For the video for his song “Memphis Rain,” off his upcoming album Silver Tears, singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan chose an unabashedly vintage treatment. A collection of often shaky images, the clip, directed by Norwood Cheek, has the feel of a home movie. But the story behind the song is even more engaging.
Tasjan says its inspiration came from both a dream and a rather surreal gig he played in the song’s titular city.
“In my dream, late great Memphis musician Jay Reatard was singing ‘In the Memphis rain’ on this motorcycle that was on fire. A few days later I played a show at Lafayette’s in Memphis,” says Tasjan. “Right before the gig, this lady at the bar was really tearing into me. I guess I just have one of those faces people like to yell at. Here is a list of just some of the things she told me that weren’t true: One, she makes her living as jujitsu instructor; two, she could sleep with her eyes open; three, a descendant of her family was pictured on the Indian head nickel; and the list went on from there.”
But the oddball encounter didn’t end at that moment. After parting ways with the “fan,” Tasjan looked out the bar’s window, to find the woman fighting with her boyfriend. “She left my gig to stand out in the pouring rain and yell at her boyfriend who kept his motorcycle running during the entirety of my set,” he says. “I thought it was a beautiful image so I wrote it into the song. So to sum up, this song is one part Jay Reatard singing while riding fire motorcycle and one part completely insane lady yelling at her dirt-bag boyfriend while he revs his bike engine at her in defense of himself – country-rock gold.”
Tasjan’s Silver Tears was recorded in Southern California with producer Eli Thomson. It’ll be released October 28th.