"Ink-Stained Fingers" was really tough on me to make. I know that sounds like bullshit. How hard can it be to play music and have fun doing it? Well...pretty hard. If you're an avid reader of my blog (you poor soul), you'll know that this took me about a year to complete and I almost quit music in the process. But I stuck with it and kept going. It became...I don't want to say "a labor of love." It was more like a labor of, "I fucking HAVE to do this because I don't know what else to do." And that worked. I faced some demons and wrote/worked my way through them. I got to work with my friend Tara Black for the photos in the artwork, which you'll have to get the CD to see--and it's worth it. She did a beautiful job. One sad note...I was sitting with Tara in an Applebee's planning the photo-shoot when I got a phone call from my brother telling me that our cousin Patrick had committed suicide. So this one's for him.
Inexplicably, I wrote a positive song. I don't know how that happened, and I'll try not to let it go to my head. I wrote this in an "up" period between bouts of depression. I originally meant it for my band (The Social Gospel), but I think both the other guys said they didn't quite see it...so it became a solo song--and an opener, no less!
PRETTY MUCH THE STORY OF MY LIFE:
Written about somebody I liked but knew I didn't have a shot with. It's pretty straight-forward. Fun and upbeat...but y'know...still kinda lyrically devastating. Short and sweet...
OF DEATH & DYING:
I'm Irish. I have "Danny Boy" stuck in my head all the time. One day I started singing it and just sort of blurted out, "Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are useless..." It made me laugh, but I figured I'd never use it. I couldn't crack how to do it...but then I figured out that if I switched around some words, it turned into its own thing. I added in some references to other songs I associate with funerals and sort of made my own funeral song. I like it. A lot of other people seem to as well.
I've had a couple versions of the lyrics for this song in a couple of different notebooks. Finally found its mark, and I think it's a good one. Of a similar vibe to "Pretty Much..." it was a risky one to include so close to the other one...but I don't think either song hurts the other. I wrote them about two different situations anyway... "Pretty Much..." is the story of knowing it's never going to work out and "The Girl" is the story of having tried and failed. And it's the first recorded "fuck" in my musical career. In the lyric, I mean.
This song has been in different forms for about 10 years. The "American, Iraq, Iran" line never changed though. That's kind of scary when you think about it. I think this version accomplished what I wanted out of it. I'm glad it's finally in my official catalogue.
A fucked up little love song. This one was fun to write and fun to play. I don't have a lot to say about it...I think the lyrics are clever, but being the guy that wrote them, that's kind of a fucked up thing to say. Moving on...
Another one that's been sitting around waiting for a home for a few years. Written about a good memory of a relationship that ended. I particularly like the way the guitar work came out on this one.
...there but for the Grace of God
It's a song about somebody who committed suicide (I will not be sharing the name, by request of the family). I called it "...there but for the Grace of God." You do the math. I don't really want to talk about it here.
I live a life that bounces back and forth between steadfast assurance and complete atheism. This song speaks to that. It's the anger of repentance and the lack of confidence that you're really good enough...and then it's the complete, unexplained comfort and joy of being broken in the way only God can break you. Plus, I say "fuck" and "shit" in a Christian song. I think that's a real accomplishment (that'd get me thrown out of most Baptist congregations).
THE RING I ALMOST GAVE HER:
There's really no mystery here. I have my mom's wedding ring sitting in my bookcase. I recently ran into the woman I came close to offering it to...and her son. I don't know if I'll ever need that ring or not...but it's nice to have it sitting there.
GIVE IT UP:
"You've got to celebrate what you've got, even if there's more you want." That's the point of the song. And it might be the best advice I have to offer to anybody. Plus, the bridge gets fucking loud for no good reason.
I think my forte as a writer is closing songs. I write good closing songs. This is one of those. It's about me and how screwed up I am...I chase God and everything else and I'm just hoping to figure it out one of these days. I won't. But I'm HOPING to. Until then, I guess I'll just have to keep making records...