Thursday, February 26, 2009

Love of the Father - the lyrical process

My new friend Dita emailed, "I would love to hear more about your internal process. How it comes to fruition and shapes your visions and sounds. Where it speaks from."

Tough question, because the artistic process is happening all the time, I don't stop to think about it or question it. But let me stop and try.

( Image by SOPHIA VALKOVA | myspace page Model: N)
Love of the Father nearly final version 1
These are Athan's final vocals.
They do not have the final reverb or levels, yet.

There are many different themes I am weaving together in 10 Neurotics . The album was born within people I have met. Getting to know them, growing to love them, trying to figure them out. We are all interesting people, each with quirks and endearing fetishes. I feel like a novelist with very amazing characters walking up to me (ok, maybe they don't just WALK UP. I have gone and searched them out!). I wanted to capture these people, poeticize them and make their stories into universal ideas we can relate to.

One of the themes I have brought into the lyrics deals with the child that grows up to be the adult with the neurosis. As a father, I see how easy it is to consciously (or unconsciously) fuck-up your kid's life, psyche, future. We are all damaged by what happened in our childhood. I felt that presenting the children brings an interesting "balance" to the stories. To not only say, "look what I am!" but to throw in "and this is where it came from."

This week, I recorded Athan Maroulis' vocals on the song "Love of the Father." It's one of my favorites of all the songs I have written. It's amazingly powerful.

It began with something one of my son's friend's said. This boy was about six. While playing in my dining room he said, "I hate God, 'cause they tell me he loves me." I had to stop and write it down, it was so startling. I was wondering what makes a boy hate god and he followed it up with "I can't touch him like the cat sitting there on the chair. He doesn't exist. It's not true." I took that bit of reality and started extrapolating it into a storyline about a boy who doesn't trust god; and he doesn't trust his daddy, because even though the dad says "I love you" his inability to be loving tells the boy he doesn't mean it. The boy feels he is unworthy of love. The verses are the boy speaking. In the chrous, he is an adult addressing the results of his feelings of detatchment and unworthiness. This hurt, damaged child is now a man saying, "I face my obliteration, I haven't died yet. I drown myself with sex, I live to forget."

A few months later, I was in Florida, waiting for my sister to pick me up from the tri-rail (after visiting with my violinist, Vicki Richards). Even though all the lyrics had been written, I was thinking about "Love of the Father." I started getting ideas of a way to make it even richer. I had to grab a sheet of paper out of my bag and write the ideas down, before they were lost in the tropical heat. It's not just that the boy's dad is incapable of loving, but he is abusing the boy. To try to make sense of it, the boy interprets the violence via religious imagery. This made the story even more disturbing.

I reject god 'cause they say He will save me.
I can't touch him like the toys on my bed, use your magic to save me !
Then he smacks me 'cross the face; ears ringing, angels singing:
"he loves you" and I know he doesn't mean it.

The time shifts in the lyrics, between the perspective of the boy and the man makes the song confusing; it's often unclear who is telling the story. Is the adult still concerned with his dad's lack of affection? Is the boy having sex to try to find love?

I guess we are both people, really. We're the adult who exists in this world and takes care of our adult life and responsibilities, but at the same time we're the injuries and disappointments of our youth (and entire life), shaping, influencing and fucking-up our existence today.

I set out to create an album that looks at our sexuality, obsessions and fetishes with a mature (rather than sensationalized) eye. Our life is a constant churning of sexual desires; sometimes overtaking us - more often subverted, submerged & repressed. Wherein other albums I have written hint at sexuality, this time I wanted to directly confront reality: Who we are when the disguise is stripped away.

As always, I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.



  1. We subconsciously end up projecting our views on our kids, no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so. Inevitability. We can only hope that in the process of raising them we also gave them the tools, the strength, to discard our faults, our neuroses, weaknesses, etc etc.

    The vocals are ridiculously wonderful and there's a striking sense of a 'hopeful gloom' in the track, if that makes any sense, a striving for something else (better?) barely hinted at, but it's there.

  2. Natalie in Florida ( 26, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    It's funny how I felt reflected in the lyrics, I used to question god as a child as well because I couldn't see or touch him, and no one would ever give me an explanation, which is why I am a skeptic to this day. I did not grow up being abused, but my father was always a distant man, who felt that as long as he provided, he did not need to show us love or spend time with his children. It has definitely had an effect on me as I am now trying to be loving and affectionate with my daughter but find it hard to because of the way I was brought up, and being a single mother makes it all so much more difficult what with the stress and all.
    I felt the same way as the adult boy in the song, trying to find love in others, but have come to realize that even finding someone who truly loves you and is sincere about it is difficult. Though I don't know how his life ends up because the entire song's not completed, maybe he ends up alone, understanding that when one expects to find love from others, it usually backfires, as you must first find love within..I like this song as I feel many people, like myself, will be able to relate to it. Sorry to bore you with all the crazy rantings, just had to get this off my chest.

  3. this is a great song! the lyrics is gripping..

    btw, i posted about the postcards and BTFABG's sites on my blog. also sent you a message at myspace. hope i get the cards 8)