Sunday, February 28, 2010
Stewart Oksenhorn, The Aspen Times, 
Submitted by: Editor

Original Big Money Gets Folk Singer Fired

On his 2003 album “Recycle,” Aspen singer-songwriter Dan Sheridan included a song of his, “Big Money,” that took aim at the damaging effects that wealth has had on Aspen: mini-castles protected by impenetrable fences, the pushing out of the working class. After patron requested he sing “Big Money”, Sheridan was summarily dismissed from his job as an après-ski entertainer at Sneaky's Tavern, a Snowmass Village spot owned by the Aspen Skiing Co. It just so happened, an executive of Ski Co. was in the audience and he didn't appreciate the sentiment of the song. [The Aspen Times]

Mr. Sheridan was fired for singing about a truth that cannot be denied. Anyone who has spent longer than a week in a mountain town knows how devastating wealth is to the local population. And, it should come as no surprise to any big spender how much locals love to hate how the beauty of their natural surroundings is also the cross they have to bear. However much wealth supports the very basic lives most ski town people live, wealth takes away far more in higher property taxes, higher costs of living, destruction of the environment, restricted access to formerly public land, and community. In Aspen, real estate has become so expensive that the city provides subsidized housing for people who work regular jobs in town. Nonetheless, it's a cycle that will never be broken. Money will always be welcomed by local governments and the simple needs of their citizens will always play second fiddle to the almighty dollar.

The addendum to this story is that the outrage over Sheridan's firing led to a blizzard of press from news articles to interviews which put enough pressure on Ski Co. to relent and offer their apologies for having him dismissed. He has been allowed to return to Sneaky's Tavern, but has not taken them up on the offer.

Mr. Sheridan, as a former ski instructor and displaced ski bum, you have my everlasting respect.

“Big Money”
By Dan Sheridan

“I was walking my dog, down the old walking trail,
When I ran into a posted sign, pending future sale
To some Hollywood mogul, who feels that he should
Build a mansion in the mountains, his “cabin in the woods”

They come here from Miami, they come here from L.A.
And bring a part of a city, that will never go away
Like a fear of strangers, accelerated time
The sound of car alarms, in a town without crime
Like quaint wooden fences, patrolled security
Setting up borders where they never used to be

CHORUS: Down in their graves you can hear the miners sing
Big Money ruins everything

Well it happened in Aspen, and down in Sante Fe
It happens everywhere, when the locals move away
Because we can’t afford to live here, we can’t afford the rent
Unless we win the lottery, or live in a tent

I think big money sucks, please write that down
Please take a look what it did to this town
Trophy houses, trophy wives,
Trophy people leading trophy lives

CHORUS: Down in their graves you can hear the miners sing
Big money ruins everything

Say goodbye to all the artists, and people who can ski
Say hello to private golf courses, and elective surgery

I think I’ll build a billboard, at the entrance of this town
If you came to prove how rich you are, please just turn around
Please turn around, high tail and run
you probably already ruined where you coming from

So I went to the hardware store, but it has been replaced
With a boutique for trophy wives, with a reconstructed face
All it only sells handbags, stuff you’ll never need
Like fine Italian shoes, or tasteful jewelry
So we blame it on the landlords, blame it all on greed
We blame it on the excess, of the nouveau riche

CHORUS: Down in their Graves you can hear the miners sing
Big money ruins everything

How did this happen, how did it occur?
Women driving Hummers, men wearing fur!

Now I sing at corporate parties, make them feel like a kid
Because I play acoustic guitar, just like John Denver did
But they don’t listen to my words, the words I’ve been singing
I’m just here to fill the void, between cell phones ringing

I recently found a letter, that I wrote to myself
It said, “If you get old an bitter, you better move somewhere else”
But I ain’t going nowhere, I won’t give up on this town
I won’t give up on my friends, Who somehow stick around

CHORUS: Down in their graves you can hear the miners sing
Big money ruins everything

Women at the Caribou, with liposuctioned hips
And in the name of balance they re-inflate their Lips

CHORUS: Down in their graves you can hear the miners sing
Big money ruins everything”

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2jZQRzKuI0

Dan Sheridan on Amazon

Posted by Editor on 02/28/10 at 07:23 PM •  (2) Comments

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