It’s another Nostalgia Friday. This is one of my favorite things I’ve done, hitting the road with Deadhorse for a solid month, and bumming people out with this poem night after night.
I don’t think I ever gave the total backstory as to how this piece came to be. Over the course of the time that Brian and I had become friends, we both realized that we shared a mutual background growing up in the church. Obviously, that experience has left its fingerprints all over our respective art; I tried for YEARS to deny it, but it turns out, my performance style AND my writing are heavily influenced by my upbringing: son of a former pastor, grandson of a former pastor, great-grandson of a former pastor…my whole childhood was hellfire and brimstone as commonplace themes. I can’t speak Brian’s story, but I know we shared that much.
When we set out to embark on a 34-day tour together, we decided to try and build on those experiences. Specifically, we wanted to take the "it’s now or never, repent or perish" vibe so common in those last nights of the camp meetings, where the pastor is urging the sinners in the congregation to come forward and confess their sins at the altar before it’s too late, and the Lord abandons them as lost souls for eternity. Having sat through MANY of those services, Brian and I came up with an idea - what if we took our religious upbringings, and our existence in the DIY punk counterculture, and married them? What if we wrote something that was every bit as intense as those Sunday night altar calls, but instead of making people feel hopelessly lost without confession, we left them with the realization that they ALREADY had the tools within themselves to find salvation? What if we illustrated the entire point of Deadhorse’s album…that We Can Create Our Own World.
Two days before we left for tour, we all sat in Brian’s parents’ basement. Deadhorse started writing sad music, I started writing sad poem. We wrote together, at the same time, interconnecting words and music in a much more organic fashion than I’ve ever done before - or since. (Former) drummer Garrett sat with me for a couple hours helping me memorize the piece, and then we put it all together. This video is the only known recording of the finished work.
I think this was the mightiest my beard has ever been in my whole life.