Not long ago, Rob Getzschman decided to turn Cypress Hills' 1991 ode-to-police "Pigs" into a lullaby. Or, as he would say, "back into a lullaby." (You can hear the song below.)
Under the auspices of his folk project Mighty Good Road, Getzschman -- an L.A.-based musician, video editor and father of a two-year-old -- takes songs that are (or could be) protest themed and recasts them in an old-school folk context. For example, he's done Starship's deplorable "We Built This City" as a labor rights ballad -- think: "We (the people) built this city..." -- making it pretty decent in the process. We spoke with him about why "Pigs" makes such a good lullaby, and who the most gangsta folk musician is.
So what's the dealio with "Pigs"?
That's a song I've been toying with for a while. It's a song that I first played live, probably in 2002. And it used to sound more like an old Irish sea chantey -- because it sounded a bit like [an Irish chantey]? Then I kept rearranging it and rearranging it until it became more like a lullaby with the harmonies. Which I think is appropriate, given that it's playing off the original "This Piggy Went to Market," which is a kids rhyme.
Exactly like the Cypress Hill version...
Well, that's the genius of the original version, B-Real took that old rhyme and turned it into a rap about cops, y'know, "pigs," and I've just turned it back. [laughs]
There's definitely something wonderful about that back and forth.
Yeah, I know that the acoustic-covers-of-rap thing got really grating a couple of years ago ... but I always felt that this was more of a folk song, as opposed to an ironic cover.
But you've done more than just re-purpose rap, right?
I've been doing a series of these covers, and in my mind, I'm turning pop music into protest music.... I think of protest musicians, or socially conscious people like KRS-One or some of those punk bands, and I think, "Shut up, already" ... but sometimes you have to package it in a way that makes it palatable.
So, who is the most gangsta folk musician?