The Solo Album – What A Downer!

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Last night, I was selecting the songs from my 34 year long history of song writing I am going to record. The first song I wrote when I was about 13. So of the songs are complete works and include the music, kept in my head for all these years, while other things are little more than scribbling of various incomplete thoughts that never got thrown away. At the time, I didn’t think to date the songs when I wrote them, but many are autobiographical and tied to specific events, so I have a good idea of the general period. They are, in their own way, time-stamped. One of the songs I came across, about 40 so pages in, has a lyric written about my time as a theater major. It goes like this:

Yes it’s true I’m 20
But I can squeeze into a 15 year old’s shoes
The world is my window
And I can pick any role I chose

And that’s all I wrote. The rest of the page is blank, which is OK, because where ever I was going before I hopped off the trail of creativity, I can’t imaging it would have ended well.

But back on point. I can confirm that it was almost certainly written when I was twenty. Here is one of the few pictures that I got around to taping into my lyric notebook. I was going to make it a dual purpose thing, doubling as a sort of scrap book, but it turns out scrap-booking just isn’t my thing.  Ignoring the hot black guy in the picture below;  just above the snap-shot is a ticket stub for a play I was in, The Desperate Hours, dated March 7, 1986. That was 3 days before my 21st birthday.

I played Ralphie, the 15ish year old boy in the play. That’s me, being shy and pretending to shave (my beard was pathetic back in the day) Look at my shoe size… And I looked so damned young.   I still got carded by Vice a couple of times when I was 27.  So,yeah,  I really COULD pull that 15 year old character off with ease! Quite honestly, it ticked me off, because there were not very many good roles for that in the plays we put on while I was a drama major.

So I do have a distinct time marker here. And that matters. In my twenties, I became fairly introspective and philosophical with my lyrics. There is some pretty good stuff there. Most everything written before then is, how do I put this delicately….


Good Lord I was one miserable teenager! But then, I had good reason to be.

  • At 12, I had moved from the big city of Dallas Texas, to a tiny town in what I considered the middle of nowhere, Lemoore California. It didn’t have a bowling alley… Hell. it didn’t even have a stoplight in the entire town! Talk about culture shock. (I love the place now BTW)
  • I was way short.
  • I had (have) lazy eyes, left or right, depending on which one was taking time off to wander.
  • I felt like I couldn’t get a date with anyone I had a crush on, which…
  • Was a mixed bag, because the girls I had a crush on were either some that my older Brother had dated, were COMPLETELY out of my league – yes, I admit I had a HUGE crush on Debbie Sheffield (God, she was – and still is – beautiful, and I did also write a lyric about her unavailability, which is good and might make the album… hope that doesn’t embarrass her), and it was equally frustrating because…
  • At the same time, I was completely hiding the fact that I was also attracted to guys. I knew I had homosexual feelings before I knew there was a word for it.

I’m sure I’m leaving some other cause of my anguish out, but you get the picture. I was one messed up emotionally battered shipwreck of a teen! And MAN DOES IT SHOW!!!!! My first lyric was this:

Fortune fame and friends
It seems it never ends
Then I took a fall
And it seems I lost it all
But now I see
It’s not them, it’s me

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 just can’t go on
My whole world is gone

Why bother
Why try
You always have to say good-bye
And it’s driving me insane….

And for seven years, most of my inner thoughts I committed to paper were not much more uplifting.

I’m realizing I have enough decent material from those torturous years to make a whole album! If I did record all that stuff, I’m thinking I would have to name the thing “The Sad Album :-(“.

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