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The Hands “Praying Hands Make Fists (Or Be Chopped Off)” (Influenza)

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Hands So Sweet

Approach Influenza as a series which serves to help give insight as to where music is born; these are the thoughts, influences and the inspirations directly from the mind of the artists. In this, the second of two parts, bassist Michael Tyler of Seattle’s The Hands reconciles the idea of staring into the nothingness of war in terms of one of the band’s best tracks, “Praying Hands Make Fists.” Importantly Tyler’s conclusions lead him to believing that the song is about “the moment that self-realized action overcomes contemplation;” truly one of the most important moments in anyone’s life.

On “Praying Hands Make Fists (Or Be Chopped Off)”:

Whenever I listen to “Praying Hands Make Fists” I think about class war. Not in the “Zack de la Rocha playing-revolutionary” kinda way, but more in the “this shit can only bend so much before it breaks” kinda way. If history is any indication, it’s only a matter of time before people get tired of being stepped on (see The French Revolution, The American Revolution, The English Revolution, The Bolshevik Revolution, The Velvet Revolution, etc.). And while I certainly wouldn’t advocate people stabbing anyone who drives a BMW in the throat with a fork to redistribute the wealth (it’d be illegal to do so), I do wonder about the point when people collectively decide corporations like Exxon Mobile shouldn’t profit six million dollars a minute for fucking up the environment and enabling people to die in wars for oil. And it becomes hard to reconcile that with a finite amount of wealth and resources in the world, such a disproportionate number of people control such a majority. And equally hard to reconcile that it’s only called a class war when the poor fight back.

“Praying Hands Make Fists” isn’t about class war, nor are The Hands class warriors; at least, not necessarily. What it conjures to me, to bastardize an old slave saying, is burning down Exxon Mobile’s riches with its own gasoline. But to be fair, it’s a song about the imperative to stand up against an oppressive force; it’s about the moment that self-realized action overcomes contemplation; it’s about an ambiguous breaking point, not a specific one. It applies to any war; be it personal or political; conceptual or literal; real or imagined. It’s about staring into the void. The urge to survive. The urge to love. The urge to fuck. The urge to create. The urge to destroy…

Pretty much Total War. – Michael Tyler