The Hands That Built America

  1. "[The Hands that Built America] was written after we were approached by Martin Scorsese to think about maybe writing a song for "The Gangs of New York". We went and met him in New York, and went up and saw a rough assembly of the film. A few weeks later we went into the studio to work up some ideas, and one of the ideas that we came out with was 'The Hands That Built America,' the music anyway. We got back to it a little later on, later on last year, and finished it in the spring of this year. So, it's kind of a very recent piece, somewhat inspired by September 11th -- the final verse makes reference to New York during that period. But it's really inspired by the movie. It's a song about that period of time in the 19th century when so many immigrants came to America from Europe, and what it was like to arrive in this crazy town called New York. It was an incredible thing to sort of realize what New York was at that time. I can only imagine it was kind of like Nairobi -- incredibly dangerous. Actually, probably much worse than Nairobi, but, like, full of people trying to find a way to get away from the city. It's full of all kinds of diseases associated with overcrowding and bad sanitation, ruled by gangs and corrupt politicians. It was like, just, chaos." -The Edge (2002)

    From Salvation in the Blues, compiled by Chris Taguchi chris@taguchi.ca (3rd of April 2007)