Thursday, February 23, 2012

[ BtS ] The "tattered hat" Years

[ I'm gonna hit the rest of the tattered hat tunes in one post. They were all written so long ago that it's hard to remember enough details to really devote single posts for each. ]

My foray into a sort of bluegrass feel. I had a patter-esque song in mind - something rather dark and cynical. I wrote most of it pretty quickly and even to this day I'm pretty happy with it. I don't play it much 'cuz it's effing FAST. Whew. Jon and I performed this on my senior recital at about twice the tempo of the recording. DA-A-A-AMN.

The chorus was originally supposed to be "Hallelujah, God is dead again!" - commenting more about religion and how it starts to eat itself. In particular, of course, Christianity - how God becomes dogma and cant, then lost... Jon and Chris, however, didn't feel comfortable with them. Although I think the lyric packed a bit more punch, I decided it wasn't enough of a point to fight about so I switched it up.

The guitar solo was a fun little section to write. I really wanted the chord pattern to go somewhere else and decided that B-7b5 would be PERFECT. Construction-wise I'm actually rather pleased with myself.

The best part of the whole is story is that we must have done a bazillion takes on that guitar solo. One after another, Jon was just NEVER happy with any of them. One day, as Chuck and James were loading stuff in to the studio, we decided to let him warm up on the solo. Luckily we hit record! Chris and I looked at each other and smiled, "that's it!"

Hold the Light
There's a bit of irony for me that people have heard this song and compared my voice to Eddie Vedder. For the longest time I COULD. NOT. STAND. Vedder's voice. So... it wasn't much of a compliment to get.

Black and Blue
It would little surprise to mention I developed a strong love for Alice in Chains while at college. I LOVE Layne's voice and especially all the vocals he and Jerry Cantrell would layer in their songs. I think I bought all of their albums in one sweep and had them on repeat for a good year.

At this point I'd started to really try and break out of my need for storytelling lyrics. I decided to follow the grunge/alt-rock sort of train (Nirvana, as a good example) and work on something a bit more stream of consciousness. I'm not really sure if the song has any particular meaning other than to string a bunch of cliches 'n stuff together.

Well that and I wanted an excuse for the background vocals to sing, "I still self abuse". LOL

I also remember having a very strong desire to have this song end the album with a mere drum beat fading away. I still like the effect.

Heaven On Time
When I started to write Heaven On Time, I really wanted something ethereal and soupy. And for the verses I wanted everyone to pitch in their ideas and contributions.

Originally I don't think the chorus did that half-step transposition. But Chuck said he loved that kind of shit so... somewhere along the line I tossed that little nugget in. All of it followed by a progression going down in whole-steps. Wheee!

As with Black and Blue, Heaven On Time was intentionally written from a more stream-of-consciousness type approach, lyrically. There was, however, one theme that really popped up in my mind: HIV

I grew up in the early days of HIV - being in elementary school and junior high, finding Ryan White to be one of my role models. During college (when I finally had the chance to actually pursue non-platonic relationships) I really started to ask myself how I would handle dating someone who is HIV+. Would I be able to? Would I freak out?

I think, unlike the heterosexual and lesbian community, that can be a pronounced difference - that dating someone with HIV is a probability and not just a possibility.

There's a slight irony to the story that must a couple years later I would forswear dating almost entirely.

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