Friday, April 15, 2011

The Well

Hansel & Gretel
 There are three reoccurring images in my songs; hands, home and water.

This song uses water. 

The song is about the compulsion and thirst for reason - and the feeling that you cannot flee from the past. I think.

It is driven by anger, anxiety and fear (which Obi Wan tells us 'lead to the dark side of the force'). This is communicated through the frenetic rhythm and chaotic guitar playing. The bass guitar acts as the conductor, combating the chaos and trying to find a foundation for the narrative to stand on. The lyric follows the internal monologue of the narrator as he/she realises that the cup has run dry. In the song, 'the well' is where life is - it contains the fuel that will compel the narrator to continue the discussion...

To combat the 'dark side'.

It is both deeply personal and strangely distant to me as a lyric. I instinctively understand the song when I sing it, but find it very hard to articulate exactly what is going on. My favourite line from the song is, 'my bones are a frame you hang your trinkets from'. To me, this is a line directly addressing the past and acknowledging how she leaves a trail made up of snippets of memory and glimpses of meaning. Like Hansel & Gretel, it is a trail that you can follow home some days, and on others, it takes you right into the witch's cauldron.

There is a little nod in the lyrics to blues man Robert Johnson. The hell hound in this song though is a metaphor for the consequences of days gone by. In John Irving's book 'The Hotel New Hampshire' the family at the centre of the story have a stuffed dog called 'Sorrow'. There is an accident involving an aircraft which plummets into the ocean and Sorrow (who has been stuffed by the one of the children in the story who is obsessed with taxidermy) floats to the surface of the wreckage. The family, who go on to live through some traumatic moments, coin the phrase 'sorrow floats' to describe the process of dealing with life as it happens around them. I really like that phrase. Sorrow floats in this song too, but this Sorrow is also a hell hound, running after you...ravenous and demanding to be fed.

This song is called The Well and it came about when I was playing around with dance beats on my drum machine. I would take the dance rhythms and change the drum sound from 'analog' to 'live rock'. I then started played bass guitar over the shuffle and improvising lyrics. The first version is recorded live with 'The Dickens' in December 2010. It features Mark Henderwood's début performance with the band. He had never played with us before until this moment. No rehearsal, just straight on stage with a key for the song and a series of codes we agreed on so he could follow the structure. He does quite well if you ask me...

The Well (Live Dec 2010)
(Words: Andrew Savage. Music: Andrew Savage w/ Adams, King, Rhoades and Henderwood)

The Well (Live May 2010)
(Words: Andrew Savage. Music: Andrew Savage w/ Adams, King, Rhoades and Eastwood) This live version comes from 'The Dickens' first gig in May 2010. I really like Jonathan's guitar playing in this one.


The Well (original 8 track demo)
(Words & music: Andrew Savage)

The Well
In my father's mansion 
I'm cutting you the key
From the marrow of my bones
And I'm keeping cuts for me
And I'm thinking about how
I need to see

My bones are a frame 
You hang your trinkets from
Memories of the days 
When I could still make you come
And I'm thinking about how
I need to see

Take me to the well
And let me drink

I've seen signs and wonders
They were written on your wrist
But it's hard to stay hungry
When the seasons start to shift
And I'm thinking about how
I need to see

In my father's mansion 
I'm still cutting you a key
You cut me from the doorlist
Sent hellhounds after me
And I'm thinking about how
I need to see

Take me to the well
I need to drink.

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