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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Songwriting


OK, if you're reading this, you have to consider this one piece of the puzzle, one part of the bigger picture. I started this blog in tandem with a bunch of originals I'm posting on ReverbNation. You can find a bunch of my songs on there and download them for free. You can also find me by searching my name on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes.
If you listen to my music, you'll hear a lot of demos. Mostly it's me playing all the instruments. That's because mostly what I'm doing is getting the songs out of my head and onto tape. I'm no virtuoso, and no George Martin, either. If I had my way, I'd jam with a bunch of good friends who were really good musicians and we'd play a bunch of my songs and make a really good recording of them in a nice studio someday. But I've found it's not so easy finding the right group of people to make music with, let along your own music at that. Everyone has different ideas about material so you look for common ground. I don't try to push my originals onto the other band members too hard. I'll maybe introduce a new song once in a while and if it goes over well I'll know it right away. If it doesn't, I probably won't try again for a while.
Still, I write all these songs. I don't even really try to write anymore. I read this interview with Joni Mitchell several years ago where she said, "There's enough songs in the world," and that stuck with me. Many years ago I played acoustic guitar a bunch and wrote several songs a year. Nowadays I'll get the itch every few years and just start playing guitar and pretty soon I've got a batch of about four songs.
For me, the music always comes first, then lyrics. That's why it's called music, duh. Usually I'll get a tune in my head and be humming a verse or refrain for a while before I even pick up an instrument and attempt to play anything. A song typically evolves over days, weeks, months or years for me. I'll have a snippet, but I'm lazy. It takes work to finish a song. To some extent you gotta be either very brave or nuts to be a songwriter, because you can't help but relate a whole bunch of personal thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I try to disguise what I'm saying with clever workplay. Sometimes I think I'm being poetic. Sometimes I'm telling a story. Sometimes it's just nonsense.
The bottom line is, I don't care what anybody thinks. I mean, I do. I want you to like my music. I take constructive criticism well. But I write songs because I have fun doing it. And part of me feels like I have to do it. I pretty much know when a song is good and when it's crap--I can tell the difference usually. And I think I've written some pretty good songs. So these recordings I'm posting on ReverbNation, remember, are just the best versions of my songs that I can play on my own, all by myself. They're like pencil sketches, and you have to imagine what they'd be like as oil paintings. Did I tell you there'd be work on your part? If you want to bail, now's your chance.