Long before the current freewheeling battle for the soul of America’s future, Michael Belkin, singer/songwriter of high energy Seattle based band The Refusers, started writing provocative, blistering songs for the newly aware masses. Their forthcoming album, Wake Up America, which will be released on October 14th, features 15 socially conscious tracks and is Belkin’s declaration of war on mind-numbing pop music.
Blasting through the establishment’s twisted goals with incisive lyrics and a set of spirited diverse modern rock music (with a few colorful jazzy and bluesy stylistic twists), The Refusers (Belkin – vocals, lead, rhythm, slide and pedal steel guitar; bassist Steve Newton; Seattle keyboard legend Joe Doria, who has played with Santana; and contributing drummer Brendan Hill, whoplays with Blues Traveler), create songs of musical defiance.
The first single from Wake Up America, “Who Is The World For?”, sheds light on the stark wealth inequality with the chorus “Who is the world for, the 1% or the working poor?/Who is the world for, the 1% or the 99 below?” On the classic rock-influenced/bluesy tempo title track, “Wake Up America”, Belkin probes “illusion vs. truth, where money buys the government, media twists the news, lawyers destroy justice, doctors destroy health, and lobbyists steal democracy.” Serving as the band’s mission statement, the song “Born to Rock” unleashes a clarion call to “speak truth to power.” On the song “Bubble People”, The Refusers jab Wall Street fat cats and the Federal Reserve, then on “2 Big 2 Fail”, they discuss the fact that banks and corporations get bailed out while the 99% struggle to survive.
Anticipating the awakening of public opinion, before the populist wave surfaced with Bernie Sanders and Donald Drumpf, Belkin began writing the songs for Wake Up America over the past 18 months. The album was recorded over the past year in Belkin’s state-ofthe- art home recording studio, with engineer John Wilson, who was the live sound engineer for Merle Haggard, and has now become the sound engineer and manager for Merle’s son Ben.
Belkin, a onetime LA studio guitarist, experienced the dirty dealings at the pinnacles of power he now writes about firsthand as a former Wall Street wizard, before turning his back on the greed and corruption. Escaping with his soul intact, he lives the ethos he learned at UC Berkeley’s Haas School, where he learned to question the status quo, and vowed to share his experience via rock music, forming The Refusers four years ago. He ays, “The band’s name represents the essence of Rock rebellion. Our logo is the raised hand saying NO. No to the establishment. No to corporate BS. No to government corruption.” He continues, “Also the Refusers name has historical relevance with
refusing to fight phony wars of aggression. In Russia, a refusenik was a person who refused to follow orders or obey the law, as a protest. The name Refusers is a recognizable symbol that represents edgy rebellion.”
While not committing himself to any single ideology or agenda, Belkin and The Refusers speak today’s spirit of rage and simmering revolution against the establishment, calling out corruption and greed and reminding us of eras when music elevated generations. With Wake Up America, The Refusers want to get people thinking and empower them, while inspiring them with great modern rock sounds.
For additional information on The Refusers and their new record Wake Up America, please contact Jocelynn Loebl at Howlin’ Wuelf Media at Jocylibs@yahoo.com or at 917-523-8881.