It Was 20 Years Ago Today…November 1998

Pedro the Lion:  It’s Hard to Find a Friend

It’s Hard to Find a Friend was released November 3, 1998.  The track “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run” was instantly a hit for them on local alternative radio.  It was also a bright spot on the waning “Seattle Scene”.

Pedro the Lion quickly became known for their hushed vocals, stark instrumentation, complex story-telling lyrics, and prominence of first person narrative.

This is one of my favorite albums, but I’m really only going to talk about a few tracks.  The aforementioned “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run” features lyrics about women who shave their legs.  There’s something so fantastic about a song with the line “winter legs give you heart attacks/so shave them off with laser so they never grow back” being any sort of a hit on any radio format that just makes me smile.  Obviously, the song isn’t advocating that all women shave their legs, rather quite the opposite.  It is pointing out the hypocrisy and absurdity of such a standard in American society.

Pedro the Lion got their name from a Biblical reference, yet I have never felt that their allegories were overtly religious.  Case in point is the fantastic “Of Minor Monarchs and Their Prostitute Wives”, apparently a retelling of Hosea.  The narrator seems both comforting and threatening, offering his love, but suggesting the end of the line comes with the hangman’s noose.  Still, fairly emblematic of the band’s story-songs.

Pedro the Lion have just announced their first album in 14 years, with the upcoming Phoenix, due out in January.  I, for one, applaud David Bazan returning to the moniker.

Just one minor dumb story, but the original drummer for Pedro the Lion now lives on a farm in Poulsbo with his family.  I used to live in Poulsbo and drove past the property every day, knowing who lived there and many times being tempted to go and knock on the door, yet also knowing it would not have been appropriate.


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