Every Song Tells A Story: Will We All Be Friends At The End Of The World?

The Story

This song is, basically, a protest song. Protest songs and rock and roll seem to go hand in hand. I’m not one of those activist-types who go to rallies with signs and stuff but I’m certainly not opposed to writing a protest song when the feeling hits me and the inspiration is there.

This song is the end result of the combining of two song ideas, plus a little Utopia. I had a batch of lyrics with a loose melody called “The World’s Gone Crazy” lying around, waiting to be worked out. That song was more of a misanthropic ode than a protest song and it still has a few good bits in it that I’m going to eventually re-work and transform into another song when I have time.

The other idea was the protest song that eventually ended up as “Will We All Be Friends at the End of the World?” This idea was straight-up inspiration from both a vibe and a lyric from another song I was listening to at the time. That song was from Utopia, Todd Rundgren’s side project, and is called “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” from the album Oops! Wrong Planet.

Somewhere in that song is a lyric that goes, “They will all join hands at the end of the world,” and I thought to myself, “Hey, that’s a neat little visual.” That led to a stream of consciousness that led me to all sorts of places. I was thinking about current events and how all the nations of the world can’t seem to get it together. There’s hatred all over the world pointed in all sorts of directions. There’s hatred within political circles here at home. It’s like a cancer, eating away at humanity.

So I was thinking to myself, “What’s it going to take before everyone gets along and can be friendly to each other? When will we all be friends? Is it going to take a big alien invasion? A nuclear war? The end of the world as we know it? When the world is about to blow, will we then be able to hug it out? Will we all be friends at the end of the world?”

Now, the Utopia song has a couple of different parts to it. The first part and the bit at the end are very upbeat and bluesy which I liked a lot. The part with the quote that I mentioned above is a slower part with a totally different feel. I thought that the bluesy vibe really fit the idea I was trying to convey.

As the newly re-worked lyrics came around, the music in my head started to change a little also. The upbeat vibe was still there and was joined a little by some KISS; specifically the song “100,000 Years”. So, musically, if you take Utopia and KISS and throw them together in a blender, then add a little Alice Cooper and maybe some Wings, and then let me have at it for a while, you’ll come up with something like the song I ended up writing.

As I said, I’m not really a big fan of protest songs, but sometimes inspiration hits and you can’t just turn that sort of thing off. It’s really easy to get angry at the state of the world today. The chorus is something you might hear me say in casual conversation while scanning the news stories of the day. The world really has gone crazy. Nothing makes sense anymore and no one can really tell me why. I don’t get it.

There was a time where I started to really pay attention to politics and what was happening in the world and more so in our own government. Slowly, as Presidents came in and out of power, I just started to realize that there was really no difference between any of them at all. Politicians say what they have to in order to get elected and keep a career going. I also realized that political parties are a bit of a joke. There’s no room for a centrist like myself. If you don’t fall totally and completely down the party line, you don’t fit. I don’t vote based on party, I vote on the issues. I agree with one party on this or that, and I agree with the other on certain other issues. But why is there all this hatred between the parties? There’s no agreeing to disagree. There’s blame, pointing fingers, excuses, lies and red tape. Meanwhile, the people bear the brunt of their mistakes. I’ll stop there. Let’s just say the world was making me angry and therefore, I wrote a song in protest. Do I feel better? Maybe a little. Will the world change? Nope.

The Recording

As usual, I recorded the drums first on this one. I usually try to map the song out in my head and then jot down a few notes so when I’m playing the drum track I know where I am in the song. I’m usually singing in my head as well which is why it’s important for me to have lyrics, even if they’re scratch verses or whatever.

The song starts out with a drum intro that I did “on the fly”. I tried a few different things and it wasn’t until after I was done with the track that I noticed my subconscious inserted a little Peter Criss into my playing. The little intro is a bit similar to what Peter used to do in his old KISS drum solo. So I recorded the drums, made sure I added some accents, left room for some other ideas I had in my head and that was that. As usual, there were not many takes.

There are specific accents in the song, so when I was laying down the bass parts, I tried my best to hit them well. There were no issues that I recall. The song is a bit repetitive, especially on the bass. There’s a constant bluesy thumping that provides a secure foundation.

The guitars were a whole different scene. Once I got started having fun, I found it hard to stop. The tune is very guitar driven and almost “anthemic” in a way. So the basic rhythm guitar is intact, mostly a big A with some C and D accents. Over those accents, however, I started to add some harmonized guitar fills that worked really well. I’m very pleased with the results on those. They added another layer to the song.

The guitar solo is 16 measures, which is quite a bit for me. I pieced together something that I felt worked really well though. The solo took me quite a while. It wasn’t so much playing it as it was coming up with the parts that worked best and then quickly putting them down. I layered a lot of other little guitar parts over stuff where it fit, most noticeably over the bridge which was another bit that I felt worked really well.

This kind of song is especially fun to sing. You can yell a bit and it’s OK. I didn’t pay too much attention to the way I was singing. I just did what felt right and it seemed to work well. The one thing I pre-planned vocally was the little a cappella breakdown with the hand-claps toward the end. That was something that came to me early on when I was writing the song and I wanted to make sure it sounded good. When it was done, I walked away for a while so I could give it a fresh listen and when I played it back later it sounded great. I was actually surprised I pulled those harmonies off. My approach to harmonies and backing vocals is so laid back that I never know what I’m going to do until I do it. This usually gives me mixed results but in this case, I just got lucky and nailed the parts quickly.

Many protest songs are folksy and acoustic with lots of meaningful lyrics and are designed to make you think. This one’s energetic, sloppy, and pretty angry but somehow maintains an air of guitar-in-your-face fun. Protest songs don’t need to be dreary.

I’m really proud of this song and it’s one of my favorites to play.

The Lyrics

Wake up, put on your coat and your hate
The train’s moving backward – you don’t wanna be late
Road full of rage and a heart made of stone
Stupid people make you wanna go it alone

Countries of the word all acting like babies
All the pointing of the fingers and the drama and the hating
Every fist clenched tight raised high in the air
Now we can’t come together when there’s nobody there

The world’s gone crazy, it’s a hell of a time
Nothing’s making sense and nobody knows why
There’s only one thing I’m asking you girl
Will we all be friends at the end of the world?

Don’t believe in politicians they’re not working for you
They’re just thinking about elections, nothing they say is true
From the crib to the dirt you’ll find the sky ain’t so blue
It’s one hell of a quandary, I don’t know what to do

The world’s gone crazy, it’s a hell of a time
Nothing’s making sense and nobody knows why
There’s only one thing I’m asking you girl
Will we all be friends at the end of the world?

The hate is too much
Makes you wanna give up
Somebody please tell me why
I’m seeing bombs in the sky

Power makes you lazy, yeah it goes to your head
Anybody tries to save us, they’ll soon end up dead
How can we get it right when we can’t get along
Everybody like the singer but they can’t stand the song

The world’s gone crazy, it’s a hell of a time
Nothing’s making sense and nobody knows why
There’s only one thing I’m asking you girl
Will we all be friends at the end of the world?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.