Story Songs: Day Five

Stagger Lee Shelton was a cab driver, a pimp — one of the famous “Macks” — and, as it turns out, a murderer. Fellow pimp Billy Lyons reached for his pretty hat and snatched it off of Stagger Lee’s head. So, Stagger Lee shot Billy in the gut, and Billy died. Since that murder in 1895, the Stagger Lee legend (sometimes called Stackolee, Stackalee, Stackerlee, etc.) has been retold in a number of songs by a number of prominent artists: Fabulous Thunderbirds, Elton John, Huey Lewis and the News, James... Read The Rest →

Beatles: Rock Band Makes Baby Jesus Poop A Little

Don’t consider this a formal review or anything, but let me warn you away from Beatles: Rock Band, were you thinking of running out and evacuating your wallet of its hard-earned greenbacks. It’s very pretty. They’ve put a lot of work into making it authentic. It sounds great. … Goddamn, I kind of feel like I got ripped off, though. Okay, I’m a sucker for Rock Band and its ilk. I owned the first, and I now own its sequel, and I invested an unmerciful crap-ton of hours into those... Read The Rest →

Story Songs: Day Four

Today’s song for your perusal (your ear-use-al? shaddup): Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler.” No great commentary on the song — it speaks for itself, and it’s one of those songs (like “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson) that conjures car trips with my father when I was young. I will comment, though — what the hell happened to Kenny Rogers? Plastic surgery? Really, Kenny? You needed that? Did I miss something? Did I miss the memo that demands that aging country music stars maul their faces with plastic surgery? Dude.... Read The Rest →

Story Songs: Day Three

Obviously, part of what I’m looking for in a story song is something that has a beginning, middle, and an end. Some pieces feel like story songs but are really… I dunno, character studies, or vignettes. (And they’re cool, but not for this.) Here’s today’s story song: Be Your Own Pet, “Becky.” Love the tune. Love the song. I hear this song, and I think of “Best Friends.” Usual shiznit applies. I don’t own these lyrics, they’re copyright Somebody Else. You can listen to the song at the bottom of... Read The Rest →

Story Songs: Day Two

Today’s story song: Ludo, “Lake Pontchartrain.” Not a fan of Ludo? You should be. An earlier EP, Broken Bride, is a weird punk-pop-metal-rock opera about time travel, pterodactyls, and what might be the Antichrist. Nice thing about the band — and this song — is that, while their music is punk-poppy, it has a great sinister edge, but also doesn’t take itself too seriously, either. Great example: “Lake Pontchartrain.” A good horror story where the boys are lost down Louisiana way and… Well. I’ll let the song tell it. …as... Read The Rest →

Story Songs: Day One

I don’t listen to music when I write. Can’t do it. Maybe something orchestral, but even then, it’s the music that sets the mood and the pace — that can be okay if it’s what I’m really looking for. That then can lead to a worse condition: I become obsessed with finding the right music for the writing. That might take 30 minutes as I pore through my music library. Thirty minutes of not-actually-writing. Then, if I do find the song or the score, it might be over in an... Read The Rest →

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