Monday, July 23, 2007

Hard Time

Damn you, Gus Van Horn!

Gus put up a slew of links to ska music. I listened to them all and woke up this morning with a ska melody in my head. I immediately went to my guitar and wrote it down, otherwise I would forget. It is so frustrating when I get a great melody in my head and think, "No way I could forget this," then two hours later it's gone.

But ska? I don't do ska. At least, I didn't until this morning.

As I understand ska, it is like double-time reggae. When playing reggae you strum the guitar on the second and fourth beats. You strum up, hitting the high notes; leave the low notes for the bass. If you get the beat wrong because of excessive whiteness (I'm joking, I'm joking), and play the first and third beats, then you are playing a polka. Bob Marley didn't play polka.

Ska is twice as fast as reggae, so you end up strumming between every beat. That's my understanding, but I could be wrong.

I don't know if my band will play this song. I'm trying to focus on a '60s pop-rock style. We don't have horns. The song is a little "out of format" as radio guys might say. After Cyrano I'll be stopping acting for awhile (unless I get a paying gig in Hollywood) so that I can focus on my recording project. A local man has a recording studio in his garage that is completely professional. (My chances of making money are poor, given that 1) the music industry is in crisis and 2) they don't give contracts to 50-year old guys. But maybe I can sell a few CD's over this blog and Myspace and get some word of mouth. I won't get rich, but I'd be happy to get the music out to people.)

Here is the song I wrote this morning.

Hard Time

I have a hard time thinking it's over

Wake up one day, find out it's done

Have a hard time thinking you left me

You and that girl having some fun

Go to my room

Cry a good cry

Waste my time

Asking why

I have a hard time being so lonely

Have a hard time cooking for one

Some of my friends asking about you

All I can say is that you're gone

Taking my time

Easy that way

Change my life

Day by day

(Instrumental verse and chorus)

I have a hard time thinking about you

Now that I've moved, got a new place

It's a good thing I have our pictures

I would forget maybe your face

Taking my time

Easy that way

Change my life

Day by day

UPDATE: The paragraph I wrote about the difference between polka and reggae got me thinking. I came up with idea for a novelty song called:

The Reggae Polka

The bride is black, yeah, but the groom is white

What are they doing on their wedding night?

They do the polka

The Reggae Polka

So what we give them for a wedding gif'?

A keg of lager and a big fat splif

They do the polka

The Reggae polka...

(Maybe I won't finish this one...)

2 comments:

Gus Van Horn said...

Let me know whether the band played the song.

It is frustrating sometimes for me to attempt to talk about music as my musical education is essentially nonexistent.

I THINK your description of ska is accurate. There is no requirement for horns, although almost all my favorite bands are heavy on horns.

In fact, if I have one gripe about Selecter, it is that they rarely have horns. (I am pretty sure that none of their regular members play horns.)

In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed the ska enough to try your hand at writing a song.

Dismuke said...

"1) the music industry is in crisis

You mean the record industry is in crisis. The music industry is actually doing quite fine and will do so for a long time. The recording industry won't, in part because they are middlemen whose once-necessary services have been rendered obsolete by technological advances and also because they have hastened their own demise by behaving like a bunch of Luddites. A fiction writer could not have devised a better plan to encourage the formation of an underground black market for one's product than the actual behavior of the major labels in the face of wonderful new technological advances.

"2) they don't give contracts to 50-year old guys. But maybe I can sell a few CD's over this blog and Myspace and get some word of mouth. I won't get rich, but I'd be happy to get the music out to people."

Heck, you would probably see far more money from doing that than the vast majority of artists with an RIAA label contract will ever see in royalties. That's another reason why the big labels are doomed: thanks to the Internet there are increasing opportunties for artists to become famous without an RIAA contract. Eventually, more and more artists will refuse to sign them as they will have greater control over their material, their work and they will get to keep all of the proceeds for themselves.

There doesn't appear to be too many ska stations on the Internet - but you can find a few on Live365 at: http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/directory.cgi?genre=ska