Art of Dying Premiere Acoustic Version of “Die Trying”
Hard rockers Art of Dying released their debut, Vices and Virtues (Intoxication), earlier this year. The group, which will be heading out on the Rockstar Uproar tour in August, plays a special acoustic version of the album’s first song, “Die Trying,” below. Frontman Jonny Hetherington fills us in on the song below. Let us know what you think of the song in the comments.
REVOLVER What’s “Die Trying” about?
JONNY HETHERINGTON “Die Trying” is really the personal story of our band. Starting from nothing, following our dream, and doing whatever it takes to get where we want to be. It’s about never giving up. Figuring out what you want and fully committing yourself is very powerful, but it’s a lot harder than it seems. I mean, it’s easy to say “I’ll do what ever it takes… I want this,” but actually living the struggle day by day, year by year is another thing. It’s not a 90-minute film with a montage, it’s real life. You sacrifice so much to truly put everything you have into your dream and it’s fucking hard… but I think it’s worth it. Even if you don’t get there, you died trying, and I think that’s a pretty killer way to live.
Which part of it did you come up with first?
Greg brought the riff and the meat of the song to me and we worked on the music together on acoustic guitars. The lyrics came to me pretty quickly in the following days. We had a former manager pass away around that time and I wanted to honor him with a song. His name was Jeff “Ffroe” Roe and he was truly a dreamer. I always remembered his email signature and mantra which was, “If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” And that really inspired the pre-chorus line “I’d rather fail than not know.”
How did you come up with this acoustic arrangement?
I do a lot of my best work on the porcelain throne. You’d be surprised at the number of songs on Vices and Virtues that were originated in the can. I love messing around with different acoustic versions of our songs in different tunings. I play in drop B, so I’ve got a lot of room to jump up the frets with a capo, which is exactly how this version of “Die Trying” came to be. I threw the capo on the second fret and rediscovered the song in a new key. It’s a really nice place for the vocals to sit for an acoustic version. It’s actually higher than the original version which allows me to sing the chorus in a lower register but still with some juice behind it. I took it to the guys and we worked together on it in the studio in Chicago with engineer Matt Doughrety. It came together really naturally and we nailed the tempo, allowing it to sway a little more than the plugged-in version. It kind a makes you want to drink rum.
What sort of feedback have you gotten on this song so far?
We get a lot of mail saying it’s become a personal theme for people which is pretty amazing. There’s really nothing more rewarding for me as a musician than to have a song actually resonate and to feel that connection.
When’s the last time you thought to yourself, “I’m going to get this done, or die trying?” What were you doing?
There are the big battles in life, but there are the little ones too, the daily ones. I often trek up this crazy mountain path called the Grouse Grind when I’m home in Vancouver, which is two miles straight up. “Die Trying” always helps get me to the top.