Dino DiMuro’s “Backbone” highlights antisemitism and leadership in this historical recounting of his childhood best-friend Elmwood.

Beginning with a recording that seems to stem from some sort of self-help audio-book that may have made the rounds sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s that says, “Is your voice lacking in force? Or is there a sing-songy quality? Is there a problem with nasal tones? What about the voice pitch?” before jumping into a quirky upbeat jingle-esque progression, Dino DiMuro’s “Backbone” almost immediately sets you up for some for of radio-theater in which you haven’t been given any sort of plot line or scene to associate the title with.

By the time the first line drops, a mere 10 seconds into the production, you’re inching to the front of your seat and turning to the person beside you to say, “Wait, did he just say that?”

“Unfortunate attraction to the swastika,” Dino sings.
“Unfortunate attraction to the pageantry of Nazi times,”
he continues.
“Unfortunate confinement to a Catholic school,
We knew our Nazi fan club really bugged the nuns”.

He sings the lines with such a polite cheekiness that you can’t help but grin when you find yourself wanting to sing-along to the absolute absurd notions he’s begun with and you’re not even entirely sure still where this play is going or how you managed a front row ticket to the show, but you’re enthralled to find out where it’s heading as the curtain pushes open wholly to better showcase the scene before you.

“Backbone” tells the story of DiMuro’s childhood best friend Elmwood who we’re introduced to next as the grade-school Nazi’s fling about foolishly on stage doing jaunty hand salutes as they attempt to mimic a video they watched briefly in 3rd period.

Elmwood enters the playground in a white jumper and blue jeans, an immediate visual showcase of his desire to disrupt the social norms put on him at this here uniformed catholic school, and is met with the Nazi-leader who has rounded up his classmates and convinced them to be part of his newfound organization.

Despite not looking the part, Elmwood is invited to join the group but he’s quick to decline the offer. Even when Elmwood’s own best friend tries desperately to get him to conform to the boys new-found religion of Nazi-ism, Elmwood boldly stands his ground. It would seem absolutely nothing can make Elmwood join the Nazi’s, even enticing propaganda by Dino himself aren’t enough to sway his mind.

It is at this point we know that the song’s title derives from Elmwood himself and his strong unwavering character as Dino jangles on in a style similar to that of New York’s They Might Be Giants, “Backbone, he had backbone, showed us his backbone”.

Tragically, at no point are we shown that Dino himself removes his position within the Nazi-group to join his friend but we’re sure that given their close relationship it is only a matter of time before he sees the errors of falling in with the in-crowd of Nazi’s and joins Elmwood outside the school grounds who showed by his own example the importance of staying true to yourself and your own beliefs.

Elmwood later gets nominated for class president and ultimately defeats and dismantles the Nazi-group entirely and now on the last Friday of every month, the catholic school nuns treat the students to vanilla ice cream from the local parlour.

A remarkable triumph against racism and antisemitism and a charming victory for the sweet-toothed-school kids who inspired the story.

Or at least that’s how we imagine it ending.

Instead the track ends with a return to that self-help audio book and leaves us with great advice for any emerging artist, “Experiment with your voice on tape. Change the pitch and the volume. Listen, and decide in your own mind what sounds best to you”, and frankly we couldn’t agree more.

“Backbone” is the latest featured single from Dino DiMuro’s 2-CD “Heatstroke Alley” which is nearing completion.

Keep up with Dino DiMuros’ ever-expanding catalogue by following him on Bandcamp or on his social media channels.

Need some more ear candy? Here’s some recommendations from the CF Team
Frank Zappa – “Montana”
They Might Be Giants – “Birdhouse In Your Soul”
Captain Beefheart – Frownland

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