Song Stories: Motionsick

Leading up to the June 2 release of "Through Private Wars" (available for pre-order now), I'll be posting brief thoughts on each of its songs over the next few weeks. Today, the lead-off track, Motionsick.

In my early 20s, I suddenly developed motion sickness. Any trip longer than half an hour, I’d feel nauseous and uncomfortable for most of it. Never was a problem when I was younger… I found that dramamine helped, but about 20 minutes after taking it, I HAD to sleep for ten minutes or all hell would break loose. This happened for five or so years, and then just went away. Bodies are weird. But I think that there's at least the suggestion of both the sense of pushing oneself past all sane limits, as well as the general vertigo and unease that comes with the unsettled life of a musician buried within this lyric.

This is an older tune, written in the midst of this unexplained unrest; I was aiming for a simple, repeatable chorus (as I have the tendency to over-write, just as I have the tendency to talk too much, just as I have the tendency to do lots of things too much), and I'd like to think it landed. This song never really found its footing in the bands I fronted, but an Alec Stewart-inspired re-examination of open tunings (this one’s played in open G, if you’re following along at home) led me to a version that made it seem the perfect opener. (Incidentally, if you're not familiar with Alec Stewart's songs, get thee to Spotify immediately; I'll wait).

The second verse contains the last lines written for the record, as I decided at the last minute to kill a Wilco-quoting lyric (and literally recorded that vocal while holding my phone, with the new lines, out in front of me, much like To Reason Why from "On So Thin A Line"). Listen in particular for the fabulous lead guitar and Rhodes interplay: Rob and Kevin bounced off each other beautifully (and Kevin hints at Also Sprach Zarathustra just a little at the end of the solo section, which pleases the nerd in me endlessly). 

I wrote the song when I was much closer to 19 than 41, but time does continue to pass unabated…