Sunday, February 14, 2010

Remember Me!

Remember Me is my first love song. I remember feeling strange about it, because I wrote it for no particular girl, and I wondered if that was somehow dishonest. Over the years I've come to be happy with the song being about an idea rather than a person. Falling in and out of love, wondering what love is, and finally finding it after all these years means that the song is more honest than any song about an individual could be. The one exception I have to offer is the song I wrote for my wife, Cathy, last year. My most fervent aspiration is to never write another love song again unless it's just for her.

I wrote this song when I was just a kid, yearning for the love that was somehow denied me by circumstance and my own inner conflict. It represents the simplest and most barren appeal to a lover possible, to just be remembered. Just don't forget me. I love you, and I'll always love you if you remember me. Originally the words were somewhat different, as I discovered when I listened to the 1979 version with Jambox. One line in this song was suggested by Rico DeBool, "I'll always hold you in my heart". I'll never forget when he suggested it, we were living in Homer Townsley's P-Funk Playpen on Victor and we were sitting around the attic room where we practiced.

The idea that I would always love anyone I ever loved was very important to me. I still don't understand how people can just stop loving someone. If you can stop loving someone, you never loved them at all. It has a lot to do with how you look at people. If they are simply objects that you project whatever emotion into that you want to, well, then love is something entirely within yourself and has nothing to do with the human qualities of an external person that caused it to happen. I happen to believe that the love I feel for my friends and lovers is a feeling of mutual humanity, that embraces and exalts all the complexity and beauty of a person who returns our love. Once you feel it, you'll always feel it again, even after many years have passed. It's far beyond mere sexual attraction, which seems to be the beginning and end of love for many people.

The new version of this song here was one that I worked really hard to finish for Valentine's Day. Singing this song without going flat, with all the tricky elisions, is no picnic. I finally managed to finish it just this morning. The older version of this song is from a cassette tape Jambox made to market ourselves to some rich county girl who was hiring a band for a party. I was surprised to hear all the little differences between this, the actual finished version of the copyrighted song, and how I've been singing it lately. It's amusing and cute to listen to my 18-year-old voice sliding all over the place with no idea of which range I should sing it in.

Here's the 1979 Jambox version of Remember Me, with Slash Brannon on violin and Rico DeBool on bass - note that this mp3 is not safe for work, and features an obscenity quite loudly and distinctly in the first several seconds:

Here's the 2010 version of Remember Me, which I just finished this morning!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Best of the Naughts: Unfairly Obscure

Though everyone in this series is unfairly obscure, two bands stand out for me, one because I've been following them almost all my life, and the other because I know next to nothing about them.

The Blastoids are yet another group featuring the talents of my old and very dear friend Dominic Shaeffer. My awe for Dominic will never fade, because the very first local band I ever saw was Earwacks, down in Nik Moon's basement in the early 70s sometime. Yes, almost 40 years ago. This was a far cry from me shouting Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida into a tiny reel-to-reel tape recorder with Gary Wilson in the fourth grade. This was no bunch of fools playing covers badly. This was a full-out rock band playing original material that was polished and professional sounding. They sounded much better when they were teenagers than a lot of bands of grown men do today, and they were writing songs that were as good as anything I'd ever heard. Even as a bitter, alienated teenager I knew they were great.

Here's one from their only CD, Memories Will Pay. The lyric and tone are somber and real.

Then there's The Sayers. This band was one I never got to see live, but listening to their incredible single on Steve Pick's or Cat Pick's radio show won me over instantly. 5-4-3-2-1 is a song that is so great, that once you hear it, you'll want to hear it over and over. It's such pure uncut rock that you won't believe your ears.

Download Memories Will Pay.

Download 5-4-3-2-1.