Chicago rock band Hidden Hospitals are getting ready to release their second album titled, LIARS. However, today they are discussing something else, the critical issue of gun violence. Please continue reading to see Hidden Hospitals’ vocalists Dave Raymond’s guest blog post.
This weird, walled-garden I’ve built is isolating. My ego thrives and prospers as my digital self flaunts and edits a near-perfect and always-exciting life. An alternate me that’s always eloquent, witty, in-the-know, relevant — and above all, important. It can seem that way.
If I believe someone is listening, and believe I have something to say, isn’t it my responsibility to see what else is being said at the time? A photograph captioned“Check Out My Band’s Insta!” doesn’t feel tasteful following a “20 Teens Dead in School Shooting” article, but it’s our everyday now. Is it even our fault that this is how we receive word of everything?
When we don’t like something we change the channel. Curate, pull the weeds, de-friend, unfollow, avoid conflict in our glass-castle social-sphere. After all, we can,so why wouldn’t we? Who wants their entire way of thinking shattered when they were just looking for a pleasant distraction to thumb through between green lights. Between moments. Breaths.
Back to Earth for a minute.
The world is ripe with tragedy but being pissed off about it all, especially on social media, doesn’t seem to fix things. “Our thoughts” mean nothing to those really suffering. But in the case of gun violence, scrutinizing and pressuring lawmakers could. Through the lens of our hyper-perfect feeds, we often read things as absolute… which is definitely a problem. If you asked any sane, compassionate human if they’d like to see gun violence slowed, or solved in America they’d say yes. Instead, scenarios that don’t exist get thrown into the equation. The eradication of all firearms, for example. Absolutes aren’t realistic, nor are they an answer to anything. Conversation and education are… but they’re only a starting point.
So, we have a record. Great – every band does. We’re releasing music and want to show the world. Great – every artist has something to show the world. Does channeling our sales into Everytown’s campaign make us better / smarter / more compassionate / insert any adjective, etc.? Not even a little bit. We’re the same grade of un/important as anyone else parading art around the internet. What I do know is that there’s a lot of work to be done around minimizing the factors enabling this uniquely American epidemic of shootings. I love Everytown’s contribution to the conversation because they’re easy to understand at a glance. They’re advocates for common sense legislation aimed at ending gun violence and making communities safer. It’s easy to rally behind that mission regardless of which side of the spectrum you’re on. They’re pushing for reason, not eradication – which I feel is a meaningful approach to solving the bigger problem.
I’m not political. I wouldn’t choose music as my tool to sway archaic institutions toward accountability and transparency. I’m not here to sell records either. If that were my passion (or responsibility), I’d have little energy left to make art. The point is that we’re listening, and the people we’re listening to are important. They listened to us when we had next to nothing to say. And the gesture is simple: If you’re looking for a way to help solve a very prevalent issue we’re weathering, here’s something that might make acting on it a little easier. It’s small thanks for something massively positive, all without having to piss off anyone in opposition. We’re happy to take the heat for that.