Demonstration Tapes: The Mariner's Revenge Song
A whale is calved
This behemoth was written in 2003, in an upstairs apartment in NE Portland, on a twelve string guitar. It was born out of that A minor strum; a melody landed that immediately called out for something grander, something overlong and theatrical. I think I sat on it for a while before having the guts to finish the thing. I was emboldened, I think, by the fun we had making The Tain and wanted to do more music like that: long, rangy, narrative pieces. The song didn’t change much, from demo to final recording, aside from Rachel singing the part of the mother and the instrumental bit during the seafaring section. I hadn’t the foggiest notion that it would become a staple in our live set; I didn’t even know if it had a place on the album. It felt a bit too peculiar, maybe playing too hard to the galleries. Chris Walla, Picaresque’s producer, didn’t want it on the record. He thought it would make a great b-side. We prevailed, but I often wonder…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Colin Meloy's Machine Shop to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.