VideosAroundTown: The Haymarket Squares “Gateway Drug”

I have loved The Haymarket Squares for quite some time, there is something about their tongue in cheek punkgrass madness that appeals to my senses–their old time music aesthetics set to an unwieldy velocity, their fierce politics in line with my own, not to mention that they are pretty sharp dressers–their whole package is picture perfect in my ears. The first time I ever saw them, I was so impressed by their music that it took me about halfway through their set before I heard their lyrics and realized what they were singing about. I think it was the sheer speed of the mandolin that had distracted me, maybe it was the hats or possibly the presence of a stand up bass (which I’m a sucker for). When I began to hear the lyrics though, it took my appreciation to an entirely new level, maybe it was the moment that they all collectively jumped from the stage and played amidst the crowd who was vigorously dancing, clapping and singing along. It was a beautiful moment, I might have a been a bit late to the party, but in that moment I felt like I had arrived just in time.

To my regret, one of the best albums of last year I never got to write about was indeed The Haymarket Squares Righteous Ruckus (an omission I will soon belatedly correct). Sadly, I never wrote about their 2010 classic Dancing In The Streets and one of my favorite songs on that album was “Gateway Drug.” Well, The Haymarket Squares have just released a fantastic video for that very song which is both hilarious and educational at once–not unlike the greater body of their entire catalog. This song of course centers around the evil and madness of cannabis. It takes every stand up bit about weed, every known fact by those who have used it or those who have sought its decriminalization and condensed it into a brilliant three minute song.  The funniest lyrical passages, as found below, are what it leads to, things such as scholarly discussions about the songs of Britney Spears, munchies so intense that you’ll eat Cheetos off the rug, headphones, Floyd and unprotected hugs. In short it’s genius. That being said, here it is in all its glory.

“Gateway Drug”

There is an evil, sprouting up across the land
From northern forests, to the Arizona sand
It looks so harmless, just an unassuming weed
But the side effects are frightening indeed

It leads to laughter, it leads to tears
It leads to scholarly discussions about the songs of Britney Spears
It leads to munchies so intense that you’ll eat Cheetos off the rug
That demon marijuana is a gateway drug

Let’s come together to combat this deadly scourge
Before our children become too weak to fight the urge
We’ll have to give up a few rights to help the youth
Our only hope is that they’ll someday learn the truth

It leads to headphones, it leads to Floyd
It leads to loving the whole world while feeling slightly paranoid
It leads to dangerous activity like unprotected hugs
That demon marijuana is a gateway drug

It’s not without its uses
for civil rights abuses
for scapegoats and excuses
in this war we’re all losers

It leads to pizza, it leads to snacks
It leads to tie-dyed trustafarians and smelly hacky sacks
It leads to hope for chemo patients and no profits left for thugs
That demon marijuana is a gateway drug