Ok, so I wrote a song.

Feb 3, 2013 | Music, Songs | 7 comments

Kiss It Better,
Written and performed by DB WeinsteinClick here to listen

Last May I wrote a post, one of my early ones when I was posting more frequently than I do now, where I announced that I was going to write a song. It was a good intention. A noble intention. And that’s what it remained, an intention. I did start scribbling once, but it didn’t go anywhere. Somehow, in my semi-retired, theoretically leisure, life I managed to stay just a bit too busy.

A few weeks ago I attended Camp Creative. It’s a week of learning all manner of creative things over 5 days at Bellingen High School. This is my third year. The first year I studied intermediate/advanced guitar with Anthony Garcia. Anthony is a remarkable classical guitarist and composer and a fabulous teacher. I had a great week, learned a lot and have hardly touched the guitar since. Last year I studied woodworking. I made a table with a drawer, tongue and groove joinery, all hand made with a beautiful finish. It lives in my living room, hidden in a corner and I’ve done nothing in the last year with the skills I learned.

This year I studied songwriting. The instructor, John Vallins, is a musician and song writer. He had a number one hit in the USA with “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”
sung by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams in 1978. His song managed to knock Paul McCartney and Wings off the number one spot. He told us that he couldn’t teach us how to write songs. He could help the process along, but writing songs was up to us. His class was made up of me, a 14 boy with an electric guitar, a 15 year old girl and a 16 year old girl with acoustic guitars and sweet voices. And there was me, the 64 year old with a slightly different perspective on life.

The primary thing I learned this year is something I already knew and have made a lifetime habit of forgetting; you just need to sit down and do it. John set us assignments. First he had us pair off and write a children’s song. Then he changed the pairings and had us write a jingle for Camp Creative. The next day there were only three of us so he had us write a rock and roll song. When writing with a teenage partner the challenge for me was to be part of the process and not dominate too completely; I thought there was a chance that some of them might feel a wee bit intimidated. At least the girls – I doubt the 14 year old was intimidated by anyone. I did dominate the writing the lyrics of each of these, but there was a level of collaboration. I might look back at the songs we wrote one of these days.

The afternoon after the the rock and roll song the assignment was to write a song with the title “Love Lies Bleeding” (which was the title of an Elton John song). The title struck me as perfect for the teenagers. The boy wrote a grunge song and the girls wrote sweet and sad songs. There was a touch of teenage angst but they all did well. Me, well I wrote a completely different sort of song. I wrote a happy love song. While it contains the words Love Lies Bleeding, I’m calling it “Kiss It Better” because that reflects the song better.

The next day we were given the assignment to just write a song, any song. I did but it doesn’t have a title yet and nothing has been done with it yet. It doesn’t feel finished. And besides, Eve liked Kiss It Better. So when we got to the studio, I picked Kiss It Better to record.

Because there were only four of us in the course and only one was available to attend the Friday night concert it was decided that the last two days were to be spend differently than usual. In previous years the students would vote for a best song, John would show everyone how to put that song together in Garage Band or Logic Pro to make it sound good. The whole group would spend Friday rehearsing that song to perform in the concert. Instead John decided to record one of each of our songs. It meant a lot of sitting around, but I learned a lot that I plan to explore in Garage band with other material. And I ended up with a recording.

It’s my voice, double tracked on the chorus. It’s me on the guitar, tripple tracked throughout. The rest is John and Logic Pro. After the course he added a bunch of things and fiddled other things and ended up with the recording you may have already heard.

The song was written in less than an hour. I’ve listened to it a number of times and think it holds together really well. I had no idea that the technology could make me sound like that. John might have put in a full extra day on the recording. I don’t know for sure, but he definitely made it sound good. It’s done like a 1950’s country song because that’s how it feels to me. I am actually proud of it. I hope you like it.

Please let me know what you think.

[Click here to listen]