Wank offshoot Sleeping Dogs just released their debut single and video called "No Mercy" and to celebrate we have asked Danny Walker to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
The movie is Cape Fear. A sex criminal is paroled, and he re-acquaints himself with and threatens the crooked attorney that let him down. In the city of New Essex, Max Cady (De Niro) warned Counselor Sam Bowden (Nolte), “you’re gonna learn about loss.”
In the chorus of “No Mercy”:
“In a little while, I’ll be on the other side of you
In a little while, You’ll discover what it’s like to lose
(ooh ahh) Ooh I promise you I’ll show – no mercy”
I wrote “No Mercy” years ago. I had been through a couple of major label deal cycles with WANK (Maverick) and Handsome Devil (RCA/Dirty Martini) and had continued writing songs to release albums independently. It’s a grind and can be a gauntlet of disappointment–the biz. It was during this time, I made the demo. Sassy guitar riff, walking bass, four on the floor dance kick, and skiffle guitar rhythm, ooh-aahs, and chic-chicas. “No Mercy” is dark in theme, but is musically high energy. In 2020, the band (Sleeping Dogs) listened to a bunch of songs, and we decided to properly track No Mercy.
Feel: We wanted high energy and attitude--prance and bounce with the rhythm. The keys introduced a nice funky texture to the verse and they really spike the chorus. Adding the wo-oh’s at the top and bottom felt right, and the bass line is more active, mid verse.
Something special in the melody: the verse chords alternate between Bm and E major. The chorus starts with an Em chord so we transition from an E major to an E minor when the chorus hits. Somewhat atypical, allowing for a special moment, melodically.
Lyrics: verses are the complaint about getting played with and hurt, from a place of no leverage. The chorus lyric warns of retribution, “In a little while, you’ll discover what it’s like to lose.” And promises “No Mercy.” The lyrics yearn for payback—it may as well be the Ballad of Max Cady.
“No Mercy” in a nutshell: No – I don’t have a crooked attorney to blame for an unjust prison sentence, but know this…When I come for you, I’m going to show you the same courtesy you’ve shown me. It’s going to be beautiful. Give me a beat….”
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the band here