Who Will Save Dick Drake?
The last stages of making an album seem to take forever. The first 90 percent is all inspiration and songwriting and windmilling. When you’re 90 percent done, you think, “Hey, I’m just about there!” But you know what? You’re not.
You’re not because you have to step away from it before you have any idea what it still needs.
I wrote and recorded Lincoln Signal in the order in which it will play on your iPod. It was a little like writing a novel. When I was about halfway done, while tracking a song called “Off Grid on Target” about a guy who stops retrieving the newspapers from his front porch, a question popped into my head: Who, I wondered, will save Dick Drake? That name, Dick Drake, is the one I had given to this tormented character I was writing about, this guy I was “inhabiting” in the first person in every song. And here I was realizing, halfway through the story, that he probably wasn’t going to make it out alive. It just wasn’t in the cards.
Who, then, would rescue him?
I thought about this quite a bit as I worked. Surely I hadn’t created this character just to kill him off, right? Who was going to throw the poor guy a lifeline?
Well, it wasn’t going to be me.
It would have to be him.