Song Stories: Eight-State Arms

Leading up to the June 2 release of "Through Private Wars" (available for pre-order now), I'll be posting brief thoughts on each of its songs over the next few weeks. Today, track #6, Eight-State Arms.

I love touring. Very little gives me more pleasure than waking up somewhere unusual, knowing that all I have to do today is travel from one town to the next, and then play a show. It's a vast improvement over going to your day job (unless you really, really like your day job; I sadly don't). I haven’t been touring as much lately, as life has intruded, but I’m hoping to get back on that horse soon. However, if you’re not lucky enough to marry one of your bandmates, or wealthy enough to bring your significant other along as a merch girl or roadie or whatever, the downside of touring is that you leave the parts of your life that you CHOSE behind you, alongside the parts that you’re getting away from. 

I was on a short run of dates, and the lady-friend of the time had, well, one of those days. You know the ones: a cascading series of things that go wrong until all that’s left is to sit on the floor and cry. Ordinarily, when your partner is having one of those days, you sit on the floor with them and hold them and reassure them that everything will be okay. Alas, I was states away. You can probably see where this is going… 

Initially I was working off a chord voicing that, realistically, probably hewed too close to “House of Cards” for anything much good to come of it; some toying around led me to the riff that opens the tune, and which largely drives the rest of the arrangement. I also spent a surprisingly long time trying to write a lyric sheet to this groove that was comprised entirely of haikus (which would have worked, if only I could have stuck it), but apparently despite my oft-repeated (and cribbed from Tom Robbins, not for nothing) claim of being a "black belt in haiku," it turns out I'm only a white belt. Sad!

Eric’s shambling fills and Rob’s AC/DC power chords anchor this rocker, and I got to sneak in the handclaps that I think every record needs (like plants and electrolytes). Also contains the closest thing I play to a guitar solo on this record; with soloists like Rob, Paul, and Kevin around, why would I do more? I'm a little surprised I even played guitar at all.