Happiness is a Warm Gun

November 21, 2009

Here it is! Song number 8. Only 22 more to go. I have to admit, this is a lot of work. It’s good, on one hand, to have motivation to play everyday and learn new songs. I like recording and learning about Pro-tools. I feel so empowered! Mostly, it’s fun to play the drums again. I have to say that I loved playing guitar on this song too. That was a nice surprise and I hope it comes across.

The only cover version of HIAWG I know is on The Breeders first album. I listened to it yesterday morning just to hear the arrangement. It’s a great sounding album (Steve Albini) and I like their version of the song, although, they do sort of “cheat” on a few of the parts. I also considered cheating myself, but Jim kind of kicked me in the butt and insisted that I play all the parts in the song. That’s a good man that keeps you honest. However, this song makes NO sense to me. I have no idea what it’s about, although, the lyrics, when taken line by line are interesting and poetic. I thought about changing the lyrics to “Happines is a warm cat” just to have it mean something to me, but I figured that I’d be the only one that would want to hear that version. The timing in this song made my head spin. It starts off in 4/4 sort of, but adds a few beats to one measure. Then it goes into a waltz time, then I don’t know what happens but my head almost exploded trying to figure out what the guitar and bass were playing (thank you to Jim for helping me with that). Then it’s back to 4/4 again and THEN Ringo (I assume) plays in straight 4/4 while the rest of the song goes into a waltz again. Huh? Did they do this on purpose? Did John Lennon come to the studio with the song in this fashion and say “Here you go boys!”?

In the end, it was great fun to play and record. It was kind of like solving a math problem, but I like math so it was ok. Next week – Martha My Dear…I’m going to start practicing now.

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16 Responses to “Happiness is a Warm Gun”

  1. Andy Henry Says:

    I like this one too. I was slightly behind. Your enjoyment playing the drums shows, for sure, as they sound great. How did you mic them?

    I find it comforting to know that I’m not the only one randomly adding beats to measures where wouldn’t normally be found.

    • dmiovan Says:

      It’s true Andy, You’re not the only one! Two mics on the drums, one in the bass drum and one on top sort of hovering above the bass drum. They sound really good, don’t they? I should probably learn how to tune them though…

  2. jennybarbour Says:

    i think you are great here…
    i always thought the lyrics referenced
    abuses of adults upon children.
    then, violence and sex, the gun and
    the trigger are a mixed painful
    metaphor…
    even the church doesn’t see this one
    coming so, unprotected we all be.
    thanks for including me in this d~

  3. Tal Says:

    Great job! Again!
    And you love cats too..!!!

  4. Jawbone Says:

    wait a minute…didn’t you go to catholic school? this sounds great, everything, the thuddy drums, the stinging guitars, all the math, spot on. the singing’s great too, i like the gentle take on the spoken part. and i love the bit with high note: guh-uh-unnnnn…

  5. oisredn Says:

    Perhaps it’s already been covered, but these are great. Are you going to offer for sale/download ?

    • dmiovan Says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you like the covers. I don’t have them available for download at this time…not sure if I can since they’re not my songs. I’ll be sure to post something when and if that changes.

  6. LInda S. Says:

    sounds great….unique version. I like your high note end, guuuunnnnn,ya-ahhh, bang bang, shoot shoot. his gun could be like a security blanket. yah, that sounds strange. i would equate a “warm gun” with one that’s been used – shot…..hm m m m m

  7. Sallyann Says:

    I am totally behind on this project, but it’s fabulous and I need to listen more. I love having the chance to hear you sing new things all the time – your voice is fabulous. The layering of your vocals for the backing track at the end just reinforces for me what a fabulous vocalist you are.

    (i would get on-board for a “happiness is a warm cat” [or even a warm dog!] as well.)

  8. Susie Says:

    Sounds great – computer is up and running and now I have 4 more songs to listen to.
    So excited!

  9. King Elessar 8 Says:

    Good work, this is a diffcult song!

    The origin of the song is a gun magazine Lennon ran across that said on the cover “Happiness is a Warm Gun in Your Hand!”. Lennon thought it was horrible/insane (he took it to mean happiness comes after you shoot someone), but it sort of percolated into a song. Then he combined fragments of several other unfinished songs he had with the title, and there it was. One thing I like about it is that is a genuine Beatles group effort, very rare during these sessions. They all loved the song and wanted to work on it.


  10. great post as usual .. thanks .. you just gave me a few more ideas to play with

  11. jb Says:

    Brilliant. The best one so far. However, I think it’s “a soap *impression* of his wife.” Actually, confection makes more sense.

  12. jb Says:

    Also, “Happiness is a warm puppy” was a line from “Peanuts,” which became a “Peanuts” book title and probably suggested the line in the gun ad.

  13. David McKay Says:

    Cheated and listened to two in a row today.
    You played a tricky song convincingly.

    I noticed the soap impression thing, too.


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