Faithless Mass Destruction in School Yard
Faithless released Mass Destruction as a single in June 2004, debuting at number 7 in the UK. The album, No Roots, was released in the same month and debuted at number 1. The song hit a nerve with the British public who were highly conscious of the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion. What was even more chilling was the connection made in the Faithless video, between terrorism, genocide and classroom bullying in the UK. The clip begins with Maxi sitting on a chair facing the camera, with Sister Bliss doubling on drums and bass guitar, kicking the bass drum with her foot instead of pedal. Behind them is a switch board, indicating they’re in a basement room.
In verse one, Maxi morphs in and out of his childhood appearance as he sings the lines about his dad leaving for war. With the second chorus we are introduced to a school yard scene shot in black and white. Children play. Children bully. Victimisation escalates from ‘piggy in the middle’ to pushing, shoving and punching. Two men watch on, sipping their coffee.
Maxi faces a rippling brick wall for the second verse. As he warns about the danger of bad karma children line up in the school yard. Children are forced to stand on chairs in front of their classmates, heads hanging – a scene reminiscent of gallow executions in civil wars. The victims are stringed together and paraded through the yard, hands tied behind their backs. They are blindfolded and kicked. A group of children gang up on another kneeling child. The final chorus ties together stills from the verse with performance by Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss.
The video was directed by Dom & Nic (Dominic Hawley and Nick Goffey) with film production companies, Oil Factory Films and Factory Films, London, with director of photography Simon Chaudoir, producer John Madsen, first assistant director Tom Russell from VTR. Offline editor was Joe Guest at Final Cut. Online editing was done at Smoke & Mirrors.
Faithless was formed in 1995 by Maxi Jazz, a Soka Gakkai Buddhist rapper, Sister Bliss (Ayalah Bentovim) a classically trained pianist, composer and DJ mixer, and Rollo (Roland Armstrong), a behind-the-scenes producer and mixer.
See the new site for Maxi Jazz: www.maxijazz.co.uk
Also check out the ‘Why Go’ Video, on the single CD from the album ‘Forever Faithless’. An infectious dance groove featuring pulsing bass and drums alongside elements of flamenco guitar, vocals from Maxi Jazz and guest vocalist UK hip-hop star Estelle.
Lyrics for ‘Mass Destruction’
Whether long range weapon or suicide bomber
Wicked mind is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether you’re Soaraway Sun or BBC 1
Misinformation is a weapon of mass destruct
You coulda Caucasian or a poor Asian
Racism is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether inflation or globalization
Fear is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether Halliburton, Enron or anyone
Greed is a weapon of mass destruction
We need to find courage, overcome
Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction (x3)
My dad came into my room holding his hat
I knew he was leaving,
He sat on my bed told me some facts.
Son, I have the duty, calling on me
You and your sister be brave my little soldier
And don’t forget all I told ya
Your the mister of the house now remember this
And when you wake up in the morning give ya momma a kiss
Then I had to say goodbye
In the morning woke momma with a kiss on each eyelid,
Even though I’m only a kid
Certain things can’t be hid
Momma grabbed me
Held me like I was made of gold
But left her inner stories untold
I said, momma it will be alright
When daddy comes home, tonight
My story stops here, lets be clear.
This scenario is happening everywhere.
And you ain’t going to nirvana or far-vana,
you’re coming right back here to live out your karma.
With even more drama than previously, seriously.
Just how many centuries have we been waiting for someone else to make us free?
And we refuse to see that people overseas suffer just like we:
Bad leadership and ego’s unfettered and free
Who feed on the people they’re supposed to lead
I don’t need good people to pray and wait
For the lord to make it all straight.
There’s only now, do it right.
‘Cos I don’t want your daddy, leaving home tonight