From homeless to cause celebre, things are happening fast for the Central Florida singer-songwriter ever since he debuted his now famous “The American Tea Party Anthem” at Orlando’s Tea Party three weeks ago.
Self-described Black American Conservative Lloyd Marcus was feted last Friday night before the Santa Barbara Tea Party by famed songwriter Tom Snow at Snow’s fabulous Montecito mansion overlooking the valley and Pacific Ocean beyond.
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In less than a month, Lloyd Marcus has appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly, an Orlando Fox TV program, The Bcast with Liz Stephan and Scott Baker on Breitbart.TV, and too many radio shows to mention.
Pajamas Media TV has discovered him and brought him on board to be the face of PJTV’s American Tea Party project.
He has signed a deal with the same people who handle Paul Shanklin, the talent behind the parodies on The Rush Limbaugh Show, to distribute his music through iTunes, Amazon and Wal-Mart Download. Lloyd’s albums can also be obtained through his website at LloydMarcus.net
So what does Lloyd Marcus, son of a preacher man, say about all this? How is he keeping his head on straight amidst this whirlwind?
During an hour-long interview on my radio program The Andrea Shea King Show, Lloyd and his wife Mary shared their journey from then to now, and pointed to the influence of people like Rush Limbaugh along the way.
“After the Orlando Tea Party, I got phone calls and emails from all over the country asking me to perform at various Tea Parties,”cLloyd began. “So I signed up for one in Santa Barbara, California.
“Oh! And I have to tell you!” he excitedly interrupts himself. “This is a perfect example of the American spirit because the day before the Tea Party, the organizers were told that they could not have a singer! And their venue got scared and backed out. They had already flown me in from Florida. That committee hung in there and fought and found another venue and pulled the whole thing off and 1200 patriots came out — so all these conservatives came out of hiding,” he laughed.
“It turned out great. I was kind of nervous for them because at the last moment they had to change the venue. But over a thousand people found us, and they were pumped up! They almost seemed to feel liberated, like they had been hiding in the shadows. And so this was a breath of fresh air for them. These people were psyched and fired up!”
After the rally, emcee and national talk radio host Tammy Bruce passed along a message to Lloyd that Mike Leahy of Top Conservatives on Twitter, or TCOT, wanted to talk to him. Leahy is the publisher and editor of the TCOTreport.com, and has taken the lead in organizing most of the Tea Parties to date. He recently joined Pajamas Media TV where he hosts a regular online Tea Party update newscast.
“He asked me if I would stay in town because he was with Pajamas Television and wanted me stay a couple of days and do some television shows,” Lloyd explained. “So he drove to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles, picked me up, and I’ve been here ever since. They have so much stuff on the table, and now they want me to be at the Sacramento Tea Party on the 15th. It’s just gotten huge. It’s just been nuts!
“Do you know that as of yesterday, we had 500 Tea Parties around the country, and that number is growing daily? They are almost expecting double that as of Tax Day. No marketing firm in the world could pull that off. This is being driven by the passion of the American people. This thing is huge!”
Lloyd commented on the whirlwind in which he finds himself.
“You know, there’s something about this that’s a perfect storm,” he marveled.
“This is bigger than me. And that kind of overwhelms me. Yes, a lot of really neat stuff is happening for me, but this is about our country. And it’s big.”
To appreciate that statement, you have to know where Lloyd’s coming from. He and his wife Mary have been together for 30 years, through thick and sometimes very thin. Theirs is a story of deep valleys amidst the highs.
First, they’re an interracial couple.
“You can imagine thirty years ago that wasn’t acceptable,” Lloyd began. “Her dad said ‘If I see that guy on my street, I’m gonna shoot him.’ But she told her parents ‘If he’s not welcome here, then I’m not welcome here’. She was willing to give up that relationship. But they have changed; her folks are absolutely wonderful now. They love me and I love them.”
There were other hurdles.
“I was an alcoholic for 19 years and she put up with that,” Lloyd revealed. “I wasn’t happy with my life and I chose to hide in a bottle. And when you’re living with an alcoholic… she had to handle everything,” he said softly. “I had to go into rehab and she had to hold down the fort. And she did. So, I’m just blessed.”
Lloyd has been sober for more than twenty years. “When I look back, I was very arrogant in certain ways, my music career wasn’t going the way I wanted and I was smashing dishes and I was just acting like a spoiled brat. I’ve gone through a lot of growth — we both have.”
Flash back to 1993 when Lloyd left his art director job at a television station to make the leap into singing full time.
“This whole thing is Rush Limbaugh’s fault,” Lloyd laughed, “because I was listening to Rush, and he was talking about people who had lost their jobs due to companies deciding to downsize.”
Inspired, Lloyd decided to downsize himself.
“My company hadn’t done that, but I had always done music on the side, but had never really given it a shot. I wanted to pursue my music career. I came home and said ‘I want to quit my job’.”
“Mary said ‘OK, let’s do it’. I wish I would have had half a brain and a game plan,” he laughed. “I just walked in and quit! I didn’t have any money in the bank saved. That was kind of the arrogance of youth. You could do anything!
“We wound up being broke for fifteen years and to make a long story short, four years ago we were homeless.” His voice caught with emotion. “And Mary never threw it up in my face about what I did. She has just been absolutely fabulous.
“Mary has always supported me being who I am. Some guys marry women who don’t like them being who they are. When we were dating 30 years ago, I sat in with the band at this nightclub and when I got back to the table, Mary said ‘Why aren’t you singing for a living?’ So she captured the vision even then.”
Mary added, “I was very excited. The first time I heard him sing I thought ‘Oh my goodness… this man needs to be out there’.”
Fast forward to Lloyd at the piano with songwriter Tom Snow. In describing the evening, Lloyd breaks into song, singing the opening notes of “He’s So Shy”, a smash hit penned by Snow for the Pointer Sisters.
“This guy has written songs for… Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Peabo Bryson. And we’re hanging out at the piano!” he says incredulously. “Singing together! That was like too much! I’m in this incredible home with these fabulous people — Tom Snow– this world renowned songwriter is playing piano for me and he and I are singing songs together and I kept thinking the only thing that would make this totally perfect is if Mary were here. Because Mary deserves this, you know?” he said, his voice catching again. “She’s worked her butt off and sacrificed so much. This is the life that she deserves.” Momentarily overcome, Lloyd regained his composure and stated with certainty, “But, it’s gonna happen.”
When asked what she thought of the events of the last three weeks, Mary said without hesitation: “About time! This is fabulous!”
Lloyd’s songwriting comes from the heart about things he has passion for, even if it isn’t considered hip-hop and cool.
“Everybody said ‘Why are you doing all these political songs? That’s not how you make it in the music world. You have to hide your political point of view’. But I was compelled to write “Celebrate America” because I love my country. I was compelled to write “Welcome Home Brother” because I really love Vietnam vets. I was compelled to write “United We Stand” because I loved the mood of the country after 9-11.”
The success of Lloyd’s American Tea Party Anthem validates his belief that it’s based on – as Rush Limbaugh puts it – “talent on loan from God”.
“That makes all this perfect too, because all of my songs’ topics are things I care about. And so many people always ask me ‘Why are you writing about this topic and that topic and not separating your politics?’ Because that’s what I’m passionate about!
“And that’s why it’s so sweet. That the very thing that was supposed to be my downfall has been my launching pad. That is so sweet and I thank God so much for that.”
Lloyd and I met several years ago when I hosted a Sunday night conservative talk show on WDBO in Orlando.
Lloyd recalled, “I met you riding home one night in my car and I thought ‘Who is this person?’ And I feel like you pooh-pooh me when I say this, but when I heard you I said ‘This woman is as compelling as Rush without guests‘ because not everybody can pull it off without guests, and you were so compelling alone. I think I sent you an email or two.”
Lloyd, who is also a painter, did email me about a civil liberties situation he was then embroiled in over some of his works. He related the story to my current listeners.
“I am the president of the Deltona Arts and Historical Center and they called me for some paintings for their Black History Month display,” he began.
“The representative from the city came and selected three of my paintings — that was on Friday. On Monday that same representative called and said ‘You have to pick up your paintings because the city manager said we can’t hang them’. I asked why. He said, ‘Because of religious themes’. Now, the only religious themes – one of the paintings had a bible on a nightstand, the second painting somebody was wearing an ‘I heart Jesus’ on a baseball ball cap in the background. And the third painting was a New Orleans-style funeral and someone was carrying a bible and wearing a collar. That was the outrageous religious theme! So I went and picked up the paintings on Monday, and I was talking to my Dad and my Dad said ‘This is totally wrong. You need to go public.’
“Well, I wrote a letter to the editor and I sent the letter via email Monday night. By Tuesday morning, I’m getting phone calls and it just went gangbusters from there. Papers from around the country were calling me. Lawyers were calling me. And these lawyers were acting like sharks with the smell of blood in the water. They were gonna make me rich and blah blah blah. But I didn’t do it for that. I did it for the principle, because I thought this was totally outrageous and they were trying to ban any symbol of God from the public square. And plus, how can you separate religion and God from the Black history?
“Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver called me and said they wanted to take my case and they would only sue for the city to re-hang the paintings. Oddly enough, they called the City and the City still said no. It took about a month of pounding from national media and according to Mat Staver, the story went around the world. There were papers in several countries writing about it, but it took the City getting pounded from people from around the country and a federal lawsuit. We had a press conference on the Orlando City Hall steps the day that we filed a federal lawsuit. It took all that for the City to finally say OK, we can hang the paintings.”
Lloyd had performed at several troop support rallies around the country, including a rally for 19,000 in Tampa hosted by Glenn Beck, and the Gathering of Eagles in Washington DC. So it seemed natural to Lloyd and Mary to celebrate their civil victory with a rally and fundraiser for a local veterans’ effort at the DeLand Airport to restore a U.S. Navy PT boat. That was where we all met: Mat Staver, now Dean of Liberty University Law School, his wife Anita, also an attorney and now president of Liberty Counsel; and Bud Hedinger, Orlando talk show host who would later emcee the Orlando Tea Party.
Lloyd continued. “When Lisa (Feroli) had the Orlando Tea Party and it was going to be hosted by Bud, I contacted her and said “Well, you’ve got to have Andrea, cause she’s part of the team.”
I then wrote about Lloyd’s Tea Party anthem in my weekly “Surfin Safari” column at World Net Daily and included a link to the You Tube version of it.
“Oh my God! When that song hit World Net Daily that’s when it really took off cause that’s when all the bloggers picked up the ball and ran — they’re the ones that made that song national and sparked me getting the call from Fox News!” Lloyd said exuberantly.
Sacramento Tea Party
The Tax Day Tea Party in Sacramento on April 15th will be ground zero for Pajamas Media TV and Lloyd Marcus. Fox Business News honcho Neal Cavuto will emcee. Lloyd will warm up the crowd.
“I know that they are having Neal and they want to broadcast live from there and I think they said they have eight jumbotrons in eight strategic markets, so this will be broadcast live around the country. I saw something on Fox today that people are calling me the ‘face of the movement’, which is cool,” Lloyd said.
“Fifteen minutes before, I step on stage and sing some songs to rally the crowd — that’s my job – to get the crowd ready for the speakers. Then halfway thru the program, I come back and sing my American Tea Party Anthem. And then at the grand finale, I lead the crowd in God Bless America.”
The Left wants to muscle in on Tea Party action. Leftwing bloggers have issued preemptive smears and plan their own anti-tea party demonstrations. They’re expected to infiltrate and agitate to cause an eruption in an effort to quash this nascent and growing movement. But Lloyd’s not convinced they’ll succeed.
“We are hearing the same thing, but in terms of them having Tea Parties on April the 11th, no way in the world is this going to match what we’re doing on the 15th. They’re just not going to have hundreds and hundreds of tea parties on the 11th. Now, the media will probably cover them like they’re having hundreds, but what they’re doing is going to basically be a drop in the bucket. And as far as them coming to our rallies, they’ll be so totally outnumbered…
“This thing is rolling along like a steam roller. And no one could have organized this and planned this. This is about patriotism and love for this country. That’s powerful and that is what’s driving this movement.”
“Everything is sort of up in the air,” Lloyd said about his new relationship with Pajamas Media TV. “Bottom line is they know they want to use me… and they have a whole lot of other ideas. They haven’t nailed it down. They’re saying ‘This guy has something’. They’ve asked me if I would be willing to move there. Mary told me to say ‘Yes. To everything‘,” he laughed.
I asked, “Are you prayerful?” Without hesitation, Mary blurted, “Oh my goodness yes!”
Lloyd added, “All the time. I pray about everything. I pray before every rally. I haven’t gotten so good that I say ‘OK Lord, I got this one…’
“I pray before every event that God will tell me what to do, when to do, what to say, what not to say.”
“And also to recognize that whatever you do say is perfect. You have to have that trust,” Mary chimed in.
Lloyd agreed. “But I’ll tell ya, when you go to homeless, you just learn to be grateful for everything, and that’s why — somebody just said today “Wow Lloyd, is this stuff going to go to your head?
“No-o-o-o! Because I know that this is happening not because I’m smart, and not because I’m talented but… No, this is a God thing. And I won’t be fooled into thinking anything else. I could not have put myself here. God did. And I am humbled.”
Author’s note: To hear the interview, link to:
Tea Party information at http://TaxDayTeaParty.com
Thanks to John McJunkin of AvalonPodcasting.com