All About Us

Rock music is ruining my life.

The good news is, I think I’ve finally gotten a handle on this whole home recording thing. The bad news is, I’ve spent 20+ hours on in front of my laptop this weekend recording ONE FUCKING SONG.

Behold: ‘Caramelize.’

It happened like this. I had some time to kill Friday night. I had an idea for (get this) a song about a girl. A song about all that is sweet and beautiful about a girl. A song saccharine and sticky like candy. A song so catchy, so up, that one couldn’t help but want to dance and kiss at the same time. But with a little edge, a little obsessive compulsivism. Three days later, it’s still not really done. But I can’t do it anymore. I can’t hear it any more.

I listened to the rough draft en route last night to The Smith Family show at Two Boots in Brooklyn. It was a terrific performance, incidentally. The Smith Family sounds pretty f’in’ good. But what did I do on the can ride home? I listened to it some more. On repeat.

More than one person has said to me in the last few days, “It’s all about you, Ben.” I worry about narcissism. I worry about having a website bearing my name, about playing shows with a bunch of guys bearing my name. I worry about listening to my own music. On repeat. I take some solace in my former bass player’s suggestion that if we don’t love our own songs, who will?

And I take some solace in my friend John Rosenblatt’s Billy Joel story. John’s piloting a cooking show featuring Billy’s girlfriend. So a few week’s ago, John’s having dinner with ’em at their Oyster Bay home, and Billy proceeds to do an impromptu request-only performance. For two hours. All about who?

I’m working pretty hard to let go of any worries I have about narcissism. I always say, “It’s not about me. It’s about us.”

John was the first to hear ‘Caramelize’ this afternoon. “Caramelize, huh?” he said. “That’s a tricky procedure.”

Of course the cooking show guy knows: caramelizing is the process of turning sugar, milk and butter into a smooth, chewy confection. And it’s really easy to burn and ruin it. Which seems extra perfect for my song about a girl.

So, have a good listen. And another. And another. It’s the sound of my weekend wasting away. ‘Cuz except for dinner and a DVD (‘Love Actually’), breakfast with my mother, another DVD (‘Starsky & Hutch’), a country show, building a website, designing another, one more DVD (‘Rio Bravo’), plus a run and a bike ride, well, except for all that, I wasted my weekend away.

For us.

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