The Modern Savage, All Songs are Windows

I've got no thought for building
it's always much to dull
each window i look thru wanna tear down to clear blue
I want to get back
How she passed and made me
with her perfume charms
I finally woke up past neckties and hair cuts
I want to get back

This song is about two faces: violence and its mirror, creativity. That is to say, we have the ability to create, and by Law (Cosmic and Newtonian) we have the ability to destroy. Every structure made, including art and song, can eventually be a form for imprisonment. That is why I try to reinvent myself, to escape. To put on war paint, and hide in the fringes. Sometimes I ambush myself, drag me to a dark corner of thinking, and make myself see the fire.

my heart is racing to what we are

It's a scary idea in the human world. Violence is an unwanted appendage of our animal-ness, no longer needed by an evolved humanity. Some look at it with the modern curiosity of a wisdom tooth or appendix, but it still turns up in every newborn. I have no answers or excuses about it. I make no statement on its value in excess, only to say that it is. Lately, when I watch the news it devastates me to see one ugly half of a beautiful balance repeated over and over. And it wrenches at me. I have to remind myself it is only half, and perhaps most importantly I have to turn off the news.

There are varying degrees and definitions of violence, and I wanted to explore writing about its musical sense as an expression of my own work. Savage is a song about writing. Some music builds on the past, and some is born reactionary and battling against it. I feel as a writer, I have to fight against my past work, my laziness. I have a tendency to repeat, so I make an active effort to revolt -make it new. But even trying to change is a pattern I don't want to fall into, which is why I'm always second guessing myself. Any construct is a window of how the maker views the world, and all songs are windows.


Fortunately there is a way to overcome the urge of destruction. The other face, creativity. Making something. Committing. Building. For this song, the turning point is Love, a woman, but it can be anything. Nature, Emotion, Etc... The Muses. Something strong enough to wake up our thoughts. Something to make us see the world in a clear way, even momentarily, and suddenly every action is in alignment. This is the attractive part of our instinct, but they are the same. They are natural. Somehow in that alignment we realize all the things we used to hold on to (neckties/haircuts) were the very things strangling our creativity- I would really like to know if anyone else has felt this- and for that moment of inspiration I can commit to a prospective of my world, and from that joy, make something.

The moment, for this song, came to me from the title word, and as soon as I had it, I knew where I wanted the song to go lyrically. Savage is a wonderfully loaded word with so many images conjured, but to me it reflects the uncivilized. What Joseph Campbell described as those things outside the circle of our campfire. The fear created by seeing ourselves as an other. The scariest thing about witnessing horrors and violence on the news...for me, is recognizing that horrible acts are created by people, people like me. It would be more tolerable to see devils, shadows and monsters, but I see people, foolish people, and I can try to distance myself by giving them labels, giving them reasons and excuses, statistics and categories, but we are all only people acting out, the way people do. I realized the connection of the two, and that the very impulse that gave us Bach and Liszt, is twin to the impulse that gave us every horror- I don't need/want to list them.

let's be Savage, gonna sing our song
let's be Savage till the feeling's gone

I don't like to make many stands on current issues in my music. I like pop songs, not lectures. Savage comes from the feeling of participating as a citizen in our times, not as a direction. Which might be contradictory sounding, cause I do sing Let's be Savage, but I meant the phrase to be a guide into the self, not out to others. I have enough trouble working on myself to worry about trying to change others.

If I could make a statement, I would like people to turn against their own ideas before pointing fingers and getting on the various soap-boxes. It would be beautiful to see people turn inward and question where our impulses, both creative/destructive, come from. To find our Self, to peel back the layers of civilization and experience, and rediscover what it means to be a person, is what I meant about being Savage; however, this is the view from my current window.

there is a sound so desperate to exist
it plagues inside every crack and twist
soaks in the brain and turns around
to find itself, solemnly sitting down.
to understand something so unsure
accept you are as raw and impure
live or break at anyones command
it is in you as in the sound

well, is there ever really change? I can't tell
a different face to occupy
a different place to dwell


Listen to Savage

p.s.: congratulations on The Black Keys and Dan for their recent Grammys

*War dance in the interior of a Konza lodge photo from: