Red Tide

Background and Commentary

“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

Lyrics

Nature has some new plague
To run in our streets
History some new wrinkle
We are doomed to repeat
Fugitives at the bedroom door
Lovers pause to find an open store
Rain is burning on the forest floor
And the red tide kisses the shore

This is not a false alarm
This is not a test

Stay out of the sun
It only burns my skin
Sky full of poison
And the atmosphere’s too thin
Bless the sun, the rain no more
River running like an open sore
Black wind falling to the ocean floor
And the red tide washes ashore

THIS IS NOT A FALSE ALARM
THIS IS NOT A TEST
Nowhere we can fly away
Nowhere we can rest
The party is disrupted by
An uninvited guest

Deadline approaches
For the weary land
It used to be something
But we let it run down in our hands
Too late for debate, too bad to ignore
Quiet rebellion leads to open war
Bring a sea-change to the factory floor
As the red tide covers the shore

Now’s the time to turn the tide
Now’s the time to fight
Let us not go gently
To the endless winter night
Now’s the time to make the time
While hope is still in sight
Let us not go gently
To the endless winter night

Tablature (Bass)

Excerpted from Ultimate Guitar.

w +w +w +H q e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e
+—–+—-+—-+——-+—————–+—————–+—————–+
|4:-R-|—-|—-|—-10-|—–R———–|—–R———–|—–R———–|
|4:—|—-|—-|——-|-5-5—5———|-1-1—1-3-3—3-|-5-5—5———|
+—–+—-+—-+——-+———1-1-1-1-+————-3—+———1-1-1-1-+

e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————–+
|—–R———–|—–R———–|—–R———–|—–R———–|
|-1-1—1———|-5-5—5———|-1-1—1-3-3—3-|-5-5—5———|
+———3-3-1-3-+———1-1-1-1-+————-3—+———1-1-1-1-+

e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————–+
|—–R———–|—–R——-R—|—–R———–|—–R——-R—|
|-1-1—1———|—————–|—————–|—————–|
+———3-3-1-3-+-1-1—1-1-1—1-+-3-3—3-3-3-3-3-+-1-1—1-1-1—1-+

e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————–+
|—–R———–|—–R——-R—|—–R—R——-|—–R———–|
|—————–|—————–|—————–|—————–|
+-3-3—3-3-3-3-3-+-1-1—1-1-1—1-+-3-3—3—3-3-3-+-1-1—1-1-1-1-1-+

e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e
+—————–+—————–+—————–+—————–+
|—–R—R——-|—–R——-R—|—–R—R——-|—–R———–|
|—————–|—————–|—————–|—————–|
+-3-3—3—3-3-3-+-1-1—1-1-1—1-+-3-3—3—3-3-3-+-1-1—1-1-1-1-1-+

e e e e e e e e Q q e e e e e e e e e e e h e e e e e e e q e e e
+—————–+———–+—————–+———–+—————+
|—–R———–|———–|—————–|———–|—————|
|—————–|-5-5-5-5-5-|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-3-|———–|——-3-3—–|
+-3-3—3-3-3-3-3-+———–+—————–+-5-5-5-5-5-+-5-5-5—–5-5-+

q e q e q e q q e e e q Q Q q e q e q Q Q q w Q Q q w
+———–+————-+——-+———–+——-+—+——-+—+
|—–R—R-|—R———|—3-2-|———–|——-|—|——-|—|
|———–|————-|——-|-3-3-5-5-3-|——-|—|——-|—|
+-3-3—3—+-3—3-3-5-3-+-1—–+———–+-5-5-3-+-5-+-5-5-3-+-5-+

For complete tab, go to Ultimate Guitar.

Tutorials

“Red Tide” drum cover

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~ by rvkeeper on February 10, 2011.

 
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