Sea of Mass Confusion
Called "The Radical Rocker" by Music Connection Magazine, Bill Farkas is an artist on a mission. Dedicating his art to provocative songwriting, his music presents a unique blend of edgy rock, acoustic melodies and thought provoking lyrics. Railing against social injustice, corporate greed and political inequity, his songs may elicit protest but it would be wrong to simply call him a protest singer. Indeed, Bill Farkas could be our nation's conscience. A social commentator who tackles important issues, Farkas has no regard for repercussions or political correctness. He does, however, encourage his fans to abandon apathy, denial and complacency. In fact, his songs could be called a form of self-help for a sick society. Years ago, before public debate became censored activity, Barry McGuire, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Johnny Cash expressed similar sentiments musically, launching a movement that altered society. Seizing that torch, Bill Farkas continues in the same tradition, reviving it's spirit with songs that probe white-collar criminals and political perversions. He also examines issues surrounding child abuse, drug use and religious hypocrisy. Because of the seriousness of these subjects, Farkas often uses sympathetic irony to temper the message without softening the lesson. Outing corruption, he offers condolences with insights such as: "From the day you were born you were part of the scheme. They strung up a carrot and called it a dream. A white-collar criminal is something to be. A white-collar criminal can take the cash and go free... Us working class heroes... Well, we must die to be free." ("White Collar Criminal") What compels an artist like Bill Farkas to rage against the machine? Well, for him, it began in the Rust Belt of Cleveland, Ohio. "Everyone there worked in the steel mills, auto plants and machine shops," he recalls, "including my dad. In fact, he gave thirty years of his life to his job - only to be laid off just before retirement." That event branded Farkas at an early age and caused him to question "business as usual." Later, his own experience in the business world confirmed his belief that "working for the man" did not offer anyone security or satisfaction. There was one thing, however, that did enhance his life and that was music. At 14 years of age, with a fake ID in hand, he joined several local bands with seasoned players. They played the dance halls, juke joints and bars in town. He made $17.50 a week doing that, but even though those were happy times, Farkas knew he couldn't stay there for long. "I had to get out, if I was going to survive," he says. So, he set out for college, and majored in Political Science. It was the turbulent 60's and Farkas became a political activist. He joined Students for a Democratic Society, one of the most influential radical student organizations of that time, and learned that there are two sides to every truth. He was at Kent State when the National Guard needlessly opened fire and killed his fellow students. He suffered the loss of his cousin, who was barely 18 years old when he was killed in Viet Nam. These events not only influenced his thinking, they motivated him. His call to action started that day at Kent State when he shouted at the National Guard, "Think about what you're doing people!" Though a passion for humanity and justice seared his soul, he became exactly what he feared - a company man. After graduating, he left his activism behind and, worst of all, his music too. He took on what he thought was a "real job." Working in sales for a computer company, he constantly traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East on business. Those journeys opened his eyes. "The blinders of America's perspective came off," he notes. That insight caused him to question his path and he began experiencing mystical revelations. "I could see my life and where it was headed," he reveals, "and it wasn't where I wanted to go." With that revelation, he formed his own technology company, built an international network and enjoyed great success. So much so, that he was named "Entrepreneur of the Year." At that point, though, he hadn't touched a guitar in almost twenty years. "It wasn't that I lost music," he contends, " I just didn't think it was a viable career." And, that belief persisted - until one evening in Germany, when Farkas took the stage once again. "I was at an event with a live band and I wanted them to play a request. But, they didn't know the song. When I tried to describe the chords and timing, the guitarist in the group just shook his head, handed me his instrument and said, 'You do it.'" At that moment, his love for music surged again and he gave an inspired performance. It was such a profound experience that Bill Farkas sold his company, left the corporate world and moved to California to resume his career in music. He began writing songs again - first personal ones like "Orphans Sleep Alone" and, later, socially and politically conscious tunes like "White Collar Criminal" and "Sea of Mass Confusion." He paid his dues by playing a series of open-mic nights and songwriter showcases. In fact, it was at a NSAI (Nashville Songwriter Association International) showcase that he got his first break. Impressed with his skill and easygoing stage presence, the organizers asked him to host showcases in San Diego, CA. And, he's done just that, inviting promising artists from the U.S., Canada and Australia to perform at the monthly events. Active in several organizations, including Songnet, Songsalive and JPF, his performances have been known to provoke debate among his audience; and, he's frequently approached after a show to discuss his views. Without a doubt, he is an artist whose songs incite people to think - whether they agree with him or not. Building on that visceral reaction, Farkas began writing a blog of Daily Rants that advocated his views. It's become such a hot website for it's controversial style that it has attracted over 1.5million readers and averages 100,000 hits a week. But, Farkas has more than simply garnering attention in mind. He wants to create awareness and get people involved. "I'll accept small victories," he declares. "I just want people who have been sitting on the sidelines to stand and take notice of what's happening around them." And, to his credit, he has seen some changes. Other artists are starting to perform politically oriented songs after seeing him do it. They say he inspires them to write more meaningful songs. And, if Farkas has his way, he'll reach even more people when his latest album is released. Sea of Mass Confusion includes ten songs, produced by Dito Godwin (Mötley Crüe, No Doubt, Peter Criss) at the Aykroyd mansion in the Hollywood Hills. The record is a compelling testament to Farkas' need to get the word out. Pulling no punches, it is an epic endeavor that covers politics as well as social issues. He's also working on his first book - a compilation of his Daily Rants - tentatively titled, Book of Confusionism. It's expected to be released in tandem with the record so that his fans, as well as detractors, will have all the information they need to decide if they want to "Get Involved or Get Screwed" - the closing line in each of his rants. Like him or not, Bill Farkas is an artist that you cannot take lightly. And, lately, with his audiences becoming increasingly vocal and opinionated -- his songs are causing reactions that are more intense than ever before, with themes that are becoming more relevant everyday. Yes, Bill Farkas is on a mission ... He wants to make the world a better place.