This Whirlwind

Get this: I woke up at 6:30 this morning to finish writing a song that I started last night. And I did. I finished it. And it’s good, which probably surprises me more than you.

I pretty much had last night off from working on the video, or making postcards or cd art of any of the album-related minutia (I did rehearse my solo acoustic set, and work on the super-secret bonus MP3 site — but more on that in a later post), so I watched Martin Scorses’ seminal rock documentary, ‘The Last Waltz.’ And I was blown away.

The first thing you see, even before the studio credit, is a slate that reads “PLAY THIS FILM LOUD.” Genious! So I played it loud, and was completely rockin’ out in my livingroom, partying with The Band, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Muddy Waters like it was 1977.

It was inspiring. They were all so young, so talented, and so earnest. But it was the end of an era, the end of the true musician. It was a time when labels stopped acting as cultivators of talent, and became marketing machines. It left me wanting to be on stage performing with a huge, happy band, like, right now (I don’t have to wait long: band rehearsal is Sunday).

So the phone rings, but I miss it ‘cuz the music’s so loud, but it’s this terrific message that totally makes me smile and so — duh — so I gotta’ pick up my guitar and start to write write. But first I crank Ryan Adam’s “Come Pick Me Up,” one of my favorite kinda’ songs, and kinda’ twirl around the livingroom swilling Brooklyn Lager. Then I start writing “Whirlwind.” It’s a mellow song, and it’s dark in my apartment, and it’s wicked late. So I bring the notebook to bed, climb in and kinda’ fall asleep on the pages. Well, I managed to scribble out a few more words before slipping into complete r.e.m. sleep, then woke at, like, 6:27 and thought, ‘What the fuck? I’ll wake up and write.’ And so I did. And I wrote maybe one of my favorite verses in a while. Check it out:

She stormed out one hundred times
Reciting the lines from a scene
That she always starred
She wanted the world for a stage
A curtain to raise
But the spotlight is faded and dark

It’s basically a break up, lose faith, find faith song. And it’s largely fictional — I mean, the antagonist in this song is NOT cool, is NOT nice, is NOT someone I would date for a second — there’s no one in my past, present or future like that. But heck, fiction works. It’s what I do. I amplify reality, shape it into words that rhyme and have melody. It’s a concept, a feeling. And I think I got it. So I’m happy. And it’s not even 8:15. Who knows what else today has in store?

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