Erik Lunde’s “Steel Militia” Wrestles With The Painful Legacy of the Afghanistan War
Erik Lunde releases the single “Steel Militia” on August 27th in the shadow of America’s disquieting exit from Afghanistan, 20 years after the events of 9/11 led to “America’s Longest War.” As a self-described “Tolstoyan Christian Pacifist” who tries to live by the principles of non-violence laid out in the “Sermon On The Mount”, Lunde wrote the lyrics to “Steel Militia” from his despair over the tragic American military response to 9/11 after reading the devastating true story of the Wise Brothers in a Washington Post article entitled “One Family, Two Sacrifices”. The article told the story of the passions and motivations of two patriotic brothers from Arkansas who both enlisted and were killed in the war in Afghanistan. Written in the narrative storytelling vein of classic American folk songs like Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War” and Pete Seeger’s “Waist Deep in The Big Muddy”, the song serves as a powerful, anti-war protest song that is dedicated to the memory and sacrifice of the over 2,300 American soldiers that tragically died in Afghanistan.
As the final American forces leave the country to meet the September 11th withdrawal deadline, “Steel Militia” wrestles with the extreme religious fundamentalism that led to 9/11 and sparked the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While the lyric critiques the dark ideological forces and politics that started the wars, it also empathizes with the passionate devotion to God and country that burns in the hearts of young soldiers who enlist to fight in foreign wars – pondering the sense of futility and hopelessness that some surviving veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced. As a songwriter dedicated to peace and reconciliation, Lunde wants it to be clear that the song is not an “anti-soldier” song – but is an anti-war song about the “wages of death” in wars that arise from extreme religious fundamentalism. Having performed “Steel Militia” at a Wounded Warriors retreat and seen the emotion that it provoked in Afghanistan veterans, Lunde hopes that by releasing this song into the world he can help raise awareness of the important work that the Wounded Warriors Foundation does for America’s soldiers. “This is why I support the important work of the Wounded Warriors Foundation – and hope to use this song to raise awareness of their work with our wounded veterans,” says Lunde.
A folk-rock poet and americana songsmith with a captivating voice, cinematic songs, and a dynamic stage presence, Colorado-based artist Erik Lunde “pens lyrics that are haunting and memorable poetry married with one of the widest arrays of melodies this area knows”. Having lived and wandered all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, hopping from place to place like a character in a Jack Kerouac novel, searching for stories and songs and experiences, and chalking up about 40 different addresses across North America, Erik Lunde is a songwriter and musician whose songs and sound bears the geography, culture, and history of his midwestern origins. Influenced by a wide variety of genres including gospel hymns, bluegrass, traditional country, rock & roll, and artists like Elton John, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, and David Bowie – Lunde has created his own genre-bending mashup that reflects that dichotomy. The founder and frontman of the Lunde Station band, a well-known staple on the Northern Colorado music scene from 2012 -2017, Lunde has re-emerged as a solo singer-songwriter, performing under his own name, searching for stories and songs and experiences, and chalking up about 40 different addresses across North America, he’s still chasing that same crazy dream with the stories and songs on this new record.