Harry Shearer on Why He's Taking on Wall Street
Harry Shearer has tackled politics in his work, including his weekly radio show "LeShow" and his Grammy-nominated CD "Songs of the Bushmen." But in his latest CD, "Greed and Fear," the funnyman takes on Wall Street.
After I wrote a post about the new CD yesterday ("From Mr. Burns to Mr. Goldman and Mr. Sachs"), Harry dropped me a line to explain what got his comical crosshairs set on Wall Street. Here's what he had to say.
"I started getting amused by the language of the economic meltdown — when 'toxic assets' suddenly became 'troubled assets,' going from something poisoning the system to just a bunch of delinquent youth with dirty faces that needed not removal from the system but just...understanding," Shearer said.
One of the tracks is called "Bad Bank" — another concept that amused Shearer.
A "bad bank?" he wondered. What is that, "like a dog misbehaving on the carpet"?!
Of course, that leads to "the misleading idea that there's such a thing as a 'good bank,'" he quipped.
There's a song called "Mr. Goldman and Mr. Sachs," who Shearer says, "I thought belonged in a Pet Shop Boys song."
The song about the Wall Street bank has an 80s synthesizer beat — like a mix tape Shearer made for Wall Street — and the lyrics a cocky conversation between founder Marcus Goldman and his son-in-law, Samuel Sachs:
Paulson's our man, Mr. Sachs recalled
We may get a haircut, but we won't go bald
Any bailout rules will be comfy and lax
Mr. Goldman was reassured by Mr. Sachs
Bear Stearns went down, Mr. Sachs told his friend
And Lehman Brothers met a harsher end.
Merrill Lynch was sold off via fax,
A dour Mr. Goldman told Mr. Sachs.
It's time, Mr. Goldman said, to pull some rank,
So presto, said Mr. Sachs, we'll become a bank.
We'll be covered by the payers of tax
Exulted Mr. Goldman to Mr. Sachs.
He also offers a sharp-tongued historical account of GM's fall from its hot-rodding days with "Little GM," referencing the 1964 classic by Ronnie and the Daytonas, "Little GTO."
"[L]ooking at the demise of the one-time icon of the California car culture, it struck me that 'Little GTO' had become 'Little GM,' a company too big NOT to fail."
Well you used to rule the streets and the track like a fuel-burnin giant
You fought hard so your engines wouldn't be pollution compliant
You and your brother cars prospered by being defiant,
And you had such big fun til Obama took the company away.
He's rolling out singles and videos of select songs from the album, including "Glimmers of Hope," which, thanks to some crude technology — features a lip-synching Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner!
The CD, which includes 10 tracks and comes with a digital booklet featuring fun illustrations and all the lyrics, is available for $8.49 on Amazon.com.
Click hereto listen to some sample tracks.
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