Introducing “Running Changes”… sharing the songwriting process on an even deeper level than I did during Battle Studies. I’m trying to forge a new sound along with a new album. Instead of rearranging the vocabulary I’ve already developed I want to establish an entirely new one to draw from. It takes a while. Lots of guess and check. I want to think like a new artist. DNA splicing on the fly. Running changes.
This tune sort of jumped out at sound check the other day and cast a little pinhole of light over the challenge. It’s not really a song so much as a template for something. I originally shot this video to have as reference to sing along and write to but thought it might be cool to share with you. I’ll sit over the next week and listen to it dozens of times, trying to sing the words and melodies that are hiding in it.
I’m going to make an effort to write on the road, something I’ve never done. I’d like to make the Summer tour a vehicle for playing new songs. Let you guys tape them, trade them, and maybe even sing along to tunes that weren’t even recorded in a studio yet.
Playing arenas and ampitheatres doesn’t have to mean showing up and doing an end zone dance. What if it were alive and organic and I played new tunes that were constantly changing and growing up each night? It would sure light a fire under my ass to write the best song I could, knowing I’d be bumping a surefire album track for it.
Playing to 20,000 people should feel like playing for 200, just with 19,800 more people looking in.
Thanks for giving me so much to sing about and the comfort of knowing I’ll have someone to sing them to when the time comes. I feel like I’m about to make my second first record.
OK, I’m definitely on board with Tumblr. This is awesome. What I wouldn’t give to be able to put my own words to music, sing the songs and sell records like you can. I feel like a Bernie Taupin without an Elton John. Envious but not jealous of your talent knowing we all have our place in this world.
I took my Dad to the VA hospital in La Jolla today. When I first walked in, all I saw were Viet Nam era veterans. After my Dad’s appointment, I went and got the car to pick him up in front of the hospital. A young soldier who looked barely 18 hobbled into a mini van in front of us. My heart cried out seeing this kid knowing he had probably just come back from Iraq or Afghanistan. He has his whole life ahead of him, and I guess he was lucky enough to have simply made it home alive. I wondered about the difficulties that lay ahead for him. All I could think about was a line I had written from Wall of Tears: I serve my country for this world torn apart.
I don’t want the efforts and sacrifice of our troops to be swept under the carpet, only to be remembered on Veteran’s Day or when some catastrophe like the Fort Hood massacre occurs. I want to help the returning wounded servicemen and women readjust back into a somewhat normal American lifestyle. They might need a special car with hand controls, the family home retrofitted to accommodate their injuries, a place for their families to stay nearby while they’re recovering from treatment, or just help finding a job… knowing someone out there really cares about them. This is what I strongly believe to be my destiny and how I can best serve the planet in a positive and meaningful way with my talent and my knowledge of military life having been a Navy dependent.
The single Candle in the Wind 1997 raised $120 million for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. I believe we could raise similar money by releasing Walls of Tears as a single CD, which would be only the beginning of my/our fund raising efforts. If none of this is clicking, I sent my idea to Michael McDonald back in June of last year. Then I scanned and emailed everything to you about a month ago to email@example.com (subject: Wall of Tears). I don’t know if that is a valid address any longer. Since I’ve never heard back from either of you, I don’t know if you even know what I’m talking about. Basically I wrote the lyrics with my proposed title Wall of Tears and requested you checking them out to see if you could come up with a melody and perform the song to be released as a single for charity (with a foundation to be formed using your name).
I totally realize you were busy recording Battle Studies when I sent the material to Michael, and now you’re crazy busy on tour. We’re closing in on a year here, and I’m just trying to find out if you’re at all interested in collaborating with me. Obviously I want to work with you badly, for your talent number one, for your passion, and for your ability to network with millions of people using your passion to have them pay attention. I know as an artist, you singing this song would be a match made in Heaven. I’m laying my cards on the table in as honest fashion as I know how. All this for what I know would be a worthwhile cause. In my proposal, I stated nothing I had written was sculpted into stone and that you may have ideas of your own to make the lyrics better. Also, that I was willing to sign away my rights to the lyrics for the foundation and work for a small salary researching, organizing and distributing the funds with your help and approval.
I know how you provided Veteran websites on Battle Studies and about your Tickets-for-Charity program, so I’m aware you support the troops in your own way already. And this may be all you wish to do, which is fine and so admirable without lifting another finger. If you’d like to take it to the next level, please consider my proposal.
The last thing I want to do is piss you off by badgering you. Since you said on your blog that you planned to write while on the road, I thought I’d take this last opportunity to try and get in touch with you. I can resend the material to an email address you could provide me, or if the email address I sent it to is still working, you’ll be able to find it if you haven’t seen the email already. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to get in touch with me. Some things are worth fighting for, and I believe this is one of them. I’m not sure how this blog system works… I’m not interested in being “Mayered” or having my thoughts made public at this time. I did also take into consideration the integrity of what I’ve written as you admonished would be the responsible thing to do in your first post regarding Tumblr.
I am a fan and will always be a fan regardless of your decision. I don’t know what else to say other than I’m pretty sure we think a lot alike from how I relate to your song writing and from following things you say and do which are in line with my belief system. It would be nice to be friends in the real sense of friendship by teaming up for something we both believed in and supported for the benefit of others. Thank you sincerely for your time and consideration.
PS - I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to re-blog your entry in order for you to see my entry, but I did it this time just in case. (This being different from replying to one of your tweets.)
Last week in Los Angeles I participated in a live Q&A as part of an ASCAP expo on songwriting. When the topic of Twitter came up, I explained my waning interest in it being part of my daily life. By no means do I think it’s over as a medium altogether, but I do think that the days of “Twitter: The Breakthrough” have passed, as has been and will continue to be the case for every online social network. It’s reached it’s cruising altitude, so to speak. Patterns and templates are emerging. The Twitter-bred syntax isn’t really doing it for me anymore.
And call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s the healthiest thing in the world to read scads of mentions/@replies and effectively open the floodgate of other people’s approval/disapproval. Finding out in 140 characters what a stranger has to say about you is like a mathematical equation without an established value of ‘x’. Who are you, stranger? What do you stand for? What do you like, and if it’s not me, then what does move you? What DO you look up to? Once I find that out, I’ll know how disappointed I should be.
This is where Tumblr comes in. It’s the future of social networking if your image of the future features intelligent discourse. I love reading other Tumblr users replies, because they’re thoughtful by virtue of the fact that if they’re not, they’ll bring the intellectual property value of their own blog down, and that’s a commodity on Tumblr.
This post is an experiment in itself. If you want to communicate with me, open a Tumblr account, follow me, repost my blog and then add to it. I’ll follow you back. Agree or disagree, lionize or demonize, but for God’s sake, be original. You’ll have all the room in the world to do it now.
I always wondered how you kept up with all the replies you must get with over 3 million Twitter followers. I actually believe you read them, picturing you as someone who is hands on when undertaking a task or project. What I like about your tweets is your clever way of communicating, mixing everything from the very silly to the extremely serious in an abbreviated fashion like a puzzle where every space counts. Sometimes less can be more, but this is nice too.
My replies have always been positive not because I feel like I need to earn a place in your heart, but because I sincerely enjoy a lot of what you have to say and feel compelled to respond as a matter of relating. Your music is first and foremost, and what brought me into the fold in the first place. It seems natural for me to be interested in the mind behind the rhyme since I’m a fan of your work. You write beautiful melodies and have a great singing voice, but it’s the lyrics that draw me in.
So I’ve learned in the course of the last few years that you speak your mind and I respect your right to do this, whether or not I agree or agree to disagree with what you share. Those casting stones hopefully don’t live in glass houses, but you know they do.
I followed you here because I wanted to lend support by participating in your experiment. I don’t have anything to blog about at the moment, but hopefully one day I will.
Thank you for your efforts in bringing the community you’ve created together in an enlightened way.