I Don't Want To Be A Bother

Album: Angel, Put Your Face On (2006)


  • This is one of the most personal songs by Brian Vander Ark, best known as lead singer of The Verve Pipe. The song deals with his "Uber-Christian Reformed upbringing" in Michigan. In a Songfacts interview, he explained: "Western Michigan is notorious for their Dutch community and the Dutch are very, very Christian Reformed people. We went to church twice on Sunday, once on Wednesday. We read the Bible before and after every meal. It's a ridiculous amount for any kid to handle, and once I let all that go and turned my back on it, that was the only time I felt like I had true fulfillment."
  • This song came during a transitional period for Vander Ark. The Verve Pipe hit it big with The Freshman in 1997, but that rush of fame came with commitments that turned him off - he hated the promotional appearances, gladhanding and conformity needed to keep the hits coming. The group broke up in 2001 after 9/11 quashed their album Underneath, and Vander Ark went solo. This song alludes to the time when he was in the public eye, and how empty it felt:

    MTV's an empty fix
    With all the other weekly flavors

    The Verve Pipe returned to action in 2009 when they got an offer to record a song for kids. This led to two albums of children's music, and then more albums for adults.
  • "The Freshman" deals with an abortion that really happened. In that song, the girl ends up killing herself (which didn't really happen), leading some to hear it as a pro-life anthem. Vander Ark wasn't trying to take a political stance in the song, and considers himself pro-choice, which puts him at odds with his religious upbringing. He addresses this in the song when he sings:

    I heard you can't be religious and pro-choice
  • Vander Ark does a lot of travelling for his job and often plays house concerts where he speaks with the guests. He credits these interactions with expanding his worldview and making him a better songwriter because he can cull materials from others' experiences. Growing up this wasn't an option. "We were brought up to fear travel when I was a kid," he said. "You don't want to go outside of your little world here in your little community, you know? I think there's still people like that out there."


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