S. SONG INTERPRETATIONS
S1. World of Noise
"Fire Maple Song"
Art: "It's about a place ... where my mom grew up, and I used to
be sent for summertimes ... Asheville, North Carolina." (99x Live X - 1995)
Art: "There was a time when Pennsylvania had ...
the nation's only democratic pro-life governor and he was very instrumental
in ... creating some very, very intense
anti-abortion laws. And, even though I am a devout parent and a devout
believer in all life and children, I, as being a man, I have, an
intelligent man, I feel, or lets say educated, I have to be pro-choice, you
know? I don't think anybody likes abortion. I hate abortion. But, when
it comes down to it, it's not my body. If I don't want someone to get
pregnant then I should go to great lengths on my part that they don't get
pregnant. After that, it's their choice. And that's my belief." (Rockline - 1997)
S2. Sparkle and Fade
Art: "Strawberry came from when I was in Madison, Wisconsin. I kept
having this bad dream thinking I was going to fall off the wagon.. When I
woke up I wrote the song and went down to the studio to record then had the
other guys come in later." (Ticketmaster - 1997)
Art: "A lot of the songs I write, I'll take like different experiences
from my life and ... make characters out of that. ...
Like a policeman, when my mom was going down to actually identify the body
of my brother, who overdosed when I was 12, at the age of 21. You know,
just kinda frivolitly saying, "It's just another overdose." And my mom's
like "No, it's my son. It's not just another overdose." I'm sure the man
was pretty stricken, you know, by his insensitivity and I guess in a job
like that it'd be kind of hard not to, especially in, I'm sure alot of you
out there remember the mid and late 70's. People were dropping off like
flies." (Rockline - 1997)
"You Make Me Feel Like a Whore"
Before Sparkle and Fade, their A&R man suggested to Art that he
should change part of a song around. That upset Art, to
some degree. He thought it made him feel like a whore. Later, however, Art
admitted, "He was right." (MTV 120 Minutes - 1995)
Art: "There is a literal place called
Summerland--it's a little town right off highway 101 [in CA]. But the song is more
figurative than that. It has a really great ring to it like a place
that's beautiful but kind of unattainable. I guess that's true. I've passed by the
'Summerland' exit so many times, but never actually been there." (Ear This - 1996)
Art: "... when I was living in L.A. ... I
met a girl who was black and we just really hit it off and it was just
great and we ran into some ... weird headway with my family and her
family. And it kinda, you know, early on set the relationship off on the
wrong foot. So we broke up and kinda ran out of touch with each other.
[Recently] I was somewhere back on the East Coast and met her
old roommate and I guess this woman now has three kids and is happily
married." (Rockline - 1997)
"Queen of the Air"
This song is a complete piece of fiction. Art's mother didn't jump off a bridge.
She's very much alive, in fact.
Art: "Not every song I write is about me." (ATN - 1997)
"Pale Green Stars"
Art: "It's about a pretty hard
period in my life. ... That song's about my daughter, Anna, but I changed the
name because it was a little too intense for my wife at the time. I agreed
to change the name to Amanda." (Rockline - 1997)
S3. So Much for the Afterglow
"So Much for the Afterglow"
Art: "[It's] basically just a study of the disillusion of
relationships and just kinda hitting ground after the good times. You
know, its like when you first meet somebody, you fall in love, and the sex
is great, and everything's wonderful, and six months down the line, its
like they've got bad breath and you know, you can't wait for them to leave." (Rockline - 1997)
"Everything to Everyone"
Art: "It's just basically looking
at the character in just about every person i've ever met, myself included,
of the two extremes of, one: the guy who's trying to be everything to
everyone and manipulative. And then the person who just wants to be loved
by everybody and will do anything to reach that end. And, I see that in
some people in extremes. And i think I see it in everybody to a certain
extent. So that's pretty much what its about." (Rockline - 1997)
"I Will Buy You a New Life"
Art: "It's kind of a manifesto to my family and reminding where we were and where
we are and where I always hoped we could go." (Rockline - 1997)
"Father of Mine"
Art: "Writing this song was really important for
me because it's allowed me to kinda get along with my life and close off
a part of my life that had been really kind of painful. After becoming a
parent, ... you realize how
your own parents pretty much stacked up as being a parent. ...
As far as my dad goes, becoming a parent really taught me that I
really didn't have much of a father and that's probably painful for him to
hear but nonetheless, it's true." (Rockline - 1997)
"I'd get a birthday and
Christmas card with five bucks in it every year and that was my dad." (ATN - 1996)
"One Hit Wonder"
Art: "We take the work seriously. But we don't take the success or what the media tries to
say or anything else anybody says. It's what I say in 'One Hit Wonder'. They can't hurt you
unless you let them. And that's one of my favorite lines I've ever written. And basically it's a
manifesto of just self-reliance. You do what you want to do. If what you're doing is really honest
and real, then stick to your guns regardless of what people think, regardless of who you are." (ATN - 1997)
"Why I Don't Believe in God"
Art: "[It's] about my mom." (Rockline - 1997)
"Like a California King"
Art: "[It's about] me. It was written looking at me through a jaundice eye. I was
poking fun at people who picked on us. There's a lot of tongue and cheek on
this album that a lot of people don't pick up on." (Ticketmaster - 1997)
"Hating You for Christmas"
Art: "I've always wanted to write a song about, just like, you know,
being single at Christmas time and being dumped right before Christmas." (Rockline - 1997)
S4. Learning How to Smile
Art: "This song ... is a slice of life of a grownup's view of being a kid back
in days back before DVD players and voicemail and VCR's and things that we just take for
granted." (Rockline - 2000)
Art: "I went through a divorce a few years ago, and, unfortunately for my daughter, she had
to be a part of it because it was me and her mom. We loved our daughter but we weren't in love
with each other anymore. It was a really, really hard time, but we knew it was going to give
way to a better time. We're both remarried now and happy. Sometimes these things are necessary,
but it's hard to explain that to a six-year-old. I had to put myself in her place again.
I had been there and friends of mine had been there, being the child of a broken marriage.
I think we handled it better in a lot of ways. But that's a song that touches me really deep,
not only from a personal level, but having to watch my daughter go through that kind of pain."
(Rockline - 2003)
Art: "There are singers who might sing prettier, but no one sang
with that much gusto. He would have been the Godfather of Soul if he'd lived, I think, not taking
away from James [Brown] at all. Otis Redding ... could take it to such a different place." (Rockline - 2000)
S6. Slow Motion Daydream
"How to Win Friends and Influence People"
Art: "It's a book title by a guy named Dale Carnegie. He was the original of the self-help
guys who [wrote ideas like] "I'm okay, you're okay", that whole type of belief in the late 50's
and early 60's. It was used pretty much as a sales tool for salesmen and marketing people.
I use it in a very sarcastic tongue-in-cheek way. It's a very dark song about a person
who's been so bombarded figuratively and literally that he can't even trust a blue sky.
He's at a point in his life where he doesn't believe in anything." (Rockline - 2003)
Art: "[It's inspired by] John Ashcroft. We call him Scary John. This whole thing is scary.
Regardless what you feel about whatever party you believe in, it comes down to, 'We're Americans
and there's got to be due process.' It seems like this man and a lot of other people who believe
like he does is trying to get rid of that due process and a lot of our freedoms. And that should
not only makes us afraid, it should make us mad, and we should do something about it." (Rockline - 2003)
"I Want to Die a Beautiful Death"
Art: "[It's about] total nihilistic behavior. I remember how I was [as a teenager],
when I'd look at the world picture of the late 70's and the way the economy was horrible.
I didn't want to know about it since I didn't feel empowered enough that I could make a change.
So I just wanted to get lost inside whatever it was: drugs, relationships, my girlfriend, rock n' roll
(which was the usual choice). The character in the song does not want to talk about John Ashcroft
or being a Volvo-driving soccer mom. This character just wants to get lost in excess.
I think most people have felt that way at times." (Rockline - 2003)