Welcome to our second installment of the stories behind the songs of unknown songwriters, who know all of their “fans” personally in a way that Paul Simon never will.
In the late seventies, I spent an entire Christmas vacation in my room listening to Paul Simon’s Greatest Hits, eating pistachios and feeling tragically melancholy. Though I loved the Beatles beyond reason, in retrospect I’m afraid it was Paul Simon’s introspective sadness that stuck to my face and impregnated my guts like that creature from “Alien.”
“Four in the morning, crapped out, yawning, longing my life away”
At fourteen I had no idea what he was talking about, but I felt it deeply.
If you listen closely, "Folkrocker" (the second track on our album) starts with an homage to Simon’s early hit “The Boxer” “Lie lie lie” and continues with a whole lot of Brigham City, Utah, teen angst circa ’79.
The first verse finds me hanging in my bedroom, memorizing Circus magazine, and realizing for playing a guitar was an actual job you could have. The second verse has me actually attempting to play a guitar, (though I was more interested in just standing in the bathroom holding it, looking serious and poetic in the bathroom mirror).
The last verse skips ahead to Seattle, 1990—still tragically melancholy (perhaps more so, with the last eleven years of near constant practice). What the words don’t say, but the scene in my head shows, is me throwing an ex-girlfriends Moroccan gift sweater into Elliot Bay, while the city lights glint (glimmer?) indifferently on the water. Along with my vanished love, I am lamenting my non-existent music career, that despite moving to three different music cities, I forgot to start. It’s not my fault though, someone told me a lie, lie, lie. Who was it? Paul Simon? Circus Magazine? or that old standby “Society” -the culture I grew up in. It must have been “Society” that made me want shiny things that were impossible, or at least mildly uncomfortable, to get. What a beautiful lie, lie lie.
One thing’s for sure, I’m not playing that so called “grunge” music, that will never go anywhere. I’m sticking to folk rock! And any day now, someone IMPORTANT is going to discover me playing in the bathroom mirror of my apartment.
Despite the melodrama, or because of it, this track came out great. My only regret is that Michael Wells isn’t playing bass on the recording. He kills it when we play it live, in a way that the guy on the recording (me) doesn’t. Our engineer, Eric Eagle, re-mixed it four or five times until it was just right. Once I said the words “Paul Simon in the seventies” he knew exactly what to do.