New Album, “I Will Be There” Available on Randm Records!
One of the things I love about Nashville is that rather than saying, “Let’s do sushi, sometime.” (Like in LA) they say, “Let’s cowrite sometime!” Cowriting is one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve been able to take part in during my time as a songwriter. Hearing other people’s ideas and pulling from chord changes that I’ve never attempted brings out new melodies and ideas that I’ve never used before.
This is the story about the only cowrite that I’ve ever done with my guitar player, Ariel Levine, and how brilliant it was.
Ariel came over and sat in my favorite chair at my pad. “Nuh uh…” I said… “that’s my spot.” (This is not vital to the story… I just wanted to let you all know that I’d treat you the same way, unless you’re elderly, or bigger than me.)
After we found the correct positions, Ariel grabbed my Taylor and showed me a chord progression he had been working on for a long time. I loved it immediately. I hummed out the melody for what would be our chorus immediately, before he even had a chance to say anything. I had walked into the other room to grab a cup of coffee, and while walking in the room,I said, “You know what that melody is, right? It’s hmmmm- HMMMM- HMm- Hmm -hmm- hmmmm- HMMMMM—- HMMMM -HMMmm- Hmmm- Hmmmm- Hm- Hmm- Hmmmm -Hmmmmm…” (Obviously, this is the best sentence I’ve ever blogged…)
Ariel looked up at me and gave me the single kindest compliment he’s ever given me. “Shit, dude… That’s exactly it… I’ve been working on this song for three years and you nailed it on your first try.” I honestly can say it was one of my proudest moments. (Ariel is NOT easily impressed.)
We came up with the idea of an “out of luck” character who just didn’t have a chance against the world. At each point of his story, we wanted him to just be completely unlucky- but not unlikeable. And that’s how the story began….
Started way back when I was just four years old
Never did as I was told
20 years later and not a damn thing has changed
Yeah, I’m still the same
And I’m still deranged
Well the cops came and locked me up
All because I just couldn’t stop
And now I’m doing five
in the penitentiary
In the first chapter of our story, we’re not really sure who our character is, but most people just assume it’s me since I’m the one singing. I’m cool with that. Did you know that the most googled question about me is, “How old is Josh Damigo”? I’ve had many people already ask if I was 24, based on this song. I’ll take it. 🙂 Based on this chapter, I’m guessing that we’re all pretty much thinking he’s in jail for petty crimes… but nothing really big to make us dislike him.
Goodbye, all of my good times
I had some good times, saying goodbye
I just love the play on words in this song. It’s so fun to just move it back and forth. You can really say so much in so little words. You know that doing bad things can be fun… right? (I didn’t type that.. I’m not sure how it got in my blog, Grandma… Just ignore that….)
Now I’m out on the street trying not to break parole
I’m going to church
Sitting in the front row
They passed me the biggest offering plate I’d ever seen
I couldn’t help myself
There was so much “green”!
Well the Pastor called the cops
and they came and they locked me up
and now I’m doing ten
in the penitentiary
I love the idea of taking money OUT of the offering plate. I would never do that… but it’s so funny to me. I mean, here we have a guy who just got out of jail and is trying to do the right thing, but what are you going to do? They just put a big plate full of money in front of him… Surely, you wouldn’t put a plate of food in front of a starving man and expect him not to touch it? Obviously, he’s getting more years for this crime than the first one, because… well… he should’ve learned.
Now I’m out on the street trying to keep my nose clean
I got me a job
in a bowling league
Well the women’s team captain is a ball bustin’ son of a gun
She got in my face
So I just swung
Well, That was my third strike
Cause she was the Sheriff’s wife
And now I’m doing life
in the penitentiary
It’s an odd saying, “Keep my nose clean.” I’m sure it’s a drug reference, but I didn’t know that. I love the idea of criminals working at a bowling league. I just feel like a smokey room like that with the pool tables and cruddy bar would be a perfect place for our unlucky leading man. On top of that- the idea of a woman’s bowling league captain getting in the face of an employee. How annoying would that be? And a guy who’s had to be on edge in prison for that long? His only reaction would be to protect himself and go on the offensive. In light of the Ray Rice incident, the idea of hitting a woman is not funny, and therefore, I find it fitting that he gets life in jail…. (Even if it’s mostly because she was married to the sheriff… how unlucky can you get?)
Me and Big Larry busted out of the prison walls
And we made our way
To Mexico, yeah
A pretty señorita sang a song of sweet seduction
but just my luck
She was the Federali’s wife, WHY?
Now I’m wearing a blindfold
and I’m having my last smoke
and this firing squad
is gonna be the death of me
The lyrics were originally “Gay Larry” cause that’s funnier, but I love the idea that our character makes friends in jail and breaks out. We don’t hear about prison breaks much anymore. That’s kind of a bummer. It would make life much more romantic.
Ariel came up with his alliterated line of “señorita sang a song of sweet seduction” and wouldn’t let me change it, even though I tried to, a dozen times. It grew on me. I’m into it now.
I also dig that our character has not only angered the police in the US, but now, he’s also done so internationally. Poor guy…
Obviously, the only way to end a story like this is with a pun about firing squads and death.
By far, one of the most fun songs to play live on the record and gives me a ton of extra street credit, since there’s no way I could or would do any of the crimes in this story… But I could see situations where I accidentally flirt with the wrong señorita….