuts and drinking beer. I chose the song for the compilation because it's descriptive of where we are as a country.
Now, what are we going to do? Let's be active participants, conjuring the future we want and making it happen, not passively, helplessly watching a reality horror show.
Rachel Romanowski - “History Made Easy”
This is a song about how history keeps repeating itself over the ages. It is a simplification of the motivations of war, the corruption of religion and the belief that we can change our future for the better.
The Successful Failures - "The Ballad of Julio Cuellar"
Ballads, as a poetic or musical form, have been around a long time, a very long time, usually serving the purpose of simply telling a good story, spinning a yarn. The most famous ballad I can think of is Coleridge's tale about the Ancient Mariner ("Rime of the Ancient Mariner") - the terrible story of a voyage gone horribly wrong after the killing of an albatross (really bad thing to do when out at sea) - what follows has been adapted for modern audiences in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Walking Dead. Yeah, the tales are usually of heartbreak, tragedy, lost love, shipwrecks, and ancient curses. Traditionally ballads avoid moralizing but let the audience decide what is right or wrong based on the details. So when I went about writing this song about a true story of a man's failed attempt to emigrate illegally into the United States I thought the ballad template was fitting and I couldn't help but to think of Coleridge's tale. I mean here is a guy who spent his last penny to get into the United States to make some money for his family. The guy spent several nights trapped in the back of a van and then was dropped off in the middle of the night... in the middle of the desert. Really tragic. The journey is definitely Odyssean but no triumphant return to Ithaca. I wrote the tune about 5 years ago but it never made it onto any of the Successful Failures albums. Then Trump started feeding into everyone's fears and prejudices about immigrants, talking about his grand wall, characterizing immigrants as rapists and serial killers. I started to think about the song about Julio Cuellar I had written. Hopefully folks listen to the lyrics. I hope the simple details of this man's tragic journey humanize the controversy surrounding immigration. Every immigrant has their own tale, people just like my great grandparents looking for opportunity... people like Julio Cuellar. So we recorded it this past year and plan on including it on the next Successful Failures album. When I heard about Lazlo's project I thought it was a nice fit. Really honored to be involved. - Mick Chorba
A Halo Called Fred - "Pignocerous of Spleebonia"
Three years ago A Halo Called Fred had a premonition -- a fiendish world dictator named "Pignocerous of Spleebonia" who rises to power by stoking the irrational fears of the population as "Very Real Threats"... And now today we release this song on "Rock Against Hate" in response to our 45th president's inauguration. Premonition or coincidence?
Lifeguard Nights - "Dire Straits"
"Dire Straits" was written a decade ago, when I was still looking for weapons of mass destruction at every turn (hey, if they weren't in Iraq, they had to be somewhere). It's sort of a 50's style love song to war, and our society's obsession with it. Tis an abusive relationship with a tragic end where nobody wins except the profiteers, and even they don't really win because they have to live with themselves.
Psykidelic Oven Mit - "Trigger The Tiger"
"Trigger The Tiger" is a very specific statement on how the government tells us they can't afford healthcare funding while they never have trouble finding new wars to fund. Killing with money that can be used to heal is an unacceptable act, and certainly an unacceptable pattern of actions which can be traced back much too far. It's up to each new rise of culture to break the cycle, and re-purpose our energies towards the advancement of humanity, not contribute to its degradation. This song is a call to action.
Beatrix Potter - "A Change in Empathy"
A Change in Empathy is a song about people not caring about what's going on around them, and the alienation and powerlessness it creates for them within society. "Burn the flag, but spare the pole" is a direct critique on the attitude that one can solve their issues by scrapping what represents them, without dismantling the systems that will certainly bring along the same problems in the future. This song is trying to incite a revolution, at the very least in the way people see, and feel one another.
Craig Greenberg - "Death On The Liberty Line"
“My song ‘Death On The Liberty Line’ was inspired in the aftermath of the Boston bombing attacks that took place during the marathon of 2013. I had the thought at the time that it was not the occasional—and inevitable—terror attacks that we will endure as a nation that could ever bring us down, but government overreach and the clamping down on liberties—e.g. The Patriot Act passage after September 11th—in response to them that could. I am more concerned about an internal fraying of our liberties than any externally threat to them, and due to the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump, i fear that fraying will only accelerate."
Aquino - "Giants Will Fall"
I chose to include the song because of the theme of civic engagement. To overcome the hate we are seeing, we need to band together as a community working towards a more peaceful world. It starts small with the hope of seeing it grow past the local level. That is the crux of "Giants Will Fall".
Ember Swift - "Tapped & Wired"
"Tapped & Wired" was written during the second GW Bush administration from the perspective of a foreigner witnessing such a lack of transparency and blatant disregard for public truth from the US government. I was touring a lot in the US at that time that the idea that "every country's oval office should be tapped and wired" so that there was a direct line of truth to the people--to the masses--was a concept that I felt had universal application at the tine. It's still applicable today. Now, more than ever, we are finding that our democratic rights and political systems are littered with problems and holes--there's clearly something wrong with our democratic "rights." Now that I've been living in a socialist communist system as an expat for several years (China), I can see that no system is transparent and no government is really telling the truth to its people. It's a damn shame. And, frankly, this may never change no matter how much we push for governments to be accountable and honest. In the years that have passed since writing this song, I've come to believe that our greatest individual political power lies in the integrity of our daily interactions with fellow human beings. I hope that through human kindness and compassion we can one day create a much better, more honest world for our children than the one in which we find ourselves today.
Sally Draper - "This Election Season, I'll Quit The Internet"
"This Election, I'll Quit The Internet" was written as a reaction to everything I was reading on the internet in the weeks leading up to the election. The fact that people were sharing memes and Facebook statuses with the "lesser of two evils argument" was so incredibly frustrating. Seeing that people would take such a lazy stance on a situation with such high stakes infuriated me. When we released this song on Election Day, we joked about how we'd probably never play it live, since we assumed it'd be impossible for the host of the Celebrity Apprentice to be win the election. I've never felt more disappointed about having to continue playing a song live.
Happy Joe - "An Angry Voter"
I didn’t write “The Angry Voter” about this election. The song was written a while ago but it seemed to fit. There are a lot of angry people out there.
Zak Smith - "Awake In The Flood"
I started writing Awake in the Flood probably 3 or 4 years ago. It's gone through a lot of changes, tons of lyrics changed, the melody and rhythm have changed. It's been about a couple different things over the years, but I think it's about despair, feeling that pretty deeply. And then at the end kind of a moment of redemption, or what feels like it at least. At one point I had a big narrative story worked out for the whole thing but it didn't feel quite natural enough. I wouldn't say it's a hopeful song, but more like in the midst of despair there are life affirming moments; like the guitar solo is one to me.
Colie Brice - "Life Ain't Fair"
"Life Ain't Fair" is about the plight of the everyday American persevering and struggling within a rapidly eroding working class despite their best efforts. My greatest fear right now is our division within. We are currently so polarized and rigid in our ideological beliefs that tolerance and respect for alternative perspectives are becoming extinct. We have been effectively divided and conquered. We need to stand together and see that our differences are not as great as we think. We need to look at those structures and organizations that profit from our division and fear. That is our true enemy - not each other.. Hate the hate not the hateful, ignore the ignorance not the ignorant, and fight the fear not the fearful!
Ziggy Grover - "Back from the Dark Re-Record"
"I came up with the melody after getting out of my own personal struggles in life and finished following my graduation from college. Now with what this country has gone through and continues to go through, I felt that this song was meant to be heard in times like this. Know that we always have each other to help and support. Many of us have our own obstacles, but maybe if we can all come together, we'll overcome as many as possible. This is me holding my hand out. This is me walking towards the storm by your side." - Ziggy Grover
"Back from the Dark is a song about one of my friends, an ambitious CIA clandestine service officer who gave up everything to serve her country, until one day, she started dating one of her childhood friends who had numerous foreign contacts. The Agency's security office gave her a simple choice: cut him off, or we'll cut you off. She chose the man, who is now her husband. The lesson here is that love is worth much more than any government career, and you can do much more to serve your nation than slaving away in some mindless bureaucracy. Get out there and agitate for change." - Jimmy Zhang, Co-Writer
Catherine Wacha - "Chump (live @ Espresso Joe's)"
"Chump" was born from a political argument I was having with a family member. I have always thought of myself as moderate but when push comes to shove, I am always going to side with the group that is trying to help and look out for others. I had the first verse written and the line, "I'd rather starve at the longest table" but then got stuck. I asked my wife for words that rhyme with table giving her no context for what I was doing and she gave "able" which in all my over thinking I had not thought of. This was my first ever real attempt at a political song, in the past I had tried but they always ended up veering off into an angry place which obscured the message I was trying to convey.
This song came together quickly, it was part of my fawm.org project (where you write and record 14 songs in the month of February). It really came from a place of shock in realizing people somehow couldn't see what was so obvious to others. I wanted to make point of never naming names because although it was inspired by the 2016 election, the sentiment will last long after this election.
The Afraid Brigade - "The World Is All Just Awful"
This song is about how the news isn't the news anymore. It's just a collection of the most horrible stories from around the world that the network could find in 24 hours. Where once, the news sought to inform the public, now it's only aim is to frighten and sensationalize.
To be fair though, that's all people really want.
Jim Testa - "I'd Like To Be A Christian"
I actually started writing "I'd Like To Be A Christian" back during the George W. Bush administration when right-wing Christian activists were fomenting against gay rights and women's reproductive rights. Then it sat on the backburner until the 2016 election, when Republican candidates like Ted Cruz used the same tired old Biblical arguments to promote intolerance.
Rachel Romanowski - "Marry My Girlfriend"
I wrote this song out of frustration and the feeling that I was a second class citizen, back not too long ago when gay people did not have the legal right to marry. I just couldn’t understand why some Americans were so threatened by the idea, and how it would possibly affect their lives in any way.
Jon Caspi & The First Gun - "Don't Bend"
This song was written out of anxiety I had about raising my adopted son, who is Black. I worry about the discrimination, bullying, and difficult times he is likely to encounter and my ability to support and protect him. Sadly, we live in a world where this is part of a father's worry. Push back. Fight back. Don't bend so easily.
Shotgun Bill - "Political Blues"
I wrote this song after a year of watching news on TV. And noticing depending on where you get your news the slant was noticeable. So this really wore me down. I think it's time to make up our own mind after doing the research.... and what you feel is right....end of statement!
Keith Monacchio - "The Courageous Getaway of Ciro & Madelina Fuentos"
I had this song written long before any of this nonsense about "building a wall" came to the fore. This song is about the dangerous lengths that people will go to crossing the border, with the hope of finding a better life in the United States. Many of them are just children. This is the story of a brother and a sister, Ciro 13 yrs old and Madelina just 11, and their journey of faith and the pursuit of a promise.
Reconstitute - "Dear America"
So many of us woke up on the morning of Wednesday, November 9th 2016 knowing the world would never be the same. The civil liberties and (what should be) unalienable rights of so many are set to be challenged in the next few years. We must all band together to raise our dissatisfaction with protest, with education, with discussion, or with something so small as a song. Members of New Jersey's Like-Minded and Above The Moon came together to form "Reconstitute" in the days after the election as a direct result and need to express an anger that burns so furiously with so many.
Talley Summerlin - "Wow"
In 2008 my wife and I were co-leading a group at our church in Austin, TX, called "Sustainability Support." People needed a place to learn about the changes - large and small - they could make in their daily lives that would be beneficial to their families, their neighbors, their planet.
But, for anyone who might be trying to introduce these types of changes into their households knows, there is always resistance - whether it's a visiting relative who scoffs at recycling or a neighbor who laughs at the far-reaching importance of organic foods. This group was a place to discuss - and solve for - the difficulties people were facing when trying to evolve their sustainable practices.
At the end of the course everyone had to make a presentation to the group about what they'd learned. The lyrics for "Wow" came out of those sessions together and I ended up using the song as my "end of class presentation." The first time I ever played it for anybody other than my wife was to that small group of friends in Austin. "I've got an idea: let's all hold hands and all resist the plans they're making for us now..." It's all about simmering but powerful counter-cultural actions we take each day - but cannot take alone, at least not effectively.
Old Smile - "Over This Wall"
Over This Wall was written about overcoming personal obstacles. In my mind there will always be a struggle to overcome obstacles. There is no attainable utopia, just a series of events in which you have the power to try your best to fight for yourself and others. That's why I chose this song for this comp. I think we're living in a period of time where we need to band together to overcome the enormous obstacles we are facing. We live in a period of time where there is mass confusion in the United States. A confused public who cannot agree on what is real sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the country and world. A confused public is one that is easier to centralize control over. While people head down different rabbit holes of conspiracy theories without attempting to refute them or head down into the echo chamber media outlets to reaffirm the validity of their preconceived opinions, the land above our rabbit holes and echo chambers is being bought up so to speak. We must realize that when we see another human being we are them and they are us. Defunding planned parenthood hurts women and so it hurts all of us. Scaring and/or fearing those perceived as "the other" in society will cause more people to retreat from society which hurts all of us. When a group of people push fear we should push love. When a group of people push for obedience we should push to overcome. We only exist on this rock hovering around that ball of gas for what amounts to less time than a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. Why don't we treat each other with a bit more love in this blink of an eye. I think Rock Against Hate is essential in our fight for love and I'm proud to contribute my art to fight for Planned Parenthood and the Trevor Project!
Vin Colella - "Breakdown"
I chose "Breakdown" because of it's message and power. Lyrically, it starts off as a personal "breakdown" and grows into what becomes a societal "breakdown". The video is also political and dark, showing the same type of degradation (from rejection, abuse and personal anger to literal destruction). To take it even a step further, I thought that doing the song with Shelly Yakus (John Lennon's "Imagine") and Artie Kornfeld (Co-creator of Woodstock 69) would also help further the message and maybe at least open a few eyes to the impact hate can have when it spirals out of control.
Lifeguard Nights - "Put Down The Gun"
This song is about a crazy idea I have that people should be able to go live and work (AND MINGLE!) wherever the hell they want to on this planet, no matter where they come from or what god they worship, so long as they're cool. But it's also about the borders of the mind as well, and the ones people construct to divide themselves from others different from them. That's silly. We're all human, after all. Everybody farts. Let's all laugh at farts together, as one.
Psykidelic Oven Mit - "Apologies"
Generally speaking, this song is a statement on war mongering foreign policy being out of alignment with the peaceful will of the people, and how certain media outlets seek to skew dialogue and critical analysis by injecting celebrity culture propaganda into the socio-communi-sphere, in an attempt to divert public attention away from issues of greater substance. Sometimes you need to "...step away from the politics, the media, and, the lunatics. There's no time for apologies." What these lyrics from the song mean is that in the struggle, we can't allow ourselves to be baited into knee-jerk reactions, but we must stay on task despite the smoke & mirrors that surround us.
The Dark Brothers - "May the Bridges We Burn Light the Way"
"May the Bridges We Burn Light the Way" was originally released on "The Dark Brothers Present the 7 Steps to Enlightenment" back in 2007. The song is about acknowledging a disconnect, and carving a path forward with no apologies. It seemed appropriate.
Dub Proof - "In A Rush (ft. pK- Blisstique)"
"Tension, that's the theme here and that's the current state of our nation, you can feel it everywhere." - Nick Paolise, Dub Proof
"Day to day pressure that builds in every day life... what creates that pressure is up to that person really." -pK, Blisstique
The Skullers - "Silently Violent"
We wanted to write a song about standing up and being involved in dialogue, and the damage that remaining silent on issues can often create. Although the title “Silently Violent” may have a negative connotation, our message to people is one we hope will inspire and invigorate.
Fairmont - "Bones (Transcendance Version)"
The song "Bones (Trascendance Version)" is actually more of a rough demo of a song that will be on the next Fairmont LP. This version is just guitar and a keyboard creating all of the layers that you hear and it is pretty different from the actual LP version but what is the same are the lyrics. The song is meant to be about the average blue collar worker who is fed up with politicians. The chorus compares politicians to vampires that we should pull out into the sun to watch them burn. The post chorus "There are no honest men/There are no other ones" is kind of stating that they are all the same. The ending of the song states "It's in my blood, it's in my bones" and is meant to say that maybe we are all this inherently evil and in a position of power we all become corrupt. However, I don't like to force my intent of a song on the listener and hope they derive their own meaning from it.
Miss Ohio - "Home To You"
I wrote Home to You when I was writing songs for the Miss Ohio album Low in 2004 or 2005. I had recently gotten married. Many of the songs on that record deal with the conflict of being personally happy in the face of horrifying world events or with individuals dealing with violence and war. With this song, I tried writing from the perspective of a young girl who had her life disrupted by violence caused by or exacerbated by our country's actions in the world. It's perhaps too obvious a point that the people who suffer the most from our policies are often those most innocent and vulnerable.
Tris McCall - "I Like America"
I imagine the narrator of "I Like America" as an itinerant journalist -- maybe a stringer for an upmarket East Coast publication like the Atlantic -- living in exurban North Carolina. His appreciation for America is aesthetic, and lofty, and deeply ingrained via his education, but he's not connected to any particular American community. Actually, he's alienated: he's a virtual stranger in the land he believes he loves (or maybe just likes). He's turned off by the people around him who talk down on America, or who want to elevate one American subculture at the expense of another. But his idea of inclusive, noble America is just as mythical as theirs: it's entirely private, reinforced by habits of thinking that he picked up at university, and it isn't shared by the people around him. If the song works the way I want it to, by the end, you may get the impression that this character is imperiled by his own high-mindedness and evenhandedness. He doesn't quite realize what the fortune-teller in the bridge does: he's widely disliked. His expectation that his neighbors will play fair won't be reciprocated. He's in much hotter water than he thinks he is. Maybe we all are.
The Porchistas - "Hope for the Flowers"
The Porchistas chose Hope for the Flowers because it seems to have a wide appeal. Also it's an interpretation of the book by the same name written by one of our best friends, Trina Paulus, in 1972. We love Trina and the book. The book's message is that to really live happy and meaningful lives we have to pass on the lure of the "pillar" which I see as a metaphor for the destructive rat race of corporate America. To do so we have to slice out our own paths and relationships. We believe in that message and now is the time to spread it.
Ben Godwin - "Peace Mango"
I originally wrote Peace Mango in response to 9/11. It’s an absurd piece of confectionary, but there’s a strong, hard peach-pit of truth in it somewhere- that we can’t hate, or fear, when we’re laughing and dancing. Our joy is always available to us, and it renders the oppressor speechless and powerless. Love is stronger.