Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Special Honor.

I felt very specially honored last night.

We had an attendance of eight at the workshop. It's a drop-in group that's a 20 dollar donation to Kulak's Woodshed.

Marc Platt announced it at the top. He sat on a stool near the piano and said, "Tonight we're gonna write a song about Steve leaving. We're gonna call it "Goodbye, For Now."

I must have scrunched up my face or something because he said, "Why? You don't think it's a good idea?"

"No," I responded. "It's fine. But you couldn't think of a better title?"

That made Neil laugh out loud because he loves getting one over on Marc.

Marc laughed, too, and tried to think of a comeback, but I think I got him. Or maybe he topped me. I doesn't matter. What matters is that there was an easy camaraderie.

In the workshop, coming up with a new song or song idea each week is part of the deal. And it can be about anything. You can write a song about an ashtray and make it work if you believe in it, as someone said.

Then, Marc got one of the newer guys, whose name I should remember but I don't, to play guitar.

He said to him, "You said you could come up with music. Play guitar. Play something. Make us a song."

He came up with a combination of G Am C G / G am C G / em A C G / em A C D.

Then, another guy I hadn't met but said he knew me, probably because I'm visible down at the Woodshed, came in with a guitar. He had long hair parted down the middle. Grizzled face. As if he'd walked in from the desert (completely possible in Los Angeles). Marc knew him.

He was slower at picking up on the chord combination, but he had a husky, cool voice. And when Marc said, "Okay, give us the opening line," people were fussing with "Don't want to say good bye," but it all felt done before. And then Desert Guy suggested ... I can't put it here. It's like giving away your trademark before you own it.

But I thought it was interesting that the one who came up with the winning hook was the one who knew me the least. That's probably a reflection on me.

Then, Marc put me on the piano and it was up to me to sing the song as we put it together.

Talk about surreal! I said, at one point, after having completely failed at adding anything of substance to the song, "I feel like I'm writing a love letter to myself." Now, my brother, Scott, the psychologist would insist that, for me, this would not be unfamiliar territory. Still, I just couldn't do it. After all, I don't know what it's like to live with me.

At the end of the night, we had a song. Or the first draft of a song, anyway. And it was a communal experience that felt really good for everyone involved. Naturally, the song is going to have to be a huge smash for any of us to make a buck on it, splitting the copyright 8 or 9 ways, but it was a great creative experience.

Speaking of creative, Ernie came over and helped me get rid of bags and bags of junk up here in my loft. I actually have floor space again!

Next week, we begin tech rehearsals for Zero Hour in New York. It's all happening so quickly.

I will, of course, give you the backstage story with my video camera. We have a superb team, going ahead. So, if you like this kind of thing, let me know. I enjoy doing it.

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