Behind The Tracks: Two Eyes Open - Good Gone Away (Single) (2020)


Good Gone Away was a really interesting song for me. I never sit down and think, "I'm going to write a song", it just sort of happens and flows. I do know when that flow is about to happen. It's this weird phenomenon I've been lucky enough to experience that many famous songwriters have spoken about before. It just sort of happens and flows naturally; it feels almost like a gift rather than this forced thing. I wrote this song originally in 2018 and that's when this "gift from the universe" sort of thing really began to happen to me a lot. I don't know if I can even take all the credit sometimes. Perhaps it's just my subconscious trying to tell me something when I write these songs? I don't know. But Good Gone Away was the first song I began writing that year, so it was a very significant one for me. It ended up becoming more important to me than I would've ever predicted.

I remember I had just left a job that wasn't necessarily a bad one, but it just wasn't for me. I couldn't see myself being there any longer. It was my first "big boy job" that I took straight out of college, and everyone knows that almost no one really knows themselves and what they want to do as a career when you're that young. It didn't last, and I finally broke the news to my parents that I wanted to leave. They were really supportive thankfully, and I moved back with them on the North Carolina coast once my lease was up. I didn't have a job yet or anything really figured out. I was unpacking some of my things that first or second day after I moved and of course my acoustic was one of those items. I stopped momentarily and noticed that in the move, the G string broke.

I was admittedly a little frustrated knowing I'd need to get new strings but I plucked away anyway and tried to see what I could do without it. I remembered this chord shape from the song "Shimmer" by Fuel. I always loved that chord and that opening progression in general. It was really one of the only modern rock songs I could think of that used that particular chord shape. I noticed if I took the whole chord a half-step down to a B instead of a C root note, I could also play that low E string. The root note just moves between B and E. That's where the song's chord progression came in, if you can even call it that. To this day, it's still one of the easiest songs to play that I've written; your left hand doesn't even have to move until you get to "at least that's what I tell myself". Anyways, the lyrics started to flow and I didn't even realize I was writing in ¾ time; the stops and starts in the song felt natural and haven't changed since that first day. The first half of the song, all the way up to about the first minute mark are lyrically and musically the exact same as I wrote it two years ago.

But for the longest time that was all I had. I felt like I had such a strong start, and I really felt like I had something special with this song, but I didn't know at the time what the song was about or what else I could follow it up with to make it complete. So about once or twice a day for the next six months I'd try and try, but nothing felt right or concrete. I never had any additional lyrics written past that first minute.

Anyways, shortly after moving I found a pizza restaurant to work at and had made friends with one of the guys there. I wouldn't say that we were ever close necessarily; we actually kind of made fun of each other and gave each other a hard time at first. But I was nerdy and he was nerdy, we both liked music, and I eventually worked on cracking his shell and making him chuckle every now and then.

Out of respect for his family I won't mention his name, but essentially he got very sick and it was like his world changed overnight. He wasn't at work, and we received word that he was in the hospital. He was asleep for a very long time; most of the times I'd visit anyway. I think I got to speak to him one time and we talked about the card I wrote him that had an inside joke between us. I can't remember how long he was in there, but it felt like months; I'd visit when I could and met his mom who was always there for him. I became close with her during that time and tried to keep her company because I couldn't imagine how difficult it was. I felt like I got to know him better through his mother.

This next part is pretty heavy, but basically he had a streak where he was getting much better and they were talking about even sending him home soon, but he ended up passing suddenly overnight. One of my friends called me and told me once she heard the news and we cried about it. I remember that night just feeling like screaming. It felt really unfair. To me, to him, to his mom, to everyone. That was when the last part of the song was written. That night, I wrote the last half of the tune, the big part with the scream and everything.

I don't really want to tell my personal meaning behind the lyrics and what they mean to me today; I'll save that for down the road. But I think in general Good Gone Away is speaking about missing your shot with your soulmate and wondering if there was something you could've done differently. Of course after everything I just mentioned happened, I think it can also be about grief. That's one of the cool things about the song; it can be interpreted in a lot of ways. I think if you watch the music video you can derive even more meanings behind it.

On a lighter note, I think that sonically speaking the tune was inspired by a lot of grunge bands. I always tell people this is my Nirvana or Foo Fighters sort of song. No one really seems to agree with me, but that's what I hear. I love everything that Kurt ever did, and I have always been a big fan of Dave's too. That last half especially took some influence from their songs. I think there is also a little bit of Radiohead in there, actually, and of course I have to thank Fuel for the inspiration on that first chord. Good Gone Away and its accompanying music video has really been a nice conversation piece between myself and fans, and I can't wait to see what sort of legacy it may have in the years to come.

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