Music by Scott Martin

SM Blog

Lubricating lyrical gears (part 1)

Studio night Strat
Studio night Strat

Hard to believe that we’re already into the second month of 2011. January went by in a snowy blur here on the north coast, but it wasn’t without some musical progress.

As mentioned previously, the second Thomas Reed Smith album is finished, and should be back from manufacturing in a matter of weeks. Tom and I are really happy with the music and the design, and we’re hoping to set up a CD release gig or two this June.

drunkdude69 is well into the 3rd DD69 album, tentatively titled “As Big As You Can Get It”. We have several mixes completed, and we’ve been working on finishing up the tracking and mixing for several more songs. We’re also working on writing new material, and finishing some older songs that need lyrics and/or musical parts.

The last bit is what has me excited the most. I feel like I haven’t written anything new for a long time – mainly since most of my attention has been on getting old material out of the “pipeline”. Recently we started working on completing a song (working title: “Reigning”) that had music and most tracking done, but was still missing lyrics. The words can often be a sticking point for me because I want to write something that is meaningful as opposed to jibberish. (I know, why bother, right? It’s just a thing I feel compelled to do)

I had some rough ideas, you know, middle-of-the-night-after-a-couple-cocktails ad libbing. Most of it was useless. I was trying too hard for the “Tolkien” Middle Earth vibe, all “going up to the mountain” and stuff like that. Yes, weird, but inspired partly by the music, which has a very Led Zeppelin meets Rage Against the Machine at a Queen concert. The initial take was something like this:

Went out to the mountain
‘Cause it wouldn’t come to me
Didn’t want to keep looking
But knew I had to see
After all this time I find
That I still don’t know a thing
I came up here a poor man
But someday I’ll leave a king

Meh. Wasn’t really doing it for me. Scratch that.

Mike’s brother Maury was here for a few days and offered the seed of an idea for some words for the song. We went back and forth with the concept, which I liked very much, and started refining it. It was about the way things can change in the space of a minute, and the delivery we came up with seemed to fit the musical style well. It was a repeated set of phrases with stronger emphasis each time:

One minute she’s alive, next minute she’s not
One minute it’s fine, next minute it’s not

After chewing on the idea for a while, I came up with a set of four lines for each verse. Each set would get repeated twice using increasing emphasis. I even got a little bit of the “middle earth” flavor with the king/pawn line:

One minute you’re high, next minute you’re not
One minute a king, next minute a pawn
One minute you’re fine, next minute you’re not
One minute you’re alive, next minute you’re gone

I pulled the work in progress up on studio night a couple weeks ago and we all hashed around a little bit with some ideas for words and melody and phrasing for the chorus. I had a particular line that I wanted to keep, which defined the songs and led to the title.

To be continued…