We were entering our fourth month in music city USA. Somewhere between being strung out from the road and dealing with growing angst in anticipation for our return to the studio, we snapped.
It was as though we finally realized we didn't have to fall into the bottomless pit of pseudo psychotic, self loathing musicians that call Nashville home. Rather, we sat down on December 17th, wrote End Of The World and came terms with our situation. We let go of the worries and stresses that accompany the life of an artists and accepted the fact that, however big the battle, it was a battle we chose to live. A bitter sweet love affair involving the ever growing sense of hopelessness, the passion for your art and love for life on the road. I walked in to our bass player's room and asked him if he wanted to go out for some drinks…
Since college, I have maintained a shoe box filled with scraps of paper, clippings, polaroids, found objects, cartoons, but mostly hastily scrawled lyrics all assembled during phases of living in St. Cloud, MN; Merida, Mexico; Hamburg, Germany; and Switzerland.
After having settled in California, I began to mine the box for songs to complete and discovered that the easy part is the hook, the gotcha line – and the hard part is crafting a song that sticks together and keeps the audience interested and if possible off guard.
I like to kick off my sets with a few humorous songs, so the audience is expecting another chuckler when I hit them over the head with darkness. It’s like a day in a life, right? That beer truck is barreling around the corner and you’re not looking both ways. I guess it’s an easy jump from emoting on stage to emoting in front of a camera and crew and I find that acting sharpens my sensitivity to the power of the single well placed word or phrase, or phrasing, intonation, emphasis.
Access Royale were headlining a festival in Warrenton, VA and the crew hadn't supplied a proper mat for the drums to stay in place. Mid way through a song, the bass drums started to slide away from Robzie (drummer). So the bass player thought to place his foot on one side of the drum head to prevent it from sliding any farther but it started to slide sideways instead. Robzie's foot was fully stretched at this point, still trying to maintain a bass drum rhythm.
Unknown to Vee and Charles (vocals), both the bass player and drummer had left the stage to try to remedy the situation. As Charles and Vee turn to que up for the next song, they noticed Robzie off stage speaking to the sound engineer and crew about her dilemma. Without breaking a stride, Vee and Charles decide to do a cover by Oasis called Wonderwall, which neither one had never played before. The crowd ended up loving it, and it gave the crew just enough time to remedy the drums situation so that the band could get back to the normal set. No one suspected a problem was occuring. In fact, the crowd thought it was all part of the show. And now Wonderwall has become the only official cover for the band. However, the band has yet to play the cover ever since.
When we started writing "23", we had been talking a lot about fugue states--psychological phenomenon wherein people inexplicably wander off from their lives and find themselves somewhere else later, with no recollection of the time in-between. (I think it started, actually, from talking about the use of fugue in music, where various melody lines work together to create a single, complex melody).
Fans of MOTU recognize that many of MOTU’s songs have a political or social message. An example of this is “A Better Day” from the “MOTU – Time Runs Faster” CD. Seeing the hardships that have come out of the housing collapse, and subsequent job losses that resulted from this recession, reminded me that we live now in a much harder time then the world I remember in my youth. The erosion of the middle class in America is a sad truth. However, America has seen tough times before and I do believe that better times are ahead. So this hope for tomorrow was the inspiration for this song:
The most amazing place I've ever been...... I'm from a small town, things are slow here and if you don't pay attention, this place will take time away from you. It's all so the same that weeks can go by without ever noticing it and no one really notices you, which I guess can be a good thing at times. All of these people who have accidentally acquired responsibilities and worries and addictions in the form of bills, kids, spouses (whether you like them or not), the bar, drugs, gossip etc. All of them with limited knowledge of the outside world and all so opinionated and uninterested in learning cause.......they all already know.
So for me it's become a bit of an addiction, the most amazing place. A place where every second is valued by everyone there. Everyone in your presence, taking in the spectacle that is your art. It can be 5 seconds away but things are so different once you get there. It's your place.
`RoundMagazine.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com