Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Somebody Else Remembered So I Don't Have To, part 2

Having had such success recording tunes at my brother Jim's studio, I decided to try my luck at my brother Joe's studio. Yes, at that point in time I had two brothers operating recording studios as part of their musical lives. I come from an artistic and musical family. I'm like that Baldwin brother who can't act. What's his name again? Zeppo?

This was still in the late 1980s sometime. Joe, at the time, was in Philadelphia. Now he's in California, teaches at a university and is involved in a whole bunch of musical directions at once. Jim, by the way, still runs a studio, but he traded the urine-soaked pavement of NYC for the stinking desert of Tucson.

Joe was part of a group in Philadelphia that promoted New Music, and my visiting to record coincided with them starting to put together a show. Just by coincidence, the theme of the show (the fusion of New Music and Pop music) dovetailed very nicely with this song. Also just by coincidence, one of the people in charge of putting the show program together was related to me. And so this silly little song got its world premiere before a paying audience at the Painted Bride in Philly.

The audience was stunned by the sheer brilliance of the work. So stunned they couldn't even remember to clap. I'm sure they were deep in introspection after hearing the lyrics, a searing indictment of people's television-watching habits.


Your Glass Eye (4.86MB mp3) Download from MediaFire

You can still hear me trying way too hard with that drum machine. Jeez.

Anyway, this is one of those tunes for which I remember the exact origin. In 1985 we moved to New Jersey, and our new next-door neighbors were gutting the building next door to turn it from a run-down old tea shop into a proper house. Since there was no TV, their kid started coming over in the afternoons to watch He-Man, She-Ra, and Thundercats. I was struck by how blatantly they were ripping off Phillip Glass.

So one day I was walking down the street, as one does, and a semi-Glassian tune kept playing in my head, and just when it was about to drive me insane, a voice (also in my head) sang, "with your glass eye" ...and I went straight home and wrote the first draft of the lyrics.

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