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“The song is based on a story but one that wasn’t mine; it was suggested to me by the guy [Hajo Mueller] who was illustrating, doing the artwork and the book. The idea is about a couple driving along in a car at night, very much in love; the guy is driving, and his partner – his wife or girlfriend or whoever she is – is in the passenger seat, and the next minute she’s gone.
“The guy is crazy: What happened? Where did she go? He does all the obvious things: looks under the seats, stops and checks the road, all of that. The song is basically about missing time; it’s the idea of blocking out time because of something so traumatic that you literally remove it from your mind.
“The story ultimately winds up with the ghost of the partner coming back, years later, and saying, ‘I’m going to remind you now what happened that night.’ There was a terrible car accident, and she died, etcetera, etcetera – again, the idea of trauma leading to a missing part of this guy’s life. He can’t deal with the reality of what happened, so he blocks it out – like taking a piece of tape and editing a big chunk out of it. It’s a sad, very beautiful song about loss.
“It has an extraordinary guitar solo. Guthrie’s playing is just sublime. That, for me, is the memory of this song. I had done a solo on the demo, knowing that I wanted an anthemic, epic solo at the end. In the studio, we did four or five takes, and each time Guthrie would reinvent the idea of what the solo could be.
“The particular solo we chose was either the first or the second one. It was so inspired and had such a beautiful sense of logic and storytelling to it. It’s one take, unedited, and it’s just unbelievably brilliant. And it’s improvised – he didn’t plan anything. It was such a moving experience to hear him play it. I was almost in tears."