Singled Out: Leigh Marble's Jackrabbit
As with many of my songs, "Jackrabbit" started with a lyrical fragment - in this case, the first few lines of the song. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll say that those initial thoughts were written about a friend who was a sex worker, and my trying to understand how she balanced the pressure and compromise that were part of her chosen profession.
Then I started to flesh out the rest of the song. The verses wound up retaining that up-close-and-personal perspective, while on the chorus it's kind of zooming out to a wider take on the situation: "Who's bought up shares of your loyalty? Let's follow the dollar and see." It's sort of like, well here's this heated scene, now let's pause for a bit of Marxist analysis, to see the economic underpinning of what's going on here! And through that wider perspective, you can see how the idea applies to different people and professions. "Who's waiting in the wings to collect?" - you could picture a stripper *or* a politician getting off the stage, being met by an eager fan who has thrown money their way and now expects favors in return.
Musically, I had the chugging guitar rhythm in mind right away, and as the lyrics notebook shows, I knew where I wanted the drums to come in even at that early stage. The next part of the song that took shape was the pre-chorus/break (where I'm singing "something that feels like you"). As a goof, I tried doing those high guitar bends over that section, and my drummer Jason Russell liked them. He was calling it the "passion lady" part, after the Sugarloaf song "Green Eyed Lady" that has a similar screechy guitar sound. So those wound up staying, and influencing the direction of the production towards something a bit 70's rock. The bass player, Peter David, was a fan of fuzz pedals, so we tried out a bunch of them to find a fat bass grind for those instrumental breaks where the bass steps forward. And Ben Macy, on organ, found some subtle ways to add texture and propel the groove along.
So, we recorded it, and I added some extra guitars and percussion bits. It was all working pretty well musically, but the choruses were still lacking punch. I was playing the recording for my friend Matt Harmon of The Ascetic Junkies, and he suggested trying a big "gang vocal" sound on the choruses. So Matt and his bandmate Kali Giaritta came by the studio, and we all sang over the choruses together. That was the final piece of the puzzle, and the choruses now had the "lift" they needed.
In all, I think "Jackrabbit" is a good example of how a little idea can grow into a fully realized production, with enough care and attention!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!