I could never think of myself as a talented songwriter. People will only be able to judge my work by my end product, which is the recorded song that they hear. By what else of course. I, unlike the eventual listeners, understand my process and what went on in my head as I wrote the lyrics and composed the music. I, unlike them, know how I struggled with the songwriting. And it's nothing like the romantic image of a genius at work: instrument in hand, playing music like it was the most natural thing in the world, smoothly writing down the words and notes, and all with nary an effort between nonchalant sips of beer and drags of smoke.
Well, I drink and smoke, but the resemblance ends there. With me, songwriting is a deliberate and painful process. Hard and serious work. Never easy. I can't even read or write notes. Of course, that's a common thing with many rock musicians.
Speaking of which, I heard Zach of NU107 compose a song recently on air. Someone had texted in this totally useless factoid about chickens and how they pee, shit, and lay eggs in the same hole in their butt. Right there and then, he wrote a song about it and sang it live. It was hilarious. Of course, given the subject matter, how else could it turn out to be? He'd called it The Chicken Song.
The point in this is that that's how talented some musicians are. Writing songs like there was nothing to it --- chicken. With me, however, it's as painful as, say --- laying eggs.
I suspect the difference is how my head is wired. Unlike the imaginative and typical eccentric musician, I'm more of a logical thinker. Which makes it surprising how I ended up in an ad agency doing creative work. And playing in a band. I think differently. Actually, as opposed to going by feel, I think, period.
I approach my music making like structures I want to build rather than a fluid emotion I need to express. I'm more concerned with rhyme rather than the freedom poetic license brings. I attack songwriting rather than yield to it. In that is my weakness. And in that, in some twisted and unexplainable way, is my strength.
Although I have many song ideas swimming in my head, I have limited natural talent to bring it to surface. So to make up for my shortcomings, I have to exert extra effort. With a few inspired exceptions, everything I have ever written is the result of a downright dirty process. And I guess if the appreciative listeners knew this they'd probably think differently of my songs.
It's like chorizo. Someone once said to me if you only saw how it was made, you'd lose your appetite for those stringed, juicy, meatballs. I never bothered to investigate what he implied although I have my ugly suspicions. But I still like my chorizos. Well if it tastes good and goes down well, I couldn't care less how it was assembled. Maybe it’s the same with my music - better consumed than pondered upon.