Unless you're a diehard punk partisan, the odds are even that you may not know this song -- which gained wider exposure on the BLOODSTAINS ACROSS AUSTRALIA comp CD (1998), having appeared exactly 20 years before then. Like many singles of that era, "Police"/"Underage" was a self-released production, and marked the only one that this Australia band managed to put out. There's a certain symmetry in that fact. But what a great song it is -- if you've heard it, you already know.
One reason is the riff itself, which shows how you can milk one chord (F) to set a mood...a quality it shares in common with "The Leader" (The Clash), which is also based around that same chord, same key (F). The original 45 also features some fiddly bits that my fingers weren't fast to emulate, so I let that go and built my version around the rhythm, which is simple, urgent and driving.
My other inspiration for doing this song is the subject matter, which (sadly) hasn't changed a bit...and is arguably heading backwards, given the recent spate of fatal police-civilian shootings. Twenty-odd years ago, the nation watched transfixed in horror as LAPD officers rained down blow after blow from their night sticks onto Rodney King.
Today, we seem no farther along to a comprehensive solution of the ills that create situations like the King incident (and so many more like it).As the lyrics make amply clear, the situation wasn't much better, then, either ("The police force needs a drastic change/At war with the public, it's time to stop their game"), which has something to do with the militarized aura that characterizes many departments ("They have too much power over us/They try to tower over us"). I had to improvise one line in the latter half of the song, because I couldn't make it out...but it's one that's in keeping with the overall vibe, I think. (I can't recall which one at the moment -- I'll have to listen to it again, and type it out accordingly.)
At any rate, it's a great song from this politically inclined group...and one that deserves a wider exposure than it got the first time around. Go to "Featured Songs" and hear the story for yourself!