Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I had an idea once to write an album full of songs called The Catastrophe Years. I hope I hope I hope that they are not upon me.

So, yeah, I, um, have written a lot of songs over the years. There was a broken Hawaiian guitar in our house when I was a kid, and lacking anything better, I screwed around with it for a while before my parents got me a real guitar. I don't remember how or when but I was roughly about 15 or 16 years old. I started writing a lot of songs at the time partly because I was unable to learn other people's songs. I was basically a self-taught player and took no lessons. I learned by listening but recognized later on that I learned a lot of things wrong. Totally wrong. I still can't play barre chords. But....I suppose, lacking formal training, I started right off the bat with odd tunings and chords that really make no sense. Which can be an advantage if you want to write really weird songs.

At some point, I wrote so many songs that I started to put them together into make believe "albums." In fact, by the time I got to college, I lived in this secret world where I would spend months, sometimes a year, painstakingly putting together an album of songs. By the time I stopped writing songs completely, I had written about 300 songs, most of them were arranged into about 15 or so albums. I stopped writing songs as a regular habit in 1991. Not sure why. Probably got too depressed to write. Or bored. Something like that. But I did do one thing that I'm really glad about now: During a Christmas break in college, I spent a couple of weeks recording on shitty cassette tapes every song I've ever written. These demos were basically skeletal, with nothing but me on acoustic guitar and vocals, so they lack dynamics and color, but they will help me remember the songs and the chords one day when I revisit them. My plan is to record full-fledged band versions of all the songs. (Of course, I'll never do that because I'm too busy, but one can always hope...)

One of the "albums" I wrote (in 1990-91) was called Home and consisted of 16 songs, most of which I still really like, which is surprising as I am much older now. These were essentially sound poems about a broken relationship (yeah, I know) but not as maudlin or sentimental as some of my earlier stuff. Here is a demo from Home. In my mind, it's a psychedelic song, but with just me and the guitar, it comes off a little spooky. I recorded the demo in 1992.

Joy -- Cool [mp3]

1 comment:

j said...

Do you WANT to learn barre chords? Because if you do, I finally finally figured them out with help from a cheat sheet. And the sweetest 21 year old who ever picked up an axe.