Ex-Soul Cougher Mike Doughty’s “Fort Hood” is a bouncy singalong with a chorus ripped from The Fifth Dimension and a shoutout to Young Jeezy. The song’s brand new video, directed on a shoestring in Lefferts Gardens, features brightly-attired young Brooklynites bopping around and shedding their clothes. But lest you mistake the tune for a shiny-happy-people singalong, let’s clarify: “Fort Hood” was inspired by soldiers’ post-traumatic stress disorder, as witnessed by Mike, whose dad’s a Vietnam vet. We’ll let the songwriter go into more detail. He sent along this note.
I wouldn’t call this an anti-war song, because I’m not gonna rail about who lied about what. Too late for that. I’m concerned about lost innocence, and damaged young bodies and minds. I think I say it most directly in the bridge: “You should be getting stoned with a prom dress girl…You should blast Young Jeezy with your friends in a parking lot.”
Not to mention my own guilt at being able to live a normal life while that nightmare is going on over there.
The USO invited me to Walter Reed a couple years back; I met a bunch of guys who had lost their limbs. Young guys. But I know that you don’t have to be wounded to be scarred by war.
My Dad was in the Army, and I grew up in the 70s on Army bases; he, and basically all the adult men around, had been in Vietnam. There was a lot of weird, angry behavior that was baffling to me as a kid, but now I recognize as post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s what I wonder about when I see guys in uniform coming back from the war, sitting around an airport; what’s in this guy’s head? What has he witnessed? What kind of terrible images is he burdened with?
It’s oddball in indie-rock-land to steal a chorus and repurpose it; I grew up with house and hiphop music, so sampling seems very natural to me, the only difference is that I’m actually singing it. Actually, I downloaded (OK, stole) an MP3 of the Japanese cast of Hair. The verses were hilarious and strange, of course, but when the chorus came in, it suddenly switched to English: let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in. I was listening to it on the D train over the Manhattan bridge and suddenly I found myself tearing up, extremely moved.
Golden Delicious is out now on ATO Records.