This weblog post is a confluence of many different things and thoughts and dibbles and dots, all of which seem to be swimming about my grey matter today. So stick with me through the end – I’m covering a lot of ground here.
First, let me start by saying – today is Father’s Day. My father has had a profound influence on my life from the beginning. A multi-talented percussionist now, he was not always so. When he was a young buck, he was more of what you’d call a drummer. Not so much with the marimbas and guiros, he was a set man through and through. When I first met my father, he still had the same blue Pearl trap set that he acquired as a teenager.
He was in a band (as all cool dads are) and they would practice in the garage (as all cool bands do). I would sit in the living room and listen to them belt out everything from Buddy Holly to Garth Brooks. I’m not certain what their set really was with such a wide range – perhaps he was actually in a few bands and I’ve melded them together.
But either way, I decided there and then that I was going to be a songwriter.
I found, no doubt tucked away in the darkness of my father’s office, a small black notebook with a yellow pad inside. Here – I decided with great romance – was where I would write the world’s best songs. (I’d like to point out I was seven or eight at the time.)
The first song I ever wrote was “I Can Drive You,” shown above. It was, without a doubt, the wittiest ditty a normal eight-year-old boy can produce in Middle America while still remaining a normal eight-year-old boy. It had everything – a catchy tune, brilliant wordplay, an intoxicating hook, and it was even written in rural American vernacular. (Please note the apostrophes after such words as “ridin’” and “goin’.” This, no doubt, paved the way for my later musings in character dialect.)
I followed this obvious A-Side tune with so many others:
“The Bear,” a folk ballad about the bear who went over the mountain and his internal monologue during the aforementioned event.
“The Night My Toys Came To Life,” which might as well have been optioned to Pixar. I’m still waiting for my royalty check.
“I Wish It Never Happened Anymore,” a foray into rockabilly with astoundingly adult lyrics: “Went to the store and I met this girl; We went on a date; The next day I met up with her; And she had another man.”
And the list goes on and on.
I even had an “Unfinished” sleeve on the left side of the book, where I have the first verse of a profound love song: “All I want is your love, darling; All I want is your golden hair.” I just can’t remember knowing an eight-year-old girl with golden hair, so the subject of the song will remain a mystery for a few more years, at least.
Armed with these dynamic tools of auditory splendor, I decided I was going to be just like Dad, and I was going to be in a band (though why I never offered my father’s band this treasure trove of music I do not know – it seems I could have started my career right there and then). I would make so much money that I’d be a millioinaire.
I only wanted to be a part-time millionaire, because I also wanted to be a part-time policeman. (This was the civic duty in me coming out.) When I wasn’t out catching bad guys, though, I’d live in a mansion. Not wanting to be far away from my parents, I told them they could live there with me: Mom could be my maid, and Dad could be my chauffer. It all worked out for everyone.
Well, I’m still not a part-time millionaire.
I am an artist, though, which is something. I’ve written a good many things and have even started to sell some. I actually just started writing custom songs on my girlfriend’s etsy website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JustAddLoveNYC.
(By the way, her baking mixes on the site are TO DIE FOR. I eat them. All. All the time.)
Anyway, my latest sale was a song written for a young childrens’ acting class in the UK called “Jelly Roles.” In the class, the children act out different stories every day. They sing this song at the beginning of each session, which ends with the teacher opening up the Magic Book to show them the story they will be performing. Adorable.
Hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heUix6jZYKs&be
But anyway, back to Father’s Day – if it weren’t for Dad and his weird bandmates and Mom and her classical musicianship, I may not have written those silly songs when I was eight. Which means I wouldn’t have gone into music. Which means I wouldn’t have gone into musical theatre. Which means I wouldn’t have started to write musicals and plays. Which means I wouldn’t have started to write anything else. Which means this post wouldn’t exist.
So, thanks Mom and Dad. (But I guess especially Dad since, after all, it’s Father’s Day and everything.)
And that’s the end of my rant for today. We covered some ground, but it all came together in the end, right?
What did you want to be when you grow up? Do you have a secret notebook filled with brilliant pop songs tucked away somewhere? Do you know my dad? Isn’t he great?