lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: touch me fall

1994-02-18: (unknown source):

interviewer: okay. tell me about the significance behind the title of the album and what it means to you.

amy ray: it's going to be a long year. [laughs]

interviewer: okay. the title of the album.

emily saliers: it is swamp ophilia, which is a plant, it's an actual plant. although we've been looking it up and we have not found it anywhere.

amy ray: it might be a dream.

emily saliers: it might be a dream or just like a colloquialism or something like that.

amy ray: yeah, it was in florida.

emily saliers: it's in one of amy songs, "touch me fall." you can take it from there.

amy ray: it's just some nature preserve i was walking through and saw this plant, and it was really - it made me think of hamlet and ophelia and the swamp. but it all kind of mixes in together.

amy ray: yeah, we just thought it sounded cool.


interviewer: and what else are we doing today, "the power of two?"

emily saliers: "touch me fall"

interviewer: "touch me fall" [laughter] sorry.

amy ray: so i have my tounge on my cheek. "fugitive" is - it's kind of a love song, but it's also, you know, it's very abstract. it's me, the struggle within myself and the struggle with someone else to create commitment in a world of this - of the music industry, which is really kind of screwy. and the ideas of invading privacy and - it's about freedom, really, and about the ability to be free. you can be free no matter what, you know. and "touch me fall" is about the same thing [laughs]- "touch me fall" is about the industry. no, "touch me fall" is sort of a journey from - it deals with ego and true - true love, and, you know, and purity, and then it switches over to - into a mode of kind of the - it's fatalistic. it goes from this real pure type thing into a - a sort of a chaotic existence. they're very abstract songs. i don't know what i'm writing about half the time when i'm writing, so i can't really - i can't, like, pin it down like emily can.

emily saliers: because mine are simple.

amy ray: no, that's not it. mine are just - i just let it out while i'm writing, so i don't know what it's about.

interviewer: the music can tell us on that song if you think it really changes.

amy ray: yeah, we recorded "touch me fall" - i had a wreck, actually, the day we recorded it, and i went into the studio, we recorded it. we did it live, [sarah lee] and jerry marotta, and that was an improv thing- we kind of worked on a skeleton of it, but it kind of happened the way it happened, and we just kept it. so it's very - it is what it is. full of mistakes and time changes and everything.


interviewer: okay. sorry. can we go back again, just to cover myself, and let's talk about a little bit more specifically about the songs that we're going to hear today. can we just go through that one more time and just tell the title of the song and a little bit about it and what you - maybe people that are on that track or what you thought about or when you did it, when you wrote it. just so i can use those as highways when you hear the songs.

amy ray: okay. i wrote "touch me fall" actually, we were staying at a resort in florida [laughing] - i was taking a nature walk. i started the song on that, actually, on that walk. i was - it was after dark supposed to be there, and i started this song. and it was a real pure thing, and then i finished it after being really worn out from last year. it became a- completely different song. it got very chaotic. and so i finished it at a different point in my life. and so that's what it is, it's like a journey from one part of my life to another. and "fugitive" is - i don't know how to explain it again. [laughter]


1994-04: interview, university of new hampshire:

"it is very abstract. i don't think it is easy to understand the meaning of it because i don't really either. i just kind of let it all come out. it is sort of about decomposition in general. decomposition of love, life and fame. everything. it is the beauty of decomposition and i am tying it into the fall, meaning the season."


1994-05-13: world cafe radio program:

amy: well "touch me fall" started out real simple, you know, just kind of a really beautiful electric guitar song that turns into, you know, a grunge song, not grunge, more like a clash type song at the end. real simple, straight forward, but we kinda needed something to help us bridge the transition, so we brought in this young guy, nashville guy, that we had met, a musician that became kind of a friend of ours, to help us with the string arrangement, for some of the transitions. and he a...and he did it.

emily: he did, he bridged the gap.

amy: (laughs). he did a bang up job of it.

emily: we just went crazy in the studio on this one.

amy: yeah, we just kind of did whatever. you know we did it live, we did like...actually i had a wreck the day we recorded it. and i came into the studio about three hours after the wreck and we put down about six takes of it and edited what we liked together of all the takes, it was all improvisation, all of it.


interviewer: wow, really?

amy: and a...we kept emily's, all of emily's lead stuff and we just sorta went "well this is the song, now what else does we need?" and we threw horns on it and strings...

emily: it was fun.

interviewer: it's an ambitious first single off the record, why did you do that?

amy: well, actually we, you know, we felt that number one we wanted to go out to more of the independent college commercial alternative, that kind of thing, cause that's where our support has always been. and we wanted to go to that first. and we didn't want to go out in top 40 and try to drum up support somewhere we didn't have it already. we just felt loyal, pretty much i guess, to the format. and we wanted to try, we talked about trying something that i had done, something from my camp of music, cause we'd always kinda of been in emily's camp for the first time and thought this would be an interesting thing, but i didn't think that was going to be the one. and that was something that the record company just kept going, "well, let's just try this" and i was like "yeah, right" . so a ...

interviewer: it's interesting, i'm not sure if on the single version that came out, the little message thing that's on the beginning of the album, the little thing about skating. (emily and amy both laugh).

amy: oh, it's not on the single probably. (both laugh again).

interviewer: now, what does that have to do with the song?

amy: (laughs). nothing.

emily: (laughs). nothing.

interviewer: i've been trying to figure it out.

emily: we have a lot of fun on this record.

amy: you know where that's from, some friends of our, mrs. fun...

emily: mrs. fun.

amy: ...who recorded "dead man's hill" with us. they were the guest band on the record. they went to see a friend of theirs play who used to go, you know when you're at the skating rink and they go "all skate, now reverse", you know. i was just saying it and we stuck it before that song because we thought it represented what the song was doing. (emily and amy both laugh).

emily: it means nothing.

interviewer: so i guess this is the un-embellished version of "touch me fall".

amy: this is the very un-embellished version. (emily laughs). this is like billy bragg doing a duo.

(live version of "touch me fall")

interviewer: imagine you're all alone in a club and neil young and p.j. harvey are dueling on stage. (emily and amy both laugh).

emily: yee-hah!

interviewer: that's my perspective.

emily: cool!

interviewer: that's great. that's "touch me fall", live version from emily saliers, amy ray. yeah the indigo girls have joined us. thanks a lot for coming by.


1994-09-01: indigo girls: the power of two, guitar player:

"it started out acoustically, but i wanted a gutsy sound, so i got out my strat," she reports. "emily wound up playing her lines on a yamaha aes 1500 electric. the challenge was to give a tangible feel to my abstract thought, 'everything is beautiful,' as well as that feeling's flipside: decomposition. i wanted to show how it's okay to fall and to stumble, so i put a stop in there before the chaotic string section kicked in."


1994-10-07: out in the open, the akron beacon journal:

the two-part opus touch me fall, the album's centerpiece with its over six-minute running time and changes in pace, is something ray calls an abstract song dealing with different issues of the ego and with not taking chances because of possible consequences.

"it's a call against complacency in some ways. take a risk. it's no big deal if you fail."


1994-12: indigo girls: why amy and emily are finally in the pink, b side:

the record that's causing the tour "swamp ophelia" is probably the most sophisticated, stylistically varied record of their career, bringing in not only hard hitting session musicians, but sympathetic guests like the roches, lisa germano and jane siberry.

"i think some of it is that we felt more comfortable in the studio. this is the second record with the same producer (peter collins), so we had the formalities out of the way, and we could immediately immerse ourselves in the different musicians we'd use. we got lucky on this record. we picked a bunch of players who brought in a different side of things, and some of the songs dealt with things that could bring in different musical influences. i think we've always been influenced by all styles of music, but as far as the studio goes, we didn't have the time or money before to put some of those other ideas down. plus, i was being more influenced by the alternative world, but i wasn't using it in the realm of the indigo girls. we grew up on that scene, playing alternative clubs because the folk clubs weren't open minded enough for us and what we wanted to do. the spirit was always there, but now it's really emerging musically."

on "touch me fall" the song begins as a ballad then revs up into a three-chord rocker that'll make you swear you're listening to a cover of "won't get fooled again."

"it was a little deliberate, tongue-in-cheek, bow down to the who type of thing," amy admits. "when i was writing it and it moved from one section to another i didn't think about it. then when i was playing it, i went 'we should really kind of muck this up a bit.'"

and while the playfulness is there, the record is often serious, never more so than in "this train (revised)," which was prompted by amy's visit to the holocaust museum in washington, d.c., and its portrayal of the victims - the jews, of course, but also gypsies and the homosexuals.

"that was important to me. at the museum it's made very clear although jews were by far the main victims of the holocaust, there were many others, too."

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