Singled Out: The Cringe
The raw idea for "Rushing Through The World," was the result of a weekly songwriters group that I belong to. At the beginning of each week, a new phrase is assigned, and by the end of that week all 30 or so songwriters must submit a completed song that incorporates the phrase. The song can be recorded any way that works, from a full band to all-electronic or even sung quickly into an iPhone. The presentation isn't critical, but finishing a song once a week is essential.
"Rushing Through The World" was one of these songs. When I recorded the demo for the song club, I only knew that I wanted to submit something with heavy electric guitar that was aggressive and fast—something totally opposite to the usual folkie singer-songwriter thing. To find a little extra inspiration, I re-tuned the low E-string to a D (a/k/a "drop-D tuning"), which seems to work pretty well for bands from Led Zep and the Foo Fighters to Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. I figured, if you're going to go heavy. . .!
Using the drop-D tuning, I came up with the basic riff that starts the song—a riff that pays homage to first-generation grunge bands like Tad and the Melvins—along with the chords for the verses and chorus. I sang the basic melody and harmony with "place-holder" lyrics, knocked out a sampled drum beat and a quick bass part. I played the demo for the guys in The Cringe, and got the thumbs-up that it was "Cringe-worthy." Feeling it needed another section, Roto created the angular and prog-rock-inspired bridge, and the two of us got down to fine-tuning the lyrics.
I'd conceived of the song as being about the blinding pace of modern life, with images of hurtling through nightmarish landscapes. Roto helped me focus that into this almost Buddhist-style reflection on the need to turn inward before we (in the words of Chris Cornell) blow up the outside world: "We're running from ourselves, lost again from where there's stillness. Why can't we just sit in silence, thinking for ourselves?" The message? Take a step back and relax, son. Sensory overload is not only superfluous—it's downright dangerous. Work on your inner space, and the outer world will come into sharper focus.
For the video, our good friend, Eric P. Sherman, and his company Bang Zoom! Entertainment along with director Luke Stone, channeled the song's themes into a pop-culture collage that tips its hat to the space-age and the golden age of advertising. Like the song itself, the video deals with the information overload we're all blinded by, which does seem to be hurtling us toward some final landslide—unless, of course, we can find some truth within ourselves first. While this all sounds fairly self-serious, when we rock it out live, it still pretty much comes down to banging our heads and whipping our hair around! After all, it's only rock and roll, and we like it... !
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!