Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Great Bleeding Heart Lyric

(Through a hallway, into a room, in the corner you wait just watching the shadows

Thoughts that keep you up late at night disappear in the smoke of a thousand cigarettes)

This is the beginning of Fell in a Hole, a song I wrote in the early 80’s. It was released on Wax Theatricks’ last record in 1984.

It’s gratifying to see your lyrics in print. This was the one, of which a rock critic in Hawaii said, “The singer sounds, strangely like Burl Ives.”

Lyrics have always been the most anxiety producing aspect of song writing for me.

With the exception of a couple of songs I wrote with Tracy Wynkoop, Dominic Schaeffer, Fojammi, and I were the principal song writers of the band. All of us tried writing together but the good stuff was so personal we had to work alone.

At the time, if you tried to say too much with lyrics, it was considered pretentious. I’m sure we all struggled with that one. We had to look past it because we really believed in what we were doing. Fortunately we had each other’s standards to live up to. We were all avid readers and we knew we couldn’t get away with laziness.

I think what we were after was some kind of inner truth about the human condition. We were after something so personal it was undeniable. It had to hurt a little.

I’ve seen lyrics from all of us printed somewhere. It not only strokes your ego but you feel like someone is actually listening. Supertramp’s “just as long as there’s two of us” comes to mind.

(It’s you that has to grow, it’s you that has to reach, still you wait around for someone to teach you) This is from Dominic’s Listen to Me. I’ll never forget singing it to my girlfriend Jill while playing it on piano in the Magic Masters studio. She was very impressed. It’s the closer from our first LP “Distances”.

Our songs had to pass the “scrutiny from each other” test. We could be pretty merciless with each other too. If a song passed that test though, I’d feel pretty good about myself. Like Fojammi said in one of his classics, “Rosy colored pictures of myself, you know they’re necessary for my mental health.”

I’m my own worse critic of course. We actually recorded Fell in a Hole before I was finished with the lyrics. They’re in a notebook somewhere. Something compels me to record the finished product.

Benet sent us a link to a guy who apparently had been looking for a copy of Fell in a Hole for years.

Check out this link and let me know if you think Dominic sounds like Burl Ives.

Pic is back cover of our last LP by Matt O’Shea. I just noticed the “for chas” over to the right. He took me on a tour of college stations in Chicago to promote one of our early singles. I think I may have posted about it. After Jill and I split she moved in with him. I believe she was at his band’s rehearsal at Magic Masters studio when he died. I think he had a brain hemorrhage in the middle of practice. We loved him.


Anonymous said...

I really like Dom's voice. I kept thinking while listening to it, that he did sound like Burl Ives, but there was another aspect to it too, kind of like Pete Townshend thrown in the mix. I found Fo Jammi's website and got to listen to some other tracks, too. Looking forward to checking the rest out. Really liked If Elvis had lived... You guys were GOOD! Dede

Dominic said...

Dede- you don't know how much your citing Townshend means to me- thank you! It makes the Burl Ives part sting far less ;)

David- great piece. I know you're right about having to pass the others scrutiny but my approach was always lasse faire (read: lazy fear) and I just put words on paper that meant something to me most times (sometimes i had no idea what they meant) and left it to the listener to decide what they actually mean, if anything. I had no idea what your and Danny's lyrics meant for the most part but sung them as best i could- correcting only grammatical errors that made it hard for me to memorize. But i trusted that what you two meant to convey had credibility and merited my best shot at performance.

There are a few things i would do differently regarding Wax Theatricks but that comes from many years distance and sobriety. Most important than any of that- i find i really love what we did.

Anonymous said...

I really liked what you did, too. I really wish Wax Theatricks had not disbanded. I have such fond memories of all you guys, but that membrane encasing you all disappeared.

Dave's Mom

Anonymous said...

I got to go back to Fo Jammi's website and listen to some more of y'alls stuff. I am so impressed! I have to say I want these recordings! I emailed Danny about buying the discs. I especially like the funkier stuff (If Elvis Had Lived is brilliant), Pink Noise also. Fell in a Hole is now stuck in my head. For Now is beautiful, but the transitions lost me a few times, plus the lyrics are a bit apprehensive or something.At one point I found myself wondering if Moby had been influenced by you guys! But there's a bit of Genesis, German Techno (Triumvirat?), and just good old soul in your music. I also liked the Invisibles tracks, wow, Swingin Lord Vader!! I hope Danny has some for sale. And I hope you guys still get together and play- You're a really good band. Dede

Anonymous said...

By the way, Dave's Mom, I have enjoyed reading about your fascinating life in his blog. You should write a book. I predict, that Dave will write a beautiful song about you that everyone will love. Dede

Dominic said...

Oh- one thing about "Fell..." it's like we're all racing to the finish line. I know it's supposed to move but, damn- it's FAST! Anyway we can "time stretch" it and bring it down a few beat per minute? Also- there are skips in Fo Jammi's copy.

Doggie said...

No, Fojammi tried to get Burl to download from his site. I believe the skips are from the Benet version. Yes Dominic, way too fast! There are a few things I would like to do when remastering. I promise nothing will be compromised. Dede I wrote For Now in '78, I think. A young man with life's tragedies, death and regret, weighing heavily on the old shoulders! (Don't ya know?)

...Sharon said...

Hmmmm, do I feel the warm breeze of a reunion show in the air...?

Anonymous said...

Genial fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

Tracy said...

I also had no idea what you’re guys lyrics meant most of the time. I mean what they meant to you. They took on certain meanings to me though which I think was kind of the point, sometimes. They were wordy for sure, like slow rap songs, Like stream of consciousness.

A girlfriend had inspired some lyrics out of me (not an easy feat) and she didn’t, nor did any of her friends have any clue what the words meant, yet her friends would squeal with delight when we played the song. I always thought that was funny.

I will never ever forget David, the day your Dad died and you decided that we should do the gig in Edwardsville anyway. We played “For Now”. It was powerful and I remember feeling so proud of you and of us and feeling very connected to each other. I felt invincible to the audience and for that performance I thought knew exactly what that song meant. When I listen to it now, I think of that night , talk about a membrane… it was thick.

Anonymous said...

Because I left St. Louis in 1984, and really didn't see you guys that much between highschool and then, and not at all between then and now,and knowing from your writings a bit about what you've been through collectively, I think I can say with objectivity that you fellows share an astounding connection that is no mere coincidence. What about it? Dede

Dominic said...

Dede- Doubtless. I'd go so far as to say we're closer than "extended family". We ARE family. As much family as one can be and not share a bloodline.

Anonymous said...

i dont know if you guys know, but i believe jean has all of your albums if you are looking for original copies. i've lost every copy of anything i ever recorded over the years, but it's great to hear the stuff you guys download- geo