Last month, RFT Music and Tangent Mind went with Springfield band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin to Art Hill to record some video. Earlier, we showed you some of our conversation and a performance of "Yr Broom." SSLYBY's Philip Dickey and Will Knauer also played "Yellow Missing Signs," a song about three women that went missing in Springfield, from the band's recently released Tape Club. The song has never been performed acoustic before the clip you see above.
We also talked to Dickey and Knauer about the origins of "Yellow Missing Signs." The women were never found.
Kiernan Maletsky: Do you mind telling us the story behind "Yellow Missing Signs"?
Philip Dickey: "Yellow Missing Signs" is a song about this case that's known as the Springfield Three, or Three Missing Women. It happened when I was in third grade, living in Springfield. And all I knew when I was a kid was that these three people disappeared and it was really scary. It was in the newspaper every day. They would keep track of how many days they were missing. Everywhere you went in town with your parents there would be posters, the yellow missing signs of these women. It was scary because it seemed like anyone could get kidnapped.
I sort of forgot about it for a long time and then just started thinking about it again recently and just wanted to do a song about it. There are a lot of theories about what happened to them. It's just about being kind of confused and sad about that whole situation.
You're writing it from the perspective of one of the missing women's boyfriend, right?
Dickey: Actually, I think "Yellow Missing Signs" is kind of more the perspective of a kid. Really simple, what happened and this is what I heard. It really doesn't have too much of a message other than wanting to talk about them. There are a lot of people who are talking all the time about it, and it's hard to tell if there's anything factual about what they're saying. At the same time, there are people who do know what happened, and they're not saying anything at all. Just saying "three missing women" is all I really wanted to do with the song because to me it's kind of a powerful idea.
Will Knauer: Some people don't want to think about it.
Dickey: We've actually heard from the families. We've talked to them about what the song means and whether they were comfortable with it, and they said that was fine. And also, any of the online sales of the song, the downloads and stuff, we're going to donate those to the Moms of Missing Person FOUNDation. Hopefully something good can come of it, too.
It's weird, because if it had happened now, just with shows like Nancy Grace...what we know about the case is the way information was spread in the '0s, but now it's on the Internet. So it's a combination. The newspapers were the only people talking about it back then and now you have message boards and weird Internet people who are totally anonymous. It's kind of in between those two worlds. But in a way that doesn't even matter to the families. The song is just kind of neutral, just wanting to say their names.
At the very beginning, on the record, you say, "Now I'm going to tell you about Missouri." Is that about how this story got lost?
Dickey: Yeah...It was actually an idea I had for a tattoo, but I'll probably never get a tattoo. The song was about Missouri, something that happened here. It was kind of a line, but it made sense with the song.