Archive for March, 2010

Sexy Sadie

March 27, 2010

Whenever I publish a poor performance on this blog I cringe. Sometimes I don’t check the blog for days because I can’t bear the thought of anyone listening to it. But that’s part of the experience. It’s not always easy for me to learn a song in 9 days. You throw stuff out there and hope it’s not embarrassing. Postings that have made me cringe at first can become favorites of mine too. Not last week’s song though. That was a stinker. But I think I’ve redeemed myself with Sexy Sadie. I think it’s the rhythm of the song, the backing vocals, the piano. It’s all more in line with my musical sensibilities.

So, I was thinking about this song the other day with the lyrics going through my head while I was cleaning my dad’s bathroom. He has trouble hitting the mark these days, so the bathroom floor needs to be addressed on a daily basis, but I can only get over to my folks twice a week, maybe. Anyway, as I was thinking about the lyrics to Sexy Sadie, “she’s the latest and the greatest of them all”, Cat Power’s song The Greatest came to mind. I thought it was a good sounding record when it came out. Chan Marshall did a lot of touring and I saw her on Austin City Limits around that time. I think she played the outdoor Taste Fest in Detroit that year too. Then my mind wandered a bit, as it will when performing menial work, and I thought, I wonder if  Chan Marshall ever cleans out her dad’s toilet? Probably not. She’s probably too busy for that. Then I thought of other people that are too busy to clean my dad’s toilet, like my brothers. Then I thought, I really wish I had a job right now. But somebody’s got to clean out this toilet. It’s like having babies, older parents with neurological disease. Only, they don’t ever learn like babies do and they never grow out of anything, they just get worse. And they don’t look more like you everyday. So it’s all the work of taking care of a baby only without the gratifying things that come with parenting.

This song is about the Maharishi. John Lennon was looking for someone to admire. People that are supposed to be evolved and enlightened can often fall short of your expectations. That’s a good reason not to worship people like Tiger Woods. Why is everyone so obsessed with his tawdry sex life? I feel embarrassed every time I see him on t.v. apologizing to me. And Sandra Bullock and her loser husband? It’s none of my business and I don’t want to hear about it. Besides, I’m too busy. I have songs to record and toilets to clean.

Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey

March 18, 2010

I know I’m a little naive about many things. I hope this means that I like to see good in the world until something proves itself not to be. I always thought of John Lennon, especially in his later Yoko Ono days, as being a peace-loving hippie. Hippies love drugs, right? But I think more along the lines of innocuous drugs like pot and hallucinogenic mushrooms. I always thought this song was about him and Yoko, people hating on her and her being around ALL the time. People in love can be really annoying to those that are not, and when you have a band and someone in the band is in love and their love is, how you say, over-flowing, friction is inevitable. I won’t say anything more on the subject.

Then I read that this song is a reference to John Lennon’s heroin addiction. “Monkey on my back” is supposedly some allusion to drug addiction. Am I the only person in the universe that didn’t know that John Lennon was a junkie? Probably not, but it’s a great song regardless of what it’s about.

Now, the recording…

This song is a perfect example of what’s great about getting in a room with three other people and playing a song together. You know, I thought that Happiness is a Warm Gun was complicated. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey is ridiculous. And I say that of course, because I had difficulty with it. If I was smart enough to write out a chart for the song it would have been much easier. If I was taking drugs it may have made more sense to me. If I was playing it at the same time with three other people and we were all cueing each other, it would have been a better performance. I call this song the Frankenstein of the White Album Project. All I can say is, thank Digidesign for Pro Tools, because I had to piece this monstrosity together. The drums were the easy part. One take all the way through. It’s all the other stuff on top I couldn’t wrap my brain around. I played parts off time. I played parts wrong. I played out of tune. I changed the key so I wouldn’t shout, then I had regrets about that because it sounded less exciting. I’m glad it’s over, but I would love to play this again with a band. Anyone?

Mother Nature’s Son

March 9, 2010

This song is so right for this week’s posting. It’s just starting to feel warm and spring-like in Michigan. I’m looking forward to lounging in the back forty with my cat Sampson, watching the squirrels and chipmunks scurry about the yard, digging up food buried months ago when this blog started (how do they do that?), listening to the birds musical chatter from the pear tree. I almost want to jump out of my skin with excitement for the change in weather. We could all use the sunshine around here. It’s been a blah couple of months but I’m feeling optimistic. Today, anyway.

I didn’t spend much time on my Beatles song this week, due in part to family responsibilities and also the fact that I was working on some original music for a change. I had so much fun working on my own thing that I have to admit, I was not looking forward to working on this song. It doesn’t help that it’s all picky, strummy, make-me-want-to-scream acoustic guitar on this one either. It’s a pretty song and Paul McCartney has such a sweet and lovely voice. The horns are fabulous too; needless to say, I could barely eek out a semblance of their majesty on my Casio Sk-1. Why does every Paul song have an elaborate string or horn arrangement? Everything I recorded sounded out of tune, even though the Casio has a tuner and I did tune it with a very tiny screwdriver, before and while I was recording. Oh…maybe I was drinking a screwdriver and thinking that I was in tune… but, I think the tuning varies key to key, note to note on that piece of Japanese plastic. The batteries might be old too. So I said to Jim, pretend you’ve never heard of Paul McCartney or this song or anything called the White Album. Just mix with the weirdness that is my out-of-tune version of Mother Nature’s Son. He wasn’t very happy with me. And this is it:

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