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Cognitive Dissonance

by Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius

I had a childhood friend Sworn together til the end Playing tag and wrestling Talking about the birds and bees He asks if I believe in God And then I tell him what’s my story He says I’m gonna burn in hell Because that’s what his parents told him Hatred is taught truth just can’t be bought All of our lives We think that we’re so wise But It cuts you down size When it’s staring in your eyes We’re born with open hearts And a blank slate on our souls Religion politics and fear Poison the waters and put up the walls Safely behind our screens Spewing trolling scapegoating No one can touch us now Lets start a fire and burn this whole place to the ground Hatred is taught Truth just can’t be bought All of the lies We tell to feel so wise But It cuts you down size When it’s staring in your eyes


We are all born innocent, free of prejudice and hatred, but our elders make us carry a heavy burden of hatred our whole life. Hatred is taught, we are not born with it. This is what Cognitive Dissonance is about. The first verse is based on a personal situation and deals with religious intolerance. The second is deals with political and ideological intolerance.

My family is Jewish. Across the street lives a Palestinian family. We’ve always gotten along and our sons are around the same age and used to play together every once in a while. They send their kids to a private Muslim school, and ours go to the local public school.

In all the times our son Max played with the neighbor’s son, the subject of religion never came up. One day, the neighbor’s son asked Max about his religion and he told him that he’s Jewish. The neighbor’s kid responded that all Jews are evil and going to hell. Max was kind of shocked, as were we when we heard about this exchange. A few weeks went by, then they both forgot about everything and continued playing with each other. It got me thinking that this is what the neighbor’s kid was hearing from his teachers, or maybe from his parents. All he wanted to do was play games with Max and not be burdened by thousands of years of animosity. A friend of mine who I told this story to said that the more he plays with Max, it can create a “cognitive dissonance” in his mind about what he’s told about Jews being evil versus someone he knows personally and is friends with.

The second verse talks about rising extremism that has been growing in the past two decades. People are prisoners of fake news, social media echo chamber bubbles and politicians who reinforce conspiracy theories and retweet them to their followers. The line “No one can touch us now” refers to the fact that without the threat of physical retaliation, people can hide behind their screens and spew the deep-rooted hatred that’s really on their minds. The last line of the first verse, “Let’s start a fire and burn this whole place to the ground” refers to all of these people finally deciding to take action and burn the system down. Even though I wrote the song a year ago, I think it eerily speaks to recent events.

“Truth just can’t be bought.” Objective news and facts don’t sell.
“All of our lives we think that we’re so wise but it cuts you down to size when it’s staring in your eyes.” It’s easy to write about our high ideals and our wishes for world peace, but when you have a gun pointed to your head or your business is burning down, it’s a rude awakening about how nasty the world is. The big collective guitar/electric violin solo at the end represents two sides screaming at each other, full of pain and hate, fading out screaming, never reaching an understanding or resolving anything.

I’ve been friends with Randy McStine for ten years now. He has toured with Stratospheerius numerous times, subbing on guitar, bass, and drums. Randy is one of the most talented people we know and his star is rising. He has made cameos on previous tracks we’ve done, including “Soul Food” and “Impostor.” We love his voice, and thought it would be cool to have him, guest, on lead vocals for the second verse of ”Cognitive Dissonance.”


released January 31, 2021

Music and lyrics by Joe Deninzon

Joe Deninzon-lead vocals/electric violin
Michelangelo Quirinale-guitar
Paul Ranieri-bass
Jason Gianni-drums

Special guest: Randy McStine-vocals

Engineered by Rave Tesar
Mixed and Mastered by Rich Mouser

©2020 Fiddlefunk Music. All rights reserved.
Claymation Patrick Carmichael
Single layout Nick Katona @ Revolution Studios


all rights reserved



Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius

Stratospheerius is led by founding member, electric violinist & vocalist Joe Deninzon. Joe! has been called “The Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin.

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