Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, You Save Me, #2 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

You Save Me

#2 - The Music

When a Broadway show comes through town, Kerrie works all day Tuesday through Sunday, most often getting out after 11PM and home by midnight.  Sometimes, while we were dating, I would try to take her to work and be there to pick her up later. Other times, I wouldn’t be able to, so I would go to her apartment and wait for her, making dinner along the way, so she could have a good meal at the end of her day.

After a few months, and realizing that I had fallen in love with this woman (something I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do again), while I was waiting at her apartment, I picked up my guitar.  It had been a while since I felt like making music, and it was the first time I felt like writing.

This music came out like it always does, unexpectedly.

I rarely open a song with a chord inversion, but I started to strum this pattern:

G/B - C - D/F# - G

It felt good, like an old friend, yet different.

After strumming a bit and singing a few words (which I will share in another entry), I needed to move to a chorus.  

To me, the chorus should be major and bold, straightforward and strong.  Yet, I found that I moved to the Am chord and a few twists that I hadn’t really tried before.  And with the melody that I was singing along, it all fit hand in glove.

The bridge was even less difficult, because I knew exactly what I wanted to say in the lyric, and it all came out, pretty much as you hear on the recording.  In fact, I had completely written the song in less than an hour!

I had felt inspired by this woman.  By a new lease on life. With gratitude for feeling so good about my future.

She really had saved me!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, You Save Me, #1 - The Beginning

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

You Save Me

#1 - The Beginning 

I am now married to a loving, bright, fun, loyal, short, redheaded Polish girl.

Kerrie has spent her whole life working in her chosen career field, and I am so proud of her.  She does wardrobe and entertainment costuming. She has worked with Saturday Night Live, the Rockettes, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, as well as on various TV shows and movies.  The past several years, she has worked primarily at the Dr Phillips Theater for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando, FL.

I met her some time ago, while playing in a 60’s band.  We talked about getting matching jackets to perform in, and one of the bandmates said he knew someone who might be able to help.

Enter Kerrie.

Over the months working with her on finding the right look and the right material for the jackets, I had opportunity to get to know the kind of person she is.  She was fun, carefree in many ways, and the kind of person I would like to be around a lot.

One day, I asked her if she would like to go to dinner, or out for coffee, to move forward on the jacket idea.  She agreed and we looked for a date that fit us both.

I had no idea that we would move forward from that day, getting to know each other more and eventually falling in love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Breaking Glasses, #4 - The Recording

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Breaking Glasses

#4 - The Recording 

I’m breaking out of my format with this entry, because I have so much to say about this song.  It really is a pivotal moment for me, both musically and personally.

When I began writing this song, I really had no idea how it would resonate in me, and in others.   So many people who have heard it already have said how much they like it, and how it speaks to them.

And that, I guess, is the point.  

I want to write songs and music that add to the experience of life in some way.  

Maybe my songs makes you think, or reconsider.  Maybe they make you dance and enjoy life. Maybe they represent to you that you are not alone in the universe, someone shares the same feelings.  Maybe they help you move on from a problem.

With that said, when I recorded this song, I was looking to make a straight-ahead, big sound, raw almost.

At the very beginning, I leave the sound of me getting ready to play the guitar line, just so it feels more live, more like I am right with you, playing and singing.

I end the song with “I am my father’s son,” to remind me and you that we come from somewhere.  It’s OK. 

After all is said and done, this song represents the place where I began to fully embrace who I am.  And that I am prepared to live life as me. And that with Kerrie, I will live MY life. You know, the one I see in the mirror.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Breaking Glasses, #3 - The Lyrics, Part Two

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Breaking Glasses

#3 - The Lyrics, Part Two

Marriages are an amalgam of two people, their lives, their cultures and backgrounds, their desires and dreams, their likes and dislikes.  It has always been and will always be that way.

In the case of my ex-wife and I, our marriage tended towards blending more in with her family than with mine.  She was uncomfortable with certain aspects of the Bishop family; they didn’t DO life the way she grew up, my father was a joker and liked to keep things lighthearted.  It got harder and worse as the years went.

As the point of the song shows, I had begun the process of conforming to her way of thinking and seeing myself in order to keep peace in our relationship.  It wasn’t the right decision.

I have a great family.  They are loving, loyal, fun, peaceful, serious when necessary, and respectful of each other living the life they choose.  

Anyone who meets my mother knows a beautiful smile immediately, with a heart that backs it up perfectly!  And my dad knew no stranger, but didn’t take any bull.  

Oh yeah, my dad loved to joke around with you and poke fun.  It might get too much on occasion, but if he liked you, it was his way of saying so.

She didn’t care for that. 

So, I was not supposed to be anything like my dad…

But, I am my father’s son. 

He is my father, and I love him and miss him every day.

It took me too many years to say it.  I did it at the end of Breaking Glasses as my way of honoring him, and me.

“I’m so tired of breaking glasses.  The mirror shows one face. This one’s me.  You helped define which one the mask is. I had to choose one.  This one surpasses. I am my father’s son.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Breaking Glasses, #2 - The Lyrics, Part One

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Breaking Glasses

#2 - The Lyrics, Part One

As I sat playing with the opening chord pattern of this song, I remember the feeling that I had when I first started seeing Kerrie, my wife.

I had left my ex-wife, and was now with a new person.  It was wonderful, but difficult. The familiar was gone, and the though it was exciting to learn a new person, it felt a bit off somehow.  Of course, it did. How could it not. Everything my heart was feeling was wonderful, and everything my mind was telling me was not so...

So, I penned the opening line “When I hold you, I know that it’s not right.  I know this ain’t the place that I should spend the night.”  

I finished writing the verse and knew I had to push into a chorus.  When I played the G chord into the chorus, I had a melody, and even an idea.  That idea was that I was so tired. But, tired of what?

Then, as I sang the words and melody, “I’m so tired of…” breaking glasses poured right out of me.  I knew this was the point and title of the song immediately.

But, what did it mean exactly?

Searching my heart and soul for while, I realized that what I had done for year after year was live a life that was not what I was when I really looked in the mirror.  Breaking glasses meant that I had busted out the mirrors image to create a new look, and one that was not me, and that I did it a lot. I had conformed to an image of me that someone else for decades thought I was, or should be, not truly who I am.

I finished the chorus with, “I gotta choose one.  Forget the masses. I gotta be done.” I had come to a crossroads.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Breaking Glasses, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Breaking Glasses

#1 - The Music 

When I was a kid, Queen was a very popular band.  Today, it seems, even moreso.

There was always one song that stood out to me for the very first Queen album, “Now I’m Here.”  It had the quintessential Queen vibe in every way. Particularly to me, the one thing that made an impression was Brian May playing a straight D chord for so long, then dropping the chord with the melody after what seemed an eternity.

I have often sat around playing those opening chords throughout life.  It is a simple pattern. Straightforward. Unassuming.

I guess that it shouldn’t surprise me, or you, that I began playing a variation on that theme throughout the years.  However, I did make it unique to me.

It really is nothing new.  Guitar players have played D chord dropping to a C in the bass, descending next to the B in the bass and then on to A chord for years.  This was just my version.

Of course, as is most often the case, on one particular occasion, at the beginning of 2017, I started to sing some words and a melody that had lurked there for years.  The more I sang that line and played that pattern, the more I heard in my mind where this song was going.  

And it did.  It resolved to the G chord for the chorus, although I wasn’t sure what words were about to come, I knew the structure that had to happen to support my melody.  Of course, in the moment that I sang “I’m so tired of breaking glasses,” I knew I was onto something pretty special to me.

And I will tell you that story next time!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, I Walk These Streets Alone, #2 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

I Walk These Streets Alone

#2 - The Lyrics

“I walk these streets alone, freezing to the bone,
The scorching sun affords me only light.
My dead heart, wrecked from pain, will never beat again,
The skin around my frame is warped and dry.”

I felt like a dead man walking…

That’s the truth, and I have to say it honestly.

Just like “Walk Upon The Water”, this songs lyrics came from a dark place, one I tried not to become accustomed to, and one I never intended to live in.

“Why do I walk these streets alone?” is a line that came from the feeling of dread that I was married, yet walking the earth alone somehow.

The lyrics are straightforward throughout the piece, and as I said previously, the song remains today as originally penned several years ago.

The ending, “now the only question left is...WHY?” is supposed to show the sheer pointlessness of looking for meaning or reason or explanation.  

Probably my darkest song to date, and hopefully the darkest ever, I am glad to have written and released this piece, because it allowed me to finally express what I never shared publicly with anyone.  And hopefully, my experience, and my willingness to be real, will help others say what they feel.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, I Walk These Streets Alone, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

I Walk These Streets Alone

#1 - The Music 

I love the feel, the sounds, the length, the abandon, the experimentation, the breadth of Pink Floyd songs.  Always have.

Always will.

As I sat feeling depressed, years ago, while on a week away with my (ex)wife, I idly, mindlessly strummed a somewhat familiar pattern on the guitar.  Something slow, haunting, empty feeling, dead somehow.  

The song “I Walk These Streets Alone” pretty much wrote itself like so many of the other songs.  I sat, played, sang…

This song ended up being such a depressing song, but adequately created the feeling I had at the time.

The songs remains as originally conceived, lyrics and chord patterns, as I quickly recorded many years ago, but I never fully developed it.  How could I, without giving away what I truly felt at a time I was not prepared to?

After years of a sketch eating up space on my hard drive, I pulled this song out, listened to my inner orchestra, and set out to bring to bear all that I had in me.  Footsteps in the dark, a distant choir singing, twangly guitar playing, growing tension and huge, stadium-style sound and lead guitar, accompanied by my mind’s eye seeing a light show with video montage of a lonely, vampirish man, trudging through life.

After several days of playing, recording, arranging, singing and layering sound up on sound, I was excited to share it with Kerrie when she came home from work one night.

She sat, mesmerized, maybe even dumbfounded, at the barrage of sound and the scope of what I had created.

She told me almost immediately, “I didn’t like this song when you played it at the show the other night, but THIS is awesome!”

High praise, and I’ll take it as a job well done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Will You Still Be Mine Tonight, #4 - The Lyrics, Part Two

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Will You Still Be Mine Tonight

#4 - The Lyrics, Part Two

As Patty Smyth and Don Henley once sang, “sometimes love just ain’t enough.”

Sometimes, nothing is enough.  Sometimes, as I have learned throughout the years, some things just are, and you will drive yourself crazy looking for a reason, an explanation.

Though eventually my previous marriage came to an end, at the time I wrote the lyrics for this song, my heart cried out for something real and permanent.  At the end of it all, I realized I had lied to myself and everyone else for quite a while about who I was, what I wanted, and what I could tolerate.

“We thought that love was forever.”  Now these words are ones that are haunting for me, though they are encompassed in a cute song.

“It all comes down to me and you,” was a sentence I would speak to my (ex)wife while we tried to recover from the turmoil and tumult of our relationship.  It was my way of speaking a commitment that I was growing weary of, but somehow believed in nonetheless.

I filled the song with hope for a new day.  A better day. A day where the answer really would be “Yes!  I will be yours tonight.”

That day, sadly, never fully materialized the way I hoped for.

My only hope now, for my current marriage and for anyone reading this, is that, though sometimes love just ain’t enough, sometimes it is what we have, and we cling to the one we commit ourselves to and give ourselves fully to each other, accepting each other.  It is what the human condition cries out for - love and acceptance.