Friday, June 29, 2012


Some of the most entertaining parts of all media are well constructed commercials. Numerous times I've seen commercials that were better than the show they were inserted into.

Humorous commercials tend to become mainstays in pop culture more often than serious ones, but serious ones can be effective too. I think quality is the most important factor.

What I am getting at is I fancy myself somewhat of an amateur commercial connoisseur.

The Dos Equis guy and the Old Spice guy doing alternate takes on the "Chuck Norrisisms" was clever and each different enough to be enjoyable and memorable.

The animal mascots (i.e. the Aflac Duck or the Geico Gecko) are passable but not as lovable or memorable as say.... the Noid or Spuds McKenzie (Look em up kids). But they are still good stock for the bulk of commercials.

But there is an entire genre of commercials that completely drop the ball. They have been dropping the ball for 30 years in fact. They are making the oddest commercials ever, yet they have done it so rampantly and with such determination that we the people have just accepted it.

Well, I'm not accepting it any longer. (I'm not sure this really warrants a call to arms....but it seems like a good day for a call to arms so....)

Who's with me?

Guess I should explain myself before you answer that.

The industry I speak of is the car industry.

They might not need a bailout if they would fix their commercials (Ok. That may be a bit of an exaggeration)

But the automotive industry as a whole decided to make commercials one way and every company apparently agreed to obey. It hasn't mattered if the company was Japanese, American, German. They ALL did it. They ALL continue to do it.

Let me see if I can set up the script for the commercial (I conjecture the original idea was formulated sometime in the 70's and from my research seemingly it has been repeated in every car commercial since).

The car commercial starts out fine. There is video of the car handling well through some lush winding country roads while a narrator rattles off millions of facts about the car (4.2 Litre, V6, leather interior, infinitum). I believe as a whole most of this could be eliminated. The commercials could be more engaging and just explain generally what sets Car X apart from all other cars. But that's not where they miss the boat. That's more of an issue with style. The commercials tend to be boring and non interesting but if the manufacturers want to have a guy describe the schematics down to the shape of the last lug nut as we watch the car do what it does be it.

But they NEVER leave it with that.

At some point in the car commercial you will inevitably get THE SCENE. The scene that is absurdity at its finest. The scene that has been inserted into car commercials for so long that I think producers of the commercials subconsciously block out the filming of the scenes as much as we, the consumer/viewer blocks out viewing them.

The scene (virtually always in slow motion): The car sliding sideways over standing water on the road.



Isn't that the ONE thing the car is NOT supposed to do in that situation?

Why has this been accepted as the norm in car commercials? It has not just become the norm, It is EXPECTED. It almost has to be there for a car commercial to be considered a car commercial.

I guess someone back in antiquity thought that a car sliding sideways as the wheels fail to grip the road looked "sexy". Too bad that isn't what a car is supposed to do.

This IS an advertisement FOR the car, correct?

So far I have seen the car take some pretty hefty turns without much trouble (good job), the disembodied voice guy has described in nauseating detail virtually every technical reason this car is better than the rest (not hyper excited about that but I can still be on board), THEN they show the car doing what NO CAR SHOULD EVER DO. Slide sideways in a small amount of water.

I just find that if the car companies are going to tell us how awesome their car is then sneak in a shot of the car hydroplaning, why don't they take it a step further? I think all car commercials should begin as they do now, with the car driving normally, disembodied guy rattling off at the mouth. But then just cut to a quick shot of the car barrel rolling. I mean if they weren't on a closed circuit with a professional driver behind the wheel that's exactly what the hydroplaning car would do about 2 seconds after the scene cuts away and the car actually catches traction again.

It is an anti commercial inserted into a commercial.

So, to all you car companies out there, allow me to help. Get a funny spokesperson, or hell even get a tolerable animal mascot, or honestly ANYTHING other than showing us your car failing at turning through a small puddle.

And to you commercial producers out there that are under strict orders from these companies: GO ROGUE!! FIGHT THE MAN!!! Refuse to insert the anti commercial scene into your commercial.

When it comes time for you to shoot I beg of you....say:


The Laptop Generation

My lap top is a chunk of metal. I'll agree that It is sleek looking, but size wise it is very unimpressive. I mean it's about .75 inches thick I'd guess. and about the size of one of my high school folders. It is merely a few pounds of metal and some circuitry. 

Well, that is all it is if you don't understand its usefulness,  and potential, but then it becomes something remarkable.

With this laptop I am able to spill my random thoughts into this text file while the computer autoformats the document and autocorrects my errors in real time as I type. 

I realize that this is virtually the simplest task I can ask my laptop to do. But even being able to complete this simple task is amazing.
Add the fact that this laptop is capable of performing tasks millions and millions of times more complex than typing a text document  and it boggles the mind. 

Oh did I mention that I'm doing all this from about 38,000 ft above the Pacific Ocean? I'm aboard United Airways flight 1548 from LAX to Honolulu. I'd guess we are traveling about 500 miles per hour.

It's such a part of our daily lives these days it is easy to take technological leaps for granted. 

But I am a member of the last generation of people that had a childhood where there were no home computers , no internet, and no cell phones. Every so often I just sit and marvel at the devices I am carrying in my pocket or in my back pack and their capabilities. It is awesome (in the actual sense of the word).

As I geek out about gadgetry, I think about how these advances apply to my life and to everyone's life.

This computer is the product of human creativity and innovation. But it is also a metaphor for it.

If I apply this metaphor introspectively, I begin thinking of the time I was just starting to play guitar . At that moment I was akin to this laptop if it were powered off, closed and coldly sitting there. I was probably not very impressive. I mean there were 5-6 guitar playing kids on my block. I'd imagine there were millions and millions of 12-13 year old boys in the world that loved playing guitar.

But here I sit 22-23 years later. I am being flown around the world to perform for most honorable group of people I can imagine (the US Military), then immediately following that I am being flown to Belgium to play for masses of European music lovers. I can't say these are dreams come true because they are light years beyond any thing I even knew how to dream.
Being as I was that little guitar playing 12-13 year old boy, I am again mind boggled. Thoroughly mind boggled

The little 12 year old Eric was the powered down laptop. I could never serve my true function as a professional musician until my potential was understood (by me and by the loving people around me in my family and community). 

Being non introspective now, I believe that all children are like the powered down laptop.  

Their initial skill set may be small but that isn't what should be measured. It is their potential.

I realize that that's a large vague statement but what I mean is :

The world will be greater place if the next generation has their potential cultivated.

This cultivation is definitely not an easy task. It will take diligence to seek out this potential and perseverance to give it the path to succeed.

But just like this laptop, this generation of children has the ability to heal the earth, better civilization and prepare for a brighter future. But they can only do so if their potential is understood.

These children aren't just kids. These kids are mechanics, and dancers, and playwrights , and doctors, and people that build even smaller laptops that make even more incredible things possible.

But they will grow into .....plain old adults without our help and guidance.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Happens In Vegas Sometimes Doesn't Stay In Vegas

Being at an airport (and thinking ahead to the dozens and dozens of airports I'm about to be in) reminds me of one of my all-time favorite stories.

My Uncle Nathan (or "Junior") is one of the most charismatic folks to ever grace the planet with his presence.

He is a Vietnam Vet, he is the Emcee for Mobile Country Music Assoc. , he is simply a larger than life character and I have never been in a place where Uncle "Junior" wasn't working the room. He is the epitome of cool. He uses the cheesiest pick up lines he can think of (i.e. "Your feet sure must be tired because you've been running through my mind all day"). But don't think he doesn't understand the cheesiness. Quite the contrary , Uncle "Junior" uses those lines more as a challenge or more appropriately as a declaration that HOW something is said to a person (here: a lady) is way more important than WHAT is said to a person. Again proving that he is cooler than the rest of us. What I mean is: Uncle Junior oozes believability and coolness.

Ok. On to the airport story.

From my earliest recollections , Uncle Junior has always been the coolest.

Well at the time of this story, Uncle Junior was a big wig (CEO I believe) of a very large corporation. Due to this perch atop the business food chain , he always had cool cars, cool house (with a cool swimming pool), cool hair cut, cool clothes, and also cool stories.

Some of the stories came from his traveling. This is one of those.

Uncle Junior has always liked to gamble.

To stay true to form with Uncle Junior style where do ya go to gamble? Well , Las Vegas of course.

So one weekend he, his wife, and my other aunt and uncle went on just such a trip to Vegas.

They had no weekend plans at 3pm on Friday, by 7pm Uncle Junior had the foursome at 40,000 ft.

Well the tickets they bought were round trip to Vegas (leaving Friday early evening and returning Monday night).

The group got to Vegas, and Uncle Junior owned the place (I imagine). I can just see it. In my mind he was like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (minus the falsetto background singers). He was king and he was the tour guide to Vegas (being as he had been to Vegas many times and the rest of the party were new to the place).

He spent money quickly and with reckless abandon. So his entourage followed suit. Lady luck didn't smile on any of them. So Uncle Junior threw down more money. And again his crew did the same. This process repeated all night.

The unflappable Uncle Junior wasn't flustered at all but the consensus of the rest of the group was to go back to the room and discuss the rest of the weekend.

Upon getting to the room , the group decided that way way too much money had been lost way way too quickly and they would be so much better off heading back home.

They were all broke! Well.... broke as they cared to be at that time . This caused a dilemma. They were done with Vegas but Vegas wasn't done with them. They had a hotel room in Vegas for 2 more nights and non transferable plane tickets for flights 2 days later.

What to do? What to do? Well as usual Uncle Junior takes the reigns. He assures them he will handle it. Reluctantly (but of course trusting Uncle Junior's charm) the group grabbed their stuff and headed to the airport.

They knew that their tickets were non refundable and non transferrable. But they really needed to get the return flight dates moved up two days so they could get home. They also knew that they had the smoothest talker the world has ever known (Uncle Junior) in their group. When you have that you become accustomed to the rules getting bent in your favor more often than not.

They hoped for the best but expected to be stuck in Vegas for 2 more days.

Uncle Junior leads the charge up to the the ticket counter. He explained their situation while pouring on his world class charm. Much like his luck over the last two days, his charm failed him. The lady didn't budge. She was enamoured with him of course but as far as being able to switch the flights , she simply couldn't help.

Failing isn't really Uncle Junior's style. So he continued his pitch.

They lady assured him that she wanted to help and she empathized with ther situation however she just simply wasn't authorized to make the flight changes.

Uncle Junior was quick on his feet. Of course he was. He always is.

He asked the lady, "If you aren't authorized to make the flight changes.....WHO is?"

She scanned the expansive airport lobby then pointed. She said , "Do you see that man in the blue shirt way down at the other end of the hall?"

Uncle Junior : "Yes"

Lady at Counter: "Well he is the only person in the building that can authorize the flight change. But I assure you , he is not gonna let me"

Uncle Junior: "Thank you. Let me go talk to him"

Uncle Junior turns to his group and instructs them to hold on.

He calmly walks the length of the airport lobby all the way down to the man at the other end of the corridor.

Uncle Junior approached the man in the blue shirt and said,
"Hey Buddy, sorry to bother you with this but you see the girl down there at the counter?"

The man in the blue shirt looked and nodded. "Sure"

Uncle Junior: " Well I need change for $100 and she said you'd have to approve it"

The man in the blue shirt makes eye contact with the lady at the counter and gives her an emphatic thumbs up.

Uncle Junior thanks the man, calmly walks back to the counter, gets his group's new changed tickets and then they go board the plane.

Lady luck may have beaten Uncle Junior at the tables , but in the end, Uncle Junior wins. He always wins.

It's a Small World.......But I wouldn't want to paint it!

It's a Small World.......But I wouldn't want to paint it!
My Grandfather (Nathan Cooper)

The two most useless emotions are regret and worry
My Grandfather (Nathan Cooper)

It is with utter amazement that I say, this is my last day in America for a month. I've been looking forward to these trips for many months. However I have had tunnel vision on another topic, my album release. With all the hundreds of hours devoted to making sure the banner was the right color or the logo was printed properly on the lip balm or making sure the sheet music was in the right key for rehearsal with the band, etc etc etc I let the trip sneak up on me.

Which brings us to today. I'm about to go around the world (twice) and I haven't even put one sock in a suitcase yet. As I think about the extreme amount of travel I am about to embark on I think "I'm about to be on the Gulf Coast, the West Coast, The Coast of the Marshall Islands, Belgium (maybe the Belgian Coast or maybe not), then soon after returning on to the Gold Coast! I'm covering the planet (or at least the coasts of the planet) in a span of about two months. Isn't The world a small place?". Only to immediately be reminded of a phrase I heard my Granddad say over and over, "Sure, it's a small world, but I wouldn't wanna paint it".

Then I smile at the realization that the size of the world (and therefore my concern with having not packed anything yet) is really relative to perspective.

I'm handling more pressing issues that need to be done before I can pack.

I have an incredible amount of other, non-packing preparation still left to do. But I'll get as much of it done today as I can...then I will cut and let the loose end drag.

I have found that's all I can do.

Hustle hustle hustle until it's go time. Then.......just enjoy the ride. Worrying isn't gonna help.

My granddad also used to always say the two most useless emotions are regret and worry. I believe he was right. These two emotions don't change anything for the better. If they effect us at all it is to diminish the present (and therefore how we approch the future).

So whenever I finally get to packing my suitcase (which if I had to guess I'd say will be around midnight tonight) I won't regret waiting to the last minute. And I won't worry that I have forgotten something. I'll just slap as much stuff as I can into the suitcase and try to get some rest. I have bigger things to concern myself with tomorrow than sock worry.

And I'm sure by packing last minute and haphazardly I will inevitably forget some item I wanted to bring. But I won't worry about it or regret not packing it.

There are certain items I know I must have (Guitar, underwear, passport). Those will be packed first, all my other items will hopefully be along for the ride too.

But just so ya know, I ain't bringing a paint brush.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spice, Spice Baby... Too Old

What else can I say but......Spice Girls

They are back, people. (Of course If you were judging by my bedspread, lunchbox, bumper stickers, and tattoo you'd think they never went anywhere). They have been on a hiatus (don't get me started. I'm not very posh when I rant).

But NOW! A new era is dawning. And Finally........The Spice Girls are back!

Not only are they back.......they are back AND putting out a MUSICAL. How did we not all see this coming?

I mean think of the varied talents of Scary Spice, Posh Spice, Ginger, Baby, and the other one.
They aren't just musicians. They are actors, politicians, diplomats, astronauts, entrepreneurs.

Their amazing hit "Wannabe"(If You Wanna Be My Lover) and then those few other songs I'm sure they had but I can't recall at the moment, paved the way for this long overdue resurgence. I'm thinking that it is not only time for them to make new music, but with the void they have left for the last decade, they should come back into their rightful omnipresence.

I want "Spice World 2: The Reckoning" on Broadway AND in the Coen Brothers' adaptation for film.

I want to see posters on every subway car, taxi, billboard, etc

I want the new line of dolls (not those kind of dolls. Although I'm sure there would be a market)

I want to read the tell all autobiography "Baby Ain't A Baby No More: The Story of Old Spice"

I want General Mills to release a new yet slightly stale cereal named "Geria-Trix"in their honor. (Probably gonna have to work with a new slogan being as "Geria-Trix are for kids" just isn't gonna work. But that should be an easy workaround)

I want Wendy Williams to have a week long series called Spice Week where each member of the band tells their story behind the break up.

I want Spice Girl cologne (not sure what it'll smell like. But I'll buy it)

I want there to be a tour so that a new generation of fans can know the joy of donning a pristine Spice Girl Tour Shirt. (Of course I will still be wearing my vintage tour T's from 96'. I've been Spicey since they were underground)

I want Elvis Costello to revive Spectacle so that I can watch him join them on stage for a tear jerking rendition of "2 Become 1"

I wanna no longer be ashamed of my all encompassing Spice fascination.

I wanna finally be able to wear something other than turtlenecks in public (due to my Spice Girls' neck tattoo. And then the subsequent decade being Spiceless. I have had abandonment issues)

I want them to be more successful than Elvis, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Michael Jackson combined.

But if ya wanna know what I want most of all

I'll tell ya what I want, what I really really want

I wanna

I wanna

I wanna

I wanna

I wanna

I really really really wanna......ziggah zig AHH!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hey Barkeep! May I Have Another Flight?

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I'm thirsty, not dirty.
-Joe E. Lewis

I am a traveler. I can't seperate myself from being a traveller any more than I can seperate myself from being a musician. It's who I am.

As I have grown older I have embraced that fact and my life is for this acceptance. Here's why:

I have acquired a taste for the worst parts of traveling. I used to try and block out the bitterness so that these parts of the travel were hardly even noticable to me. Things like spending days in airports or traveling in less than ideal conditions had become almost subconscious to me. I couldn't dwell on them because I had learned to ignore them. But as I matured into a more seasoned veteran of motion, I realized that these little inconveniences aren't to be discarded or ignored. They add character and complexity to the journey. The best way I can think to describe it is to relate travel to a glass of scotch. I have a feeling that most everyone's first handshake with Dewar's (or the like) is an unpleasant one. At that moment most everyone, myself include, wondered why anyone would drink such poison. It is harsh and abrasive to the virgin palate. However, once (or IF) scotch has been given a fair chance a drinker usually finds that there are a plethora of amazing subtleties and characteristics to Scotch that the drinker had initially overlooked.

For me, this is analogous to travelling.

Don't misunderstand me, There isn't anything specifically wonderful about sitting on a stuffy airplane for 17 hours next to a snoring British man. There isn't anything inherently great about having to nap on a sidewalk because the airport is closed for the next few hours and there is no where else to go. But these things are part of the whole. And the whole is vital to my life and my happiness.

These travel woes have a bitterness to them that is unmistakable, but now that I have lived with them for so many years I see that they actually enhance the experience. (If for no other reason they enhance the experience because their juxtaposition with the fun parts of travel, makes the fun parts seem all the more wonderful.)

I have been fortunate to see so many unbelievable things around this world and it looks like I will be seeing many more very soon. I leave in three days to go overseas for a month. I will be playing in the Marshall Islands for two weeks then I will be playing a string of shows in Belgium and Germany. These destinations are reason enough to be excited. But I look forward to the travel itself too. I look forward to it because I know I will inevitably experience things along the way that I could not have even dreamed would happen. They may be pleasant surprises or horrible surprises, but they will be surprises nonetheless. And this uncalculatable variable is part of what gives my life its vividness and excitement.

I travel. I love to travel to destinations I've never been to. But reaching destinations aren't the only joy I get from traveling. I have established a veritable need for travelling. In the same way my mouth involuntarily waters at the scent of my favorite foods, my soul is effected by the act of movement. The experiences I encounter while travelling (involoving myself with different cultures, people, foods, drinks, music, geography, etc) are what actually sate my need, but the motion is a prelude to all this. It alerts my soul that an adventure is afoot. Much like my watering mouth, my soul anticipates the reward.

Without motion, any direction in life is merely a solitary vantage point. With motion, any direction in life is an adventure.

In the next 4 weeks I will cross the International Date Line twice, I will cross the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, I'll be in 4 different countries, I'll be on 27 different flights, I'll have 88 hours of layovers. And I'll be smiling the whole time.

I know a "normal" person may dread so much motion. They would likely try their best to congeal all the travelling together, take it like a bitter pill, and then get to the enjoyment which is waiting at the other end.

But again, for me, this trip is (as all trips are) a nice Scotch........and you don't gulp Scotch. Scotch is intended for slowly sipping.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sally..Tha..Tha Tha..ThaThaTha...That Girl

My Friend, Sally

I've been fortunate enough to meet many many incredibly talented people as I have made my way through this world of music and travel. One person who has been among the most inspiring and influential to me is my dear friend, Sally Taylor.

Sally is a pure person. Whether she is singing one of her intricately expressive songs, giving sage advice or just carrying on an idle discussion there can be no doubt that she is conveying the truth. She speaks from the heart, sings from the heart, and helps from her heart. 

While touring to support her first CD, "Tomboy Bride", Sally came through Mobile (probably early 1999). Due to me having a decent local following I was asked by the venue owner to open the show. 

(Aside: The reason I had a decent local following had at least as much to do with cheap beer as it did my music. Let me explain. At this time I had played a lot of gigs around town and was familiar with most of the venue owners. One of these venue owners decided to implement "Drinkin with Lincoln" every Thursday. "Drinkin with Lincoln" was a promotion that allowed folks to pay $5 at the door then buy drinks for $.01 all night long!! It seemed like this promotion would be a sure fire hit. 100's of hardcore drinkers and drinkers-in-training filling that bar to capacity every week. I was in college at this time and when one is in college they tend to know A LOT of hardcore drinkers and drinkers-in-training (read: other college students). The venue owner shrewdly realized this and (since he wanted extra insurance that the place would be packed every week) asked me to be the entertainment every Thursday for "Drinkin with Lincoln". I agreed. The club owner's plan worked like a charm. Every week I would play to a completely packed house. That's the good news. The bad news is the last thing on the people's mind was music. Even my college buddies that came, were probably there more for the beer than for me. But none of that mattered to me. I had a packed house in front of me every week so my plan was to capitalize on this fact. I had a captive audience week after week. I figured I could beat them into submission. .....My plan also worked like a charm. Although initially the drinkers paid me little attention, they grew to know my music through repetition.)

Back to the Sally story:

By the time Sally came to town, I had won over many of the "Drinkin with Lincoln" drinkers and they were legitimately my fans. They would come see me when I would play other venues (as I said my plan worked like a charm). Anyway, the date of Sally's show just happened to be on a…… guessed it….."Drinkin with Lincoln" Thursday. 

Sally's show had been advertised well as a special (NON "Drinkin with Lincoln") Concert. However the club owner was sure that there would be a ton of regulars (read: drunks expecting penny beer) so he needed a familiar face to appease them. He asked me to play and I was happy to oblige.

I played my 45 minute set and the crowd ate it up (but again understand these are the penny beer drinkers I have beaten into submission over months and months not just a random crowd that suddenly loved me). Sally was sitting side stage taking it all in while sipping a glass of red wine (Did I mention she is as classy as she is kind?). Anyway I did my final song , got a loud roar from the crowd and proudly walked off the stage toward Sally. As I reached her, she began telling me how much she enjoyed it. But at that moment I realized what was going on. Because I had been so focused on talking with Sally I had failed to realize the crowd was chanting "one more song! one more song!". Oh God! My drunken friends and fans didn't even realize the opener doesn't do encores. I then began trying to explain the situation (and apologize for my friends) when Sally just points back to the stage……..I wasn't sure what to do. I said "Sally, I'm opening the show…..I can't do an encore!!!! OPENERS CAN'T DO ENCORES!" She just smiled and pointed to the stage. I very reluctantly went back out there and did one more song (probably very badly due to the awkwardness I was feeling about the situation), then came off stage and watched Sally and her band put on an incredible show.

I told you this story to give you a little extra insight into the greatness of Sally. She was a rising star. She was touring the world with an amazing band. She had a world class album she was promoting. This is the time when artsts are most likely to be self absorbed and cocky. Yet, she was a humble and sweet as anybody I've ever met. I was looking at the "encore situation" as highly offensive toward her. I was a very green acoustic guitar playing singer/songwriter. She was a legit musical pro. Yet she wasn't offended at all and she obviously thought, "the people want to hear you…..go let them".

Sally taught me a lot that night with that simple gesture. Since then I've been fortunate to become very good friends with her. She has helped me countless times along my way. Whenever I need advice or critique I call on Sally. And with the same genuine, kindness she always answers me or instructs me honestly. I'll never be able to thank her enough for that.

Sally has done many other things beside putting out incredible music including teaching, working with global charities, and operating her own sushi restaurant. Well one of Sally's newest adventures is a project called ConSenses. She described it to me thusly:

"It starts with personally hand-selected photographs.An initial photo is sent to musicians, like yourself, whose challenge it is to interpret the essence of the image.  Not just the superficial aspects of the picture but the soul and quintessence of it.Once you’ve written a short 2-3 minute song with or without words, the song is passed along to another visual artist (painter, multi-media, print maker) who’s job it is to interpret the spirit of your music in their own medium.Next, that art gets sent off to olfactory artists (perfumists, aroma therapists, herbalists, chefs) who will interpret the visual art.Then, those tastes/smells will be handed off to filmmakers to create a short 5-10 minute film expressing their interpretations.Lastly tactitions (interior designers, sculptors, dancers, wood workers, lighting designers) will come in to interpret the chains of creation and prepare physical space for the art in a gallery on Martha’s Vineyard.Each chain of art will have a 10 minute documentary filmed on its making, the artists’ back stories and their process in coming to this project."

This project sounded like an off-the-wall yet amazing idea to me (Did I also mention Sally is rather creative?) so I jumped at the chance to participate. 

Sally has been a friend to me for most of my career and she is still inspiring me and taking my music new places. 

Keep an eye out for the ConSenses project. I'm definitely proud to be part of it and I will let you all know when it is completed so you can check it out for yourselves.

(Below I have included my song submission)

What's Left of What Used To Be

by Eric Erdman (May 26, 2012)

I can remember that I used to walk with my Chest out and my shoulders back
I was lean I was sharp and I was tough
Yes I was Larger than life. I was so large or so I thought
The streets of this town weren't big enough

Oh But that was then 
this is now

And What makes it feel so strange
Is that I still feel exactly the same
Despite the years that have passed by me
I Still Answer to your name
But I'm starting to see how much I've changed
From Me to 
What's Left of What Used to Be

I could not even Imagine a time when I would no longer be King 
I wore that crown like it was my own skin
Seems like yesterday I was your everything
Never thought it would end
But that was then 
this is now      

What makes it feel so strange
Is that I still feel exactly the same
Despite you having passed by me
I Still Answer to your name
But I'm starting to see how much things change
You loved Me. You loved Me. 
But Apparently You can't love 
What's Left of What Used to Be


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Be Careful What Ya Ask For

I wanna relay a quick funny gig story to you.

I was doing a concert with The Ugli Stick not too long ago. The show was a nice outdoor festival (Smith Farms Music Festival). It had a big stage with full, top of the line production.

This festival was located in a rather small town (Cullman,AL) but it was a very well staged event. I was blown away by what a great job they had done setting it all up. It was legit.

The promoter , Rick Carter, is a long time friend of mine. Rick is a phenomenal musician but also just a great guy so it was great to work with him.

None of that is relevant to the story but I wanted to set it up.

The Story:

This festival was a 3 day festival. Rick asked us to play on one of the weekend nights (as he was sure we would have a larger crowd that way) but unfortunately we already had gigs booked on those days when he initially contacted us. So we played on the slowest day of the festival.

There were still plenty of people there watching us but being as the festival was set up to accommodate thousands and thousands and we had hundreds, the audience was very spread out. Except right in the front.

In the front there was a line of people sitting in lawn chairs. After performing a few songs I realize that virtually the whole front row was mentally challenged adults.

This made me overly excited. Playing for mentally disabled folks always makes me happy. I've played many shows for mentally disabled folks and they are always fun and fulfilling (so has the rest of The Ugli Stick , collectively and individually. Dale actually worked for years at Camp Smile (which is a camp for disabled people)). Therefore we all know how wonderful it is to perform for a group of folks like that. They absolutely love music, they sing, they clap (whether it be on beat or not), but they WILL be having a great time and make you have a great time along the way.

So we begin cutting and interacting with the front row. They are having a blast and we are having a blast.

At this point Quintin,The Ugli Stick bassist, decides we should rock up the show and add a little excitement by playing a cover song. We sometimes do a mash up of Metallica's "Sad but True" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious", and that's the song Quintin wants us to do.

Since we have been having a great time interacting with all the folks there (especially the front row) , Quintin figured this would be a great time to pump them up by setting up the song.

Well there are many ways to pump up an audience before a show or during a show. One of the standard ways is to ask (almost rhetorical) questions like "Is everybody having a good time tonight?" or "How are ya feeling?" or "Does anybody out there like the Beatles?"....these questions are somewhat rhetorical not because the performer doesn't care what the response is but rather It is because there are hundreds or thousands of people answering at once. So all these questions are really just intended to be answered with a loud collective "WOOOOOOO!!" (or silence I guess).

With this standard operating procedure in mind, Quintin grabs his mic and yells "We wanna switch it up for y'all and do a little REMIX!!!" People yell as expected.

At this point Quintin wants to set the song up a little further. Again this is a standard thing that's been done by millions of performers a million times for a million different audiences. But remember , our audience at the moment (at least the front row) aren't a typical audience.

Quintin emphatically asked "HOW MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE LIKE STEVIE WONDER?" fully expecting a loud roar.

Instead his question was instantly and loudly answered with "TWENTY!" from a member of the front row.

We doubled over with laughter and almost couldn't complete the set.

I'm not really sure how that lady came up with such a specific number but the fact that she did slayed us all.

I had never even considered someone would actually answer that question instead of just yelling "WOOOOOO!". But that's the beautiful thing about the mentally disabled. They are excruciatingly honest and gloriously unpredictable.

That lady was simply trying to answer Quintin's question accurately, but she definitely gave us all something to enjoy for years to come.

The Smith's Farm show was a lot of fun. And there were a lot of people there enjoying the music besides those on the front row , but as far as I'm concerned that lady in the front stole the show.

I will never here Stevie Wonder again without thinking about his 20 fans in Cullman Alabama (and that sweet lady that had obviously taken the time previous to us being there to conduct the "Do you like Stevie Wonder?" survey).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rage Against Being the Machine

"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock n' roll"
    - AC/DC

"It's also a long way to the middle if you wanna rock n' roll"
   - Jeffery Clemens (Drummer for G Love & Special Sauce)

I am a musician. I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama.

As a lot of you know, Mobile has long been a hot bed for musical talent. I have a theory as to why this is but it is only a theory. But since you are reading this I guess you wanna hear my thoughts on things so here they go:

We are in the deep deep south where forever society has been predominantly made up of hard working blue collar folk. This only plays into the equation because, the blue collar hardworking folk that work exceptionally hard party exceptionally hard as well. And where there is a party there needs to be music.

The want for music is so prevelant and powerful in the South that it is more of a need. This "need" paired with the geographic remoteness from major cities brings me to my next point. These hard working people wanna blow off steam by partying. This partying will virtually always be accompanied by some music. Problem is most all of the big touring acts (which play the most popular songs) are far away.

Let's say Artist X is the biggest hottest act in the country. Artist X is all over TV and Radio. Everyone hears Artist X's new song, "blah blah blah" wherever they go.

Well when the hard working folks finally get off of work after a week of back breaking labor they need a relief. They wanna go out, relax, spend some of (read: more than they should) the money they made while enjoying music. What music specifically do they wanna hear?  ......Well...."blah blah blah" of course. It's the hot new jam. One problem: Artist X isn't playing in town. Moreover, Artist X isn't playing in town this month. Actually Artist X isn't playing within 6 hours of here on his whole tour. So seeing Artist X isn't an option. Dang. Well these hard workers REALLY like "blah blah blah" (it's been drilled into their head from the radio at work all week). So what do they do?

Realizing that seeing Artist X isn't an option, they accept the next best thing: someone doing a good rendition of "blah blah blah".

As any good business man knows, where there is demand someone will provide the supply.

Somewhere back in the long forgotten past musicians began mimicking popular artists. Somewhere (also back in antiquity) one of these musicians realized they could make a killing in the South if they catered to the blue collar folks I have mentioned by mimicking popular artists (i.e. Artist X).

As a matter of fact these musicians realized they would be even more successful if instead of just mimicking Artist X, they also mimicked Artist Y (who had a reggae hit last year) or Artist Z (who is an classic country artist). As the amount of musicians who were financially better off grew so did the competition. The more versatile the musician, the more sought after he would be. ( "All you hard workers come down to "the Dixie Dive" this Saturday and blow off some steam while listening to the amazing Bill playing all your favorite songs by Artist X, Artist Y, ...." I imagine their advertisements to be).

Fast forward a few generations and you can see a deeply rooted , thriving music scene of cover musicians across the South. I see nothing dishonorable about playing other people's songs. I've done it for years, and many of my all time favorite musicians have made a career out of doing it. But it should be noted that for obvious reasons if all musicians play cover music, music will die.

This is a good spot to note that the southern bar/venue owners who are in the business of entertaining the blue collar workers, are very shrewd. They understand fully (at least the successful ones) that they aren't in the business of selling music. They may very well love music but they know it isn't the commodity they are selling. They are selling a good time (most of the time beer and a good time) to those overworked blue collar folks. I'll try to explain why this distinction is important.

In a thriving original music scene (as is seen in bigger cities) music is the actual commodity being sold. The venues in such places would not only hope but expect the musicians they hire to give a unique and individualized original performance so that the music loving customers would be entertained and be willing to return in the future to buy tickets again. These shows are expected to move the audience by giving them 1-2 hours of original music that connects with them.

But in southern venues the owners aren't trying to sell tickets to musical events, they are selling beer (and the party that goes along with it). In this scenario it only makes sense these venue owners need to extend the length of the party in order to maximize profits. Due to this the venue owners are able to offer musicians more money to play longer.

The entire set up I just described evolves over many decades to result in a region filled with extremely versatile musicians who are incredibly competent at their respective instruments. (the physical act of performing makes these musicians better. Even if they are playing "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Wagon Wheel" all night, they are becoming better players and performers through the act of playing and performing).

The sad news for a vast majority of these musicians is even though this "baptism of fire" has honed them into world class performers and highly skilled musicians, they can't get a break. The reason for this is most of the industry is far away (which is why Artist X never toured here in the first place). So these intensely skilled and talented people just kind of rot on the vine. They wow the workers after their daily grind, they collect their pay, and they go home and get ready to repeat it all again tomorrow.

Some of these musicians are also epically great songwriters (I won't list them here for If I just listed the great songwriters I'm friends with I'd run out of room). A lot of these songs will never reach further than the 20-30 people at the corner bar.

It is sad to watch. The same machine that is creating generation after generation of superb talent is the same machine the stiffles their ability to succeed.


Last night I had a release party in celebration of my first solo CD, "My Brother's Keepers".
It was a special moment for me. I saw one of my biggest dreams realized. It was a day I will never forget for as long as I live. I felt so much love and support it was overwhelming.

But last night was more special than even that. Last night was so much bigger than me. Of course I felt very honored to be supported by the community so fully. But there was something so much bigger than that occurring.

Mobile, Alabama. A city at the heart of the deep south. A city that could be considered the epicenter of the machine I spoke of above.

Mobile went against everything it was EXPECTED to do. Mobile went against everything it has learned and grown to call the norm. Mobile went against what it probably thought it was "SUPPOSED" to do.

Mobile supported me 100%.

And although I did try to publicize it as much as I could (Facebook, the Newspaper, Studio10, 92ZEW), my publicity wasn't what made it a success. The people rallied. The people rallied strong.

And I'm sure to some it was just a good party at the Blue Gill. But to me it meant something.

The people of Mobile stood together and said "We will support our local talent". Obviously I am very proud that it was me they were supporting. But I sincerely would feel equally proud if the same response was given to any of my colleagues (and there's bunches of em).

Yesterday made me proud as an artist. But I think more so it made me proud as a Mobilian.

Yesterday Mobile did something special and against convention.

I think yesterday gave hope to a lot of local talent.

For that you should be proud of yourself, Mobile.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

CD Release Day!!!! I Can't stop smiling.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.Walt Disney
A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is the biggest and happiest day I can ever remember.
I'm a singer songwriter, I have been playing music professionally my entire adult life. I have seen my music reach places and take me
places I never dreamed possible.
But I had never had the time and resources to release an album that was me and me alone.
That era ends today.
Today is the release of my first solo CD. I have been involved with dozens of releases as a songwriter, featured performer, producer,
but until now I've never had an album I considered Eric's.
I am so proud of the actual material on the album but I am also proud because I finally get to show the world who I am as an artist.

Then today happened.

I awake to the story of my CD release being on the front page of the paper. I turn on my computer and see a flood of loving
support from my friends.
I had to just sit and soak it all in.
Then it occurred to me.........this release isn't only MY release.
This release is a release that represents a community. This release does indeed show the world who I am.
But who I am is a product of thousands of dedicated and loyal people who have been with me every single step of the way.
The power of this is definitely not lost on me.
The community that backs me is palpable and apparent.
I am proud of every single accomplishment I've been able to acheive thus far. And I assure you that without an insane amount of
hard work I would never have achieved these accomplishments. However my hardwork is only a part of the equation.
The dedication of those around me have made all this possible. Without their support and love this release would never have happened.
So today as I walk with my chest poked out and a grin so big I look like an idiot, It is not really because I want the world to
"see how awesome I am". It is because I am happy and proud that the world gets to "See what we've all done together as a community".
So after this release today, I will spread this music to the planet in the best way I know how. As I throw it far and wide know that
even if I can't take you all with me in the suitcase I no choice but to take you with me in spirit. You are part of me and you are part of this CD.
To all of you who have been part of this community since 1995 (and some before), no words can truly describe the debt I feel to
you and the appreciation a have for all your support. But I can very sincerely say I thank you with every fiber of my being.

(I want to elaborate on how much all of my amazing friends have meant to me, but I've got a party to put on, People..
Tonight at the Blue Gill will be one to remember. Come on with it)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Costume Party for Words (Part2)

I know the most exciting day of my life is tomorrow and it is pretty much all I've been working on for months and months, but I decided to write about something else today. I wanted a mental break from thinking about rehearsal for the party and then the organization and setting up for the party tomorrow. So I thought I'd use today's blog to just have fun again.

So I give you some more word peculiarities or thoughts about words by me:

Template- good way to get fired (who cares you'll have a different job next week)

Heroes- while she sits in the front and complains about the uncomfortable boat seat

reverse - i.e. "I'm Henry the VIII I am " song style

Chopin - cookware for display only

Glockenshpeil - Samuel L Jackson's character's "Ezekiel 25:17" speech in Pulp Fiction

Doctorate- how the country pharmacist knew what the prescription was ("I caint read what the doctorate down")

Butterfly- not very far

Hindsight- what I have at the beach

Afterbirth- when lots of stuff happens

Aftermath- for me? Music

Airbrush - hard to paint with

Bedridden - no comment

Bellhop- very easy to do (few exceptions i.e.-the Liberty Bell)

Carhop-more difficult

Hopscotch- why would you do that when you could just as easily drink it?

Brickbat- pretty sure that's not MLB regulation

Briefcase- what lawyers hope for

Broadcaster - very antiquated non PC term for a woman angler

Buttermilk - schizophrenic dairy product

Grasshopper- what I am every time I hop (provided I'm out in the yard)

Championship- winner of the regatta

Checkmate- what a wife does when the husband gets back from guy's night out. (usually for lipstick marks or drunkenness and lipstick marks)

Cheesecloth- Come on people....why are we not making tablecloths out of this stuff. (note: probably the worst material to consider for a picnic blanket. The ants. Dear God. The ants)

Clockwork- ummm looks a lot like standing in one place and flailing arms around in circles. Yeah that should be called clock play. Good try, clocks!

Cobweb- Corny version of the Internet (where this blog post gets drastically more traffic than here on the regular Internet)

Cornstalk- what happens on chat rooms on the cobweb

Copycat- fun to watch but not PeTA approved

Counterattack- what I am deathly afraid of and why I don't go into the kitchen alone.

Counterintelligence- there is no such thing. It just brutishly and mindlessly sits in the kitchen ready to attack. (for no good reason)

Cowhide- not very well. Usually they just stand in plain view and slowly eat grass

Crabgrass- what the crustaceans smoke to get high

Crackdown- good news for drug enforcement agencies.

Crapshoot- I don't recommend. Very messy

Crosstalk - "why hath thou forsaken me"

Crybaby- baby

Deadbeat- disgusting thing to do. Also if a horse is the victim's very pointless

Deathbed- bad place for a nap

Downfall- due to gravity this is the only way it works.

Dumbwaiter- don't get me started. I said "No Mayo!"

Dustpan- used to cook powdered eggs

Earmuff- there are some kinky people in this world

Eggplant - I did. Didn't grow the first thing.

Eyesight - cant we just call this "sight"? I'm pretty sure at this point we have ruled out earsight, nosesight, etc as possibilities.

Eyewitness- witness

Foolproof- liquor so strong only an idiot would drink it

Forefathers- dang! your mother gets around

Foregone - the reason she is now a single mom.

Fretwork- don't we all

Hailstone- why the Druids built Stonehenge

Halfback- good rebate

Halfbreed- impossible. It's all or nothing.

Handbill- fortune teller receipt

Heretofore- have 6

Homemaker- construction foreman (makes me have seriously respect for All "Little Susie Homemakers" out there. What with the Sheetrock and scaffolding and all. And to be so dainty)

horseback riding- Can't we just say horse riding? Was anyone really planning on riding the horse's leg or head?

Horseflies- Pegasus

Houseflies- Wizard of Oz

Housekeeper- what they needed in Wizard of Oz

Housewarming party- turn on the heater . Let's drink!

Inkwell- good penmanship

Inpatient- catheters, IVs, suppositories and such

Jackpot- a drug theft

Kidnap- Ahhh I used to love those. About 1 in the afternoon after we had eaten lunch. Glorious! I wouldn't mind one now actually.

Knapsack- Hey! Find another pillow

Lawsuit- pretty much just a suit

Longfellow- thanks for noticing

Manhandle- no comment

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On the 1st day of "pre CD release" Eric gave to me

Hey folks we made it!!!!!! Well kinda.

It is today on the count down to CD release party that I realized two errors on my part:

1) I obviously didn't pay close attention to the 12 days of Christmas song because in that song it started with Day 1 and added each day til it got to 12 where as with these blogs I've gone 12 down to 1. (Sleep deprivation takes its toll)

2) My countdown to the party ends today and the actual party is the day after tomorrow. (I guess my B.S. in Mathematics/Statistics is failing me on the task of counting to 12)

But either way, it has been a fun trip so far explaining the inspiration for or story behind each of the songs to you.

After this blog post I'll get back to more random musings. (Well tomorrow's and Thursday's post are liable to be about the release being as it is all that is on my mind at the moment. But then......back to my less structured randomness).

The final song to explain is one of my favorites

"Peanut Butter and Jealousy"

             It's amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.
                  -Rupert Everett

             Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love -
                 -Charles Shultz (Charlie Brown in "Peanuts")

       Although this story is pretty straightforward I'll try to give ya a few extra details about the song. This song was not technically one of "the Keepers" (meaning it was not a half song that Wendell had started which I kept, then completed for the album or a half song that I had started which Wendell kept, then completed for the album). This is one we built from the the ground up during the process.

     Wendell and I always throw song ideas back and forth from our iPhones. We value each other's song sensibility greatly and we work together to great result (meaning when we work together we accomplish the mission of getting our point across like we intended. Not to say it is inherently great and you must love it. Although we like it when you do). 

    Wendell's song snippets are typically gems. I am amazed by his consistency. He is a fountain of creativity and I always get excited when I see a voice memo from Wendell because I know it is gonna be good. But one day Wendell sent something other than a voice memo. He just sent a text of some possible lyrics. I think was as simple as "Lyric idea : Peanut butter and Jealousy". It was so genius it just killed me. I think I sent him back a iphone recording of the chorus idea in about 10 minutes. It was one of the wildfire (easy to write) songs.

    To me as a song writer, songs that have a very detailed very specific set of pieces (characters, situations, locations, etc) are incredibly easy to write. I fail at writing songs when I attempt to get too broad of topic. If I fully grasp the context of the entire situation, I know how the characters (note: a lot of time one of the characters is yours truly) will react to stimuli.

 "Peanut Butter and Jealousy" is a perfect example. For me it would've been insanely difficult (and I probably would've never gotten finished) writing a song about ..... Love lost. But when I read Wendell's phrase "Peanut Butter and Jealousy" a sitcom script virtually appeared intact in my mind. 

     I instantly saw the back story and the current scene: There was a guy (who looked remarkably like me) who used to have it made. He had a wonderful girl that did everything right. She was stunningly beautiful and sweet. She was smart and funny. She kept the house clean. And most importantly she was a culinary wizard. Everyday the guy came home to the smell of paneed chicken (his favorite) or some other delicious concoction. He was always well fed and well loved. It was heavenly.
    Well the guy knew he had it made. He knew he had it made and wanted to take steps to ensure his situation didn't change. This is where his error occured. He chose unwisely as to how to go about holding on to his lovely lady.
     There is an unfortunate part of the human condition that sometimes rears its ugly head when the keeping of something or someone of extreme value is involved: Jealousy. In the situation where we are lucky enough to have something of the utmost value (whether it be a physical possession or the love of a special person), we should nourish that situation by showing our appreciation not guard it so jealously that we squeeze the life out of it. However we are humans. And humans don't always get this right. The guy in my imaginary scene had an epic moment of this "humanness". 
    The guy held his lovely girl/chef so tightly (without realizing what he was doing) that she finally got fed up with his jealousy and left.
     In the rubble of this aftermath is where we (the audience) arrive on the scene. The guy sits broken hearted and hungry. He just sits, staring into his empty oven, spoon of peanut butter in hand. He knows his loneliness is caused by his own actions. He knows his hunger is caused by his own actions. That now familiar taste of mundane, boring peanut butter is a poignant reminder of his errors.

    When four simple words (-Peanut -Butter- and -Jealousy) can illict such an explosive thought process I know it has song potential. This idea took a little massaging to get it to the final product you hear on "My Brother's Keepers" but overall it was simple to write. The story was already obvious to me from the outset. It was just a matter of making music and rhymes that told the story. 
    When a intensely specific story for a song floods my head like "Peanut Butter and Jealousy" did, the writing process is virtually always a fun and happy experience. In these cases I never run into the struggle I do when I try to write about something vague. 

 (Production Note: When playing this song in its earliest manifestations, I always played it more country. This always bothered me because I didn't really hear this song being that way. I wanted to address that fact when we recorded. I asked the session drummer, Pete Wehner, to intentionally stray from giving it the country groove. I was trying to figure out a different groove to suggest but before I could , Pete said "Let me try this". He went out into the studio and started throwing down that Mardi Gras (second line) drum groove you hear on the CD. It is exactly what I wanted but I'm not sure I could've ever articulated it to Pete. Luckily Pete is insanely competent and he knew what the song needed. His part really really elevated it to where I hoped it would get.

This bouncy Mardi Gras groove gave the producer, Rick Hirsch, some interesting ideas. He said he wanted to bring in Chuck Schwartz to play some clarinet. I am a huge huge fan of horns and woodwinds, so I was all about it. As usual, Rick's idea (and Chuck's performance) was right on time. 

The interplay between Chuck's Clarinet parts, my vocal lines and Tom Morley's violin lines might be my favorite musical parts of the album. With Quitin's bass line and Pete's drum groove as the base, those 3 other parts tell the story of that poor hungry, jealous guy better than I could've imagined. I think we captured the vibe of the lyric perfectly. 

This is obviously our "clever song" lyrically, but I love the music. The lyrics are a silly look at a pitiful situation and I think the mud soaked, revelry of the Mardi Gras music we put behind it brought it to life. 

I love it and I hope you do too.)

And that's a wrap. You now know the way the whole album came into being.



Monday, June 18, 2012

On the 2nd day of "pre CD release" Eric gave to me

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” 
 Aaron Copland

You have been trapped in the inescapable net of ruin by your own want of sense.

"The Song Won't Let Her Be Free"

    This song took a very very long time to complete. Unlike "Bird on a Powerline" which I described in earlier blogs as being simple and quick to create, "The Song Won't Let Her Be Free" took more conscious crafting. That doesn't mean I love it less or think it's a horrible song. I just thought it would be of interest (to some bored person) to know the differences between these songs' constructions.

    I had the initial idea for this song years ago when I was a writer at FAME. I remember I was sitting in the lobby with my good friend Dylan LaBlanc after lunch. We were just goofing off and talking about life. As I sat there I began fumbling with the D minor to Csus guitar thing. As we sat there joking about any thing and everything I almost subconsciously spit out the chord progression for the verse. (I guess this part was as easy as any song creation I can't say it was all difficult). 

    I began to really really like the progression. Every time I picked up a guitar I would naturally play this piece of music. Then the difficulty set in. 

    Unfortunately, the "trail went cold". I hit a brick wall and couldn't make it into a song. It was just a small piece of a progression, nothing else. In retrospect I think I loved that tiny musical idea so much that no lyric I came up with was good enough. This is a songwriting error that is crucial not to make. However I am here to tell you I made it whole heartedly. 

   Eventually I was able to form a lyrical idea "worthy" of the music ( I got lucky here. A lot of times when one makes the songwriting error I just spoke of, the song never gets completed). It was a story that seemed to fit stylistically the feel of the music. I imagined a girl that was overly infatuated and in love with an artist (more specifically a musician). The poor girl lets the musician's music change her so deeply that she needs it. She becomes obssessed with the music more so than she ever was the musician. Meanwhile, the musician begins treating her horribly. Specifically, she finds receipts of his infidelities by way of phone numbers written on bar napkins. But in general the guy is just taking the girl for granted and taking advantage of her. 

   That scenario and those characters were linked to that little piece of a song and that's all I had. It wasn't til years and years later (while digging through song ideas for "My Brother's Keepers") that Wendell remembered it and saved it from being forever scrapped.

   With the story begun and a tiny bit of music we set out to complete it. 

   What we landed on was something even deeper than I had initially conceived. We began to think of the other ramifications of being that girl. Imagine being treated wrongly in that way, understanding completely the situation yet being unable to pry yourself out of it. Being in the bad relationship is bad enough but understanding through introspection that you personally do not have the will power and self respect to get out of that situation? That would have to be misery. We imagined this girl to be sharp and anything but naive. She fully comprehends that the musician she is with is unworthy of her and is treating her in ways she doesn't deserve. But she can't imagine a world without his music, a world without his song. She has come to grips with the fact that if she were to leave, his music would hunt her and haunt her.

   To make the situation even worse, the girl is constantly getting told by her closest of friends and family to "leave that man alone". Can't you imagine the anguish of being looked at by your best friend or your mother as they are telling you that you are too smart and too good to stay in that unhealthy situation....agreeing with them yet being unable to comply? It must be horrible. The embarassment that poor girl must be feeling, having her heart make her look like a fool to everyone around her. 

   It was with this in mind that Wendell and I completed "The Song Won't Let Her Be Free". 

   This poor girl's plight as an indentured slave to an asshole musician's song despite knowing she should leave him behind.

(NOTE: This story took a great deal of vivd imagination on my part being as I have never met an asshole musician in all my travels)