Thursday, September 10

The Story Behind The Song. Track 2 - I Just Need My Car

This one's rather easy, unfortunately. I Just Need My Car is based entirely on a true story. The names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent, but the sequence of events is more or less accurate. There was a couple. He moved to her home town to find a job, so she could live near her family. She cheated on him. In real life it was even worse, because he was living with her parents when he found out she was cheating on him. And then, after all of this, he had to drive halfway across the country to trade cars (and other things) with her. Awful, huh? So awful I had to make a song about it.

Some other facts:

1. Berkeley Heights is near where I grew up in New Jersey. I chose it and Pensacola because they sound distinctive, are far apart (like the towns in the true story), have the right number of syllables and roll off the tongue in just the right way melodically.

2. I don't actually know how many highways one would drive to get from Berkeley Heights to Pensacola. I settled on eight (frickin' highways), again, for euphonic reasons.

3. This song was hard to arrange. I wrote it on my acoustic, and I strummed during the whole thing when I played it that way with a kind of cool riffy pattern thrown in, to boot. That worked great with one guitar, and I still play it that way when I play by myself in coffee shops and such, but when we played it as a band something was off. We could never make the choruses jump enough. As a result, there was a time that we actually declared the song dead. In the end, we played it on and off for months before we figured out that the problem was I had to more or less stop playing during the verses to create enough of a dynamic jump when we hit the chorus, where I come back in and Chad starts thrashing at full force. So that's where the restrained, "clang" guitar part came from, which is funny, because it's now one of my favorite things about the song, and one of my favorite guitar sounds on the record. In sum, I had to learn to sit back and shut up in a song where my guitar part had started it all. Just goes to show that it's an iterative process.

4. This song is the least decorated on the whole record. What you hear is more or less exactly how we sound live, minus the hand claps and a tambourine hitting in the choruses. Steve even mixed it all-digital, which he usually doesn't do, just to keep it more crisp and straightforward. I like that it's a good representation of our live sound. So years in the future, if you want to know what we really sounded like at this time, play I Just Need My Car.

Next up: Buy Me Out.

- Jesse Kates / Download our music for FREE