It is the Year of our Lord, 2020. I am on a stage somewhere in this Commonwealth of ragged glory known as Kentucky. Behind me is a band of rockin’ miscreants. And we are walking with the King.
In front of us are hundreds of pissed off people. Not pissed off at us but at something else. A larger force. A government, a society, a religion, a system, a code. These people are not only pissed, they are exhausted. And they have had it.
But for one moment, they are up for it. They are ready to roll. They are ready to rumble and fight. It’s an electric moment. And it’s all because of. . .
. . . an Aerosmith song with one word changed: “Sweet Abortion”.
It started as a joke. Me being an idiot. It was funny to me. Then it stopped being funny and I started considering how far I could take it. Then I had a fantasy I could take it to the people and they would respond to it. Maybe they didn’t like Aerosmith and in fact hated them but this minor alteration hit them just right.
“SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET ABBOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRTIIIOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! SWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET ABBOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRTIIIOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNN!”
By changing one word in the chorus, I turned Aerosmith’s classic song into something more than a joke. And now tonight onstage with this band behind me, I feel like a Great Man. A man who has united his people.
“Sweet Emotion” is now “Sweet Abortion” and it is an anthem. Because women’s reproductive rights are not just to be defended. They are to be fought for, to go on offense over. There are people who are already taking the fight to the anti-abortion crowd on the legal and political front. Naturally, most of them are women. I’m just a spoke on the wheel. Actually, I’m just a punk letting off steam.
In this dream, I am not Steven Tyler. I’m not dressed in white silk robes. I am myself. I am always myself. I could fit in with the crowd if I were out there instead of on the stage. I could bless the beasts and children if I wanted to. But instead I am gripping that microphone and I’m singing “I can’t say baby where I’ll be in ten years.” Then I start screaming “I MIGHT BE DEAD IN TEN YEARS! WE COULD ALL BE DEAD IN TEN YEARS!” Then I grit my teeth to keep from screaming more before the next part.
And we’re all singing those two words together. “Sweet abortion”. Nobody put those words together before. There’s one abortion clinic in Kentucky. One. Imagine being on the other side of the state and having to travel to Louisville to have that done. I think about Bowling Green, home to Western Kentucky University. How many girls get/got pregnant in that town, yet have to go to Louisville or Nashville to get an abortion done? Why isn’t there a clinic in Bowling Green?
The band plays on. The tempo picks up. I stop singing and just start ranting. Some of things I’ve just told you I say over the microphone. People strain to listen but can they actually hear me? I’m not saying anything they don’t already realize but I don’t know I’m getting through. That bassline gets through: it is immortal. It’s one of Aerosmith’s few good songs.
I am well aware of the many people who are anti-abortion. They wouldn’t like what I’m putting down at all. Maybe they would object to the use of the Aerosmith song. Oh ho ho ho ho ho. If that’s you, I would strongly recommend Googling “Steven Tyler abortion” and then consider minding your own business when it comes to other people’s bodies.
Slow down, darlin’, slow down. I am having a manic episode. I have a grand idea and no way to get there. I suppose I could take a karaoke version of “Sweet Emotion” and just cut my vocals over it. Then I could go back to performing and play that at shows in front of unsuspecting onlookers. No telling how they would respond. It’s a crapshoot. I remember the last Kentucky Prophet shows were performed for handfuls of people. I could fit the audience in a freight elevator. Once again, I have a grandiose vision and no clear idea of how to get there.
Am I having a manic episode? Probably. Is it bad? No, not really. It’s a fantasy. But I’ll leave you with this one last vision. At that performance? rally? protest? benefit? where me and the band are cranking out a seemingly endless version of “Sweet Abortion”, somebody unfurls a giant banner that shows the Aerosmith logo except there’s one major change because where the band’s name is supposed to be instead sits. . . you guessed it “ABORTION”.
Somebody put that on billboards. Where’s that gofundme?