“Make Em Purr” video, lyrics, backstory
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.
“Make Em Purr” shirts are now available (men’s and women’s) at: www.tinyurl.com/MakeEmPurrShirt
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.
I still tear up on the odd occasion I really give this track the attention it deserves. The desperation breaks me. Fantastic track, hope the kitty is still good
Leave a Reply