Pink Chuck High-Tops

Mom said,”can I borrow your pink sneakers?” I looked at her and thought about it, “for the detail?  That’s kind of gross.”  “I think it’s perfect!” she said and after all, it was the ’80’s.  I let her take them.   They were this color pink.   She bought them for me so I didn’t feel right saying no, “Yeah, sure” I said “try not to get them too dirty.”  She was using them for an undercover prostitution sting operation that was happening in the turnpike rest areas in Florida, near Orlando.

imagesWhen you’re the child of two cops the dinner table conversation is 61yx-181t0la bit different.  We discussed all sorts of criminal behavior, how economy affects crime rates, recidivism, whether evil really exists or is the result of environmental causes and desperation.   We chatted about every type of traffic infraction and car crash. It becomes household lingo.  You get used to cleaning guns as part of the weekend chores and schooled on the “realities” of life and the misery that some folks face.  So  mom comes back with some interesting stories.  One in particular was of this trucker/john she arrested.  During the training, undercover agents are taught how to avoid “entrapment.” One way is get the john to say what he wants and how much he’s willing to pay.  This guy offered her 5 bucks for a blow job. “Can you believe he only offered me 5 Dollars!?!” she said.  I was really surprised, “only 5 dollars?, wow, that’s cheap!” I said.  This was probably around the time when the movie Pretty Woman was out, so I was thinking we’re talking some real money here, certainly not 5 bucks.  Well that was  it for Joe.  He got carted off to the hoosegow.

Her book is out.  It’s called, “Behind Her Miami Badge.” and you can get it on Amazon: It’s a great read and it’s real life.  I remember the stories so well.  For some reason I see Reese Witherspoon playing her in this as a movie or series…

I was out one evening playing a show with my buddy and fellow songwriter,  Jenn Rogar and I told her that story and she said, “that sounds like a song.”  I thought about it and couldn’t quite wrap my brain around what that could sound like.5bj-cover-1back-cover-5bj-1

Creativity is  like gardening.  You plant a seed and give it some water and before you know it you’ve got a flower or a story about a truck driver named Joe.  This refrain popped up and the story fell together on a Saturday morning.  It’s a little punk, a little rock and roll and as my sound engineer buddy put it, “the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use the Miranda Rights in a song.  You can buy it here on Amazon or Itunes

You can hear it here on Youtube as well.

My Songwriting and Producing Process

I work in academic medicine during the week and my evenings are packed with workouts and band rehearsals so Saturday and Sunday are ideal for composing and getting deep into my craft.  I’m coming down to the final process of my instrumental CD, 12 songs are mixed and ready to be looked at for line up, transitions and mastering.  I accidentally fell into my 13th composition for that CD last Saturday and I think I’ve decided on a name, Delandia.  Naming instrumentals is much tougher than a lyric based song so I look for a word or group of words that conveys the color/hue/vibe of the piece.

I’ve also started recording the tracks for my next CD, which will include, Sweet Delta Breeze, Fly, Oops I Fell Off the Barstool, Miss Understood, Got my One Good Eye On You and a bunch of other tracks.  As a sound engineer, I am extremely interested in the mix and the tricks, continually asking myself, what can I do to make it better, richer and sonically clear. I see so many folks listening to songs right from the speakers of their phones so I think about that mix as well.

My songs are born from all sorts of methods.  Sometimes I get the music first, sometimes I get the lyrics first.  Sometimes some sort of event occurs in my life that is so vivid, so strong it becomes the catalyst for inspiration.  I often get the song all at once, as if I opened up the front door to discover a beautifully wrapped gift left on the porch.  All I have to do is pick it up and unwrap it.  Sometimes it’s so simple it’s downright silly.   Other times it’s silly but not quite as simple.

Oops I Fell Off the Barstool took a little longer and it belongs in that vivid life event category.  Here’s how it went down: A very nice looking blonde lady was sitting at the bar of One Speed restaurant in East Sacramento and enjoying dinner and beers.  She looked a little tipsy but not drunk.  She was laughing and chatting and having a nice time.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand fly up and then heard a big commotion and looked over and she was on the floor and the barstool was on it’s side.  The servers and busboys came running over to make sure she was okay and she popped right up, red in the face and embarrassed.  She went back to her meal and things settled down.

About 4 days later I was sitting in that same barstool.  I had just finished teaching yoga and was enjoying a nice cold beer or two and don’t quite recall exactly how it happened.  I may have leaned back a hair and not realized it, but the next thing you know, I’m on the floor and the chair is on it’s side and I was like, “What just happened?”  I got up and pulled myself together and did a mental review of the incident but couldn’t quite believe it.

The next morning I was in the shower getting ready for work (I get a lot of songs in the shower) and I heard the melody and the line, “Ooops, I fell off the barstool last night!, Gave the poor bartender a terrible fright…the chair flew out and I fell down, people the restaurant turned around when Oops I fell off the barstool last night.”  The rest of the song came over the next few days and involves a bump on my head, a sore butt cheek and one or two beers too many….  Bright fun harmonies and a nice rowdy feel with humor.

So tell me, have you ever fallen off of a barstool?  Or seen someone else fall off of a barstool?

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