I always thought it would be fun to have a songwriting blog. I imagined myself posting little snippets here and there, possibly even collaborating with musicians around the country. I would upload a file, they’d add something and send it back, and pretty soon we’d be internet sensations. We’d write a book about collaboration and the creative possibilities of the social web. The book would be followed by a speaking tour, appearances on the Today show, and a movie version directed by Wes Anderson. He’d naturally find me so compelling that at the last minute, he’d scrap his plan to have Owen Wilson play me and insist I do it myself. So goes my train of thought.
The problem with that story is that I never collaborate on songwriting. In fact, my favorite part about songwriting is spending time in my own head and answering to no one. And if I’m honest, the thought of collaborating on an original song seems about as fun as waking up early to go running. There are so many times in life that you have to compromise with one person or another. But when I write a song, I don’t ask for anyone’s input or opinion. The only thing that matters is that I enjoy singing it. (Actually, when it comes to the band, I am interested in the other guys’ opinions. But if they’re not crazy about a song, it’s no skin off my back. I’ll still keep it in my head.)
My songs are my little playground. There’s no approval process. Legal doesn’t approve them and there’s no client or boss to offer input or suggestions. The only feedback involved is the kind that comes from a noisy Fender amp. If there were other people giving me pointers, I probably wouldn’t end up with this little half-song I put together today, in which I call Eliza the meanest girl in the world:
(It’s not true, by the way.)
For the gearheads: I recorded this on Garage Band. The drums are fake (but pretty convincing, right?) Bass is also fake (less convincing). Acoustic is my 1966 J-45. Electric is my Reverend Buckshot played through a little toy Fender amp (the MA-10), powered by a nine-volt battery.
Update: Forgot to mention that this was all recorded using whatever mic is built into the iMac.