Dishwalla Singled Out: Give Me A Sign


Dishwalla are releasing "Juniper Road," their first new album in over a decade this Friday (7/14) and to celebrate we asked Jim Wood to tell us about some of the tracks. Today he talks about the first single "Give Me A Sign". Here is the story:

The idea for Give Me A Sign came from a crazy tour adventure. It began in Las Vegas where we played a unique private event. We've played a lot of strange shows in our travels but this one stood apart. They had built an entire forest in the venue and had cast members dressed as various creatures, and there were Cirque du Soleil performers doing acrobatics, spitting fire, that sort of thing, plus lights and lasers everywhere. After the show we hung out with the owners of the Hotel in their private press box in the hotel's Ultra Lounge. There was a famous French DJ performing on the 5-story high stage and the scene was unbelievable. I had never seen or heard anything like it and I was completely blown away. I just sat in that press box mesmerized for 8 hours straight before I was able to drag myself out of there around 9am.

I had to drive to Northern California that afternoon and took off in the later part of the day. The memories from the night before were swirling around in my head nonstop as I headed out into the desert. I had been playing around with the intro melody for a few weeks in a totally different ballad-like vibe, and driving along I started riffing it into this EDM-style syncopated beat pattern. Somehow it all worked so I started laying it out into a song in my head. The weird fantasy world from the previous nights show made me think of how you never really know what goes on in someone else's head and that shaped the lyrics for the chorus.

The route takes you past a greatest hits of UFO sighting locations: The Nevada Nuclear Test Site, the town of Mercury and gateway to Area 51, and an Air Force Base where they fly drones in the Middle East that is patrolled by robotic guard vehicles. All good stuff for desert driving and lyric writing. There had been some recent UFO sightings and there were spaceship-shaped clouds in the sky over the valley where Area 51 is supposedly located. At one point I came across a group of people that were clearly on a skywatching vigil with their lawn chairs set on the roofs of their RVs. It struck me how they were really just looking for confirmation for answers that they already believed to be true, which is what we all do in one way or another. Just Give me a Sign.

When I showed the song to the band I had sketched it out using programmed drums, and translated most of the EDM elements into something more Dishwalla-like. Our drummer George got super pissed at me for coming up with something that had so many different beat and feel changes. It didn't make sense to him at the time and he really didn't want to record it but went ahead and gave it a shot, cussing me out along the way. He nailed it on the very first take. That awesome performance tied it all together and is what is on the record. The rest of the parts came together in the next few days and we had ourselves a finished song.

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

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