Bedroom Rehab Corporation's sobering tale
This episode of our Song Spinner series, which takes you inside the hearts, minds and hands of local musicians and their creative process, reveals the story behind "S.S. Hangover (Sobering Sickness)" by Bedroom Rehab Corporation.
BIO: Bedroom Rehab Corporation is comprised of drummer Meghan Killimade and bassist/vocalist Adam Wujtewicz. The couple is, individually and together, an indelible part of the New London music scene, not just through their musical contributions to a variety of bands and recording projects, but also through their work for wailingcity.com, the superb online guide to everything happening in regional music.
SOUND: On the great weather map of two-person rock bands, as typified by the Black Keys and White Stripes, Bedroom Rehab Corporation blast through with the power of a Force-5 hurricane. They take DNA samples from punk, metal and stoner rock, splice it with intriguing lyrical concepts, and take flight in unique fashion.
For one thing, instead of a guitar/drums format, Killimade's carpet-bombs percussion is augmented by Wujtewicz's prowess on four-string bass. His mastery and creativity with a multi-effects pedal board is such, though, that the tonal possibilities far exceed the standard rhythm section construct - and this is a loud, howling and, at surprising and effective points in the course of an evening's set, almost delicate combination.
HOW "S.S. HANGOVER (SOBERING SICKNESS)" CAME ABOUT: Typically, a BRC song starts with a bass figure or a specific drum beat, and the pair work "big jams" and effects experiments until structure bubbles to the surface and coalesces.
"This is a pretty straightforward song and it came together pretty quickly, musically," Wujtewicz says.
Based around a werewolf of a riff and Wujtewicz's throat-searing admonitions, "Hangover" has become their signature tune and frequently kicks off live performances.
"This is about as poppy as we get; this is our anthem," Wujtewicz says.
Perhaps appropriately it's become the opening song on an impending, nautically-themed concept album.
IS THE TUNE REALLY ABOUT A HANGOVER? "The title of the song is pretty accurate," Wujtewicz says. "It's true to life ? it's about drinking - the uses and the perils - but it's about what happens when you go overboard."
The pun is appropriate. The tune was originally just called "Sobering Sickness" - part paeon to boozing it up with friends/part cautionary tale about the price one pays for such fun - when Killimade and Wujtewicz noted the "ss" aspect of the alliterative song title.
Since BRC live in a port city with a massive nautical history, a lot of the material they're writing seems to work around a seafarin' theme - hence the upcoming concept album. "S.S. Hangover (Sobering Sickness)," as the song came to be called, evocatively characterizes the grim reality of life on a boat if a sailor wakes up below deck with a vicious hangover and a full day topside, working in the sun.
DO THE LYRICS CONTAIN A CLEVER HOMAGE TO COLERIDGE? Indeed.
IS THERE A PROPER APERTIF TO DRINK WHILST LISTENING TO "S.S. HANGOVER (SOBERING SICKNESS)"?
Says Wujtewicz: "I'm a fan of stouts and porters - porter is a very old-world beer. When I think of sailing on ships, I don't think cruise ships. I think old pirate ships - masts and sails and a bunch of guys below deck rowing. You need old-world beer. If you happen to have a flagon of mead, drink that."
Killimade adds, "Yes. Dark and heavy. That's appropriate."
WHEN'S THE NEXT TIME TO OPEN A COLD ONE AND HEAR THIS SONG? Bedroom Rehab Corporation performs Sunday with The Pack A.D. and Black Cat in New London's Oasis Pub, 16 Bank St. Showtime's 8:30 p.m. and the cover is $5. For details, call (860) 447-3929.
S.S. Hangover (Sobering Sickness)
But not a drop to drink
Holes in my plan
Holes in this boat
Enough to make it sink
No one gets out alive
Only rats leave the ship
Grow gills and you'll survive
With a bottle in your grip
All the whiskey
All the Rum
Both will make you pay
Slept through the morning
Suffered through the sun
Sick throughout the day
Nothin' left to live for
This boats a floating tomb
There's no returning to shore
Just hope the end is soon
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