G. Love Shows His Patriotism

G. Love & Special Sauce leader Garrett Dutton has recorded a song inspired by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks entitled "On 9.11.01."

G. Love & Special Sauce leader Garrett Dutton has recorded a song inspired by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks entitled "On 9.11.01."

The strummy song, which ends with a Dylanesque harmonica blast, was written on Sept. 11, as the band was traveling by bus from San Diego -- where it had performed at the annual Street Scene festival two days prior -- to Tucson, Ariz., where it was scheduled to play a show that night at the Rialto Theater.

On the way to Tucson, Dutton (aka G. Love) and company learned of the attacks. "I remember someone saying, 'Dude, today's date is 9-1-1.' And that was something to write on."

With an idea in mind, Dutton then composed the tune in the back lounge of the band's tour bus, first coming up with a version (akin to Dylan's "Masters of War") somewhat angrier then the one captured on tape. Those angrier lyrics formed the basis for the finished version's second verse, in which Dutton sings "Planes exploding in the sky on 9.11.01/The day the devils died to kill our loved ones/Hold my little baby tight on 9.11.01/Make me wanna cry and find a way to carry on." (See complete lyrics below)

"I wanted it to be a more mournful song instead of an angrier song," he says. "After the initial anger that I felt and everyone felt, I was just kind of sad."

With bassist Jimmy Prescott having flown to San Francisco the previous day on personal business -- he was to reconvene with the band in Arizona -- Dutton, instead of canceling the band's show that night altogether, played an acoustic set in the lobby of the Rialto for the roughly 100 fans that had shown up.

Dutton debuted "On 9.11.01" that night and continued to play it at each show on the band's just-finished, latest leg of its tour in support of its latest 550/Epic effort, "The Blue Mile." Dutton says he and the Philadelphia-based band weren't sure if they should cut the jaunt short after the attacks. But promoters for the mostly sold-out gigs encouraged them to continue, which he says was probably the right thing to do. "The promoters were like, 'No, definitely come.' And that was great, because people just wanted to get out. And there was an incredible energy."

Dutton and producer Chris DiBeneditto tracked "On 9.11.01" later in the week of the attacks, while in Lafayette, Ark., for a show. The song appears alongside cuts from Jack Johnson (whose "Rodeo Clowns" G. Love & Special Sauce cover on their '99 effort "Philadelphonic"), the String Cheese Incident, Lucky Town, Strangefolk, SONIA dada, Slightly Stoopid, and other younger and developing artists on a CD titled "Bands for America."

The album was produced by Web firm Fresh Tracks and is available through its freshtracksmusic.com site. Proceeds from the $10 album will benefit the United Way and the Sept. 11th Fund.

Dutton says Fresh Tracks originally asked Epic/Sony for the "Electric Mile" track "Unified," but after the label rejected the request, the company quickly accepted "On 9.11.01." Dutton says, "I was just trying to get that song out to anybody that would want to check it out. And when Sony wouldn't let 'em use 'Unified,' it all worked out."

The gravity of the events of Sept. 11 were probably more great than they would have been in years past for Dutton, as he became the father of a baby boy, Aiden Garrett Dutton, less than two months before the attacks. On Sept. 11, while Dutton was on the road, Aiden was with his mother and grandmother in Boston.

"The first couple of times I sang the song, it was really emotional, especially when I sang it live. It was kind of tough to get it out. Every time I sang that part about holding my little baby tight, it would just really get me every time."

"Having a kid, you're not so worried about yourself anymore. You're just worrying about your kid. And there's like a natural instinct of protecting your family; and that comes out pretty strong-especially when people are blowing up things."

Dutton plays the four-minute, 36-second track a little bit differently now, having trimmed a little bit of its ending. He hopes to rerecord it for use on his first solo album, which he wants to cut before he and Special Sauce -- which recently left 550/Epic after five albums -- begin work on a new group album.

"That's something I've been wanting to do ever since I put out my first record as G. Love & Special Sauce. And it's just that I've been always so busy, or Sony didn't want to put out an acoustic record."

Fans can expect Dutton's solo material to carry a lot of acoustic guitar and harmonica, and sound very akin to "On 9.11.01" and the solo songs that have ended each G. Love & Special Sauce album. Dutton says he may also re-record some of those songs (including "Gimme Some Lovin'," from "Philadelphonic") for his solo debut, for which he has yet to secure a label deal.

Of the band's label future, he says, "We're just trying to find a good home, trying to find someone out there who understands what were doing and also has a vision of how it can be marketed to the most people possible. I want to be with an A&R person who has some guidance and can take the band to the next level."

"But I'm not gonna put out another G. Love & Special Sauce record, or another, like, hip-hop-style record, until I put out [a solo album] that I feel is really great and has a real potential to get played for a lot of people."

Here are the lyrics to "On 9.11.01":

Flags flown at half-mast to remember all the lives passed and gone
Before their time had come
From a hi-jackers crash, a terrible blast, a building collapse, and falls to the ground
Who would of known

So long and hard to make
So easy to break
Foundations quake
To rock your world

Planes exploding in the sky
No one knows the reason why
Make me wanna cry
How hard it is to protect yourself from hatred
You can't understand it, a dedication to destruction is their unholy plan
No culprits seen
They move in our midst
Try to shake their hands while they're slicing your wrists

And killers beyond comprehension of our minds
How cowards could burn up
Blood in the skies, blood in our eyes on 9.11.01

Planes exploding in the sky
No one knows the reason why
Hold my little baby tight
Make me wanna cry
And find away to carry on

New York City on lock down
Whole East Coast on lock down
Hold your family close on lock down

Now our country mourns the day
So many bright lights, young lives taken away forever, and ever
And no one can replace

And how can I forget this day

Planes exploding in the sky
No one knows the reason why
Hold my little baby tight
Make me wanna cry

Planes exploding in the sky on 9.11.01
The day the devils died to kill our loved ones
Hold my little baby tight on 9.11.01
Make me wanna cry
And find a way to carry on


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