• The Rough & Tumble

Not Polite


"From the desk of the self-appointed tiny folk band fan club president (Alabama chapter) I am listening to the new CD for the first time as I type this. Because you care, I thought I would share my thoughts...

"Not Polite might take some getting used to with the new guitar part, but it’s jazzy or bluesy. Is that a slide guitar or maybe an electric guitar being played with a glass slide?"

--Larry Jelley, Self-Appointed Tiny Folk Band Fan Club President (Alabama Chapter)


One of the things that first attracted Scott and Mallory to songwriting was that in songwriting you can tell someone off without the person you're telling off realizing it. It's the best cure for the "shoulda-saids" or the "mumble-grumbles" or our personal favorite, the "why-I-oughta...." We've heard it said that if you're angry you should compose an email to the person you're angry at and then don't send it to them. But how many of you actually have the willpower to sit on a gem like that and not send it? We certainly don't. That's why The Rough & Tumble recommends that when you're pissed at someone, tell 'em off in a song. It's satisfying to revisit that anger onstage and take it out on the guys standing at the bar talking too loud. Because, you see, anger is universal, transferable and accepted everywhere. And if you make eye contact with those guys at the bar talking too loud while you're singing your angry song, there's a good chance that they'll buy your EP. Or at least tip you. Because angry songs demand retribution. "Vengeance is ours," sayeth the songwriter.


If you've come out to our shows over the past few years, you've probably heard us tell the story of the origin of the song "Not Polite." It first came out in 2012 on "For You, Now That You're Married..." and has been a staple in our live set ever since. Scott got off work and went over to Mallory's to hang out and when he got there he found her swimming in the deep end of the angry pool. Something about a (the memory referenced here has been removed due to an ongoing personal relationship) and how that really upset her. So, Scott reminded Mallory of that old saying from Tiny Folk Band School, "When your sad or upset, write a song about it. When you're angry or scared, try a song for your cares." (Scott did not actually say this and there is no Tiny Folk Band School and even if there was, do you actually think they'd have sayings like this?) Mallory was angry. And Scott was scared. So they wrote a song.

Often songs are just our hurts after they've been cauterized. They are the burn marks of history. Often a song will make itself known as they only way forward and the only way to treat a wound. And it burns like hell sometimes and you gotta grit your teeth and yell and let the tears out. But once the song has been written, the healing can start.


Of course, not just any songwriter can write "Why you gotta be so mean?" but any songwriter can just be so mean, and The Rough & Tumble isn't about just being mean. The Rough & Tumble is about making you sit down and think about what a jerk you just were. The Rough & Tumble is about giving you earworms. The Rough & Tumble is about holding you hostage with a song in your head. It's much more satisfying this way.

Because, once you write an angry song about your hurt, you can let it go.

And yes, Larry Jelley. That is an electric guitar being played with a glass slide.

While the original hurt and anger has been healed off the internet, the new version of "Not Polite" can be found on your own copy of Cardboard and Christmas Lights or streamed on Spotify at the link above.

#theroughtumble #notpolite #angrysongs #cardboardandchristmaslights

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