QUICKSAND: Mother Mary

(for more information on the upcoming audio project, click on the QUICKSAND category, to the right)

Mother Mary, per Google

Mother Mary, per Google

The demo version of Mother Mary can be heard in entirety at Garageband.

Mother Mary, what have I done?
… what have I begun?
… have i lost the one?
… what have I become?

Images are all I have of what I was when the lights went out.
I can’t remember.
I want to remember.

… can you comprehend,
… all the faces I’ve been?
Mother help me, I can no longer pretend.
Forgive me, Mother, for I have sinned.

Images of what I was still haunt my heart when the lights are on inside.
I can’t remember.
Help me remember.

… help me face…
… so full of grace
Please forgive me, I’ve lost my way
Release me; feed me from your hand

Images are all I have and what I was still eludes my grasp
I should remember.
I will remember.

[Demo}+:

  • The guitar solo is probably one of my favorite.  The choice of notes is excellent — I honestly don’t know that I would change a thing, which leads me to suspect that, for the one and only time in my life, I actually took the time to compose this solo, note-for-note, instead of improving it on tape.
  • As much as I hate the fact that it’s a drum machine (actually, MIDI triggers), Daniel did an absolutely brilliant job with the programming.  There are a lot of people who don’t know that it’s drum machine (although the lack of dynamics would seem to give it away).
  • Excellent vocals.  Thanks, Jonas!

{Demo}-:

  • I think the best way to describe the changes I hear is a little bit of clean up.  Not even rearranging — the only problems that I have are in the lack of real drums, the guitar tones, and the mix could be thicker and a little cleaner.

{Backstory}:

I’m not a religious person.  If that’s your thing, cool, but I’ve never really had the faith necessary for any sort of religious following.  I do have a reasonable spiritual component, but that’s another story for another time.  This time is this story:

The more desperate you are, the more pain you feel and fear will never stop, the more likely you are to — at least temporarily — believe in a god long enough to beg him or her to make it stop. Throw that into a word processing blender along with regret, guilt, a need for forgiveness (however misplaced), fear, and a desire for explanations, and presto: instant religion.  Just add an acoustic guitar riff you’ve been picking at for about three months and start arranging for a cold, haunting tone.

Random fact: If Jonas’ vocals sound particularly inspired, it’s because he has (or almost has) a graduate degree in Theology.  Or at least that’s what he’s said repeatedly, the godless heathen.

{Demo notes}:

Recorded at Denial Labs from 1994-1996.  I honestly don’t know how many iterations this went through — there was only ever one master track, but things got replaced here and there so much that I’m not sure any original tracking remains.  Daniel on drums, synths, and mixing.  Jonas on vocals.  Me on everything else.

{Fixes/Influences}:

Note: these link to YouTube videos, most of which are probably unauthorized. If one of them is down, try searching for the song. And as always, if you dig the songs, I highly recommend dropping a few bucks on the full discs — these artists are well-worth your financial support. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions in the comments.

  • Dear Dead Days (Frost*): I like the sparse, lonely feeling of the vocals in the beginning, as well as the building of things very gradually, and the gentle, almost lost backing harmony voice. Also, the way the solo (around the 6:00 mark) is allowed to explode out of the silence before it.
  • The solo section, I feel positive, was directly inspired by Nuno Bettencourt and Extreme.  Not More Than Words, but more like Rest in Peace, Warheads, Play With Me… This was my stab at, rather than exclusively taking a lead break over the A or B section (the traditional hard rock arrangement), writing a new section/chrod structure specifically for the solo.  It’s not a huge departure, granted — it’s the verse structure expanded a bit at the end, but it’s still something that I’ve only done one other time (After the Flood, which is more atmospheric). (and hey — is that a D – Bb progression I hear in Our Father?  Shit. Maybe I should call this “I wish I was Nuno Bettencourt” and tweak the words a little.)
  • That i-VI progression, by the way, is the coolest ever.
  • I don’t specifically recall any of this consciously affecting the writing of this song, but all of these probably played into the writing: Queensryche’s Suite Sister Mary, Crying by Yngwie Malmsteen, and the entire Awake album from Dream Theater.
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