The first time I heard the phrase “burn the boats” I didn’t really hear it. I read it, rather, since it was tattooed on my friend Bijou’s foot. I asked her what it meant and she briefly recounted the story of a war general who insisted that his troops burn their boats upon land arrival at the target of their invasion. This meant that retreat was completely not an option. Their only option was to win- or to die trying.
I liked that this phrase was on her foot, representing, to me anyway, movement forward. I was already deep into to the idea of “Forward” as the album’s title and main idea, because I needed it in my own life- I was still somewhat reeling from the state of being on my own after starting out with friends in the music world. It was a challenging time for me.
Retreat wasn’t an option. I couldn’t go back, even if I tried- and I, personally, really needed to remember that. So many times, the things I write are reminders to myself. “Burn the Boats” became the title track for FORWARD. I especially love the lyrics to the prechorus: “There’s no more riding for free / So pour the gas and say goodbye to the sea / We can’t go back so spread the word / And keep pushing, pushing, forward, forward.” Leaving behind what’s comfortable and easy for a tough road and possible defeat is hard. But in the end, it’s worth it, because true satisfaction never comes when we either rely on someone else or take the easy road- does it?
The last line in verse 2, “We were created to go, to charge, to move,” was inspired by a line that one of my favorite workout instructors, David Garza, had said during a class. It was something to that effect, and it was to keep us motivated: he said we were created to move and to do. That stuck with me and made it into the song.
It’s a rocking recording but nothing replaces the feel of it live. It has an infectious energy, and it’s a fantastic closer for any show. It’ll always be one of my favorites, and I cherish the positive message it brings to me and hopefully to everyone who hears it.
BURN THE BOATS
Tattered pages I keep near to remind myself
I don’t have to climb the mountain today
Or plant my flag in the dirt this minute
Or know every bit of the way
I don’t have to slay the beast right this second
But I do have to lace up my shoes
And put one foot down and then the next
Remembering what we have to do
There’s no more riding for free
Pour the gas and say goodbye to the sea
Can’t go back so spread the word
And keep pushing pushing
Burn the boats (oh-oh)
Light them up (oh-oh)
Burn the boats (oh-oh)
Fire them up (oh-oh)
It’s warm behind us and this road’s cold and rough
But gotta keep on livin’ like we’re supposed to
Giving up will never be enough
We were created to go, to charge, to move