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When I finally decided in 2010 to take a serious stab at performance comedy, I knew exactly what I wanted to use as my theme song: this track. In 2009, I finally sprung for a cheap digital multitracker and as spring fever coursed through my veins that March I decided to find out once and for all whether I really had any business at all trying to write songs any more. This was the result, and however rough you might find it, know that I am very, very proud of it. The lyric is a little weak, the production is definitely cheap-ish and the performances aren't all spot-on, but this track has a prostate kick that is undeniable, and a few really interesting moments. With the right lyric rewrite and a quick hack down from six minutes to three and a half, this could make for a truly killer theme song. Not bad at all for two days' work from a standing start.
Oh...and the green and orange highlights? Let's just say I couldn't afford a sportscar.
|Lyric: "I Got Nothing to Say That You Wanna Hear"|
(This piece was written more sardonically than as an attempt at outright humor...future versions will probably be more focused on comedy. It was an attempt - and not a terribly good one, actually - at developing an oratorial rock lyric around a collection of the most irritating things you might hear from some disaffected half-drunk pseudointellectual fucknut at a cheap bar. It comes off almost more like a bad angel dust trip. Hey...I put most of the effort into the music. -CL)
You'd think I'd know better by now, but no...
Here I am again drowning in the septic frustration
Of my own disappointments and missed opportunities.
Well fuck this!
Tell you what...why don't you try to live in my skin for a change
See what you can accomplish with the constant suck - suck - suck
of guilt and expectation rippin' up your guts?
(God, what a putz!)
Problems, problems problems...that's all you can see any more
Doesn't anyone know how to solve anything these days?
I got your solution right here, buddy!
It's just too fuckin' bad that it came from me.
(Yeah, as if I ever knew anything about anything.)
Well wait'll you get desperate, dood!
You won't care as long as it works!
Funniest thing I heard all day:
"The world always welcomes a good idea."
Wish I could turn that mis-led into gold, but it's like this:
I got...I got nothing to say that you wanna hear.
Now, I don't really think I'm being that clever
But that could change with a bit more beer.
I just wanna get laid. But don't you just wanna get un-lonely?
I know that don't impress anybody
But hey, it's gettin' late and when you think about it,
What the hell else are we doin' here?
Hey, c'mon over here and I'll show ya how I defrag my hard drive!
Ever have breakfast with an Internet millionaire?
I think you'll find it has certain...dividends.
This little baby can benchpress twenty flogs an hour!
That's like...eight daily shows!
And I really did try for a while to give a damn about your problems
But that's not how I spend my time these days.
I find I get a whole lot more out of just kickin' back
And waitin' for the world to catch up with me
But you know I really do think I got something to say.
Don't tell me the world loves a good idea. Intelligence is a fucking curse.
If there was a brains-for-good-looks program, I swear there wouldn't be
a nerd left on this planet
So here's your cure for cancer, pal...
Ttry layin' off the pork rinds and beer!
Yeah, that's why I kept my mouth shut 'til now...
Cos I got nothing to say that you wanna hear
("Tonight's top story continues to be...")
Copyright ©2009 Bunction Music
This is the first music track I've recorded in 20 years. Straight-ahead guitar rock with a bit of a twist on the vocal. The lead guitar track is a throwaway...all the work went into the basic arrangement, lyric and rhythm tracks. The sound is awful, I know; I recorded it onto a Fostex 8-track digital portable and mastered to SoundForge using a conservative Wave Hammer setting and nothing else. The point was to produce something that sketches reasonably well what I would like this track to paint, and in that regard it's easily sufficient to the task.
I know hard guitar rock is passé, but I fuckin' love this kind of music. Three of the five of my own songs that gave me the biggest chills were hard rock in this vein, and I get the same rush from this that I got from them all those years back. I spent thousands "back in the day" on studios and gear rental trying to find something close to the throaty tone the V-Amp gives on the rhythm track. I call this sound "transmission failure" and the only thing I ever owned that even came close to it was the line-out tone from a late-70s Yamaha solid-state 50W combo that had a totally unique and very special overdrive circuit. (The lead tones I did on a Zoom 505 just because it was loaded with gimmicky presets. The bass preamp was the Zoom 505...using what I think is an acoustic guitar amp model.) I have never been able to find enough of this kind of groove and tone by other artists. So it's a kick to be making music I know I actually really love to listen to.
It's "only" about 20 hours' work (read: 5-6 hours for anyone who can actually play an instrument; no lie...the rhythm guitar was done three times and each take required some 30 punch-ins and took well over an hour each time. Now you've got the evidence: I wasn't lying when I said I was once fired from a Neil Young tribute band...for incompetence...as a bassist.)
This is very much a work-in-progress (well duh) but it fits the parameters of RCC: it was conceived the day before RCC started and all actual writing, recording, etc. was done Saturday and Sunday. This started with the polyrhythm riff that opens the track and built from there. I messed with this form quite a bit back when I was seriously pursuing a music career, and I found that the best results came from having structure follow tone, rather than writing from a melody or riff first and seeking the matching tone afterward. This doesn't make for good songcraft, but it makes for great rock. After all, rock is about memorable moments. Pop is about memorable melodies.
About the vocal track...I think it merits a bit of explanation. I've done a lot of thinking about rap and I've come to the conclusion that white rap is like white soul: not many will ever speak that language without a heavy accent. But there's no need for "white rap". Because Euro cultures have likely had their own comparable form for almost as long as the Afro cultures. It has a name: oratory. It's the spoken music of the speech, the town cryer, the minstrel storyteller. And when it's practiced that way, it sounds every bit as authentic as good rap.
I use the term "oratory" because I don't know of an "official" genre label for it. Thing is, though, there's not many examples of it. Ken Nordine, the "jazz poet", was jazz oratory. So was Steve Allen in his own way. Gil Scott Heron was as much an orator as he was a rap ancestor. 88 Lines About 44 Women, Never Say Never (Romeo Void), and of course The Jim Carroll Band are the only easy examples I can think of. In any case, it's about speaking in your native cultural tongue as opposed to singing.
I admit my vocabulary is hardly grade-school level, music-wise, but I don't think there could be any doubt that the vocal track is dead authentic. And as amateurish as I know it sounds, I am very pleased that I was able to produce a sketch of this quality after so many years of being unable to even tolerate a jam or sit and mess with a guitar for an hour or so. Still takes a fuck of a lot out of me to even get this much done, but this was a a real accomplishment for me. And I just hope it was a fraction of the kick to hear as it was to produce.
About the lyric: Well, if you know me at all, you know it is authentic, too. Wish I could sing half as well as I can bitch.