I was trying to write a version of Crazy Horse's "Cortez the Killer" for Circle 9. I STILL want to work up a live version of this with Bri and Ochster. I have an acoustic arrangement too. I want it to be SFP's "out of the blue and into the black." The fellas never wanted to play this one. We were doing mostly 45 minute sets around this time so we would only have 1 longish song. Bidnizz, jack! This is my favorite Circle 9 performance. Also, I didn't realize it at the time but Joe Gallagher introduced the SFPeeniverse with "Moai," "Gateway Of the Sun," and "Pyramids Of the Moon." I'm forever in his debt! You can hear the "Moai" riff during the calm down part. Obviously the SFPeeniverse begins with Circle 9's THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES.
I'm old enough to appreciate westerns. Yo dig. I was struck by something that conservative commentator David Brooks said during the upheaval of 2020. While discussing the protests sparked by the execution of George Floyd on PBS he said "(F)or many decades, the pioneer experience was the defining American experience. And then the immigrant experience was the defining American experience.
Now the struggle for racial justice is the defining American experience." He's absolutely right. This here song is a romanticisation of the initial American Experience at the tale end of the European Conquest of the Americas. As a nation we need to talk about this shit. Millions died. Also this is an obvious nod to the "pioneer" of Outlaw Country, the legend known as Hank III.
Being a rock and roll kid I didn't realize until much later that you could write songs based in historical times. Fantasy is well represented but actual history is almost nonexistent. Being a big Steve Earle fan and having been introduced to the Pogues by the woman I would eventually marry it was like a whole new world of possibility exploded upon my essential existence as a songwriter. The further back I went the more and more it felt absolutely right to base songs in a time period that decidedly ain't America from the 1950s on. It's such a miniscule sample size! This is my first stab at writing about a different century. They're all just cowboy songs anyway.
This song was originally called "Life's a Beach" and I wrote it in 1987 whilst living at Ocean City, MD for the summer. I remember people crying when I would play it. I just RECENTLY realized that these piano middle C power ballads are very effective in bringing forth emotion. I repurposed it for THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES. I used my wife's name. This is absolutely inspired by Ken Burns The Civil War which I watched over and over again. Growing up in Maryland we're there.