Below, Greeley Estates vocalist Ryan Zimmerman presents the stories behind the band's newest release, The Narrow Road, which is available now as the first of a two-part full-length album.
“THE NARROW ROAD”
I based this song on Matthew 7:14: "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." I wrote it as if a father was giving words of wisdom to his son, letting him know that life will be difficult, especially if you choose to do what's right. The world can be a lonely place for the person that actually practices what they preach and lives a life of integrity.
First off, I didn't write this song about murder. I have had plenty of comments coming in about this song and several others on the new record. It’s funny doing a track by track when a lot of the songs you are commenting on were written a year ago. The writing and recording process takes a long time, and a lot of the stuff I was going through a year ago I'm not dealing with now. When I wrote this song, our band were in a difficult place. We were trying to figure out what was next for us and whether or not it would be "the death of Greeley Estates." This band has been an incredible experience and something I never dreamed I would be a part of. There has also been quite a bit of disappointment and heartache over the years. Just like any job or relationship, people are going to take advantage of you. We have had plenty of that over the years, and I think I used this song to vent a little bit. This song is about ending destructive relationships and putting to rest some of the anger and resentment you might have tucked inside of you.
I think everyone has been in a relationship at some time or another that wasn't healthy and brought the worst out of them. This song goes out to anyone currently dealing with one. It takes a good friend to tell someone you are concerned about them and to let them know they have changed for the worst. ("All your friends don't know who you are now.") Usually if your friends and family don't approve, then you’re probably in a destructive relationship and should take a step back and examine yourself. Sometimes you gotta just "send her on her way, before it gets too late. Send her out before she burns this whole place down."
“WATCH IT BURN”
It’s insane how much damage someone can do just with words. Gossip destroys so many relationships and reputations and creates jealousy and resentment that is hard to break free of. I wrote this song in more of a story-book format, but ultimately, that is the basis of what it’s about.
Honestly, I don't really want to get too detailed on what this song is about. It’s a good song to listen to when you’re pissed off. I was just fed up with the scene—both bands and fans—just seeing how entitled everyone feels. It’s not fun anymore. Everyone thinks they know it all and everyone is a little producer. ("Thanks for the reminder that the scene has gone to hell, its full of little divas.") Just shut up and enjoy music for what it is. If you don't like it, then don't listen to it. No one wants to hear anyone cry online all day about how they think a band should have done things better. As far as bands go, there seems to be a feeling of entitlement coming from a lot of them. They expect stardom instantly without putting the time in. ("All this means so much, means so much to me, the blood and the sweat, the tears I've shed, means so much to me.") Bands come and go quickly because they don't play music for the right reasons. ("I hope you enjoy your little piece of fame, it won’t be here tomorrow, die, won’t you just die.") I miss the days when we would have shows in Arizona with every genre of band on the roster, from Lydia to Job For A Cowboy to A Change Of Pace. I miss the times when people seemed to love music for what it was and what it brought out of them instead of worrying about what their friends told them was cool.
A lot of the record is pretty dark lyrically—I guess the music brought that out of me. This is one of the few songs on the record that offers hope, and it’s one of my favorites. I hope that the listener finds some kind of encouragement in this song. I wrote it for anyone who feels down and out with nowhere to go, realizing that the tough times only make us stronger.
Most of the songs on Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East and No Rain, No Rainbow are written in a stor-book style. I wrote “Doomsday” this way also. After hearing the music for this song, all I could do was think of the end of the world. While I was tracking this song, I heard a knock at the door, and there were two old ladies from the Jehovah’s Witnesses or something like that. I answered the door and they gave me a little pamphlet that said "Doomsday" on the cover. I had just finished tracking the line "The entire world's on a doomsday course.” I took it as a sign that this song was supposed to happen.