On October 4th 2015, I was honored to be asked to sing the song “Species Closeout” that I wrote many years ago with Kennan Keating. He provided the music for the lyrics that I wrote about what is still a timely subject. I was inspired to write the lyrics for this song from a flyer that I saw hanging up at Smith College when I went with my friend Melissa to tour the school. She was thinking about going back to school and getting her masters in social work. I was thinking of getting a second bachelors degree, this time from The Berklee College of Music. We were keeping each other company while we toured the schools in the Western Massachusetts area.
I don’t even remember what the flyer was advertising, but the title “Species Closeout” stuck in my mind as I thought it would make an excellent song title. The idea that entire species of animals were up for sale at discount prices like an overstock of cars or food processors. It was advertising the fact that entire species are becoming extinct every day, as the result of human activity and over-population.
In honor of our fearless leader “Dubya”
Species Closeout ©Kearney/Keating
Black rhinos, indian elephants, orangutans, and chimpanzees
Your brothers, your sisters are calling out in agony
Rhinos and elephants, black bears and orangutans
Jaguars and leopard skins at a discount price
Species closeout, species closeout, go, get ’em while they last, species closeout
Human expansion and greed, breeding like rabbits, can’t just have two or three
Bear gall bladder, tiger aphrodisiac, as if we really needed help to breed
Panthers and tigers, bats and crocodiles
Monkeys and kangaroos at a discount price
Species closeout, species closeout, go, going, going fast, species closeout
Get ’em while they last, bargain prices, going, going fast, species closeout
Clear-cutting for the U.S., ivory from Africa, bear paws for the Japanese
Silt in rivers, oil in oceans, factory trawlers strip-mining seas
Whales and manatees, wolves and chimpanzees
Pandas and lemurs at a discount price
Species closeout, species closeout, go, get ’em while they last
Species closeout, going, going fast, at a bargain price
You can get ’em, get ’em while they last, we make money fast
Species closeout, get ’em while they last
Species closeout, going, going fast
Species closeout, species closeout!
I was just thrilled to be able to sing this song to help raise funds to help stop the senseless slaughter of elephants and rhinos for ivory to make trinkets and jewelry for humans consumption and greed. I’m just sad that this song is more relevant now than ever. When I wrote this over ten years ago, it was with the hope that humans would learn to value more important things than physical possessions. But I guess, if you are starving and you have the chance to make enough money to live for years after killing just one of these magnificent creatures, you can justify it in your mind. It is the people that don’t need the ivory other than as a decoration or status symbol, that are ultimately to blame. If there is no market for the ivory, the killing will stop. No money to be made = no killing.
The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) takes place every year to mobilize people around the world to march against extinction. The GMFER organizers advocate for the survival of elephants and rhinos by working to end poaching and the wildlife trade. There strategies include public marches and protests, lobbying world leaders to take action to ban ivory and rhino horn trade, and supporting other groups worldwide that are taking action to save these magnificent species from extinction in the wild. The signature annual event is the global march when more than 130 cities around the world march with one voice to demand an end to the trade in ivory, rhino horn and lion bone. For more information, I encourage you to visit their site and get involved.
FYI: My friend Melissa went on to get that Masters Degree, however, I did not go on to attend Berklee. Although I was accepted after sending in my application and audition tape, I didn’t have the funds to attend. I had already used them up getting a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Visual Arts. There was no way I could justify taking out huge loans to get a music degree. In many ways I still regret that decision, but nothing I can do about that now except do the best with the musical knowledge that I have and work on some more songs that I can use to further the cause of saving animals and the environment from extinction and destruction.