Scars

Background and Commentary

“I think it’s part of everyone’s experience that a certain record reflects a certain period of their life, and that’s a pleasurable scar, you know, there’s a mark left on you, a psychological fingerprint left by a very positive experience. And music is an easy one, but it translates to so many other parts of life where it’s a given that, for instance, the sense of smell is one of the strongest forces in your memory, where a given smell will suddenly conjure up a whole time of your life, and again, it triggers another scar, it triggers another psychological imprint that was left by a pleasurable thing. So it was just, again, the metaphor of scars and using it to say that, as the song does, that these are positive and negative aspects of life that have both left their mark. Trying to make it universal, it’s not autobiographical, and I took a whole autobiographical story of my own and made it one line, basically, but there are other things in there, parts of life that I’ve responded to in a sense of joy, and in a sense of compassion, and there’s the exaltation of walking down a city street and feeling like you’re above the pavement, and Christmas in New York is the perfect time to feel that, really, where you just get charged up by the whole energy and the positive feelings of it all.” (Profiled!)—Neil in Merely Players

“After 20 years of playing I’ve developed a lot of things that have proven valuable to me—even the rudiments. The pattern I play with my hands couldn’t be played without paradiddles [a drum rudiment consisting of a four-note pattern], because I have to have my hands accenting in certain places. Without knowing how to do a paradiddle, I couldn’t have done that. On ‘Scars,’ I was playing eight different pads with my hands in a pattern, while I played snare and bass drum parts with my feet. I had to organize the different sounds on the pads correctly so they would fall into the order I wanted them to. Then I had to arrange all that into a series of rhythmic patterns. It was more than a day’s work before I even played a single note. When Geddy and Alex did the demo, they put all kinds of percussion on the track, including congas, timbales, and bongos. We talked about bringing in a percussionist to play in addition to the drum pattern I might play. I wanted to bring in Alex Acuna [Peruvian-born jazz percussionist who played for Weather Report as well as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross], someone who is tremendously facile in that area, who could make the track exciting as well as interesting. I figured he could assign me the simple parts and we could do it together. But then they thought, ‘What if Neil did it all by himself using pads?’ It was very satisfying to me to come up with a part that worked by myself. There isn’t an overdub on it. When we first played the tape for our producer [Rupert Hine] he thought I overdubbed the whole thing. Most listeners will probably think that when they hear the song.” (Modern Drummer, 1989)—Neil in Merely Players

“On ‘Scars,’ I got free rein on all atmospheric guitar stuff. Some producers we worked with in the past would have said, ‘No, let’s print your guitar perfectly clean and experiment later,’ but it’s never the same. I say do it and live with it.” (Guitar Player, 1991)—Alex in Songfacts

Lyrics

I’ve stood upon my mountaintop
And shouted at the sky
Walked above the pavement
With my sense amplified
I get this feeling

All my nerves are naked wires
Tender to the touch
Sometimes super sensitive
But who can care too much?
I get this feeling

Scars of pleasure
Scars of pain
Atmospheric changes
Make them sensitive again

Each emotional injury
Leaves behind its mark
Sometimes they come tumbling out
Like shadows in the dark
I get this feeling

When I think about all I have seen
And all I’ll never see
When I think about the people
Who have opened up to me
I get this feeling

Snow falls deep around my house
And holds the winter light
I’ve heard the lions hunting
In the Serengeti night
I get this feeling

Forests turned to factories
And river, sea, and sky
Hungry child in the desert
And the flies that cloud her eyes
I get this feeling

Pleasure leaves a fingerprint
As surely as mortal pain
In memories they resonate
And echo back again

Scars of pleasure
Scars of pain
Atmospheric changes
Make them sensitive again

Tablature (Bass)

Excerpted from Ultimate Guitar.

q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—–+——————-+—————+—————–+—————+
|1:-R-|4:—————1-|—————|—————–|————-1-|
|4:—|4:—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1——-|
+—–+—1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————+—————–+—————+
|—————1-|—————|—————–|————-1-|
|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1——-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e e e E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————+
|—————–|—————–|—————1-|————-1-|
|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1——-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————+—————–+—————+
|—————1-|—————|—————–|————-1-|
|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1——-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————+—————–+—————+
|—————1-|—————|—————–|————-1-|
|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1——-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e e e E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————+
|—————–|—————–|—————1-|—————|
|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q E e e s e e e e E e e s e e q
+—————–+—————+—————–+—————+
|—————–|————-1-|—————1-|—————|
|—–1-1—–1-3-|—–1-1——-|—–1-1—–1—|—–1-1—–3-|
+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+-1-4—–1-4—–+-1-4—–1-4—+

For complete tab, go to Ultimate Guitar.

Tutorials

“Scars” bass cover

“Scars” drum cover

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~ by rvkeeper on February 9, 2011.

 
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