After watching a few of my stage plays produced when I was in college, a fellow student asked me where I “came up with these crazy ideas.” I responded that we all have good ideas, but I just take the time to write them down. In fact, I write everything down – or else it slips away from me. And before I was writing down ideas and notes having to do with writing and stories, I was writing down the music/chords to any song I learned. Look right here at this scribbling of the notes to Ugly Kid Joe’s “Everything I Hate About You,” crudely written out by me 15 years ago on homework looseleaf.
That’s the actual first draft copy. After writing it out, I stored the paper in my big music binder and would come across it once a year when leafing through all the songs I had musically transcribed then I would refresh myself on how the song went. Cut to 2010, when my cover band’s lead singer couldn’t make a recent show and we had to hastily fill the show with a replacement lead vocalist (Matt, pictured below). Well, Matt knew plenty of our songs – but not enough to make the magic number of 52, which is the amount needed to fill four hours when you factor in breaks. So we had little practice time to throw together some final rock songs. During some down time at practice, I start playing the notes to Ugly Kid Joe for fun, and, wouldintyaknowit, Matt jumps right in. We quickly pieced together the song and added it to our set list for that upcoming show.
So I say to you: Write everything down. Carry a pad or write things on your Blackberry. Every joke, every interesting character, every four-chord structure you figure out on the piano. Write it all somewhere, so you can remember that you know it – and you can review it later. And then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a rockin’ moment like this one with me and Matt pictured below.