CollegeBand Songs to Remember: "Won’t Go"
By DAN MALOSSI, CollegeBand Senior Contributor
This striking synth and staccato-guitar romp was penned by Dave Dysart as his Gestures came off a successful cassette release and were considering returning to the studio to record an even-more-ambitious EP. Things were starting to take off for the band, as they started drawing big Seattle-area venues, sharing bills with the likes of The Allies, The Heats, and The Cowboys. However, as the band grew, it also grew to occupy almost all of Dysart’s time, and the daunting specter of classes and schoolwork at the University of Washington became ever more pressing. His family suggested that he focus more on academics, and “Won’t Go” was born, a sonic response that declared in no uncertain terms that Dysart’s musical brethren were becoming increasingly important to him. “I didn’t want to leave the band,” Dysart said recently, “[or stop] playing clubs and making music with my friends, who were like a family to me at the time.”
Most college grads will recall the feeling of being torn in multiple directions at once, metaphorically drawn-and-quartered by the quadruple threat—academics, family pressures, friends, and love interests. Compounding this, the average 20-year-old collegian is a self-obsessed, megalomanical mess at his best. But few can express this universal feeling like Dysart when he sings, “Call up the President, call up a witness…time to say goodbye, time to say it’s over, forever.” When your post-adolescent world comes crashing down, it feels like the world is ending for everyone else as well. Dysart said, “There is a lot of stuff in the song that makes it seem more dramatic, sort of like the world is ending, but basically it was about how I felt torn between doing what I loved and what I was expected to do.”
The arpeggiated synth lines carry this tune, as do the tight harmonies in the hook-laden chorus. The crystalline keys came courtesy of Dana Lombard (Dysart), who solidified the part in the studio with the help of producer Dave Kincaid, who went on to enjoy moderate success of his own in The Brandos. Gestures show exceptional poise and songwriting skill in the writing and execution of the chorus, especially considering their youth and relative studio inexperience. “The harmonies on the chorus with the doubled melody—down an octave—was fun, kind of a nod to the band Squeeze, who we all really liked,” Dysart said.
Why it Should Matter to Fans of Gestures
For the thousands of UW students who saw Gestures play from 1982-1984, “Won’t Go” should represent a high-water mark for college band songwriting and sound. Dysart is humble about his work, however, saying, “I have no idea [why it should matter to Gestures fans]; it was a long time ago. Hopefully, they can enjoy [“Won’t Go] as a pop song, and it will remind them of what music and the world was like at the time. Maybe someone will identify with being at a crossroads and having to make a hard decision about a direction in their life.”