Singled Out: The Shelters' Tangled Up

William Lee | 09-20-2019

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The Shelters

Southern California rockers The Shelters released their brand new album "Jupiter Sidecar" today and to celebrate we asked Chase Simpson (vocals, guitar) to tell us about the song "Tangled Up". Here is the story:

Some songs seem to fall out of the sky into your hands, taking you to all to all the places they want to go. It's like they're already written and they just need to flow out through this inexplicable energy source that you've tapped into. And other songs, well they can be like dragging a cat to water. Tangled Up falls somewhere in between...

As a songwriter, I have quite the unfinished pile stacked with melodies, riffs, and words - it's sort of this graveyard where ideas don't go to die, but go to rest. Tangled Up started as something completely different. It was just a chord progression with a lot of humming and a chorus that wasn't quite working, but there was still something about it that I liked... I just wasn't sure exactly what that was.

"You've got me all tangled up over you"

That was the only piece I really had to hold onto, and it wasn't even in the proper chorus. Since I couldn't seem to drive this song out of it's rut, I laid it to rest in the graveyard. Sometimes you gotta take a step back so the rabbit can come out of its hole... as luck would have it, that's just what it needed and Tangled Up would get that second chance that it deserved.

We were deep into the writing process of this record, and all I could think about was songs. I was obsessed. I'd flip through books and magazines hunting for that powerful word. I'd stare at movie titles trying to find a way to make them my own. Everytime someone spoke I was listening for a line, for ?the? line. I was fishing every day, looking anywhere and everywhere for anything that could inspire the next song.

Then one morning, I was taking a shower and doing my best Beegees impersonation, belting into my loofa-mic when that line just popped into my head:

"You've got me all tangled up over you"

... and I had completely forgotten where it came from. It felt like this new incredible idea that had just fallen out of the sky. Before I knew it, I stopped impersonating the Beegees and started singing this fun sorta falsetto thing that just landed in the perfect groove and feel. I had it.

I hopped out of the shower, soap covered and sudz, grabbed my notebook and just started writing. I wasn't going to lose this line, not matter the puddle I left in my wake.

After that, it all just came to me. I grabbed my acoustic as quick as I could and chords just fell on to the melody. It all happened in a matter of moments. From the time I started my soap-covered hum, to the time I was playing the bones of a song with chords and a chorus, I don't think you could've brewed a pot of coffee quicker. Or finished a shower.

When I brought the song to the band with all the written parts, it was still just me on an acoustic, so it was a completely different vibe and it took a lot of discovery and exploration to become the song it is today.

I love seeing where the guys can take something. For us to come together creatively and take the essence of a song and see how far we can push it is pure magic to me... it was just a lot of fun and it's why I love playing these guys.

You know, in that pre-chorus bit where I sing:

"You've got me, oh you've got me..."

Ya, that part, it kinda always felt like my sort of nod to Roy Orbison. When I mentioned that to Josh, he dug that and went and brought some Jové twang into the equation with that baritone lick off the top. Then that was it, we had all the framework, we just need to see what fit and be careful not to disrupt the trance which is really the heartbeat of any song.

We were extremely lucky to have Sean Hurley play bass on this song. His creativity really helped cement the feel into the place where this song sits today.

Like I said, some songs are easy to write, and some songs are hard - the real trick is making them feel easy when you're listening. It was so fun seeing all the places that this song stopped before it eventually found its way home.

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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