Monday, March 03, 2008

The first song that I ever wrote: featuring the story behind the music

"Personal Wigwam"

If you're feeling down
And you're new to town
No one knows your name
Take a tip from me
A simple philosophy
And your loneliness will fade

Inhale the good
Exhale the bad
Personal Wigwam

It ain't complicated
Or hard to demonstrate it
You just stay where you are
So just close your eyes
And self hypnotize
Until the "eye" opens wide

Inhale the good
Exhale the bad
Personal Wigwam

Still there's mystery
to my identity
listen closely and you'll find
I'm the Electric Papoose
In the flying caboose
And breathing gets me high

Inhale the good
Exhale the bad
Personal Wigwam

(1992 MDK)

The story behind this? Well, I always reference a time of my life spent selling Hoovers for Jebus door to door in Northeast England, and this was written during that time.

I was working in Doncatster and one of my "clients" gave me a guitar, which I had only started playing about two years prior. I had a creative explosion during this time of strict cloistering. Doing what I was, playing the guitar and writing "apostate" music (apostate for the conditions of the "job"--mind you, I signed up for it), it was even better that the song was based on the ideas of meditation and astral travel. My district "sales" leader found out about all of this and informed the president of our "division". They shut me down and I sold the guitar for ten quid. However, this was not before I did some crude recordings on a cheap dictaphone. My Portuguese sales partner thought is was the shit.

Speaking about dictaphones and Portuguese sales partners, I caught him having a wet dream on audio tape. This dictaphone had a voice activated recording feature. My partner was notorious for talking in his native tongue in his sleep. He didn't believe me and so I secretly set up my dictaphone to record whatever noises occurred during the night. When I woke up that morning he was already up and his bedding was gone. I thought nothing of it until I played the tape back. What I got where the usual trains and buses passing our flat, then the big nocturnal "O". It went like this: "Aaaaaaah, ahhh, oohhhh! Oh, no! Oh, the dangit! Oh, I for make all over now." On second thought, that might not have been a nocturnal emission. I played the tape back for him and he first said that it wasn't him. I said, "Well, it sure wasn't me moaning in broken English." He then said that he was having a "Dream bad about dogs for chase." Yeah, it was kind of like living with Borat for three months. It was great. Anyway, back to the story.

I later borrowed another guitar when I moved from Doncaster to Keighley. It was there that I met a faith healer named Dave who had a brief pub touring stint with the Dave Clark Five in the eighties. I wrote a bunch more songs there. One of those songs was "Child of Buddah". It did not fair well with my compadres. It did not help that I was not a good singer at the time, either. I got shut down again. But at least I made some more recordings.

I laugh at the quality and my lack of playing ability at the time. But I've never had so much fun as I did then, writing songs and playing guitar. I guess it was because it really meant that I was being bad, or at the very least, annoying as hell.


Diane Mandy said...

Do you still write songs or play guitar?

The Grunt said...

Yeah, I still play guitar and write songs.

Diane Mandy said...

I see more videos in our future then!

Photogirl said...

Is "hoover" code word for something? Or did you really sell vaccums?

Outdoorsy Girl said...

Oh my god! I am dying laughing right now! I remember the story about your Portuguese flat mate!!!

It is so cool that you have your old style and songs down so that you can see how much you've changed. Awesome.

The Grunt said...

Grunt~ You call that singing?

Diane~ I've been thinking about it. I'll see what I can do.

Celeste~ Hoover is code for religion.

O-Girl~ I forgot about telling you about him. He was one funny guy.

Keshi said...

The day I listened to ur voice I can never forget! U really sing well and the songs u write..simply brilliant Grunty!

**Inhale the good
Exhale the bad


luv ye!


Clearlykels said...

loved the song. love, love, loved it.

Tys on Ice said...

hey , i like tht song lyrics...wonder how tht sounds..u think u can put up the dictaphone recording on ur site? include the portugese wet dream as a back track...

wanna read my masterpiece i wrote in college and performed, before they egged me off the stage?

Phecy bottles littering the park
A man smears his cigerattes with opium
one lites a joint, another pops a pill
all in all they're having such a thrill

Mary Jane she calls all the shots
she fills my mind and leaves my soul to rot
Please hold the rubber tube
while i try to find a needle for my vein

Its alrite Its alrite
Its a habit to break
Its alrite Its alrite
Its an addiction to beat goes on like was supposed to be anti drugs but ended up glorifying it...story of my life. :)

The Grunt said...

Keshi~ Thanks! My voice isn't that sweet right now, due to the damage done from radiation to my esophagus. But it will get better.

Kels~ I'm glad you did, did, did! :)

Tys~ I'd rather put up the version I recorded in 1999. It sounds like some stoner song, to be honest, and is mind numbingly simple to play. Well, the basic part of it is.

As for your song, it's cool that you had enough balls to get up on stage and sing.

I just want everyone to know that for every good song I write, there are 100 terrible ones written. The key is knowing which ones are terrible and which ones you keep.

Autumn Storm said...

One word: YouTube. I expect to see some at some point. ;-)

Chandra said...


No more needs to be said :)