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Underneath The Fur

Words and Music: © 2008 by Tom Smith
Bill Holbrook, creator of the superb comic strip Kevin & Kell, commissioned me to write a song for a prospective animated special he was trying to sell. The scene is from the comic book Origin of the Species, depicting K&K's first date, and the internal conflict they each dealt with beforehand. (Good thing it was love at first sight.) If you think the lyrics in the bridge look something like a nod to the Furry convention scene, well, that's one of Bill's most dedicated audiences.

Kell:
I've brought down prey three times my size,
But this mouse has me paralyzed,
If I touch it, I admit that I've moved on.

Just take a chance, you might connect
With someone that you might respect,
It's an online chat room, not the Amazon.

I'm smoothing down my hackles, pulling in my claws,
Shaking off the shackles and the fears that give me pause,
I'm a wolf in designer clothing, but this pretense has to end,
Underneath my fur, I need a friend.

Kevin:
I'm only lurking on this site,
So how come I'm all "fight or flight"?
I'm a rabbit, not a sacrificial lamb.

But I can't stay in the Great Indoors
And cower from all these carnivores,
Somehow, I'm all right with where I am.

I'm fluffing up my tail, folding back my ears,
Knowing I can't fail if I'm facing down my fears,
I may act like a tough guy, but I know it's pretend,
Underneath my fur, I need a friend.

Both:
Everyone has costumes that they put on every day,
People they're supposed to be, or roles they have to play,
I'm so tired of playing, I just want someone to see
Underneath the costume, where all I am is me.

[instrumental]

B: There's a wild part of me I thought no one could tame,
Kl: But you can see the heart of me...
Kv: And you can see the same...
B: Our lives have been so different,
B: But I think you'll agree...
Kl: Underneath your fur, you're a lot like me.
Kv: Really? I concur -- you're a lot like me.
Kv: I saw you smile and I was sure,
Kl: I've been unwell and you're the cure,
B: And I love your fur -- heh! You're the one for me.

And here's a little insight into the creative/collaborative process -- an early version of Kevin's solo verse:

Face it -- I'm a lonely nerd,
And I'm sick of trying to be herd,
I'll never be who they want me to be.

They cower in the Great Indoors,
Until they're caught by carnivores,
What's being timid ever done for me?

I'm fluffing up my tail, folding back my ears,
Knowing I can't fail if I'm facing down my fears,
I'm a macho bunny rabbit, or so I pretend,
But underneath my fur, I need a friend.

and an alternate version by Bill, which had a couple of bits I obviously and delightedly nicked:

My rabbit friends all think I'm weird
Since I find little to be feared
But this new feeling triggers "fight or flight."

Hares cower in the Great Indoors,
Until they're caught by carnivores.
I'm not them; I've found new courage on this site.

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