Demo version: Track above is a demo version and will play 50% of the song. All purchased tracks are complete mp3s (100%).
Songwriters: Lyrics: Phillip Gardner | Music: Michael Gardner and Phillip Gardner
Story Behind The Song: This was another song written in Tennessee. I’d read a quotation attributed to Michael Jackson about Billie Jean in which he supposedly said it was a song about paranoia. And I thought WHAT? You want paranoia? I’ll give you some paranoia. And so the image came to me–the red traffic light, the anxious boot on the accelerator. That moment of indecision, that monkey on your back. So that was the concept.
What I handed to Michael was a crappy cassette, a version of the song on acoustic guitar–in other words about a galaxy away from the treatment the band gave it. Michael and I talked through it, and I had the lyrics already, which were there to provide some direction. The words in the middle, where it slows down, sound creepy: “. . . on the edge night, at the brink of danger/ All my children, so young and so restless . . .,” but actually it’s a joke, using the titles of television soap operas to suggest a kind of horror movie scene.
Michael, and I guess other engineers and producers, often describes sounds in visual terms. For example, we’d be doing vocals and Michael would look at Kenny and say, “Needs to sound a little browner, don’t you think?” We were all drawn to the cinematic opportunities that music offers, and many of the songs, including this one, are, I believe, very visual in their narrative content. The greatest 45 every released, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, which is highly cinematic, left a lasting impression on us.
The track is really powerful. Robert and Kenny are soooo locked in. And the guitar work, especially when Michael and Audley rise to the crescendo is remarkable. The country lick over Robert’s noir bass line was a kind of afterthought, but it really establishes the vibe, like opening the door to a scene in a Hitchcock movie. And when the song lands on that lick at the end, that door closes. But what was going on behind that door is still going on.
John Custer brought in the effects, I believe. John was around in those days, talking UFOs, quipping, and doing hilarious imitations of local players. A kind of genius there. It was only after Joe Tronto booked us at his club, The Attic in Greenville, that we had a name for the band. John’s idea, Gardners of Soule.
The first time I heard the basic tracks, my head flew off. – – Phillip Gardner