The Sky Catching Fire is a home studio made music project by Santa Ana, California native, Thomas Monroe on vocals, guitar, bass, piano, and drums.
The songs reflect life in a city of art, tramps, open mics, carjackings, gang shootings, stabbings, junkies, jailhouses, and competing mafias. The water tower by my house says "Downtown Orange County". It's not quite Disneyland.
The album was recorded from Feb. 7 to Feb 21 2009.
The Sky Catching Fire - Santa Ana
1. Stars Are Papercuts - "I think stars are papercuts on the hands of God in his lonely hour, mailing letters to himself". This line was inspired by standing on top of Big Bear mountain, and seeing more stars, nebulas, and galaxies than I had ever seen in my life, and they were so big, it seemed the sky had more white than black, like the black was just a curtain with slits in it, and the light is coming through the slits. The song is also about missing someone who makes you feel alive, makes you feel understood, and valued just for you.
2. A Rebel Song - This song is soaking in personal freedom, and a resistance to the culture of greed, superstition, attachment to material things, and cowardice i.e. the fear of doing the things you want to do. "Fight like a man or abandon hope", inspired by the lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, the most famous female pirates. Look them up if you don't know the story.
3. Lala - This song is about just getting out of a long relationship and feeling really jaded, and then suddenly meeting someone amazing who you are not ready to fall for because your heart is still black and charred. You connect with the person like you've always known them, but realize this can't be a casual encounter, so you do nothing, and then they're gone. I met this girl who was playing guitar on a street corner to get money to go to Coachella, and she just blew me away. It was surreal, brief, and lasting.
4. DROWN - The first few lines of the song are a reference to the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is a scene where Dracula is at a cafe with Mina, and he gives her absynthe, and she remembers her past life as his wife, and he says, "I have crossed oceans of time to be with you". It is very romantically done. The music was loosely inspired by Cat Power, the song Werewolf. But the theme is time and loss and obsession.
5. Three Daisies - This song is about the inadequacy of words to describe feelings, beauty, or the awe of just being alive and aware of the immensity of existence, and also the intense feelings of falling in love that take the whole universe into a few moments and burn and glow. "I lie all the time, I can't tell the truth, it's just too beautiful, and you're the proof".
6. Santa Ana - I knew things were getting bad when every other house seemed to have a foreclosure sign on it. Walking around seeing the desperation each day and the relentless winds howling. We had 3 homicides on my block the same week. Police were afraid to come down my street because they get shot at. So this is kind of a document and also trying to be an artist in that environment and rise above the chaos to create beauty.
7. The Out - Concept inspired by Tennessee Williams. Kind of a response to his elucidation of people, every one of them being imprisoned in their own bodies, perfectly trapped inside their own skin and heads, and never able to break through and truly connect with others, except when experiencing the catharsis from great art, theatre, or music. I was sleeping wherever I could and playing my guitar on the corner to support myself. I was very emotionally and physically on edge when I wrote this. Kind of the ecstatic shamanic punishment that brings about transformation, like the phoenix's self immolation and rebirth. It's kundalini baby, that's what you do to me!
8. Golden - Guitar inspired by Del Shannon, the old song, Runaway. This one is an adoration, almost idol worship, of a beautiful creature, and the desire and fury that ensues.
9. Wait - I can't think of a better metaphor for desire for connection than all the train stations, bus stations, airports, docks, missed transfers, anxiety, strange faces, and in the end you want to get to that one special person and just exhale. These are the only electric guitars on the album, inspired by the Silversun Pickups.
10. Summerland - This song is deeply personal to me, and maybe no one else will enjoy it, but it takes me back to playing guitar on the street corner when I was starving, and having moments of self-honesty and thinking about the afterlife. I wanted to put this one on just guitar and vocals, but in the end I put the piano in because I just liked it.