Sunday, May 15, 2011

Song Cemetery I

Statue Park - Budapest
Just outside of Budapest is the 'communist cemetery'. Scattered around a open field is a collection of statues and sculptures from the communist era. It is a haunting place. It testifies to the idealism, aspirations and ultimately, the failures of communism in Europe. Maybe songs are like statues and sculptures. Once they are recorded, they become inescapable reminders of the past. Ideas, aspirations, victories, defeats, successes, failures (we could go on).

The truth is, that only a tiny number of those songs ever make it past the practice room. It seems that the triage proccess begins very quickly. In a band situation the variables that dictate this are endless. It could be that the song is too long, too short, too unfocused, too self indulgent, too cheesy, too boring, too angsty, too obvious, not obvious enough, too complicated, too simple, too egotistical, too depressing, too happy.

I absolutely admire people who have the courage to share their ideas with others and are prepared for the (good) chance that the ideas will not fly. If there is one thing I have learned, you need to know when to let an idea go.

Oscar Wilde said, "An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." Now, Oscar was always prone to exaggeration, but the essence has resonance. Half the danger is in even sharing the idea though.

I have a huge collection of songs that are currently populating my own 'song cemetery'. Sometimes I visit and leave flowers or lay a wreath.  Sometimes I wonder what could have been. Sometimes I'm glad they are dead.

This post is titled 'Song Cemetery I'. It will be the first of my cemetery tours. I will be guiding you through the dead and buried ideas. Some lived long lives and are now laid to rest. Others were lost before their time. Some were stillborn.

The first stop on this tour is a song called 'Everything I Ever Wanted'. I really like the intro. But after a minute, I am ready to let it rest. It flatlines. It is aimless. It had no future. Forgive me.

Ashes to ashes...

Everything I Ever Wanted (Original 8-track demo)
(Words & Music by Andrew Savage)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Long Way Home

Long Way Home is a song that may be facing retirement. There was a time where it was an essential song to me. It was adaptable, at times powerful, at others contemplative.

But it could never escape the fact that it was my attempt at being Bruce Springsteen.

I love Bruce.

But while my attempt at being Bruce always felt good to play, I was never sure it was quite as good to listen to.

Over time, the song has polymorphed through a number of different arrangements. Sometimes it is a rock song, sometimes a folk song, sometimes a single voice and others a group vocal. It just can't decide what it wants to be. So maybe it is time to let it go.

The song is centered around a couple occupying the same house, acting out the cliches of a successful relationship, co-existing, sitting metres apart in the same house, but a still a long way from home. Like ghosts haunting different rooms. Rattling chains. Attempting to reach the living, but unable to find a way to cross the divide.

When I was younger I became obsessed with finding ways to measure success in relationships. This was based on a twisted set of conditions that ultimately boiled down to not making the same mistakes I percieved my parents and the adults around me making. This obsession in itself became a paralysis. I began to overthink everything. Analyse my performance based on a set of secret criteria that taunted me and teased me when I erred.

Those days are long gone now...but at times the memory of the old voices can creep up on me. They laugh at me in my dreams and attempt to unsettle me, and shatter my faith. In those moments, no matter where I am, home can feel a long way away.

This song is about moments like that. The narrator grasps at solutions - control, entertainment, denial, sex - but finds that nothing can take them home unless the ghosts begin to speak to each other again and agree to find a remedy.

Long Way Home (Live with The Dickens)
(Words: Andrew Savage. Music : Andrew Savage w/ Adams, King, Rhoades & Henderwood)

Long Way Home (Live solo performance)
(Words: Andrew Savage. Music : Andrew Savage)

Long Way Home (Live with Savage Adams)
(Words: Andrew Savage. Music : Andrew Savage w/ Dan Adams & Simon Eastwood)

I’ve been coming down the line
I’ve been coming for a long long time
Let your ghost talk to me
I’ve been making up this stuff
I’d rather have you round my love
Let your ghost talk to me

It’s a long way home

There’s a song on the radio
I’d turn it off, but I know
We need a remedy
You’ve got me under your thumb
I’ve got you under mine
I know
We need a remedy
It’s a long way home

I still wanted to know you
But you’re on the second floor
Writing me in your black book
I still wanted more
But your words mean nothing to me
You’re too good at that

I need some action
On me

Keep it coming

It’s a long way home