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Singled Out: Kathryn Grimm's God Is Testing Me

03-20-2018
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Kathryn Grimm

Kathryn Grimm today shares the story behind the title track of Hippie Love Slave's debut album "God Is Testing Me". Here is the story:

This song has an important positive message and was inspired by my van getting stolen in broad daylight with my gear inside. I was living on Laurel Canyon Blvd. in Los Angeles at the time. Laurel Canyon is a magical woodsy area just north of Hollywood Blvd. with a huge musical history where Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds and many more legends have lived. I had just moved my van from the front of my house to a side street to make room for a student to park. An hour later at about six pm when it was still warm and sunny out, I went to fetch my van. To my surprise it was no where to be found. I stood looking at the empty space where it had been just an hour before. Suddenly I remembered I had left my meticulously constructed pedal board and my Fender Deluxe amplifier inside intending to unload it. My heart sank.

Just a couple of weeks before this event I had been in Thailand teaching music to the children of Burmese migrant workers. Their parents worked twelve back-breaking hour days in the fields making the equivalent of three American dollars. I could see them through the window of the one room "Good Morning School" where the children had their classes. The experience of the trip was profound and fresh in my memory. The van being gone was bad but really nothing in comparison to the struggle of these beautiful people I had just spent time with. As I stood on the hill still wondering how this could happen in such a safe neighborhood I said out loud, "God is Testing Me." The years leading up to this had been challenging. I'd lost my muse to cancer after caring for him for a year, I'd ended an long term and difficult relationship, re-re-vamped my up and down music career and much more. This all went through my mind as I stood there missing my van. Still all I could think of were the people in Thailand. I came back inside and started working on the song between hourly phone calls to the police and the tow yard. About 24 hours later I got a call from Hollywood Tow. They'd found my van on a hill not far from my house. I went to pick it up, paid the outrageous "storage fee" of $300 and took note of the damage. The door had a gouge where the lock used to be. The steering wheel was destroyed by what looked like a screwdriver. My beloved van that had driven me to so many gigs had been badly abused. I found a shop out in the boonies that could fix the steering column so I called a tow truck. It was an expensive ordeal but I had my old van back. And a new song... "When you feel sad, can't take no more / There's someone else more needy and poor / Who needs your love, who needs your help / So lighten up - forget yourself."

Recording the song was another adventure in itself. I booked time in a studio that I'd never seen with an engineer who I'd never met. I had a great recommendation from a student whose new, amazing, CD had been produced by this mystery engineer. I hired two musicians for the rhythm section and arranged to have six singers come in to do back ups. The studio was inside a warehouse with dozens of rehearsal rooms. When I finally found the right room and pried open the door, the aroma of freshly toked weed was pungent and about knocked me out. Then in walked the engineer. He was thin as a rail with long curly black hair and 25 years old. I was more than a bit concerned about about what I'd gotten myself into. While contemplating this a band began rehearsing in the adjoining room, the noise thundering through the wall. In the end I had nothing to worry about. The engineer was a pro, made the track punch and the singers sound like a church choir.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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