Mar 26

I love it when I’m driven to write. That unconscionable feeling that doesn’t just get the juices flowing, it gets them spilling all over the page! The problem is well, for me anyway, I’m driving down more than one road at a time. I’m riffing, I’m just writing with no point in sight hoping to make some sense of it at some point.

Usually during this tirade, I may see a flickering of hope. That one simple line that stands out as eloquent in all that ranting: the one I can hang my song on. Usually it the only one that actually makes a point. :-P

The shame is that I get excited about that one line and I strive to reiterate, rephrase or otherwise stretch the idea out to an entire verse. Sometimes it works. More often than not is just gives me stuff to do a rewrite from. Rarely do I manage to keep the thread spinning, weaving another verse, and chorus out of it. Hence, fragmentation occurs. That half-written half thought out “great idea at the time, and if I only had more time I’d finish it” sort of song.

So, not wanting to throw away any good idea that comes along I keep it for future use. I do it because let’s face it, one only has so many good ideas n’est-ce pas? If everyone had an unlimited supply of great lyrics spewing forth not only would bands like Boston have had a second album that didn’t sound just like the first one, but the effect on my CD collection would have been exponential.

So I file it as an unfinished work.

There it sits, like the last two slices of cheese in the crisper, underneath the newly purchased freshly sliced cheese that always gets eaten first. The only difference is that I eventually throw out the old cheese. The “cheese” I wrote eventually becomes “aged cheese” and somehow no longer relevant.

Ok enough food metaphors, I’m getting hungry.

So fragments can build up over time. I’ve got 35 years of crap piled up that I literally have never thrown away. Most of the time if I rifle through it at all it’s only nostalgic and a reinforcement of the fact that I don’t write crap like that any more. Well, most of the time anyway. ;-)

Occasionally though, that pack rat syndrome works. I’ve taken many a half written tune, added a verse or so to fill it in and made it work.

Here’s an example: 50 Percent Sincere

When I wrote the beginning, I was heartbroken over an ex girlfriend canceling a get together after being apart for more than a year. It was a last minute cancelation. So, I wrote the first 2 verses and a chorus then put it away.

Two years later, my good friend Mike Wich and I were looking for new material and I pulled the song out. That was when I added a final verse that had nothing to do with the song. It actually had to do with an argument Mike had with our bass player, Billy.

Yeah, nothing whatsoever to do with the initial intent. So I wrote on the top of the page “at least this one’s 50% sincere”.

That was back in 1981 and I’m amazed that the song still works 27 years later.

So, you might ask, what’s the point of all this?

Fragments: Good. Old Cheese: Bad (most of the time).

Go back and look at your half finished work. There are gems in there you’ve forgotten about. ;-)