A lot went into writing your favorite song--but how much do you really know about it? This week Tomo Nakayama, lead singer of the six-piece Seattle folk-rock group Grand Hallway, delves into writing songs in a movie theater, children, and the possibility of manic depression.
Song: "Roscoe (What a Gift)"
From album: Winter Creatures
Release date: June 10 at Neumos
When it was written: Sometime last summer, I think.
Where it was written: On the floor of the concession stand (aka "The Boat") at the Neptune Theater, where I was working at the time. I was waiting for the last movie to let out, and I had my guitar with me so I was strumming really softly so as not to disturb the customers.
Favorite line in the song: "Sometimes I do regret, sometimes I do forget, I play music with my old friends. What a gift to be born, what a gift to be alive."
Which part was the hardest to come up with?: It was honestly the easiest song to write. The whole thing, lyrics and music, all came at once in a matter of minutes. It's such a quiet, simple song that the hardest part was playing it for other people, thinking that maybe they wouldn't get it, or that they'd think it was stupid.
Odd fact about song: The song's named after GH's guitar player Jeramy Koepping's son, Sam Roscoe Koepping. The first time I performed the song in public I was playing solo in Portland, opening for Damien Jurado. Jeramy and his wife Liz were there, and Liz, who was pregnant at the time, told me the baby was kicking and really digging the song, so I decided to name it after him. It somehow seemed to fit the theme of the song.
What was your inspiration for writing the song?: After touring and pushing our last record for a year and a half, I was really burned out on music, or rather all the schmoozy bullshit and the blatant social climbing that goes on behind the scenes. It really grossed me out. But I was also frustrated with myself for allowing all that to affect me as much as it did. So really I think I wrote the song out of desperation, as some sort of reminder about what it is I love about music, about the people with whom I play music, and about being alive at all. Being around my girlfriend's kids and also watching Jeramy preparing to become a father really affected me as well, I think, to keep everything in perspective. It's a daily struggle still, but playing that song, and seeing people connect to it really makes me happy.
In a paragraph or so, what is the meaning behind the song?: I just realized I might be manic depressive.
Grand Hallway will be performing at Neumos on June 10.