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Forgotten in the Storm

by Public Figures

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In December 2020, Rhizome DC put out a call for participants in an Art Doulas project, asking for volunteers to provide a prompt to an artist or musician to be used as inspiration for a work of art or music. The concept was that artists and musicians serve as ‘doulas’ by giving voice to the feelings of the ‘prompters’, who may not have access to the same artistic tools. The idea was inspired by the Telephone exercise, the Disquiet Junto, and Naviar Haiku. www.rhizomedc.org/doulas

The prompt for this song was:

Forgotten in the storm: values that are forgotten in times of hardship. The things we claim we care about that get swept away when we have more important things to come to top priority, like a war or pandemic.

In addition to the audio, Public Figures wrote the following to supplement the song:

Forgotten in the storm: the myriad of things we use to prop ourselves up in order to navigate this thing we call life, the twenty minute phone call to a family member, the four dollar cappuccino, the nine dollar beer, the amble around the neighborhood, the Netflix binge, but also the daily aches and ailments that tag along with us as we simply try to exist, the quotidian jump-scares that permeate our existence, and the unrelenting problems one encounters throughout it, whether they are financial, spiritual, familial, anything—all seemingly relegated to the land of trifle now, because they exclusively exist in the shadow of an unambiguous T-Rex of a global problem: pandemic. It’s all relative now, unfairly so, perhaps, since one cannot grasp at the universe except through one’s own set of senses (and to some extent, utilizing the trustworthy senses of the coterie of folks in which they surround themselves). And while humankind is graciously equipped with empathy, the average denizen of planet Earth is woefully ill-equipped to handle the plight of over 7 billion strong. Therefore, the things that are forgotten in the storm—these things that we cling to on a daily basis, that are necessary in maintaining our individual essence, and therefore our collective essence—must retain their merit if we are to maintain our humanness.

Truths can be dissimilar but neighborly: we can at once recollect and reorganize the things that were forgotten in the storm (of global pandemic),but do so warily and with a comprehensive understanding of the gravity of this storm.

Forgotten in the storm: the verses suggest a sinewy bravado: an assertive bounce that is at once playful, diligent, and confident. All is well—but what’s this? A stream of chatter amongst the talking heads, all question marks and exclamation points. And now the chorus: the confidence begins to smell of hubris. These things don’t happen here, right? Oh, you bet your life they do... And now the bridge, where we have acquiesced to the fact that we are very much standing barefoot in the middle of a storm, soaked from head to Ked, and our standards and values and everything else are outside the window whipping around alongside the flying cows... But what do I have to hold on to if I am not me? And who are we if we are not us? The bridge gives way, the verses reassert themselves. These are perilous times, yes, but they are our perilous times, and if they can sing Christmas carols in the war-drenched trenches of 1914, it’s okay for me to embrace the fact that, whilst still wrangling with trying to live life in a full blown pandemic, I still prefer Cool Ranch to Nacho Cheese, or the smell of an album sleeve to the austerity of a digital download, or Pert Plus to Prell, or the humorous to the sepulchral.



released February 8, 2021
Forgotten in the storm: song entirely conceived/written/recorded by Public Figures in Jan. 2021 at their own House of Decay studio. Public Figures are Chad McCall & Van Hillard.



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Public Figures Washington, D.C.

DC rockers Public Figures use a masterfully inventive mix of snarling hooks, brawny thwack and bare knuckle vocals to drive home the point that the spirit of rock and roll hasn’t even looked at the menu yet.


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