Car Trouble notes: “Shake You Off”

I mentioned earlier that the Car Trouble songs were written in a fit of inspiration following a Bob Mould concert. It’s probably fitting that one of those songs is about Bob Mould, kinda.

I wrote the guitar riff to “Shake You Off” in the days following the concert. Sometime later I borrowed a copy of Mould’s biography See A Little Light from Patrick. Reading through it, I was struck by Mould’s terse confession that he has an ability to simply walk away from situations and relationships. For whatever reason, he’s not interested in maintaining those loose ties to lots of people over time — once he’s done, he’s done, and he won’t be calling you. I started thinking about times in my life where I’ve done the same, and how it made me feel everything from relieved to pure evil, but always some measure of awkward. I know you now, but I won’t always know you, so why pretend this will last?

This riff and that thought stuck with me until the following summer when it finally became the song below. And if it sounds a little dark or angry than what you’ve come to expect from me, it’s because there’s an invisible line from this song stretching backward in time to that Hüsker Dü concert in 1987 — an adult trying to siphon a little energy from a darkened underground room in Steel City, full of punk boys and pinwheeling arms and fists and, at that precise moment, the best rock band in the world.