Jefferson Thomas Gets Personal
New Single From Come Alive Album
Artist: Jefferson Thomas
Title: ďUpdate AgainĒ/Come Alive
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: MusicDish Evanworks
Website: Jefferson Thomas
So - ďUpstate AgainĒ - what exactly does that mean?
Jefferson Thomas I grew up in upstate New York, and I have a real love-hate
relationship with it; every time I go back I swear itís the last
time. I was gonna get married to my high school sweetheart, then I
decided to sew some oats and go away to college. I wasnít real
tactful or considerate about it, and that kind of devastated her.
During finals week of my freshman year she somehow wrapped her car
around a telephone pole in front of my folksí house, and didnít survive.
[Shelly Rosen]Ouch. Thatís pretty heavy.
Jefferson Thomas Well, something like that does tend to stick with you. I didnít
really talk about it for a long time, much less assess it musically.
Youíve got to be careful going to a place like that if youíre not
ready, or youíll end up tumbling your whole house of cards. I was
sitting around with an old hollow-body electric guitar last year,
messing around with these old country records from the late Ď50s/early
Ď60s. I got that over-the-top vintage reverb thing going on, almost a
surf thing, and downed a bottle of wine, and the song just kind of
tumbled out. I wasnít even trying to write a song; it was just this
stream-of-consciousness thing, with a lot of inside references and
haphazard things that probably donít make any sense to anybody but me
and a few friends.
[Shelly Rosen]Yeah, itís almost kind of a narrative.
Jefferson Thomas I figured it needed an angle, so I decided - what if I kind of
try to update her on whatís gone down since she left, you know? Like
ďhereís what this dudeís up to, and this dudeís doing this, and were
you watching when this happened?Ē Enough time had passed that I was
able to go back and look at the whole thing from a detached angle,
and just kind of ponder the whole thing. I couldnít have pulled that
off if I had done this right after it happened; I would have been
coming from too desperate and intense a place. Itís actually the
lack of intensity that I think makes the song work; kind of a
resignation or surrender.
[Shelly Rosen]You actually name names. Were the names changed to ďprotect the
Jefferson Thomas Hell, no - nobodyís innocent! No, like I said, it was real
stream-of-consciousness, real in-the-moment, and I think it works
better that way. I think people can identify with names; they donít
need to know who they are. They can project their own experiences
into it, name their own names, you know?
[Shelly Rosen]Have you done the song live?
Jefferson Thomas Havenít worked it up with the band yet - thatís coming, but Iíve
done it solo. In fact, I did it the other night solo on piano, which
took on a totally different vibe.
[Shelly Rosen]How risky is it to play such a personal song like that live?
Jefferson Thomas I always write with a certain detachment, and this one is kind of
matter-of-fact, which I guess is my defense mechanism against being
too personal. I donít really let you in, you know? As far as it
being risky, thatís more a case of it being a ballad, and if you
donít make people give a shit from the first eight bars, you run the
risk of losing them. And not just for the song, but maybe for the
[Shelly Rosen]Whose idea was it to go to radio with it?
Jefferson Thomas It was actually mine. Iíve got some things on this record that
are certainly more pop, but Iím really liking whatís happening at
triple-A radio these days; you can get away with things that arenít
so formulaic. I figured this would be a slow-burn kind of thing,
taking a while to develop, not getting tons of adds out of the gate
you know? Iím too close to it, I know, but I sort of feel like this
song suggests thereís a whole record that needs to be checked into,
whereas everything is so single-oriented these days; youíve got all
these acts with one good song and ten other tracks of filler. This
song may not be the catchiest piece of candy, but it breathes, you
know? I think thatís the real villain weíre all fighting against in
music these days: instant gratification.
For more information about the author, click on the authorís name at the top of the page.