The first newly completed song from the “Madison Lint” album: “Cold.”
I’ve been singing this a lot to myself as I walk around this horribly frozen wasteland that is Wisconsin and thinking about when I wrote the words to this while wandering around the building of my crappy office job back in early 2001, when both the job and the city were new to me after leaving Austin.
Some bits of the music were born a few months earlier when I had a “professional” songwriter I’d just met come over and try to write some music with me. Now, I don’t actually work that well with other songwriters as a rule, though I appreciate having someone in the room forcing me to come up with ideas and not run off to watch TV or something. So I came up with most of the melody, and the other dude tried to wedge in some ideas that didn’t fit, and he got disgusted with the tune and said it wasn’t good enough to submit to his publisher in Nashville. I proceeded to expunge his contribution, simplify the chord progression into a Nirvana-esque soft then loud thing, and write all new lyrics. I’m still waiting to be sued regardless, as the dude seemed litigious.
The song became a staple for Madison Lint, the band I formed soon after, and was recorded for our initial demo in the fall of 2001. Several lineups later, we recorded this version in March 2004 for our full album project, which I then proceeded to abandon when the band fell apart a few months later. I don’t think I’d actually listened to this take between recording it and late 2009, when my crime was revealed: I had a pretty damn great recording of a sickly good band that I had not been responsible enough to finish up.
…But I knew that already, and the point of this blog is to address that sin among others.
You may notice that after about minute 3.5 when the singing is all done, the song keeps going and going, wanking about a la the Grateful Dead, repeating the same two chords as first the keyboard, then the lead guitar take solos, then the lead guitar keeps going while the drums get silly, then my acoustic guitar just won’t shut up, bringing the thing to over 8 minutes. This is not a feat I intend to repeat, and the tune may get edited down in the final reckoning, but trying to shove my style into a jam greater than I myself could personally manage as a solo performer was sort of the point of that band, and the groove is all right, so who am I to knock it?
It was my belief in forming my first bands (in the late 80s) that improvisation can never be as good as something thought out beforehand, but many years listening to jazz has convinced me otherwise. I do not believe that one’s soul magically emerges from one’s body to squirt around in a shower of glory during such a procedure, but the thing certainly did seem to gain its own momentum, and I felt excessive but gleeful about it at the time.