Friday, December 30, 2011

Call Me Pigtail 2/20

Call Me Pigtail

...And just like that, it is. The revolution is complete.

Silence in the basement, except for the ongoing hum from the cheap-ass bass. Skipper is nodding and if he ever smiled he would be now. But he isn't. The game is still on. "What's it called?" I say.
"I don't know," says Skipper. "Let's make it about food."
Ten minutes later and we are playing again only now it has a title, "Hamhocks," why the fuck not, we don't even know what hamhocks are, but it sounds hillbilly and nasty and funny and the two syllables fit into the two-note riff, and Skipper is singing and the song is finished. Just like that. Every song the old band did was an object of careful study, a gem to polish, an artistic statement. We would work on one song for weeks. This one is finished in a half hour.
Here are some lyrics from one of our old songs:

An endless wind takes down the barn one side at a time
It's a forever train-wreck, your head on my pillow
Behind every wall...

Lovely, right? That song was recorded, sold in stores, played for many, many audiences, strummed at acoustic bedsides for fair-haired girlfriends and potential lays, fussed over, pampered. That song was given every opportunity. And nothing happened. So off the stage, pretty one, you had a nice run. Here are the lyrics to the New Duncan Imperials' new song, "Hamhocks:"

Hamhocks, I wish I had some hamhocks
Hamhocks, I wish I had some hamhocks
Wish I had some hamhocks,
Some motherfucking hamhocks

So as it turns out, all you really need for a rock song is a riff and a title. That song keeps us happy for another ten minutes, pounding the dank air in that basement, and then it's time for another. The adrenaline is rushing, though we could never admit it to each other, and the next riff just flops out on the cold cement floor like a bloody, squalling, two-headed baby: the same two notes as Hamhocks plus one, played on a different string, it's all Skipper can handle, and this one's called "Don't Hate Me Just Because I'm Beautiful," 100% stolen from a TV commercial for shampoo or some shit, and that's it, another powerhouse tune. Here are the lyrics to this one:

Don't hate me just because I'm beautiful.

Fuck, this is easy. Is this how it's actually done? How it's been done from the start? It's possible. The madmen who invented rock, the old blues dudes or whoever, surely didn't fret over voicings and dynamics, fuck no, just banged out the three most obvious chords, coughed up a nasty title, and DONE. Next is "Feelin' Sexy." Why? By now we should all know better than to ask that question, right? So this song is, what, a hardcore thrash number. For this one Skipper has to learn a new skill, playing on the 2nd fret. His fingers are growing blisters. 1-2-3-4 and holy shit GT is playing faster by 100 mph than we have ever heard him, some demented polka beat on those three pathetic little drums, and I have never played this fast before either. We shouldn't even be able to do this. The wheels should have come off after the first verse (lyrics: "I'm feelin' sexy"), but we're still blazing, still holding on to this runaway truck that we have suddenly created out of nothing. Out of nothingness! Stop trying and see what happens.
Okay done. Look around. More. We're now hicks, so we need some country music. This shit is beyond easy -- three chords, relaxed beat now, a little swing to it, but still just a title, it just pops out without any thought, any poetry, any reflection: "Born to Be Hit." These verses need actual words, but there's no stopping to think: it's improvised from the start, whatever flows, "Lately my luck's been going from bad to weird to worse [stolen, weirdly, from "Underneath the Bottle," a song on Lou Reed's album The Blue Mask]/Last night I drove my truck into the side of a hearse/ I killed a dead man and half his family..." -- these words pop out and little do we know that they will immediately stick and harden and become a thing, a song to sing, a thing that exists. We play it for ten minutes. Done.
One hour, four new songs, and a ragged hole hacked into the jungle of indifference growing around us. Anything else? Anything more? Fuck yes there is. We will play today, tomorrow, and the day after, into the night, drinking Schaeffer beer, Skipper nursing his blisters, Goodtime mastering his minimal battery, me still trying not to try. In a week we have fifteen actual songs, or really 15 riffs with titles, a few verses here and there. But the template of the first four songs guides us: heavy two-or-three note riffs, a few hardcore rips, a few trad country throw-downs. Our hardcore songs are about camping and vomit; our country songs are about mobile homes and cheating farm wives. We still do not give a shit about anything.

Our first-ever gig is at someone's backyard birthday kegger......

More to come! Check back soon...

1 comment:

  1. Keep 'em coming and I'll keep reading. You guys really inspire me musically.


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