lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: faye tucker
1999-10-xx: indigo girls get social, bay windows:
"i think amy was just particularly struck by how everybody used (tucker) as a pawn in the battle for their cause," she says. "you had the church, because (tucker) became a born-again christian; you had anti-death penalty people; you had pro-death penalty people; and of course the involvement of (texas governor) george w. bush, who i'm not a big fan of - he's anti-gay anyway. so there was just this whole furor and here's a woman's life that's caught in the midst of all that. the song is about what it all means and how in the end we couldn't just overcome being cruel."
1999-11: letter from amy ray to jeff clark referencing a review of 'come on now social' from the october 1999 issue, stomp and stammer:
"actually, i am saying any killing is cruel, whether it be what k. faye did or the death penalty imposed by the state. i am unashamedly against capital punishment - no matter who is up for it. it does not bring any resolution or healing, does not save money and can never be issued in an unbiased fashion - money, race, and sex do play a role in things.
"the song is meant to allude to the more interesting problems that come up when faye becomes a pawn instead of a human in the tug of war between anti- and pro-death advocates. her apparent rebirth to christianity created strange bedfellows in this battle. in the end, it didn't matter that she was okay with her own death sentence. no matter what happens - she can't win ('if you live they're gonna make you a campaigner - if you die they'll make you a grave') - she lost control of her soul and her life when she took another - just as we do when instituting the death penalty. 'that's why killing don't pay' was meant for us and k. faye.
"if you will follow the lyrics more closely you will see that the song is full of double entendre and irony. i chose this particular story not because she is a woman - but rather i had read so much about it and found it compelling. i have a long history of fighting the death penalty in any case - even the most gruesome. you are too swayed by false assumptions about the indigo girls and your assumptions are - as you say about the song - 'shallow' at best. our politics go very deep and include all of the irony, absurdity, humor and gray areas that this life has to offer. you would do well not to fall into the same trap that some other male rock critics have fallen prey to - - we are not some fledgling female band that can be summed up by a list of political resources and a few pop songs. we have been playing together for 20 years and have endured a lot of bullshit, yet are still willing to rock and be committed financially and time-wise to our issues. this is more than i can say for most bands. here's to the motherfuckin revolution!"
1999-11-12: indigo girls take their new music on the road, the salt lake tribune:
"i was in las vegas the night they executed her, and i got the idea for the song right there," ray said. george w. bush was the governor overseeing tucker's execution, and ray is acutely aware that the man she disagrees with so mightily on the death penalty might be the next president. "he's suave. he speaks well. he's got the whole image thing," ray said, joking, "if he wins, i'm going to get a generator and start growing my own food."
1999-12-04: a darker shade of indigo, the minneapolis st. paul star-tribune:
"that was what was so interesting about her case to me," says ray, a staunch death - penalty opponent who sees a contradiction in punishing murder with murder. "the christian coalition was really interested in saving her because she was a reborn christian. but they're not coming to the aid of any other (death-row inmates). that, to me, was very absurdist and they're strange bedfellows for the anti- death-penalty movement.
"i thought it was interesting because you can't win. if she lives, she's gonna be the new poster child for a movement and her life is not gonna be her own anyway. here she is, sitting in a prison cell, and they're making all these decisions about someone's life who doesn't really have a voice in it herself."
ray wrote the song the day of tucker's execution. by coincidence, she found herself in las vegas, pulling the levers on slot machines as the executioners were pulling the lever on tucker's life.
she's afraid people will see it as a knee-jerk reaction to the execution rather than a look at the complex moral issues surrounding it.
"some people don't get it and some people don't understand that i'm trying to point those (contradictions) out," ray says.
2018-04-18: indigo girls' emily saliers talks empathy, creativity and new projects, pride source:
are you ever surprised that a song you may have written a long time ago becomes topical again with age?
i know what you mean. i feel like a lot of times, the subject that we write about are things like systemic oppression, systemic racism, a long human history of conflict and war or refugees. these are really, really deep problems that the human race faces, and so even if the song was written 10, even 20 years ago, it's going to still be relevant today because we're still working on those issues. we may timestamp a song by listing something specific like, for instance, amy mentions karla faye tucker in "faye tucker" so you could look at the time that karla faye tucker was executed and look at the time there, but you have the same issues showing up in "rise of the black messiah." where black inmates who were what most everybody believes to be wrongly accused of something they didn't do and then put in solitary confinement for decades. just supreme injustice.
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