Don’t Run (PYGA, track 02,09)

From time to time we try to document how a song came to be. This is from an older blog, and was written by both Rafi and Ned about the writing and recording of Don’t Run. Click here to listen to Don’t Run and the reprise, Run.

This song ended up as track two on Put Your Gun Away, and I can’t remember why. It was originally a sketch that I recorded onto my 1/2″ eight track at the old Segue space using Ned’s drums, ron’s bass, and dan’s crappy casio keyboard. It even had a vocal section (“…Run…Don’t…”). It was derived from an open tuning song I had written in New Orleans about old friends changing to the point where they become different people (spiral into addiction plays a big part in the transformation). I think this track was possibly the most difficult to get just right for this project. It actually appears in another incarnation towards the end of the record as Run. More on that later.
Don’t Run was recorded initially in my bathroom on Bragdon St. (aka Blue Room Brain). Ned played the snare drum in there, and I both close mic’d it and distance mic’d it from the shower curtain. I recorded some dobro and numerous unplugged electric guitar tracks, all in the bathroom. Just assimilating those elements into coherent tracks was time consuming, because the song really had and still has no structure to speak of. I think this was early in my learning curve in terms of figuring out how to compose and edit my own performances using pro tools. It’s a fine display of the ABAB:|| phenomenon that we are so often guilty of…
Bass soon followed; but since Don’t Run was made at home from scratch using pro tools, it had a grid and thus the bass is heavily looped and sequenced. Oh, that’s also because I played it, and I’m a crappy bass player:)
For samples, I pulled some stuff from Roger and Me. Initially I used the rabbit lady, but we decided that sample was too cliche. We ended up with the deputy sheriff guy who evicts people; he has great cadence in his delivery. He’s very melancholy, and if you think of eviction in the context of the title of the song maybe you’d have some sort of narrative there. Also guesting towards the end of the song is Roger himself talking at a workers Xmass meeting or something (“In the hopes that nature will accommodate our longing for a Total Experience”). Now he’s a slimy fuck! I kept other samples around from that movie that have made appearances in unpublished Ray Loops, such as Wouldn’t It Be Nice.
Since the track kicked around for so long without us feeling as though it was properly completed, it endured many overdubs. A few things stuck; kick and floor tom were recorded using dan’s weird old cocktail kit, but we did that in our new practice space on Brookside. Those tracks are woefully out of phase… Also at the Brookside space (Sunshine Studio) we recorded some electric guitar through the Cordovox rotating speaker cabinet. A highlight of the recordings on this track was the invention of the Voice Changer Toy inside the Coffee Can effect, which is the feedback sound that dominates the intro of the song. While this sound continues to amuse my clients to no end, I have yet to have recorded it on anything else! Also added at Blue Room Brain is the little static guitar amp noise heard at the very beginning of the song, which corresponds to the dobro part. I spent quite a few minutes on that little nothing!
At some point I was so frustrated with the song that we tried recording the track again at another session at the barn, with JD and I both playing along with Ned. I played guitar while I think JD played bass. JD took those recordings home and messed with them using his digital recorder. Those recordings resulted in the track Run. They also provided us with a great synth line that we had JD perform onto the final version.

This entry was posted in PYGA, Recording, vintage, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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