Watch heavy rock duo Friendship Commanders’ video for police brutality protest song “Stonechild”
Nashville heavy rock duo Friendship Commanders recently released two new songs, both with very powerful messages, "Stonechild" and "Your Reign Is Over." The band describe both songs like this:
“STONECHILD” was written about the circumstances of Stonechild Chiefstick’s death on July 3, 2019. Stonechild was a Chippewa Cree man who was part of the Suquamish Tribal community in Poulsbo, Washington. Stonechild was 39 years old when he was killed, a father of five. He was killed by a white police officer in front of many community members who were gathered to observe the 3rd of July fireworks display. Systemic racism continues to inform the unfolding story and we want to elevate what we can here. We want you to know his name, his life. Cassy Fowler, who speaks in Lushootseed on the track, does so on behalf of Stonechild’s family. The txʷəlšucid (Lushootseed) lyrics were written by txʷəlšucid Cassy Fowler (Suquamish), Zalmai Zahir ʔəswəli (Puyallup), and Chris Duenas (Puyallup). The song was written to acknowledge a life, question a death, and stand in solidarity with a community that has lost someone. We, alongside the people who knew him, demand justice for Stonechild.
“YOUR REIGN IS OVER” was written in a fit of frustration. During a year that has held a pandemic, a revolution for racial justice, economic uncertainty for so many, devastating environmental emergencies, and what is likely the most important presidential election of many of our lifetimes, the song was written to shout-down people who use immense privilege and platform to cause further harm.
The two-song single was produced and recorded by the duo themselves, mixed by Converge's Kurt Ballou, and mastered by From Ashes Rise's Brad Boatright. The messages in the songs are matched by an appealing fusion of sounds; Buick Audra's riffs carry the weight of doom and sludge metal, but her crystal-clear, melodic singing is as approachable as anything on '90s alt-rock radio.
We're now premiering the video for "Stonechild," which was partially shot on stage at Nashville's Exit/In, one of the many venues that's in danger of closing due to the pandemic. Drummer/bassist Jerry Roe says:
Buick wrote such a great song in that, if you didn't know the specifics of the story or Stonechild's murder, you would still get the correct set of feelings, melancholy, and grandness that her words and thoughts about Stonechild intended to create. We wanted the "narrative" part of the video to get the same feelings across too. I feel like there's a lot of confusion and displacement in his death, and his life was stolen from him by the colonizers much in the same way the land was stolen from his ancestors; with ego, malice, bigotry and a mindset of supremacy. I don't subscribe to the belief that you're in a better place when you die, or that there even is an afterlife, so I wanted to depict a sort of inbetween. An otherworldly place where he acknowledges that his mortality has been taken from him and he can peacefully let go.
As for the performance shots, Exit In was a logical place for us because we love that venue and it's served as a touchpoint for our band at a vital turning point a few years back. The family that owns and runs it are on the correct side of things in local and state politics and are allies in general against the monopolization of live music and the destruction of local communities by developers, a threat that we all face with increased intensity in the current climate.
Watch the new video and stream both songs below.