Tell Me About That Song: Hemlock Lane’s “Bainbridge,” a Love Song

A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Nate Hansen, drummer of progressive pop five-piece Hemlock Lane, delves into a life on the road, a $100 random act of kindess and breaking down in a 1994 van hundreds of miles from home.

Artist: Hemlock Lane

Song: “Bainbridge”

Album: Hemlock Lane

Release Date: February 20, 2013

What was your inspiration for writing the song? “Bainbridge” is all about the tour we went on last summer. We had just finished a show on Bainbridge Island when the transmission in the van blew out, stranding us several hundred miles away from home. Almost immediately, we realized that this was the perfect situation for a song.

What is the meaning behind the song? I feel like this song, especially the second verse and chorus, are less about the van breaking down and more about the longing to go back on tour. We had some unforgettable times during our brief period on the road, and soon as we got home, I felt a desire to get back out there. “Bainbridge” is a love song, but a love song about the road. Sure, relationships tend to creep into most of the things we write as a band (whether we want them to or not), and over time people have made implications about the female inspiration to this song. First and foremost though, “Bainbridge” is about that unmistakeable feeling you get when you’re in a new city, with your best friends, playing songs that you wrote in front of a bunch of strangers. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

When it was written: We first started working on “Bainbridge” at the beginning of the summer, just as a basic riff/song idea, but it got shelved after a little while. A few weeks later, when we were coming home from tour, our guitarist, John, started playing it. It just sounded right for the time, so we started working on it again, and we played it for the first time over Labor Day weekend.

Favorite line in the song: “Altogether we know for at least a moment we lived.” In a way, I feel like this line sums up what life in a band is like. For all the stupid things we deal with, the long drives, terrible sound people, sacrificing of relationships, the moments onstage make everything worth it.

Odd fact about song: The phrase “We don’t have any money, but we’re doing alright” is not exactly true. While we were very poor on the day the van broke down, we had been smart enough to save some money in case of an emergency. We also experienced a random act of kindness that helped us get home: As we sat by our broken van on the side of the road, we ran into a woman who had been to our show the night before. She told us that she had initially planned on simply dropping her daughter off, but wound up staying for entire thing. Seeing that we were in trouble, she gave us $100 “as a tip.” Now, that didn’t even begin to put a dent in the $3000 worth of repairs the van needed, but it helped us rent a U-Haul for our equipment and make our way home.

When was your favorite time performing it live? The first time ever playing it. We had not played a hometown show in a while, and no one knew how things were going to turn out. We just went for it, but we were all so stoked about what we had created. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but we more than made up for that by playing with a crazy amount of energy. That was reflected in the crowd, and by the end, we even had people singing along. Nothing feels better than people singing to a song that you wrote, regardless of if they’ve even heard it before. It was a great validation, I felt like we were onto something special after that show.

 
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