“To sleep, perchance to dream”
Lyrics are here
Song is here
I can’t remember when I first heard the phrase, “dead to the world” but it had always been used around our house as slang for being really deeply asleep. I’m not normally very good at naming songs that don’t have a chorus but that phrase fitted perfectly for a song that is about dreams in general and a couple of very specific dreams that I had. I also like to think that, since the song was written on bass, that there’s also a slight nod to the Super Furry Animal’s song Bass Tuned To DEAD.
My mum used to know a guy up in Leeds who worked up there for the same company and was a big Leeds United fan. For a couple of years we used to take him to Goodison and then he’d take us to Elland Road. I’m not entirely sure why we used to go since we hadn’t won a league game there for some 40-odd years. Anyway, we always used to get to Leeds for mid-morning so that my mum could have a look around the shops prior to the match. I was just strolling around the city centre when the first two verses came to me. I realised that there would be no way that I’d remember the lyrics until after the match so I desperately started looking for a stationery shop before I forgot them. I managed to find a W H Smith’s, bought a pen and notebook and scrawled down the words. I obviously hadn’t owned a mobile phone for very long at the time since I didn’t even consider texting them to myself or anything. That season ended up being the last time that we went to Elland Road as Leeds were relegated that season.
The third and fourth verses are about dreams that I actually had. I’d dreamt that I’d been getting married to my friend Louise and for some reason Hello magazine had bought the exclusive rights to the wedding pictures. The line about being” bold to get that near” was about paparazzi from other magazines (OK, etc) hiding in trees or flying in helicopters to try and get snaps in order to spike the Hello exclusive. The final verse is based around a dream that I had before I went back to university to do my PGCE. I’d never been to the Student Union at Nottingham University but in my dream I found myself there still wearing my pyjamas. Then, in walked David Bowie wearing this amazing red, tonic suit. Then, for some reason, we found ourselves on a little twin-prop plane, about to parachute out.
The coda didn’t explicitly come from a dream. Rather it was just something I had in my head when I woke up one morning. I even wrote it down completely separately from the rest of the song as I didn’t see them belonging together. At the time, I was still thinking that I’d end up writing a chorus to go with the four verses and it wasn’t until after I’d come up with the chord progression that I put the two bits together.
I’m not entirely how much credit I can take for the melody. It was probably one of the first things I ever played on the bass as I messed around just playing the top string and following the inlays. The obvious thing to do next was play it the other way round. I played the original little riff for Anthony and he said it was alright so I thought I’d better find some lyrics so I could take it to a band rehearsal. With the first four verses all being on the first page of one of my notebooks I didn’t have to search for long. Since it didn’t have a chorus, I knew it needed something else. That’s when I remembered the other lyrics and the playing the riff the other way around.
It really came alive in rehearsal though. Anthony brilliantly playing around the main chord progression and then the full-blown wig-out at the end. In fact I bought my first ever effects pedal, a Boss Bass Overdrive, purely for this song. The very end, where the bass goes back to playing B-A-G-E and then gradually gets faster, I based around Space Invaders, where the little four note motif gets faster as the aliens get nearer to Earth and then, eventually, ka-boom!
This was an ever-present in the pre-sixth circle years and was one of the three songs that we recorded when we first went into Roar studio. Unfortunately, the engineer there cut off the count-in. This was always a bit of a joke as we were never meant to start the song at the same time. Rather, I’d start, then Anthony would join in after a couple of bars and then Stu a couple later. I always counted it in though as I found the idea of just counting in myself funny.