In 1981, Foreigner wanted a sax solo in the style of Junior Walker. They wanted it raw and nasty. There are several conflicting stories that range from Walker being homeless, to some having him playing a club just down the street from where Foreigner was recording in New York. But the band, after failing to get a sound they were happy with from other saxophone players, got Junior Walker into the studio.
Walker heard the song twice before popping into studio and laying down an amazing first take. It was exactly what the band wanted. It speaks to the singularity or uniqueness of some musicians and how some sounds are almost impossible to duplicate.
Compare Junior Walker sax sound on "Shotgun" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnhI_ECOAK4 and his sax solo on "Urgent" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPEjF3LSM64. There is a certain verbratto from the tonguing that is distinctive.
I used to have a song posted about growing up in Italy, titled "Blood Oranges and Chocolate." I pulled it when I decided to remove it from upcoming CD. It will reappear later at the appropriate time. Someone asked me in a post the other day about what was special about blood oranges. First, there are several things grown in the region around Napoli, in the fertile ash from Mt. Vesuvius. One, are the worlds best tomatoes called San Martzano. If you ever see them in a can, either whole or crushed, buy it and use it in your sauce. You won't regret it. Don't buy fresh in America. The reason is that regional produce cannot be duplicated in other regions because the soil itself is part of what makes it unique. For example, if you were to take Vidalia onion seeds and grow them in say, California, they would not be the same as the ones grown in or near Vidalia, GA. Another spectacular agricultural product from Southern Italy are blood oranges. For years, I told my wife how I wished we could get real blood oranges in America. I lived on these things in Napoli when I was 10. One day, in Nashville, she comes home from the grocery store with a grin. She tells me to come into the kitchen as she puts away the groceries. And then she pulls out what looks like a tangerine. I said "what is it?" She said, "It's a blood orange." I was confused. So I cut it open and it was dry and sour. I appreciated the effort, but, it wasn't a blood orange. It may have had the right color, but it certainly was a different animal. A few years ago, we went to Napoli on one of our vacations in Italy. We pulled off the Amalfi Drive by a souvenir shop with a produce stand outside. "Those grapefruits look nice," she said. "Those aren't grapefruit," I said, "THAT, is a blood orange." I went into the shop for a while and when I came out she was sitting on the side of the road, with the blood colored, sweet juice running all the way down to her elbows. "Okay, now I get it," she said. We've never purchased blood oranges in America again.
Every time I click that little button proclaiming to Reverbnation that I own the rights to this material, I have to pause just a little. To be honest, this song is one of the four I sold away the licensing rights to as part of The Londons' PinD deal with World Artist Entertainment. They were supposed to give us studio time to record four songs, which never happened because the band broke up before we completed the studio EP.
Many letters were exchanged over the decades and have received no firm acknowledgement from them that they have relinquished any claim to my songs that were part of that deal.
But, I'm pretty sure since the company doesn't exist anymore. Our manager is now a successful Environmental lawyer and the other "characters" are probably doing time in some state prison somewhere, I'm sure I'm pretty safe posting this.
This song has one of my favorite lines of mine: "Johnnie left his band of old for plastic instead of gold..." A reference to John Lennon leaving the beatles and moving on to the plastic ono band.
We won't last another day if we don’t run, run, run, run away Suddenly our love’s gone cold, your face shouldn’t look that old well it’s hard to say and it’s hard to take when you need a break from your love
Maybe I’ll go south of here I’ve heard there’s a lot of girls down there If we leave before it’s dark we won’t change our minds Maybe you should start tonight, before it’s light you might break a heart
Run, run, run, run away Run, run, run, run away
I’ll take a bus, I don’t care. I’ll take anything at all just to get me away from here...tonight
We won’t last another day if we don’t run, run, run, run away Johnny left his band of old for plastic instead of gold And I’ll find a girl and you’ll find a guy, maybe then we’ll both get some piece of mind
This song is about a girl I was in love with when I was in college. The title is based on a poem she wrote about herself. She was anything but unobtrusive. I think to this day I remember almost every day we spent together. This is sort of an amalgamation of conversations. She was into Sylvia Plath and possessed all of the suicidal tendencies that come with that love. And she actually told me one day that she didn't believe there were any nuclear bombs, just visions of three guys. How could you not put that in a song?
She was trying very, very hard. And it paid off. She survived the hard times and seems very happy and well adjusted these days. Probably more than me.
"The Quiet Unobtrusive One"
There’s a girl that wants it so bad She nearly lost her mind She read a book by Sylvia And thought she was the kind She dreamed she was a china doll Her eyes would never cry painted blue porcelain to keep it all inside.
And she’s been trying so hard
She told me that there were no bombs Just visions of three guys But if you really think they’re there they’ll surely blow your mind
She’s been trying so hard
I don’t know if she wants me to be with her and I’m terrified and she knows how to speak to me with words I can't define.
She’s a field of floating daisy she’s gently drifting by a quiet unobtrusive one or thunder from the sky
I wrote this song as my answer to the notion of being "spiritual" as opposed to being religious. I've never been into chanting mantras, praising oceans, daisy chains, or anything you have to do with your legs crossed. I'm more a kneeling in the pew and learning my rosary sort. And while I'm okay with anyone's attempt to find their own way, I think sometimes they try to hard. Everything doesn't have to be that complex.
"The Only One I Need"
Everyone needs someone everybody’s waiting then everybody runs Far from here, lost in fear full of thirst and hunger searching for the one If there’s more than one way I’d be lost and so scared Now I know you’re the only one I need
I’ve looked high, I’ve been dry Started praising oceans, earth and the sky Everyone sang love’s the one started chanting mantras and went to India But if there’s more than one way I’d be lost and so scared But now I know I know you’re the only one I need
Time will fly Flesh will die Everybody’s searching Trying to learn how to fly Far from here So, free and clear Let the spirit in me and let it take me high Cause if there’s more than one way I’d be lost and so scared But now I know you’re the only one I need
One of my more fun songs, felt like I needed to lighten things up after "A Gospel of Sorts." This was an attempt at trying to create some of the stereotypical country songs in which there is usually some witty little turn of phrase. And, in a country song you can call yourself an ass.
I waited in line for about five hours one cold, rainy day at the Bluebird Cafe to audition for their writer nights. I sat through a lot of really cheesy songs. Some that I still remember involved a guy asking a girl "can I be frank with you tonight..." Why, because she was in love with a guy named Frank. Get it? He wasn't asking if he could be honest. Another person rhymed Mabel with table. Why is this memorable? Because he was at a gentleman's club and, as he described in the song: "I looked up on the table, and it was my wife Mabel!" After waiting five hours, and given an opportunity to sing one verse and one chorus, I abandoned my plans to sing this song and instead offered one of more heartfelt and sincere songs.
I didn't get called back that year.
"Lights, Camera, Action"
Please come to hollywood and stay for a while Don’t have much money but I’ve got a nice smile And it’s been so long now since you’ve been home I’ve been reading the lines on the phone playing the scenes all alone
I’ve seen you in cafes and you’re looking fine you’ve been sipping cream and caffeine and I’ve been drinking wine and I stare at you and then walk away I’m still petrified of what you’ve say It’s not a scene I want to play
And its lights, camera, action Another scene I aint got no lines and I’ve been cut from the scenes of a blockbuster movie with a glamorous queen One’s my life and the other’s just a dream that’s been fading fast from the screen
I’m leaving here and going back to Racine I’ve been in 14 films and I’ve barely been scene I’ve been behind a paper or pumping gas I’ve been looking in while cleaning glass but most of all I’ve been an ass
I wrote this song at one of my most depressed states. There was a time when I was convinced God was angry with me. I thought he was sending me signs to take some steps and those steps usually ended in utter failure or brokenhearted.
But immediately after penning the lyrics, I realized how assbackwards they really were. It wasn't God's responsibility to understand me, mine to understand him. But, I love the chord progression and melody, and I guess even though I realize the immaturity of some of the lyrics, I don't necessarily won't to rewrite or forget this song.
"A Gospel of Sorts"
There doesn’t seem to be any hope for me or any chance of walking through your door I’ve taken all you’ve said and mixed it round my head but all I do is talk of you as if you were my friend
I reached my hand up high I squeezed my fist and cried Lord I need a sign To make me feel alive
I put my life into your hands and hoped that you would understand me I played your game, I prayed your name and hoped that you would save me
There doesn’t seem to be any chance for me I’ll drift away and never find the shore Everything’s gone bad, every song’s turned sad But all I do is reach for you like something I should have
There doesn’t seem to be any hope for me or any chance of walking through your day
So...I'm fixated on comic book heroes. Probably due to the four years I spent in Italy between the ages of 10 to 13. There was no television I could understand and I read everything from Richy Rich to Avengers.
Who is Debra? And why is she Batgirl? Two good questions. Let's just say lyrical connections sometimes are very tangled and thin. A friend of mine was a law librarian moving to a very gothic city: Chicago. Since batgirl's alterego was librarian Barbara Gordon, Debra became Batgirl to me. And yes, she lived on the 15th floor of neat little apartment in downtown Chicago. Great views.
And yes, my friends hate it when they make appearances in songs and they seldom agree with my observations on them.
"Batgirl’s Gone Away"
Debra’s on a highway, she’s been running far away. She never looks in her rear view mirror. She’s been walking 15 stories high, maybe she thinks maybe, she thinks she can fly, I tell you, It’s never easier, you’ve been running so long that you can’t touch ground It’s easy though, it’s easy for her for our little batgirl
She’s a batgirl in disguise she’s been flying all around praying for someone superhuman Maybe she thinks he can pull her down, maybe she thinks maybe she should be on the ground It’s never easier You’ve been hung on the line but you won’t get dry
Batgirl, Batgirl’’s gone away You’ve always been stronger than the rest You were there just to pull us through the mess It’s never easier, you’ve
Batgirl’s stole the batsign, she’s been lighting up the sky looking into every window hoping someone will ask her please won’t you please come back, please come home to me
I've always liked this song and think it is one of my best. I wrote this for my wife about ten years ago as we neared our tenth anniversary. We had a very rocky start in life. I was an in-law's nightmare when we were first together. I was a 22 year old bass player/songwriter for a poppunk band in the late '80s. And, she was still in high school. In fact, we were living together before she graduated. Kind of fun writing absence excuses for your girlfriend. And we were engaged by the time prom came around for her.
Her favorite color combination has always been pink and black so we drove all over Central Florida to try to find a pink and black gown.
"Do You Think That We Could Dance?"
Pink and black are pretty if you smile, Oh I wish that you would Open up that heaven in your eyes and let me into I want to hold you. Hate to impose on you but do you think that we could dance?
I used to think that you were just a child and I could save you Now I’ve come to understand that you will be my savior I want to hold you. Hate to impose on you do you think that we could dance
I want to hold you, love you under the lights I want you to cling to me, sing with me, and be my wife
Pink and black are pretty if you smile, oh I wish that you would, open up that heaven in your eyes and let me into I want to hold you. Hate to impose on you do you think that we could dance?
I want to hold you, love you under the lights I want you to cling to me, sing with me, and be my wife.
Miracle is a song about being happy that some relationships never really work out. You rarely see lyrics like "It's a miracle that love has never been enough for..."
In general, every song in which a guy comes across an old girlfriend, usually in a setting like a grocery store, in a brief conversation, the guy comes to the conclusion that for some unknown reason the woman is now frustrated with her current husband and is wishing she was still with the guy. Maybe because musicians think they're just so much cooler than other "shlubs" that surely that must be the case.
The reality is that most of the times, the woman probably thanking God she didn't end up with this arrogant, asshole, musician.
So, I definitely didn't want to write something like that. Or, call myself an ahole. I thought this was ironic enough.
I saw you in a grocery store, your heart held out you reach for more You were standing by the frozen foods and I was frozen next to you Have you ever just walked away afraid of things you couldn’t say
I saw you in a record store, my heart held out, you reached for more You were looking through the holy songs the ones that help you get along and have you ever just walked away, afraid of hope, too scared to pray Well I guess I missed the signs
It’s a miracle that we have never been together. It’s a miracle It’s a miracle that love has never been enough for...It’s a miracle
I was standing in a photograph with you beside another man you were sipping on pink champaign as if you didn’t feel the pain have you ever just walked away ashamed of things you couldn’t say, well I guess I missed the signs
It’s a miracle that we have never been together It’s a miracle It’s a miracle that love has never been enough for It’s a miracle