Todd Haynes’ real-life thriller ‘Dark Waters’ released to theaters last Friday, spotlighting decades-long malfeasance of Dupont, now the fourth-largest chemical company in the world.
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Actor Mark Ruffalo depicts Robert Bilott, an attorney who struggled for years to litigate the company on behalf of a community of farmers in Parkersburg, W.Va., on whose environment the corporation was dumping a death-dealing ammonia.
The film ends just before the issue is brought to trial, which is when New York-based litigator/songwriter Gary Douglas, who was enlisted to try the cases, came into the picture. On November 12th, his rock group, The Gary Douglas Band, released “Deep In The Water (Redeux),” which reveals Douglas’ personal thoughts about the Dupont calamity. It’s also the lead single off their upcoming sophomore LP, Wild Life.
“With this album, my goal was to be true to myself,” Douglas says. “And we’ve all heard that before. But a lot of times, you go in the studio, and despite your best intentions, you get lost when trying to stay true to the original inspiration for a song” … “You’ve got to hold onto that inspiration. That’s the real challenge — not writing something, but holding onto it.”
The track kicks off with a short, flange-y electric guitar vamp before the full band landfalls into a minor-key rock groove. Douglas’ lyrics express the human side of the scandal’s court process and legalese — indignant rage at the deliberate mishandling of toxic chemicals: “there’s a special place in hell for you / rape, indecency / we’re not your puppets on a string / all your lawyers, all your scientists, or the EPA, or regulators / we’ve connected all your dots and now we are your worst nightmare, agitators.”
Douglas has been an attorney since he was 30, but he spent his 20s as a touring musician, fronting a rock group. It wasn’t until one of his firm’s paralegals, an artist herself, encouraged him to return to music after witnessing one of his performative court room testimonies.
“I was doing a summation in lower Manhattan,” Douglas says. “And the place was packed. I put on a show, I mean, I’m not one of those stuffy lawyers.” From there, he assembled The Gary Douglas Band, and before he knew it he was back onstage, rousing audiences rather than juries. As for his law practice, he hasn’t retired.
“I do both!” He says. “My favorite part is the live performance, you know. Getting a great audience and that interaction, that’s the greatest feeling ever.”
Wild Life is slated for release February, 2020.