Pinkerton Raid frontman Jesse James DeConto first began writing “(Not All) The Boys Will Be Boys” several years ago.
“My kids were growing into and through adolescence at the same time that women were marching on Washington to protest the misogyny in the White House or holding powerful men like Harvey Weinstein or Brett Kavanaugh to account with their #MeToo stories,” DeConto told the INDY. “My oldest daughter was 16, 17 and saying, ’no way am I gonna ever be somebody’s girlfriend or wife if this is what men are like.’”
Premiering today on the INDY, DeConto’s letter to his daughter, “(Not All) The Boys Will Be Boys” is a bluesy, slow-burning rallying cry for a better vision of masculinity. It will release on streaming services on January 21, the fifth anniversary of the Women’s March & Trump’s inauguration.
DeConto will release a video for the song (with work from animator Bernardo Tirelli) in early January as well. The song isn’t the band’s first foray into protest rock: on the Pinkerton Raid’s 2018 album, Where the Wildest Spirits Fly, DeConto dug into racist, romanticized conceptions of the South’s past, and the band has always been very clear about where they stand. Forthcoming album The Highway Moves the World, which DeConto is currently fundraising for, is also burnished with sharp sociopolitical outlook.
If the title “(Not All) The Boys Will Be Boys” sounds too similar to that infamous fedora-tipping rebuttal “#NotAllMen,” the actual chorus of the song goes “No, no, not if the boys will be boys,” an anthem of high standards and the assurance that you can love who you want to love. And what child doesn’t want—and need—to hear that assurance from a parent?
“As much as I wanted to comfort her and give nuance to what she was saying, I felt like the core of the song had to simply and unequivocally amplify her voice, and when I started singing the melody and the lyrics, ’No, no, not if the boys will be boys,’ then it started to feel like a rallying cry that didn’t belong to me at all,” DeConto says.
DeConto is backed with vocals by Caroline DeConto, Katie DeConto, Tori Gingerich Elliott, Rebecca Kuhns, and Sarah Shearin. Scott McFarlane, Jonathan DePue, and Garrett Langebartels join on drums, bass, and guitar, respectively. The band will have a singalong event on December 19 and a Motorco show on January 14.
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