Monday, May 28, 2018

On the Road in Seattle: Harvey Danger, Sean Nelson and War Buddies

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
Resistance is already forming.

Let's be war buddies
Waist deep in big muddies
side by side
I'd be the atheist in your foxhole anytime

Let's be friendly fire
Body counts are mounting on a bed of barbed wire
coldly stacked
As soon as the morning light has broken
then we attack
If nobody tries too hard to kill you
I got your back

Across the desert
back to brave the burning sand
back to question every effort
back to challenge your command
If you've got guns, well, now's the time for sticking
Resistance is already forming
The second shot won't be a warning

Let's be collateral damage
Looking down your nose
like it's the best you can manage just to stand
indignity after indignation
the threat of a hostile occupation
the better to form a sovereign nation
Here's the plan:

Let every man who disagrees
be roughly brought down to his knees
be starved to death and made to freeze
and sentenced to the Gulag
If you've got guns, well, now's the time for sticking
Resistance is already forming
The second shot won't be a warning

When the tanks roll into Warsaw
will I find you at the front,
singing into a tape recorder,
shouldering the brunt of the attack?
Has it come to that?
Has it come to that?
Has it come to that?
Has it come to that?


— Sean Nelson


Sean Nelson was the principal songwriter for the Seattle alternative rock band, Harvey Danger. War Buddies is from the 2005 album Little by Little... and appears in Nelson's 2009 limited edition print run of, You Be the Pity, I'll Be the Fear — Harvey Danger Songs 1994-2009. In his foreword, Nelson writes, "These songs are not just the stick I use to measure my worth they are also the bricks I have used to construct a self."

On the back cover of, You Be the Pity, I'll Be the Fear there is but one line of text along the top margin. It is the last line of Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint — without attribution, without context — So [said the doctor]. Now vee may perhaps to begin.

Sean Nelson, as he had throughout the 15-year-run of Harvey Danger, is a writer and editor for the Seattle alternative biweekly, Stranger. When Philip Roth died on May 22, 2018 Sean Nelson wrote, Philip Roth Is No Longer the Greatest Living American Novelist.