The Freeing Feeling

Hey there Col. Pike fans,

Thanks again for tuning in and for all of your support.

Recently, during a discussion of lyrical content or the lack thereof in modern music, at least in any meaningful and substantive fashion, I was reminded of a old bandmate's reaction to a new song.  He said he wasn't into the song because he didn't like songs about violence.  And let's face it, he may not have liked anything about the song, or maybe he just didn't like that fact that I was writing songs, and he wasn't.  Regardless, if a person doesn't like songs that touch on violent encounters, hey, fair enough.  I get it.  

His comment was a little suspect, however, because at the time we played a cover of The Grateful Dead's song, Jack Straw.  Robert Hunter's main character in Jack Straw tells the tail of his violent encounters while traveling by rail across the country, presumably as a box car stow-away.  Of course, Dead Heads, who trend toward the upper end of the I.Q. curve, recognized that Hunter's lyric was in no way auto-biographical and that he had drawn on an immense well of creativity to conjure what nearly all would characterize as an evil son-of-a-bitch.

This example is by no means exclusive.  Consider Take the Money and Run (Steve Miller),  I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley), Black River Killer (Blitzen Trapper), Saturday Night's Alright (Elton John) and let's face it, many more than I could ever list here.  I've posted the lyrics that my bandmate found so offensive on the Col. Pike lyrics page here.  The song title is Foolish Pride. 

Nevertheless, my former bandmate presented a valid question in regard to Foolish Pride, whatever his true motivations happened to be, namely, whether or not artists should present violence in their work.  And that question, I whole heartedly embrace because it focuses our attention on the ultimate purpose of art.  As a songwriter, I've long viewed that role as an opportunity to present the audience with a reflection of the full gamut of the human experience.  One difficulty with this endeavor arises when trying to demonstrate the reality of violence while at the same time avoiding the glorification of it.  I will let you decide whether Foolish Pride crosses the line.  Please leave a comment, as I truly welcome your thoughts on this.  And either way, I encourage you to listen to and think about the lyrics of songs.  Grapple with them and try to figure out the meaning, or just come up with your own take.  That said, I also encourage you to think carefully about whether a song is autobiographical…some are and some aren't.

Hope you are well and that you have a great day, week, month, year, and century.



Leave a comment