In 2009, Wild Bill Kneebone and Deb Hilton of the Porchlights were playing a gig at then Blondies Pub and Grill in Cortez when inspiration hit.
They named the improvisational guitar instrumental Blondie’s Stomp, and it became a fan favorite.
Now the melodic song is featured in the movie “Wrenched,” a film chronicling the life and times of famed environmental writer Edward Abbey and his quasi-fictional Monkey Wrench Gang. It premieres Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Sedona Film Festival.
“We actually have a show that night, but some of our friends are going down to see the film and report back to us,” Kneebone says.
Wrenched features a who’s who of environmental activists including actor Robert Redford; Earth First! creator Dave Foreman; Tim DeChristopher, who famously derailed a Utah oil and gas auction; wilderness author Doug Peacock; Ken Sleight, Abbey’s inspiration for the character Seldom Seen Smith; Captain Paul Watson, of Animal Planet’s ship-ramming, eco-justice Whale Wars; and local writer and Earth poet Terry Tempest Williams, among others.
The inspiration for millions of fans, tree-huggers, river rats, desert loners, and lovers of all things wild, Abbey’s sharp wit, humor, and searing commentary of an overdeveloped West made him an icon of American culture.
Bold and unrelenting, Abbey never once flinched in his campaigns against dams, paving paradise, the rape and pillage of the natural world, and the incessant, unmanaged march of civilization into Western wilderness. He is buried in a secret shrine somewhere in the remote desert Southwest he cherished.
Abbey’s books The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire are must reads for college courses across the country, motivating millions more to continue the distinct American values of conservation and preservation of the limited natural world that remains.
“The film Wrenched captures the passing of the monkey wrench from the pioneers of eco-activism to the new generation which will carry Edward Abbey’s legacy into the 21st century,” the trailer proclaims. “The fight continues to sustain the last bastion of the American wilderness – the spirit of the West.”
Disciples of the Abbey ethic, the Porchlights’ contribution to the film is fitting, as they too are relentless while touring the Southwest delivering their unique musical message of love, independence, respect for Mother Earth, and rebellion against conformity.
“We made up the song on the spot, responding to what the audience seemed to want at the moment. We thank our fans for the inspiration!” Kneebone says.