November 22, 2013 will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This post is part of a series that will run throughout this year focusing on songs that address the JFK assassination.
All of the songs on Second Shooter, a five-song EP released by Child Actor in 2011, are based on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I recently corresponded with Charlie Neufeld, who is Child Actor. Neufeld wrote and sang all of the songs and played all of the instruments on the EP. As Neufeld explains, Second Shooter is “An EP providing multiple points of view on the assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963. This project was in the works for months. Generally, I write lyrics last while paying little to no attention to them. Here, I felt as if the lyrics had to obviously ‘say something’ to coincide with the plan I had laid out.”
Turn Me On, Dead Man: What inspired you to write and record Second Shooter?
Charlie Neufeld: It’s tough to say. I’m always self recording my little songs and somehow the idea came about to do this JFK thing. I’m not totally sure where from. Sometimes I just get really in to something and I dive right in. I ended up watching hours of JFK YouTube material. Read some books. I even watched JFK with Kevin Costner twice. I know the name came first ‘Second Shooter’, I just thought it sounded like a good name for an album (not necessarily about JFK). Soon the idea had evolved into what it is now.
Usually for me and my ‘process’, the lyrics are sort of cut and paste grocery list looking things. Random plays on words and heavy open ended mysticisms. But obviously, with there being a concept in mind I had to really focus on the lyrics to each song. For a couple tunes I actually wrote the lyrics while looking at photos from that day. For example ‘ Jackie’ was written while I was staring at the photo of LBJ being sworn in on air force 1 and you can see Jackie there shattered.
The one feeling I really wanted to explore was the mind set of the supposed second shooter. I sort of cooked up this scenario where this person who’s greatest achievement in life was also their biggest secret.
Turn Me On, Dead Man: I gather from the of the lyrics of the songs—not to mention the title of the EP—that you don’t think Oswald acted alone. So what’s your theory? Who killed JFK?
Charlie Neufeld: On the EP I try and present the point of view of the mysterious second shooter, the shady figure on the grassy knoll known to some as Badge Man. So I guess I should say that I feel like there was at least 2 shooters, but I really have no idea what happened. I think that’s one of the things that really drew me to the whole event, is that the outcome is apparent, JFK died, but no one really knows how it got to that point. But with everything that’s come out over the years, and with all the evidence from that day I find it hard to believe that it could’ve been just Oswald shooting from the 6th floor window.
“Back and to the left” – Bill Hicks