Anatomy of a song… that damned riff.

So here’s how it works, sometimes.

If you’re VERY blessed, a song comes to you in one fell swoop.

I am hardly ever blessed in that department. Most of the time, my songs come in the form of musical riffs, verses, choruses, solo sections and outros.

And I have no clue what the song is actually about. So no words.

Wait – huh?

Yeah. It happens that way a lot for me. To be fair to myself… sometimes I’m blessed, and a song comes from words on a page – but for me, that’s the exception rather than the rule.

(I love music, and making it… but sometimes, the writing part is so incredibly frustrating – because I KNOW I’m good when it actually gets there – but actually GETTING there can be like riding a flaming Satan’s chariot of – wait and see.)

It just starts as music, waiting for a story. There are no WORDS. In the meantime, all I have is listening to a beautiful child, waiting to be born. And those children HAUNT you.

Need to be Around is a perfect example. By far, not my deepest writing, but from the start, it wasn’t meant to be.

It just came from a riff, that came to me randomly about 13 years ago. And as soon as I played that riff, I could hear 60’s AM radio coursing through it. I heard the drums, and heard the bass… and off in the distance, some vocals.

And HOOKS. Jeez… the hooks. Not only was it a giant hook to begin with, but it invited like 47 other hooks into the room. And I’m just a guest in the corner. A very grateful guest, for sure.

Well, I released it 2 years ago, as part of Let It Go…. but it always felt weak in comparison to the other tracks on the album. Because of the mix.

(Yeah – I have to mix them, too. Sigh.)

Well over the last four days, I revisited it – because I’ve started using some new tools that you apply to the final mix to give it a little sheen… and POOF! It became something that, when I sit alone and listen, it makes me cry…. not because it’s me, but because it IS.  It’s hooks and harmonies and old-school radio, and fills me.

The old saying… We shall serve no wine before its’ time. Well… it’s totally worth waiting.

All in all – it only took about 13 years. (and a very cool part – some of those guitars and vocals I laid down back then made it into the final track.)

You can listen below, and see the videos from 12 years ago plus, when I was initially taken over by that goddamned riff.

Eternally grateful.

Love to all.


The song:

The videos:

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