Mike Watt, Cherie Currie, More Team for COVID-19 Benefit Song - Rolling Stone
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Mike Watt, Cherie Currie, Eddie Spaghetti Team for COVID-19 Relief Song ‘Flatten the Curve’

Track organized by Bruce Duff, written by Frank Meyer will benefit Jubilee Consortium, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

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Mike Watt, Josie Cotton and Eddie Spaghetti are among the punk luminaries who appear a new COVID-19 benefit song, "Flatten the Curve."

Courtesy of the Artists

The Minutemen’s Mike Watt, the RunawaysCherie Currie, Eddie Spaghetti, Josie Cotton and more punk luminaries have teamed for a new COVID-19 benefit song, “Flatten the Curve.” Proceeds from the track will benefit the Jubilee Consortium and the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

“Flatten the Curve” was organized and produced by manager and musician Bruce Duff, while his Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs bandmate Frank Meyer wrote the tune. In all, 31 musicians contributed to the four-minute ripper, which grapples with the strangeness of social-distancing while still hammering home its necessity: “Hey, you gotta spread the word,” goes the chorus, “From the inside flatten the curve/Though you might be a little unnerved/Please walk the line, flatten the curve.”

Duff tells Rolling Stone that “Flatten the Curve” came about after the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to touring, as well as band rehearsals and studio sessions due to shelter-in-place orders. Duff asked Meyer to pen the tune, and within 48 hours Meyer had turned around a fully-produced demo (“[Frank] writes a song a day whether it’s needed or not,” Duff quipped).

“When Bruce told me the idea and asked me to work up a song idea, I knew right away it needed to be up-tempo and tense,” Meyer says of the track. “People are tense right now.  This is not a feel-good ‘We Are the World’ type of thing, although we did like the idea of an all-star cast of players. I wanted the lyrics to address staying home in a positive way, but acknowledge how stressful that is as well.”

After Duff got the demo, he asked Steve Kravac to replace the drum machine with live drums, and then started sending the song out to an array of artists, asking them to overdub their parts from the safety of their homes. “The response was great!” Duff says. “The result has the energy and urgency the song demanded.”

Watt, who’s one of three bassists on the song, says, “As soon as I got the email request from Bruce Duff, I let him know I was in and came up with bass for the tune — he said I was the first track in! Glad to be aboard and hopefully we’re part of something to help out somehow with this COVID-19 hell that’s on us.”

Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers, a featured vocalist, adds: “I’m in a band that makes its living on the road, and that has been taken away from me for who knows how long, so this project is important to me on many levels. I have no idea when people are going to be willing to cram themselves into too small a space with too many in it, all sweating and mingling with one another again and that sucks! But we all need to be smart, stay home and try to ‘Flatten the Curve!'”

“These are dark times,” says Cotton, who also sings on “Flatten the Curve.” “Historians will write books about it and scientists will be grappling with this for a long, long time but right now we just have to find a way to live through it and hopefully learn something in the process. This song won’t change anyone’s worldview per se but it feels great to be putting something positive out there for people to have a little fun with. I was thrilled to be included on a project with so many music legends and for such a good cause.”

The complete credits for “Flatten the Curve” are available below.

Produced and mixed by Bruce Duff
Written by Frank Meyer
Pre-production by Frank
Engineered by all 31 participants in self-isolation home studios
Mastered by Paul Roessler
Digital cover art Cherish Alexander

Performed by FTC
Label – FugThaCorona

Drums: Steve Kravac

Featured Vocalists (in order of appearance):
Chris Freeman (Gay C/DC/ Pansy Division)
Manfred Jones (Woggles/Magnificent)
Lisa Kekaula (The BellReys)
Adam Bones (The Two Tens)
Eddie Spaghetti (Supersuckers)
Ben Weasel (Screeching Weasel)
Wendy Stonehenge (Glitter Wizard)
Cherie Currie (Runaways)
Tony Reflex (Adolescents)
Suzi Moon (LA Machina/Turbulent Hearts)
Frank Meyer (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs/ Blind House)
Josie Cotton

Backing Vocals:
Adam Bones
Cherish Alexander (Josie Cotton Band)
Chris Freeman
Kent Holmes (Brutalists/Magnificent)
Frank Meyer
Savanah Pope
Ted Jedlicki (Thor)

Bass:
Mike Watt (Secondmen/Stooges)
Norwood Fisher (Fishbone/Trulio Disgracias)
Steve McDonald (Redd Kross/the Melvins)

Guitar:
Adam Bones
Billy Rowe: (JetBoy)
Brian Coakley (Blind House/Cadillac Tramps)
Brian Forsythe (Kix/Rhino Bucket)
Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman)
Frank Meyer
Michelle Balderama (LA Machina/Brainspoon)
Ray Violet (Jesters of Destiny)
Rich Jones (Michael Monroe, Black Halos)

Keys:
Aaron Minton (Prima Donna) – Theremin
Chris Freeman – Melodica
Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle/Pharaoh Overlord) – synth
Melanie Vammen (the Coolies/Muffs) – combo organ
Paul Roessler (Screamers/Twisted Roots) – piano, organ

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