by Monica Ortwein, contributing writer
Christopher Tucker is the head songwriter for a relatively new band called The Situation, which - just trust us on this one - is going to be what all the cool kids are talking about in a few months. Tucker is talented, hardworking, and determined, and we're not just saying that. The Situation is already successful in the local Philadelphia music scene, ond not without good reason.
"Everyone knows who we are in Philly now and it's time to start taking it out of the city," he told us. Judging from the sounds of the Reece Nasty EP, the band's first release, they should have no problem doing just that.
Reece Nasty is a collection of five choice cuts from The Situation's extensive catalog, and are the only ones available right now in CD form until the band finds time to record a few more. Just to give you an idea of what The Situation's sound is all about, Tucker has often compared his band's guitarist to Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths. (You can listen to a couple of The Situation's tracks for yourself at www.thesituation.org, and make your own judgement call.)
When Tucker sings, "I never had none from day one and I'd never change a thing," on Reece Nasty's Why I Can't Relate, he's definitely not joking. The Situation's lead singer grew up in poverty in Delaware, and he had to pay his parents' rent with money earned from a paper route. He's had a job since he was only 12 years old, and what's more, his parents kidnapped him from each other when he was just a young boy. "We didn't have hot water or anything like that," Tucker told us. "Milk was kept in the back shed during the winter months because we didn't have a refrigerator, that sort of shit. Mad style."
But all that is in the past now, and the Situation has become one of the most important things in Tucker's life. Aside from his girlfriend and a new baby boy, that is. Tucker also currently has a full time job writing proposals for an architectural firm, but if The Situation does land a record deal, all that will change.
"I would like to not have to work a day job, but it's the stand up thing to do. I've got a family, I've got a kid to support and I have no free time, but that's what's important," Tucker said. "I'm not going to put my kid through what I went through when I was growing up. I will not let that happen."
The story of The Situation begins with a band by the name of Elan. Elan even found its way into the pages of CMJ and had several major label record deal offers before suffering a career-ending blow when Tucker and the band's drummer got into a fistfight, and Elan was indefinitely put on hiatus. Ordinary people may have been bummed at getting offers for a band that they were no longer part of - not to mention, a band that no longer existed - but Tucker remained undeterred.
"I didn't really give a shit," he said. "When it comes to music, I've never really bent for anybody. I continue to be that way - I want things to be done on my terms. The [record companies] were like, you've got to get variable A to play the drums and variable B to play the guitar, and I'm just not like that."
Shortly thereafter, Tucker got on a plane for California, and tried to do the music thing in the Los Angeles area. Eventually, he decided that the East Coast was where he needed to he, since "I kept breaking up bands out there... I just wasn't my scene. I love all the people out there, but I was not getting anything done - apart from doing a lot of drugs and that sort of thing. So I moved back far The Situation."
And it didn't take long for Tucker to get back into the band groove. In fact, The Situation was put together and had a gig booked less than a month after the songwriter's return from the land known for its high celebrity content. "I don't really plan anything, I just write songs and then I bring them to the plate and see what everyone likes and we do them," Tucker sold of The Situation's current - well, situation. "Hopefully people like them, but if people don't, that doesn't really matter either. I don't really have on agenda here."
What he does have, though, is an incredible work ethic. "It's almost like eating or sleeping is to regular people," Tucker said of his penchant for songwriting. "I don't know what I would do without it, and because of it, I've gotten like 70 or 80 songs. Narrowing it down to just 20 isn't easy, and I'm not slowing down. I just don't stop working because it gives me joy."
Now that The Situation is playing steady gigs in the tri-state area, Tucker is excited to branch out, and to get back in the studio to lay some stuff down. "I want to start recording again," he said. "I have a lot of songs and I always have this fear that I'm going to pass away before I get to record them."
Family is important - and Tucker will be one of the first to admit that - but so is touring and fulfilling your dreams. That's why if The Situation does land a record deal (and all signs are currently pointing in that direction), then Tucker will go out on the road with no regrets.
"I'll tour until I can't stand up anymore," he said. "I love playing, it's what I'm here to do. And my son will understand that someday."
© 2001-2005 The Situation