Renee Ashley (pictured) is a phenomenal poet, one who breaks rules, challenges conventions, and leaves her readers changed. Becky discovered the poem “[you]” shortly after her mother passed away; its words both comforted and haunted her. Rumi’s poem about wine also resonated with Becky during this time and so she put them together, turning “You, Ruminating” into a place to explore and transform her grief.
Dave’s drum beat, often referenced as a “backwards beat” because of its unusual rhythm and how challenging it is for non-drummers to count (Becky can attest to this), was inspired by Scott Benedict’s line from the Pere Ubu song “Electricity.” As he worked on fitting the beat to Ashley’s poem, he tried to imagine how Will Calhoun of Living Colour would play it. Many other bands – Jethro Tull, the Pixies – have tried to claim this drum line, but Dave doesn’t believe in ownership of music like this. Instead, he offers this song as an homage to all of his favorite drummers.
One winter evening long ago, Dave, Becky, and original BPRS member Ben Jaffe were in “The Thing,” an awesome secondhand shop in Greenpoint filled with extremely strange and wonderful objects. Ben picked up an old dusty piece of art in one of those gaudy brass frames and said, “This one’s from the Willy Wonka art dealer!” We giggled then took turns offering up commentary on other random items.
But the Willy Wonka art dealer stuck with Becky. She wondered what else he would buy and sell, how he would describe each piece, what his voice would sound like. He was probably creepy. She would probably want to hide from him.
The lyrics to this song started from there then grew into an outlet for our angst and anger over being young in America – how we were left with a recession, a broken society, a dying planet, yet were still expected to work 9-5 and pay the rent. We wanted a luck dragon to fly in and rescue us, leaving nothing but flames behind.
This anger rings truer today than ever before, but instead of hiding or running, we’ve become more empowered to get organized and do the work. Capitalism in America has run amuck. We don’t need a luck dragon to save us; if we come together and fight as a collective, we can save ourselves.
Not sure how to do this? Consider getting involved with the Working Families Party, a movement focused on creating a system that supports all Americans, not just the 1%.
And if you’re into rock-n-roll, check out Ben Jaffe’s latest musical project, Pill.
“One Day,” the song that lent its name to our new EP, was the very first song we wrote. It was deeply personal for Becky, its lyrics focused on her hopes and misgivings about the way her life was progressing. But Dave couldn’t think of anything to play to it. Instead, he played the drum line from “Til the Money Runs Out” by Tom Waits and waited for inspiration to hit. Give a listen and see if you can spot the similarities!