Seismic “Song Dissection” with: With Jose Diaz of Neighbors
“Firework”(<-Click to listen) is named firework because it originally opened with the line: “baby, you’re a firework”. I sang this over the course of a few rehearsals, thinking of the bathroom opposite my girlfriend’s room. Hanging in it was a home-made poster, drawn in crayon with the slogan, “Baby, you’re a firework”. I thought it was really clever to use that, given that the song was about being in love, which I was (and am). Over the course of a few practices, I still only had “baby, you’re a firework” and the chorus, “sooner or later is better than never”. Also “yeah, you turned 21/big deal I did that too”. I don’t remember what I sang in between; I would improvise at practices and shows. After a month or two of living with the song I got a text from my drummer telling me that “Firework” was already a song. In it, Katy Perry sings, “baby, you’re a firework”. No, I really hadn’t heard that song and now couldn’t bear to have people thinking that I’d lifted lyrics from her (especially not her publisher). So I rewrote the lyrics. I worked them out on paper, along with the lyrics to “Empty” and “If I Were Good” on her bed. I ran them past her. She said they were good. At that point, I had, “Baby, tell me does it hurt”, something about a bruise, something about tying, something about sunglasses, and the chorus. Most of those changed as I realized that they didn’t fit with the movement of the verses when sung. This is something I often don’t work out until it’s time to do vocals. Which is just as well because most times I’m recording them myself. The lyrics you hear on the record were composed as I recorded them at my mentor Bob Meyer’s house. He has a studio in the basement and was nice enough to let me drink his (very good) whiskey and use it while his family was at home on Christmas day.
I had something specific in mind when I wrote the song; a specific thing I was writing about. At the same time I wanted to play with writing something happy but a little perverted, without being explicit. Along the way, that very specific thing went away, which is fine! Now it’s about a lot of things. I hope people can relate.
Check them out at Hollow Earth Radio: Land of Pines/Neighbors/Mr.Elevator and The Brain Hotel (LA),Blooper. $5-8pm-AA on June 1st. For more info click (here).