LYRICS: Grim & I go way back, to the very day I was born, told him I’d have to take a rain check, because I wasn’t ready to leave just yet, & till this day we still talk, calls me on his cigarette break to catch up. I’m ready for you now, I’m ready for you, are you ready for me? Loveless & I have made amends, to this day we remain close friends, on occasion we’ll share the same bed, but weighted down is not the way that I intend to stay. I’m ready for you now, I’m ready for you, are you ready for me? All this time, life has been the danger, & death won’t sign the waver, all this time, love has been the mistake, so lonely takes her place.
INTERPRETATION: In Raymond Carver’s short story Whoever Was Using This Bed, the narrator trudges through a late night conversation with his wife on the touchy topic of life support, specifically regarding its hypothetical termination. This dreary discussion, initially induced by a random drunk dial, wanes through the evening & into a sleepless morning. Consequently, the protagonist is left to pass the day in a dazed state of dejection. It was as if he’d arrived at some strange place; crossing an invisible line where he never expected to find himself – this place where a little harmless dreaming & then some sleepy, early-morning talk gave way to considerations of death & annihilation. The power of Carver’s laconic narrative lies in its ability to emphasize the all-encompassing weight of an idea, & how these concepts can saturate our time & temperament. Waver’s narrative is concerned with these same conceptions, as the emphasis on death & loneliness is expressed through a personification of these experiences respectively. The heavy idea contemplated here is one of tempered intimacy, as expressed through that of an old friend or a casual lover.
INSPIRATION: Waver was written in the lonely bridal suite of a desert motel in the tiny town of Easton, Texas. I was there for about a week or so back in 2008, building out emergency room mobile computer stations for Easton’s only hospital. Given the hectic nature of this project, I was working 3rd shifts to accommodate Easton’s ER staff. Needless to say, the combination of late nights, little rest, & hospital hazards made for an interesting experience. At the time, I had been reading a lot of Poe & listening to records (chiefly Say Hello to Sunshine & Juturna) with considerably dark themes. These influences, along with the general gloomy aura of Easton’s ER, permeated my thoughts & set the tone for my writing. Waver is ultimately the culmination of sober meditations on death & loneliness. Concerning death, the Grim Reaper reference alludes back to my own cessation, having been pronounced dead shortly after birth due to complications of being born 3 months ahead of schedule…
Fortunately for me, that pronouncement was only temporary. As for the Loveless reference, that was largely inspired by the motel room itself. It’s hard to ignore the incisive irony of lonesomeness within a bridal suite. I couldn’t help but think of the newlyweds, adulterous moonlighters, & possibly even the solitary songwriters who may have occupied the room previously. The concept of two small-town lovers who occasionally convene at a desert motel to escape the boredom of their simple lives began to play out in my head, & eventually reserved a room within my narrative. Alas, the waver itself, literally denotes the dense amount of documentation I had to sign off on while working at the hospital, in addition to a metaphor regarding the personal responsibility & acceptance of life, love, & eventually death.
INSIGHT: if reading Poe in the bridal suite of a small-town desert motel between awkward shifts of constructing tech equipment for a Texas hospital’s chaotic ER isn’t weird enough, then Waver’s production aesthetic most certainly is. Blending elements of free-time & measured metre, live room & dub-tracking, folk & funk, house kits & brush-beats, shoegaze & doo-wop, Waver is undeniably a kitchen-sink conflation of sorts. Matt & I room-mic’d & live-tracked the intro/1st verse in a free-time metre (aka every drummer’s worst nightmare). As this was recorded on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you can hear children playing, birds chirping, & a serenade of cicadas in the background. This wasn’t initially planned, though does ultimately contrast the composition’s thematic tension nicely.
Other sections of the song were tracked traditionally, & then some (mainly the transition/outro section) were significantly over-dubbed. Our running joke was that the song should be subtitled “Guitarmageddon”, as nearly every guitar in the studio was used at some point on this recording, in addition to plenty of Rhodes, Mellotron, & other synths. Due to my love of all things Lynchian, I couldn’t resist adding in some Twin Peaks-esque backing vocals to accompany the outro melody.