January 2006

John Bruce: Lyricist/Musician/Philosopher


John Bruce, 19-year-old musician/songwriter, will be Modesto concert opener for the five-time Grammy nominated folk artist, John McCutcheon, January 25 (see article p.1). An avid member of The West Coast Song Writers Association, he enjoys creating lyrics that “have a deeper meaning and make people think.”

He has played gigs at San Francisco’s Purple Onion and many Modesto area venues. With influences like Robbie Robertson and The Band, Elliott Smith, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan, Bruce’s work has strayed away from mainstream music. His solo career emerged in full force with the November 2005 release of his first album, “Staying The Night In Clearwater,” which will be available at the McCutcheon concert. The album, which showcases his early punk rock influences and raw Americana style, features thirteen full-length tracks that tell the story of an adventurer and his journey through an unknown place.

He began writing and creating music as a Fremont Open Plan Elementary School student with his friend, Anthony Forakis. Prior to Forakis’ untimely passing in the summer of 2004, the two created several songs together and formed the popular Central Valley four-piece punk band, Hetch Hetchy, which earned a performance spot in X!Fest 2003.

A Modesto Junior College philosophy major, Bruce plans to transfer to the University of California at Berkeley or Santa Cruz in the fall of 2006. As a singer/songwriter, he hopes one day to play at the Strawberry Music Festival and to continue sharing his music throughout California and beyond.

The Cosmic Song By John Bruce

Well, the future drives us on while we explore the cosmic song
Until we reach the fence which represents all that has gone
For a lifetime hurries, and it knows no worries
For on the unknown ground’s where we belong

Well, it becomes a simple thing, you’ll find it’s a song that we all sing
But if you try and write it down, you wont remember anything
For we have found that to write it down
Is to learn it all, and start over again

Yes, battle is a love deeply engrained from up above
Posing as the sanctuary we’re all dreaming of
This mirage is a poison sweetly seasoned with devotion
Hoping to feed the empty souls a dream

So when you have no where to go, when society moves slow
Hop on a boat and travel where the greedy winds a blow
For young minds are a’waiting to find something worth invading
While the hollow hearts up top, they swell and grow

So we follow the beaten path, and we grasp the fence’s latch
The doorway opens wide, and we find we’ve entered into our past
For eyes keep flashing, while our hearts keep asking
To know what is on the other side

And these spectacles we wear superimpose a hollow stare
And there are only few of you who realize it’s even there
For generals are victorious while young minds gladly die for us
And in the end, who really cares?

So what shall we do? To whom do we sing?
We cannot leave our heads bent back, singing into a dream
For thousands follow when the horns sound the call and
Only then will we be on our way

So comrades, buckle down while the outsiders stand strong
We are all one people, oh, we’ve known it all along
But the world keeps turning and the anger is burning
We fight for our opinions but we’re all wrong

The Me-Me-Media By John Bruce

Oh, I don't feel like myself when I'm being run by the me-me-media
The cameras lie and the microphones, they speak for the me-me-media
Making us feel insecure, just so they can sell their dying words

Abortion rights and picket lines, they're all the same to the me-me-media
And whatever the polls produce is gonna decide the views of the me-me-media
We say that we have no king, but we do - he just can't be seen

Now information is whatever's entertaining the people, the me-me-media
Feelings are our enemy when deciding truth, but not to the me-me-media
To reality we're blind, but Terri's eyes - oh, they still shine!

We're on a death march 'til our boots fill up with blood, the me-me-media
We say life is sacred, yet we go to war - what for?! The me-me-media!
These greedy politics are writing manuscripts for the me-me-media

What we wear and what we do
It's being watched by you-know-who
And what we think as being true
Turns out belonging to
The me-me-media!

What They Say By John Bruce

We're living in the land of supply and demand
And we're shaking all the hands that we possibly can
And everyone's singing, no one knows what they're saying
And nothing is a dangerous thing to say today
They're spitting out these lines, and we don't know what lies behind
What they say

Americans carrying baggage around
And they're fearing the wrath of the lost and found
Looking around for something to hold
But they're sitting in a corner getting lonely and old
We're living in these times, we live in fear, we live our lives by
What they say

Senators spitting out twisted words
And the government's poking at everyone's last nerve
You know, people talk in pattern and they act in rhythm
And people tend to take anything you give 'em
They're signing on the dotted line, while we don't understand
What they say

Bobby was a rich boy, Billy landed in the war
Trying to miss the land mines, Billy found his playtime
And Billy just got home from Iraq,
You know, his body's here, but his mind's never coming back
And now Bobby works in politics sending soldiers over seas

We're writing songs and making laws
And we don't understand what we're trying to get across
And we all seek truth, but we're living in the land
Of bureaucratic competition and the corporate money-hungry man

Where is our reality? It shapes our very lives!
Our attention spans are short, and we don't understand
The things that they say