Love Lies
Words & music by S. J. Tucker
Vocals, percussion: S. J. Tucker
Tracked & mixed by Tony Fabris, Monkey Brains Studios Seattle

I wrote "Love Lies" at Burning Man in 2008, in the shade at the ARTery headquarters. ([info]omnisti  and I work for the art placement team (the ARTery) at Burning Man.  We help make sure that the big sculptures, burned or otherwise, don't end up set up right on top of each other.  We get to use GPS units and drive golf carts when we go to work.  Burning Man is the only place and time you'll find K and me working a day job and keeping a home, oddly enough.  When I wrote this song, I was between tasks on my work shift.)  Lots of amazing things happen in the desert when Black Rock City shows up like a mirage.  This is the second song I've written out there, and it won't be the last.  This one's actually not as autobiographical as you might expect.  It's not about a wild, one-night romance at the Burn, which is what it sounds like to me (though the potential and the fantasies were certainly there at the time, make no mistake).  I just got to thinking about how so many chance encounters can lead to so many different kinds of interactions (and entanglements) out there, where so many thousands of creative people come together all at once for what really is a very short time. 
Fate knocks, as Beethoven said.  Open the door.
There are so many songs out there about love as a predatory force, something that sneaks up on you, something wild and dangerous.  This one's no exception.  It's got everything-angels, tigers, the desert, danger, and a honey-soaked blues melody line.

About the recording: 
Tony and I discovered that when we covered the head of my bodhran with a sheet and I hit it with the tipper, it sounded an awful lot like a kick drum--exactly what I wanted.  So that's me, sitting in the vocal booth at Monkey Brains with a pretty bedsheet wrapped around my Irish drum, whacking it on the first beat of every measure. :D  That's also me doing the claps and finger snaps--this took several takes, and my hands were pretty warm (and just a little sore) when we were done.  It makes you think about how recording worked a few decades ago, how you had to get it right all in one go, for the most part, or else play your part over and over again.  I feel for the hand clappers and finger-snappers of Motown
and the like, all those who've gone before. 
Often, when I overdub all of the counterparts and harmonies I love to add to my songs in the studio, I'm making up the various parts as I go.  In this case, all the girls were already singing their parts in my mind, just about note-for-note as you hear it.  Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? all over again, to a degree.  They were dying to get out, and I'm very happy with the sassy, bluesy results.  My perverse side loves having a very gospel-sauce song about all sorts of things you don't talk about in church.
Most of the songs on Mischief had to wait their turn to be recorded for a long time.  I think they're better for it, but I'm also relieved to have them out of my head at last.  It gets all crowded up with songs in there.  The minute I finish one, another one steps up.  It's a good problem to have, but sometimes I get a little frantic.  Since I had the arrangement for this one fully formed in my mind from almost the moment I finished writing the lyrics down (I'm not always so fortunate), I feel very good to have it out in the world at last.

Interesting facts: 
It's possible that I'll do a full band recording of this song sometime, but I wanted the a capella version to come first.  Singing with yourself is, for me, a lot less time-consuming than hiring (or becoming) a funk band.  In the meantime, you can hear me do this up right live, song-mama
style, with GBMojo's Ginger Doss and Bekah Kelso, whenever we perform together as The Traveling Fates.

lyrics:
love lies downwind waiting
patiently to be found
all day east wind howling (wailing)
angel don't make a sound
unless
you are the one i have been waiting for

i've been downwind waiting
for you to come around
all night west wind wailing
angel don't let me down
i know
you are the one i have been waiting for

there is no one soul that will swallow me whole
and let me out shining and beautiful, no
(spit me out, turnabout's fair play)
in love there is loss of control
but like the rivers i roll
(just the way it goes/we go)
are you in for the ride?

shifting on the thermal and gliding (riding)
where will you sleep tonight?
love lies, downwind waiting
with the silence of tigers
and a hunger burning bright
with a heart song shining bright

desert star, shine a light
shine a light

(love lies downwind waiting)
(where will you sleep tonight?)

Special thanks to Monkey, now and forever, and to K for getting me out to Burning Man as often as possible.
Witchka
Words & music by S. J. Tucker
Guitars, bass, vocals, percussion: S. J. Tucker
Cello: Betsy Tinney
Tracked & mixed by Ginger Doss, Eagle Audio USA

"Witchka" is one song that grew to be something entirely other than what inspired it. It started with the words of a small child and ended with the image of a beautiful goth girl/priestess-in-training who's coming of age, stealing hearts as she goes. I wrote it in December 2006, in Ann Arbor Michigan. It was inspired by a story that [info]yuki_onna told me about [info]justbeast 's young niece Nika, and the first time Nika watched Sleeping Beauty. (They had to pry her away from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which she loved for all of its scary parts, such as when the forest attacks the mildly annoying soprano heroine and the owls go for her face.)

I am told that in the Russian language, "-ka" is one of many diminutive suffixes that you can add to a word to make it mean "cute little _________". My friends who speak Russian tell me that you can just keep adding and adding diminutives to a word, one after another, to show affection. (The first time [info]justbeast called me Soojinka, I melted. Still do.) In this case, [info]justbeast 's niece Nika, at the wise age of four or so, looked at Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty's lovely black-and-purple, dragon-making villain, and called her "Witchka". Nika is my heroine, for life.

About the recording:
I never thought I'd go out of my way to buy a tambourine, but I decided I needed one for "Witchka", for lack of a badass drummer with a full kit. In the end, a rock drummer might have been less trouble to find. There I was at a SamAsh store in Tampa Florida, being looked at by the staff as if I'd grown eye stalks and scales because I asked for a tambourine in the key of G or D. "They don't tune tambourines," I was told. So I thanked them and started walking around on my own. I just played with every tambourine in the place until I found one that had a good sparkly sound and was, in fact, tuned close enough to fit a song in the key of G. It didn't actually take very long.
This is part of why I only go into guitar stores when I absolutely must.

"Witchka" was tracked in Texas, Kansas, and Florida. I tracked guitars and most of the vocals in Austin, I tracked the rest of the vocals and all of the percussion in Melbourne Florida (see above story about the tambourine), and I tracked the bass part, along with the bass part for "Neptune", in the stage right green room attached to the concert pavilion at Camp Gaea just outside of Topeka Kansas, during Heartland Pagan Festival. You literally can record just about anywhere these days, thanks to digital recording gear.

Interesting facts:
There's a goth industrial version of this song simmering in my mind, with live drums, gorgeous crunchy beats and
wah pedal guitars, but that will come when I'm not as impatient to get this song out into the world where you can hear it.
People have been asking me to record "Witchka" for over three years now.
When my cohorts and I perform "Witchka" live, it's anyone's guess how many other songs will make cameo appearances
at one point or another before we end "Witchka".
The list so far:
Personal Jesus
Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)
The Hand That Feeds

Why? Because they all fit the same tempo and feel, with a little bit of creative license on the part of my bandmates and me. It's a fun game. Modern music is an entertaining thing, even in the details. Also, we are incorrigible music geeks and we're proud of it. I want to thank [info]vixyish and [info]stealthcello for being so game to jump into wacky cover territory with me there.

Here's a vid of us performing "Witcka" live (with bonus Alec! Also background noise. Sorry.) at the Mandolin Cafe in Tacoma back in March. (including things from that cameo list up there.) Nah, we're not having fun at all... :D



To abuse the vernacular...Witch, please. Where my Witchkas at?!?

Lyrics posted in this entry.



Special thanks to [info]gingerdoss , [info]stealthcello , [info]yuki_onna , [info]justbeast , [info]celtic_elk* , [info]otterkin , the Cooks, all my Witchkas (you know who you are, my wicked and dangerous dancing goth girls. Please don't ever stop dancing), and of course Nika.
.

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