Tuesday, July 06, 2010

stranger in my own skin

in 25 years my father has never attended a single one of my shows
he's done plenty of other things that i appreciate though
so i'm mostly ok with it now
music is such an important part of my life
in the past i struggled to understand why he chose to do this
it hurt me
i wished he could've been more involved in my life
but the again, it's inspired me to be different with my kids

for years i threw press clippings related to my music
into a large green box
the box sat in a corner of Pleasantry Lane
a couple of years ago my friend Lisa
gave me a really thoughtful Christmas present
she started a scrapbook for me with show paraphernalia, set lists, reviews
and some pics
it got me thinking that it would be nice to pull out all that stuff
sitting in the green box
and make a nice scrapbook out of it
maybe years later my son could see what his old man was up to
when he was a kid
a nice idea, yeah, but a big time suck of an undertaking
especially for someone with no extra time to spare
Jayme swooped in to the rescue
she offered to help me out - which made it all possible
still it felt kind of strange and adult/boring dropping G off with his Grandparents one afternoon
so we could go home and scrapbook
once we emptied the contents of the green box
and finished the book i was kinda proud of it
it was a lot of work in the non ditch digging variety
J's pages looked especially awesome and arty
it had sentimental value to me
it contained a lot of stuff that sort of summed up most of what i'd been up to
since i'd left El Paso
i wanted to share it with my parents
i wanted them to be proud of me
to say i hadn't wasted my life chasing around foolish dreams

one afternoon i took my son by to see them and i brought the book along too
i was excited and nervous about sharing it with them
while i watched my father uncomfortably skim through it
in about 3 minutes flat
i had a sort of out of body experience
i saw the little kid that i used to be
being dropped out of a space ship over the Franklin Mountains
i saw that kid being raised in El Paso
all those years feeling like an alien
like a stranger in his own house
like a stranger in his own skin
when i left my parents house that day
i might as well have gotten into a spaceship
and shot off to Mars
i felt like they had no idea what i did with my life
while i was anywhere else but sitting in front of them
in their own living room

on the way home from my parent's house that day
"stranger in my own skin" came to me
i wrote it straight away once i got home

here's a bit about the recording of stranger - originally posted on 4/17/08:

we started at 5:30
i was feeling a little uptight
about tracking one of the best songs
i feel like i've ever written
"stranger in my own skin"
it came out in 10 minutes
one evening a couple of months ago
after a visit to my parent's house
billy told me at the end of yesterday's session
"let's do stranger tomorrow..."
the past 24 hours thinking about it
iced me
when i showed up
he says
"i'm feeling like pictures tonight"
i felt relieved for some reason
so i happily started playing that one
even though in me heart i felt like it was half the song
billy got out his orange framus electric
and totally bad-ass guitar
and pondered the end of my bridge
after about 15 minutes he suddenly changes direction
"let's do stranger!"
i'm totally relaxed now
ready to tackle it
and guess what?
it was the easiest one to date
a little strum strum on billy's j-45
the tempo there right away
3 vocal takes
then billy puts down some spacey electric guitar
in 2 takes
discovers two new amazing melodies
that immediately unlock the atmospheric world
this song is going to live in
then some fender rhodes electric piano from billy
in 1 take
i hear a wurlitzer part and put it down
billy sings some incredible harmonies
in just 4 hours we have one of the most developed
great sounding recordings of the batch