Artist: The Verve Pipe

The Freshmen ~ The Verve Pipe

The Verve Pipe is an American rock band from East Lansing, Michigan. It was formed in 1992 by Brian and Brad Vander Ark, Brian Stout and Donny Brown.

In November 1992, working with producer/engineer Jonathan Frazer, they released their first album, I’ve Suffered a Head Injury. The original 10-song version of the CD is no longer available. A 7-song version, without the original recording of “The Freshmen” was later released as an EP. The band, known for its energetic live performances, built strong followings during its early years, especially in the college towns of Kalamazoo and East Lansing.

In the fall of 1993, the band released a second album, Pop Smear again working with Frazer that helped them gain a devoted following in their native state of Michigan and their eventual signing with RCA Records in 1995. A.J. Dunning replaced Stout on guitar for the recording of Pop Smear and remained in the band for their three RCA records. This album featured the popular tracks “Spoonful of Sugar” and “Victoria”.

Their first major label release was 1996’s Villains, which was a minor hit and launched two respectably selling singles, first “Photograph” then the #5 Billboard Hot 100 hit “The Freshmen”, which was their one and only hit. They came back with a new album, The Verve Pipe, in 1999. The album, however, failed to contain the commercial appeal of its predecessor.

The band’s 2001 release Underneath, contained the song “Colorful”, which was featured on the soundtrack of the film, Rock Star.

The band released a new album in October 2009 called A Family Album.  The band had been approached to contribute a song for a compilation album called Calling All Kids, which led to them creating an “entire album of family friendly songs”. It was also noted in the announcement that a new album of rock material would follow the family album. Immediately after the release of the family album, the band undertook a series of small-venue performances, mostly around Michigan and the East Coast.  The band still tours in their local venue.

The Freshmen

According to the Verve Pipes’ FAQ, guitarist and lead singer Brian Vander Ark wrote the song in 1991 about the guilt he felt from his ex-girlfriend committing suicide.

According to an external interview site, the girl in the song is based on Vander Ark’s girlfriend who really had an abortion. However, she didn’t actually commit suicide like in the song, which Vander Ark said was poetic license.

The Freshmen - Brian Vander Ark

When I was young I knew everything
And she a punk who rarely ever took advice
Now I’m guilt stricken, sobbin’ with my head on the floor
Stomp on Baby’s Breath and a shoe full of rice, no…

I can’t be held responsible
‘Cause she was touching her face
I won’t be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe we’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

My best friend took a week’s vacation to forget her
His girl took a week’s worth of valium and slept
And now he’s guilt stricken sobbin’ with his head on the floor
Thinks about her now and how he never really wept he says

I can’t be held responsible
‘Cause she was touching her face
I won’t be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe we’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

We’ve tried to wash our hands of all of this
We never talk of our lack in relationships
And how we’re guilt stricken sobbin’ with our heads on the floor
We fell through the ice when we tried not to slip, we’d say

I can’t be held responsible
‘Cause she was touching her face
And I won’t be held responsible
She fell in love in the first place

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe we’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and we’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe we’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen
We were merely freshmen
We were merely freshmen
We were only freshmen

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  • Audio from the 1996 album, Villains:

villians
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