(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.