I just did something which, when I tell you about it, will probably not much disturb you. Indeed, it seems utterly innocuous, out of context, but there are depths here, unfathomably dark depths.
What I did was this: I called my answering machine. I called it and left a message which was, in fact, the melody of a song I’m writing for tomorrow’s issue of The Aural Times.
I did this because I am naturally forgetful, and because I spend most of my workday listening to music. These two facts, taken in parallel, explain why I occasionally come up with music and then promptly lose it forever.
And so the answering machine: a simple solution. Yes. Call myself, sing a little bit, take down my thoughts on song structure—later, I can listen to it and recall the melody if, in the ensuing hours, I forget exactly what I was thinking.
Not too horrible. Not too weird. You are wondering, I expect, what the big deal is. I will tell you:
I got this idea from a Richard Marx interview. “Behind the Music”, it might have been, or “Pop-up Video”, or any of the number of venues VH1 has inexplicably made so available to video footage of Richard Marx.
And so I have come full circle. An innocent lad, unversed in the world of music, I taught myself at age 10 to play Right Here Waiting on the piano. And then, 17 years of musical growth, away from safe and saccharine confines of soft-rock and into more vivid and challenging and—I’m not afraid to say it—less candy-ass sonic environs.
Only to come flailing back, like some twice-damned boomerang, into the hungering, loathesome maw of Richard Marx’s answering-machine advice.