Singled Out: Ryan Link's Under the Rug
I was coming out of a pretty low point of living in NYC when I first wrote "Under The Rug", around 2008. Flat broke and in debt, living in a converted warehouse out in Brooklyn with 5 other people and two dogs. And bedbugs. We had great parties, though.
"Under The Rug" started as a hard rock song (which may explain why the dang melody is so high).
It had the feeling of a triumphant comeback anthem - "You can't sweep me under the rug" - but I realized the song also wanted to be about a problem that won't go away. Something or someone keeps cropping up in your life because you haven't dealt with it properly or put it to rest. So I sang from that point of view, where I'm a recurring "issue" in your life. Could be a past lover, or booze, or drugs... anything you've had a love/hate relationship with. "Don't stick your nose where it don't belong" may or may not be about drugs, for example. But hey, choose your own adventure.
Anyway, Kill The Camera fizzled after a couple of years, like many other bands I've been in. (Not entirely my fault, but I do take responsibility.) At some point in 2012, I started singing my own songs with a band again. I had a weekly thing with some great musicians on the Upper West Side, doing classics from the Stones to Jane's Addiction, to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Bob Marley. All music I love.
We worked up a few originals for one show, and I played "Under The Rug" for the guitarist in that band, the great Dan "Shredabilly" Peters. He suggested a chord change to start the chorus with C# minor, rather than staying on E.
And that's when it became the bluesy classic-rock jam you hear on the Reverberations EP.
I've been out on the road with Once now for a year and a half. Heading into recording the EP in Nashville last fall, John Pahmer and I were sending Garageband files back and forth, and he came up with some great piano, bass, and guitar ideas. My old buddy Jay Barclay (from Miss Fortune, another band of mine that fizzled long ago) added his own signature guitar sounds, and it all came together in the studio.
In case anyone wants to trace the evolution of a song, there are a couple of YouTube videos of Kill The Camera playing "Under The Rug" back in the day... very different. The guitarist of KTC, Brian Owen, was a founding member of Fun Size, a pop-punk band from Richmond VA who recently reunited. Even though the guitar part has totally changed, Brian gets a writing credit on the song - he brought in the chords which inspired the lyrics and melody. Thanks for listening!
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!