Interview with Mitchell Trupia: Blue-eyed Angel or Red-hot Devil?
By Joyce Shafer, Author, Weekly Columnist
The band takes position on the stage. Some in the audience know what to expect. Others are there for their first wild ride. Blue eyes and a quirky grin capture attention. Chords blast then are followed by a graveled voice that punches holes in the air with intensity. Lyrics are offered with equal jabs to the senses. Each line is food for thought to chew on, savor, spit out, or swallow.
I interviewed songwriter, guitarist, and lead singer Mitchell Trupia from Brooklyn, New York.
JS: Many of your song lyrics have a level of "rawness" to them -- sometimes cryptic, sometimes blatant. What motivates you to put it all out there for listeners?
MT: To be honest, I write for myself whether it's a song like "Only You and Me" or "The Vampire Song." The motivation comes from real or imagined life experiences, dreams, hopes, and desires. David Prater, a past producer of mine once said, "You have a certain desperation in your songwriting." Well, these are desperate times. Each week I try to figure how to buy enough gas to get to my next show! Seriously, I tend to write from the heart. I hope to keep it real and be true to myself. If what's in my heart resonates with someone, that's great. It's genuine that way. I don't like mental chains or restraints. There appear to be restrictions in society about how we're supposed to behave, what we're allowed to say, and how we're supposed to present ourselves in public. I would rather not hide what I feel. I think the listeners relate because I'm being honest and open. Someone came up to me after a show recently and said my lyrics touched them profoundly. I walked away almost in tears. Songs like, "Straightjacket," "Biological Net," and "Give Soul Love" are so personal that I didn't think anyone could relate. Glad to know I was wrong.
JS: Which song or songs do you feel a particular affinity or intensity about and why?
MT: Shortly after working at Ground Zero as a recovery volunteer -- after 9/11 in NYC -- I began writing "Give Soul Love." This was just before my mother passed away. It was near the holiday season, but I didn't get a chance to finish it until a year after she was gone. I call it one of my soul-gifting songs. Another song is "5 Roses." It' is my gift to the Lord Death. Death takes so much, yet gives us something back proving to me -- there are no endings. The lyrics are, "5 roses, 5 stories, my worries subsiding I can breathe again." The roses are the gift. 5 represents humanity; human life. The 5 stories nearly fell on my head and killed me during a partial wall collapse at Ground Zero. The stories also relate to different truths we have regarding a shared experience. Other songs I've written, years after the 9/11 experience, include "What Do You Need?" I rarely play that one live because it's a song about necessity, and oftentimes I see the excess surrounding everyone -- the materialism, the consumer mindset. I just can't play the song if I hear someone bragging about their latest new car, designer handbag, or i-Pod that day. I tend to feel sorry for people who are obsessed with filling their lives with soul-less material goods. I feel their emptiness. Why not make something for someone you love? Write a song. Draw a picture. Prepare a sacred meal. Anything. Do something...instead of shop.
A lost carnival of souls
Some things You will Never understand
Now I'm Standing on the Road
With the Answer in my Hand
I've got to Break on Through
To the Promised Land
I've got a burning need to know...
I've got a jigsaw soul
Lyrics from "Jigsaw Soul" ©2011 Mitchell Trupia / MagickWorks. Used by permission.