Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Next time, Allen Iverson comes right before Greg Ostertag. Just make the transition crisp.

If it was the early 16th century and I was hanging out with Michelangelo (the sculptor, not the ninja turtle), I would've been far more intrigued watching him actually sculpt David than seeing the finished product, with that epic, confident look on his face in spite of his tiny, tiny genitals. Watching someone work, seeing the edits, the erasures, the tiny, subtle changes that are made: that's what's interesting. Which is not to say that I wouldn't have wanted to see the end result Biblical underdog after watching three years of chiseling. It just means something more when you see the ten ton chunk of marble in the first place.

Here in Birdmonster land, the song-writing process is really never the same twice. Sometimes, songs are born spontaneously (Ball of Yarn for example) or someone will bring in the chords & melody for an entire ditty that simply needs to be arranged, ordered, and practiced endlessly (All the Holes, perhaps). Other times, they're based a single chord progression or little riff that someone's been noodling with at home and then six months later, viola, it's a song (Cause You Can, por ejemplo). In other words, there's no Steven Tyler-esque overlord.

I mention this because last night we made serious progress on a new song with, ostensibly, three different parts. Now, since none fit the technical definition of "chorus" or "verse" or "outro" or what have you, we had to name them in order to arrange the song. You can't just sit there calling every part "that part" or poorly humming the melody while Dave sits in the corner shredding like Yngwie Malsteen for his own sick amusement. It just doesn't work. So we named the parts. For reasons incomprehensible to all concerned, we named them Tiger Woods, John McEnroe, and Davis Love III, even though Davis Love III is the 1st section of the song, which means you end up saying things like "let's try Davis Love the third first, six times." Asinine? You betcha. But it worked. And now, when our studiomates see the white board listing various professional athletes who play sports for old people, they'll be really confused.

Which got me thinking: I wonder if any one else does this. Like, I wonder if William Faulkner called certain chapters of As I Lay Dying "Crazy Dead Bitch Won't Stay Dead" or if Beethoven's pet name for his Ninth Symphony was "I'm Sorry I Slept with Your Sister." Man, I hope so.


Gasoline Hobo said...

ok, that last paragraph is fricken fracken awesome. and i don't say that lightly. or at all, really - at least, not out loud. "Crazy Dead Bitch Won't Stay Dead" is GENIUS.

anyway. my writing process is sort of like that, only with steno pads and stuff instead of white boards.

i tend to write displaced chunks of stuff spread over a wide swath of a timeline, based on where my brain is at the moment, and then i have to go back and figure out ways to stitch 'em together.

i also have the habit of writing weird things in the margins, like "robot made of sticks?", "capes that stream without wind", "how quickly could beetles eat someone?", and "samurai sword made of nanites, wielded by woman who has processors in her vertebrae".

sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. some of it will work later, and some of it will just sit there and frustrate me.

it's fun to keep trying though, ain't it?

Gasoline Hobo said...

p.s.: i totally need to hear the yngwie shredding. i'll bring my grater.

birdmonster said...

Any story involving beetles devouring anyone, a robot made of sticks, and a super-de-dooper cyborg nanite samuria bitch from hell is a story I want to read. Badly. Especially if the robot & the woman fight and the robot wins and the beetles eat the woman AND the nanites, so they turn into cyborgeetles or robeetles maybe, and then they overwhelm the robot, destroy it, and eat it's face.

Yeah. I'd read that. Twice.

(glad you liked the last paragraph. "Crazy Bitch Won't Stay Dead" is the best chapter of that book, too)