#632: Early Attempts at Songwriting

GETTING MORE TALE #632: Early Attempts at Songwriting

Because nothing we did in highschool lasts forever, I chose to keep as much stuff as possible.  I have an entire binder full of our highschool comic book “Brett-Lore”.  Everybody knew that it needed to be kept safe and sound, and so I was the one to do it.  27 years after graduation, I still have Brett-Lore safe and sound.  I would never get rid of it.  Too many great memories.

I also kept some early attempts at songwriting.  Specifically:  lyrics.  Some of these songs had music written or recorded for them, but it is now lost.  Not that it matters, since the lyrics are so hot.

On a page of lyrics “by Mike + Dan”, I found this potential smash hit song.

“Fuck, Hell is Hot”

Fuck it’s hot in this pit,

So damn hot I feel like shit,

I wake up in the morning,

From the torment of my bed,

I had spikes for my pillow,

That went straight through my head.

Guitar solo – end

This was a thrash metal song, which was all the rage in 1990.  Obviously a novelty song, it was based off other joke thrash songs I’d heard.  A local band called F.U.H.Q. had a song called “Jimi Hendrix Falling Off a Roof”.  It was basically just them screaming “AHHHHHH!” and then “I’m dead!”

The next song down is scribbled next to a half-assed Van Halen logo.  It’s another novelty song:

“Snake in my Pants”

I  got a snake in my pants,

And it loves to dance,

Sometimes it spits venom,

Sometimes it bites victims,

But all the time my snake’s alive.

I remember that one.  Definitely my work, not Dan’s.  You can tell by the subtle use of metaphor.

Dan and I were really into Led Zeppelin at this time, because they had just released their first box set.  We both found Robert Plant’s lyrics a little comical, so over-the-top they were with symbolism.  We attempted to write our own version of a Led Zeppelin song.  We called it “Abbis’ Stomp”.  Abbis was a nickname for a guy in class who was actually named Andrew.  I don’t know why they called him Abbis, but he too loved Zeppelin and we named it after him.

“Abbis’ Stomp” was recorded and I still have it on cassette.  I sang it and a guy named Dave played guitar.  There was a 20 minute instrumental section if I remember correctly.

“Abbis’ Stomp”

The forest is alive and vibrant green,

And here she comes: the reigning Queen,

The moon is bright and over the lake,

And the Queen is on the make.

Oh, oh, ah!

The beat, it pounds in my heart,

The Stallion takes off like a dart,

The streets are deadly in these times,

But killing dwarves is a crime.

Oh, oh, ah!

Great Christmas Tree,

Someday you’ll come back to me,

Beautiful Christmas Tree….

I open the Book of Life and see,

The pages staring back at me,

The dragon breathes its acrid breath,

And fries the Christmas Tree to death.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ahh!

Reading back, and singing the melody in my head, I understand now why Robert Plant never contacted us for songwriting help.  And I see bits of lines that were directly ripped off from Iron Maiden.  See if you can spot them.

There was better stuff on other pages.  “Unleashed in the Middle East” was a topical song about the Gulf War, written by Dan, myself and a third guy named Andy.  It was a more innocent time and this song reflects it.  It’s all about driving out evil Saddam.  “From this chaos rose a man, a tyrant for all to see…”  Then there is “Night of the Serpent”, a lyric Dan wrote solo.  It has religious overtones and it’s by far the best thing in the binder.  He was a talented writer.

I should contact the guys.  We should complete these songs and make an album!  I know the binder alone contains more than enough material for one record.  We always talked about sitting down and properly recording some originals and covers.  We never did because we weren’t good enough.  But in the glowing light of nostalgia, anything can have value.


#448: Phat Curtis


GETTING MORE TALE #448: Phat Curtis

I started highschool in 1986, and the best days of the week were Thursdays.  They called it “Game Day”.  Thursdays were shortened, and we all got to go home at 2:45 instead of 4:45.  Not only did that mean I would be able to catch the start of the Pepsi Power Hour, but it also meant extra time to goof around!

My best friend Bob and I were walking home from school one Thursday afternoon.  A few days earlier he found something that we dubbed “the Killerang”.  It was actually just a piece of red plastic from a grocery store’s pop bottle plastic crate.  It was kind of shaped like an elongated “E”.  An inner slat from one of those cases had come out and found its way onto the road by which we were walking.  Bob threw it away assuming it was junk, but when he did, that sucker took off and flew, better than a boomerang!  We saw it land far away in a vacant lot.  We both stared at each other at the unexpected aerodynamics of this plastic fork.  We ran after it knowing we’d found a cool toy to play with!  The Killerang.


Then on Thursday, Bob brought the Killerang to school so we could mess with it on the way home.  Killerang in hand, Bob and I stopped at a park by a local public school that was still in class.  We were going to use their schoolyard to see how far we could get this thing to fly.  Off in the distance was a class of kids watching a football game.  Way, way off in the distance.  It is on that field that two fates collided.

Bob wound up and threw the boomerang.  He didn’t throw it hard but again it caught air and took off.  We ran to collect it, and it was my turn.

“Don’t throw it too hard,” Bob advised.  “It really flies.”

“OK,” I said as I wound up.

I threw the boomerang a little too hard.  I watched as it flew…and flew…and flew…on its way to the distant football game.

“Oh no,” I muttered as the boomerang continued its flight.  By its trajectory, it was going to hit one of the kids in the crowd.

There was one kid on that field that could not be missed even from that distance.  He was huge.  He was a giant.  I watched as my boomerang felled that giant, striking him directly in the back of the neck.  His arms went wide and he collapsed to the ground.

“Holy shit,” said Bob as I cried “Oh no!”

“You have to go apologize,” said Bob, stating the obvious.  I’d never apologized to a giant before.

Sheepishly, and possibly with a huge and sudden dump in my pants, I went over to the football field to apologize to the giant.

Fortunately the giant, whom I learned one addresses as “Phat Curtis”, was the forgiving type.  He did not kill me (this much is obvious).  He did not stomp me, nor did he piledrive me into the ground.  You don’t get a name like “Phat Curtis” for being small, but thankfully he wasn’t a vengeful giant.

A year later, Phat Curtis started highschool, and it was there that I learned he was a drummer.   In fact he had a reputation as the most talented drummer in school.  Later on he added five and six string bass to his musical repertoire.   He went on to play with my sister in various ensembles, and became a customer at the Record Store too.  He was always looking for live albums with good bass.  Didn’t buy much stuff, but he sure kept me busy every time he came in.

Maybe that was his revenge?  To haunt the Record Store of the guy who boomeranged him in the back of the neck?  To make that Record Store guy run around the store looking for live albums with good bass, but not make a sale?  Could that be it?  If so, I cannot say that Phat Curtis put me in as much pain as I put him in.  However at least I can boast that single-handedly took down a giant!

#405: Brett-Lore (Excerpts)


#405: Brett-Lore (Excerpts)

All artwork created by: Various denizens of Grand River Collegiate Institute, circa 1989-1991.