From Portland to Portland: How A Toilet Flood Sparked DLBD's "Calvin Young"  

A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Jon Scheid, guitarist and vocalist of Portland math-rock four-piece Duck. Little brother, Duck! delves into traveling across the country and an unexpected night-time toilet flood in Portland, Maine. Duck. Little Brother, Duck! will be performing May 5 at El Corazon.

Song: “Calvin Young”

Album: Don't Take Our Filth Away

Release Date: July 2012

When it was written: November 2011.

Where it was written: It was written mostly in our practice space. It was an Idea I had left over from when we wrote Survival Is Not A Workout. I had been toying with the first riff for a while on my own, then we got together and pieced the rest together as a group.

Favorite line in the song: My favorite line in the song is "The chandelier drips water from the bathroom above. The murky tile. Go back to sleep." It is a reference to a house we played and stayed at in Portland, Maine. We were getting ready to sleep when the toilet upstairs flooded and water literally began to waterfall through the floor upstairs and down the chandelier into the kitchen. The people in the house were very nice, and were frantically trying to stop the flow of water. They came into the living room where we were sleeping and said, "Don't go into the kitchen, go back to sleep." The smell was horrible. It is still a really funny memory for all of us.

Which part was the hardest to come up with: The hardest part to come up with lyrically was the whole last part of the song. I wanted it to sound "American" because the song is about traveling the country and the excitement you feel from exploring it for the first time. I was trying to describe the intense stretches of nothingness that our country has; this is something we aren't used to seeing, living in the Northwest. But Kansas, talk about nothing. I wanted it to really make sense for people who are touring the country, or just traveling by car in general.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: I worked hard on it. I would not change anything about it now. Maybe just actually singing better at the end.

What was your inspiration for writing the song: Inspiration for the song was all over the place. Musically, we drew influence from Jason Clackley and the Exquisites, as well as this band Cancer Conspiracy. It was not just those influences though, it can never really boil down to something too black and white for us. We just wanted to make it overwhelmingly exciting. A real banger. The lyrics about tour came later and to me it makes sense.

When was your favorite time performing it live: My favorite time playing it was when we were in Portland, Maine playing in the same house that the song had been written about just a year earlier. Pretty much all of the same people still lived there, and it was a really funny thing (even for them in retrospect), for us to all get to reminisce about.

What is the meaning behind the song: It's mostly just about feeling excited to tour the country, but also feeling lost when you are so far from home, for so long, for the first time, and nothing is permanent; constantly going town to town. It can be exciting but also slightly unsettling.

 
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