The Music Issue: Mistakes and Fantasies Set to SongBy
Music. Don’t you wonder who the first person to ever start singing was? What came over him? And how long did it take before his caveman buddies impaled him with spears, then cooked him over an open flame? Nevertheless, creating music is inspired work, something I always wished I could do. The beginning, middle, and end of my music career was the night I pulled up a barstool next to a couple of singer/songwriters, picked up a guitar, and pretended to strum along to an Allman Brothers song. The gig was up when they turned to me to play them out, and I promptly dropped the 6 string and headed for the door.
I’ve learned that creative outlets can cohabitate. Some of my most meaningful musings have been the byproduct of a John Denver refrain or the background score from an obscure film.
Songs can be our true sixth sense. They move us to act, and transcend our instincts. I hope you enjoy some of the work that has influenced me, for better or worse, and the stories behind them.
Song that stemmed a screenplay- Down In A Hole by Alice in Chains: One day, this story will play itself out on film. David Allen’s uncertain and self-conscience walk to his car will be scored to Layne Stayley’s 90′s admission of pain and deterioration. I can’t wait. Ryan Adams performs a hell of a cover to this one as well.
Song that makes me want to quit writing- Leave Me For Dead by Austin Collins: Musical purists will say that no one writes anything worth it’s weight in song paper anymore, but for every Imagine, there is a I Love You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Collins’ stuff has always haunted me. This one, though, is wrought with poetry, and breeds common ground in an otherwise classified club. He seems to get us. “Poured into a pool of pain and pushed into the cries, again”. Christ. Why do I even try?
Song I wish I could sing as if no one had ever heard it before- Black by Pearl Jam: I’ll never forget watching Letterman one night in high school, and in the middle of his monologue, Eddie Vedder came down the isle unannounced, and joined up with Paul and the band for the “I know someday you’ll have a beautiful life” part. There is a lot of crap from the nineties, I’ll be the first one to admit. But a few gems did emerge, and Black is one for sure.
Song to get the girl- La Cienega Just Smiled by Ryan Adams: Although an asshole, Adams is gifted. His albums are as unpredictable as my checking account balance, yet there are few like him, if any. I first heard this one while a closeted Felicity fan. Hey, it worked for Ben Covington, it might work for you too.
Best song about divorce- Changing My Mind by Bob Schneider featuring Patty Griffin: Nothing good comes from divorce, except this heartbreaker. As soon as I heard the flawless harmonics from Griffin, I was in. Schneider is at his vocal best starting at 2:42, and Patty does the rest. Awesome stuff, although I still haven’t figured out why he added the part at the end about the werewolf??
Song that brings me out of writer’s block- Reprise by Marcelo Zarvos from The Door In The Floor soundtrack: I’m a sucker for a good overture, and this one is stellar. The film is amazing, one of Jeff Bridges best. Watching him run from a crazed mistress throughout the Hamptons as the violins awaken will arrest you with irony. It’s sad, and that’s good, because there’s opportunity for redemption. Mine is best expressed while writing.
Song best suited for drawing attention to yourself- Goodbye To Love by The Carpenters: Next time you find yourself in the inevitable “greatest guitar solo of all-time” debate, throw in Steven Rubio’s wicked fuzz guitar riffs from this 70′s beauty. I won’t lie, you’ll be all alone, but there will be interest, so arm yourself with some history. The Carpenters had a lot of fans, and they didn’t appreciate it when the sibling duo added this feature to their antiseptic persona, which is why it’s so good. There’s one in the middle and the end, so give it the full run.
I look forward to some healthy debate, and hopefully some inspiring suggestions. It all comes down to what moves you, I guess. It took me over thirty years to find a passion, and it never would have happened without the creativity of strangers. You never know how the expressions of another could change you forever.
“Drop the act of getting by, and pray for shiny things” – Austin Collins
30 Thread #11: Dig through your dad’s closet. There’s good stuff in there.