COLLATERAL DAMAGE '...in times like these dissident voices are not heard in the mainstream media...Jim Page you have a CD called Collateral Damage that says something about these times...let's hear what you have to sing and say...' ----------Amy Goodman, DEMOCRACY NOW! Interview 9/12/02 '.... Listening to Jim Page is like being startled by an alarm clock. While it rattles you from your sleep, an alarm clock wakes you up and helps you prepare for the new day. Page's songs do the very same for your soul. You can't ignore his direct style and compelling message. Open your ears, open your mind, you'll be glad you did.' ----------Mark Horn, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, On the morning of September 11th, 2001, everything changed. Our collective jaw dropped open and wherever we were we will always remember the sound and the feel and the smell of that rubble dust and the hard metal hurt of the impact. That was the day when the demons came out, some of them in raggedy faraway warrior camps and some of them right here in respectable suits and ties, loose in the houses of Congress. I remember the great machinery weight of America's defense gearing up for the Great Response. The target was Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries on the planet. I was in Germany in the last week leading up to the bombing. It was in Hamburg that the first song was written, in a café on a side street, feeling the air raid alert that had become part of my life. The question they were asking in the papers was WHO ARE THEY AND WHY DO THEY HATE US? I thought if I asked the question correctly it would answer itself. Then I wrote another one called NOT IN MY AMERICAN NAME. It was more blunt, like a way of saying 'No, you are not doing this for me. I am going to step outside for a while and take stock. I'll come back in when I'm ready.' All of these songs except three were written after 9-11. PALESTINE was written in 1991, OVER MY DEAD BODY in 2000. THE GREAT STONE WALL was written from a feeling that I couldn't shake, two days before the planes hit. In my mind it will always be connected with those events even though it preceded them. These are all solo, voice and guitar. The real deal, the skeleton, the bare bones. I wanted to get them heard and somehow they wanted to be naked, so I kept them that way. They speak for themselves and follow a logical progression from the first stunned question of 'WHO ARE THEY' all the way to meditation of what's beyond that STONE WALL, knowing that it wasn't always like this and so it will some day change. In the meantime things are rough. They started to use that phrase 'COLLATERAL DAMAGE' again. I hadn't heard it since the first Gulf war back in '91. At the time it struck me that they were using it like the 'collateral' in a pawn shop. You leave your jacket as collateral for a loan and if you don't pay the money back they keep it. The jacket will do if they can't get the money. So I heard them saying that civilians will do if they can't get soldiers. But now I heard something more, an extra function of the language. It was that word 'damage.' When my guitar gets damaged I take it to a repairman, when my car gets damaged I take it to an auto shop. These people aren't damaged, they're dead. And this language is as far away from any human understanding as we can possibly get. So I thought of Woody Guthrie and his song 'Deportees,' about how you won't have a name if you die as a foreign worker, you'll just be a deportee. And I wrote my own song about how 'you won't have a name when you hear the big airplanes, collateral damage is all you will be.' WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME is generally known as an American Civil War song, a pro war song. Originally it was Irish and it was very much anti war. It was called 'Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye' and it was about a fellow who came back in pieces: 'Oh Johnny dear, you look so queer...' It was changed to fit the war fever of the American elite. I rewrote it again so that it would once more be opposed to these manufactured blood sports, and I made it to fit our times. Two verses are kept from the original, the rest are mine. We need songs to stand up with in times like these. Songs to call it what it is and not to kiss ass or ask for any favors. A song can't change the world, but a people singing a song sure can. And if there ever was a world that needed changing it was this one. Maybe these songs will help. 'In an era when all too much of what is passed off as music in our society bears a striking resemblance to raw sewage, the work of Jim Page must be ranked with that of the very few artists who have achieved a genuine and coherent counterbalance. Lyrics empowered by insight and poetic conscience, melodies that alternately haunt and prod the core of our complacency, meanings casting light into the murk of our existence. These are and always have been the hallmarks of Page's songs. A serious man laying bare the seriousness of our collective situation, he proceeds with all the subtlety and finesse of a skilled surgeon performing mind transplants upon those most in need. Page is a liberatory treasure.' --------Ward Churchill - author, professor of Native American Studies University Of Colorado Boulder.