The StirCrazies Song “Kill Captain Jody”: Military Music

The StirCrazies "Rise Against" Album Cover

The StirCrazies “Rise Against” Album Cover

To celebrate the writing and recording of our new album, I will be doing a series of posts on the songs that made up our debut album. Each of the eleven posts will feature one of the songs off of “Rise Against”, and give you some background and inside information.

It was such an interesting and fun time of growth for the band recording that album, and each song has great significance to us. The first song I’ll detail is “Kill Captain Jody”.

A Military Perspective

I remember back in 2009, sitting up late in Kali Kole’s old apartment, drinking a lot of booze and talking about life. I hadn’t known him for more than a few months at this point, and we were talking about what things were like growing up for each of us.

He was in and out of trouble with the law since he was a kid, and had found himself on a fast track to nowhere after high school. After experiencing a particularly crazy night of partying, he remembers feeling like he needed a major change in life.

Kole basically knew that if he didn’t do something, he was soon to end up in jail, or worse, dead. That’s when he saw a commercial for the U.S. Army, and decided that he had to join. He needed a meaning, and something to work for.

The time that Kole spent serving would never leave him; it changed his life forever. I sat at his table listening to his experiences serving, and the whole thing almost brought tears to my eyes.

He told me when he was finished serving that he had a whole new discipline and outlook on life. When he got back there was a brief metal stage he went through (he still loves his metal), but he found a certain relief from reggae music that revitalized him. Hearing the sounds of punk and hip hop that he grew up on mixed with reggae styles and messages really resonated, and he wanted to play that type of music for a living.

I remember leaving that day with a whole new respect for my band mate. The guy had been through so much that I hadn’t even known about, it was unbelievable to me the things he had experienced.

Sure, he could be a hard-ass sometimes, but at least I could understand where he was coming from now.

Writing a military song

I don’t remember exactly when Kole wrote the song. I remember the first day that he presented the idea to me though.

It was a Sunday in the studio we were renting, and I was playing the classic role of hungover Brendan that day. We were making it a point to be finishing a new song every week at that point.

He had the idea of a military song and told me about it.

“You see, the song is about a jody. In the army, a jody is what we called people who steal the husband or wife of a person who was out serving their country.”

I was intrigued. The idea of the song already had so much power and emotion behind it. Then Kole played it out for me. I think he may have already had a really rough version of it recorded.

The verses were awesome; I remember thinking of how cool the imagery of the song was. “Sittin’ in bunker, the fellows unite, smokin’ cigarettes drinkin’ ‘moonshine delight'” (from what he told me, a really strong alcoholic beverage that they frequently drank over there). And then he played me the chorus…

“Oh my lord now, what have we done? Yeah, yeah. Tracers through the night like fireflies”.

I was blown away. This song was cool until that point, but the chorus was unbelievable. We laid down a rough guitars and vocals only version that day in the studio, and I remember burning it to a CD and blasting it on the way home. We were so proud.

At that point the whole song was reggae. A few weeks later Kole told me he’d revamped it to having a punk verse, and that I should come up with a cool lead line for it (Kole always has a way of changing songs around a hundred times before being happy with the outcome).

To find the perfect riff, I stood in my apartment with a loop pedal going for about two hours when I finally discovered something I loved. I played it once for Kole and all he said was, “That’s it. Perfect man.” That is the lead that you hear in the intro and before the verses after the choruses.

There are still some early copies of that floating around somewhere. The quality is horrible, and it was such a rough idea at that point, but it just stands as a very clear moment in time for me. Maybe they’ll be worth something someday 🙂

The rebirth of the song

It was great playing that song for audiences back in 2009, and I remember seeing how into it the crowd was. There’s even a video on Youtube live at Winston’s from back then, featuring a pretty decent version complete with backup singers and DJ. But it would still be about another two years before we got the song professionally recorded.

We started playing it with a new lineup in 2011. Our drummer Troy brought a really powerful punk style to the song, and we did a demo of it in our friend Mason’s garage studio. There’s actually a YouTube video of that one too!

We loved where the song had gone, and it was that demo that completed our final step before bringing it in to do the album. The version we got from our engineer Matty over at Sushifish Studios was just the punk song that we needed. In fact, we loved the energy so much that we decided to make it the first song on our album.

Since then it has received radio play, and is definitely my favorite punk-oriented song on the album. There’s just such a deep and emotional meaning behind it, and with the powerful transition between the punk and the reggae… it really stands out to me.

 

Kill Captain Jody

“The StirCrazies”

 

3:03 min

Key: A

 

Verse:

Across the Atlantic, he was shipped overseas

In the sandy blizzard, it’s harder to see

wiser still no better, in the letters he’d write

sittin’ in a bunker, the fellows unite

smokin’ cigarettes, drinkin’ moonshine delight

trading pictures all through the night

dreaming of the day with his girl at his side

hoping CAPTAIN JODY, wouldn’t steal his life.

 

Chorus:

Oh my Lord, now what have we done (((yeah yeah)))

tracers through the night like fireflies (2X)

 

Verse:

First just a boy, now molded to man

die for a country, but no drink in hand

once quite the lover but, now times have changed

heard he’s a killer now, shame, no one to blame

21 years old, sentenced to life, San Quentin he spends his nights, dreaming of the days, with his girl, at his side

Hoping CAPTAIN JODY didn’t steal his life.

 

Chorus:

Oh my Lord, now what have we done (((yeah yeah)))

tracers through the night like fireflies (2X)

 

Verse: Repeat V1

 

Chorus:

 

Outro:

 

2012 © ChainFireRecords

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *