Halfway There! And a Little About "Mind of Men"
Wow! We’re halfway there, and over 90% funded. Incredible! Amazing! Never in our wildest dreams did we envision such abundant generosity. Thank you, thank you for backing the project. Let’s keep going and spreading the word. We have the potential to surpass our goal, which means we can do even more with the project!
Today I have a little post about “The Mind of Men” one of the two songs that Brothers Lazaroff have already remixed:
Just so you know, this is a long post, and at the end is a video of Elizabeth McQueen Meet Brothers Lazaroff performing "Mind of Men" on 88.1 KDHX in St. Louis! I just don't want you to miss it.
Before the kids were born, back when I was a freewheeling road dog, I spent a lot of time in the company of men in very close quarters. A tour bus is a beautiful thing. You have the ability to walk around, make something to eat in the kitchen, pee in a toilet and lie down in a bunk of your own...but you're still in a submarine like environment.
People would ask me all the time "How do you do it out there, with all those guys?" And I would always truthfully say that I preferred it. Dudes generally keep to themselves and avoid interpersonal drama which is a good way to be when you're around 10 other people all the time.
Even so...being around 10 other people all the time will get under even the most Zen like person's skin.
Because, just like my generation learned from MTV's "The Real World," when people are around each other all the time, they stop being nice, and start being real.
I was raised by a pragmatic feminist. My mother always worked, and both she and my father always told my sister that we were capable of doing anything we wanted. But she also told us, again and again, that "men are different." She must have told me this a million times growing up.
And I don't think I ever, ever believed her.
When we were teenagers she was trying to warn us mostly about the desire part -- to explain to us that sex and emotional involvement -- which are often inextricably tied together with girls and women -- are not always so closely aligned in men's minds.
I spent the better part of my teens and early twenties trying to disprove her theory, with varying degrees of success. And even after I had reconciled, that at least for me, a physical connection almost always led to the longing for an emotional one, I never believed that her sweeping generalization about men could be true.
And then I spent a couple of years as the only woman on a bus full of men.
It was then that I started to understand what my mother had meant.
I started this song in the middle of summer touring way back in 2006, one where we spent more time in our submarine on wheels than we did at home. I was on a bit of a songwriting tear at that point, one of the rare times when songs came to me one after the other, piling on top of one another as I tried my best to capture them as best I could.
I was burnt out. I was angry at everyone around me. And I was tired of hearing men talk about women the way that they only do when females aren’t present...at that point I had made it to “one of the guy” status. I was sitting in a hotel in Mobile, Alabama -- a hotel that had survived the beating that Katrina laid on that town, but that was surrounded by buildings only half standing, decimated trees and a beach that had yet to receive a healing -- and out popped the lines
They don’t care if they buy it or if they break it
They don’t care what your saying as long as you shake it
They don’t care if you like it long as you fake it
Most of them just thing that you should lie down and take it
I know, it sounds cruel, but no woman, should play the fool
You’ve got to understand the mind of men.
I showed them to Dave, whose first words were “Harsh.”
I agreed. They were harsh words. Possibly true, but also possibly unfair. I felt the catharsis that I had needed just by writing them, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish the song. So I put it aside.
It wasn’t until we were deciding on songs “The Laziest Girl in Town” that the possibility of me finishing the song came up -- though I was not the one to bring it up. It was Dave. The song was in the style of the record after all -- mid century vocal jazz. But I wasn’t into it. The song was so embarrassingly strident and even though I believed the words to be true, I didn’t want to the rest of the world to know that was how I felt about 50% of the worlds population. I considered myself a feminist, but didn’t want to be known as (gasp!) a man hating one.
Dave had another take though.
“That is the most honest song you’ve ever written” he said.
And so I finished it. By then, I had an eleven month old girl, and I envisioned trying to explain to her what my mother had explained to me. That men are different.
We recorded it. And it became one of my favorite tracks. Ever.
Mind of Men is also the genesis of the remix project with Brothers Lazaroff. When "Laziest Girl" first came out, I wanted to do a remix of some of the tunes. I approached Brothers Lazaroff and a few others about this idea - but, it never got off the ground.
Page forward a year; I was asked to come to St. Louis to play The Woods House Concert Series on a Saturday evening in January, and also booked a cool brunch gig the following morning at Lola with Brothers Lazaroff backing me. As they were preparing for the show, the idea of re-imagining Mind of Men with neo-soul groove came about. They sent me a little clip of them practicing it and I was more than okay with it - I was stoked! Simultaneously, we realized we were on to something and the remix project was envisioned ... funny how ideas can manifest in all different ways at different times.