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2000 Danny McBride, All rights reserved.
written a song all week. In fact I haven't written more than a couple
of lyric lines all month, and THEY won't be working together in the
same song. Well, I do have to confess that I did find two unique chords
that sound good together when I dropped my guitar, but that's about
it. The first chord was an attempt to catch the guitar before it hit
the floor, and the second chord was when it actually DID hit the floor.
I've been trying to re-create them all day with the guitar in my lap,
but I can't seem to get the fingering. (Martin lovers, do not fret
(sorry)...It was my Tele...I once knew a guy whose apartment building
caught fire and he saved his Tele by throwing it out of the third
story window. When he got down to the street, it was lying on the
sidewalk, still in tune.)
haven't I been able to create anything of note (sorry again) all month?
Because I have been overwhelmed with songwriting help. I made the
mistake of going to the library and getting one of those "helpful"
songwriting books. After I read it- -many days later- -I had to go
and get all the other publications listed at the back of the book.
And, of course, click on all of the web sites, and read them, and
subscribe to more stuff, and read that, and now I'm so inundated with
help, I can't seem to write anything.
get over it, as soon as I can get some of the "help" out
of my head: "The Key of E and You"..."Write What You
Know Even If You Don't Know Anything"..."Words and Lyrics-
-How To Tell Them Apart"...and my personal favorite..."Hooks,
Lines, and Clinkers- -How To Know If Your Writing Really Sucks As
Bad As You Think It Does".
more than any time in the past, there is so much "help"
for songwriters. If you read it all, you'll never have time to do
any writing. In fact, stop reading this right now, and go try something
out...I'll wait. Good. How was it?
there's lots of formulaic suggestions- -come up with a title that's
catchy, then write the song- -that if you follow too many of these
suggestions, what you write may be very well crafted, but won't necessarily
be anything your friends and family begin humming around the house.
And that's when you know you REALLY have something...when the people
around you that hear your "work in progress" started humming
or whistling or singing unconsciously that very ditty you've been
slaving over. This is a key (sorry) factor ESPECIALLY if they are
not musicians or songwriters. When civilians start singing or remembering
fragments of what you're working on, you know you've hit (sorry) on
the most important axiom in show business: Nobody Knows Nothing. If
they did, why would so much dreck see the light of day, not just in
music, but in film, television- -you name it. We all have a long list
of "stuff we can't believe got financial backing and got made
and released"....How long is YOUR list? Stick to your gut feelings
and and don't get too bogged down in what other people think you ought
to be writing. Only YOU write what you write (one would hope). Take
all the suggestions you can, and then throw out what isn't you. And
remember this other show business axiom: Never Form A Trio With A
McBride is a singer/songwriter/musician who has played guitar with
dozens of well known acts such as ShaNaNa, including the TV series
and movie GREASE, as well as Freddy Fender, Mary Wells, Chuck Berry,
Delaney and Bonnie, Bo Diddley, Conway Twitty, Roger Miller, Bobby
Day, and many, many more. Visit him at www.dannymcbride.com
Danny's C D "16 TUNES...and whaddaya get...A Songwriter's Portfolio"
is available from www.Amazon.com
and other music sites. He lives in Los Angeles. Visit The Boston Rock
& Roll Museum at www.dirtywater.com
(Danny is originally from Boston.)