Friday, September 25

The Story Behind The Song. Track 9 - The Chatty Bandit

When I was in high school my friend Scott inspired me to be emphatic. He was one of the few people around who didn't seem to be afraid to express appreciation for pretty much anything, and he knew how to be happy. I've never seen anyone scarf down eight taco bell tacos with quite the same level of enthusiasm, nor take a bite out of a raw stick of butter just because. No project was impossible, either, including bizarre fashion videos and a skateboard ramp built from lumber stolen from a construction site. But I digress...

It was 10th grade. I literally decided to try to be like him. It was a conscious thing. Dispassion was for sissies. Apathy was boring. Life is about gratitude and enthusiasm.

I'm my own guy, of course. I don't know if Scott would write The Chatty Bandit, but maybe he would if he were into the sorts of things I am (those things in this case being Wedding Present-influenced guitar pop and a girl named L, I guess.) Though come to think of it Scott was one of two people responsible for getting me into The Wedding Present in the first place. The other culprit was Chris Drew, another person who is not afraid of feeling.

Anyway. This one's tough to write about, and I didn't expect it to be at the time I penned it. Have you ever acted kind of perfectly, or at least with perfect intention? Have you ever appreciated somebody with no reservation? Has there ever been somebody who just made you happy, for no particular reason at all? Their mere existence makes you glad to be alive and around? Somebody's whose foibles become something you are thankful for - just another way of making them stand out as who they are? Maybe they really like cheeseburgers or sing a certain song in the shower (so they say) or have a bipolar relationship with thunderstorms. In any event, it doesn't happen often, this appreciation. Only with the best of friends, in my experience. Family can be that way, but you know how families are. A perfect friend can be at a perfect distance. Close, but not so close that you start to resent them for not putting the cap back on the toothpaste tube. And by perfect, I don't mean flawless. I just mean perfect. Exactly as they are supposed to be. Any other way would be wrong.

The Chatty Bandit made me happy just by being The Chatty Bandit. She would cheer me up with her stories and secrets. We wrote together. I fell in love with her music. I wanted to make her happy, just like she made me, and so I wrote this song. I thought she deserved it. It was only fair. The least I could do. The lyrics and feel and energy say it all, so I'm not going to rehash it. It's there. It's properly expressed.

There's nothing flashy about the production here. Just a bunch of meticulously arranged guitars and some particularly amazing drumming from Daniel. I like the "poke you in the stomach a little" chord at the end of the first chorus. And the tambourine and cutesy lyrics floating above the bridge of destruction. Oh, and there's a little subtle thing where I asked Pat to use the bass line from "There's no I in threesome" as a shout-out because El Bandita liked Interpol.

In the end, I'm glad that I wrote this song. It's one of my favorite on the record, and so it's impossible to regret it, though sometimes it's hard to sing. Aw heck, I'll even tell you a secret: The Chatty Bandit was Saucepants.

C'est la vie.

- Jesse Kates / Download our music for FREE