I cannot answer why.
The one thing I know for sure is: Pepper turned into a Terminator around armadillos.
During the week we recorded Armadillo on a Hot Tin Roof, Pepper was a constant presence in the studio, tail wagging, eyes sparkling. She slobbered her eager love all over us each day as we came through the door.
Pepper proved that real goodness still exists in the world. And she made me want a dog just like her. Faithful. Loyal. Loving. Sweet. Who doesn’t long for such devotion reflected in the eyes of a friend?
Yet for all her kindness, Pepper was ruthless with armadillos. Those monstrous armored rats didn’t stand a chance with her patrolling the grounds. Their ravaged carcasses littered the road leading to the studio.
In one feisty ball of fur, Pepper merged relentless love with deadly vigilance.
So why “Armadillo on a Hot Tin Roof”?
Because this music we love reminds us of Pepper. Western music is for people who are relentless in love AND vigilant in duty.
Our music didn’t emerge from the dainty salons or chandeliered palaces of Europe., It was born in the belly of America. Dark valleys of Appalachia. Endless prairies of the Great Plains. Dusty deserts of the American Southwest.
It’s not music for fine folk sporting tails and spats. No, this is music for real people – farmers in tattered overalls, cowboys in dusty boots, women in aprons with a child on the hip, kids with mud on their face, a slingshot in their back pocket and mischief in their eyes.
This music bubbled up from the irrepressible spirit of the downtrodden and forgotten. Music that reflects with unblinking precision the joy and tragedy of life. No pretense. No facades. Just pure, raw, unfiltered emotion: joy, heartache, grief, love, acceptance.
Love and suffering. Kindness and forbearance. Relentless goodness and deadly determination. This is the music of people who lived and loved in the same way Pepper lives and loves.
Now we couldn’t simply ignore the armadillo carnage Pepper left. It was the running joke during the week we recorded. And it seemed the perfect way to honor Pepper.
Sometimes – when you’re making music together with friends – something magical happens. It happened when Miles Davis recorded “Kind of Blue.” It happened when Ella sang “How High the Moon” in Berlin. It happened when Elvis walked into Sun Studios in Memphis and crooned “That’s All Right (Mama).”
Now I’m not saying we made magic on that level. And I’m not saying we didn’t. All I know is that the spirit of Pepper – in all her ferocious goodness – infused that studio and this album.
We think you’ll love it.