It’s called “Insanity”.
As I said, it was the first song I ever wrote. My song writing journey started when I was about thirteen. So, I’m 47 now. That means it took some 34 years to complete this song! Many if not most of the songs I’ve written over the years are incomplete. In the event that the lyrics come out whole and complete at the initial point when I put pencil to paper, the tune that would go with it usually came later… Sometimes MUCH later. This first song was different. It just all came out.
I knew how it was going to go music and form wise, where things went up and down and paused and what-not, but I had no idea what key it would be in. The thing is, I never really thought about what key it would be in. It never crossed my mind. I wasn’t playing an instrument, or even thinking about performing the song for that matter at the time I wrote it, so there isn’t any reason why I would think of that.
Fast forward nine months ago. I spent a decent part of an evening rifling through my entire song catalog – thirty four years and three binders full of songs or unfinished scribblings that might show promise – looking for something, anything resembling a decent song I might be able to bring in to my acoustic guitar / vocal duo Taylor Martin. I didn’t find anything that had the makings of a good Taylor-Martin song, but I did realize that I have a lot more decent songs written over the years than I had ever realized. The stuff that I had once thought was horrible or just plain dumb, now that there is some distance between the creation of the thing and the immediate revulsion of the work many artists experience – kind of a creators remorse* – didn’t look so bad in retrospect. In fact, some of my songs are probably pretty good.
“Insanity”, that first song, was one of those that looks better with age. I’m not going to say it is the best song in my collection. At least I wouldn’t say it is. But it is one of the most honest songs about the depression and withdrawn state I was in. It is about the aftermath of the move from huge metropolis of Dallas Texas to the tiny berg of Lemoore California, a town that had no movie theater, no bowling alley, and not even a single stop light! I was already alone, depressed, and isolated as a kid, but moving to Lemoore… Man, that hit me HARD!
This hard! Here is a taste of the song “Insanity”:
Fortune, fame and friends
It never seems to end
But then I took a fall
And it seems I lost them all
But Now I see
It’s not them
My fantasies and dreams
For all of them it seems
They’ve all gone down the drain
Cause of all the hurt and pain
I can’t go on
The dream, is gone.
You always have to say good-bye
And it’s driving me insane
The verses are a bit of an exaggeration. It’s not to say I felt like I had much of anything to begin with, as I was not a happy kid in Dallas. But when I moved to Lemoore there was a brutal reality of being truly alone, as I lost everything that was familiar, including contact with my best friend, a relationship of the type I would not again have for a number of years. As I had written before in a previous post, many of those early screeds were my way of deal with being alone and isolated, while the rest of the world seemed to be having a good time.
Now it’s my turn to have a good time. Doing the solo album and performing those songs live will in some ways make all that hurt not worth it, but at least make it worth something.
More Solo Album stuff here.
PS. * I think most artists experience “creators remorse” from time to time. I’ve written so many songs that at the time I though were just fantastic, and then a day later, I look at them and go “Jeez, this SUCKS!”. But I rarely throw anything I’ve written away. So they get a second chance for evaluation somewhere down the line. Also, when I wrote “Insanity” I was listening to ELO when I wrote it, so I always thought it would have a familiar ELO vie to it. As it turns out, that isn’t the case. This thing has a life of its own.