Part VI of Wolverette’s 3rd Print Issue: Malcolm Rollick

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Past issues

Wolverette presenting: malcolm rollick, musician&songwriter
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Wolverette: what makes you write your lyrics? where comes the urge, the inspiration from?
Malcolm: i’ve been writing forever. it’s the only way i know how to get certain thoughts out into the world… so they stop cluttering my insides. when i was a kid i wanted to be a poet or a novelist, but music was always mixed up in that. i could never really separate the two mediums. i do a lot of improvising. i write songs on stage, taking topics from the audience. i like the raw material that comes when i don’t have time to put a slant on it. most of my songs come from improvisations that i’ve captured or tape and edited later on.
what’s the difference expressing what you wanna tell in your lyrics compared to expressing it in your music? where’s the link?
when i have something hard to say, you can hear it… the tone of my voice, the way i hold my guitar. when i write i have to put all of that into the words, if it’s not going to be a song. my poetry has a different kind of weight in it. when i sing and play, i have all these different dynamics i can work together. the words can be straightforward, because they dont have to be both text and subtext. every so often i write a song that started out as a poem… the words have more dynamic, so the music is a little more liberated. the balance is different.
what is your lyrics-writing process? description, please?
lyrics come to me best in their raw form. i sit with a tape recorder and i play random chords and sing. i sing a lot of crap. then something good comes out. it’s different when i improvise on stage. the pressure of having an audience keeps my mind sharp. i get some great words out that way. i try to record all of my live shows and work new songs out of them later on.
do you think your words create something?
my words do some really amazing work. it always throws me how powerful a show can be. when i was playing in the subways back in NY we would make people freeze in their steps, miss their trains, even pause for a good cry right there in public. sometimes i don’t know where it all comes from. i’ll start out with a simple shape or form and end up vocalizing a plan to change the world. or mapping out the way women are taught to oppress themselves. or connecting the people around me, getting strangers to sing together. i think my presence alone can have an effect on people. i’m a bit of a wild-card. i carry some heavy ideas around with me but i laugh a lot, and i think the world is beautiful. i’m a bundle of contradictions.

Here are the words to a real feminist, queer anthem… it’s off my 2006 release, “Scaffolds”. I wrote the most of the words for this one first, then the music.

Mary

if i had to live on the street i’de know just how
i’de be the finest whore you ever saw ’round town
i’de teach them about god and tear the flesh back to stars
i’de teach them about god and leave them stranded in their awe

and i don’t, no i don’t forget her name
sweet Mary, Mary Magdalene

you say the witch is cold and hard and cruel
but she’s got a gift so tender that she’s trying to protect
and its poison for the ones who never learn to beg
it’s poison for the ones who try to take instead

and i don’t, no i don’t forget her name
sweet Mary, Mary Magdalene

luck be a lady i never did have to sell
the love that i give freely
and i give it to a girl

but the law is against me either way
won’t you marry, marry me Magdalene

and you think that it’s a shame
i should want to be the woman that i am
instead of a thing
and you think that it’s a shame
you cry marry, marry me Magdalene

love is poison for the ones who never learn to search
love is poison for the ones who hide behind the church
poison for the one who make the laws
lets poison all the ones who make the laws
poison for the ones who make the laws instead

and you think that it’s a shame
you cry marry, marry me Magdalene
while i cry Mary
sweet Mary
sweet Mary Magdalene

http://www.malcolmrollick.com
http://www.myspace.com/malcolmrollick

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