Tony Kaye

My 5 Minutes with the President

An accomplished and award-winning director of television commercials and music videos in the 1980s and early 1990s, Tony Kaye made his feature film debut in 1998 with the powerful drama “American History X.” The feature, which starred Edward Norton as a reformed racist, scored with critics and audiences alike.

Kaye went on to make “Lake of Fire,” a well-received documentary about the abortion-rights struggle. In 2008, he completed his second feature, “Black Water Transit,” a crime thriller shot in a post-Katrina New Orleans with a cast that included Laurence Fishburne, Karl Urban, Brittany Snow and Stephen Dorff.

Kaye is a multi-Grammy-winning music video director. His pieces include “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum, “Dani California” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “What God Wants” by Roger Waters and “Help Me” and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash.

In addition, Kaye has a book of his artwork called “Epicomedy” being published by Phaidon Press. Kaye’s third feature film, “Detachment,” starring Adrien Brody, will be released in early spring 2012.

In this week’s column, Tony Kaye takes his Five Minutes with the President through his own original lyrics, below:


the hell of compromise


one hundred thousand million billion principals painted in red vermillion

in the hell of compromise

i breathe rocks and i breathe coal i’m turning green as i oxordize in my soul

in the hell of compromise


when it gets too dark and the stars is all i got

i accept the imperfections and the chaos that i should not

in the hell of compromise

everything is written in the hell of compromise

i got no patience and i’m full of treason

and i’m hanging by a noose and grandstanding for no reason

in the hell of compromise


i’m gonna smash my way right outta here

i’m gonna aim a bit lower and be a little bit more insincere

i am a conman faking this reality inventing a character that makes no logical sense to me

in the hell of compromise

everything is written in the hell of compromise

i justify things that i know to be wrong and the guilty pleasures that i feel don’t last very long

in the hell of compromise

contentment become solitude close becomes distant vulgar and crude in the hell of compromise everything is written in the hell of compromise


where there’s a will there must be a way i still don’t know why i’m here or what i’m meant to say in the hell of compromise

i’ve got too many words and not enough talk and my internal blackboard is allergic to chalk

in the hell of compromise

everything is written in the hell of compromise


Robin Bronk is CEO of The Creative Coalition — the leading national, nonprofit, nonpartisan public advocacy organization of the entertainment industry. Bronk is a frequent speaker on the role of the entertainment industry in public advocacy campaigns and represents The Creative Coalition and its legislative agenda before members of Congress and the White House. pShe produced the film “Poliwood,” airing on Showtime, and edited the recently published book “Art & Soul.” Bronk pens this weekly column with assistance from Risa Kotek.