Photo: Steve Cahill
I wrote the song Empty Cage Behind (SH-V60) to eulogize in my own fashion my long-time friend and mentor, Christopher Lloyd Darrow who passed on January 15, 2020. First off, I’ll talk a little about my songwriting process in the hopes that it will keep all apologies I might feel I need to spout nestled at bay, ghost grey, confined but peering out witchy between the lines. For a video of the performance at Chris’s memorial, see the bottom of the page.
The need to avoid early compromise is built right into the process, so as a creator it’s always an ongoing struggle to not let the nagging voice of insecurity, perched on the shoulder, sucker-punch the whole affair. Literary surgery may work later, but at the start it won’t help, due to the simple fact that you can’t go there if you don’t know what you’re doing as of yet. I started into motion, in this case, with just an overall image of Chris in my head, and then I begin to conjure the paint of language. As soon as I get going it is crucial that I just get out of the way, side-stepping, and letting the imagery flood in somewhat cinematically on its own accord. I won’t call it a trance, mainly for the well-deserved fear that Wavy Gravy might appear at my doorstop looking for his lost macramé commune sandals.