Former (Living Room) Rockstar

This entry was posted by on Friday, 19 January, 2007 at

I know, I know, what about the cliffhanger? I needed a break from these epic multi-day posts. Especially on that topic. Some of this may yet prove relevant anyway.

I wanted to go back to the musical incident mentioned here. First of all, I am quite surprised that I had time for all that to be going through my head, given my tendency to shut down when put on the spot. But then again, for all I know, it may have been ten minutes between the request and my final answer. In that time, it was even suggested that I just play the music and leave off the words. (It occurred to me today that I have actually done that once before… in South Africa of all places.) I neglected to mention in my other post that I had been about to simply ask for requests, and that if anyone in the room had managed to come up with the title of one of my songs I would try my hardest to play it. Ultimately though, I was much more concerned with what might be unleashed. [Click, click.]

[By the way: yes, that was an intentional slam on two of my former girlfriends. Why didn’t you ever ask me to play? But even as I ask the question, I know the answer. They had heard me play, and let’s face it, when it comes to music, my ego far outweighs my talent. Even so, if you should happen to date a musician in the future, especially one with some kind of regular performance, I’m sure it would mean a lot to him (or her) if you actually went to see them play. Even if it meant changing your schedule. Just saying.]

I actually did have a few non-original songs practiced and ready for just such an occasion, but that wasn’t what was asked for now was it? Anyway, in the following days and weeks, I brought a number of my old songs back out of the closet, just in case. You know, some of the songs that aren’t in the key of Em. (I’m good at preparing for situations that have already past, aren’t I?)

I have discovered some interesting things. One of the biggest surprises to me is “The Saddest Song.” That song had an interesting history. I believe I wrote the lyrics first, then set them to music. I quickly realized that while the lyrics were (as you might expect) sad, the music was really more angry. So I separated the two. To the angry music, I attached a phrase that had been kicking around in my head for awhile, “Wasting the best years of my life.” Due to (rather ironic) laziness, that song has actually only ever been referred to by the first word of its intended title. Never the less, it took on a life of its own, arguably becoming (if Less is More could be described as a one-hit-wonder), the one hit. For the original “Saddest Song” lyrics, I wrote some simple music to fill the void, but that song really never went anywhere. I remember one time my bass player specifically asked if that song actually existed, for I guess it appeared on my “in progress” list, but never came out in a jam session… ever. In recent days, however, I find I actually quite like it. The music is undeniably basic, the words aren’t much better (one of the verses still makes me think, “Was that the best you could come up with?”) But hey, less is more, no?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is one called “The Last Time”, which was the only song to emerge from my Phoenix era. Holy crap, that song is creeeepyyy. No wonder I hated Phoenix. I can’t even play it through without thinking, “Yeah… nevermind,” and stopping. I actually don’t even remember how all of it goes, and that really doesn’t bother me.

There are several other fine choices as well. I could go on and on. I can’t help it, I really like my own music. [The ego thing.] To be candid, there are a few songs that have actually been out of the closet for awhile. Some that have had a chance to be resurrected in Garageband, although most of this has been unfruitful. And my favorite of the bunch is a song called “Shades of Gray”, which was the last one I wrote before this all began, and technically never went into the closet with the others at all… I’ve secretly kept it in my active repertoire the whole time.

So maybe I’m more ready now. But remember the rules: I have to have a guitar in my hands when you ask.

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