By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
Pancho Villa if you don't like this country
You're gonna stop here
We don't need your beans
We don't need your beer...
While three Colorado lawmakers tour the Arizona border with the Minutemen, shooting off their mouths -- but not their guns, not yet -- about introducing legislation next session to end illegal immigration in this state, other patriots keep beating the drum.
"The Minutemen don't just watch the borders, they like to play the music," says Luca Zanna, a poet, songwriter (see "Pancho Villa Stops Here"), recent immigrant from Rome and now proud American citizen. And what kind of music? "Yankee Doodles," he replies, without a touch of irony breaking through his Italian accent. "A hard-rock version."
There are many ways to serve your country, adopted or not; Zanna is pushing Minuteman Project Bands. "We are looking for patriotic musicians and singers to tour America & defend our borders," reads his announcement. "Just to be clear, we are not just seeking musicians who are looking for gigs, but we are seeking American Patriots who love America and wish to support the Minuteman Project and its cause!" And in the process, buy a few copies of Zanna's own CD, Wake Up America.
From his home base in Apple Valley, California, Zanna has issued the call for performers interested in becoming official state Minuteman Project Bands; all they need to do is send Zanna a cassette or music video of three songs from Wake Up America, which "is not suggested for the ears of liberals, communists, American politicians on the payroll of Mexico or other foreign countries, United Nations crooks, antigun freaks, backstabber Frenchies, prochoice Baby Killers, antimilitary hippies, Hollywood left chicken wings and illegal alien invaders." If chosen, acts can expect fame and a modicum of fortune -- or at least American-beer money -- while helping raise funds "to fight the illegal invasion of America."
If you come to desecrate
If you come to separate
With your pathetic "reconquista"
All we're gonna say to you is..."Hasta la vista"
But even with such lyrical inspiration, few local bands have taken advantage of Zanna's offer. "For Colorado, we're in the middle of several musicians individually -- no bands yet," he says. "We're getting very good, different feedback from different parts of the country. We're selecting different people from around the country. We'd like bands from different parts of the country ready to go."
Ready to go on stage in their states, to play patriotic sets that include at least twelve songs from Wake Up America ("I Am Living in America," "Thank You America," etc., etc.), "plus the following revised with your own style: Yankee Doodle, God Bless America, Star-Spangled Banner and, of course, some of your own original songs in theme with our message. Our music style can be defined: Patriotic Folk/Rock!" Most gigs will be set up within a hundred miles of the band's home town, "and there's space for everyone," Zanna says. "It's not like Bon Jovi or Kiss. We can have a thousand bands."
Since he introduced the project in August, Zanna has kept his campaign relatively low-, if off-, key. But over the next few weeks, as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps conducts its "Secure Our Borders" campaign along the northern and southern -- mostly southern -- borders of the United States, the musical Minuteman plans to do more recruiting of his own. "We're going to try to spread the message in the more conventional media," he says. "The beautiful thing, when we look for musicians, we try to create a patriotic concert, some from my CD, some in their own style. The beautiful thing is that they don't need to change their own style, their identity. They're the Minuteman Project Band for their state or that city. What a beautiful thing."
America, the beautiful thing.
So far, the Minutemen haven't had much chance to experience this beauty firsthand. A band played at a party for former Marine, California accountant and Minuteman founder Jim Gilcrest a few nights ago, Zanna says, "and we have a sort of connection with military bases, we want to support our troops." But there have been few official gigs.
"There are different events, always under the same type of umbrella," Zanna explains. "If Mr. Tancredo talks, or another politician talks, we always try to have the opportunity to have some entertainment there -- music, it can be another way to communicate for the younger people." Although he hasn't yet provided Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo with musical backup, at an immigration summit in Las Vegas in April, Zanna did have "the pleasure and honor of meeting him." And of giving him a copy of Wake Up America.
Does Tancredo, who'll be Yankee-doodling his way through Denver's Columbus Day parade on Saturday, have a favorite patriotic song? Apparently not from Zanna's CD -- and not even a whole song, at that. "But I do have a favorite line from one," Tancredo offers. "It's 'We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.' Toby Keith, I think. I hum it a lot."