English Lessons: Chris Tucker delves into the meaning of his lyrics
If you pay close attention to the music of The Situation, you’ll get a strong hint of songwriter Christopher Tucker’s English degree. Riddled with literary references, his lyrics frequently pay homage to the likes of Herman Hesse and William Faulkner.
Since he started playing guitar at age 16, the 33-year-old Tucker has attended a Christian college—where he had to practice on an unplugged electric guitar—worked as a journalist at the Wilmington News Journal, and been to Los Angeles and back. His days are filled by his architectural marketing career, but he splits the rest of his time between his almost-two-year-old son, his wife and his music. The Situation, a four-man band based out of Philadelphia, played is first show in March 2001 and received a flurry of attention for “The Reese Nasty EP,” released nationally last September.
While in his first band, The Verge, at age 21, Tucker admits he was unfocused, arrogant and impatient, resulting in “half-baked” songs. “I wanted to finish the song; I wanted the song to be done,” Tucker says. He didn’t start writing lyrics until he was 24, near the end of the Verge’s run. But, “when I got older,” he says, “things became a lot more well thought out. It’s [no longer] a line that’s in there because it sounds good.”
Tucker complains that many musicians now overlook the importance of thoughtful lyrics. He refers to The Smiths and The Cure as two bands he admires for their lyrics. “Right now, barring, say, The Shins, I don’t hear well-thought-out lyrics in anything,” he says, “and I just think that’s not right.”
So now that Tucker has outgrown his young arrogance, which would cause him to “say the rudest things in public” and “be drunk all the time,” he’s doing his part to give the world some meaningful lyrics.
When asked about inspiration, Tucker pulls from his life: his impoverished youth, the kidnapping at the hands of his parents, and, of course, break-ups with girlfriends. After talking about his tumultuous past, he pauses and says simply, “And I read a lot. I like to read.”
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