Before Michael Franti was sucked into the Jack Johnson-centred black hole of dull, hippy, surfer chic, he was the front man of the mighty Disposable Heroes – an outfit that showed just how funky and intelligent industrial hip-hop could be.
I saw these guys at the second ever Big Day Out and it remains one of the standout live music experiences of my life (thus far). A 6’6″ MC and a pint-sized Asian guy wielding an axle-grinder are hard to forget.
Their debut album captures the live energy plus a little bit more. Its a well-balanced mix of the political and personal. While it was released almost 18 years ago, much of the socio-political content still seems very relevant, as Franti rants against Gulf War I, corporate power, bank bailouts, cynical politicians and media mundanity. The take on the Dead Kennedys‘ California Über Alles is political rallying at its finest.
It’s when he explores the more human issues that this album hits its peak. Socio-Genetic Experiment and the title track are fantastic insights into Franti’s day-to-day life (the latter was perfect live too). The karma-packed Language of Violence should be a compulsory anti-bullying campaign:
I’ll leave you with the lyrics that adorned the back of my much-worn D.Heroes tee:
The bass, the treble don’t make a rebel
Having your life together does
File under: This is a necessity, not a luxury