Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org). We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs. Sheesh.
In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website. I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time.
Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up. I’m including those as well.
28 Wilson (A Life Among Men)
Woodrow Wilson campaigned as “He Kept Us Out of the War” for his second term presidency. Then he immediately put us into World War I, an essentially pointless war fought because European governments were irritated with each other. How stupid men are. Jesus.
I wrote from a soldier’s perspective, then from the Germans signing the Armistice agreement, then from Wilson’s perspective at the end. The lyrics aren’t great, I’m afraid, but time’s up for me on this song and I’m on to the next (Herbert Hoover).
What I hear inside is a big, loud, slow rock band knocking this out. But what I have time for is one Rhodes track and some (fake) drums. All my guitars and such are out in the garage and I don’t want to get them out. An interesting task doing it all in midi, as I don’t usually do that with songs (with some exceptions). Fun, though. I like listening to it, even if I think I’ve inadvertently referenced both the Beatles “A Day In the Life” (“the English army had just won the war”) and something of Pink Floyd’s (although I can’t quite figure out which–sounds like Dark Side of the Moon to me, but then again it could be something else).
- j matthew gerken | 2006-02-19 @ 10:29pm (EST)
What a great sound. What great MIDI tones. What a great mood. I like the lyrics actually. Is that ok even though you have said they are not great? Poo. The chord progression kills me. Great arrangement, too. You are using excellent little tricks and deceptive simplicity that makes me think, “damn, I wish I would have written that.”
- Steven Wilson/Plasticsoul | 2006-02-20 @ 03:06am (EST)
I think the minimal arragement works here. I like how you go all Elton John in the bridge with the falsetto and the little glam descend. Did you flange your vocal or is that double tracking? It’s a cool effect. This came out really well…though I can imagine it exploding at the end with a loud, nasty guitar solo. if you want to get really pink floyd with it you could throw in some arp string ensemble 🙂
- Christian Kiefer | 2006-02-20 @ 04:37pm (EST)
Double-tracked in the Elton John part + some flange on both vocals too. I envision the entire band suddenly coming in for those 4 measures and then it all fading back into (relative) quite at the end. Strings. Mmmm. Strings. Production will be tricky on this as a bad production decision could steer it away from Pink Floyd and towards Queensryche. Needless the say, I’d have a problem with the latter.
- friendof | 2006-02-23 @ 07:02pm (EST)
Wow, I love how Lennon this is. What a beautiful/sad song! I always like Wilson because he was League of Nations boy, but now… 😦
I also like your explanation of what started WWI. lol