Monday, September 10, 2007

More (reprinted) Stories Concerning Rock

Tomorrow, I'll have some fresh stuff about being in bands. In the meantime, some of you might not have read this before.

(Notice how I automatically assume that you want to read it now.)

(Some of this was published here before is what I'm trying to say, and, of course, if I was any sort of a decent writer, I'd have found a way to say it without all of this gibberish and nonsense, which are pretty much the same thing, right, so if it seems familiar to you, I thank you for your continued patronage.)

(Really, if you want to get down to the nub of it all, just about everything I write has appeared here before in some form or another. I pretty much have three types of pieces - reminiscences, rants, and unclassifiable scribblings mostly caused by flashbacks. Within each of those genres, I keep recycling the same jokes - or, at least, structures of the jokes - and I'm fairly amazed that so many of you have been fooled into thinking that anything I write is actually "new", no matter what date is put on it.)

(For instance, self-deprecating "humor" enclosed in parentheses. Been there, done that, will do it again, get used to it.)


So, now I've related a couple of tales concerning my days as a rock singer and general all-around dope. However, following those ridiculous days, I took up the bass guitar, became quite proficient at it, and spent some time in a couple of bands that were actually decent.

One of those bands was called Soldier. It was a "power trio", consisting of myself on bass and vocals, Bobby (I'll forego last names here, so as to save anyone embarrassment they may not want at this late date in their lives) on guitar, and Artie on drums. Basic metal, nothing too complicated - especially since I was doubling on vocals. I can sing and play at the same time only while keeping the most rudimentary of bass lines. I cut loose during the instrumental passages, but pretty much played one-note lines during the singing.

This band did not play a whole bunch of gigs. It was mostly just Bobby and me practicing in my basement for a month or so, getting the songwriting and arrangements tight before auditioning drummers and renting out a real rehearsal space. Once we had leased the space and decided on Artie as our choice for drums, Bobby and I had a disagreement and the band split. Nothing major, but we just wanted to head in different directions and that was that. We remained friends.

(I remained friends with Artie, also, and I actually ended up doing some work for his father, driving a delivery truck for his produce company. Another story for another time. As usual, I've digressed.)

Getting back to what little story there is here, I wrote all of the lyrics for this band. I think a couple of them were particularly good, as heavy metal lyrics go. Actually, as heavy metal lyrics go, mine were pretty much the equivalent of Shakespeare, if you graded on a curve; not a whole lot of Ira Gershwins working in that field.

Anyway, here's a song (or two, depending upon how you count) from my halcyon days. If you have a band and want to hear the music, I'll see what I can do for you. It would be an enormous kick for me, if someone actually played one of my songs again.

HALFWAY TO HELL (Pt. 1 - Accusation)

We all remember your pretty face
The warmth of your smile and the innocence in your eyes
We all remember how it used to be
Sunshine and playtime and nobody told any lies

But now it's all changed and
The innocence in your eyes has turned to cold steel
The smile's still there, but it's hollow and fake
You say the right things, but it's obvious you don't feel

We all remember the days of our youth
The sun overhead and nothing to do but just play
We all remember how it used to be
You were like us then - Why couldn't those days have stayed?

It seems so long since there's been a day
With cloudless skies and the sun shining bright
You used to be someone to be looked up to
But now your soul is dead and black as night

You sit all alone in your cold little room watching TV all day and all night
Something has happened to turn you around; Something that isn't quite right
The highs aren't as high as they used to be and the lows are much lower as well
The lights are on, but is anyone home?
You're Halfway to Hell...

HALFWAY TO HELL (Pt. 2 - Answer)

I've been burned out
Dusted for death
Over the clouds in the city
Insides turned out
Standing on streets
That never were meant to be pretty
I've seen it all now
I can't be shocked
By anything that you show me
Listen why now
I don't feel a thing
By these sad words, you shall know me

I've seen life in the afterlife
I've seen death for today
I've seen the days of wine and roses
I've seen them all fade away
And though I still live, I've got nothing more to give
I'm Halfway to Hell

In a pure thing
I have seen lies
Waiting to spread and take over
There's no sure thing
There's only hope
Too often, it dies when you're sober
We've all been sucked in
Fools all the way
The suckers are born every minute
The shit is trucked in
Until it's so deep
We cannot help but stand in it

I've seen you all down on your knees
Praying for salvation
You can get fucked, in that position,
But getting fucked is the beginning of creation
And though I still live, I've got nothing more to give
I'm Halfway to Hell

Can you still care? Can you still Cry?
Are you still as you were before?
I've been somewhere past all that
I'm back... But I want to see more
In the graveyards, dead men tell tales about the way their lives died out
Amidst the shouting, I could hear tears, but I didn't care as they cried out
And though I still live, I've got nothing more to give
I'm Halfway to Hell...

A couple of semi-interesting notes on this song.

(Hah! Notes! Song! I thank you!)

One day, I was walking across the Mass. Ave. Bridge, which crosses the Charles River, connecting Cambridge and Boston. As I reached the middle of the bridge, I saw that some grafitti had been spray-painted on the sidewalk. It said, "Halfway To Hell". There was no indication whether the person considered Boston to be Hell and Cambridge to be Heaven, or vice-versa. It could be taken either way, of course. Genius!

When I wrote the song, the first thing I thought of was the common conception of Heaven being above and Hell being below. If you visualize things that way, then everyone on Earth is Halfway To Hell (as well as Halfway To Heaven, but that's not nearly as cool a title for a heavy metal song.)

See you soon.


David Sullivan said...

Awesome lyrics, I could see Dio or Whitesnake doing these songs as I write! LOL

The lyrics are way better than any 80's metal ever had.

Stu said...

You ever check out modern hard-rock? I'm a big fan of Iceland's Sigur Ros, a great metal band. Also, G-dspeed You Black Emperor and The Mars Volta. Those are my top three modern hard rock bands.

For older stuff, are you into Octopus or Gentle Giant, or more into Metal Church and Motorhead and Megadeath?

Suldog said...

Cuz - Thanks. Dio, for sure. He was always into the heaven/hell dichotomy.

Stu - A little bit of both. I probably prefer the Gentle Giant mode a bit more. As a matter of fact, I saw them in concert in maybe 1975 (?) with Black Oak Arkansas and Golden Earring. Now there was a triple bill of odd mixture!

I do own records by Motorhead and dig them. Lemmy!

Stu said...

Please, please, please post a full accounting of the GG/BOA/GO show, please, please, please!!!

Suldog said...


If I could remember the whole thing from that far back, it wouldn't have been much of a concert :-)

GG - Very Good. Powerful. Had never heard of them before this concert, so can't really say how well they played in relation to their usual, but I enjoyed them and bought a record.

BOA - Who I came to see; what I expected. Always did like them. Something of an acquired taste.

GE - Radar Love = great song. Didn't find much else memorable about them.