Monday, May 23, 2011

Bobby Sullivan breaks down side B of Hot Bodi-Gram


Here's the follow-up to Bobby Sullivan breaking down the lyrics to Soulside's Hot Bodi-Gram. If you missed the piece on Side A:

Bobby Sullivan breaks down side A

Thanks to Bobby and John Scharbach for making this happen. -Gordo DCXX

HATE MUSIC (Johnny lyrics)

Rocks don't sweat, neither does skin
nailed to my chair so I don't float away
make me watch that kiss
I'm content with no problem
I never asked for a problem

Johnny (bassist) was getting his aggression out on this one. It was about his feelings with a certain relationship in his life. This was his first lyrical contribution and I wanted to do it. I could relate to feeling stuck in a situation that was painful.



Pick up the stones that you left behind

another way I will not find

Too many mouths, too many hands grabbing my toothless head

Walk through the bones, kick through the stones

Just give me that easy introspection

It's all so clear to me

Step over nowheresville it's all history

Pass it over to me

This imagery came from the catacombs under Paris. After our show there, we visited the underground tunnels lined with the bones of thousands of dead bodies from the time of The Plague. You could pick up skulls and walls were made of the stacked bones.

It's a song about reconciling the past and realizing that one day we will all be like those people, whose bones were there for us to step over. Our lives will be gone and our descendents will be left to wonder what we did for the world. With the past it's easy to point out mistakes. In the present it's easy to make light of it all, until the challenges of the future grab us into another reality. I was ready to stop joking around and to do some work.

KILL (Scott vocals)
(these lyrics are not written out on the layout for some reason)

I want to take you to New York

it's going to be a big party

I want to take you to New York

it's going to be a big jam

then she said take me west

you know I don't believe it

then she said take me there

you know I don't believe it

then you can take me to hell

then we can get in your car

and we can roll it into Chicago

just like it should be

it's all a party to me

it's all a party

yeah that's a party to me

yeah you can take me to hell and back

as long as you do it now

I can't speak on this song except to say that it was more or less an early Girls Against Boys song. I was glad to step out of the spotlight, but unfortunately this song made it clear Scott was moving on.



Try to thrive but I know there's competition

Naked attention but you love everyone

You see me, I see right through you

we love each other when were down

were never down

This is a song about conflicting with friends. Unfortunately it was both about Soulside and the DC scene itself at the end of the 80's. After a bunch of touring, we played a show with a couple DC bands and the vibe was sour. There were all sorts of jealousies going around, which rattled me. The scene we were part of was all about sharing – shows, equipment, critique, styles, everything and anything. The bands were there for each other through thick and thin, and it was mostly thin.

Now that Soulside was getting recognition, there were some folks in our midst who held that competitive spirit, even within the band. It was a big disappointment. Popularity at that time was not so much about media hype, since punk was still underground. Bands then made a name for themselves by touring and networking, before the internet. All connections were shared, so there was no room for jealousy. It was about doing the work and popularity had a lot more to do with how long you had been around.

The back up vocals by Scott (the guitar player) display well the competition going in in the band at the time. As he sang “we're never down,” it was my belief that he was trying to contradict my lyrics. I didn't object, because I felt it fit the flavor of the song. We were writing these songs on that last tour and as tensions rose, we tended to work it out in the music, even in the live sets. I felt that these tensions could create some great songs, as they usually do in all the bands that have classic conflicts between the lead guitar player and the singer. Unfortunately our conflict was too great to continue making music together, but I think it made a great album.


When I see the black snow it makes me sad to know
pushed aside with the misunderstood
legs covered on the hill never running again

This song was our resolve, where all tensions could relax. When we played it live, it always had a soothing effect on rowdy crowds. When we first created it, I was transported to another level. I had a vision about an old friend who had died, and he was buried in the hill we used to run on. The emotion matched the feel of the song. The reference to black snow has to do with the fact that it was winter time and all the discolored snow from the cars' exhaust was still hanging around the city – such a contrast to how pretty it looks when it's new. I thought this was a good metaphor for life in a lot of ways. The title was a reference to one of our favorite compositions by John Coltrane. It was a tribute.


This Patsy Cline cover was our drummer's singing debut. We did it for fun, and then as crazy as it sounds, we couldn't resist putting it on there... we were warped from touring so long.



Lewis.72 said...

Cool! Thanks for doing this Bobby. Hot Bodi-Gram has always been my favorite Soulside record and it's interesting to hear what the songs/lyrics meant after so many years of listening. Like - I'd always wondered if Scott's backup vocals on "Bad Show" were snarky and the catacomb setting of underground Paris puts "New Fast Fucky" in a new light for me. "A Love Supreme" indeed!

Anonymous said...

Please, please, more of this.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent post. Thanks for this.

Ely said...

Much appreciated! Punk rock, DC Hardcore, and Soulside was very important in my life.

hc-dan said...

Still one of my favorites!