Many baby boomers will remember air-raid sirens, bomb shelters, and the fear of a nuclear holocaust.
However by the 1980s, artistic expressions of a nuclear apocalypse had become passé.
The style of music in this track is also a throwback to classic rock of the mid 1970s and 1980s. So of what relevance is it today?
The thing is: Just because artistic expressions about the threat of nuclear war have become passé, doesn't mean the problem has gone away. In fact, the threat of nuclear warfare appears to be looming larger and more sinister than ever.
At the time I was assembling this video, President Trump was pulling out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with Russia, Los Alamos was gearing-up for renewed nuclear weapons production, a Russian missile testing facility blew-up causing several radioactivity monitoring stations to go offline, and the Doomsday Clock was closer to midnight that it had been since the peak of the Cold War. Yes folks, this was all happening in August 2019.
No Time To Run was first written in 1985, and performed during 1989 while I was heading 9 DAZE, a Calgary underground alternative rock trio ( not to be confused with any current band by the same name ).
It was inspired in part by the political climate of the Regan Administration, in particular what had become known as the Star Wars program.
Officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative ( SDI ), the project was an ICBM defense system under development by the United States military involving a wide array of advanced weapon concepts, including particle beam weapons, ground and space-based missile systems, sensors, high-performance computer systems, and hundreds of combat centers and satellites covering the globe. A number of these concepts were tested through the late 1980s. Some related research continues to this day.
The idea that there would be no time to run from a nuclear attack first made an impression on me during grade school when we learned about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities in Japan during World War Two. We were told that the intense flash etched shadows onto surfaces, and that many people died instantly. Later I had a dream of being in a park overlooking Calgary's city center watching children playing with their parents on a beautiful summer day, when an ICBM detonates over the downtown core. It is what inspired the artwork for the single.
Somewhat synchronistically, the first performances of the song coincide with the release of the movie Terminator 2 Judgement Day, which contains a disturbing and scientifically researched portrayl of a nuclear detonation over the city of Los Angeles USA. What's more, the scene is set in a children's playground. See the last verse of the lyric sheet below for the relevance there.
Adding further to the synchronicity, fast forward 26 years to when I was setting-up to record the studio version. The Washington Times reported that director James Cameron believed Terminator 2 to be as timely as it ever was, not only for the danger of nuclear destruction, but for artificial intelligence, which adds a whole other dimension to the idea of what "they" are in the song's lyrics. Then in October 2019, Terminator - Dark Fate was released in theatres.
As a result of the nuclear arms race, there are so many nuclear weapons that in the event of a nuclear war between superpowers, both sides would be obliterated. This became known as Mutually Assured Destruction ( MAD ), hence "Nothing fight for. Only to Die for."
With all this seriousness, Why then did I decide to open and close the video with a scene of a young couple on a beach talking?
The intent was to provide a shocking contrast that takes the viewer back in time using actual archival footage, so that by the end of the video, when it wraps around to the present, it is like saying that it's not too late.
Young people are the next generation of anti-nuclear activists, and the very fate of modern civilization may now lie in their hands. By the end of the video, we can imagine that what they may be talking about is something more important than we imagined at the start.
This track along with the video can be used royalty free by any anti-nuclear lobby group. Please also feel free to comment on the YouTube page.
Perhaps other doomsday scenarios might also fit the lyrics e.g. an alien invasion, or an asteroid strike. Whatever the case, the doomsday story is a time tested form of cultural expression that seems to evolve along with civilization, and sooner or later every civilization seems to come and go. What will be the fate of the ones on this pale blue dot?