Saturday, March 9, 2013

Here's a Song I Wrote 17 Years Ago



This is "Last Chance to Change," a student work I wrote and recorded with Graham Burks back in 1996.  It's been lost to me until this week, when I digitized it from the original quarter-inch tape.

When I was an undergraduate at Rhodes College, I took a music theory class from professor David Ramsey.  He explained to us that he didn't like to give grades higher than A-minuses in his classes.  In order to get an A, a student would have to do a special assignment that went beyond the course's expectations.

I took the challenge, so I asked my new bandmate Graham Burks to produce a song I had recently written called "Last Chance to Change."  (We were such new friends, in fact, that I misspelled his name on the cassete case at the top of this post.)  We spent a few nights getting it down on his TASCAM 4-track, and we were pretty happy with the results.

Working out a score was a difficult task, and completing even the three bars you see at the right took us quite some time.  I then wrote up a paper about the song (title: "My Last Chance for an A"), which worked in the word "Beatle-esque" before the end of the second sentence.  Well done, 19-year-old version of myself!

Choosing the cover for the cassete, though, was easy.  I picked a black and white photograph that I had taken in a cemetery because that's how you tell the world you are a moody, intellectual artist.  

On presentation day, I took my essay and little cassette tape to class and played my song for my classmates.  They seemed to like it, as did Professor Ramsey.  I felt reasonably confident that my work was enough to get me an A on my transcript.

I got an A-minus.


(You should be able to listen to the song on the player above.  Let me know in the comments if it is not working.)

This week I found the long-lost tape and had the equipment to import it to Garage Band.  And here you have it!  A bit of mid-90s four-tracked indie rock.  It's sunny and warm, with great melodies and a pump organ and a bassline that won't quit.  The end-rhymes are a little bit dubious, but if you look past that, you might just find your toes a-tappin'! 

And I would be remiss to fail to mention that Graham and I are still making music together with The Perfect Vessels.  I'll have more to say about the Vessels coming up soon.

Graham and me, circa 1998

4 comments:

  1. catchy! and who the hell is blair pearle?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's Blair Pearce, who I played with in the Perpetual Motion Machine and then here and there in the following years. He's a good dude.

    ReplyDelete
  3. is that my Moog? Wish I still had that thing. I sold it when I was trying to make rent in the early years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, that's Graham's old air organ that you are hearing. I could never get your Moog to do much more than make R2D2 sounds.

      Delete