Updated: Sep 20, 2022
Rod recalls how he wrote the song Dear Rebecca which appears on our first album.
Dear Rebecca had a few incarnations before it became the studio version. Originally, the title was I’m Writing You A Letter Tonight. But one night, when I was still working out the song’s structure, I played it for my girlfriend at the time and she suggested I try it as He’s Writing You A Letter Tonight. I liked the idea. Rather than be the main character, the shift in voice allowed me to become the storyteller and it gave me the distance I needed to finish the song.
I don’t exactly know how I got to thinking about the topic. I might have read an article about the Alberta oil sands and how many men from Atlantic Canada work there. I imagined a man from Newfoundland, hailing from one end of the country, who was working at the other end of the country….3000 miles, more or less… and what he would do at night, alone and away from his family and the extra-weight around the house his wife would have to pull, like driving the kids to hockey practice, and how the distance could pull the relationship apart.
Keeping a family together can be tough business. We can all relate to that. You can think of your parents and the sacrifices they made. Often there’s a lot of tension around money and that’s what the chorus is about:
Ain’t it funny what we do for money
Ain’t funny what we do for love.
Dear Rebecca is one of my favourite songs to play live. Some songs always sound better with an audience, and this is one of them. Danny Lee added some great harmonies and Mark’s guitar solo really livens things up.
On a side note, I think I heard Gord Downie once say how difficult it was to rhyme a verse with “hockey.” Well, like The Tragically Hip’s Fireworks. This is a little nod to one of my most important influences, who many of us miss so dearly.
More from The Grove in our next issue.
Until next time.