Round II, Sal, Dave and Pat,
With the first song down, we looked around to other ideas the three guys had. This is where it gets hard. When you are working with three people, (and I also had two others who had booked me for the same day, but I messed up, so just let them sit in. Get to them in a minute) you have to give everyone a shot at throwing out ideas. In this day and age, you are likely to get three people into a song writing session. Doesn't mean that it takes that many people, it doesn't. But appointments get compiled, people get added and subtracted. You might be called to write with a band or duo, trio, and have to adapt to include everyone.
In this case, Pat had an idea that I couldn't really hook into. It was a very close story about a death of someone he knew, and I felt I could not do justice to the story since he already had written it a couple of times. Sometimes you have to turn down ideas just because you are not there that particular day. Also, my job is to get them a couple of songs they had not done before, and I needed to move to something a little more accessable.
Since I write these in a pretty tight time table, about an hour or two each, I have to teach what I am doing as I go. This requires explanations to everyone in the room, like a classroom. Show by doing.
Dave, the most vocal and experienced of the three, had always wanted to write a song with the old title "The Butler did it." Now when it comes to cliches', I usually run for the hills. But when they are really wanting to do something with that, I have to find a way. On this day, they didn't really have a lot of ideas. They were here all week and this was the first day so they needed to compile a bit more. But my job is to take what they are thinking about. So I started thinking about applications of "BUTLER" that might work. Since most of us don't have servants anymore, and I didn't really want to turn this into a murder mystery, I needed to find a different use.
The name of a person I was lucky to know, and work with, came to me. Grammy Award winning writer and producer Larry Butler, who recently passed away. I don't know why his name came to me, but I am going to the Frank Brown Festival in a few weeks, which is where he lived. So that name stuck out. How could I turn something out of the name itself:
THE BUTLER DID IT
Jackie Butler dated Katie, and always kept her waiting, through all those many long years
She decided to get tough, cause she'd finally had enough, and said she was out of here
He had tickets to the game, perfect courtside seats,
She was about to break it off, grab her coat and leave
Had her look on that thirty foot screen
It said "Katie Will You Marry Me?"
We've all seen these over the past few years. Some big basketball, football, baseball, hockey, game, giant Jumbotron screen, some guy proposes and makes all the rest of us guys look bad. Of course, if she says "NO!" it can embarris you in front of millions of television fans. Big gambles, big rewards, LOL! Now the chorus:
THE BUTLER DID IT
MIGHT AS WELL ADMIT IT
SHE WANTED BIG, HE MADE IT BIGGER
WHEN HE FINALLY PULLED THE TRIGGER
HAD THE WHOLE TOWN TALKING BOUT THE EVENT
I GUESS THE BUTLER DID IT
Okay. So now we have the guy Jackie BUTLER, doing something big. The Butler did it. As usual, I check with my co-writers to find out if I am in the ballpark. When we all stopped laughing they let me know I was hitting the right vein. Time to move on. What can Jackie do BIGGER?
Two years went by and Katie, was dying for a baby, but nothing ever seemed to work
They tried every position, every expert and physician, every DVD and book they could afford
At the end of the rope, just about to give up
Mrs. B started taking, fertility drugs
Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it
Now they're walking down the street, with their new Quadruplets
Chorus: The Butler did it....
So we have the fertility drug angle. The Butler did it, get it? Yeah, I go for some pretty mindless stuff. But it advances the story line I think. Again, they all liked it and much of it was stuff they had been talking about. I just put it in order. Time for the bridge. This time, since this song moved along pretty quickly, I had a chance to have four lines instead of two. A little more info. Now it had to be EVEN BIGGER! What can that Butler devil get into NEXT?
They said that Jack was crazy, his mind was going off
When he invested in a brand new company called Microsoft
Now he's heavy into Tech stocks, and for their anniversery
He went back and bought that basketball team
BOOM!! Takes it right back to the first verse. Twist on the tale. The bridge can also bring you back around to the beginning of the song. Follow the yellow brick road. Usually you find you end up right where you started.
After five or six song critiques, catching up on a year of work, laughing our butts off, and dealing with five people, I was shot on the writing thing. We had a show that night, so we went to eat and they all went home.
That was day one.