Writing takes a lot of internal listening but, sometimes, the music must go on.
Recently, I have found that I am going back to my college days and my first years of teaching to recover the music I lost. My nephew showed me a new free app you can download called “Music Maniac.” Free music. Okay. So, I downloaded some piano music from George Winston and a few songs by Elton John and one that I discussed in my book, Piper’s Someday: “Fool in the Rain,” by Led Zeppelin.
I have no idea why I enjoy this song so much. I guess it reminds me of the kinder, gentler days of my youth when–from time to time–my brother and I would actually get along and listen to music: his. Saturday mornings in my youth were dizzying with the speakers from our very inexpensive sound system vibrating the walls of the townhome where the hostages were me, my sister, and my mom. How she allowed the decibels to reverb our underpants off while making Bisquick pancakes, I do not know either. But now, as I listen to it and write this, I want to be John Bonham playing the drums (in my underwear) and be Jimmy Paige playing the guitar, sweat dangling from my brow. As for Robert Plant, I just want to wear his bell bottoms.
In my early twenties, when Melissa Etheridge hit the scene, it felt like I had come home to a hot, “Janis Joplin-like” sound and she was on my team to boot. Now I wanted my bra off. Hands in the air, screaming “yes, yes,”: maniac me. If you have ever seen Melissa Etheridge in concert, you know the kind of vibe she creates in two hours of play. It is cosmically orgasmic. You leave certain you can change the world with her and everyone there. Your body and dreams elevate way beyond the ethers of this world. You are sure that if heaven is like this, then let’s go there and get that party started. She’s the mistress of rock and roll.
I have an idea why I like Melissa. I can relate to her and her lyrics and I have dreamt on more than one occasion that I might want to pen one of her songs. Melissa…if you get writer’s block…call me. Index finger to my ear. Pinky to my mouth.
Truth be told. I think both Zepp and Etheridge do two things in their music. One is that they write lyrics that are true and different and spot on. The other is that they practice and practice and rehearse and tweak and cut and add. When they have it right: they deliver.
Like a good book.