Body Politics were a New Wave band from Boston active in the mid-late 1980s. I discovered their video for “Land of the Free” recently on an old VHS tape of music videos my father pieced together in 1986. His recording was pulled from broadcast on V66, a Boston UHF channel that hit the air in February 1985. Though it was modeled after the nationally dominant MTV, it served a local niche of artists and fans who still couldn’t pick up that channel.
According to both Discogs as well as the caption provided by YouTube user embee2006 (who I assume is Body Politics guitarist Michael Bierylo; they uploaded a pair of songs from the band’s 1987 gig in Allston, too), the band consisted of Bierylo on lead guitar, Mickey Pipes on drums, George Bunder on bass, and Kerry Fusaro on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Apparently, Pipes had previously played in a band called The Eggs, who released one 7″ single in 1981.
I’m unsure how long Body Politics existed and played around the Boston region (and possibly further afield), but it seems like “Land of the Free” was the band’s biggest stab at mainstream attention. It was one of 4 tracks on their self-released 1986 EP Cool Man, which is their only release accounted for on their Discogs page (other than a questionably titled song “Stop Acting like a Blonde” they contributed to a Boston rock compilation in 1984).
The reason the “Land of the Free” video ensnared me was not only because of what a great time capsule it was of quotidian mid-80’s Boston, but also a time-stamped installment of the perspective that diversity, immigration, and public/civic life are what make America great. As Bierylo writes in the caption below this video, “The song was a reaction against the policies and rhetoric of the Reagan era, and oddly enough is as relevant, perhaps even more so, some 20 years later.”
I may still do a rip in the original display resolution for my Vimeo archive once I have time. What an insane time/place to have lived: affordable, mid-’80s Boston. I often wonder how much different my life would have been if my family had stuck around there.
Classes resume today. Happy Spring Semester to all those teaching, learning, and administrating.