Rock ‘n roll is about taking a different path. It’s about defying the “norm” and blazing your own unconventional trail. It’s about pursuing something that you love even when the rest of the world thinks you’re nuts. It’s about energy, adventure, and diving headfirst into the unknown. That is what my upcoming single Last One Down is about. Anything worth pursuing though comes at a cost. Sometimes that price is high… but sometimes the price is worth it.
Preview Vandarth’s huge rock anthem Last One Down:
My new single Last One Down is a journal of what I experienced when I set out on my own rock ‘n roll adventure. I took my own leap into the unknown at the age of 25. Life in a rock ‘n roll band was out there somewhere and I wanted to find it. Having grown up in Indianapolis with an almost non-existent music scene, I wanted to move to a city where rock music thrived. I wanted to spend every moment I could blasting loud guitar riffs and singing my lungs out in bars, breweries and hole-in-the-wall venues with friends.
It was my dream to become a career musician and it didn’t seem like that was even a remote possibility in my hometown. I packed up my gear and moved to Austin, Texas alone in search of music and adventure. Some thought I was leaving on a career-suicide mission. Others believed in what I could potentially become.
Nothing about adventure is “normal.” Maybe that’s why it’s so exciting. It defies what we are used to in search of something better. Nothing understands this better than rock ‘n roll. Last One Down is about the excitement we feel when we set out on an adventure. It’s about the energy that comes from following our dreams. The possibilities seem endless. It’s also about coming to terms with what we’ve risked in order to pursue something new. It’s about contemplating the cost of stepping out into the unknown.
When we take the first steps, we don’t always know what it will cost. Maybe that’s a good thing. Otherwise, we might turn back. I weighed the risk/reward of my rock ‘n roll pursuit as I wrote this line from the chorus of Last One Down: “Will you wait for me if I don’t come home?”
I had no idea what moving to a music town would cost me when I left Indy. I sold many of my personal belongings to pay for moving expenses and I always joke that selling my Nintendo 64 was one of the worst decisions of my life. Seriously… no more Tony Hawk, Turok 2 or Jet Force Gemini! What was I thinking?? I say that as a way to humorously cope with the relationships that were lost or fizzled when I moved 1,000 miles away and the years of music-making that were lost as I battled through a paralyzed vocal cord. If you had told me what my adventure would cost me, I’m not sure if I would have started it. I did not know that 8 years later, I would still be an unknown independent artist in a strange town.
“I think I’ve got one final trick up my sleeve…”
But what was gained? Well, I definitely had an adventure. I headbanged from the stages of clubs and breweries in Texas and Kansas. I met musicians who would push my songwriting and musical abilities. I injured my vocal cords, but I re-learned to sing correctly so I could have a future as a singer. Yes, I lost a couple important relationships, but I also gained some lifelong friends. I discovered that I had some friendships that would survive across 1,000 miles. More importantly, my rock ‘n roll quest changed the way I see the world.
I am not the same person I was when I left Indy and that’s a good thing. Facing the unknown will change you. It will force you to adapt in ways that are not possible if were to stay in the comfort of the “known.” Do I wish I could recover some of what I lost along the way? Sure. But I’d rather be the person I have become who was shaped by the journey rather than the person I was before I set out to chase rock ‘n roll.
The closing line of Last One Down is meant to leave you with the hope that comes from sticking with the journey. It’s meant to leave you dreaming of the possibilities that come from sticking it out when the adventure hits turbulence. “If you run with me, you can bet we’ll find a home.” Hope comes as part of the package when we’re on the journey. There is always hope; there’s always something to be gained or discovered as long as we are still on the adventure. It’s when we turn back that we forfeit what we might have gained.
Last One Down was written as a gigantic anthem with a vast chorus to communicate endless possibility and adventure. Let it wash over you. Let yourself dream big. Most importantly don’t miss the payoff of the adventure; let the journey change you.
I’d like to give a special thanks to my friend Tyler Habig from the band Komptoro who appeared on this recording and helped belt out those big background vocals on the chorus! He’s an outstanding musician and friend.
Notes from the recording process
This song was a beast to record. It literally tormented me and I almost scrapped the entire song. I’m much more comfortable writing heavier music but I wanted to try something different to express the journey I had embarked on. I originally recorded it at a slower tempo and felt like it dragged. I had to speed it up within my recording software and re-record the guitar parts that didn’t sound right after being sped-up by my recording software.
In addition, I recorded the electric guitar several times with different guitars because I could not find the tone I wanted. I finally settled on recording rhythm guitar with a Fender Telecaster and lead with a Gibson Flying V ’67 Reissue. I’m so happy to have been able to complete this song and get it dialed in to where the music fully expresses what I felt on my crazy rock journey. More to come soon!
Last One Down will be released on June 15, 2020 and will be available on all major streaming and download services. Click here to visit Vandarth on Spotify!
Want more alt/rock from Vandarth? Headbang to Space Coffin, Vandarth’s newest heavy rock album! Click here to preview it.
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