Category Archives: Songs


(a repost from 2007)

Once upon a time in Rochester, NY, in 1991 or thereabouts, there was a young man with a 4-track recorder, a guitar, a drum machine, and a bass borrowed from the guy across the street. And one winter’s day this young man cobbled-together a weak-ass little funky song without words or title. It used the FUNK1 program on the Alesis SR 16 drum machine, but other than that, it had no soul and no reason to exist. But there it was, nonetheless, on that cassette inside the VistaFire 4-track recorder. And there was a track left over, unused.

That night, the young man and his six roommates journeyed down the road to an unassuming place called The Salty Dog, where they drank Genny 12-Horse and ate scores of chicken wings: three different kinds, including a batch of garlic-parmesan wings that were surprisingly good. They drank a lot. Their uproarious laughter filled the bar. In time, they left the bar and went back to the apartment, for it was late, and they were full, and out of cash. It was probably a Tuesday.

Shortly afterwards, back at home, the young man and the other young man with whom he shared the basement were in said basement, eating potato chips (because they were young and they were drunk, they forgot they were so very full, just minutes ago). And then the young man saw the 4-track recorder, cued to the start of the song from earlier that day. Inspiration struck! He put on the headphones, selected that empty track, pressed record, picked up the microphone and started, dear reader, to sing, drunkenly. Though he had no ability and no right to be doing so, he could not resist – the muse could not be denied, you see.

First, he sang the customer guarantee from the back of the Wegmans potato chip bag, embellishing a bit where it needed more oomph. Then he sang about the young man he shared the basement with, Mike, the future dentist, who was sitting on the stairs, not sure what was happening. Mike, who could not then hear the music (and had not yet heard it at all), was puzzled, insulted and probably a little ashamed at what he was witnessing; and yet he was amused.

Then the young man sang of the rest of the roommates: Steve, Doug, Audrey, and the rest. Then he dropped the mic and lost his train of thought. With thirty seconds left to go in the song, the young man did what any reasonable man would do in his situation; he obeyed the muse! Dear reader, he picked up that microphone and started to sing again! He sang, in that shaky shaky voice of his, not of guarantees or his too-numerous roommates, instead, he sang of good things! He sang the delicious potato chip and buttermilk pork chop recipe from the back of the potato chip bag! Inspired, and yet barely comprehensible despite its brilliance. And then he finished it off with a kiss. Mike sighed at the pathetic spectacle and sarcastically chided the young man, “Now that’s a rap!”.

But, Mike’s derision could not erase what had just happened; the weak little song that should never have been born became the Smaller Animals classic, Mike. And here on this web page, I present it to you so that you can hear what true inspiration sounds like.

The young man has not drunk Genny 12-horse since.

Here’s some spackle

Cop Or Junkie

Here’s a song one of my old bands, Hector, recorded way back in 94-ish.

Photo by C. Hernandez

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It just popped up on my iPod and I was happy to find that I still liked it.

Make it part of your post-equinox celebration!

Is This Weird?

My iPod shuffled-up a song I liked a little while ago. I didn’t recognize it, but I thought that it sounded like something I might come up with if I was a little better at doing X and Y, and that it definitely couldn’t be one of my songs because I wouldn’t have thought to take the song to Z. etc.. But I liked it, no matter who did it. And I was a little bummed I didn’t think of it first.

So, I tapped my iPod to turn on its backlite, and, of course, it was a song of mine – “Interstitial Love Song”. I had just forgotten about it.

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And then I re-listened with the volume higher and changed my mind completely. Blech. What a mess.

Even The Simplest Things

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I made this. 4 years ago.

No More Words

Back when rock was young, in 1991, I was in a band called “fieldfresh”, and we wrote a song called “No More Words”. Wanna hear it? Here it go:

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That little Peavey Bandit of mine was a real screamer – it gave me the only solo I’ve ever recorded that I really like. And Joe the drummer was a maniac – though I think he’s an NSA spook or something, these days.

The Song

We’re up to seven people now. So I have a suggestion…

It might be good if you all coordinated who’s going to play what before you got too involved in your part. There are a lot of guitar players (which is why I did a bass part), and a couple of you have mentioned drums. And I have no problem with that. But I think we’ll get the best results if everyone has an idea as to where everyone else is going to fit in.

So, if you could, just leave a note on the Kompoz Discussion board for the track about what you’re planning. Don’t leave it here, since this post will get pushed down in the normal course of blogging…

Let’s Make Beautiful Music Together

From what I gather, many of the readers here are musicians, to one degree or another. So, I was wondering… would any of you be interested in doing an on-line collaboration ?

There are online services, such as Kompoz which make the process pretty simple. Basically, someone would start the song by creating a foundation track, then we’d all add our own tracks to it. There’s a bit of software involved (but you can use free stuff like Audacity, so there’s no cost) and you’ll need to know how to record yourself to MP3, but that should be doable.

Anyone up for it ?

(and don’t be shy – I’m not expecting that this would be some kind of masterpiece or anything. I’d just like to see what would happen when all these people with all these different musical tastes get together and do something. I’ll even volunteer to put up the first track. And I’ll offer tech support to make it happen, where I can.)

Neko Case

We saw Neko Case last night.

Short review: I like her, but I don’t consider myself a huge fan. Her voice is as good live as it is on the record. I’d never noticed before, but many of her songs are surprisingly short. Her voice is better than most of her material, which, because she re-uses the same vocal licks and patterns over and over, tends to run together. I enjoyed it nonetheless – the songs are still pretty good (her voice is, of course, great). She should buy a rubber band and quit trying to twist her hair into a knot after every song.

I tried to get some pictures, but the theater staff scolded me for it during the opening band. “I need to see you delete that picture, now!” “Err, ok…” [*click* *click* *click* , shows her a blank screen] “How’s that?” Later, when Case was on, I surreptitiously tried to take a picture, but forget to turn off the flash, and scared the hell out of myself – “oh shit, they’re gonna kick me out for sure!” But they didn’t even come around. Still, I put the camera away, after that.

Here is a low-quality MP3 of her opening song, Maybe Sparrow.

Assertion: the probability that the sound at any concert will suck is 80% or higher.

Robyn Hitchcock, tonight.