Looking for You

Looking for You visualization with lyric
Photograph via: Suzy Hazelwood

“Looking for You” is the fourth song on Bachelors Anonymous’ unreleased second album, In the Land of Nod, remastered and released digitally. Bachelor David Hughes tells the story behind the song.



Long before we decided that “Looking for You” would receive music video treatment, Rob sketched out the song with tune, chorus, and the first two verses, whose internal rhymes would have been beyond my ken. He initiated a motif that I continued.

I was very influenced by Peter Blegvad’s “How Beautiful You Are.”1 It’s a love song with a beguiling title, more akin to Bruce Cockburn’s later “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”2 than a Billy Joel ballad. But I took Blegvad’s theme to an extreme. I lifted a Velvet Underground LP title, inserted the visual of flashing barricades,3 and then topped it off with an image of “trees burn[ing] like crosses.”

As we mastered this song in May, I told Rob and our engineer Scott Jennings, that latter line has haunted me, having tossed it off with my white privilege. And yet for years I have fought against the name of my own Denver neighborhood ever since my wife Andrea Carney told me it was named for KKK member Mayor Benjamin Stapleton. Indeed, crosses were burned near here. But as I did research after Andrea’s revelation, I found it was mainly white citizens—along with very few Blacks—who encountered Klan bigotry in Denver. If that sounds incongruous, here’s what Stapleton’s police chief William Candlish had to say before the mayor survived a recall: “Another term with the mayor and the rednecks and Jews will crawl in their holes and pull the holes in after them.”4

We’ll save the story behind the video for a dedicated post. For now…

The Recording

We did some recording at Wildcat Studios in Los Angeles with Josh Schneider engineering. We finished recording and mixing at Red Zone, with Duncan Aldrich, who had, and would, record and produce several of our favorite artists, like Chaka Khan, Robin Williamson, David Lindley (brother of our friend Patrick), Wayne Shorter, and Warren Zevon.

Del Mar Richardson, who costarred in the video and who played drums on “Looking for You,” is who suggested we record at Red Zone. He recalls:

By the way, we [Super Heroines] mastered at Red Zone, which is how I knew about it and recommended them to you & Robert. Super Heroines’ first album was mastered there back in ’82. I remember a cat named Duncan, he may have been the one who mixed the album, or he was the owner.5

Somehow we’d become friendly with French hornist Douglas Lyons—friendly enough that I loaned him my ARP 2600 synthesizer. That’s key, because otherwise Doug’s policy was not to do freebies; at the time I think he was performing with the L.A. Philharmonic. We asked him into the studio fairly early on to lay down a single French horn track—too early, it turns out. By the time we’d recorded the other tracks, his horn was out of tune! (This was a decade before the advent of Auto-Tune.) Trouper that he was, Doug returned to redo the line.

Regarding his drumming, Del Mar has quite the detailed recollection:

Initially when I first heard the recording, I don’t recall all of the instruments in the playback that exist now in the song’s finish, so I wasn’t sure how much would be added, if anything would be added. 
 
The song’s lyrics were clever because when I first heard the song, on the surface, it was somebody looking for love, a connection, but then after hearing it more, not reading the lyrics, I thought to myself, this could go either way. Is it analogous to Narcissus? Or is it someone longing to get back to themselves? 
 
The slow tempo was nice for a change. Having come from Goth, punk, Death Metal, I could hear space! Space for things! The rock trio I was with in 1981 and ’82 had only drums, lead guitar, and bass. Don’t get me wrong, I dug the sound we made at the time. There was a temptation [then] to fill empty spaces with drums tastefully and technically, but I was longing for the sound of harmonies and melodies and other instruments. “In Looking For You” the temptation to “fill” space was still lingering and the song wasn’t asking for the hard patterns. This was a new wilderness. The song spoke (literally) for itself and the “less is more” rule came back to me. Thank you, Ringo. 
 
A slow, steady bass and snare was really all that was needed with some occasional notes on high-hat. I wanted a build-up toward the chorus, with the Octapad [explained here], I had to work around what I would do on acoustic drums and went with quarter notes on the high-hat. But when the chorus came it bloomed like a rose and returned to the verse. It needed a light counter-beat and I was trying to lay off of anything heavy. I played around with some polyrhythms—Bill Bruford, had played a time signature of 7/3 that I liked on Discipline. “Looking for You” was not in that time signature, so I sort of “lifted” that rhythm from Bruford’s “Frame By Frame” and used triplets on the ride cymbal and then came down on the snare with an open high-hat.6

Looking for You

Ear to the door, hoping that love won’t ignore me
Lips against glass, watching as strangers walk past me
Looking for you…

My hands turn to fists, resigned to the power that twists them
Tears burn my eyes; these sudden emotions surprise them
Looking for you…

I move in the night, a sheet of white heat and white lightning
Turn and toss, in silhouette trees burn like crosses

Chorus
Looking for you is becoming an obsession
Looking for you—a solitary passion
Looking for you in many different faces
Looking for you—so many different places
Are you looking for me
Like I’m looking for you?
Looking for me…  looking for you…  looking for me…

Circling the globe, a barricade road that I go by
Lights flash ahead, your dust trail explodes in a red sky

Chorus

Round
Looking for me, looking for you, looking for me, looking for you…
Looking for me, looking for you, looking for me, looking for you…
Looking for me, looking for you, looking for me, looking for you…
Looking for me, looking for you, looking for me, looking for you…

Lyrics Reprinted by Permission

Credits

See album credits

Notes
  1. From the album The Naked Shakespeare, Virgin, 1983.
  2. From the album Stealing Fire, Gold Mountain/A&M, 1984. I recall that, due to the album’s pro-Sandinista stance, Cockburn was to perform in Eastern Europe until the producers noticed he wore earrings. Yes, those were the days.
  3. Steve Reich’s patterns that slowly move out of synch, like barricade flashers, fascinated me. Elsewhere we used Giorgio Moroder’s technique of placing synth sequences side by side and shifting them slightly, which causes the ear to constantly try to “catch up.”
  4. “Stapleton Promises Klans They Can Have Anything They Want,” Denver Post, 08 Aug 1924, 23.
  5. Email, 14 Jul 2021.
  6. Email, 12 Nov 2021.

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