Tuesday, August 4, 2009
concrete river video and story
Full lyrics two posts down.
The concept for this song came to me two summers ago while I was living in Cerritos and commuting to work by bike, train, and skateboard. It's about 4 miles along the San Gabriel River from my parent's house to the train station. If you haven't seen the rivers in LA, they are massive slabs of concrete shaped like a V to channel water from inland to the the Pacific. Sometimes after a rain the water level rises, but most of the time it is just a trickle. They usually have a walkway running along either side with entrances at various overpasses and neighborhoods.
I would bike with my skateboard strapped to my backpack from my house to the train station, ride the Greenline to El Segundo and skateboard the half-mile to my office. I remember learning how to slow myself down after 5 whirlwind years as an undergrad. Learning how to adjust to life in the real world. Learning how to enjoy the journey.
And it was from my bicycle, along the river, that I watched the sun rise and the sun set every day. That river ran along poorer backyards and horse stables and industrial junkyards. Over the handlebars I saw a different universe hidden from suburban Los Angeles. I saw taggers trying to make their mark, couples stealing a moment of privacy, families fishing, cowboys giving their horses a workout, and the dregs of society trying to keep warm away from prying eyes.
It was a strange mix of worlds, but one that seemed to fit together somehow. It was separated from the ambitions and judgments and vanities of normal life. It was different. It was peaceful. I started writing about that concrete river two years ago but gave up until this song came out recently.
Does knowing more of the story behind a song make it more meaningful or would you rather come up with your own interpretation?