Online viewers from 46 countries have contributed 25,000 plays that are turning Lordd Virgil’s video for his new song “Flint, Michigan” into a viral You Tube hit.
The song, which has quickly resonated with Flint locals as a anthem that speaks to the plight of Flint, 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, frontman Lordd Virgil will someday die with pride in his hometown as seven generations of his family have done before him.
“The support from the fans has been overwhelming and it’s amazing to hear the responses when people leave comments about the video,” said Lordd Virgil. “For some people, it makes them sad, for others it makes them want to do something about the plight of Flintand, 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 him as he recalled his deep-seeded roots 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, he 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 but 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.
“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 Americato live,” Virgil explains. “That city is hallowed ground and unless people are from Flint, they have no business kicking the town down unless they’re going to do something to fix it. And I know that people in Detroit understand, because it’s the same story in Detroit too.”
Lordd Virgil was once American filmmaker/author Michael Moore’s paperboy years ago when the Oscar-winning director was shooting Roger and Me.
Lordd Virgil was invited by Moore to the premiere of the now-iconic documentary about the plight of Flint and is returning the favor having invited his fellow Flint hero to his show in Detroit at the Ritz on Sunday, December 12.
Currently, Moore has not responded to the invitation.
“Michael was kind enough to invite me to his premiere of Roger and Me back in the day and now we’re returning the invitation. We’re saving a seat for him, just in case.” explained Lordd Virgil.
Lordd Virgil and his band will play the song, and their other hits, on Sunday, December 12 when they open for Sore Eyes at an all-ages show at The Ritz located at 24300 Hoover in Warren.
Tickets are $8-$10 and, for more information, visit www.LorddVirgil.com.
The band is currently working on new material for their next album.
Lordd Virgil is Mark Stevens (lead guitar), Rob Johannis (bass), Oscar Gomez (drums) and Lordd Virgil (lead vocals and rhythm guitar).