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IF YOU ARE ON THIS SITE, YOU ARE LAME [May. 11th, 2005|09:09 am]
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Texas Funeral is not a political band [Feb. 17th, 2005|11:03 am]
Texas Funeral is not a political band.

People just don’t seem to get it. I always hear people talk about Texas Funeral and refer to us as a political band. I think people miss the point. Do they even listen to the songs? Do they even read what we have to say?

We have even used the dreaded word “politics” when we talk about ourselves, saying we have political undertones in songs and wondering if a love song can be political. But we have also always said we want to transcend politicking to get to the heart of matters.

To me, the word “politics” is a cold, empty word. It stirs up ideas of stiff guys in suits debating bills high on capital hill. That is not us.

We aren’t politicians, radicals, or revolutionaries. None of us in the band are Malcolm X or Che Guevara. We are people with emotions. We have concerns and feelings, we care about things, we think about things. We exercise the First Amendment as citizens. Sometimes we act for change. Unfortunately, sometimes because we are human and not perfect, our apathy prevails.

We want Texas Funeral to reflect all sides of us. Yes, that may include a political side. But these semantics are starting to make my head spin.

People have a way of simplifying things way too much. In the same way candidates are judged on sound bites, I think Texas Funeral is judged with out much thought. People see the word "America" in a song and to them that automatically equals "political." But I doubt people really take the time to figure what that song is really about. People see an anti-war essay and make all kinds of assumptions on our beliefs and values. Words like anti-American, liberal, Democrat all come up, none of which describe us accurately at all.

Most people don’t take the time to think. They just repeat what they hear someone say on the news and claim it as their own opinion. They talk about complex issues (such as war) in the simplest terms possible.

So, to me, it is sad when people take Texas Funeral, something that I put my heart into, and reduce it to a simple cliché without any thought.

So are we political? I don’ think it’s that simple. We just talk about things we care about. Some of those things just happen to be global issues or things on the news, what ever you want to call it. But I don’t think most of our songs are written about issues, but how we feel about things.

I you read our lyrics, I think the only song that can be even considered "political" at all is Firebreater. But it’s not a song that outlines a logical argument against war. It is a song that expresses our anger and sadness that men our age are dying in a desert when there seems to be a better way to achieve the same goal.

I’m not going to talk crap on bands that write love songs about girls. Because, who knows, someday Texas Funeral might write a love song. And if we do, I won’t consider it selling out at all. But I can also say, that love song won’t be our entire message, just as "politics" aren’t our entire message now.

Let’s say a pop-punk band writes all of their songs about how sad they are about a broken heart, but they also talk about animal rights on stage and raise money for PETA by playing a benefit shows. Are they a political band? I can’t say, but I will say they aren’t one-dimensional.

Texas Funeral is not one-dimensional.

Some people make a big deal that we don’t like George Bush. Yea, so what? So do 49% of America and most of the rest of the world. It doesn’t make us special or unique. Nor does it make us experts on politics.

First off, I am not obsessed with George Bush. I don’t spend my entire day protesting his presidency. I don’t spend too much time thinking about him, and I don’t hate everyone that voted for him. He just happens to be leading us into a SPECIFIC war that I don’t agree with, and I don’t agree with some (not all) of his policies.

But also I care about other things. I am concerned with the poor of this world. I am critical of our world’s (and my own) obsession with consumerism and materialism. I care about the personal relationships in my life. I care about my faith. These are just a few things that make me up as a person. These are the things I think about most of the time, not George Bush. But that's what people focus on and make their entire judgment on that.

The second point I want to make is I am not an expert. I don’t want to be. I don’t write songs from the point of view of a political analyst; I write them from the point of view of what I am: an average person.

Aren’t everyday people or bands allowed to care about the world or have opinions with out being political? That’s not being political; that’s being human.

And that, my dear, was an excellent use of a semi-colon.

This is not to say that I don’t try to keep myself informed and educated. I read a lot, I take in a lot of different point of views. But our songs are about our hearts, not about politics.

Yea, of course I think I’m right about what I believe in, but who doesn’t. How can you believe in something and at the same time think you are wrong. You can’t. I think I’m right but I’m not so narrow-minded and bull headed that I think I have all the answers to save the world. I have strong conviction, but still respect people who think different. In fact, all the people in the band believe many different things.

I am not convinced of my own perfection. If write a song about consumerism, I know someone will call me out and say, "You hypocrite, you wear this brand of shoes and shop at this store!" It’s strange that they miss the point that the song is not just about a frustration with the society I live in but also a frustration with something in myself that I find sickening.

But we come together and express ourselves in Texas Funeral. This is who we are. We tear out our hearts and put them on display for you. We put ourselves on the line. But that is what real art is all about. Taking chances, expressing your self, and making people think. Not making money, looking cool, and pleasing everyone.

Like Mick Jagger wrote:

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain't he strange?

If I could win ya, if I could sing ya
A love song so divine
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried? If I cried?

I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust
Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?

If I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would ya think the boy's insane? He's insane

I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it

I hope you had fun reading this little rant. Did you skim it and make your snap judgment? Did get to know the depths of my heart from the two words you remembered?

Well, if you take away one thing, remember this:

Texas Funeral is not from Texas. I have no idea what that means.

Hey, it’s only rock ‘n roll, but we like it.
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(no subject) [Feb. 11th, 2005|10:03 am]
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on progrms of social uplift is a nation approaching spiritual death." -Martin Luther King Jr.
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God and Government [Jan. 31st, 2005|11:43 am]
Texas Funeral is a band of people with diverse beliefs and ideas. Some of us are Christians are sick of being told who to vote for. We are sick of our leaders using a loving God’s name to peruse policies that are not in line with the teachings of the Gospels. Some of us are Agnostics who are sick of being told that we have no moral conscience just because we don’t believe in God. We are all fed up with political leaders claiming to have God on their side as they peruse personal agendas while ignoring the needs and beliefs of the common citizen.

We are always looking for fresh and progressive points of view. Both the Christians and Agnostics in Texas Funeral are frustrated with a right-wing that as Christian writer Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics and editor of Sojourners magazine, says, "has hijacked the language of faith to prop up its political agenda."

He goes on to say, "The leaders of the Religious Right mistakenly claim that God has taken a side in this election, and that Christians should only vote for George W. Bush.

"We believe that claims of divine appointment for the President, uncritical affirmation of his policies, and assertions that all Christians must vote for his re-election constitute bad theology and dangerous religion."

Are all Christians close-minded right-wing Republicans? Are all liberals devoid of a soul or sense of morality? Why has our country been reduced to such simple stereotypes? Why must all of our beliefs be shoved into a small box and stamped with a neat label. Life isn’t that simple.

Wallis is a refreshing voice in the political Christian community. He dares to ask, "Since when did believing in God and having moral values make you pro-war, pro-rich and pro-Republican? And since when did promoting a progressive social agenda with a concern for economic security, health care and educational opportunity mean you had to put your faith in God aside?"

Wallis writes of his vision for American politics in his essay, "God Is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat," "We will measure the candidates by whether they enhance human life, human dignity, and human rights; whether they strengthen family life and protect children; whether they promote racial reconciliation and support gender equality; whether they serve peace and social justice; and whether they advance the common good rather than only individual, national, and special interests."

But don’t get the idea that Wallis is just a Christian Liberal; he is equally critical of the left and it’s lack of a spiritual identity. He calls both parties to "make both our religious communities and our government more accountable to key values of the prophetic religious tradition - that is, make them pro-justice, pro-peace, pro-environment, pro-equality, pro-consistent ethic of life (beyond single issue voting), and pro-family (without making scapegoats of single mothers or gays and lesbians). These are the values of love and justice, reconciliation, and community that Jesus taught and that are at the core of what many of us believe, Christian or not."

Both Christians and Agnostics can find common ground in that statement. Yet we constantly being pigeon-holed and told to vote for one of two sides, neither, of which most of us can identify with. We are told we have to choose between black or white, ignoring any shades of gray.

In the movie Donnie Darko, Donnie is told to make a mark on the chalkboard choosing between fear and love. Donnie doesn’t go along; he questions the assignment. "You can’t just lump things into two categories. Things aren’t that simple. There are other things that need to be taken into account. Like the whole spectrum of human emotion. You can’t just lump everything into these two categories and then just deny everything else."

Like Donnie we wonder how can we choose between Republican and Democrat when both are so obsessed with narrow agendas and so out of touch with the American public? Where is our third choice? How can we fit all of our beliefs and ideas into one of two political parties? When did life become that simple?

Wallis and Sojourners Magazine challenge leaders from both sides to transcend patrician politicking in exchange of the common good. He agues that faith can have role in American politics while still respecting the separation of church and state necessary in a democracy. He points out that we have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Like it or not, religion plays a major role in today’s politics. Everyone from Islamic Extremist to right-wing fundamentalists claim to know God’s will. But Wallis points out that we can not ignore the contribution of faith in modern politics because of those who get it wrong. He points out the successful faith based political movements that benefited humanity such as the Civil Rights Movement of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu’s struggle to overcome apartheid in Africa, and Ghani's quest for freedom in India.

Whether you are a Christian or an Atheist, Wallis and Sojourners will challenge anyone with an open mind’s thinking on God and politics and offer a new point of view on the subject.

For more info visit: http://www.sojo.net
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What ever happend to our outrage? [Dec. 30th, 2004|12:50 pm]
What ever happened to our outrage?

Just a few months ago, before the election, we were a nation up in arms over a disastrous war in Iraq. We were mad that we were lied to about the reasons we went to war. We were heartbroken that 1000 American men and women died needlessly for a war we didn’t understand. We were angry that our beautiful nation spent 200 million dollars (plus the 80 billion Bush just requested) and countless man-hours fighting an unjust war that was diverting our attention from the real terrorists that attacked us. We were frustrated with an administration that seemed to care more for profit and power than justice and human life.

But then Bush got reelected and we just forgot. We forgot bout the men and women still putting their lives in danger everyday. We forgot about the tax money that goes to build bombs instead of building schools. We forgot about the terrorists who have gotten away with murder.

Our attitude is one of acceptance. We put up a good fight and lost. Oh well, pack it in boys. Better luck next time.

Bush is a mighty Goliath and we are just a bunch of Davids with out any stones. There’s nothing left we can do. Bush won. We lost. Accept your faith as a slave to the king.

We fall asleep in our warm beds at night and dream away reality. Meanwhile, in reality, there are young men sleeping on a cot in a desert in some God-forsaken desert, thousands of miles from home wondering if the next day will be his last. He wonders if he will ever see his family again. He wonders if he will ever embrace his wife again and smell her hair. He wonders if he will ever taste his mother’s meatloaf. He wonders if he will see his son turn into a man.

Ignorance is bliss. And we are blissful because we don’t think of the 1,380 Americans that have died since the war began March 19, 2003. We forget the 1243 that have been killed since big Bush put on a macho flight suit and declared victory. We forget about the 10,502 that have been wounded. We forget about the estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Iraqi civilians (who, by the way, are also human even though they have tan skin and don’t speak English- the same humans we claim to be fighting for) who have died.

What is wrong with this picture? We were nation of people up in arms complete with 60s style protest signs. But like the hippies of the 60s we just sold out to corporate America and accepted what the establishment sold us. At least they waited until the war was over to sell out.

Was our outrage just a dream all along? It seems like no one is upset about what is going on. Or perhaps we weren’t even upset to begin with. Was it that there was just another big brother out there selling us a different pile of horse manure from a different horse. Did they only pretend to be upset about injustice because they were selling us a different candidate and now that the candidate isn’t for sale anymore, neither is the script?

Well, some of us are not for sale. Our outrage is pure. Our anger is real. We have rights, set our nation free.

I am not naïve. I remember Sept. 11, 2001. Thinking of it still breaks my heart. I want to kill the ones who are responsible. The problem is: they are not in Iraq.

I believe in fighting for what you believe in. I believe in this great country. But I also believe in speaking out when our leaders are taking us down the wrong path. I believe in using a solder’s sacrifice when it is absolutely necessary, not for reasons of profit and power.

Texas Funeral has a line in "Firebreather" that says, "I’m breathing fire, this anger comes from love." I am not talking for the sake of hearing my own voice and I am not angry out of hate. I am speaking because I am convicted and I am angry because I care about the people who are dying. Some still don’t understand how one can be against the war but still be supportive of our troops. Well, I don’t call blindly sending someone to die supportive. I don’t call not questioning injustice American. And I don’t call killing our troops patriotic.

This is a tragic, preemptive war staged buy the political elites who use God‘s name to justify their criminal actions. Its purpose is to build an empire, not defend a nation.

My father was an U.S. Marine who was seriously wounded in the Vietnam War. I have never served in the military but I developed a picture of what it might be like though many deep conversations with my dad.

My father knows what it is like to sacrifice one’s life is a war that you that don’t believe in for a country you love. Like the Vietnam War, there is a lot of civil unrest and lack of public support surrounding the Iraq war.

This does not mean that I don’t respect and appreciate the sacrifice that is being made. However, I think that respecting someone’s life means not asking them to give it up needlessly. This war should not be happening. We were lied to going in. Now, it’s a mess. We are no safer because of it.

I respect and love my dad for serving his country. But he has never sugar coated the horrors of war. He will tell you that it is hell on earth. He named me after his army buddy that was killed in Vietnam. My dad is proud that he served his country. His experience in the war helped shape who he is today. But I know if it was up to him, he would have rather not have gone though that hell.

I have also talked to some friends who have served in Iraq. Some think we are doing the right thing in Iraq. But many would tell you that we have no business being there and resent Bush for putting them in harms way with out just cause.

"Firebreather" has another line that says, "My dad fought this war once before." I don’t mean to say Vietnam is exactly like Iraq. But I want to ask the same question as Bob Dylan when he wrote:

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

The answers are blowing in the wind. The answers are out there tugging at the hearts of many Americans. The answers are in those who want something more that death and destruction for their country. The answer is in the ones who are ready to wake up from this deep sleep. The sedative they’ve given us to keep us calm is wearing off. Their excuses and lies are wearing thin. We are beginning to see that there is another way.

Although the answers are out there, there are no easy answers blowin’ in the wind. But I do know that we can’t dream this problem away. The nightmare is real. We need to wake up, and stand up. We need to find our outrage again.

Maybe then we can catch the answer blowing in the wind. In his second term Bush has a chance to redeem himself. But we the people also have a chance at redemption. Let's open out eyes and hearts. Perhaps we can save some lives and set ourselves free.

-Kevin Fallon
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Look back at 2004 [Dec. 20th, 2004|11:32 am]
Interview with Kevin Fallon of Texas Funeral: 2004 in review.

Q: What has this year been like for Texas Funeral?
A: You know when a boxer gets knocked down and has 10 seconds to get up? That’s how we feel every day. Everyday we have to pick ourselves up just to take more punches. It’s been fun though. This year has been like one big Fight Club; we take the pain with a smile. The hard road is part of the dream.

Q: What was the biggest challenge the band faced this year.
A: We started the band this year. We wrote our first song. Played our first show. The biggest challenge was establishing our own identity and finding our own voice and then trying to get people into what we were doing. I’m not saying we are the next Nirvana but we did break the mold a little bit. Whenever you do that, it’s a challenge. But if you believe in what you are doing, eventually people will come around.

Q: How did the election effect you?
A: It taught me that activism isn’t just one battle. It’s a life long struggle to fight for what you believe in. If you care about something, you don’t let one defeat stop you.

Q: How has your politics changed this year?
A: I think that as a band we are savvier in both our lyrics and our actions. When we first started the band we were angry with a lot of things. We got some stuff off our chests. Now we are learning how to be more mature and deep about the things we talk about. I think now we are moving beyond a few narrow issues. Our lyrics are more about thinking and feeling and less about complaining. We are asking more questions and giving fewer answers these days.

Also the more I do this band, the more involved in politics and activism I become. I’m not saying I’m some sort of Malcolm X or something. I think that it’s ironic that we started Texas Funeral wanting to influence people to be more aware and involved and the people we influenced the most are ourselves. I hope next year that I continue to grow in this area.

Q: What was your favorite movie this year
A: Kill Bill Vol. 2

Q: What was your happiest moment this year?
A: On my birthday a bunch of my friends came out and at one point I just looked around and saw how lucky I am. As for the band, when those guys wrote the music for "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" I freaked out. I knew that we were on to something special.

Q: Any regrets this year?
A: I spent too much money on junk.

A: What advice would you give to the world in 2005?
Q: Turn off your TV and put on an Al Green record.
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Rumsfeld Rubber Stamps Soliger's Death Letters to Families [Dec. 19th, 2004|09:14 am]
NOTE: I can think of a few death letters I would like to rubber stamp. It's bad enough that Bush and Rumsfeld are asking our men and women to die, but this is how they are treated when they do. Only after the administration gets bad press do they show respect to the people they've asked so much from. This is just one more example of how the current leadership only care about themselves and their image, not the American people and not the troops who they have sacrificed needlessly. We have rights...set us free.


After Outcry, Rumsfeld Says He Will Sign Condolences
Report Reveals His Signature Was Stamped on Letters to Dead Soldiers' Families

WASHINGTON (Dec. 19) - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will begin personally signing condolence letters sent to families of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, after receiving criticism over his use of mechanical signatures, Stars and Stripes reported on its Web site.

In a statement provided to Stars and Stripes on Thursday, Rumsfeld tacitly admitted that in the past he hasn't personally signed the letters, but said he was responsible for writing and approving each of the 1,000-plus messages sent to the fallen soldiers' families.

"I have directed that in the future I sign each letter," he said in the statement.

"I am deeply grateful for the many letters I have received from the families of those who have been killed in the service of our country, and I recognize and honor their personal loss."

In a separate statement, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said, "In the interest of ensuring timely contact with grieving family members, he has not individually signed each letter."

Department of Defense officials for the past few weeks had said only that the content of the letters was private, the Web site reported.

But several families of troops killed overseas said they were sure the notes they received hadn't been signed by hand, and said they were angry that Rumsfeld wasn't paying attention to their loss.

"To me it's an insult, not only as someone who lost a loved one but also as someone who served in Iraq," Army Spc. Ivan Medina told Stripes.

"This doesn't show our families the respect they deserve," said Medina, a New York resident whose twin brother, Irving, was killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq this summer.

Illinois resident Bette Sullivan, whose son John was killed in November 2003 while working as an Army mechanic in Iraq, was incensed when she, her son's wife and her grandchildren received the exact same condolence letter with the apparently stamped signature.

"If each family receives two copies, how many signatures does that amount to?" she asked in an e-mail response to Stripes. "I can understand the use of stamped signatures for his brothers' mementos, but for those of his wife and children and mother? No, no, no."

Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, an author and frequent critic of the Department of Defense, publicly criticized Rumsfeld in a syndicated column earlier this month for not reviewing each KIA letter personally.

He called the fake signatures "like having it signed by a monkey."

"Using those machines is pretty common, but it shouldn't be in cases of those who have died in action," he said. "How can (DOD officials) feel the emotional impact of that loss if they're not even looking at the letters?"

Hackworth said he objected to using the stamped signatures for promotion and commendation letters as well, but said not personally handling the condolence letters is a much more serious offense, the Web site reported.

Family members had expressed similar concerns to Stripes about President Bush's signature on his condolence letters, but Allen Abney, spokesman for the president, said that Bush does personally sign the letters sent from the White House.
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(no subject) [Dec. 12th, 2004|01:32 pm]
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KILL THE TEXAS FUNERAL [Dec. 11th, 2004|07:24 pm]
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Four more years...but we still dare to dream. [Nov. 19th, 2004|10:52 am]
Time to panic. Prepare for Armageddon. Defect to Canada. Commit mass suicide. The sky is falling. We gave Bush four more years.

So defecting to Canada is a bit of an over-reaction. Sure, we believe that the American public made a bad choice on Nov. 2. They chose a man who puts greed and corporate interest ahead of the American people. They chose a man who cares more about big companies than the health, welfare, or safety of the average citizen. They chose a man who ignores the evil terrorists and diverts attention and human sacrifice to a fraudulent war. They chose a liar, a criminal, and a failure. But in the end, it was their choice.

Now we all have to live with it.

Texas Funeral is part of the 49% who does not agree with the many of the policies and tactics of the current administration. We fought to get Bush out of power. We lost this one.

What now? Is our war over? Should we throw in the towel? Should we bury our heads in the sand and hope we find oil so that Bush will love us again?

No. We never give in. Sure, there is a criminal in the White House, but what else is new?

Texas Funeral is going to refocus its efforts and its message. Getting Bush out was a goal. But it was not the end goal. He was not the grand prize, just a step toward progress that we focused on for awhile. We wanted John Kerry over Bush. But even if Kerry was elected, Texas Funeral wouldn’t hold back on speaking out against him if the need was there. Texas Funeral is not a Republican or a Democrat. We do not give politicians a free pass. We will continue to hold them to high standards, regardless of if we voted for them or not.

Our goal from the beginning was to be a champion for social justice, peace, human rights, awareness, activism, and community.

Voting is a way to use your voice and power as a citizen. But it is far from the only way. In fact, we believe that if all you do as a citizen is vote once every four years, you are not doing enough.

We can not leave it up to a bunch of politicians to change this world. That is our job. What are you doing to better the world around you? Do you rely on a bunch of suits in Washington corrupted by narrow agendas and special interests? Or do you stand up, take responsibility, and be a force for change?

If we look at history, what have politicians done to make a difference? Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a politician. Malcolm X was not a politician. Gandhi was not a politician. Jesus was not a politician. John Lennon was not a politician. Michaelangelo and Van Gogh were not politicians. Bono is not a politician. And most likely, neither are you.

This is not to say that politicians never do a thing. It is just to say that you are not to depend on them. Vote for the people you think are the best. Hold them to high standards. Make them accountable for bad decisions. But hold yourself to that same standard. Regular people have achieved great things. And now that we have a lunatic for a president, it is even more urget for us to step up and take control of our own country.

Politicians get votes. People get things done.

Texas Funeral still dares to dream.

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