Drugs, Folk Punk and Anarchism: A Look at the Music of Pat the Bunny (Patrick Schneeweis)


Written by James Sweetlove

Patrick Schneeweis or as he is better known, Pat the Bunny is a now retired anarcho-folk punk artist responsible for numerous groups and projects. His music notably discussed life under capitalism, drug addiction, homelessness, alcoholism, mental health issues, anarchism and the DIY ethos. He’s known to use cynical humour to discuss complex issues and express deep-seeded substance abuse and metal health issues. His music has been highly impactful in many people’s lives including my own, due to its refreshingly honest nature and complex yet relatable subject matter. After getting sober, Patrick eventually decided to move on from music for his mental health, but still works with people to help them get sober.

Sadly there are no active socials for these projects and many aren’t on streaming platforms, so I’ve embedded all of them on YouTube for your listening pleasure.

Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains – Love Songs For The Apocalypse

This is Pat the Bunny at his earliest, angriest and most cynical. Here you’ll find the harshest vocals, the most outright drug abuse and anarchist lyrical content and the most punk fueled energy. I think for many this album holds a special place in their heart, I know that it does for me. As with all of this releases its cynical comedic lyricism that delivers very real social commentary. There’s just something reassuring about someone with so much contempt with the world and who is willing to approach it in such a direct way. The punk energy here is also truly powerful, it just feels angsty, raw and DIY and I’m all here for it.

For example:

Class traitor?
What fucking ever!
I’m just another middle class kid, too
But if I’m not good at changing
I’m good at self loathing
So I’ll class hate myself with you

May our only occupation be not having a job
May the only cocktails that we make be Molotov
May that day be now
And for as many days after that as we know how
It starts in this parking lot

New Mexico Song

Top recommended tracks:

New Mexico Song
Church Hymn for the Condemned
Election Song

Wingnut Dishwashers Union – Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind!

Burn the Earth! Leave it Behind! feels a bit like a transitionary album between the raw angst of Johnny Hobo and the catchier, cleaner music of Ramshackle Glory. It has a lot of the bite of the former, while toning tone the aggression of the vocals and the speed of the instrumentals, but the songs are a little easier to bop your head along to and a little more folky like the latter. While its a truly fun album, its probably one of my least favourite of the lot, it just feels like an idea that’s half finished as the music’s sound evolves between Pat’s two greatest releases. Still well worth your time to check out, and I’m sure many will disagree with me.

‘Cause urine speaks louder than words
On a politician
Or on a prison warden
Urine speaks louder than words

Urine Speaks Louder Than Words

Or these:

We’re kids building models of a world, that we might wanna live in
And sorting feelings in our stomach–is this liberation or starvation?
But have we made it anywhere at all if the dishes are never done?
If we can’t live without dishwashers, how would we live without cops?
And so you’re asking me, who does the dishes after the revolution?
Well, I do my own dishes now, I’ll do our own dishes then
You know it’s always the ones who don’t who ask that fucking question

Jesus Does the Dishes

Top Recommended Tracks:

Fuck Every Cop (Who Ever Did His Job)
Jesus Does the Dishes
Urine Speaks Louder Than Words

Ramshackle Glory- Live The Dream

This may be the best known of Pat the Bunny’s albums and projects, being a little catchier and more accessibly stylistically than his previous works. The punk elements are toned down a little, allowing the folk elements to shine and the lyrics have shifted somewhat. There’s still that focus on cynicism, self-loathing and anarchism, but it comes across as less aggressive and more reflective. Some have described the album as being a little bit “self-indulgent and whiny” which I do agree with to an extent, but I don’t see this as a criticism, I think it really works for the album.

Listeners will get to enjoy fantastic lines such as:

I fell asleep smoking
So I’d wake up on fire
Because that might get me out of bed for a while
And back into battle with the things that I breathe
And the holes in my arms
And the way that I think

We Are All Compost in Training

As well as:

Because I’m afraid to look the world in the eye
If nothing’s gonna change, well, then I’d rather die
And I’m too unemployed to organize a union
I’m too intoxicated to tear down a building
I’m too hopeless to look for a solution, I’m afraid that if I found one
I’d be out of excuses for the way
I waste away in the gutters that I chose
Like fashion accessories to go with my dirty clothes
I haven’t bathed in months, but you know it’s not because
I’ve been fighting bourgeois morals, I’m just lazy and I’m young

They’ve got me waiting on a day when we can say “fuck the police!”
With a little bit of integrity
When it will mean: “I’ve got your back if you’ve got mine!”
Give me a scene where I believe in more
Than bad hair cuts, guilt, and misery
I don’t know where I fit between the vegans and the nihilists
That might be the first thing I’ve said that wasn’t a lie tonight

From Here Till Utopia (Song for the Desperate)

Top recommended tracks:

From Here Till Utopia (Song for the Desperate)
More About Alcoholism
First Song

Pat The Bunny – Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything

This is where we start to really see a change in the music, while its still clearly Pat the Bunny’s work some of the raw edge, aggression and anarchism has been toned down. The cynicism, self-loathing and general contempt for capitalism and the government are still there, but they’re more about criticising than burning it down in a defiant intoxicated state. This makes sense as it plays into the events of Patrick’s life. It isn’t just the concepts and themes that have changed though, the music sounds and feels different. Its slower, more acoustic and stripped back. Its still a fantastic album though and a must listen.

You can enjoy such lyrics as:

Malcolm X never lived to see the government fall
But the state he opposed made him a stamp
Maybe that’s the best you can hope for if you never give up:
Your enemies will teach your corpse to dance

Take me by the hand and lead me through this disaster

As well as:

And I know that Rome wasn’t burnt in a day
But it couldn’t have been more than a week
And I know that the children of barbarians
Become the new tax collectors and priests
So I don’t know

I suppose we’ve been rolling since the world was round
And time makes dust of what we can’t tear down
And I suppose dead bodies make soil of the ground
But what about what we do now?

Make total destroy

Top recommended tracks:

Make total destroy
Take me by the hand and lead me through this disaster
I’m going home

Ramshackle Glory / Ghost Mice – Shelter

This was a collaboration that I never saw coming, but I’m so glad that it did, because Ramshackle Glory and Ghost Mice make wonderful music together (on the same album, not collaboratively). As far as RS’s side of things go the album is very much in the later career vein of the band’s sound. Its less angry, less bitter and almost starting to lean towards ska at points in its sound and energy and even sort of reminds me of The Mountain Goats. I felt that this one was necessary to see how Pat the bunny went out, but also to show an example of the types of artists he worked with over the years.

Top recommended track:

Ramshackle Glory – Eulogy for an adolescence shattered against Elliot Street Pavement (here’s to being young!)

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