March 25 — Pete Evick, guitarist and musical director of the Bret Micheals Band, premiered a new take of the 1983 anti-war protest song, ‘99 Red Balloons‘ this month.
Evick and his fellow musicians updated the song, originally crafted and performed by Nena, in response to the conflict in Ukraine. As a child, Evick himself suffered emotionally from the fear of nuclear war and potential conflict with Russia, resulting in him having to go to therapy. Now with Russia instigating an unprovoked war on Ukraine, those emotions have returned, leading to his desire to update the song for a new age, he said.
“I’m consumed with this tragedy to the point that I can’t function in my normal life,” Evick said. “I have no intention to profit from the song or use it to further my career. I simply want to raise awareness of this tragedy and show the Ukrainians that we care. This is just what I did while I’m figuring out how I can do more and really help.”
Evick and company’s updated take of Nena’s song stays largely true to its source in material in regards to its sound. The stylistic approach though, is quite different. Where Nena’s original was a typical synth-driven new wave style composition, having been released in the early 80s, Evick and company’s version actually has more of a ska-approach, interestingly enough. The positive vibes of the approach taken here makes for an even more powerful contrast to the very serious nature of the song’s lyrical theme.
The musical arrangement that Evick and company take in their updated take of ’99 Red Balloons’ is just one way in which the group stays largely true to its source material. The video is also very similar. The only difference that in place of the random footage of explosions, Evick and company’s video shows footage of the destruction in Ukraine caused by Russia’s unprovoked attack on the nation. Evick himself even opens the video walking along a countryside just as Nena did herself in the opening of the original video. Evick meanwhile sports a shirt with a message of support for Ukraine as he takes his walk.
Along with working on a new take of ’99 Red Balloons,’ Evick is also working on a new website at https://evick.com/newsite.htm.