Thursday, May 09, 2013

Inside Every Piano Is A Song

i
Inside every piano is a song
A song only this piano can play
There's a soul of the guy who got drunk one night
Or the girl who threw up in his lap
A songwriter pounding the last songs before he dies
That spinster in her turn of the century dress

A barefoot kid just noodling around

A wannabe Bernstein
A wannabe John Lennon
A wannabe
Next
A wannabe Next

And all these people
Remain in the strings by the small damages
Each one does during the playing
A loosening of a peg
Wear on the moving parts
Each person hurts it a little
But it all adds up to a sound
Based on woulds
And a sound is a soul
And soul is a sound

I actually believe this

People are constantly asking me what I believe
I believe this

That there is a song in every piano
And if I don't find its song
I might miss out on having written
the Song
The song that will heal the world

ii

Over on the west side of manhattan
She is waiting for me
She does not know I'm coming
We have flirted with each other
We have even slightly kissed

But she will not remember me
She will never remember me
And she will have been with many others

Church girls
And folk guys in their cut-off jeans
And hairy chins
Jazz pros in porkpies
Classical students with backpacks

And yet, when I saw her,
It was like she'd been forgotten
Stuck in a corner in a tiny booth

All for $125 per hour

iii

They asked if I wanted her tuned
NO! For god's sake
And suck out all the soul?

She's been pounded, beaten, stroked, massaged
Felt covered mallets, dampers and pedals
Like driving a car
Like riding a bike
I even brought songs to get her started

Inside every piano is a song
That only it can play
A sound that only it could make
And I look for the sweet spot

It may be anywhere on the keyboard
But when I find it
When the vibrations in that spot start to line up
In that way that makes my body feel
Suddenly cleansed
Like a river of woodsound
Pouring into my lap
And up into my body

A song gets born
Because the sound begets the song
And those two beget a generation
Of still breeding vibrations
And those vibrations make more vibrations
And it's all specific to her
The imperfections are what make her beautiful

I've played the Antarctic Suite
On many pianos
But it only truly sounds like itself
On the lounge piano of a certain ship
At 7am approaching Antarctica

And Connected
On Jim's old piano now in residence
In Southern California
In the home of a treasured family

iii

So when I sit with you
My virgin bride
My job's to find the sweet spot
The spot that makes you jump
Right into my skin

let us find each other in the dark
I'll be there on the 15th

And I'll bring the $125 per hour
You won't remember me when I'm gone
But the others will know I was there

iv

"I've booked two hours and I'm going to record an entire album." I said to choir members this past Sunday morning, some of whom looked at me like I was some kind of nut -- and others who gave me a knowing smile, like "Yeah. It's about time."

The normal procedure for making an album is you spend hours and hours on each track, adding things, multiple takes, etc. working feverishly to process every bit of sound until it sounds and feels machine-made. It costs gajillions of dollars and me standing in a vocal booth, walled off from humanity. (Some a genius at it. I'm like a statue.)

So, I'm going to simply sit at this piano and get to know her.

Whenever I walk into a room with piano, I have to put my hands on her. I have to play something. I can feel this physical excitement coming from my mid-section. The vibrations of a piano -- string against wood -- bathe you. Embrace you.

So, he's gonna hit the ON button and I'll start playing. And we won't stop between takes unless I just need a break.

The songs from this album will have been written for various projects, but have mostly been sung by others, such as the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and various singers (internationally!) who write and request material.

I wanted to find the most personal of these and do a definitive "Steve" recording, if only for myself, to remind myself what they sound like in their purest form.
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For my birthday, also St. Francis of Assisi Day,

here is "Rescue" the song I sang to Erika Amato 's Buddy the dog. Imagine if we loved humans as much as we love our animals...