Ey Radio:Active Magazine, this is John from Five for Fighting.
Well, I did have a song called „The Riddle” that was quite challenging. Some songs take an hour to write, those are kinda gifts from god. „Superman“ was one of those songs, kinda came very quickly. Some songs seem to take forever and you never feel you got it right. „The Riddle” took about a year. To craft that song and do so many premeditations and go back to the lyrics and simplify and arrange. It is just one of these songs you just can’t feel it, like „That was close“, but you weren’t at the finish line. So at some point you just got throwing the towel. So after a year, we had a record to make, we put it on that record and it did pretty well and people enjoy that song, but still, to this day I kinda have this sense of „Argh, it’s not quite what it needs to be.“
Song that hits me in the feels?
My Songs? I would have to say „100 Years“ has a kinda unique pleasure. You grow up with the song. When I wrote that song, I was in my 30’s and at the top of the second verse. Now I’m in my 50’s in the bridge. So whenever I play that song, there is a place for me in it. And maybe that’s why it seems to be a popular song, cause there is a time in there for everybody. So that’ll be my feels.
Well negative? Just go on twitter, so don’t go on twitter.
But positive… When I first got a sense for my music was touching people, was actually during the first gulf war, and „Superman“ was popular. And I started getting emails from soldiers in Iraq, telling me, you know, that they were listening to my song, before they went on mission or when they came back or to escape or to connect with home. And it was fascinating that all these different reactions came from the same song. And it really kind of instilled in me this appreciation, how music can really matter to people. And it’s not what I meant when I wrote it, but it’s how people take music and applect to their own lifes. So that has always been an honor, that the folks that allow us this freedom of speech and … keep us safe and have a certain appreciation for my songs. I’m very humble and grateful for that.
That is challenging, I have to say. Because certainly my songs have emotional context. With „Superman“ it’s not easy to be me. I hear so many stories. Tragic stories of sick children, or challenges family’s face, and the positive side of that is, I can kinda use my music to raise awareness and help folks where I can. Some of those stories have happy endings and some of them have tragically sad endings. But, again, I think that’s why music is a unique medium. It can take people and I won’t necessarily say „heal them“, but maybe console them and give them a little solace or use music to feel what may be hard to say.
And certainly with „Superman“ and 9/11 it became a song for the firefighters, who ran into those buildings and the heros in 9/11. So I do think, however my music is received, I’m glad it’s there. And I like happy endings and there are a lot of those too.
Oh, speaking of „Superman“
Well, that’s a hard answer. Far be it for me to tell everybody how to find that special thing inside of themselves. Cause there are many of them. But I think with „Superman“, the reasons why people relate to that song is, it basically just speaks to inache humanity. What’s the first line of „Superman“? „I can’t stand a fly“ Who wouldn’t want to fly? Why do superman not want to be a superman? Because we can’t be superman. In the real world we can’t be superman, be everything for everybody at all times. If we try to be everything for everybody at all times, sometimes there is nothing left for ourselves. And we have to start with ourselves first. And that took me a long time to learn and I’m still learning that. So I think, we need to know that as much as we feel we need to take care of those around us, it’s hard to do that, if we are not in a good place. So there are certainly a lot of special things inside of us, whether it takes meditation or sometimes therapy or just good friends. There is a lot of things that make life worth living. And I think being grateful for what we do have, is a good place to start. And we’re all special in our own way. And I think it’s important to remember that.
Haha. Well, to be honest with you. Because of this horrible pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot time doing things outside of music. Trying to keep the family business going, help folks that are really struggling. So I have been putting music on the back burner, because some things are more important than that. And right now, I’ve been working on that, but we are getting to a place where I think it’s getting a little back to normal. So I look forward to sitting back down and I have been writing songs. But I haven’t been writing them for records, I haven’t been writing them for films. I’ve really been writing them, like I did when I was a kid. Because it helps me deal with the stress of the pandemic. So I have a lot of work tapes and I’ll be going through those to see if there is anything worthwhile. But again, that goes back to what matters. And for me, music really was just about making me feel better, giving me a punching bag, a way to express myself. And maybe it’s good that the circle is back to that. And that’s probably more important than any hitsong or any rock and roll story. It’s finding something you love, be passionate about it, and do it.
Take care guys.
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