Pilot In The Sky, Out of the Unknowing

I won't give you up
somehow I've taken more than you'll allow
when I think about it, I can't live without it
destiny don't matter much
just an end no man can touch
pilot in the sky
reflecting light

Lennon once described God as "a concept by which we measure our pain." I have a different view of it. If you were to make God a concept, some keep it a fact and that's ok too, I think the concept would be a complete measure of all things and experiences, pain, happiness, boredom... Sometimes I rely on faith, when things seem bad, and in that sense I understand Lennon's statement, but God doesn't have to be relegated to only our hardships. It can be if we want included in the best part of our lives, the mundane parts too. So I would say God is a concept through which we measure life. If you believe in God, and if you don't too, God could be the totality of all things, in which there is nothing that is not under its umbrella, so there would be truly no division. All God, No God same thing, a name, a reflection.

I think here I should mention, that Pilot In The Sky, was a group write. We came up with the chorus in the studio. Everyone shouting out ideas. It really is a group Hacienda + Dan song. So I can not give you a definitive story of it's writing process, each member will have a different prospective of it's origins and meanings, and this is more about what Pilot means to me today. Also I will mention that group writing is a lot of fun, though sometimes trying. I think there are a lot of moments where you can hear different personalities really pop out. Abe did an amazing piano performance through out the song, and Jaime's drums are so tasteful. Myself, for the most part, tried to keep my bass simple and out of the way. Dante's vocal performance is very unique and full of character, and if I remember correctly Dan is providing a very psychedelic ambiance on the wah-wah guitar. Overall it is the song we spent the most time on. Trying to get the feel right, and it is oozing with vibe.

God and religion are touchy subjects for me. They are, to be honest, ones I don't completely feel comfortable writing about. As part of my make-no-stance attitude of rock music, I feel its best to leave those topics to other artists. I don't think there is any shortage of religious based music in the world and Pilot in The Sky isn't by any means a religious song, but just a song that could be interpreted that way.

Recently I have had a lot of change in my life, and it has led me to a state of constant contemplation, so that is the way I'm reading this song. I imagine everyone has periods of intense ups and downs, people seem to be very dramatic creatures, so I won't say that my life is unique in this, pardon me while I keep vague, but the intensity of my feelings do not seem to be part of the average daily experience. By far the most intense change being the loss of my mother who passed away a few years ago. This change forced me to look at the world differently, look at myself differently. I began questioning a lot of the beliefs I had. I feel a lot better having gone through my personal interrogation, and those questions crept up into the writing of this album. So though I didn't start out or intend to talk about some things, they ended up coming out of me. I think Shakedown is by far the most spiritual album we done, and I am happy with that. 

I've always been a little bit skeptical of religion, partly from experience and partly from my love of science. I would consider myself a skeptic about most things, and I consider a line about Destiny with that sort of distance: don't matter much, just an end no man can touch. If something like destiny/planning existed, than there is no escaping it, so why worry? If it doesn't, we still know- well as far as we know, things only happen one way and it's unchangeable. No one can go back and change the past, to add to John Lennon's list of "don't believes" I add: Time travel. The future is made concrete by the present, out of all the choices there is one course of action taken. So plan/no-plan happen with the same result. To believe or not only changes how I perceive the events. Am I in charge? Am I capable of acting? Or am I destined?

These are all really exciting questions and ones I will continue to think about till the day I am no longer able to at all. The chorus speaks to me because it is the way I view the world. A lot of questions, no answers but punched-up with a healthy dose of determinism. No matter what way I look at it, I think it all comes down to our actions. How we live and how it affects others. God/No-God, Fate/No-Fate comes to a personal belief, but it's the actions of those beliefs that create the consequences of our lives. I'd love to know how you guys feel...

Pilot is one of many vague-morphing songs. A song I know is telling me something, even if I can't quite put my finger on it. The lyrics are as searching as I am. I will come back to it in a few years, months, days and have a different outlook, and I think that's beautiful. Maybe that is the greatest thing about music and religion. In the mystery, out of the unknowing, everything is possible. Anyone can project on to it, and pull from of it innumerable meanings. I try to understand something, and find out the only thing to really understand is myself.
in a worn out two-room shack on empty floors,
I think of you
in vast supermarket lines of  tedious measure,
I think of you
in deepest suburban holes of sterile nothing, where I think the saintly would not go
you were already there
waiting in runoff alleys, desperation corners and pavements clawed with jagged nails,
I think of you
in smiles covered in cellophane-sheen like high-rise towers and super complexes,
I think of you
where i found there is no such thing as an empty inhalation,
to know I'm never not taking
you were already there


PS. I've always been more of a My Sweet Lord guy: