If you follow this blog you’ve probably seen a couple mentions of the band The Poison Control Center. I’ve known guitarist/vocalist Patrick Tape-Fleming (and his wife) for a while now. They are literally two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and he’s a very talented musician. When I heard this song performed at Schubas a couple months ago, I have to admit I got a little misty-eyed. But maybe the take I had on the song was wrong, so let me introduce to you the songwriter himself with a few words on where the song came from:
I guess when writing songs I try to be as personal as possible, make it truly from the heart and or personal experience. This wasn’t always the case. Early in the life of the Poison Control Center I was so into 60’s psych pop that I wanted everything to sound like the Kinks, the early Bee Gees, or the Zombies. But how can i guy from a small town in NW Iowa have a British accent? It was just awful, and it was not until about late in 2004 that something clicked in my head and said you have never been to England, you have never drank in a British pub, you don’t sit in a garden and watch flowers grow, you have never seen Big Ben. Stop acting like it, start writing songs about things you know…
So I started writing songs about my life and my friends lives, and for the first time I felt like people were actually connecting with the things I wrote, even if it was brutally personal it made a more worldly connection.. Like in the song “Magic Circle Symphony,” off of Collage of Impressions.. All I wanted to do was write a song about how the Timpani player at the Indianapolis Symphony made 80,000 dollars a year, but also I had just started dating a type 1 diabetic so I wanted to throw that in there, and my little sister’s best friend had just died of cancer, so I wanted that in there too. Next thing I know, two years later a room full of strangers in New York City are singing, “Love is the Answer until you get Cancer..” and it still breaks my heart every time that happens.
So with a song like, “Terminal,” off the new record, I wanted to write a song about me waiting for my then girlfriend, now wife in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. She was coming to visit and it was her first trip out here, and I was scared shitless. We had been dating long distance, but now she was kinda coming on my turf. I didn’t want to screw it up. So with my poor handwriting I made a little sign that said, “I LOVE YOU.” But the thing is, I could not find her in the airport! She had landed, but neither of us had cell phones in those days and we were both just lost.. It’s a crazy feeling being in an airport, waiting and waiting. I think since 9/11 it has gotten even crazier in airports, so I just wrote this song about the things you see, hear, feel, and think about when you’re waiting in an airport..This song kinda ties all the other songs I wrote for the album together as well, and I hope that even though it’s a very personal song it also is a song that other people can relate to.
Thanks for debuting to the world here it means a lot to me!
You can hear a couple other tracks off the new record, including the lead single “Torpedoes On Tuesday,” over at Afternoon Records. Also, if you order today, you get a free covers EP and digital downloads of the album are immediate. If you want a physical version, they’ll start shipping in a couple weeks.
I’ll be back next week with a review of the full album Stranger Ballet. I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece as much as I have.