Radio Exile recently released their self-titled debut album and to celebrate we asked Charlie Calv to tell us the story behind the single "No Pity On The Highway." Here is the story:
This is an interesting one, I will give you the whole perspective on how we did it start to finish. Originally I just had the verse riff and I kind of sat on that for a few months until I came up with what is now the b-section and bridge and that was it for a while. Then one day when I was down in my studio working on some other ideas the chords to what is now the chorus came together and I thought wow this would fit really well with that other idea I was working on, which was just called guitar riff in D (lol).
Then when it came time to start looking at some ideas for the Radio Exile CD and what I wanted to send Chandler to start working on, this one was actually left out almost until the end of the writing process. I believe it was probably one of the last two ideas I sent Chandler because I was not sure how it would fit in, but he loved it and almost immediately had the title No Pity on the Highway.
To him it just had this feeling as if you were rolling down the highway so the lyrics kind of developed out of that, but kind of taking on life as being the highway that you are travelling down. So, it's about going from down-in-the-dumps and dealing with addiction, to the "High Road" and the journey in between. Sometimes itâ€™s a long hard road to get where we need to be in life and you can't expect pity from anyone else for the choices you've made, you just have to take responsibility for anything that may have happened in the past and move forward. So Chandler and I worked on the arrangement a bit until it fit with the ideas he had for the lyrics/melodies and then we demoed it for the others.
Once we go into rehearsals for the record we firmed up the arrangement but we were not really sure how to end it. I believe it was Dave that came up with the idea to go the 4/4 section at the end, kind of like what Living Colour did on Cult of Personality. The problem was we had no idea of what kind of riff to use except we wanted something in 7/8 to go over the straight part, so Jimmy was given the assignment to come up with a f***ed up riff (he actually wrote that on his notes) by the next day when we started tracking, which he did.
I think we nailed this one in two takes. If you listen to the guitar part I believe on the left side, it is actually the reference guitar that we used from the initial tracking. When producer Steve Lunt came in to work on this song he loved the raw sound it had so we actually wound up keeping it and just added to it. This was also the first song that Steve worked on with us and we were pretty psyched to see what we would come up with in terms of the final production of it. He came up with some really great ideas that were just little changes but enough to take it to a whole new level.
I have to say this one was the biggest surprise for me overall because it went from being one I was not even sure about using to one of my favorites on the record.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself here and learn more about the album right here!