Anatomy Of A Song #13: Summer Breeze

Oh, Christ- remember that song? I don't know if I'm going to completely blow what little cred I have on this one but this is one gnarly fucking little piece of craft. I know the lyrics are the story of some guy walking through a room but heck, what a walk, man. There is a balancing of themes through the use of reharmonizations and little reintroductions that comes off as sort of playful and Beethovenesque. And that's not just intellectualizing- I remember that is was exactly that element of this song that made my 9-year-old self want to do...something...not sure exactly what...with Mary Kendall.

Remember being presexual? How fucking hilarious. Sporting wood from th' bra ads in Sears and just wanting to hug that woman somehow. Shit cracks me up. All the confusion and guilt and mystery. I remember being so young that I thought your thing physically threw a switch inside a woman- from Not Pregnant to Pregnant I guess.

So I roughmixed "I Could Try" and drove it around today. I've been totally sidetracked by this Soulfinger business and this song is a distant memory that I've got to read back into RAM and get finished. I've also got this thing cooking with an LA publisher/song broker. I was actually going to blog it and call it "Anatomy Of A Deal" but my whole blog is already about how shit goes south with music so that would be redundant. Plus they'll probably Google me and end up at some post talking about what fucking hideous, small-minded vampires they are. So that's out.

Fucking vampires.

It's pretty breezy, this one. A dopey, crafty little number that sounds like Donald Fagen doing a twice-as-fast version of "Groovin'". It will be the perfect opener to my summer season. It's got a heck of a lot of detail but is still pretty open and downright spare in parts. The section where there's drums, bass, piano, Rhodes, sundry percussion, guitar, three doubled trumpets and tripled four-part harmony is not one of these sections. I hear a couple of vocals that I'll bounce around- the first line of the second chorus will be pasted into the first chorus because it sounds a lot better.

The trumpet solo section will be the best thing. I've worked painstakingly on the score to achieve actual fanfare-dom. Literally. And that's all that remains. I haven't even given the guy the score yet. Must get off my ass. It's just the no-paycheck-at-the-end thing impairing my motivation. I just have to remember how fun it will be to post th' thing after all the amble preample.

Hanging With Shamen.

Yeah, Shamen rock. I imagine it's supposed to be Shamans but Shamen is funnier and more sort of ignorant.

Fuckin' Shamen will look right th' fuck through you, man. So if you're going to kick w/ a real Shamen you'd better have your fucking psychic house in order, my friend. If you're an asshole some fuckin' shaman will front 'n' center your ass before you knew what hit it. He will spiritually Rolph your shit and you'll wake up with a new appreciation for th' gift of love.

You know what them fucking guys do? They'll tell you what your Animal Totem is. They know that shit right out of the box. They just know. Your fucking animal totem. There's no god damn correspondence course for that shit, citizen.

I asked this one Shadude what my animal totem was, figuring it was a dog. I've always felt doglike both totemically and affinity-wise so that was my assumption. But no- I'm a turtle. Boy, fuckin' great. My animal totem is a turtle. Shit's downhill from there when you're a turtle. Hey, I might be slow but at least I'm fast.

So, I met this other Shaman who smoked more pot than Bob Marley and he enumerated all th' health benefits of it. He said that it helped one see "through the veil" which sounded pretty handy to me. He also said it shrunk tumors- he had all these tumors and they looked pretty shrunk to me. So we hung out and looked through th' veil and shrank our tumors for a while. Goddamn if I didn't feel healthier than shit. And my appetite was just top-notch.

I told him it also made "Immigrant Song" sound really bitchin' and he was in agreement.

What else have I learned from Shamen besides my animal totem thing and that weed is a panacea? Um, I think that's about it.

But that's two more things than I've learned from fuckin' white military industrial dudes. All I've learned from th' military industrial dudes is that th' harder you fuck a populace and the more lies you tell the more cash you'll make.

And that hurling an infant to th' ground a couple times will tenderize it somewhat.

Shamen 2, Military Industrial Dudes 0.

Take from this what you will, malchickies.

Th' Soulfinger Diaries: Th' Upside of Racism

Ha! Ha!

So, th' last night of the casino gigs I'm out front talking to these two black dudes and this white lady comes up and starts congratulating them. She assumes since they're black they were in the band, you know? You guys were great. She's kind of into the bigger one, she's like man, you were awesome on th' drums.

It's like the most racist thing I've ever seen. So she goes and talks to someone else (probably apologizing to some Korean dude for Nagasaki) and I'm kind of ashamed but they're like, happens every day, man.

So I tell th' bigger guy if he wants to play the drum card to his advantage I'll be happy to back him up, and when the lady comes back over I'm like dude, you were ON tonight, man and he's like yeah, I was really feelin' it up there.

So they go off together. Righteous. I'm like are you going to tell her? Yeah, man. Tomorrow.

Sweent. So th' guy called me the other day and asked if our drummer gives lessons. Yeah, dammit.



So, is the deep contempt in which I hold myself somehow mitigated by th' even deeper contempt in which I hold everyone else?

Am I thus a postmodern narcissist of sorts? A by-default snob?




Th' Soulfinger Diaries: The Thing That Came Out Of My Throat Last Night

There's no describing it. I've done a lot of hard gigs in my day but I've never gone 7 straight gigs with four hours of sleep between them. Three hours of singing, four hours of sleeping. Night after night after night. And I've blown my voice a few times and I always try not to because it's really, really bad for you. My mantra has always been eight hours of sleep and as much water as I can drink and when I don't get that it's always disaster.

But I didn't have the sleep luxury this week. And I didn't have the luxury of losing my voice in the middle of a 7-night run. No sirree. And somehow I didn't. Actually, I did sort of lose my voice but another one arrived to take over in the middle of the show last night. I didn't recognize it at all. It wasn't like anything I've ever heard. To compare it to Percy Sledge or Joe Cocker or Rod Stewart or any of them doesn't do it justice. I had to dig really deep for it, and when it came it felt really good because it didn't hurt and it didn't feel damaging. It felt like my New Voice. It felt like Otis had finally reached down from heaven and given me my Hardship Merit Badge and this was what it was.

It was the sound of every slap of every windshield wiper on every god damn stretch of highway I've driven at 4 AM in Texas or Maine or Georgia or Arizona. It was the sound of every bloodless bitch who's wound up with that look in her fucking eye and rapped that fucking nail through my hand. It was the sound of every Farenheit-stinking music exec who's told me that Right Said Fred is the real deal and I'm not and have a nice night in th' front seat of your '86 Dodge cargo van tonight. Oh, with that stinking carburetor, man. And tomorrow you've got to play that god damn Mint in Hollywood and that carburetor smell'll hang on you like a bad memory of guns and human folly. Folly.

People noticed it too. Ace even looked over at me a little astonished. The people listened. And it was great because I realized I'd never lose my voice again. I'd just have to reach into that little pocket in my head and pull her out and that would be that. I'll just pull her out and she'll be dirty and tortured but always confident and always right on th' note. A big, rumbling, gritty, stinking tone that doesn't sound like anyone who ever worked a straight stand.

I'm going to call it the Robert Lightfoot voice.