Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's the one friend of mine who has had a rough year with his old lady. There are probably more friends of mine that are having similar years, but they're having them discreetly. This one friend however has a hard time keeping the tough stuff to himself because he's a writer and spelling things out that way - reliving and analyzing them - sometimes makes a difference. It would be easy to tell if he were going through a rough patch with or without confirmation in a conversational setting. The one line that he always uses as a connector is, "It's hard, but you know that." It's a bit of a dismissive remark, spoken to the severity of anything he might be going through and it's a way to assume that there's a common knowledge that will encourage empathy and not head shaking. It's hard for everybody, the whole love and commitment thing. It's hard to be supportive and it's hard to be supported. It's hard to give and sometimes hard to receive the sort of compassion that might be deserved. It's just what you get though. I think that's what he's trying to say.
It's what you have to expect - all those hard times and the rough rolls that come with dedicating yourself to another person until the death thing does part you. Depending on what you've gotten yourself into, the difficulties of trying to settle down and into a relationship that will go on and on, might be easily handled. For others, it could just be better keeping them at arm's length, dabbling in modest commitments rather than leaping into the deep ends. It could just be that pining and hoping for something, but never getting it, or only having to deal with the instabilities of a another person for a short period of time, is preferable.
The relationships that Lawrence, Kansas' The Dead Girls dig into seem to be more along those lines, pairings that are either in flux or are simply desired, or so they think. You get the sense that many of these set-ups are on the verge of disintegrating. They're lucky to still be intact, as it is, but they're hanging on - through the aching backs and the blood-stained lips.
It sounds as if lead singer Cameron Hawk, guitarist/vocalist JoJo Longbottom, bassist Nick Colby and drummer Eric Melin (two of whom are members of the underrated rock and roll band Ultimate Fakebook and two members are also world-renowned air guitarists) knows how to pick 'em. The characters in these songs are handfuls, causing all kinds of drama, losing their shit and just generally freaking out. It doesn't mean that any of this was a bad idea though. You can tell that these are people who might actually thrive on the unpredictability of good looking babes. Hawk sings, "Whatever it takes, I'll find a way/To get you to show me the shape of your body/It seems it's all I ever think about these days," and it could be the root of the problem, but it's not like it matters all that much. It's always gonna be hard, ya know? As long as you can spin the troubles of the odd couple into some shredding rock songs, it's all good.