Strange Famous Records

METERMAIDS: The Stories Behind the Songs of ‘We Brought Knives’

Over the next 12 days, Swell of Metermaids will tell the stories of each of the songs on their new LP, leading up to the release date of December 12.

Pre-order package deals: http://tinyurl.com/WeBroughtKnives

Here is my breakdown of the first song on our new record, We Brought Knives. It’s called “The Legend of Mal Hombre”. I really like it.

11 days to go y’all.

1. The Legend of Mal Hombre

1. The Legend of Mal Hombre

The intro music you hear as the album begins was recorded live in Ecuador by M. Stine’s sister in law, walking down some alley in some town.  A passing marching band, which as I listen to the record more becomes creepier and creepier.  She emailed it to Matty during a beat-making session.  We all just loved it, and wanted to use it somewhere on the record.  So now it is the first sound you hear.  I don’t know why, but I love it.  It sets the tone for the record.

Sentence and I did the bulk of the writing for We Brought Knives in one night at my parents’ house while they were away.  Two subs from Jersey Mike’s (delicious).  Sun chips (delicious).  Cigarettes and some whiskey.  Basically the same formula for every record.  We wrote from like 6PM to maybe 3 or 4AM?  I think we got seven or eight of the songs done in that one sitting.

While we wrote this song, trading lines back and forth on Sentence’s laptop, whoever wasn’t writing would be working on a different song.

I don’t want to give the impression that the record was haphazardly put together; the opposite is true.  Before we sat down to write anything we talked for months about what the songs would be about.  I was just a big fan of the idea of taking our poured over outlines and actually writing the shit in a blur of unbridled creativity.  Which is why it was also important to go someplace where we wouldn’t be distracted.

The song is inspired by a story I heard third hand about an interaction between two rappers that we all know and love.  Somtimes an image is an image.  Sometimes emulating a manufactured image can be pretty goddamned dangerous.

LYRICS:

Mal Hombre that hardbody.  Walk softly.  Talk shit and carry a big stick.  Get lifted when the spliff’s lit.  Got his veins all filled with black coffee.  Drug through the dirt with the mud on his shirt and his nerves all – don’t you dare slackjaw me.  Fights at the bar.  Spiders in a jar.  Sits with a long list of bad hobbies.  Like back off me.  Do you want to die, kid?  Got them bourbon heavy eyelids.  Four door Chevy.  White rims.  They like him.  It’s like this.  Live fast, die pretty in a side ditch.  Don’t care about tomorrow.  Steal beg and borrow.  Still they ain’t never gonna find prints.  

We heard whispers coming from the bigger kids.  They combed their hair just like his.  They dropped their baseball cards and packed their daddy’s switchblades on some fight shit.  Intrigued by the way the police had a thing when see him their hand went to the nightstick.  Instinct.  Every king on the scene has a dream of a million little sidekicks.  I knew as sure as shit I’d meet him.  So I kept my blade sharp.  My peoples ran the blocks so heads knew they shouldn’t be playing in the dark.  Got the name with the spraypaint drip.  Got stomped if you talked to the narcs.  Told them they can’t maintain shit.  Everybody knew better not to start.

The same drugs as him.  Hold up.  The same slugs as him.  Sho ’nuff.  The same bitches on my dick.  You damn right I fucked your friend girl.  So what?  Nothing’s gonna stop what we started.  No one’s going to try and step up.  Worked hard for the spot.  Dog recognize the fox.  We’re both trying to find the next hunt.  Get smacked up.  Slapped up.  Knifed up.  Shot up.  On some BYOB shit, baby boy.  You can think about it kind of like a pot luck.  Think about your outline chalked up.  Didn’t think about getting locked up.  Locked in a battle.  Lost in the saddle.  Never thought the door was gonna lock.  Fuck.

Swing.

Smile in the wrong place, hombre.  You’re rocking a long face with the tooth missing.  Jewels missing.  Shoes missing.  Bust the knuckles out.  Sunk them in a stool pigeon.  You’re screaming like a bitch, son.  Who’ll listen?  No cops now.  No lockdown.  Kind of like romantic pop now.  Check how the moon will make the tool glisten.  Few screws missing.  Couple bolts loose.  Getting aggravated at you, daddy.  Don’t move.  No white lights.  Just blackouts.  Got a game I like to play.  It’s got no rules.

Old shoes.  If I want a new pair, monfrere, then I’m making you a code blue.  I’m like: hold this.  You’re like: oh shit.  I’m like: shut up, bitch.  You’re like: don’t shoot.  I’m an artist and I only paint with flatlines.  Only color in except where it’s green.  I’m a bad guy.  I’m a beast.  I’m a thug.  I’m a scanner.  I’m a chud.  Live forever because I can’t die.

I finally met the old legend down at Johnny B’s.  Mal Hombre.  Big Papi.  I told him let’s shoot a bag out back.  His eyes met mine.  He said yo, not me.  But your the jefe de jefe’s.  Mean motherfucker.  Bone crusher.  Undisputed baddest.  Not one of these fancy other suckers could say a thing to ever touch your status.  I told him I wrote my story in blood.  My blade is your blade, daddy.  I’m you’re student.  He said life ain’t a movie.  If you can’t figure that out -

That’s on you, stupid.

2. House On Fire

House on Fire started as a different song – one Sentence and I wrote in our frenzied night of writing.  Different beat too.  When we were finished with it, though, it wasn’t clicking.  So we did something that Metermaids has basically never done:

We trashed it and started all over.

Pretty fitting when I think about the emotion behind the song.  A lot of life has happened between the release of Rooftop Shake and We Brought Knives.  A lot of life is continuing right now.  Shit that is fundamentally changing Sentence and I as people, and the relationships around us.  As someone who hates chage, I like exactlynone of it.  But I know it’s necessary.  I GUESS.

I’ve never had an issue, per se, with abusing any kind of substance.  My adult life has been about work and reward.  And that has helped me keep a good balance.  Kids don’t hurt in keeping a man in check.  But I know that I am capable of heavy, destructive addiction.  I become addicted to basically everything I touch.  I once, while working as a dog walker, ate a bodega out of its entire supply of Pop Tarts in like a week.  WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVER DO THAT.  I find things I like and I compulsively engage with them over, and over, and over.  Even at work now I will sometimes realize that I’ve listened to the same song fifty times in a row.  Weird shit, too, like this.

My issue has always been, when drinking or doing drugs, I binge.  I have no desire to be a social drinker, or to smoke a little weed with friends, etc.  Same goes for some of the heavier shit I dabbled in during my younger years.  I like to get fuuuuuuuuucked uuuuuuup.  Still do.  Now, I just rarely let myself.  It’s a rare treat.  I have to wake up in the morning and get kids changed out of their pajamas.  I have to go to the park and play.  So there’s a cost associated.  If I’m going to go hard, I have to be willing to pay the price.  It’s basically never worth it.  Spend a day with a three year old while nursing a fantastic hangover.  Do it.  I dare you.

In a fuuuuuucked uuuuuuup state a while back, I started wondering why I had this compulsion.  Here is the conclusion I came to: I have always been an emotional person.  I’m a Cancer son.  It’s in the blood.  Or the moon, or whatever.  I’m sentimental.  I get really attached to things.  My body becomes like how my apartment is.  Nothing ever gets thrown out.  Everything that has even the slightest significance finds its way into a closet somehwere, tucked in a drawer, lost in winter jacket pockets.  It builds up.  And builds up.  And I can feel it in my bones.  My body doesn’t feel good most days.  It’s changed my behavior as I’ve gotten older and naturally have less energy.  I feel sick when I have to leave my apartment to attend a social function.  A part of me feels like I don’t have the excess energy to spare.  I feel weighed down.  My linen closet probably feels the same way.

The release from truly getting fucked up is like a temporary, warm, beautiful house fire.  Burn it all, start from zero.  I know it’s not actually that.  But that’s how it feels to me.  Fucking amazing.  As amazing as a house on fire.

Sentence’s verse is so much better than mine, IMHO.  His line about witnessing his grandfather’s passing sent a chill up my spine when he recorded it in the studio.

LYRICS:

I’ll keep it all.  Let the bittersweet dissolve on my tongue.  Burn the house to ash.  Save it all in my lungs.  Smash it all to pieces.  The pretty things.  The grimy bits.  Swirl it all around.  Gather round to see what’s inside of it.  I’ll keep high school, for real.  All of it.  I’ll keep the Wu Tang.  The camoflage and goggle shit.  I’ll keep my first records.  First raps.  Wack beats.  Makeshift Gods.  Voicebox records and rap beef.  Putting guts on the street.  Sneaking over fences trying to duck the police.  The day we watched Grandpa’s last breath – I’ll keep it.  Little James with his hand on his heart like the pledge of allegiance.  I’ll keep the painful times.  The ones that made me toughen up.  The times I fixed it all.  The times I clearly fucked it up.  The painkillers.  The black eyes and broken teeth.  Sometimes you just dive in. That’s how you know it’s deep.

Let it go.  Like a house on fire.

You can take all of the 7th grade and most of the 5th.  The taste of white wine on the last one’s lips.  The look on her face and the cuts on her wrist.  Every song I made before I knew to fuck with the mix.  My grandmother’s stroke and dials tuned to the AM.  Basic Lights and whatever keeps me awake at night.  Taking flights without medicine.  Fuck it. Foie gras and venison.  Flourescent lights.  Every time I made my sister cry.  Every night I ever spent with dirty clothes on the floor.  Sleeping in unmade beds.  Losing friends in the blink of an eye.  Pat on the back like a kiss goodbye.  My middle school record collection.  Pictures in the winter.  Broken bones in the summertime.  Bee stings and splinters.  Credits after movies.  Feeling like I’ll never make it.  Opiates and therapy, pretty much the same shit.  Hold the river choked like you’re hydroelectric.  But yo, you can take it.  Trust me you can take it.

Let it go.  Like a house on fire.

3. I’m Alive So Everything I Own Is My Lucky Everything [featuring Sage Francis & Prolyphic | cuts by Buddy Peace]

Songwriting 101, kids – the longer the song title, the doper the song.  Case in point.

This was the final song recorded for We Brought Knives.  It was originally intended to be a bonus cut for the physical release, but when we heard the final mix we agreed it was too dope to not be a full fledged family member.  I’m also not going to write out the lyrics, because our homey Hugo is working on one of those dope lyric-videos that I’ve always wanted.  WORK FASTER, HUGO!  When we release that video I’ll update this post.  Boom.

The idea for the song was inspired by the last few dates on the Copper Gone tour, where we had the blessing of accompanying Sage, Dolan, Lord Grunge, Madge, Irena, and Prolyphic for shows in Philly, Portland, and Providence.

I was inspired during this mini-run, again, by the Strange Famous records aesthetic.  Nobdy’s trying to do anything gimmicky.  Nobody’s going for the cheap PR grab.  To quote Dolan: “They don’t want to grind out on the road like I do.  They just stay home and hope to go viral“.  SFR is made up of people who record and perform really, really well.  Nobody is going to be a blog darling.  Nobody is ever going to excite these finicky Brooklyn kids who rely on Mishka to tell them who is hot.  But you could take the line-up of those Copper Gone shows and put it up against any other group of hip hop artists – if SFR isn’t blowing them away, we’re at least holding our own.  Dead ass.

It’s working man’s hip hop (shouts to Prolyphic).  And I couldn’t think of a higher compliment.  Do your job, and do it well.  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  This is what my momma and poppa taught me.  This is why SFR is the label we fought so hard to be a part of.  After an incredible Providence show to close out Sage’s tour, the whole crew met up at iHop for a 2AM family brunch.  It was fucking amaaaaaaaazing.  Another memory to get tucked away and recalled when I’m trying to remember how good life can be sometimes.

To that end, we reached out to Sage, Prolyphic, and Dolan to jump on the song.  Only Dolan wasn’t able to – but he’s in the middle of writing two records I believe, so it was understandable.  I’ll hold out hopes for a Redux.  The magnamous Buddy Peace laid the cuts down, and voilah: another entry into my “favorite collaborations we’ve ever been a part of” list.  I CANNOT WAIT TO PERFORM THIS LIVE SOME DAY.  WITH BUDDY PEACE.  SOMEONE BUY HIM A TICKET.

I’ll summarize by quoting Prolyphic’s closing line from the song: “Did three shows in a row, but I’m back in time at 9:00 on Monday”.

Damn straight.

Nov 21

Swell’s Top Five Favorite METERMAIDS Collaboooooooos

As we prepare for the December 2 release of the new METERMAIDS album “We Brought Knives” (pre-order your SIGNED CD, Cassette, MP3, T-Shirt, Snapback package here!), emcee Swell has put together his list of his Top 5 collaborations from Metermaid history. Peep:

No reason to beat around the bush.  Here are my favorite collaboration tracks we’ve ever been involved with.

5.  Vultures by Cas One (featuring Bitter Stephens, Prolyphic, Metermaids)

I met Cas for the first time at Prolyphic’s wedding, so it’s fitting that #5 is a Cas song produced by, and featuring, Pro.  I wasn’t familiar with Cas’s music when I met him.  I just knew that within like ten minutes of hanging out with the guy I felt like we had known each other for years.  The icing on the cake, then, was then going back and listening to his shit and realizing that he is dooooooooope.  Prolyphic’s beat is ridiculous as well.  Matter of fact, Prolyphic has been killing it on the production tip recently.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, EXHIBIT A.

I’ve never met Bitter Stephens, but I like his raps.  As is typical with Metermaids, we had to record our stuff with a quickness.  As is also typical with Metermaids, after Sentence laid down his part I wished that I had some time to… improve mine.  Oh well.  Live and learn.

4.  Gold Saturn by Illaborate (feauturing Metermaids and Breez)

I think we’ve known Illab since he was literally like 18 years old.  Back in our touring days, whenever we came through to MPLS we played with our boys Illab and NL.  Back then they were in a crew called Dumpstars. We met those dudes through our Red Lake boys Edge and DX.  The shows were always fun as hell.  Man I love MPLS.

Illab is a special kind of cat.  He presents as sort of grumpy initially – I think NL originally told me something like, “yeah Illab is always pissed off”.  But he is one of the coolest, funniest guys I have met in this game.  I’m always excited to get a chance to see him.  They all came through NYC over the spring and we had a fun ass show.  The thing with Illab, though, is that from age 18 he has been MAD GOOD AT RAPPING.  We take a lot of pride in our live show.  I like to get off stage and think that there aren’t a lot of people on our level who are fucking with what we can do on stage.  Illab is fucking with what we can do on stage.  Ha.  And he has been since before he could drink legally.

His first record (which is still in my car from 2008) is dope, his new record (that this song is featured on) is SUPER dope, and who knows what the future holds for this guy.  Also it goes without saying that his boy Breez has a ridiculous 16 on this muhfucka.  Sentence doesn’t have a verse, but is on the hook.

And my first car was actually a Gold Saturn stick shift.  I love to talk about it if you ever see me in person.

3.  Turn It Up by Metermaids (featuring Camp Lo)

This would be higher if I liked my verse more.  This list is meant to be subjective, after all.  I bet Sentence’s Top 5 would look different.  Uptown Saturday Night by Camp Lo is maaaaaaybe one of the greatest hip hop records ever.  Take a producer who has made almost all of my favorite beats – see this, and this, for example – and put him with two of the weirdest and dopest MC’s my teenage brain had ever experienced, and you get still-fucking-great-mad-years-later shit like this.

At the time we were recording Nightlife we shared a manager with Camp Lo.  They were getting back into the game with their Lumdi single, and we were dying to do something with them.  The hip hop gods smiled, and they were down.  Turn It Up is the result.  I love the beat, and love everyone else’s verses except my own.  In writing this, I’m realizing that maybe I have self-esteem issues.  Either way, that’s what keeps this at #3.  Because, come on son.  If you told 15 year old Sean that he would eventually have a song with Camp Lo under his belt, I would have exploded.  We even got to perform it live with them at the Nightlife album release:

Life is amazing and weird, man.

2. Bad Things Redux by Metermaids (featuring Sage Francis and B. Dolan)

I have talked about this song a lot before, I believe.  So I will keep this relatively short.  When we were finishing up Rooftop Shake we were sending beats to Sage to get his opinion before we did any rapping.  Lo and behold, two of those beats came back with Sage Fucking Francis rapping on them.  One was Kill The Crow (which eventually featured Buck65 as well), and the other was Bad Things.  I remember listening to Sage’s verse for the first time with my lady by my side.  I felt like my skin was on fire.

Later in the year, we had the fortune of doing a mini Colorado tour with the big guy and B. Dolan.  In the green room of the Mishawaka Theater outside of Fort Collins, Dolan was playing us some stuff from his laptop.  I remember he was kicking around the idea of doing this song.  At some point he casually mentioned that he had the Bad Things instrumental, and was thinking of writing some shit to it.  Sentence and I were like… aiiiiiiiight.

Months later he sent his shit through.  And… please.  He is SO FUCKING GOOD.  Seriously.  You want poignant?  Here.  You want some funny shit?  Here.  You want a dude to just rap his ass off?  See above.  This is #2 on my list because after hearing Sage’s verse (which was the first part of the song recorded) we made the conscious decision to not compete.  We just wanted to have fun.  After Dolan came with his shit our decision was even more validated.  If Bad Things Redux is the Chicago Bulls, Sage and Dolan are on some Jordan and Pippen shit.  Sentence and I are on some BJ Armstrong and John Paxson shit.  That’s not to say that players like Armstrong and Paxson are not essential to winning championships, but you know what I mean.

Every time all four of us perform this song I get off stage and think it was the greatest non-child-related moment of my life.  I tend towards hyperbole, but still.

1. Death of the Boombox by Prolyphic (featuring Sage Francis and Metermaids)

Numba One.  Top of the Heap.  In my hear of hearts, I believe this to be true.

Buddy Peace on the beat.  Sage Francis starts the song off in a ridiculous manner, and then goes on to kill it.  Prolyphic kills it.  And, IMHO, Sentence and I kill it too.  I love the beat, love all the writing, love the hook, love the idea of the song.  I have spent days where I listened to it like 50 times.  I remember when Sentence and I recorded our parts I figured out Bryan Adam’s “Everything I Do I Do it For You” on the piano while Sentene was recording.  Random memory, but true.

I don’t know what else to say about it.  Pro and Buddy’s record Working Man is one of the most slept on records in recent memory to me.  Every song is good.  It’s an honor to be a part of it.  To be on a song like this, produced by Buddy, that also features Sage?  Puhlease.

Life is good.
-Swell

Nov 05

RIP Ikey Owens

1 ikey

The world lost an incredible talent and a genuinely good person today. Point blank. He was also the most badass keyboardist I’ve ever seen perform live. To see Ikey Owens do his thing as part of my own set for 30+ shows on the Li(f)e Tour was a true privilege. Powerful, inspiring, electric…awesome. It was on that tour when I lost my dad actually, and the whole band was not only understanding of my situation but very comforting. As a shit-twist of coincidence would have it, we are very close to the 4 year anniversary of Eyedea’s sudden passing.

It’s stuff like this I dread when I hit the road for extended periods of time. For myself, for others, for everyone…the goal of the road is for it to be tragedy free. It’s a high hope to be sure, but it’s the things you never expect that sock you in the gut while you’re so helpless and far away. I just returned home from a sold out show in Newcastle feeling on top of the world when I opened an email to this awful news. He was found dead in a hotel today while he was touring with Jack White’s band in Mexico. The details of his passing aren’t fully known, but it’s not prudent to speculate or to get hung up on that stuff right now.

One thing I’m grateful for is that we had a chance to hang out last month when he was traveling through RI with Jack White’s band. Although we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years, he hit me up to get dinner so we could catch up on old times and discuss our current projects. We had some laughs, we discussed music, and, what was most important, he was really loving life. It’s good for me to be around people with those positive vibes and the fact that he just wanted to hang out with no official business being part of bargain meant a lot to me. That’s a gift I was given and I’m lucky to have it now that I know we’ll never be able to speak again.

All of the people he’s touched, mentored, or worked with through the years are experiencing shock and disbelief at the moment, just as I am, and there’s not much we can do except grieve and share our memories of him. My thoughts are with his friends, family and bandmates. I wanted to share this photo in hopes that it provides at least a smirk. Especially my friends in the Free Moral Agents. They know that Ikey had a rule about performers not wearing shorts on stage. That rule clashed with my rule about wearing my famous yellow swim trunks when the moment called for it (usually when my only pair of pants were being laundered.) He didn’t say anything about it. I know what he was thinking though.

Love you, homie.

Oct 14

Sage Francis tour dates: Australia, NZ, Korea, Japan, Cali, Portland

Sign up for the mailing list on our front page for all updates
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COPPER GONE album is AVAILABLE NOW! The North American Tour and European tours were FUCKING AWESOME. We’re expecting Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan to follow the trend. New tour dates and ticket links are below!

Nov 25 CROATIA – ZagrebMocvara - TICKETS

AUSTRALIA TOUR DATES:
Dec 3 – Adelaide, AU @ Uni Bar http://tinyurl.com/qffhvb7
Dec 4 – Melbourne, AU @ The Corner Hotel http://tinyurl.com/lz8m9jp
Dec 5 – Sydney, AU @ The Roller Den  http://tinyurl.com/kxzq66e
Dec 6 – Riverwood Downs, AU @ Subsonic Festival http://www.subsonicmusic.com.au/
Dec 7 – Brisbane, AU @ The Brightside  http://tinyurl.com/n7qjl7j

NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES:
Dec 11 Wellington, NZ at San Fran http://tinyurl.com/WellingtonCGtix
Dec 12 Aukland, NZ at Cassette Nine http://tinyurl.com/cgAUKLANDtix

SOUTH KOREA TOUR DATES:
Dec 19 Daegu, SK at Jeng-iy Collective: TICKETS
Dec 20 Busan, SK at Club Realize TICKETS

JAPAN:
Dec 28 Osaka, Japan at Conpass: http://www.conpass.jp/5748.html

CALIFORNIA (2015)
1/24 – Indio, CA at The Date Shed: TICKETS
1/28 – Fresno, CA at Fulton 55 TICKETS
1/29 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows TICKETS
1/30 – San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine TICKETS

PORTLAND, OR (2015)
1/31 – Portland, OR @ Alhambra Theatre TICKETS

1 oz full official

1 CopperGone_TheStash 2

Click photo for all “COPPER GONE” merch options.

GRACE is the first video off of Copper Gone:
http://youtu.be/tZFzBKl5ODY

First single – “VONNEGUT BUSY”

Follow on: Twitter + Facebook.

1 cgeuro square

THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT SHOWS, EUROPE!

US tall

THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT SHOWS, NORTH AMERICA!

Follow Uncle Sage on: Twitter + Facebook.

Oct 11

Sage Francis – Australia Tour – Dec 2014

My Australia Tour for 2014 has just been announced!
All details are posted below. There’s also a FB page dedicated to it. So fancy.
New Zealand dates will be announced soon.
COPPER GONE album is AVAILABLE NOW! That’s why I’ve been touring my tail off, don’tcha know? For info on all of my other upcoming shows click HERE.

AUSTRALIA TOUR DATES with TICKET LINKS:
Dec 3 @ Uni Bar – Adelaide http://tinyurl.com/qffhvb7
Dec 4 @ The Corner Hotel – Melbourne http://tinyurl.com/lz8m9jp
Dec 5 @ The Roller Den – Sydney http://tinyurl.com/kxzq66e
Dec 7 @ The Brightside – Brisbane http://tinyurl.com/n7qjl7j

Many thanks to Pat Jensen for the poster artwork. Below are two other size options for you social networks.

1 oz header official

FB header

1 oz square official

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MAKE EM PURR was the last video we released:
www.tinyurl.com/MakeEmPurrVid

GRACE was the first video off of Copper Gone:
http://youtu.be/tZFzBKl5ODY

First single – “VONNEGUT BUSY”

Follow on: Twitter + Facebook.

Oct 02

“Make Em Purr” video, lyrics, backstory

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/bjxHy8WTgTs
Video Director: Wasaru. 
Art Director: Jebedaï Couture
Special thanks to Jim Foltice for help with the treatment.

“Make Em Purr” has been one of the most discussed songs from the Copper Gone album, and since the most popular question I get asked on tour is, “How’s your cat, man?” — I figured it would be a good time to give you the song’s backstory. “Make Em Purr” didn’t even exist until a day before my final recording session. In fact, I considered the whole album to be finished save for one legal issue I had with “Thank You.” Out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to use the original music, I harassed a bunch of producers to see if they could come up with something totally new. Buck 65 is the main superhero who leapt into action to save the Francis in distress, bless his kind Canadian heart. He sent me several great beats, but none of them worked quite right for “Thank You”. The last beat he sent me was too somber sounding for for it — but the sad piano, pulsating low notes, sparse percussion and stripped-down feel of the music…it all hit me in a very particular way. It inspired me to write. I told Buck that I’d have a new song for him to hear the next day.

Up until that point I thought that I had said everything that needed to be said on the album. I was very wrong about that, and I’m grateful I figured this out before it was too late. Although many parts of Copper Gone touch upon the grief, depression, solitude, and disappointment that I’ve experienced in the past few years, along with the efforts being made to push forward, I had yet to speak about what I was dealing with in a plain manner. I’ve become very guarded as a person and as an artist over the past 15 years (and, in my own defense, with good reason.) Although that shit can protect you from the wolves, it can also hinder your relationships as well as your art and well being. The goal was not to write about cats, illness, being an introvert or anything in particular. I simply played the beat on a continuous loop, put my pen to the paper and transcribed an inner-debate I was having. I started the song off with a stark naked truth and let the rest of it fold out from there:

“I was a lot more comfortable being vulnerable and open,
When I was younger and it wasn’t clear if I was or wasn’t joking.
But so much has broken…I’m just like fuck it, the fix is in.
If I can’t hide in plain site anymore, I’ll just stay hidden.”

At that point in the writing process the entire spirit of the song basically took shape, and I kept writing until I landed on the final four lines of the song: “My 20′s were a roar. My 30′s were a blur. My 40′s, I’m not so sure… but I’m a make em purr.” That was that. Though there wasn’t any time to make revisions, there wasn’t really any need. It encapsulated everything I was feeling and thinking at that very moment, which was at the tail end of shitty period in my life. I stepped into my studio, recorded the vocals, sent it over to Buck and let him put the finishing touches on the arrangement. I can hardly believe that Copper Gone was almost released without this song on it. I believe it elucidates the meaning of so many other lyrics on the album, and without this song I wouldn’t feel as proud as I am of the entire project. So, again, many thanks to Buck for helping make this happen and a major salute to my lucky stars.

Lastly, contrary to what some reviewers have ascertained, this song is not *about* cats. However, if the main thing you get out of it is that I almost gave up all hope due to a dying pet, and you can relate to that situation on some level, that’s good enough for me.

The cat is doing great, btw.

1 sagefrancis_makeempurr_mens_tshirt_closeup

shirt image by Pat Jensen

“Make Em Purr” shirts are now available (men’s and women’s) at: www.tinyurl.com/MakeEmPurrShirt

——————————————–LYRICS——————————————–

I was a lot more comfortable being vulnerable and open when I was younger and it wasn’t clear if I was or wasn’t joking. But so much has broken I’m just like, “Fuck it…the fix is in.” If I can’t hide in plain sight anymore, I’ll just stay hidden. It’s been a minute since I left this domicile. No need to change my outfit. I rock it like it’s going out of style. It’s out of style? Ain’t no one here to tell me otherwise. It gets more difficult to stay inside during the summertime. But most of the time it’s just like any other time… Avoid personal interaction and human touch. Shut the blinds. It’s been a while since I left this bachelor pad. I’ll need to go to the market soon because the food is going bad. The food is bad. I’ve found it’s difficult to just cook for one. With healthy recipes. Well, depending on what book they’re from. If you want to eat healthy you’ve got to dirty some dishes. But this frozen dinner is quickly ready to serve… and it’s so delicious. It’s not delicious. It’s disgusting. But it satiates the hunger with a quickness, and hey… at least it’s something. At least it’s something. At most it’s nothing. Fuck’s wrong with me? I don’t know. I’m just adjusting. It’s been a month since I left this cabin. The doctor was worried about a fever and other difficulties I’ve been having. She called me on Christmas. That was my gift. She was worried I might die. I said, “I might die? Well…no shit.” It’s been forever since I’ve said something I can’t wiggle free from. If there’s anything I cherish in this self-inflicted prison…it’s freedom. It comes at a cost so I’m private to a fault, ’til I default on the loan for a home. It’s actually more like a vault. No one knows the combo but little old me. The head honcho. The holder of the key. Alone but never lonely. It’s been a millennia since I left this dominion or been in the company of any women… At least I’ve got my kittens. Spent more cash on my cat than I did myself. When he stopped eating I took him to the vet so they could check his health. They put a feeding tube into his neck. I said, “Please let this work because if it doesn’t…I’ve got nothing left.” I didn’t say that. But they saw that. Cat had my tongue. I didn’t speak at all. They just told me to call back. What, it wasn’t weird that I did nothing but stand right there? With a “FIX this…money’s no object” type stare? It’s been a year since I’ve stepped into anyone else’s private quarters. I’ve been busy self-diagnosing disorders. First world problems. Yeah… USA #1. Top of the world. I’m in a tux and cumber-bun. Welcome, everyone…to the party of the century. It’s sure to be one for the books, no doubt. Medical ones especially. My 20′s were a roar. My 30′s were a blur. My 40′s…I’m not so sure. But I’m a make ‘em purr.

Aug 25

The Sage Francis Interview Invasion, 2014

I’ve done a slew of interviews in 2014, all of which surfaced around the same time. Here’s the comprehensive breakdown…

This is an interview I did with BeeShine on the very first day of the Copper Gone Tour. It’s probably my favorite video interview that I’ve done:
http://youtu.be/SmdzjDfhOpc

Here’s a video interview I did in Pittsburgh on the day of Copper Gone‘s release:
http://youtu.be/7lJ9zlmwvC8

Here are a couple podcasts I participated in recently. It’s a lot of talking. If you’re bored or working around the house, feel free to play them while you shuffle about:

Shots Fired: https://soundcloud.com/shots-fired-podcast/episode-77-sage-francis

Chrome Bills (with Seez Mics): https://soundcloud.com/chromebills/cb53-the-sage-francis-interview

More recently I conducted a Q&A on my Facebook page just to see how something like that might go. Over the course of 24 hours I answered as many questions as I could. If you have the patience of a monk, you can read all of the interactions HERE.

I love talking. Love it so much. Here’s a photo to express my excitement:

Sage Francis photo by Prentice Danner

If you’re still interested in more interviews for whatever reason, I’ve archived them here.

A couple of my favorites are:
Bonafide Magazine
Colorado Buzz Music

Jul 31

“To Hell and Back” – Phoenix Cover Story

It’s been a long time since I got any significant coverage from local media. Big thanks to Chris Conti for getting me the cover story: http://providence.thephoenix.com/music/158805-to-hell-and-back/

1 phoenix

Here’s a bit of an aside that I wrote on my Facebook page, June 26th:

It feels a bit heavy handed to call what I’ve gone through “to hell and back,” especially when my situation was largely self-inflicted. In my head. And it’s not something people could help me with. I choose how I live. There many people going through much worse in their daily lives without any say in the matter. That’s not to diminish the serious nature of things like depression, but I have gone through worse and I expect to go through worse. That’s life. The driving force behind Copper Gone was not to shame people for not helping me when I apparently needed assistance of some sort. For instance, I’d hate for my loved ones to read this article and be made to feel like they should have helped me in some way. That just wasn’t an option. I worked through it the way I know to work through it, I’m in a much better place, and life continues to be as confusing as it is interesting. I can’t say I’m officially out of the dark part of the woods yet, but I am definitely glad to be climbing trees again.

Putting focus back into my music and myself is just what the Doctor ordered. I’m good. And I’m in great company.

Thank you

Jul 17

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