Activism brenton woods

William Pilgrim Remakes Song with Legend (and Next the World)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Cora

William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up have remade the 1967 song “Gimme a Little Sign” with Brenton Woods, the original singer-songwriter. The duo, Ishmael “Ish” Herring and Philip Romero, gave it a new twist to make it relatable while linking it with a cause.

Romero grew up with the song and remembered how it always got you moving, but they decided to link the remake to climate change. “The song is about girls and love,” says Romero. “We turned it on its head for a modern take. The sign could be many elements.” They didn’t rehearse the song before going into the studio; they didn’t know how it was going to end up.

Yet Herring and Brenton Woods, who is in his 70’s, went into the studio and fell into the vocal parts. Romero says they wanted to keep true to the original but interpret the song. The result creates a very organic feeling. The song is familiar, but with the new modern twist led by Herring’s voice that makes you pay attention. It brings to mind not just generations coming together, but people coming together to create something more than themselves.

The music video was filmed at the September 22nd Climate March in New York. As climate change is something that affects us all, they hope it starts a conversation. They “married” the song with the music video to create an artistic movement showing the demonstration of numbers. The band name derives from the title character of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and they are as interesting as their music. Herring grew up in foster care. When he moved to LA, he was homeless for five years. The two met when Herring put an ad on Craigslist for a music producer. Their personalities and approaches to music balance each other out, but they both aim to create music activism, culminating in their album, “Epic Endings.” “It’s okay to be optimistic, to believe, and to care,” says Romero. “These are hard issues. It’s easier to put your head in the sand, but it’s okay to care and make a difference.” “Music is something we all can relate to whether you’re suffering or not,” Herring adds. “I keep in mind the artist’s responsibility to acknowledge injustice. As a musician, you become a trendsetter to make it cool.”

They meet weekly, if not biweekly, with the LA Youth Network where they teach music and songwriting workshops. The program, they say, empowers "abused, neglected and homeless young people and teaches them how to become self-sufficient by providing emergency shelter, food, and educational programs." “One thing they share is not having a stable family environment,” says Romero. “We use music to find empowerment and find a voice to relate to the world.” William Pilgrim’s album "Epic Endings" is out now.

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