Thursday, March 31, 2005
Dangerous PeopleWriting a song about a specific person is very hard. And potentially dangerous. Usually you want the person to remain anonymous. You want them to remain friendly, refrain from spreading ugly rumors about you and not take a contract out on your life. It's really best to write about composite characters. Sister Mary Confusing is a composite. So is the Windswept Girl. Nearly all of my songs are about composite characters. A notable exception is Feel My Love which is solely about my wife, Cathy. I've since written others for her, that are unrecorded. Sitting On the Wind is one. I'll post it below. You've recently seen my song for my daughter, How That Feels.
I strongly advised my co-writer, Kathy Feeney, to either claim a composite or deny that her Stargazer is about anyone in particular. Consequently she wouldn't even tell me who she was thinking about. Her newest, Open Shore, is apparently just random thoughts generated while using a strong mouthwash. The mouthwash as muse phenomenon is yet undocumented in the annuls of American songwriting. The girl can probably patent that. Or at least get an endorsement deal from Aqua Fresh. Vernon Grope, are you paying attention?
First draft lyrics pop out of me pretty fast once I have a starting point. That's the problem with the single person lyric. You have to find a summarizing statement about a person you know. And if you're gonna let them know it's about them, it better be one damn complimentary statement. Unless, of course, it's about a politician. In which case, I wonder if you can claim the effort as a donation to the opposing side?
So it may be easier to start with a list of ideas about your person. Or actions that are a defining feature. Physical features can work too. Long Tall Sally, Boney Maroni, Lola, Angel Eyes, don't make me list all of them here.
The following song is actually about my wife and I driving five and a half hours in separate cars. My gig equipment and baggage do not fit in one car. It's the only time I'm allowed to drive that fast and change lanes and pass. That is, when she's leading in a separate car. It became very much like the flight of birds who flock. Pelicans are my favorite to watch. They anticipate each other's moves and do it in unison. And it all looks effortless. Just sitting on the wind.
Sitting on the Wind
Copyright 2005 Bud Buckley
Birds in flight, sitting on the air
Dipping our wings to take us where
We find our wordless way on the wind
Only touching the earth to send
Our love out to others, sisters and brothers
Together we sit on the wind,
Together we scratch across the sky
Together we swoop and bend
Without having to ask or say why
Together, we just sit on the wind
And when nothing seems to go our way
We'll both either go or we'll both stay
To ride new rivers on the wind and rain
And to soothe each others pain
We take it together, feather for feather
We've mourned with the swan who's lonely
Felt the pain for what he's missing
But we'll always fly together and death is the only
Thing to reduce us to lonely reminiscing
Hearts beating together, souls melt to the nether
Chorus and out
posted by Bud @ 5:42 AM
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
What To Do on Blocked DaysWe are all just tubes. Each living species especially evolved to put stuff in one end and send it out the other. It was Alan W. Watts who put forth that idea in a book called The Joyous Cosmology. I can't think of anything else from the early seventies that I remember well enough to quote. It was the early seventies, after all. That one stuck to me. The rest of that book is a blur. If you're a creationist, keep it to yourself, please. I won't knock you but I'm just not interested in your point of view. That's as polite as I can get. Many of my blogger pals would tell you which end of the tube to stick it in. I'll refrain from that sort of humor here, though.
The tube thing serves me well. Helps me not to take my self too seriously. Just seriously enough to not let the tube swell into the size and shape of the Oscar Meyer Wiener truck. It helps enormously at times like this when I can't seem to turn out any new lyrics. I just take in as much visual and aural stimulus as I can and hope that it'll eventually come out as a lyric. Less you think I have my word processor set up in the porcelain confines of my bathroom, I should point out that there is a major realignment in my tubelature for this process. I type in the conventional way with my fingers.
I do write down everything I notice during this stage. It's like chewing and swallowing. Some might say what I do next is bulimic. Just spurting digested material out in the direction from which it entered. I won't quibble with such distinctions. One man's puke is another man's...Well never mind. I have some idea munching to do.
posted by Bud @ 10:24 AM
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Not Now, Not Now I SayBusy trying to write some songs. Check out my past work if you haven't. Leave comments and suggestions if you haven't. That could be your way of feeding this starving (for attention) artist. Later for this. Later, I say.
posted by Bud @ 7:52 AM
Monday, March 28, 2005
An Easter StoryEaster has no special significance to me for many reasons I won't bore anyone with. I was born on Easter and my Birthday fell on this movable feast about three times in my life. Had I been a girl, my Mom says she would have named me Bunny instead of Bud. I really don't get the whole bunny thing. Or the Candy. Or the chicks and eggs. The bonnets? Who knows? But at various stages of my childhood, it's all that interested me about the holiday. Well, not the bonnets.
So yesterday, after my daughter and son-in-law started their trek across the state to see her Mom, Cathy and I took the opportunity between company to do some work. She started weeding the garden and got a sunburn on the small of her back. I power washed the lanai around the pool and the screen cage. I damn near killed myself. Somebody should have given us some Easter eggs for the effort. Or at least to keep us out of trouble.
I was being so careful. Every movement a study in yogic grace and form. While trying to avoid the tangle of wire and hoses and a ladder, I slipped, bounced and landed in the pool. I'm a little sore and grateful not to have broken anything. I was horrified that my cell phone was in my pocket. Naturally it died.
But in true Easter fashion, it rose from the dead three hours later. I called my Mom and told her I loved her. And she said she started walking again three weeks after her hip surgery. Lots of cool things happening in threes but Im going to stop there before congress decides to extend the presidential term to three.
posted by Bud @ 12:08 PM
Sunday, March 27, 2005
My Hit Song in the Only Place It CountsMy daughter loved the song (see last post) I wrote for her. I surprised her with it. at my gig. First time I played it anywhere. She's still my little sack of sugar powder each time I hug her, see her smile or just hear her voice on the phone. Now I really have to get busy and write one for my son. He's certainly deserving. Just a harder assignment. Cat Stevens and Tim Harding having kind of cornered the market on father/son songs. I'm not going there, believe me. It should be Alt/rock for him. A stretch for me.
Playing to an audience is so much more fun than playing to chewing people, I've come to realize. The shape of a room is crucial. So many places I've played have been in the front window by the door. Not an ideal place to concentrate on playing anything beyond cowboy chords or emote sensitive lyrics. I like seeing people's faces and sipping coffee or spirits is ever more natural to communication than cutting, stuffing, chewing and swallowing. So last night at Bella Luna Cafe was perfect. They have food there but it's mostly wraps. Hand food is much less distracting. Deja, the manager, had a policy not to make noisy blender drinks while I was performing. I told her to can that rule. Blend away, girl. I'm here to help you sell stuff. I pretend it's part of the track. My yoga training is priceless that way.
At the end of my night I was playing John Mayer's "Daughters." Three young girls strolled by all decked out in mini skirts and belly shirts. They where no more than 13. Obviously in Florida for the holiday and momentarily escaped from Granpa's house. The saw me playing through the window and started aping me and jumping around, getting a big laugh from me and my inside patrons. Then one girl stopped, put her ear up to the window, realized what I was playing and sang along with me. Very animatedly. It was adorable. We bowed to each other when I was done. I think I feel a song coming here. She sings to me silently through panes of glass. If not an exact phrase, I like the concept. Singing though pane or pain. See how my mind works?
If you're into Easter, have a good one. If you're not, steal some candy anyway. My son-in-law made me about 10 hats in different colors with BudBuckley.com embroidered on them. First time I ever had an Easter bonnet. I think I'll let Cathy wear the Pink ones.
It's still cold as hell up north and I wrote this song while thinking about the awful weather that I've permanently escaped. "Jacob's Hurricane" was written during Hurricane Charlie and this new one, "Frozen Shadows" has been warmly received despite it's subject matter, by the snowbirds who frequent my audiences.
Copyright 2005 by Bud Buckley
Deep winter bruises after all the games, no flames distract me from my fears
No warm passion and delicious hopes have simply disappeared
Crunch of frozen mud under my boots, tires spraying salty sand
You're too far gone to come on home, frozen shadows cross the land
Frozen shadows invade my soul
Frozen shadows make harsh demand
Frozen shadows rot my heart so old
Frozen shadows cross the land. Frozen shadows 'cross the land
You don't even remember where home is, not even on your map
You're off hunting loathsome alien game, I'm bloody and dying in your trap
You could thrash and stumble right over me, step right on my hand
Not even know I'm suffering so, under your frozen shadow 'cross the land
How much longer can this last, before the sun gives me mercy?
How much cold and loneliness is considered perverse and heresy?
Isn't everything on earth supposed to come again to every man?
It's just so damn hard to smile and love with your frozen shadow 'cross the land
Chorus AND OUT
posted by Bud @ 6:29 AM
Friday, March 25, 2005
Navigating Emotional QuicksandThanks to all of you who commented on my last set of lyrics. I've been getting very positive responses on the performance of that song and I hope to put up an MP3 before too long.
I'm constantly amazed and amused at comics who will say ANYthing to see if it'll get a laugh. That's incredible courage. I, on the other hand, sometimes need heavy assurance before I'll go public with a song. Like the lyric below, for instance.
My daughter is flying down from NY today. I wrote another song for her. The last one for her was First Time Home which I wrote just a tad too high for me. I'm kind of afraid to do this new one for her. It's very personal and basically admits I have unresolved issues regarding our separation when she was young and her social scene kept her even farther away from me than most teens. We never talked about that. I sure could use some feedback on this. She's 29, married and teaching biology. I love her to death.
HOW THAT FEELS
Copyright 2005 Bud Buckley
She finds the meaning of life oozing 'cross a slide
Good that she can; she couldn't live on what I provide
She gives much more than it's polite to take
She says to give it all away is no mistake
And I still feel her on my lap, a little sack of sugar powder
Throws her head way back and squeals,
We'd roll around the floor, couldn't get much louder
I still remember how, I still remember how,
Yeah, I still remember how that feels
How she classifies me, I can only guess
I have her love but what about forgiveness?
I'd be her hero if I could understand
How to reach through emotional quicksand
I think my only mistake was to give her what she wanted
When she was too young to even know
I waited for her to come back, she waited for me to reach her
All that waiting, all that wanting, what did it grow?
I hope she knows now I'm a rock she can stand on
Not something that crawls out from under
So if I'm gone sooner than I planned on
I'll still be as close as lightning and thunder
Chorus and Out
posted by Bud @ 6:02 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Reverent Repetition but Not in MargaritavilleI have a deep respect for irreverence. I love to read wise ass writers. Elmore Leonard types who champion the smart alec. My blogrolls are loaded with people who make me laugh for their total irreverence. Most satirists can get a chuckle out of me. I guffaw at people who take themselves too seriously. Name the political, religious or business leader of your choice. These days they're all the same thing,anyway. My only totally irreverent song to date, though, is Sister Mary Confusing. I have some others about a well know politician that I'll keep under wraps. But wise ass song writing is not something I want to be known for. I can do Barenaked Ladies covers for that. Oops, but only in an ASCAP licensed establishment. Sorry ASSCAP.
So when I pontificate (that's a warning) about the importance of reverence of any sort you know I can only be talking about either music study or yoga. So this is about both. Kind of a philosophical Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. They go better together than you might have thought. And that is one of my favorite food groups.
My yoga teacher's lesson this week has been about the reverence of repetition. That is, approaching each minute movement with total reverence makes for a deeper experience and helps to improve you. Holding this reverence through many repetitions of the same movement must make it more natural to you. The result is advancement to more difficult levels. I go to yoga at least five times a week. Shut up, I'm retired. Had I done it that often when I was still teaching, I might still be teaching. With a smile on my face. But I got out when I felt the smile might be hard before much longer.
When it comes to music, I'm not a quick learner. I'm about one jazz tune away from the short bus. I need to repeat even my own songs waaay too many times to learn them. I get bored with them in the process. This effects my performance if I'm not careful. But now I'm approaching this process with reverence, baby. I'm one reverent puppy when it comes to music practice. And yoga.
I'm gonna get in touch with every cover band I can think of and let them know that by approaching the 12 billionth performance of Margaritaville or Brown Eyed Girl with a yogic spirit of reverence, they can do it 12 billion more times. Or maybe I won't.
posted by Bud @ 7:39 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Mix in White Chocolate and StirBrief conversation with James "White Chocolate" Albritton last night. He's the most talented non-songwriter I know. Plays drums, guitar, bass and sings. Sings very well. And the boy loves R&B and funk. Hence the nickname. When Stir the Soul goes totally original music to avoid the ASCAP extortion (see ASSHAT blog from last week), James is gonna have a hard time finding gigs that he likes. Not many around here play to his groove. He fills in wherever and for whomever but he's not digging it. It's kind of like NearBeer for him, I'm guessing. I'm going to have to get him to write some tunes for my lyrics. I'll have to stretch that's for sure. Gonna have to do some homework. I wonder if my former students know I hate that word more than they do. But this kid is a talent too good to ignore.
The thing he said that caught my attention is when I mentioned how I was fascinated by how John Mayer puts so much air around his lyrics and fills it with percussive eighths. This makes his soft, sensitive lyrics rock. James, also called "Funky Boy," said, "Yeah, he doesn't need to load up on the lyrics. He hits that one chord change in-between and people think, 'Oh, that's what he means, man!'" James truly gets it. He's 22 and has more natural talent than four of anybody else I run into. Gotta make a songwriter out of him. He could take me in a different direction.
Here's a lyric I'm done with except for the never ending tweaks. It does attempt to put more air around the phrases with the music which has a beat in eighths. It's not John Mayer but he's no Bud Buckley either.
FOR AN ENGLISH MAJOR (MOVE ME)
Bud Buckley Copyright 2005
She said, write me, sing me something deep, not low
She said, If you want to move me than you got to know
Some literary words, and a clever use of verbs
And If you want me you have to move me
Oh please move me, move me, move me. Move me, move me, move me
Sing me words that move me
She said, I love it when you say things I never heard before
I'm charmed beyond control by your use of metaphor
You can have me for a sonnet and a thoughtful simile
And if you want me, you have to move me
Oh please move me, move me, move me. Move me, move me, move me
Tell me words that move me
I said, look at me, darlin', dive into my eyes
My hands around her waist, my heart's of some great size
I say what I feel but I need you to just feel me
And If my words move you, well that moves me
I'll talk with my hands, and you can do me
I'll sing you deep and low, just move me
Oh please move me, move me, move me. Move me, move me, move me
Touch with words that move me
Oh please move me, move me, move me. Move me, move me, move me
Give me words that move me
posted by Bud @ 6:37 AM
Monday, March 21, 2005
Girls in Tights Trump Pantloads in DockersBallet and Circus on the same stage. At the same time. A whining rude moron next to us. How good is our karma not to have accosted him in any way? If there is a heaven, surely there is a place for Cathy and I because we ignored him like a turd on the road. Even though he was more like a fart in an elevator.
This was not not Cirque du Soliel. Cirque is more circus than ballet. Last night's performance of Ca d'Zan was more ballet than circus. It was an interesting marriage of the Sarasota Ballet Company and Circus Sarasota. They took the fascinating local history of John and Mable Ringling and told the story of the dream of building their amazing mansion Ca d'Zan. Ringling, at the peak of his circus success, built the place for his beloved. They decorated it elaborately in a combination Tuscan and Moorish design, I think. They entertained many celebrities including Flo Ziegfeld and presumably, some of his showgirls. Will Rogers was also a frequent guest.
All this combined to present a rather unique evening of ballet/circus. It wasn't flawless but it was artfully presented and it will bring neophytes like me back to see the ballet. Pretty girls in tights dancing in yoga positions to pleasant music. Nothing wrong with that. I hope some of the strictly ballet members of that audience go to the circus. Pretty girls in tights tumbling, wire walking trapesing in yoga positions to pleasant music. And the occasional dog and pony show. Okay and elephants and big cats. All of which sometimes dump on the stage. Which is all still better than that jerk who sat next to us last night.
posted by Bud @ 12:16 PM
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Flashing the JuryA Robert Blake trial juror is being criticized for writing songs during his duty. Presumably he didn't perform them during deliberations. His name is Roberto Emerick. His album will go on sale in June as the law holds up his release date for 90 days. It'll be called Judgment Day. This is a guy who clearly gets it. Song writing material is everywhere. The only thing upsetting about this for me is that I have jury duty sometime this summer and, well, he stole my idea.
I didn't follow this story or any hyped national trial story. And I won't. I think it's a disgusting and destructive American ritual. Yes, the press is free to do it and I support that amendment. I just wish the public had better taste than to encourage that kind of coverage. But who can argue a person's taste, right? Critics make a living of it but I'll always regard them as the lowest form of journalist. If you can call them that at all.
A jury box is a perfect place to find song material though. Names needn't be mentioned. Crimes don't even have to be mentioned. But what better place to get an up-close sense of raw emotion. It's like watching Jerry Springer with rules. A better vocabulary. And no flashing. That's what I'll be looking for this summer. The well stated, raw emotion, not the flashing. Although that could conceivably brighten a dreary day in the courtroom. I hope I get a divorce/murder/inheritance/DNA trial. Lots of songs there. I promise not to try to rhyme DNA.
posted by Bud @ 6:03 AM
Saturday, March 19, 2005
The Passion of the CrustAlthea's dinner gig last night. I liked it a lot better when I was closer to the street. Hungry street egret pensioners are actually more attentive audiences than diners. Dinner gigs, by nature, are background music gigs. When I was set up closer to the street, there was the outside bar and the waiting line. I had crowd contact. Nobody was chewing. People chewing crusty bread and such don't clap or look up and listening is impaired by grinding and swallowing. Now I'm in the back of this open air room a good twenty feet from the street. There are parrots behind me. They sometimes sing backup. Badly. Having a good gig here is a forced state of mind and that's a very good exercise. Especially when it's steady work and good money as well.
But free gigs and poorly paying gigs are often more fun. This disparity is a stark reminder that I'm most fortunate not to have to depend on this for income. I have the deepest respect and empathy for my friends who do. I imagine it raises the level of passion in your performance, though. I guess as I get older and inflation eats up the largest part of my pension and GW squanders my social security of some Wall Street Ponzi scheme, I'll be a hell of a lot more passionate.
posted by Bud @ 9:41 AM
Friday, March 18, 2005
Cuteness and Other Forms of TortureYou can't help be impressed with how Disney World is organized. They should have taken the Iraq War bid away from Halliburton. I'm not sure how cute Minnie Mouse would be in a burkha and I guess Donald and Mickey would absolutely have to wear pants. Big baggy pajama looking things. But things would be ever more orderly and the food much better. Any torture would be of a nature of having to repeatedly go through It's a Small World After All with your eyes taped open. And at top nauseating volume.
Realizing I just tipped my hand here, I'll get right to it. There's plenty of very cool stuff at Disney. But the only cute thing about the stuff that's designed to be cute is watching cute little kids react to it and cute older kids get repelled by it. Gushing grandparents just look ridiculous. Old people doing loud animated public baby talk ranks up there on the cuteness scale with Springtime for Hitler.
We ate in some terrific restaurants. Some had the nerve to charge $18 for a dessert the size of a cupcake and $5 for a cup of tea. Lucky for us we were using free vouchers donated by a chef friend. I must say that the Rain Forest Cafe was waaaay over the top in it's attempt at cuteness. Who finds it cute or amusing to consume a meal while life sized mechanical apes screech hysterically every five minutes over the apparent appearance of a large predator or a fake thunder storm? The waitress admitted being brain dead and flashed a Disney smile. It's the first time since junior high school that I wanted to throw food.
At Epcot we saw some excellent exhibits. The Mission Space flight simulator was extremely well done. If you happen to be a person who enjoys motion-sickness-enduced vomiting as a mode of dieting for thirty-six hours. They warn you well enough in advance but I figured I could just shut my eyes after liftoff. And liftoff was a hoot. But you'd have to shut your eyes at about five times the speed of sound in order to miss the barfalicious experience that comes next. I eventually got my eyes shut but to no avail. My inner ear was a Cusinart of swirling fluid. I opened them only long enough to find the conveniently placed barf bag. We finally touched down on Mars after what can only be described as a insanely choreographed landing. I wanted to die rather than take the trip home. Thankfully the United Nations Charter does cover excessive use of this form of torture. So the ride ended there. In the wrong hands the trip home could easily be used in Abu Graheb if Disney takes over that contract. There would be some Moslem boys begging for a naked pile on as opposed to this.
But I had a really splendid time. Honest.
posted by Bud @ 5:07 AM
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Blogger Comments DownI'm not down with Blogger Comments because Blogger comments are apparently down. As in defunct. As in total crap. How can I be a good Blog Whore under these conditions? I read all of my blog pals today and then some. Most comments were blocked out by a recalcitrant Blogger Comment section. I never liked Haloscan but at least it's working. Last Girl asks the question, "Is Blogging addictive?" Uh, Yeah! And I get very jittery when I can't post because Blogger breaks down. This better improve or you're losing me, Blogger.
posted by Bud @ 1:55 PM
Dizzied by DisneyBack from a few days at Disney World, Cirque du Soliel being the highlight. I even passed up the House of Blues to do that. Love to see people doing things that seem impossible. Also, as with the Sarasota Circus, (Posted in February) the opportunity to see different kinds of highly skilled performers is illuminating. Only one mistake was glaring and it came from a predominantly European aerial troop who missed the catch three consecutive times. What amazed me, besides the fact, that none of them seem to wet themselves, was the coordination with the live musicians who didn't miss a beat, backing them up while they set up each successive try. It was seamless. More amazing was that they made each new attempt more complex. The crowd at first thought it was part of the act. It wasn't. I saw this show before. Without the net, we're talking Euroburgers in spandex. They missed and still held their grace under pressure and the crowd showed polite appreciation. There's so much to be learned from that performance.
No songwriting or even collecting much in the way of notes this trip. Just recharging the batteries. Could have used that Frankenstein device but couldn't find it on the MGM back lot. The whole experience was subliminal, though, and I know something will come of it. Something will seep into my lyrics in the days to come. For now I'm a bit dazed and dizzied by Disney. My cowriter, Kathy Feeney, has finished a lyric for me and I'm setting it to music. I hope I can keep her going as she enters Swarthmore College next year. We've been able to entertain each other with words since she was nine years old. If I'm very lucky I'll get some writing time with her on one of my trips to NY this Spring.
posted by Bud @ 5:33 AM
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Come Back Thursday!I'm going to take a few days off. I'll be back next Thursday. I'll have plenty to say but I'll try to do it in digestible installments. Tell me if you miss me.
I tried, I REALLY tried to post comments to everybody I read this morning and Blogger has zipped it up. I'm not ignoring you but I am surrendering to chronic web constipation. I see 200 overnight hits to my Blog and no comments past a certain time. So I guess it's screwing with lots of people.
posted by Bud @ 6:30 AM
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Hats Off to the Ass Hats at AS(S)CAPTwo of the best examples of American institutions that were created with benevolent intentions and became a flesh eating virus on the human race: the insurance industry and ASCAP. They come to mind together because they are legalized crime at it's finest. I'm only going to deal with ASCAP (herein refereed to as ASS CAP) in this space. Discussing the hold that insurance has on us is like admitting you were willingly gang raped by non sentient beings. Just not going there. It's not musical. If it were, the soundtrack would be too much like the digestive gurgles of a Leviathan in a suit. A suit with a pocket protector.
ASS CAP is undefeated in it's ability to extort money legally out of small venue owners under the guise of protecting songwriters. They do this at the same time as they screw most of the people who are actually writing songs. Think of my own situation as a microscopic example. Places I perform in which make very little money, places that are just hanging on, are being squeezed by ASCAP to pay them $500 a year for the right to have live music in their venue. BMI is demanding $350. SESAC out of Nashville hasn't caught up with them yet. If they pay, I, as a songwriter, should get some of that, right? Wrong. Because only the best selling songwriters get any of the billions of dollars they collect. If you're not getting top forty play, you're getting zilch. And the places you play are being run out of business. I don't want the money anyway. And I especially don't want my local coffee houses going broke to pay top forty artists for songs I didn't perform. But that's what happens.
Where to begin to explain this without giving my readers the same feeling you get when you read the fine print of an insurance policy? You can read about it here.
I'd prefer to offer people in my situation a solution. Most small towns or suburban areas have many people who write and perform their own songs. They play in coffee houses and small bars and restaurants. They usually do a lot of cover tunes because that is what people want to hear. Something familiar. It's the cover tunes that get ASS CAP and BMI breathing fire on them. I'm going to do everything in my power to encourage venue owners and singer/songwriters in my area to do the following.
Venue owners should declare that only original material will be performed in their establishments. No cover tunes with one exception. That being the tunes by other local singer/songwriters who agree to join this effort. That would mean that we would all have to provide each other with our lyrics and chords and CD's and possibly even run workshops to teach our songs to everybody else. That means I'll be performing the songs of musician friends of mine every set as well as my own. I'll just do the ones I like best. I can even stylize them to suit me. People will do the same for me and I might even learn that I like somebody else's arrangement better. How can this be a bad thing? It also encourages people to write more songs. How can that be a bad thing? The alternative is to stop working altogether or just play in your living room.
So if we are able to pull this off, I'd have to tip my hat at the ass hats at Ass CAP.
More to come.
posted by Bud @ 6:38 AM
Friday, March 11, 2005
Yoga Inspired Songs or GroovasanaTwo song ideas during Yoga the other day. But don't cue the sitar. I never really liked that sound in a rock song. Both ideas came in and around Shavasana, the total relaxation pose after all the gut wringing twists and Plastic Man stretches and Charles Atlas isometrics. A Shavasana has to be earned after all and a good Shavasana pays off in so many ways. My spot is usually close to the door. No particular reason other than there's a higher probability for guys to fart during yoga. But this class is at the YMCA so it's not totally hospitable to the usual yogic atmosphere. The other side of that door has a lot of conversation from people coming, going, milling around and flirting. To some people this would make the relaxation and meditation impossible. I, however, enjoy the challenge of incorporating this noise into my meditation. I am getting so Zen masterish.
Just like performing in a noisy venue. If I can sing my Make It Easy while a blender is making smoothies, I can meditate while three old guys hit on a middle aged soccer mom on the other side of the door. I can't make out one word of it, only tone and inflection and laughter and nonverbal sounds. But from this I decided these old guys were commenting on something they observed about the Mom and the kid. A lot of joking and probing from them. Each overriding the other, nobody listening. The Mom wore them down, one by one with a long monotone account of something or other that reminded them that there was nothing of interest about this woman other than what they thought they saw. But the part that tripped a song idea was really the lack of silence or dead air during this entire conversation. People who know and love and trust each other aren't afraid of the silence. Dead air for them is only an issue on TV or radio. So Trust To Silence is the idea I'm working on here. I hear you in the silence between our words, Your silence pulses through me, soothing herbs.
The other thought came when Nancy read a quote from a book that reflected something my Cathy has always said. The gist of it being that youth is wasted on the young. And that we should retire when we're young enough to enjoy it better. Nancy's quote was something like-- Life is too hard and it messes up our weekends. We should die first, go to an old age home until we are too young and get kicked out. Then have a career until it's time to go to college and party a lot to get ready for high school. Then become a child and enjoy the carefree innocence until we are babies, finally going back into the womb where we spend our last 9 months floating peacefully in embryonic fluid until we are nothing but a gleam in someone's eye. I thought of how I stayed with my Dad when he died. He was unconscious and I had to imagine the gleam in his eye. So I had only tears in mine. I hope I can let my Mom know before she passes that she is the gleam in my eye. Think of how complete life would be if we knew that we started and ended as a gleam in someone's eye. So that's song two. That would be my Mom song.
Family, by the way, are the worst critics. I'll never show them that song and if they ever hear it, I'll deny it's about our Mom. They'd nit pick it to death.
posted by Bud @ 6:08 AM
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Don't Miss These BlogsTime to hump some outstanding bloggers. I keep finding more and more, giving me less time to write. So if you're one of the 100 or so who read me everyday, take a gander at these blogs. If you find me interesting, chances are you'll be floored by some of these. Most aren't music related but they give me ideas. They give me ideas. I have to have somebody to blame.
Beginning in alphabetical order is the Hawaii contingent. Becky at April Fool is deep, insightful and funny. Her blogroll list has turned me on to some amazing people. I love getting lyric insight from thirty something single chics. I have several friends in that category and other younger ones I just know are heading that way. Christine at Bitchitude, I've mentioned before and her accounts of life in a college classroom after a long layoff are hysterical. She says and does what we all wish we had done as undergraduates. She also publishes a fine photoblog of Hawaii. Her BF, Doyle at Corporate Crap, struggles with heady problems he carried over from his prior life in industry. Always a interesting read. Lately he's wrestling with an identity problem involving assholes. There are other Hawaii Bloggers who I will tell you about another time. As soon as they Blogroll me.
The Curator is a musician named Ben who has an interesting mix of media on his humorous site. Another amazing musician is Deni Bonet, The Last Girl on Earth, her music will knock you out and her blog is fall down laughing funny. Still another New York musician chick is QueenEster who's CD I bought recently and love it. I'm gonna do a review very soon, honest Ester. Vernon Grope is a British musician and self-proclaimed washed up rock star. At times I have to use a British/English dictionary to understand him but he's always extremely funny and recently reported on the state of his "old mates Crosby and Nash" and their livers. One of my guitar students and a good songwriter, Jim at MyTrueCalling often tries his lyrics out online.
In the category of funny, irreverent young ladies who just make me laugh out loud are the Discontent Malcontent, Ministry of Silly Walks and Tiny Voices in My Head.
Two very funny Chicago comics from the same neighborhood are, Andy Martello and Joe Schulenburg. It's so much fun to watch their humor and bits develop on line. if you live in Chicago, turn off the TV and go see them perform, damnit! Joe needs some help evaluating some material he's working on. Andy needs some sympathy. These guys crack me up.
Exquisite writing from Ainsley at Promiscuities and Jessica at Painting Jessica. Ainsley is writing an amazing collection of erotic stories. Jessica can give you anything from gorgeous art and photos to recipes for cherry pie, discussions on yoga and amazing erotic literature.
News related writing from Marjo Moore and Writergrrl at Right to Remain Silent. Both are fascinating and give interesting insights on how news is gathered and written. Writergrll is also web publishing chapters of her novel. There's another very funny columnist from Chicago I read and loved but forgot to bookmark. Anybody know who I'm talking about? I got her through somebody's site that I've mentioned.
I love reading about the day to day experiences and angst of a young special ed teacher Eka at Snazzykat. Keeps me rooted with the part of teaching I love the best, the kids.
That's a lot of web whoring for one post. More to come in a few days.
posted by Bud @ 5:55 AM
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Wasting Away in SnowBirdvilleHere are some song titles I will develop if we ever get to the you-can't-play-any-covers-without-paying-these-millionaires stage of club performing. See yesterday's Blog if you have no idea what this is about.
No Snowbird No Cry, Wasting Away in SnowBirdville, Browned on the Grill, Oy Vey, Vatcha Vanta Do, Red, Red, Lavine, Limburger Is Paradise
Anybody with an urge to develop them, let me know. Things are getting worse here. Another venue discontinued music. I am spending most of my time getting my own songs finished to have a few hours worth of material of my own.
I'm also reading some outrageous new, to me, Blogs which I'll report on soon.
posted by Bud @ 7:30 AM
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
No Cover Charge From MeA musician friend who I haven't seen in about a year, BB Ward, popped in at the end of my gig the other night at Althea's. I bought him a beer and asked about a place we both used to play. He said they only allow original music now and only instrumentals. That kind of limits them. Apparently the ASCAP people leaned on them and threatened them if they didn't pay fees for cover tunes. This is the third place I play in that they've tried this on. It's the only one who didn't tell them to just please evaporate. They're new in the business and scared, I guess.
I'm a strong union guy and I make no apologies for it. I'm a member of the other royalty protection organization, BMI. And I hope to hell somebody would want to play my tunes anywhere. I don't want any money. I just want credit. Maybe people will look me up and buy my CD. A musician making a few bucks a night and a coffee house making enough to pay the rent in the off season, is not hurting my income by playing my songs. They are helping me. And I'm not Jimmy I-Can't-Sing-For-Shit-But-Rich-as-Hell-Anyway Buffett.
So far the owners who sent ASCAP packing have not had any repercussions. I urge other small venue owners to follow suit. If legal push comes to litigatious stomp, then local singer/songwriters have to work together and promise to only cover each other's tunes. Or write our own words to familiar songs in a different key to quench the insatiable thirst of Snow Birds who come to Florida to hear nothing but, You-Know-Who.
posted by Bud @ 9:06 AM
Monday, March 07, 2005
Willpower Is a Useful ObsessionI'm pretty obsessive. Not sure there is an on-line Obsess-O-Meter test so I'm not sure how I measure up to somebody who, say, needs to use a special tool to trim their table grape stems after each guest eats a grape. That's a person I know who laughs when I tease her about her analness. Good to have a sense of humor about your obsessions. That's the problem with politicians, I think. Just can't laugh at themselves for pushing irrational legislation or backing hopelessly idiotic causes. Steve Martin used to have a stand up bit where he played a banjo. He said that if presidents and world leaders would only appear with banjos while they addressed the nation, they could never declare war or cut needed social programs. I'm not a big banjo fan but I know Steve's got it right. My classroom for many years was next to a practice room for 9-year-old violin students. I found that oddly more pleasing than any virtuoso performance of Lady Of Spain or Dueling Banjos I've ever heard.
But I don't knock the obsessions of others unless they are directed at annoying me. I guess that's why preachers get under my skin.
I always found will power to be a useful obsession. That may be a clever way of justifying any obsession. Willpower to keep fit and to do music are the most useful to me. Though I'm only obsessed with one person, it's very useful for a songwriter to observe other people's obsessions. Knowing that we are all obsessive in one way or another and being able to use lyrics that tap into that, makes for a memorable song.
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits said in an interview recently, "I used to fall asleep while playing. Chet Atkins used to do the same. Just repeat the nonsense till you get tired." That's what I'm talking about. Keep playing, keep writing, keep blogging, keep on...well you get the idea.
posted by Bud @ 10:33 AM
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Be the First to Write a Chimp and Testicle Inspired SongThis actually happened recently. Man owns chimp. Chimp bites finger off some lady. Man says, "Animals bite, people bite, Mike Tyson bites. So what?"and he loses his chimp to some organization that incarcerates naughty chimps. Man visits naughty chimp on his B-day and two other chimps escape and bite off his face, his testicles and his foot. No verbal reaction yet from the man as he currently has no lips. Mike Tyson may be pondering legal action for the comment. The possibilities for a karma related song here are tempting. I wonder what rhymes with "testicles?" Mess with pills? Dress to Kill? Less to Spill? Guess it Kills? Caress that chills? Molests with skill? Hard to find something here that doesn't make me laugh.
posted by Bud @ 5:59 AM
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Why I Love BonobosPeople often ask, "Hey, Bud, what's with the monkeys on the cover of your CD?" To which I must explain as I did in a Blog back in November, that they are not monkeys, they are Bonobos. I explain Bonobos are great apes often confused with chimps. But, I routinely add, unlike chimps who are very aggressive, male dominant and will fight for food, Bonobos are loving, matriarchal and have sex for food. As if to prove my point there is a story out of California today involving a savage, possibly deadly attack by chimps on a human. It read like Planet of the Apes, the prequel. Bonobos, wouldn't do that. They would offer sex for the cake and happily share the females. Feel My Love, baby. Also, there is the fact that Ronald Reagan co-starred with a chimp inBedtime for Bonzo. That never set right with me. I kept looking for Bonzo in photos of cabinet meetings. I thought he might surface during Iran Contra. I remember not sleeping well during that era.
posted by Bud @ 7:04 AM
Friday, March 04, 2005
Musing About HomeworkI've gone on and on before about not getting political or religious. Although that has become more and more the same thing. I'm totally with Andy Martello in that regard. My pal Bitchitude is running an interesting survey on this subject that takes about a minute and a half to complete. Even if you disagree with me, which is fine, you'd find answering this brief Q and A interesting. Besides, she needs it for her homework. I'm retired from teaching for 3 years and I'm still helping former students with their homework. Not to mention their social problems. That's where More Than I Want to Know comes from. But the 'tude girl isn't one of mine and she has no discernible social problems. Just a heavy college class project. Please help her out, wouldja?
My Homework assignment is always the same. Write, record, rewrite. Write about writing. Go looking for my muse. I am a vampire of sights and sounds sucking the life from everything I see and hear that interests me. So my muse is a many headed creature that sometimes bites. And sometimes it "hurts so good." Sorry, Mr. Mellencamp. But I put up with enough tight mid westerners who think the word "tip" means something you do with your John Deer hat; I deserve to steal something from one of them. Chicago people are good tippers, though, Andy. I say all that in mirth, dear neighbors, knowing full well you consider me a crazed NY liberal. Amazing how much we like each other and how well we get along, isn't it? There is hope for world peace.
My muse, as I started to ramble, is everywhere. But she often teases and leaves me. She rarely ever comes back to pass judgment. Her silence, when it comes to criticism, is deafening. So is the silence of others. You can help me with that at the end of this. My wife's outlook on things she says and feels turn up in a lot of my songs. I've written a number of them directly to her with some artistic meanderings, of course. I'll definitely keep her. If she'll keep me.
Bloggers are beginning to give me a lot of ideas. Keep that stuff coming, my friends.
Conversations I've had with lots of different kids over the years have been delicious victims to my vampiric hunting. Out and out collaboration with one of my students, Kathy Feeney, have been fruitful but slow. Hard to get stuff out of a brilliant student who plays three instruments in an orchestra, performs as an Irish step dancer, runs track and Cross Country and is at the top of her class. Oh yeah, she was homecoming queen too. Any input I get from her, lyrically, is a prized gem. Biking quickly for an hour through Venice, has been very fruitful but frustrating. I get lots of ideas when my heart beats that fast. Hard to write them down or remember them totally, however. I'm working on an electronic solution to that. Ms. Feeney has the same problem. And if I were as telepathic as she was I'd be able to recover her ideas when she blithely "scatters them in the wind for somebody else to find," as she puts it. Her last effort came while gargling Aqua Fresh. I wonder if that will appear as a Google ad here? If it does, I expect every songwriter reading this to click that ad, buy some, try it out and report to me with a mouthwash inspired lyric.
posted by Bud @ 6:11 AM
Thursday, March 03, 2005
The Disappearing Muse Don't Do No RewritesMarjo Moore asked about my rewriting process. I've gone on and on about the inspiration process. My muse appears in many forms. That's another Blog later. But Bitchitude just sent me her beautiful photo site and it's loaded with sensuous images that could get me started. My muse and I write down something and that leads to another line until I have a bunch of them. I resist the urge to bow down in adoration to it, being a rather irreverent SOB. I put it away for a long time before I revisit it. This fermentation process is quite good at ripening the stinkiest cliche's. So that's where I start, eliminating as many as I see. And since I don't see them all I may ask for outside opinion. Or I may not and pay the price for that arrogance later.
Next is to simplify language, shortening phrases. Along with this process is the selection of better verbs. Verbs that are descriptive. Verbs that activate as many senses as possible. Where such verbs aren't readily available, I consider metaphors or similes. Pat Pattison says you have to choose between the two wisely. Using "like "or "as" can put the focus on the wrong object if not done carefully.
Think of how distracting Windswept Girl would be if I chose to go the much wordier route of, "she's like a girl swept by the wind." A one word metaphor might confuse or it might lend intriguing mystery. Think What a drag Sr. Mary Confusing would be if I went on to explain that a bunch of nuns confused me so I describe them all as one and just call her Sr. Mary Confusing. Then there are lyrics where the simile works fine as in Boney Maroni: "She's as skinny as a piece of macaroni."
The final stages of my rewrite have to do with how it fits in the music. I write chord progressions that sound like they fit the mood then record them on one track. Then I sing what ever melody comes to mind on another track and keep listening and rerecording vocal tracks until I have what I want. This sometimes forces word changes to fit the beat or to eliminate weird tonal problems. Or too many damn syllables. I wanted to change "That's the part of you that doesn't want to love me," but was talked out of it. I like the song but would probably do a rewrite if I hadn't already recorded it. Deadlines can force questionable decisions. I need my muse to be a little more kick-ass in these situations. Hard to get good help these days.
posted by Bud @ 6:33 AM
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Of Electronic Writing Aides and Personal HygieneProfessional recording engineers and producers smirk, chortle and guffaw at home recordings. From my experience they're right. But indie artists have to live within budgets that are actually built around such things as the monthly costs of peanut butter, coffee, and clean undies. Nobody wants to spend 12 hours in a cramped studio with a guy who used his last clean pair a week and a half ago.
I had a meager budget by pro standards but I was fortunate enough to have amassed some good equipment and a laundry budget before I retired from teaching. I also invested a portion of my retirement next egg in a Mac G5 and ProTools a well as a course to learn how to use that amazing software.
That doesn't make me a fresh smelling recording engineer/musician. It makes me a songwriter with a fantastic tool. And clean undies. And it beat the hell out of my digital four track recorder. I did four vocal versions of "Frozen Shadows" yesterday. Sometimes the best is the first. Often, though, subsequent tracks will have sections that are superior. I then cut and paste those vocal sections like a word processor to come up with the version I want to run with. I still work up a sweat but I have that covered.
Years ago when I first started teaching kids to write on a word processor, they became better writers. That's because it was painless to make changes. It also forced them to be much more creative in their excuses too. Such as, "The dog pissed on my keyboard." or the always popular, "My brother was too busy downloading porn." I find the same thing happening with my music. The painless changes, that is. Not the pseudo techno excuses. I will tinker with what I have for about a year until I have enough songs for the next CD. Melodies and lyrics change to make a better song as I listen and rerecord. In that time they could change radically. My Blog audience may be subjected to that from time to time. My e-zine subscribers, certainly will be. That's your first official tease. It's coming.
posted by Bud @ 5:51 AM
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Pimping Blogs, Humping SongsArt thrives on momentum, so I'm spending more time working on the new songs than sharing any insights here. I will say I'm enjoying a lot of new-to-me Bloggers that I find on my Blogroll pal's sites. Bitchitude is always a fun read and has an awesome list. I'm open and entertained by anything but political/religious wonks. The occasional dig is fine but the ideological obsessive is just too boring even if I agree with the point of view. I like blogs that let me peek inside a life, make me laugh, smile or once in a while cry. I'm not easily offended but if you are, just move on.
So to use Bitchitude's phrase, "You pimp Me, I'll Pimp you," here are some people I really enjoy. Last Girl On Earth, another singer songwriter in New York with an outrageous sense of humor. Her post on Naked Yoga is worth the trip. Another fantastic singer songwriter in New York is Queen Ester. She's been busy humping her CD lately but you should go there, read her reviews, listen to her CD on CDBaby.com and buy it. You'll like it. A lot.
While you're at CDBaby, check out MY CD and even if you don't buy it, I sure would appreciate a review!
I'm having a good time with my Philly bloggers. Cool to hear about life in the city of my birth from such talented writers. Marjo Moore is thought provoking, talented and open minded. Painting Jessica is full of surprises, an excellent writer with a deep artistic streak.
I'll be checking out and reporting on other highly entertaining bloggers in the coming days. Here's a lyric that's keeping me busy. Music for it is half done and the lyric itself is always under construction:
DREAMS THAT MATTER
Copyright 2005 By Bud Buckley
Shattered expectations. Hollow laughter the day after
Victory colors melted into blues and browns
Dragging empty cases, for the heart that races
And empty measures for the soul's true sounds
Pretty, vibrant strides slowed to plodding dreams that lied
I wonder why I spent my soul that way
Get me home where I can hope for something else to hope for
Something not so prone to decay
Learn to feed dreams that matter Learn to find the ones that do
Pretty things can easily shatter
Dreams that matter are the ones you should pursue
Joining caravans of losers cruising to be users
Who spilled their juice on a meaningless dream
A dream that even if fulfilled dismisses what it killed
Wouldn't change a thing past the day it first had steam
Dream of things with weight, no expiration date
Things that will change the air we breathe,
And the light you see chase the wind across your face
For now and forever and for all you believe
chorus and out
posted by Bud @ 8:26 AM