Red Tide: Background
“A red tide occurs when oceans contain too many types of a one-celled organism that colors the water and kills fish in many numbers. The song also refers to other ecological problems like the thinning ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, pollution, and deforestation. The sun and rain will no longer be blessed, the rivers will be life-takers rather than life-givers. In Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ the rich have a masked ball as the bubonic plague ravages the countryside. The “endless winter night’ lyric refers to nuclear winter and might allude to the Dylan Thomas poem, ‘Do NOt Go Gently Into That Good Night.'”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players
“It’s a bit of a selfish concern, really. I really love wildlife, and I spend a lot of my time in the outdoors when I’m not working, so that’s important to me. One of my main hobbies is cycling, so air quality kind of becomes of critical importance. So it is a selfish thing, and it’s something I’ve written about before, on the previous album [Hold Your Fire], the song ‘Second Nature.’ So, again, you want to say things in a way that is not only not preachy, but also not boring. So finding the images like ‘Second Nature’—I was really fond of that analogy of saying ‘we want our homes to be a second nature,’ you know. That was, again, taking a common phrase and being able to twist it to say what you want it to say. So, with ‘Red Tide’ it was a little more adamant, because I think the time is a little more critical, and I had to be firmer about it, but still there are ways of getting at it, and to me there are jokes in there, too, that probably no one in the world will ever get, but in the first verse, when I’m talking about ‘Nature’s new plague’ and then ‘Lovers pausing at the bedroom door to find an open store’ and all that, to me that was obviously referring to AIDS, but it was the irony of modern life, you know, where spontaneous love still certainly does occur, but here are two lovers who have just met in the middle of the night, and they have to go find a store before they can consummate their new relationship, you know, and to me, when I put those things down, I have a smile, but I know that it’s one that will never be shared.” (Profiled!)—Neil in Merely Players
“I wanted to get a lot of tension in that solo because the song is quite intense. There’s a kind of disturbing feeling about that solo, which I think ties it all together well. The song is angry. Neil is basically a very ecology-minded person, and he wrote this song dealing with the destruction of our environment. So I wanted the music, and especially my solo, to reflect that anger.” (Guitar World, 1990)—Alex in Songfacts
~ by rvkeeper on January 11, 2011.