Stars in Your Eyes
I had a run in at the bank where I was told my "no fee" account now had a $30.00 annual fee. When I said, "ok, then close the account", I was told that not only did I have to pay the $30.00 but there was a $50.00 fee to close out. After a heated scene in the bank lobby I resigned to cutting my losses. I'm grateful for the experience, as it turned positive in the second verse of Love is Real. In Jr. High my friend, Brent Schuler, called and asked my brother and I if we'd like to go to a rock show. Oh Yeah! When we got there we discovered it was a gem and mineral show. We pretended it was just what we'd expected and preceded to admire the beautiful crystals. Well, at least I got a fun song out of it - Rock Show. Right Foot Yellow -is inspired by my wife and her sister playing Twister® and by our nieces twirling Hula-hoops® and bouncing on Pogo sticks® "Yes, Pinky, Registered Trademark" (obscure Pinky and the Brain reference). For you songwriting nerds who may be interested, the genesis of the song was the guitar hook, which was inspired by a Norwegian folk melody. The Snohomish valley near where I grew up floods rather dramatically every so often. The flood of '75 was one of the biggest recorded but it was the flood of '77 that is particularly memorable for me. I remember kissing my girlfriend in a field when the sight of a drowned and bloated cow spoiled the romantic moment. In Banjo On My Knee, the flood becomes a metaphor for our relationship's eventual demise. I guess Dishes is sort of an act locally think globally song. Ironically, in the lyric I'm searching for my life's meaning saying it's not playing the piano. Meanwhile, I'm playing as if my life depended on it. My brother, Matthew, wrote the lyrics to Broken Arrow. He used to work as pastor with street people in Berkeley CA. He'd get the street musicians together in People's Park for sort of a Grateful Dead style church. I set his lyrics as a slow ballad but he thought it should rock. I went with a Clash sort of feel and my guitarist, Greg, added the over-the-top Queen style guitar choir. On one of our first dates I told Sue, who was later to become my wife, that she was beautiful. She said, "You've got stars in your eyes". Some twenty years later when I told her she was beautiful, she again said, "You've got stars in your eyes". Later, when I called her up to say that I'd written a song for her called Stars In Your Eyes, she asked what you'd expect anyone to ask who'd just had a song written for them: "Does it have harmonica in it?" I wrote I Can't Sleep (Every Night I Think of You) in 1980. I recently dug up an old 4 track real-to-real tape of it my brother and I had recorded back then. It's a strange feeling to hear an age 18 version of yourself singing a song you'd written in what seems like another lifetime. It was gratifying for me to re-record it for this project, hearing it for the first time as it was originally intended, with an arsenal of ripping guitar lics and power chords. Adding Melissa on doo-wop background vocals was also a happy surprise, matching the spirit of the inane words and bringing a humorous contrast to the heavy multi-meter seriousness of the music. Naked and Wet was originally going to be a light-hearted song about being in the shower when the phone rings, but these really dark words came out for the bridge of the song and Matthew and I decided it would be about the tragic death of our childhood friend John Heck who was lost at sea in 1990. In the song we call him "Barnacle Bill". "Barnacle Bill's" was the name of the pinball arcade we used to go to as kids growing up in Snohomish, Washington. Growing up in the 70's my brothers and I had a utopian vision of turning our Grandparents Helen and Clarence Erdman's dairy farm into a hippie rock band commune with a recording studio in the barn. Erdman Farm is a feel-good sort of Neal Young style anthem celebrating the farm and the dream.