Em: A Perfect Circle’s version of this song is my favorite version. Super moody and down, in a depressing key, it snaps me right back to where I was when I had this album on heavy rotation in the mid ‘00s. Things haven’t really improved much politically since then, and since the song was originally written for that matter. I think it’s poignant to play such a pessimistic version of an optimistic song that we keep hoping won’t be a relevant commentary on society someday, but it still is.
Chris: This is the first installment of us covering a cover. In addition to echoing Em’s thoughts, I’ll add that I love how A Perfect Circle made this song their own. I would not be surprised if there have been folks that have heard this rendition and had no clue it wasn’t an original tune.
When putting together our “Imagine” arrangement, I stayed close to APC’s; spending several days with my headphones on and committing its layers of piano, strings, bass, etc. to memory. Our drop C tuning allowed us to stay in the same key and maintain that droning vibe. The tuning also helped corral most (if not all) of those layers into a single guitar part. As a result, we’ve been able to pull off a very full-sounding unplugged performance as a duo. Over the years, we farmed out some of these layers when Drew Luigs was with us on bass (and also Cody Hughes on guitar back in the Chemcoma days).
The outro section is my favorite part. Here’s a video of us performing it at People’s Brewing Company in October 2018.
Em: More shots and beers were purchased for us as a result of playing this song than probably all the others combined. People love them some Bon Jovi. And cowbell.
Chris: My Walkman and my four-year-old self wore out Bon Jovi cassettes in the 80’s. Slippery When Wet was my fave, but “Runaway” from the self-titled album was my jam too. Although we never had a keyboard player, Chemcoma had an electronic element thanks to our backing tracks. I spent some time transcribing/programming those keyboard lines (some guitar parts moved to synth too) at our rehearsal space in the old Crouch School on Union Street and we worked up the tune for live shows. I am pretty sure Emily, Cody and Matthew thought I was joking when I pitched the idea of covering “Runaway,” but after we divvied up the parts and jammed it for the first time, we were all smiles. That song slayed at every show.
Here’s a taste of our ‘favorite covers’ list on Spotify and YouTube. Give our playlist a listen (follows appreciated!):
Bonus: Here’s a video our friend Scott shot back in January 2008 of Chemcoma playing “Runaway” at Jerilee’s (now North End Pub).