Makin Stuff Up
I've played the sax for over 30 years in lots of pop/jazz/blues bands. I'm predominantly a tenor player and I love Lenny Pickett and Vince Denham. I also love writing songs and this collection is a gathering of various ideas that I've generated in the past couple of years. I recorded the songs with a friend of mine who owns a studio: David Malinich. With the help of a couple other musicians we were able to create 13 songs that feature the saxophone played in several different styles...predominantly jazz and blues oriented pop. I'm from Michigan; I was born in the Detroit area and moved to the middle part of the state (for a job) in 1981. I spend lots of time working with young musicians as a mentor and part-time conductor for musicals and concerts. I like working with kids since they're pretty impressionable. They treat me like I really know something...not a common occurrence when I'm in the company of adults who know better. I've got two kids of my own who say they like my music...that's cuz I pay their bills. One other item that bears mention: In 1997, I was diagnosed with leukemia. As the result of a bone marrow transplant, I've recovered from that disease (so I'm told). Obviously, I've been lucky. The illness inspired me to move forward with various projects that I wanted to be sure I completed some time in my life. A CD containing my own music was one of those projects. I hope the descriptions of the songs and the lyircs help make the CD more fun to listen to. 1. Gotta Get Goin' (John Anderson) I had hopes that the title mades sense for the first song on the CD. I invented the chord progression first and two of the three melody lines soon after. David Malinich made some suggestions on the remainder of the song that helped me find a third melody line and pull the various parts together. Saxes, Keyboard John Anderson Guitar, Bass, Keyboard and Drum Programming David Malinich 2. Makin' Stuff Up (John Anderson) This is a 12 bar blues tune in a minor key. I liked the effect of adding the 9th tone of these minor chords as it gave the music some tension. In fact, the last note in the melody line is often the 9th tone in the scale too. The lyric has been changed a number of times as I've tried not to be offensive to anyone; thought provoking, maybe, but not offensive. I think the thing that inspired the song initially was how people treat waitresses and car washers and the like so badly. Obviously, that's where the 2nd verse came from. Then I began to realize that there are lots of instances when I was kidding myself about what was right and wrong so the other verses and the bridge were an attempt to put a few of these other instances into words. Lead and Harmony Vocal Amy Carlson Saxes and Keyboard John Anderson Guitar, Bass, Keyboard, Drum Programming David Malinich Verse 1 We wanna preach it What's right and wrong and where's that line But our whole outlook Depends on where we've done our time If we forget that there's two sides When our opinion's based on pride I really feel compelled to interrupt Cuz we're makin' stuff up Verse 2 People with money The kind we call the upper class Might just be lucky May never had to bust their (bad word) And even if they stole and lied Their money makes them dignified I really feel compelled to interrupt Cuz they're makin' stuff up Bridge Perfect truth is absolute But it's so hard to find Cuz selfishness helps us decide Where we should draw the lines Not just what is best for us Or convenient at the time (Let's) take the time to understand And then make up our minds Verse 3 Our politicians Are so concerned about the votes Hire statisticians To forecast who'll jump in the boat If what's in opinion polls Can compromise our higher goals It's time for all of us to interrupt Cuz we're makin' stuff up 3. Oh Darlin' (Lennon/McCartney) Everyone has an opinion....mine is that the Beatles are the best pop music group of all time by a wide margin. This is due in large part to the songwriting that Lennon and McCartney did. This one works well instrumentally and comes from my favorite Beatles album: Abbey Road...incredible music that ought to be played as often as possible! Saxes, Keyboard John Anderson Guitar, Bass, Keyboard and Drum Programming David Malinich 4. Lip Service (David Malinich) David Malinich and I have worked on lots of material together. He is a prolific writer and offered this song to me as a potential addition to my CD. I really liked it and it satisfied my urge to have a movin', groovin' type of pop-jazz song included. Sax John Anderson Guitar, Bass, Keyboard and Drum Programming David Malinich 5. Day to Die (John Anderson) Musically, I really liked the chord progression and I was kind of inspired to write a blues tune in the 12/8 rhythm. In particular the song 'Life is Hard, Then You Die' (Johnny Winter) was an inspiration for both the lyrics and music. The 'climbing' horns that conclude each verse are reminiscent of 'You're Gonna Need Me' which was a favorite of the Blues Controversy, a band I was formerly a member of. As I recovered from my bone marrow transplant in 1997, I had a lot of time to think. I got pretty depressed as some grim realities about life set in. Among those was the indisputable truth there's a day out there in the future somewhere that is my 'day to die'. Another thing that was very hard to accept was that many of the problems I saw people facing were chronic in nature...they were NEVER going to get relief. While all of that sounds depressing, I began to realize that life is all anyone (including me) has. I hope everyone gets to do the things that are important to them. For me at least, realizing that my days are numbered was a useful wake up call. Saxes and Keyboard John Anderson Guitar Mike Gullo Bass, Drum Programming David Malinich Verse 1 'We've done all the tests that we needed to do And it's time that we shared all the bad news with you. Your body's not working, it's gonna break down You can look for a second opinion downtown.' It's that kind of message we hope is a lie They just shrug their shoulders when we ask them why This day isn't special; must be somebody's day to die. Verse 2 Some people get lucky and dodge all life's bad stuff But life's full of surprises so that trick is tough It's a hard journey from the day that we're born Hardship can come in so many forms Good times and bad times will both pass us by We should learn what we can when we struggle and cry This day isn't special; must be somebody's day to die. Bridge All of the time I've been walkin'around From the day I was 40, back to when I was born I never had trouble not a single bad day And I thought that everyone had it that way The things people live with and learn to live through An ongoing illness; a lover-untrue These thoughts overwhelmed me and gave me the blues But that's how I learned what I needed to do Verse 3 The things that I'd say that I'd do when there's time And the uses I'd think of for my next extra dime The things I should do for the people I loved And the talents I had I could make good use of Don't let your best chances to live pass you by Time's at a premium; just watch it fly There's no day that's special; they're all somebody's day to die. 6. Sarabande and Badinerie (J.S. Bach) I wanted to include something for my classically trained acquaintances. Including a piece written by Bach was a bit of a risk; I had to acknowledge that I wasn't the best composer on the CD. Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxes John Anderson 7. I'm Not Through with You (John Anderson) At least initially, I was trying to write something like the song 'So Very Hard to Go' by Tower of Power, a brassy pop tune extraordinaire. I was eager to write a tune that had not only a big horn sound but also a vocal part with opportunities for a lot of harmony. In spite of those initial aspirations, I think the song ended up more like a Joe Jackson or Manhattan Transfer tune than Tower of Power, but that's just fine. The lyric uses a catch phrase that I remember my mom saying to me. When I got a lecture from mom, I often heard the 'I'm Not Through With You' line. The intent here was to cast the vocalist as a person who is deluding him or herself into believing that they still have control over their partner in a failing relationship. The singer tells the lover 'how it's going to be', not willing to admit that there is no way to make another person do what they don't want to do. Lead and Harmony Vocals Amy Carlson Saxes, Keyboard, Harmony Vocals John Anderson Drum Programming David Malinich Verse 1 There's some rules that we must abide by Some things we've just got to do So please sit down and I'll give you a lecture I hope get through to you You can't just leave when somebody needs you I can't let you get far I've been cryin' and you're the one who hurt me So stay right where you are Chorus If you think you can go Then I think you should know This discussion is far from over I'll keep talkin' all night Just to keep you in sight... I'm not through with you I'm not through with you Verse 2 I need you to stop misbehavin' To fall back into line I don't think that I'm ready to share you You must remain all mine I'll stay here 'til we reach an agreement I'm gonna hold my ground Worked so hard on love and then we lost it Now it's got to be found Bridge If I let you do the things that you want to I won't be a part of your plans. You've got to love me the way that I love you I've got to make you understand 8. Blues Variations (Malinich/Anderson) Dave Malinich and I were experimenting with a number of melody ideas and these 'solo' tracks evolved. I liked the mood they created...it reminded me of someone playing on a rooftop. Sax John Anderson 9. Kiss From a Rose (Seal) I fell in love with this song when I heard it and the more I examined the original recording the more intricacies I uncovered. If you enjoy this and you are not familiar with Seal's original version, you should check it out too. Saxes, Keyboard John Anderson Keyboard Kurt Cormier Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming David Malinich 10. I Need the Money (John Anderson) There's a song that the Isley Brothers did originally which was covered by the Average White Band called 'Work to Do'. From the moment I heard it I loved it. Both musically and lyrically this tune was inspired by that one. It is intended to be lighthearted and something that we can all identify with...most of us have lots of 'goofin' off' we'd really like to do...but we work because '_ ___ __ ____'. The continuous movement from suspended chords to major chords back and forth works well in lots of pop tunes and, I think, it works here too. I was pleased with the chorus inasmuch as it segues into the verse nicely. Lead and Harmony Vocals, Saxes, Keyboards John Anderson Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming David Malinich Verse 1 Early in the mornin' 'til the daylight's all used up Use up all my energy doin' someone else's stuff No time left to sing my song, be what I wanna be Wish the debts would disappear so I could just be me Retirement age is way too high to suit my laid back style I really wanna sleep in late then play music for a while I've tried the lotto and the track without a lot of luck I gotta eat and pay the rent so I think I might be stuck Chorus Tell me if it sounds like I'd be askin' for too much To have them forward on the checks and let me simply stay in touch Bein' straight about my plan...not tryin' to be funny Cuz I don't need the job...I need the money Verse 2 One sure thing that I recall, I learned outside of school Is that the man who's got the gold is the one who makes the rules This messes up the plans I had; my future's lookin' grim The only way that this'll work is if I can be him I suppose that I could try to trim down my expenses Cut out all the luxury and come back to my senses Throw the VISA card away and just pay as I go That plan don't have a prayer of workin'...cuz I don't have the dough My ideal and perfect world excludes the daily grind But the things I like to do require a solid bottom line They named it work because it's work; weighs me down just like a rock The money's great, but the part I hate is that I have to punch the clock. 11. Still in Love (John Anderson) My wife Geri's support throughout our marriage especially during my illness has been unwavering and motivated by a deep caring for me. I have now observed what it can be like when wedding vows are put to a difficult test....some people are strongly committed to them. I couldn't have made the CD without my wife and I wouldn't have considered not asking her to join me on a song. I hope this duet we played together conveys a sense of love to the listener. Flute Geri Anderson Sax John Anderson Keyboard Kurt Cormier Drum Programming David Malinich 12. Leave Your Coat On I've always liked Joe Cocker and 'Leave Your Hat On' is a personal favorite (although the lyrics to that song are a bit risque'). Anyhow, the music in '...Coat On' was sort of inspired by '...Hat On'. I wanted to capture that feel of a walking tempo with a sassy kind of lyric. Initially this was written for the Blues Controversy, which had always featured a female vocalist. While the band didn't adopt the tune, the song ought to be sung by a female. The song is intended to be sarcastically humorous...the boyfriend is treated very politely but the message is still 'you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here...ever.' Lead and Harmony Vocal Amy Carlson Keyboard (including Piano Solo) Kurt Cormier Saxes and Keyboard John Anderson Bass and Drum Programming David Malinich Chorus Please leave your coat on Cuz you can't stay long (so many things you must do) You must be going Please do so knowing I'll struggle by without you Verse 1 So many things about you I'm unable to see But you're really lucky I've been blind Cuz the women that you've seen while you've been stayin' with me Are gonna help you occupy your time Verse 2 I packed you extra things cuz you'll be gone for so long I know it's real cold out there But go ahead and leave because I think you'd be wrong If you think it'll be warm in here Bridge It's OK that you can't give anymore All I want now are new locks on my doors Give me a ring (not the kind for my hand) I like you most as a long distance man Verse 3 I think that you deserve all of the comforts of home With a remote and a soft place for your feet But I think that I'd be better off if you were the king In a castle on another street 13. Dad's Gone Home (John Anderson) I wrote this instrumental song before I had an inspiration that led to the title. I was determined to write something that was very melodic and also simple...something you could whistle. For some reason, the song reminded me somehow of the chance meetings of old Detroit residents who had been long-separated, which I had often witnessed as a kid. My Dad was the one who kept sticking out in my mind...I visualized him meeting old neighborhood pals and shaking their hands with enthusiasm after not seeing them for many years. I had a number of 'preliminary' titles like 'Old Friends' and 'Reunion of the Old East-Siders' (referring to the east side of Detroit). At some point it occurred to me that Dad had indeed 'gone home' to be with his friends (including my mom) who were in heaven. During my bout with leukemia, my Dad's neighbors told me that he had been praying for his own death in an effort to arrange with God a trade that would ensure that my life would be spared. Following my bone marrow transplant, I was released from the hospital on (or very near to) July 1, 1997. My father died on July 13, 1997. It was my privilege to have as a father the most moral man I have ever known and if he is not in heaven then the place simply doesn't exist. This song is an attempt to honor Lars Anderson, my Dad. Saxes John Anderson Keyboard Kurt Cormier Guitar, Bass and Drum Programming David Malinich PRODUCED BY DAVID MALINICH RECORDED AT GUITAR SOUND STUDIOS, COLEMAN MICHIGAN (989-465-6228) PHOTOS BY DAVID MALINICH COVER CONCEPT BY JOHN ANDERSON AND DAVID MALINICH I'D LIKE TO EXTEND MY THANKS TO GOD MY CREATOR, MY FAMILY (GERI, ERIC, SARAH, CHRIS, MARY, ALAN, GORDON A., DOTTIE, GORDON R., SHARON AND DAVE). I HOPE THIS CD IS WORK THAT MY DECEASED PARENTS, LARS AND DOROTHY WOULD HAVE LIKED...THEY LOVED ME VERY MUCH AND I THEM. A SPECIAL THANKS TO DAVID MALINICH FOR HIS CREATIVITY AND CONTINUED SUPPORT. I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS MUSIC; LET ME KNOW BY WRITING TO ME AT BLUESPAPA@CHARTERMI.NET.