Singled Out: Otis Heat's Shame

11/24/2010
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Today Otis Heat frontman Sean O'Neill tells us about "Shame" from their brand new "Pre LP" EP. As the EP title hints, these guys have a bit of a sense of humor. So enjoy Sean's story!:

Basically, this guy, Mr. Sean David O'Neill, wrote this song, Shame. The band he is in is called Otis Heat. The song is currently available with three others for free download from either OtisHeat.com or myspace.com/OtisHeat.

The band is based in Portland, Oregon, as many bands are apparently. The lineup is: Sean O'Neill - vocals, bass; Mike Warner - electric guitar; Scotty Gervais – drums.

Looking back, "Shame" seems to be an attempt to describe, with one voice, more than one thing happening, at the same time, that make up a portion of the personality, that which propels and that which inhibits; Drive vs. Guilt, Cowardice vs. Honesty, Ambition vs. Shame. An awareness ensues and not necessarily a productive one; however, the song attempts to concurrently illustrate these concurrent forces, concurrently. Ya dig?

At the time, I was feeling a general malaise of guilt or embarrassment—perhaps, critical of myself, nitpicking, enduring a self-conscious reduction, in which I painfully reduce myself to nothing, and, well, not nothing, something… something, small, specific, and focused. I became internally panicked. "I've realized something about myself and I'll never be the same again. I want to go back!" Unpleasant, pero, a veces, a song, a cartoon, something may come of this process. Something does, and I am grateful… a little frustrated at the time, but grateful. That's the poignant chaos art emerges from, I suppose.

Lyrics to Shame:
We can think a while, instead of go, go, go, go, go like an ego.
Because I said so, we can take a walk though, we can go walking, holding hands on a date, no?
But my ego…

Think you're right cause I'm wrong, but you uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh take too long.
Clamp with a half tong. Stifle it like Kim Jong, sell God like Willie Wong.
But my ego…

Where the shame grows.

Hello mister nice guy. Would you be a friend, friend, friend, friend, friend of mine.
Take my time. You will be just fine. I will pay you by the hour, if you live my life.
And notify, my lover why, how hard I try.
Because my ego…

Where the shame grows.

If nobody else is on the docket, I'll just go home. I'll just go home. I'll just go home.
But, the docket is in my pocket. I wrote my own. I wrote my own.
Where the shame grows.
Where the shame grows.

Nevertheless, the lyrics were Witten in accordance with the bass groove, subject to a desire for aesthetic form.

(Please take note of my mentioning of Kim Jong Il. Fun!)

With regards to Willie Wong:
I was with my friends, the Donoghue brothers, outside their house, outside of Washington D.C., throwing a football in the road. Willie Wong rode past us on his bike three times, waving. The fourth time he stopped and said he was Willie Wong and that there was this great event, called D.C. Festival, and that at our age, it's so great to get together with people and talk about the Gospel. We could do this at the D.C. Festival. "My email is Willie Wong at hotmail dot com." He said, "Shoot me an email. Shoot me an email tonight."

"…at hotmail dot com" used to be in the lyric, but it didn't make the final cut. I'm sure you can guess where the lyric was. It felt a little silly. Not that there's anything wrong with silly. I just wasn't feeling it. (sidenote: there was an earlier version of this uber inspiring story, in a play I wrote at Kenyon College. Though, it was a more avante garde a cappella song, and in character it went "Shoot me an email tonigh-igh-igh-ight.")

The song, in this form, is about 2.5 years old (2008). This recording is from mid 2010 and currently on the PRE LP EP. There was another recording from 2009, but it was a lot faster (rushed), and had a bunch of strange back-up vocals on the "where the shame grows" part. …that's, more or less, the evolution of the song.

In the final version, guitarist Mike Warner and drummer Scotty Gervais find great composure on this tune. For the instrumental section, Mike stumbled upon a poised groove the day before the recording that we used instead of what was orignially more of a guitar solo. It gives the song the cohesiveness it needs. The snare hits and ghost notes in the same section give the song a subtle dynamic that reinvigorates the groove, plodding along smoothly, giving the song a key dynamic to replace the vocal. The sound may exemplify a direction for the next Otis Heat record. Possibly. Dunno.

The Free EP has four songs from our new LP, which will be out in 2011. If you download the EP, we'll let you know when the full length comes out. On our website we ask for emails, along with city, so we can let you know when we play in your town or release music. We don't send out too much email and we keep it relevant to your specific location.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself with a free download and learn more about the EP right here!

Preview and Purchase Otis Heat CDs

Otis Heat MP3 Downloads


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