Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Play the Mandolin

Just when I thought I might never get another inspiration for a GBGC song, something came in the mail. It was a box so big, I thought a person might be in it. What it was, however, was a very carefully packed mandolin. A very dear friend gave it to me for Christmas because he knew I would know how to take care of it. I had no idea at the time what an adventure it would become to make use of what turned out to be, for most, a useless instrument.

I haven’t the slightest idea how to play the mandolin (okay, now a bit more than one week ago), and it took a lot of research and help from an expert to get the thing to sound as “good” as it does here. The mandolin is a very intricate and delicate instrument. The nut and the bridge are held in place only by the tension of the strings, and if they’re not in good shape, the performance is off.

This particular mandolin, much like the Bad Guitar, also has an innate mechanical flaw of its very own. It has an extra half a fret at the top of the neck, making the half-step improbable if not impossible. When I discovered that, I knew that this instrument was Totally Flawsome! ® and that it was now my duty to do more with it than just hang it up on the wall as decoration.

And so it came to pass, that the Bad Guitar found a mate. The Bad Mandonlin has a song of its very own, a metaphor for the failing mechanics of the human body and soul and the futility of reparation. 

lyrics property of grahamophone:

How do I play this mandolin?
It seems to be in even worse shape than I’m in
Dropped by an angel right before he fell,
and while he was falling he forgot to tell me
how to play this mandolin..

The lute player said, “well, you just have to tune it.”        
That’s easy to say- why don’t you try to do it.
It’s all fun and games ‘til one loses an eye,
I turn and I turn, and I try and I try, but oh 
why do I play this mandolin?

The grooves are too deep ‘cause the frets are all worn,
just like I fret at the dawn of each morn;
The neck it is warped and the bridge misaligned,
Who knows how many more faults I will find
if I try to play this mandolin.

I’ve checked the loose nut and I’ve checked the string’s gauge,
but this poor mandolin’s really showing its age;
the eight tuning pegs are all wound up and tight,
and if I’m not careful I’ll be up all night wondering
how to play this mandolin.

The body is weak and the saddle is tilted;
My spirit is meek and my heart has been jilted.
From the head to the tailpiece and to the F-hole,
there isn’t an angel who can save my soul


So I dusted it off and I found some new strings
and I started to concentrate on other things

I tried prayers and magic and incantations
But this mandolin has its own intonation


Just like me, it’s intrinsically flawed
but that doesn’t mean that it’s not loved by God
Lucifer, Michael or Rafael
or whoever dropped it, I pray that you tell me


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gotta Get Along: a GBGC Original for Election Year

Ah, it's that time again - presidential election year. The time when some of your friends expose themselves as vicious inhumane monsters, going against everything that you've ever held to be just and true. Well, rest assured, they're probably more afraid of you than you are of them. And both of you are claiming to be the more civil one, despite both of you spitting and spouting out opinions on the internet from the safe bunker of your own living rooms. You can't imagine what the world will be like if "the other guy" (or gal, as the case may be) wins. I've already vowed never to step foot in my homeland again should that occur, but in actuality, I suppose the world won't implode on itself. I do like a good spittin' match every now again, though, ruffling feathers and talking things out. 
Just for fun, I'll leave you with these utopian parting words:
Now go vote!

And yes, those are my relatives, singing in perfect harmony: Totally Flawsome!
lyrics property of Grahamophone

Whether you’re an elephant or a donkey
a black man or a honky
the truth is we all gotta get along

Whether you’re Kirk Cameron or Bob Saget
a straight guy or a :fabulous guy
the truth is we all gotta get along

Gotta get along, gotta get along
gotta get along to sing this song.
To sing this song 
we all gotta get along....

Whether you think there’s global warming,
or that ice caps still keep forming 
the truth is we all gotta get along

Even if your faith isn’t in compliance 
with the principles of science
the truth is we all gotta get along


Talkin’ about Welfare, Healthcare, and Education
Talkin’ about Environment, Retirement and Immigration
Talkin’ about Tax Breaks, Job Stakes, and legalizing marijuana 
Talkin’ about Energy, Economy and closing Guatanamo!!


No matter how your vote’s a-swingin’
our voices still keep singin’
the truth is we all gotta get along

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gone Fishin' (for compliments)

In light of a recent premiere which got shred to pieces in the press (not moi, mind you, just in general), I thought it was time to finally finish this little ditty. It was written sometime in May, and filmed during a heatwave in Frankfurt. The weather hasn’t been nearly as nice since, nor have I been in need of a compliment. Things have been going well.
But it’s always good to have a song like this ready for a rainy day when nothing seems to be going your way.

Big ol’ fish in a little ol’ sea

it was like swimming in the kiddie pool, full of pee
so i ventured out seeking treasure in the ocean.
Now I’m a little ol’ fish in a dog-eat-dog world
The things some people say could make your nose-hairs curl
Spoutin’ out opinions every time they have the notion.
Your guitar’s out of tune, your voice is too squeaky
you act kinda weird, and you dress kinda freaky.
These unsolicited points of view are really starting to bore me.
So do me favor, if you’d be so kind.
I’m gonna step out for bit, if you don’t mind
Here’s what you can say to anyone looking for me:
Tell ‘em I’ve gone fishin’ for compliments,
hang a sign up out on the wall:
“Gone Fishin’ for compliments”
If you can’t say something nice
don’t say nothing at all.
Got my bait and my tackle, but nothing’s bitin’
I don’t care, i’ll just stay here, I don’t feel like fightin’
Not going to fall for it - hook, line nor sinker
I’m gonna stay right here ‘til I’m out of worms
playing by my rules, making my own terms
and if you don’t like it, well then, you’re just a stinker
Yeah, I’ve gone fishin’ for compliments,
hung a sign up out on the wall:
Gone Fishin’ for compliments,
if you can’t say something nice
don’t say nothing at all. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Not a Matter of Opinion

Even before a majority of voters in the state of North Carolina approved an amendment to ban gay marriage, even before Arizona’s governor Jan Brewer signed a bill which determines to save the lives of unborn children even before they have been conceived, I got involved in conversations concerning these same controversial topics. And these discussions were with people whom I consider to be dear friends. 
Once we got over the shock of our differences in opinions, we were able to meet on common ground about some things. But still other things are open to debate. I hold fast to the notion (notice I didn’t say “I believe”) that there are certain things which cannot be argued. Much like the fact that two plus two is four, there are certain truths which I hold to be self-evident (thank you, Thomas Jefferson).
Therefore it baffles me that certain civil, yea verily, human rights can be put up to a vote. Isn’t it obvious that people should be allowed to live and let love? Apparently, it’s not. 
I’d like to thank my friends who were willing to enter these discourses with me - I’ve considered your viewpoints as well, never ye fear. And, wouldn’t you know, I’ve found that the biggest problem is being uncomfortable with the unknown. The more you know, the less you fear. 
Still, in the end, someone has to budge. I just hope and pray that you budge in my direction.
Peace, out. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good Enough (shoulda, coulda, woulda)

This song is about several things, really, so don't try to discern any particular incident. It's about making mistakes that no one notices, but still yearning to do better. It's about surrounding yourself with people who understand that, and saying goodbye to those who don't, without regret. 
It's about achieving that perfect balance of being in the right place in the right time, and being in the company of those who make your world magical, and not just mediocre. Nobody is perfect, but my theory is, when you get to where you are meant to be, it will be good enough. 

Any questions? Lyrics below (property of The Grahamophone)

For you it’s good enough, for them it’s good enough
but for me ..... it’s not good enough
I don’t care if no one knows, how it really goes,
can’t you see.... i know it’s not good enough
because i know i...
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.
They say I’m a big star, I’ll surely go far.
So when do we leave? .... Am I not good enough?
It’s not me, it’s you. So I know what I gotta do
I can’t stay here ... you’re not good enough.
because you didn’t think I...
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.

I know to be great I have to pull my own weight,
Struggle and race against the tide.
don’t wanna swim in a sea of mediocrity, 
where dilettantes will always be satisfied.

I know it’s ridiculous to be so meticulous
but that’s the only way ... it’ll be good enough
So let go of my hand, until you understand
to come with me ... you gotta be good enough.
because i never wanna say i ....
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.
Shoulda done, Coulda done, Woulda done more.

I wanna take my peanut butter to meet the chocolate
and shake my coconut with the lime. (doctor!)
I’ll never give up and i don’t know what to say here,
but I know in my perfect world it will rhyme...

Keep your eyes on the prize until you realize that
where you’re meant be .... it’ll be good enough.