Home is one of those subjects that I dare try writing about for fear of understatement, over-reach or worse, being just another captive to the cliché.
Every artist, vagabond, lost soul, or really any pulse-driven human being must contend with the push-pull of home. That claustrophobic-born need to walk through the gate, tunnel under the fence, scale the wall and stake your claim elsewhere is but half of the addiction. The other sixty percent is the somewhat desperate need to return in some kind of manifest destiny, cloaked in an all too often clumsy, prodigal son and daughter stage play.
Like the magnet moon’s grip on the vulnerable tide, the ever-present mixed-message of run away and run toward well describes my band mates and me. It so defines us that above all, it is our name. Of the dozens of market-driven, heart spoken and alcohol inspired (not the least of which was the Porn Eskimos) potential names thrown into the hat, we adopted the one name that best describes our life and our plight, Runaway Home.
Gary Culley, our much heralded “guitar-slinger,” recently brought a new song to band rehearsal night called “Staying and Leaving”. There you go, the pervasive power of our subject at hand. In fact, our songs are filled with the bi-polar thumbprint of an unsettled life, home and the road. “Exit 201,” “From the Top of the Hill,” “Brings Me Home,” “Tell You Goodbye” and dare I say, most if not all other songs.
What is it about the guttural urge to seek the unknown and the man-made requirement of returning home in prideful proof of accomplishment? The west tamed, the rivers forded, the mountains scaled and the audiences swooned. Obviously, these are not the sole purview of artists and musicians but may well be the exclusive right of just plain discovery. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the ghosts of Lewis and Clarke, Amelia Earhart, John Glenn, Gandhi and millions of earthbound but heaven and star-gazed fools. In my mind they would tell us that the only thing more powerful than the accomplishment of reaching the destination is the disappointment of fulfilling your goal and realizing there should be something more beyond it. What lay beyond the big blue Pacific, that Lockheed Vega’s windshield, Tranquility Base or the imperialistic strangle hold on the least of castes? Maybe it’s the next continent, the next fog laden landfall, the Milky Way or self-actualization itself.
Before I get so head-filled that I compare our calling with that of my heroes, let me just say that a sold out room, merch table or Facebook fan number falls way short of what we want to accomplish with our music and I hope that it always does. Let me ask, what truly holds the exaltation of attainment and the exhalation of accomplishment? Is it the unbearable need to seek what is unproven or is it the full circle balance of returning alive and intact to where you began? As much as my pontificating may insinuate, I actually have no idea whatsoever! I guess I am comfortable and I pray that this band is comfortable with the idea of the only true failure being the arrival at the end of the rainbow, be it home or the pin on a map somewhere on the road. I know that I am at my most comfortable when I am ever-seeking! That is destination enough.
Mark Elliott – Runaway Home
“It’s the music That Makes Us Smile”