lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: dead man's hill
1994-xx-xx: swamp ophelia, epic press release:
"i wrote this out of an experience i had when i was really young. my first exposure to real evil. i saw some high school boys light these cats on fire, and it was pretty traumatic for me."
"the point of view kind of shifts back and forth from child to adult. in some ways the song is directed to my parents - that's why i asked my dad to sing on it. it's like i'm saying 'when things are bad i may not be able to ask for your help, but i'll let you know they're bad!'"
1994-05-13: world cafe radio program:
interviewer: that's a really nice song, "wood song", which is on the "swamp ophelia", the new album just out. now, in my term paper, the other thing that sort of seems to come up in a bunch of songs, you talked about in the little kind of release you put out with the record. it's a bunch of songs about the transition, the rites of passage from being a kid and being an adult, and being young and having all this energy. there's a bunch of songs that are kind of about that, i was thinking about "reunion". but also, amy your song "dead man's hill" is kind of about a childhood incident.
interviewer: when...how did you remember that incident? has it always stayed with you?
amy: well that incident has been...yeah, it's had an impression on my whole life really cause i was so young when it happened. that song is kind of a coming of age song i mean, you know in every way of all the different things that you do when you're coming of age. and that was sort of my first time i came across sort of the evilness of people. but i mean i was a kid and i was watching...you know at night i was looking over at the field and saw these things go up in flames and they were screaming and it was cats and it was really bizarre. it was a very bizarre experience for a child to, you know, to come across and i was pretty sensitive, so it sort of directed my whole life. but i didn't know the song was going in that direction when i wrote it actually that just kind of popped out.
interviewer: what direction was it going to begin with?
amy: it was going in a little more of the chorus direction of... a little more passive.
interviewer: which is not a word i would use to describe your writing very often (laughs).
amy: no, but ,you know, i thought it was a new direction for me or something (laughs).
interviewer: you got your dad to sing on it, is he a singer?
amy: yeah my dad sang on it. well he sung a lot in college and high school and stuff but he's not a professional singer or anything. but the song was kind of, you know had some elements to do with him in it so i decided to asked him to sing on it and he did a great job i thought.
interviewer: yeah, he really sticks out on the record.
interviewer: once again, not only do we not have a orchestra but we don't have him here, but could you do that one?
amy: all right.
1994-07-14: indigo girls no longer a mere cult group, the milwaukee journal:
the indigos' old friends, waukesha's mrs. fun, will precede big fish ensemble as the opening act in milwaukee, as well as in madison and minneapolis. it's a flip-flop from their early club days, when the indigos frequently opened for mrs. fun keyboardist connie grauer and drummer kim zick at nashville's bluebird cafe.
expect the indigos and the funsters to re-create their studio collaboration on the "swamp ophelia" song "dead man's hill," which includes a disturbing childhood memory of boys burning cats with gasoline.
"i wanted something really unusual, and i felt they would do something really bizarre with it," ray said of mrs. fun.
1994-10-07: out in the open, the akron beacon journal:
dead man's hill is about an early, unpleasant childhood experience. "as i was writing this image popped out of when i saw some teen-age boys pour gas on cats and light them on fire. i was too far away and couldn't do anything. it was very upsetting."
1997-xx-xx: scholastic song writing contest tape transcription
amy: i grew up across the street from my high school and there were a lot of strange and wonderful adventures that happened from the time i was in elementary school all up through high school and college that were based around this field, you know that i grew up across from. i wrote dead man's hill after i went back home to visit, i was with a friend, we went over to the field, and all of a sudden i just remembered everything that had gone on during this period of time in my life. i had my first sort of exposure to sheer evil when i was a very young kid, and it happened on the field. i was standing in my driveway looking over the field and all of a sudden i saw this like spark and i just heard these manical screams and it was these kids lighting kittens on fire - pouring gasoline on them and lighting them on fire to see what would happen. it was like the worst, i mean it shaped my whole life you know, that one vision, and it came back to me when i was laying on the field and i realized that it had influenced everything i did. so from that point i was like, "this isn't gonna happen around me anymore," you know i'm gonna stand up, i don't care how old i am.
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