It’s a tale as old as time: the rich, famous, and privileged get a slap on the wrist for offenses that would ruin anyone else’s life. Previously observed by Truman Capote and Martin Luther King Jr. in the mid 1960s, the assertion that there are “two kinds of laws” still holds true today. NYC rocker Mickey Leigh employs the phrase again in Mutated Music’s new single, just as current affairs reiterate the divide. Nationwide protests have highlighted the police’s double standard in dealing with Black and white Americans, and President Trump has commuted his friend and former campaign advisor Roger Stone’s prison sentence.
About “Two Kinds of Law,” Mickey Leigh told SPIN,
“Music is magical in so many ways. Rock and roll is one form of it that, magically, can be purely fun, but, at the same time can be a way to spread a message. And, aside from having a lot of fun with it, me and my fellow Mutated musicians think both are equally important – as long as it’s an important message […] The importance of “equality” and “justice for all” has come to the forefront of our lives like never before. and, it’s a message that needs to be repeated…repeatedly. There aren’t many ways to repeat a message repeatedly without boring people to tears, aside from immersing it in a catchy chorus and irresistible rhythm.”Mickey Leigh
This immersion is definitely successful. While its lyrics and melody are simple, “Two Kinds of Law” still packs a punch as a socially conscious earworm. The video opens with Leigh playing guitar on his couch, but quickly shifts to footage of a police shooting. The spreading of such videos can potentially be reckless and traumatic, but here it’s blurry, brief, and non-graphic. Next, Leigh sings “Hush now children, don’t you cry; daddy won’t be home and I’m telling you why” as a Black mother mouths the line to her children. The video concludes with a cameo from a certain disgraced athlete from the 90s, perhaps the quintessential example of the two kinds of law.
Mickey Leigh is partially known as the brother of Joey Ramone, but he’s had his own prolific career as well. He’s been a longtime fixture to the NYC music scene, and was previously in the bands Birdland and The Rattlers. He also published a book in 2009 called I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir.