Lock and Key

Background and Commentary

“‘Lock and Key’ focuses on the killer instinct and our fear that, along with our other animal urges, it will get out of hand. So for the sake of security we suppress and repress the living, vibrant, animal courage, and substitute the tepid, torpid, vapid, but secure robotic, mechanistic, automatic-pilot self. Risk is the price of being free, and we’d rather not pay it.”—Carol Selby Price and Robert Price, Mystic Rhythms

“Geddy uses a 5-string Wal bass on the track. “You can get that sound out of most basses I think, but a Rickenbacker has a particular kind of top end, and bottom end as well. It has a particular kind of classic twang to it. I found that I wanted to get a little more subtlety in the sound, and I couldn’t quite get it out of the Rick. I wanted to change the top end a little bit, get a little different shaped bottom end. Then I moved to a Steinberger, which really gave me a totally different sound. The top end didn’t range as high and twangy, and the bottom end was quite a different shade. I liked it a lot, and used it onstage, and on the Grace Under Pressure album. But on Power Windows I got introduced to the Wal bass, made by a small company [Electric Wood] in England. Our producer, Peter Collins, had one and suggested I try it out. I used that bass on Hold Your Fire, and I’m very pleased with the results and its flexibility. I use a 4-string most of the time, but on ‘Lock And Key’ it was a 5-string they made with an extra low ‘B.’ I find that low string really means more today, because we’re living in the world of synthesizers that go lower than basses ever went before.” (Bass Player, 1988) Geddy in —Songfacts

“The song alludes to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a novel by Carson McCullers. Live, Rush showed clips from the film The Last Mile to illustrate its concept of the killer instinct.—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Lyrics

I don’t want to face the killer instinct
Face it in you or me

We carry a sensitive cargo
Below the waterline
Ticking like a time bomb
With a primitive design
Behind the finer feelings
This civilized veneer
The heart of a lonely hunter
Guards a dangerous frontier

The balance can sometimes fail
Strong emotions can tip the scale

Don’t want to silence a desperate voice
For the sake of security
No one wants to make a terrible choice
On the price of being free
I don’t want to face the killer instinct
Face it in you or me
So we keep it under lock and key

It’s not a matter of mercy
It’s not a matter of laws
Plenty of people will kill you
For some fanatical cause
It’s not a matter of conscience
A search for probable cause
It’s just a matter of instinct
A matter of fatal flaws

No reward for resistance
No assistance, no applause

Don’t want to silence a desperate voice
For the sake of security
No one wants to make a terrible choice
On the price of being free
I don’t want to face the killer instinct
Face it in you or me
So we keep it under lock and key

We don’t want to be victims
On that we all agree
So we lock up the killer instinct
And throw away the key

Tablature (Bass)

Excerpted from Ultimate Guitar.

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|————|—————1-|-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-|-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-|-2-4-6-2-|
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+———–+————–+———+——-+————-+—————–+
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|-7-7-6-7—|————6-|-4-4-4-4-|-6-6-2-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-|
+———–+————–+———+——-+————-+—————–+

For complete tab, go to Ultimate Guitar.

Tutorials

“Lock and Key” bass cover

“Lock and Key” drum cover

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~ by rvkeeper on February 8, 2011.

 
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