When Jill Stein Was in a Really Bad Folk Band Called Somebody’s Sister

It didn’t take long after the November 8th election for Green Party candidate Jill Stein to find her way back into the news. On Friday November 25th, the Green Party, led by Stein, officially filed for an election results recount in Wisconsin. Campaigns that request recounts are required to pay for all of the associated costs, thus the recent, wildly successful fundraising efforts that took place in the week preceding the official filing.

It seems ironically fitting that Jill Stein, whose campaign was riddled with false and outlandish claims and unrealistic policy ideas, created the Green Party’s single largest fundraising campaign on what appears to have been a plan of no more than “we don’t know how much we need or why we need it, but send whatever you have.”

The Party initially set its goal at $2.5 million, but after donors quickly matched the amount, the Green Party raised the goal to $4.5 million, which was again matched, and again raised, to $7 million. The money will ostensibly be used to pay for the filing costs, legal fees, and potential filings in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The recount is in no way intended to swing the election results for Hillary Clinton, nor is it intended to give the three states over to Stein (this has been a weird year, but not that weird). Rather, Stein has stated that the recount is a response to unnamed “forensic computer experts” who have suggested that voting machines may have been hacked. Stein’s ultimate goal with the recount is to expose the alleged vulnerabilities of the election process and to give Americans “confidence in our vote” (though it is unclear why a potential exposure of vulnerabilities and tampering would boost confidence).

It should come as no surprise that Jill Stein is using a grassroots fundraising campaign in an (likely misguided and massively ineffective) attempt to stick it to the system – she’s been sticking it to the system since the 90’s. Back in August, The Stranger wrote about what was probably the most predictable story the 2016 election: Green Party Candidate Jill Stein was in a 90’s folk rock group called Somebody’s Sister (also predictable – Stein sings and plays the congas and djembe).

The band, which is just a duo of Stein and guitarist Ken Selcer, who, as his website bio declares, “traverses the musical map with infectious melodies and unstoppable rhythms”, has released three albums: their eponymous debut in 1995, “Green Skies” in 1997, and “Circuits to the Sun” in 1999. Listening to the music, two things are readily apparent: it’s pretty bad, and not much has changed about Jill Stein in the past 20 years.

Consider this video of Stein performing “People Got The Power” in 2014 and the opening lyrics of the blues inflected “Thing Junky”, recorded in 1995 – “Thing junky / selling the forest / Thing junky / selling the sky / just a piece of nature’s bounty / for the things I love to buy” (if these lyrics seem like they were written by a college freshman who just discovered pot, well…).

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Jill Stein’s illustrious music career places her in company with Bernie Sanders, whose own folk and spoken word album, 1987’s “We Shall Overcome,” is also, let’s say, not great, and Pope Francis, who released “Wake Up” in 2015 - perhaps the first Catholic prog-rock album ever made. Of the three, Pope Francis’s album certainly has the best production value (though, one would imagine that he also had the most funding).

Stein’s website states that all money not used for the recount process will “go towards election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.”

But no specific plans have yet been mentioned, leaving the door open for a possible Somebody’s Sister election fraud reunion album. We can only hope.

Jake Romm is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact him at romm@forward.com or on Twitter, @JakeRomm


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