Going JetBlue and Singing the JetBlue Blues
Just a few days ago JetBlue Flight attendant Steven Slater dropped the F-bomb, grabbed a couple beers and quit his job in a now notorious way, inflating and sliding down his plane's emergency chute. Already he's inspired a folk-hero following, flattering songs and an addition to the American Lexicon: "Going Jet Blue," which looks like it's on its way to replacing "Going Postal."
Slater's method is a much kinder and gentler way to express snapping at work and taking it out on those around you. That seems to be the attitude of the majority of people who have heard about the incident. "He expressed his anger, he didn't hurt anybody, and he got a ride on the inflatable slide, which we would all love to do," says songwriter Dan Reynolds, pretty much summing up American sentiment. That's what inspired him to write quick, clever song about the incident and post it on YouTube.
Producer/composer Lee Curreri feels the same way. "Aside from it being a kind of dangerous thing to do, it was a universal moment," he says. "Everyone has wanted to slide out of a job in a dramatic way like that." Curreri is a producer/composer who has produced music for artists like Natalie Cole and Phil Perry. Starring as keyboard prodigy Bruno in 'Fame' when he was younger, Curreri now writes music for film and TV series such as a little show called 'Oprah.'
-- See the average salary for a flight attendant in New York.
He says a light bulb went off when he saw the Slater video. "Nobody does that these days, especially in this economy," he said admiringly. "That merited a song. Besides, people shouldn't be so mean on planes." He and his colleague, acclaimed guitarist Noah Needleman, decided to create a quick 'Jet Blues' video, to help lighten the national mood.
"It's an easy time for us to feel down about the nation, the economy and the employment situation, and Steve, or as I like to call him, 'Stevie,' gives us something to relieve the pressure and to laugh about," Reynolds says. He should know. He lives in Las Vegas, which has one of the worst unemployment rates in the United States. He's been watching people all around him losing their jobs and their homes. While they're willing to find work, the jobs just aren't there.
But Reynolds and his indy pop group Imagine Dragons are attempting to bring people relief and inspiration through their music, which is rather unusual for an alternative band whose members are all in their early 20s. Their latest single and the accompanying video 'America' are a catchy yet poignant love song to the American worker and those who serve the country.
"Music and the media often take a negative spin on things," Reynolds says, "but we're trying to lift people up in difficult times through music. Sure, many of our parents have been laid off and it's hard for us to find jobs of our own, but those of us who were born and raised in America still have a lot to be grateful for -- and we wanted to express our appreciation for it and present it in a way that people could identify with."
Apparently the band's positive spin is working, although talent surely comes into play as well. While they've only been together a year, they're in process of working with a producer on their first full-length album, and they've already played impressive venues like SXSW, the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, and Los Angeles' legendary Troubadour and Viper Room. They've opened for artists like Train, Blue October, Kelly Clarkson and -- appropriately enough in this case -- Jet.
"It's really part of my job to keep up with the news and media," says Reynolds, the songwriter, keyboardist and lead vocalist for the group. "Stevie's story struck me as intriguing. People are going to be talking about this for a long time."
And the vast majority of Americans are hoping that Steven Slater will be able to enjoy his new-found fame and hero status.
Related Stories from Forbes.com