John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask have released the video for their new song “Nation of One,” the Hedwig and the Angry Inch creators’ first song together in two decades.
Starring Gnosis and Matthew ZanFagna — who both co-directed the clip — the pair are done living in their space world, where governments give them the blues and conspiracy theories reign. And they’re also done with each other. The track appears on benefit album, New American Dream Part 2, which is available via BandCamp and will be on streaming services on October 1st. It follows last September’s benefit LP, New American Dream.
The astronaut couple battle boredom and malaise as they’re isolating together in the amusing visual, which epitomizes many couple’s pandemic woes. As they go through mundane tasks in life, they receive a transmission from Mitchell that prompts them to realize it’s time to “secede from this union” and “be a Nation of One” as Mitchell sings on the catchy track. It features backing band Tits of Clay, the Broadway Hedwig band.
“I’ve had it with presidents and I’m done with the news/I’m finished with governments, you know they give me the blues,” Mitchell sings. “I’m wary of conspiracy theories when the simplest answer is truth/And when identity becomes escapism, that’s a subscription that self-renews. Also, I’ve also had it with you.”
Fortunately for the feuding pair, there are handy escape pods available for them to make a clean break.
Mitchell said it’s the first song the Hedwig and the Angry Inch creators have cowritten in nearly 20 years. “For ‘Nation of One,’ I told Stephen I wanted something REMish with a touch of Violent Femmes. And for the lyrics I keyed into our post-election blues and compared our Red/Blue state rivalry to a bad relationship,” Mitchell told Rolling Stone.
Mitchell, who is starring as the titular character in Joe Exotic, a Peacock series adaptation co-starring Kate McKinnon that arrives in February, said the latest installment of the ongoing benefit album will include a song from the series. “Also on Part 2 will be ‘Call Me Joe,’ a song I wrote with Brett Every for Joe Exotic to sing with his late husband, Travis Maldonado, and ‘You Can Go Now,’ written with Ted Nash and featuring Wynton Marsalis for my Mom Joan Cameron Mitchell who passed last year with Alzheimers.”
In addition to Trask, Every, Marsalis and Nash, Part 2 of New American Dream features collaborations with Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Catherine Russell, Billy Hough, Amber Martin and Nat Wolff. All the participants donated their time. The album will benefit Burritos Not Bombs, TGI Justice Project, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund.
In December, Mitchell and Trask continue their Origin of Love tour where they perform Hedwig-themed concerts beginning on December 4th at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City and at New York’s Town Hall December 29th through the 31st. They also have two free shows January 21st and 22nd in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California.