Utopian Track Breakdown: 4) Deserter
This is an anti-war song the like of which I'm prone to write occasionally. I love John Lennon's I Don't Want To Be A Soldier off Imagine which is like a proto-dub racket with minimalistic lyrics. That was a touchstone for this tune. I wonder what the people who bought the Imagine album thought when that came on. It's a fairly middle-of-road-album. It's a real trick making a record that can get into the average home. I've always admired people who can do it. It's never been something I was good at - due to my somewhat eclectic, rock/pop/mellow style. Big loud rock albums tend to be bought by white males, pretty things tend to dominate females' collections. You can rock a little bit as long as you have the cute stuff up front and centre. Rumours is the classic example of this. Many homes have Abbey Road, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Purple Rain, The Joshua Tree and Definitely Maybe because they rock - but not too much. Not even particularly well if I'm honest. It's still basically Honkeys trying to copy black Rock 'n' Roll/blues/R 'n' B (apart from His Purpleness of course). Neil Young's another good example. People who don't dig Neil that much often have Harvest, After The Goldrush, Comes A Time and Harvest Moon. Basically middle-of-the-road albums that rock a bit - but not too much.
Utopian rocks - but not too much, as you will see. This is the first tune in the running order that dares to rock a little. I had the chords then came up with an awful lot of lyrics (or a lot of awful lyrics) that I edited down to what you have here. I'm still not sure I chose all the correct ones - time will tell. Sometimes I leave the duff ones in for a laugh. You can't be too serious.
I often leave howling errors/mistakes on my records just to see if anyone ever notices. Usually they don't - but some do. I then picked up the Red Special and came up with this riff that I like a lot. I was trying to ape Mick Ronson. I hope it shows. I love the bassline on this which I played on my Hofner. Just once. Most of what you hear on Utopian is the first take.They're not always the best but they just have a vibe about them. I'll always fix what I have a bit rather than spend ages getting a perfect take.
In the event of war - I'm a very healthy coward in a hole. There's a war going on now - but it's a psychological war. But more on that later.
In the event of war, man don't you call me no more,
in the event of a fight, find someone else to invite,
if the tension's risin' well you might find it surprisin',
that I ain't home, you're gonna have to go it alone,
I'm a deserter, conflict averter, I ain't a hurter,
harmony perverter, I'm a defector, conscientious objector,
a manifestation of self-preservation,
I'm a deserter...
I'm sittin' in the bar of the Hotel Cavanagh,
talkin' to a brass, I think I'm gonna let this one pass,
and it's snowing outside, everybody's tryna find a ride,
one more drink, then I should be able to think,
I'm a deserter, conflict averter, I ain't a hurter, harmony perverter, I'm a defector, conscientious objector, a manifestation of self-preservation, I'm a deserter...
In the event of war, 'fraid I'm gonna have to be a bore,
in the event of a ruck, man you can just get to fuck,
if the blood is boilin', borders ain't secure, get your own hands dirty, don't call this number no more, cos I'm a deserter, conflict averter, I ain't a hurter, harmony perverter, I'm a defector, conscientious objector, a manifestation of self-preservation, I'm a deserter...
Written by R.I.McNabb © Peermusic (UK) Ltd. 2020
Ian McNabb: Lead vocal, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass. Ciaron Bell: Percussion, Christmas choir. Nick Kilroe: Drums.