Sometimes it's a melody or a riff or chord changes that just come to you at the most inopportune time from who knows where and you have to get up or excuse yourself and write it down on a Napkin, although I've never used a Napkin, I've heard other writers say this and it sounds cool. "Hey man I wrote the lyrics on a Napkin"... I've even heard, "I wrote this on the inside of a matchbook cover" Really?, Who the hell does that?.. Anyway, I have regular 8x10 paper, no lines you know printer paper... I never use The Ruled paper, the lines get in the way and I'm an artiste not artistic. I write down whatever the Muse tells me to write down and I get really excited because it's something I've never heard before unless I actually hear a semblance of it on the radio the next day, then I just ball up the piece of paper or "NAPKIN" and try to score three points into the trash can in the corner of "The Studio" how Pretentious, "The Studio", but more on that later.
I know, I know, I have an iPhone I use it all the time "Voice Memo" I touch the button, not push the button. I miss pushing buttons...I touch The Button and sing into my phone at which point people look at me as if I need to be locked away or they have that "keep your day job look" or "Man, doesn't he have a "Studio"???? The problem is I have so many voice memos now and I never really go back and listen, kind of like having a bunch of pictures on your iPhone or android (that's a whole other conversation") and never do anything with them. what's with the little (i) in iPhone anyway? is android (A)NDROID? Who knows... I think Typewriters are making a comeback, I used one back in the day, something about it makes you commit to what your writing about. I'll have to find one somewhere and put it in "The Studio".
If I don't recognize the song, then it's mine, all mine. and I take as many poetic and musical liberties until it sounds like a complete song. Inevitably, at completion, someone will say "man the intros too long" or "where's the chorus"? or "does it have a bridge"? or "I wouldn't have done that"... at that point, I'm really giving them a mental middle finger while smiling back at them. "You write your song the way you want to, I'll write my song the way I want to. Does "Hey Jude have a Chorus"??? "No, No, that's not a chorus, it's a Refrain... Think I'll take this song to "The Studio"
Some of us have a garage or an extra room like a closet or small bathroom. If you are fortuitous enough you have an extra bedroom where no one will ever stay. Yet, those never-go homers that come for a supposed visit disguised as an extended stay with all amenities at your house. "Oh, would you mind if we stay over?.. You have 2 bedrooms. They know this because you gave them a tour of the place when they arrived, but the studio was locked and you didn't let them in otherwise they'd want you to play them something and "what are all those lights for" and "you know there's no chorus in the song" and "wow that's a long intro". NO, they never get in because that's "The Studio" it's where you build up this song, that you'll eventually let your mom hear or the next-door neighbor who wonders, where the hell all that noise is coming from and what is it you do exactly?... "The Studio" starts out small honestly, but at some point after putting yourself in debt possibly for the rest of your life, it then takes up all the real estate in a tiny 10 x 8 sq ft room or for my European friends (20.32 x 25.4 cm).
It started with a Fostex x-15 4 Track and a Yamaha DX-88. I paid full pop for those items back in "84". Where the money came from is another story for another time. I will say no one was harmed during my acquisition of the aforementioned musical gear. Studio gear soon becomes old, (kind of like your ex-wife) and you will then need the latest model, not the latest model wife, I'm talking about Musical gear for the studio. (I love my new wife) because it takes up less space and does way more. Somehow, that's true in both situations... Anyway, you need all these other things that give your song more space, and definition, low end, and Hi-end filters, it's a never-ending conundrum. By the time you turn "The Studio" on the muse is gone.
I try to arrange everything. Once I have the order or arrangement of the song I then lay down some groove and create what I call a skeleton until the song seems like it's something... Then a day or so later I'll come in and tweak and arrange, cut, paste, mute, barnicate, (that's not a word I just made that up) like a friend of mine used to say, "Quan eh tize it". I didn't have the heart to tell him how to pronounce it. I do whatever it takes to make the track sound like a song any song, my song...
By that time, many months have passed because you obsess about every aspect of the song that you either hate it or just release it because you've barnicated it for the last time. It's a love-hate, thing but you keep doing it because it's what the muse tells you to do.
Remember that the next time you ask someone "When's the new song coming out?"
Until next time.
From the Ether