“The highest treason a crab can commit is to make a leap for the rim of the bucket.” — Steven Pressfield
I cribbed the title of this song from a Songfight challenge years ago.
I came up with the signature guitar riff ages ago, probably back in 1995, after which it just kind of sat there for two decades while I failed to write an actual song around it. I wrote the lyrics separately, but the two didn’t really click until, once again, the Bob Mould concert and his performance of Sugar’s “Helpless” which gave me the framework for how this song should sound.
When I wrote the first draft, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” was ascendant and people were apoplectic over the thought of anyone so easily buying their way to fame. “Friday” was only three years ago but it seems almost old-fashioned compared to today’s self-made Vine and Snapchat stars allegedly clearing $100K per month for mentioning Spaghetti-Os to their 7 gazillion subscribers. Ultimately, fame is not about you but how other people feel about themselves when they think about you — in other words, fame is a pretty messed-up thing that I feel it’s wise to avoid as long as possible. If you’re chasing fame, you should probably consider chasing work instead, so when the spotlight does find you, your career doesn’t fade away with it.
That’s the end of the Car Trouble tunes. Thanks for listening!
This is a song about riding motorcycles!
I’ve never been on a motorcycle and I likely never will. I don’t trust myself in anything that isn’t already a giant steel coffin on wheels and I certainly don’t trust anyone else to be cautious in their own giant steel coffins while I’m teetering exposed on two tires with bugs slamming against my faceplate. Yeah, nope, I decided just now that I’m never getting on a motorcycle.
That said, this song is about the romance of the ride, inspired by a bunch of memories and thoughts: seeing motorcycle clubs fill the roads in Wyoming and Utah in the summer; friends and coworkers who love their bikes; uh, too many episodes of Sons of Anarchy. RIP Opie. Anyway, the original guitar riff to this song was slower and I was calling it “The Road” because I knew it was going to be another traveling song. It was only after I sped it up that it started sounding like an engine roaring to life. Later, when I came up with the line always keep faith in the ride I knew I had a better title.
Other notes? There are something like eight vocal tracks stacked up, and it’s probably my second-favorite drum track I’ve ever played. It seems to be everyone’s favorite of the bunch so that’s cool.
Safe travels, y’all.
Above: a classic BMW bike in Rzeszow, Poland. Photo by Ola Pemberton.
The Kirby Krackle Patreon campaign is rollin’ strong and we’re nearly halfway to our first milestone. If we hit $800 per song, all contributors get the entire KK catalog for free. All five studio albums plus our live album, delivered digitally. In addition to all the other stuff they’re already getting! Our deepest thanks to our supporters so far. Your inbox is gonna be SO full.
I forgot to mention this earlier! 10% of contributions are split between two charities: The Hero Initiative, which helps comic creators who need emergency medical aid or financial support, and Child’s Play, which purchases games and toys for hospitalized children. The more patrons we sign up, the more we can donate to these two great charities.
Check it out and become a patron!
I mentioned earlier that the Car Trouble songs were written in a fit of inspiration following a Bob Mould concert. It’s probably fitting that one of those songs is about Bob Mould, kinda.
I wrote the guitar riff to “Shake You Off” in the days following the concert. Sometime later I borrowed a copy of Mould’s biography See A Little Light from Patrick. Reading through it, I was struck by Mould’s terse confession that he has an ability to simply walk away from situations and relationships. For whatever reason, he’s not interested in maintaining those loose ties to lots of people over time — once he’s done, he’s done, and he won’t be calling you. I started thinking about times in my life where I’ve done the same, and how it made me feel everything from relieved to pure evil, but always some measure of awkward. I know you now, but I won’t always know you, so why pretend this will last?
This riff and that thought stuck with me until the following summer when it finally became the song below. And if it sounds a little dark or angry than what you’ve come to expect from me, it’s because there’s an invisible line from this song stretching backward in time to that Hüsker Dü concert in 1987 — an adult trying to siphon a little energy from a darkened underground room in Steel City, full of punk boys and pinwheeling arms and fists and, at that precise moment, the best rock band in the world.
Kyle has launched a Patreon campaign to help fund the creation of new Kirby Krackle music among other things. We hope you’ll check it out. It’s basically a subscription that lets you make a small donation every time we release something new. You’ll get new songs and other stuff from Kyle and the band before anyone else, and you’re less likely to miss out on stuff because we send it to you directly instead of announcing it on Facebook and praying that you notice it among all the other things that swamp your online life. It’s a nice little twist on crowdfunding that lets us raise a bit of cash, little by little.
Kirby Krackle had some great opportunities in the past few years, and I think as a result some people think we’re bigger than we actually are. People ask us things like: when is Kirby Krackle coming to the East coast? When are you coming to the UK and Europe? Can you bring the whole band to Australia next year? When is your next album coming out? Are you gonna be at SuperMegaAwesomeCon this year? We want to say yes to everything. But the truth is: it’s insanely expensive to put five people and all their gear in a van or on a plane. And while Kyle is always up for performing solo acoustic, I think in his heart he wants to bring the full rock show experience to as many people as he can. But too often we have to choose between recording the next album or traveling to shows.
We want to do both. We want to come to where you are! You can help make that happen by becoming a supporter. At the very least, you will get new music and a warm, self-satisfied feeling of superiority you can lord over your friends.
More new music, this time from Explone. Feast your ears on our new single, the “Ballad of Murtzuphlus“:
Murtz-a-what? He’s a 12th-century Byzantine emperor who ruled Constantinople for a few crazy months when everyone was running around committing treason and putting out each other’s eyes and stuff. The city was sacked, Murtzuphlus was captured, tried and thrown to his death from the top of a tower, GoT style. Hardcore.
The new Explone album Suicide Fences is due out later this year. Brace yourselves.
I’d like to introduce you to my newest musical thing: Car Trouble.
One day in September 2012, brain exploding from seeing Bob Mould perform at a nearby club for his Silver Age tour, I came home from work, grabbed my Telecaster and recorded a half-dozen rock riffs into Garageband. Three of them became complete songs, and these are those. Quickly recorded with first-draft lyrics and haphazardly mixed. RIYL 90s-era guitar-heavy pop like Sugar, The Posies, Matthew Sweet and early Foo Fighters, I guess?
I once told Megan that some artists think of their songs as their children, something to be nurtured and looked after once they’re out in the world. My songs are more like little demon imps always bugging me to finish them, distracting me from other things. Consider this an exorcism. Begone, spirits! Get out of here, I have work to do.
You can listen to all three tracks here.
AHHHHH NEW BOB MOULD SONG.
Clocks in at a lean 2:03. I’ve written about Mould (and Hüsker Dü) before, but I’ve got some more Mould-related stuff coming your way soon.
Desperate times call for desperate blog headlines. But hey, new Explone song! And yes, it IS a Rihanna cover, the first in a series of singles we have lined up for release this summer ahead of a new album called Suicide Fences. We’ve been working on these songs in the two years since our Telescope & Satellite EP and we’re finally ready to start pushing ‘em out.
Read what Patrick has to say about this song here. See also: Twitter and Facebook.