Online viewers as far away as Japan have contributed to the more than 10,000 hits that are turning the video from local rocker Lordd Virgil’s new song Flint, Michigan into a viral You Tube hit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nAjAqaCnWw).
The song is quickly resonating with locals as an anthem that speaks to the plight of Flint that combines a nostalgic sadness for what Flint has been, a quiet resignation to the state of Flint today and a fatalistic acceptance that, no matter what, Virgil too will someday die in his hometown as his friends and family have done before him.
“The support from the fans has been almost overwhelming and it’s amazing to hear the responses when people leave comments about the video,” said frontman Lordd Virgil. “For some people, it makes them sad, for others it makes them want to do something about the plight of Flint and, for others, it just makes them want to have a coney dog.”
The inspiration for the song came to Lordd Virgil when he attended the funeral for his musical mentor and local legend Gary Buckner in 2008. As Virgil followed in the funeral procession, he watched as the hearse drove down a street littered with dozens of huge potholes and heaving pieces of broken pavement.
“Cracked up pavement, cracked up sidewalk,” the song would later begin.
Then, as Virgil continued to drive to the cemetery, he realized how sad it was that the dignity of a funeral procession, with a car that could have built in Flint no less, should be overshadowed by the decaying neighborhood in a haunted city that that felt like it too was dying.
“As I was walking back from the mausoleum after the ceremony, I realized that I knew more people under the ground than above the ground,” Virgil explained as he nostalgically recalled friends and family who sleep eternally under the sacred ground. “I walked by my aunts and uncles, friends from school and other musicians.”
The thought remained with Virgil as he recalled his deep-seeded roots in Flint. Seven generations of his family are buried here. His grandfather and two of his uncles were among the original sit-downers at Fisher Body #1 during the famous strike in 1936-1937. His parents, who both worked at the plant, would later meet there and were married in 1968. Virgil was born in Flint.
Then Virgil thought about the places he knew as a child and how he watched them decay over the years …places like The Capitol Theatre where once he watched movies during its heyday, the circus at the IMA Auditorium and the neighborhoods where he grew up.
And yet, no matter what, Virgil loves Flint. Home is home.
The result was Flint, Michigan, a sort of artistic testament to the city that he loves. Virgil created a video for the song based on a collage of stark images. The video initially debuted with a whimper and all of the excitement of paint drying (And not even good paint), but as best as Virgil can determine, people started to share the link and repost the video. The plays multiplied and, before he knew it, the video was generating several hundred plays per day on some days. Although Virgil can’t determine where all of the plays originated, he verified from his You Tube statistics that plays were coming from as far away as Japan.
“When I play the song live, I explain that I’m very upset with people calling Flint the epicenter of the recession and the worst place in America to live,” Virgil explains. “Our city is hallowed ground and unless people are from Flint, people have no business kicking our town down unless they’re going to do something to fix it.”
This is not the first time that a Lordd Virgil video has gone viral. After his previous anti-drug video, Dead Rock Stars, appeared on the front page of You Tube.com as a featured video, the video suddenly received thousands of hits and currently has nearly 28,000 plays.
But Lordd Virgil is more than an internet sensation and the band is no stranger to the music industry. Multi-platinum, award-winning producer John Hughes II (George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, David Sanborn) produced the band’s second album Anno Domini.
Several Lord Virgil songs have became underground hits and the videos for Tip of My Tongue and Inside (Both from Anno Domini) garnered NME Shockwave Video Awards. Tip of My Tongue also generated airplay throughout Europe and became a top-ten hit in Milan, Italy.
The band is currently working on new material for their next album and will play Flint, Michigan
and the rest of their hits on Sunday, October 31, at MoDoggies located at 715 Torrey Rd. in Fenton. Doors open at 8 pm. For more information, visit www.LorddVirgil.com