You’re probably wondering why the show is titled Smokey Bear this week. if you follow along with MPH online or caught the show you know why. It happens that today, back in 1944, the national parks service along with the Wartime Advertising Council first debuted the iconic bear and his forest fire prevention program. The program has gone beyond forests to all man-induced wild fires but the premise is still the same and the history probably will surprise you.
With wild fires scorching parts of California as well as it’s usual uncontrolled burns along the mid and southwest this summer it’s important to understand the negative net effects of carelessly started wild fires. Initially, in planning the show I thought I might do something regional to the fire zones but I vetoed that for something more literal and much broader in interpretation for picking songs.
Fire in the wilderness is a natural occurrence and possesses an important ecological role but man made accidental fires do substantial amounts of harm since the Ad Council’s replacement of the expiring lease of Disney’s Bambi, 1944’s debut of Smokey Bear has helped inform the public. The campaign began during WWII for several reasons including Japanese attempts at forest fires (the floated incindary baloons over Oregon, NoCal & lower Washington as well as using submergables to launch rockets) as a part of warfare and the lack of fire fighters due to the draft. Smokey was actually named after NYC brigader Smokey Joe Martin who sustatined serious burns in a 1922 rescue. Although the message has been tweaked over time the basic premise of stopping unnecessary blazes remains the same. You can learn more how to do this by visiting the official Smokey Bear website.
So, in using this information for the show, I scoured my over 25,000 songs or so to find references to fire, flames, smoke, burning, etc. in band names, song titles and more and came up with a list so long it took me all week to work through as I cross referenced requests, year of release, personal preference and expanse of the theme to the musical extreme.
What I came up with was this list which drew on a variety of heavy music genres and interpretations of the burning theme to produce a mere 52 minutes of music for MPH. A truly insufficient amount of time leaving off Slayer, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Death and more classics I’m sure many are disappointed missed the cut as well as not doubling up too much on previous week’s shows… all in all, I’m happy
Norma Jean “Sword in Mouth Fire Eyes” Wrongdoers (2013) (queue :44)
Amon Amarth “Releasing Surtur’s Fire” the Crusher
Darkest Hour “Fire in the Skies” Deliver Us
Byzantine “Everything I Touch Bursts into Flames” self-titled (2013)
Shadows Fall “Fire from the Sky” Fire from the Sky (2012)
Tracedawn “Sick Fire” Lizard Dusk (2012)
Dark Tranquility “To Where the Fires Cannot Feed” Zero Distance (2012)
High on Fire “Spiritual Rites” De Vermis Mysteriis (2012)
Arsonists Get All the Girls “Watchers” Listen to the Color (2013)
Athiest “Fire” Elements
Soilwork “Millionflame” the Chainheart Machine
Alexisonfire “.44 Caliber Love Letter” self-titled