So Roll Back is a move in Tai Chi and the concept of it is really important to Eastern Philosophy in general, and the concept of Tai Chi’s softness and wisdom. It’s not necessarily about non aggression, per se, but it is about the wisdom of when to step back and let the opponent take themselves out with their aggressive forward momentum. Or something.
Anyway Larry has taken a lot of Tai Chi at various places, including the school I’m at now, and Roll Back the song, is basically about applying that concept to life as it comes flying at you aggressive, unchecked and uncontrolled.
Or at least, that’s my reinterpretation of what Larry said. He’ll read this and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m sure.
We did more of this at my home studio than any other song, I think. We actually did all the backup vocals there and a lot of arranging and such. The drums on this one are by the illustrious Stephen Romano – we didn’t even know what song we would use them on, we just decided a tempo, made some guide tracks, and let him go. He was constantly unsatisfied and apologetic for the low quality of his playing, but we were very satisfied and happy to have his tracks.
Shows how much tighter and better a drummer he is than me! 🙂 You can really tell that it’s a better drum track if you compare it to the other songs with live drums. But that makes for some variety so that’s cool.
I wrote the “poem” that Larry says in the middle. What that really means is, and this is totally true, is one day when we were kind of in the middle of that song, Larry was at work and I was home (working? ha!), and he was looking for Justine (his wife). Actually perhaps I was near Justine or baby sitting their baby son Iggy (now five). I must have been near her because he was IMing me to ask if I’d seen her or if she was there or where she went. Needed to ask her something or something.
So me being me, my answer to his query about where Justine was, was to type:
She said God was with her in her quest to rid the Earth of the Trilobytes. She bound off carrying a stick cut crudely to look like a sword. She was wearing snow shoes.
And Larry said “Oh my god that’s hilarious. I’m gonna use that as a lyric!” maybe he was half joking but I probably said “you should!” or something and turns out, he really did. *laugh*
I did all the woo ppiii breathing things. Both me and Larry did backup vocals for the chorus. There might be some Tamara in there too but I’m not sure.
It’s funny how weird we are. Here we are making music, being friends, etc etc, three, four of us. Like a band. But we didn’t form a band. We just – made records. SOLO records. But they’re NOT solo records. I wonder why we didn’t play the stuff live, and/or make “band” records instead of “solo” records. I think it’s a combination of things. One is that this particular record was mostly already written. And it made sense to get this one done and in the books. Larry’d been waiting like a decade to get some of this stuff recorded. Another thing is Larry was (is still) BUSY as hell. They were buying a house at that time, he was a full time programmer, wife, kid, etc. And he’d been a rocker rockin stages in bars all the time. He was probably uninterested in “the scene” by then, much as I am now.
But I don’t think if I’d have been gung ho about presenting stuff live, that Larry would have been resistant. From my point of view, *I* stopped the potential “band” thing with my fear of doing it. Somehow I wasn’t afraid of being a rock star poet, but I was always afraid of trying to be a musician. Still am, really. And the reason I mention that is because my first reaction is to say that at that time, I was maybe too self centered and focused on my own “solo” career to recognize the opportunity to doing something truly collaborative (even though collaborative success was the order of the day – in our record making, and in the poetry slam stuff – the TEAM is what made it all succeed – going totally solo later basically killed my momentum). But the thing is, to separate the notions of fear and selfishness is to misunderstand the mechanism that leads to selfishness, and I think it’s important to tell the real story there, to show that connection. Obviously I think it’s important to understand what leads to something unhelpful like selfishness, because then we really understand it and can choose another path. But also I think if we all understand that the selfish are simply afraid, then perhaps we can begin to have compassion. Which obviously is important.
And I think that’s a nice little way to come back around to the notion of Roll Back, which is an Eastern wisdom, and compassion as a power (rather than a fuzzy cheesy corny Hallmark emotion like we often have it in the West) is also a key component of Eastern thought (says I, maybe some would say I’m an idiot).
So there you go. That’s what the song Roll Back makes me think about today. Bye.
I spelled that wrong. BUY: