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more to life    sound clip

Drummin' on the desktop
Tappin' with my feet
I know I could shake the world
But I'm stuck here in this seat
Just another statistic
A prisoner without a crime
Doin' these equations
Is worse than doin' time

Oh Annie, let's find somethin' better to do
Oh Annie, there's more to life than school

The teachers think I'm stupid
A kid without a plan
I wish to hell they'd grow up
And treat me like a man
It's a baby-sitting service
So Ma can work all night and day
Give her money to the bank
And drink the rest away

Oh Annie, let's find somethin' better to do
Oh Annie, there's more to life than school
More to life
More to life, more to life, more to life than school . . .

We got a Coca-Cola cafeteria
And Nike owns the gym
I won't be no human billboard
And let someone else cash in
Come on Annie, let's blow this joint
Let's take it to the street
March in a demonstration
Let the fat cats feel the heat

Oh Annie, let's find somethin' better to do
Oh Annie, there's more to life than school

Come on Annie, let's blow this joint
Let's take it to the street


Sam Turton: vocal, acoustic rhythm guitars
Jesse Turton: bass guitar
Peter Grimmer: drums, percussion
Drew McIvor: Hammond organ
Jane Lewis: harmony vocal


commentary

In tribal societies, children became adults at puberty—the age of thirteen or fourteen. They were capable and ready to handle adult responsibilities. Now we retard the maturation of children well into their teens and twenties by treating them like children when they are naturally capable of much more.

Most modern schools are prisons that stifle creativity, movement, expression, democratic equality, and the freedom to grow and learn in our own way. The modern corporate world preys upon children through media and advertising but these young people have no vote and little chance to respond in meaningful ways.

The song "more to life" is the story of a teenage man locked inside the bigotry of a system that labels him a "boy." He has energy, he has creativity, and he is no fool—but he is suffocating in the "baby sitting service" called school. While his teachers walk around in their middle-class haze, he sees the injustices in the world and wants to make a difference. He invites his friend Annie to "blow this joint and take it to the street."

This song is dedicated to all the young people I know who march in the streets, who oppose corporate globalization, who oppose the war culture, who refuse the political status quo, who override corporate media via the internet, who save old growth forests, who work with the poor in the third world, who buy non-sweat-shop products, and who choose not to be walking billboards with logos on their clothes.

I also dedicate this song to Summerhill, a school that has allowed children freedom and democracy for more than 80 years.

To express the agitated energy of the protagonist, I wrote the song as a pop R&B groove driven by bass and drums. I was a frustrated teenage drummer and I still drum on my desktop and tap with my feet—just ask Jane! Drew's chordal organ fills and solo push the song far away from rock and roll into a unique zone I can't quite put my finger on! The final bass and drum solo expresses the wild energy of our hero as he and Annie head out into the world. This section is a raw diamond—full of experimentation, unusual patterns, and wonderful power-jazz clusters. I originally wanted the ending to be a quick fade-out, but when Jesse and Peter were jamming, it was too hot to cut short. Even the unplanned ending, when Peter tosses down his sticks and spontaneously quips "They're all gonna laugh at you" (from the Adam Sandler comedy routine), perfectly captures the lame attitude that "adults" continue to hound teenagers with.