“THE CONSTRICTOR” track 4 power FORWARDby August 27, 2023
So this one could have also been conceived around 2005, with 3BW*
*For more background info on the tragically short-lived but personally highly influential band 3BW, please see previous post (#3: “Element”).
I really cannot remember if “The Constrictor” was a 3BW thing- seems like it was, or at least we played around with something similar. But I do know this was another riff- idea-thing that stayed with me for like 16 years, coiled up, sleeping in my brain, waiting patiently for the time when it could emerge and hurt people. (Just kidding- all it wants to do is dance!)
Yet again, my little sketch turned into a fully formed & vivid sculpture of sound when Power Forward got involved. Vashon Lee Page literally kicks this one off with thunderous & muscular drums, signaling the onset of onslaught, staying so tight & never letting up, giving the name of the song it’s meaning. And then Cor Win brings it up several levels with his bass parts, adding movement, complexity & depth to the simple 5- note theme.
In the studio, I used the “Jankmaster”, a cheap old Fender – Squier that has these busted up old pickups- I don’t know what adjective to describe it- thwacky ? Ploingy? Visceral? Filthy? Anyway, it’s the only song where I take more than one guitar solo, kind of going berserk sometimes- as I did not overdub or “punch in” those solos, just let ‘er rip live, in the moment, with only bass & drums to go off of. Doing it like that provides a lot of space to fill with frazzled caterwauling. Plus you don’t overthink it.
Only after all that did I overdub 12-string acoustic guitar, using & abusing it as a percussion instrument.
And then Danny & me had more big fun with bongos & congas & djembe & dumbek & claves & casaba (I think that’s what’s it called- the little scratchy Latin rhythm thing- that goes “shhk, shhk”)
And once again- the keyboards were last to get on board this vessel of world-music-rock-jazz fusion-whatever-it-is. Tudore had originally put organ throughout the track, but to create some space & suspense, he held off until the 1st guitar solo starts, then he busts right on in , adding a cool spooky layer to the mix. After that he’s all in with some jazzy jamming, until The Constrictor has had its fill & slithers off into the mysterious & menacing wilderness night.