DEAD OR ALIVE Songcraft Mako 17

DEAD OR ALIVE
Digital Single Release Sept. 9, 2019, Persuasion Records
2017 Rosary Beats EP, Persuasion Records
2008 On My Mind, Delirium Records

GONE FISHING

It’s impossible to overstate the impact of the 9/11 attack on the psyche of America and the future of our world.  Why did these people dedicate their lives to plot and plan for so many years putting their lands, people and religion at peril?  Surely the most powerful nation in the world would seek revenge for an attack on its homeland.

We all remember where we were when we heard of the planes flying into the World Trade Center.  I was on my 17ft Mako off the San Diego coast in Mexican waters fishing for Tuna with my good friend Craig Yoneda.  Having launched before light from Shelter Island, we were in choppy water with the Coronado Islands in sight having travelled over 20 miles to the fishing grounds with a lively full scoop of mixed anchovy and sardine.

 

Our first stop, a small kelp paddy, and Craig lands a Yellowtail to get the skunk off the boat early.  I felt a sense of relief as I had recently outfitted the skiff with an auxiliary fuel tank in order to travel 30-40 miles offshore.  We were carrying extra fuel in red 5 gallon jugs for the trip home.  The ride out was rough and cold and the 90 hp Johnson 2-stroke runs loud.

 

 

We hadn’t turned on the VHF radio since leaving the harbor and it’s just after 7am.  I click on the radio.

Not another boat in sight, we hear the wild story…”a plane has flown into a building in New York City.”  Shortly after, we hear…”another plane has flown into the tower next store”….and later “the tower has collapsed and the building is gone.”  Craig and I discuss what we’ve heard and decide the story is too outlandish to be untrue.  My prior sense of relief turns to anxiety as we attempt to press on looking for signs of gamefish.  As we motor towards the southernmost Coronado Island, we spot a kelp and I land a Yellowtail.  What would normally be a celebration of a successful hunt turns to dread when a fellow boater keys the Live TV News report over the VHF as we clean up and get organized to travel.

 

The wind has died down and the sun is shining as we head for the calm serenity of the island. Upon arrival we hear an announcement on Channel 16 that the US border is now closed.  Dammit, we’re in Mexico….

 

 

 

Now let’s talk about the DEAD OR ALIVE Songcraft on the 20th Anniversary

Verse 1
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON THE CRIME AND THE SIN
DID IT HAVE TO GO DOWN THAT WAY?
TWENTY YEARS YOU’LL BE COUNTING THE DEAD
IS IT WORTH THE PRICE YOU PAID?

WELL HISTORY IS CRUEL TO THE POOR AND THE WEAK
AND THE ONES THAT GET IN THE WAY
NOW YOU’VE GOT THAT PRICE ON YOUR HEAD
THEY’RE GONNA HUNT YOU FOREVER HE SAID

On September 17, 2001 US President George W. Bush held a press conference calling for justice.  Specifically, recalling an Old West poster wanting Osama Bin Laden captured… DEAD or ALIVE
The President’s statement and sentiment was the inspiration for the song.

Chorus/Refrain
THEY’RE GONNA BRING YOU BACK
DEAD OR ALIVE, HUNT YOU ‘TIL THE END OF TIME
A CRIME AND A SIN THEY’LL GET YOU IN THE END
BRING YOU BACK DEAD OR ALIVE

Verse 2
IS IT WORTH THE POINT YOU MADE
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE WAR AND THE DEAD?
FILL YOUR YOUNG MEN WITH HATE AND RAGE
PIED PIPER OF KILLING AND DEATH

THIS WORLD IT’S CRUEL TO THE POOR AND THE WEAK
AND THE ONES THAT GET IN THE WAY
NOW YOU’VE GOT THAT PRICE ON YOUR HEAD
AND YOU STILL GOT THE DEVIL TO PAY

Less than a year after the attacks, the Bush administration starts to make a case for conflict with Iraq.  On Sept. 5, 2002 President George W. Bush claimed in a Louisville, Kentucky speech that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is holding and continues to develop “Weapons of Mass Destruction” including nuclear warheads.  On Oct. 7, 2002 speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio, President Bush requests approval from Congress for the use of Military Force against Iraq….. “Because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people.”

Verse 3
WELL HISTORY TELLS OF THE PAIN THAT COMES
WHEN YOU MIX UP THE BIBLE AND THE GUN
THE PROMISES THEY MADE DON’T MATTER NO MORE
WHEN YOU’RE LIFELESS COLD AND DEAD

HISTORY IS CRUEL TO THE POOR AND THE WEAK
AND THE ONES THAT GET IN THE WAY
NOW YOU’VE GOT THAT PRICE ON YOUR HEAD
AND YOU STILL GOT THE DEVIL TO PAY

….now back to South Coronado Island, Mexico on the Mako 17.  My good friend Craig and I try to relax in the protected bay as we contemplate our next move, Tijuana in site.  In the distance to the South, a helicopter from the Mexican Navy is approaching.  We decide to take our chances plotting towards San Diego Harbor as the Mexican Navy helicopter begins circle our skiff.

It’s around 1pm with typical 10 knot west wind as we motor north past the shelter of the South Island.  A couple miles shy of US waters, the helicopter peels off back towards the Island.

A bachelor living alone, I haven’t shaved or cut my hair for many months as I work from home doing music distribution.  Half Asian Indian with a full dark beard, I worry that my appearance may cause some concern with whoever is there to welcome us back to the US.

It’s close to 2pm as we slowly enter the San Diego Harbor and are soon stopped by a larger Coast Guard vessel.  I’m usually not a fan of the authorities, but it’s a welcome site to see fellow Americans at this moment.  The officer asks where we’ve been and what have we been doing.  I answer fishing in Mexican waters.  The officer replies, “well, did you catch anything” and I answer that we caught a couple of Yellowtail early.  Then he wants to know about all the extra gas cans and I explain the boat’s gas tank doesn’t hold enough fuel for the trip we were making.  The officer takes a moment to survey the boat…and tells us we are free to proceed.

We continue down the harbor towards the launch ramp, but we are once again stopped by the Harbor Patrol.  We are asked similar questions and they request to board the boat.  The officer proceeds to open all storage and wants to see the fish we have caught.  Normally, I wouldn’t be happy with all the attention.  But, after a day of listening to terrible news over the boat radio, I didn’t mind.  It was just nice to see the concern and professionalism from fellow Americans.

Buy/Stream DEAD OR ALIVE on Bandcamp
https://chriscruz.bandcamp.com/track/dead-or-alive-single

OC WEEKLY Feature on DEAD OR ALIVE Oct. 3, 2019
https://www.ocweekly.com/chris-cruz-carries-on-ocs-folk-tradition/

Stream DEAD OR ALIVE on Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVttW0Cpvtc

I also remain grateful I was with my good friend and always calming influence Craig Yoneda on such a meaningful day.  Sadly, Craig passed away in March of 2003.