Someone who had a radio show in Edmonton once told me campus radio station CJSR received a complaint about City Of Wood when they broadcast it in 1993. Not too surprising because the lyrics to the first verse were comprised of a lot of swearing about men that raped. When I wrote it, I was partly trying to figure out how one might write a song like that. I thought since it’s shocking the song should be shocking
The cover was a painting of 14 empty chairs in the snow by Mendelson Joe commemorating the murdered women from the Polytechnique massacre. What he painted got to me like this Alex Coleville painting. A few years after that record was released I stopped playing it, moved on to newer songs plus there was weirdness in a room when I played it, drama time. But I remember the last time I played it – at Clintons in Toronto 6 or 7 years ago at a comedy show
I was the musical guest and one of the hosts asked me to play the song so I did and they all laughed which was confusing. They laughed as though that was my intention all along. I wasn’t sure if the meaning changed over time or if certain audiences are programmed to receive information in only one way. Maybe the joke’s on me.
Starts at 39:38