“Even the Winter has lost its chill
I’m bathed in sunlight and Springs first thrill
But it’s the first of December and it feels all wrong
The day’s too bright and the nights too long”
I may be an “Accident Just Waiting“...you’ll have to wait for the CD to find out…but in the meantime, my computer crashed. And with it, all my stuff. No, it wasn’t backed up…not to worry though, Michael Rosen has all my new music safe and sound in the studio…my mind though….that’s another thing…no external hard drive to help with that…
Computer saved from an e-waste disposal site in some port, in a place far far away…but, today I feel as if this whole recording project is mired in quicksand. I feel stuck. So far the music sounds so good I can’t believe I had any part in its creation. But it’s like having a bag full of candy. I want to share it with everyone and I can’t just yet. Patience a virtue I have yet to acquire I’m afraid…
I wanted to be able to document the flow of the recording process to those who love music, the ones who make what I do possible…but by analyzing this process I’m finding myself face to face with the challenges and hurdles one must go through just to get one damn day of recording under your belt…a day of recording only to realize you are going to have a whole lot more days like this before you are done. The prize at the end, a record, a CD, is still so fucking far away on the horizon you start to wonder will it ever happen?
Then you regroup, hit the Stoli and remember why you do this. It’s really fun. You scribble some words on a piece of paper or in a notebook, start bashing out some chords on your guitar, some disjointed notes on a fretboard, stumble upon a Stevie Nicks song, cringe – hey, here’s that chord I could never find, the funky ass, minor augmented something that Elvis Costello used in Goon Squad…and then it all makes sense. It doesn’t matter if you ever finish the damn CD. Oh sure it’ll be nice to have a plastic, shrink wrapped plastic box with your picture on it to hand out to friends and family…sell after your shows for 10 bucks…but that’s not the motivator…to take something from nothing, a line, a lyric, a scrap of melody or noise, a rhythmic tremor, an emotion, anger, rage, sadness…to take bits of nothing from nothing and turn it into something, well…that’s the payoff.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Have a good Sunday everyone!
Writing a song is like playing a game of Pong in your head…the words bounce back and forth till you settle on the right ones…the rhythmic arc in flux till you settle in to the flow and meter of your thoughts.
Yes it’s true, I am dating myself…and I never really much liked the video game when it first appeared back in 1972…but Pong as literary device is another story…so where do songs come from?
This question came up for me when I was asked by Michael Rosen, the man behind the curtain, that I rewrite the second verse of the song we had just recorded. “It wasn’t happening for him…the first verse was the money verse but the second felt a bit short changed” he said. Twenty years ago I would have told him straight up to “fuck off”, the lyrics are what they are and cannot be changed. Can’t he see the lyrical brilliance before him? Back then my grip on my songs was absolute, unchangeable, unquestionable, those songs were indisputably the best things I had ever done. In hindsight, some of the old songs were just plain bad, no…downright awful. Obviously in need of a rewrite here, a tweak there…and therein lies the beauty of it all.
Like the bouncing ball in Pong, ideas, musical leaps, spontaneous lyrical prose, need to be kicked around a bit to divine and define the essence of the thoughts ricocheting between your cerebral orbs… sometimes you need a rewrite, and it’s ok. Sometimes you need to dump the whole thing in the trash and start over, and it’s ok.
I say this now, after spending the last two months in and out of the studio, as a liberating cry of complete, artistic abandon…what spills out in that creative moment, the wow of the now, may not be so good, yet. Hearing the playback is like looking in a mirror. There is nowhere to hide. But when you listen to your playback in today’s tech saturated world you must face an undeniable truth: 0101010101010101010101’s don’t lie. Welcome to the digital age.
have a wonderful Sunday…