Turn of the Wrench (Single)


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“Turn of the Wrench” is a true story though the names used are ficticious. Over the course of several years in the late 1970s and early 80s, numerous powerline projects were toppled in two rural Minnesota counties. The people toppling the powerlines became known as the “Bolt Weevils.”



Dana Lyons: Guitar and Vocal
Bob Conger: Drums & Percussion
Tim McHugh: Electric Guitar
Ted Schadler: Bass
Bob Conger: Engineer


By Dana Lyons

John Svenson was a farmer
He grew the Minnesota wheat
He rode there with his daughter
High upon the thresher’s seat
They broke down on the hillside
The radiator spitting steam
Went back to get the tool box
So they could fix the old machine

With a turn of the wrench, and a twist of the screw
We can fix the tractor, we can make it like new

But that day they got a letter
That said the power lines would come
Right across their farmland
Right across the setting sun
So they gathered all the family
And talked late into the night
We cannot let them do this
We’ve got to put up one hell of a fight

With a turn of the wrench, and a twist of the screw
We’ll apply a little pressure, and we’ll see what that will do

So they phoned one hundred farmers
And drove to the Twin Cities
Met there with the Governor
And they sued the utility
But after writing all the letters
And paying all the legal costs
To the power of the city
Once again the farmers lost

And in the still of the evening the wind is all you hear
I watch the waves on the wheat fields alone
I walk the furrows of earth I plant year after year
This is our land, this is our home

So they met there at the tavern
But there wasn’t much to say
The power lines may come, but they will not stay

With a turn of the wrench, and a twist of the screw
What was once put together, we can easily undo

With bandanas on their faces
Careful not to make a sound
They loosened all the bolts
That held the towers to the ground
And several weeks later, with nobody around
The Minnesota wind blew tower after tower after tower down

Copyright by Dana Lyons
Lyons Brothers Music, BMI