Monday, February 26, 2018

The Song Should Go Where No Song Has Gone Before

There is a Piano Vocal Chord Book, “Only What We Need, The Songs of Peter Dizozza”
Take it home and enjoy at your parlor piano at your leisure, after dinner, or in this case after dinner and a show. It's dinner theater.

Life goes on while I write songs.
I confront issues with success, with failure,
Revealing my character, and its flaws.
How bad can be the portrait that I paint of myself?
This can be one of many nights.
Tonight we share the Fast and Upbeat songs.
THE 1960s... I barely get a few songs in this decade...
1. A Day (Guitar), anticipating the future in 1969
Other early songs include A Christmas Carol called That's What It's All About. Monica's Yuletides sang it at the Forest Hills Station Square Christmas Eve Celebration. That may be my first song.

I came from a time when the songwriter was glorified. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley didn't write their songs, the Beatles and their friends did.
It's weird now to discover so much of pop songs were played by the same band of musicians, the wrecking crew, but we didn't care about those songs. We only cared about the bands that ostensibly did play their instruments. The Beatles really did, and they played independently together. It's a chamber ensemble. I felt close to them although all I had of them were their albums. Their movies bought them that much closer to me.

Also in the 1960's Burt Bacharach explored radical harmonic progressions, perhaps arising from James Bond Secret Agent music. Radical chord changes. Bacharach enhanced that with asymmetrical rhythm, creating surprise and new momentum. Pop music became asymmetrical. The patterns became hit making. EXAMPLES?

Recovering an Opera, dated from the possibility of writing one.
When did Tommy write The Who, or rather when did The Who write Tommy? It was 1969
Before I heard Abbot and Costello ask Who's on First, my friend Frankie, who was older than me, looked like George Harrison, and played guitar, told me about a band with an un-pronouncable name one day just gave up on it to become The Who,
and they wrote a rock opera where they destroyed their instruments at the end..

In hushed tones, my mother's cousin, Joy, told me about people undressing onstage in Hair. Then we listened to the soundtrack.

I was frustrated by what I was hearing. When I heard something I liked I couldn't find it again and when I heard other things I wanted to improve them. I definitely wanted to write the dialogue for the movies, because they didn't say what I was thinking. Like the girl Mathilda, on Broadway, I wanted to write my own story.

Combining rock intensity/aggression with symphonic fidelity became my preferred approach.
I searched for the illusive song that I heard on WNEW FM.
Radio began playing album tracks, instead of just the hits.

Lyric: I can't seem to get away, I can't seem to know
but somebody up there must not want me to go.

Important lyric:
Say I've Done It with the Help of No One
and the thought of that makes it even more fun,
to think that I have done it alone,
well that is something new.
Oh yeah that is something new.
Because the reality was I was doing very little for myself. Even today I am happy to defer to others, but if no one is going to do it or knows what to do then I'll do it, and that's how I approach songwriting, which is to say, I supply what's missing in music, an ambitious aim.

Oh let me get away from here, you don't know what I've been through.
Oh let me get away from here, I don't know just what to do.
Hey hold on, Hey Hold on. I don't know why you're all so hung up.
Hey hold on, hey hold on. I don't know jus what to say.
So let me go. Oh please just let me go....

The search for the elusive song played once on FM radio became a driving factor in my writing songs.
However, other sound became mine. The song should go where no song has gone before.

Can it work that I am speaking to the phone?

I know what I'm doing! And what I'm doing has a ring of upsetting the table, as if the sound of a bell could upset the table -- that I have some creative thought or new way of looking at things, and communicating that can influence an outcome, can help shape the world as it continues to reformulate.  In a song you have a place to experiment.  It touches upon the random when it is written without training or instruction, but even in the most formulaic formats there is chance, however, as professionals we have left as little as possible to chance. 

I feel today that there is more of a fear or at least a rejection of the random because we live in an intentional world.  We intend to accomplish in an age where chance is no longer thought of as having Integrity, but rather is an act of perversity, like the flip a coin fellow in the Christopher Nolan Batman movie.

But we are on firm footing in the universe.  Believing that is an act of faith. 

When I notate songs I wrote at an early age I see that there is order in the universe.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Woody Allen rode on the romantic lead created by and for Humphrey Bogart.  They both crossed beyond the lead but they rode it first, Mr. Bogart through Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and To Have and Have Not, the last of those going so far as to provide him with a wife.  Woody Allen with Play It Again Sam into Sleeper, Love and Death and Annie Hall, then they went overboard into their own reality, with Manhattan and Stardust Memories for Mr. Allen, and Treasure of Sierra Madre and In a Lonely Place for Mr. Bogart. 
Mr. Bogart was rather reasonable in his depiction of the romantic lead gone wrong, susceptible to suspicion, when his female lead, the director's wife, Gloria Graham, takes the bait (offered by the outside world). 
Mr. Bogart seems to have his ego well within his control to portray these roles so completely. 
I'm longing for the romantic lead movie role that allows for the actor to embody an identity worthy or capable of receiving an audience transference.  This transference is the relatability of the movie star, that he or she can sustain the identity transference of the viewer.  Indeed this would happen when I was younger as I became Jack Nicholson in Chinatown sustaining the romantic lead in a movie land.  Mr Nicholson, with director and scriptwriter, provided a substitute identity, the way Bogart does for Woody Allen in Mr. Allen's own script, establishing himself, Mr. Allen, as the romantic lead. 
I'm realizing we mentioned the Quentin Tarrantino romance inspired by Play It Again Sam (True Romance, which provides a lead of great appeal but lacking in substance.  I don't know why I say that with conviction (Christian Slater is ok).  I'm trying to imagine the roles that have substance in a Tarrantino movie.  I feel like everyone is following the acting of Robin and the Seven Hoods, which is also quite a grim and gruesome movie of knuckleheads.  And his True Romance uses Elvis Presley as the Bogart figure.   Elvis is also somewhat lightweight in comparison to his viewer -- forgive me for suggesting this since I know Elvis's own movies can be amazing.  (I think of Jailhouse Rock, Blue Hawaii and Viva Las Vegas).  But who gets the audience identity transference?  Could James Bond get it as portrayed by whomever, ie, Daniel Craig?  When I first saw the newer Casino Royale I was somehow affected by the youthful appearance of the male and female leads, as if they weren't going to put up with the 1960's typecasting, but they had to.  Meanwhile, the 1970's movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway (Chinatown) offers them only a moment before they plummet to the movie's end.
Oh remember where both Mr Allen and Mr. Bogart came from.  Mr. Allen was the nebish behind the scenes author and Mr. Bogart was the gangster, but they were destined for Romantic Lead!  It looks like Mr. Allen wrote the lead for himself.   Mr. Bogart was an egoless actor intent on working, acting, good thing since he only lived 57 years.  John Huston gave him an identical Maltese Falcon script (it had been filmed in the 1930's) with a built in private eye, Sam Spade.  Casablanca was the script that would teach scriptwriters how to activate the ticking bomb (ruining movies by exposing the formula?).   To Have and to Have Not had a director and his wife provide an offscreen model of how the on screen actors could interact... Oh Howard Hawks, the same director, gave Humphrey Bogart a Philip Marlow role.  That's the movie, The Big Sleep, with two versions, the one before realization of the appeal of Bacall, and afterward. 
Create a romantic lead.  Is La La Land romantic?  Maira is suggesting Punch Drunk Love, while I consider Daniel Day Lewis... he can sustain this kind of audience identity transference, but he doesn't care and his main director PT Anderson, is looking to create something new, something that distances us even as our fascination grows.   Robert Downey Jr. could do it with Guy Richie in the Sherlock Holmes private eye... private eyes are everything, like their counterparts, secret agents.   perhaps the most we get from the quirky personality, the loner with paranoia is Humphrey Bogart, the loner with obsessive compulsion is Robert Downey. 
I need someone to speak to me because I need guidance.   Am I really on my own... well, we're on our own together...