The freeways are not so nice

My friend Jim Rota sent me this video for “The Red Line” by local hardcore/punk/metal band It’s Casual and as you might guess, I’m in love. The video features singer and guitarist Edward Solis riding a bus, a skateboard, and of course THE RED LINE, as he screams out those familiar number combinations—”THE 101! THE 405!”—over shots that prove “the freeways are not so nice.” And if you should have any doubt that this is indeed a pro-public transit song, just read the first two paragraphs of the band’s bio on their MySpace page:

It’s hard to digest the minutiae of society while traveling the freeways of Los Angeles in the comfort of a car at sixty miles per hour. Typically lined on both sides by cinder block walls, the L.A. freeways are mere pipelines of travel, often scurrying residents through neighborhoods of both low and high-income within mere minutes, barely offering a scant glimpse of what happens at the ends of those off-ramps.

But when It’s Casual vocalist/guitarist Edward Solis leaves his eastern Los Angeles-based residence to make his daily hour-long commute to Hollywood, he’s able to form an entirely new perspective. Solis, a rare, unlicensed Angelino, relies solely on public transportation to make his way around. The bus routes and train line on which he rides meander on surface streets, cutting across both decorative and distressed neighborhoods.

The resulting music is probably the most effective pro-transit message I’ve ever seen. It’s not some lovey-dovey ballad on the beauty of moving slowly through LA. It’s pretty much beating you into submission to STOP DRIVING NOW. I’ve often said that some of the fun of taking transit in LA is that it almost feels like a deviant act—like you’re buying into some counterculture, anti-establishment movement that’s protesting the current state of the city. This song fits that sentiment perfectly. It will be my new anthem as I proudly walk to the nearest Metro stop, which is, indeed “THE RED LINE!”

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