The word “gun” comes at the end of OC-based folksinger Lon Milo DuQuette's nearly three-minute new song, “I'm Scared.”
It comes after a series of things big and small that DuQuette, with tongue firmly in cheek, sings about being scared of: everything from mimes and clowns to homosexuals and intellectuals. And its placement elevates the song from quirky examination of individual fears to a critique of the collective hysteria that seems to drive so many people to protect themselves from their subjective shadows by carrying the one object that may actually inflate their substance.
DuQuette isn't anti-gun. He grew up hunting in Nebraska, believes in the constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans to bear arms, and doesn't believe that every member of the NRA is a delusional maniac.
But he is anti-fear. And while his song, which was released Jan. 24, has been heartily endorsed by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has logged more than 1,000 hits on Soundcloud, held the top slot on the CD Baby Folk Chart this week (second overall) and he will even perform it at an upcoming event at SpiNYC in Manhattan, Hollywood bastion of liberalism and Susan Sarandon's ping pong/live music venue, DuQuette hopes that any attention it receives focuses on the real message.
“It's satirical all right,but I'm pretty serious about it,” he says. “The problem of gun violence in this country is insane. I travel to Europe a lot and I see how other cultures view this insanity. But the problem is more fundamental than having so many guns. The problem is this culture of fear.
“The fact that people feel the need to carry guns because they're afraid all the time, that's really a spiritual crime. Possessing an instrument of death literally changes one's consciousness, turns you into a different person. I've seen it happen with friends and relatives. Carrying a gun around actually affects their consciousness and they turn into very scared and unhappy individuals.”
Now, if DuQuette was just another snot-nosed wannabe Billy Bragg with an acoustic guitar and no real life experience, it'd be very easy to write off his opinions and ideas. But considering that he's one of the world's most respected writers about the occult, hung out with Timothy Leary's Laguna Beach-based Brotherhood of Eternal Love and started doing the folk-rock thing back in the mid-1960 (he opened up for Arlo Guthrie AND Sammy Davis, Jr.), his perspective is anything but mainstream and pedestrian.
He's a wise dude who is convinced, just as the most zealous gun-rights advocate would be, that guns aren't the problem, people are. Particularly people who somehow feel that a device manufactured with one purpose–to kill–is an antidote to all the things that scare them.
He says that those people who passionately believe that a disarmed populace under tyrannical rule is a problem have a well-taken point. But that notion, “still comes from a consciousness platform of fear,” he says. “And if that is the focus of your life, you're missing out on a great deal. It's not that there's nothing to be afraid of, but if that's going to be the primary focus of your life, you've already surrendered. And if fear is the reason you want to arm yourself, you're probably the last person who needs to be armed for all of our safety.”
So, is DuQuette,who will tour China and 11 European countries this spring, scared of anything?
“No,” he says. “At least, not as much as I should be.”
Joel Beers has written about theater and other stuff for this infernal rag since its very first issue in, when was that again???