Monday, December 8, 2008
Lots Of Clams! Issue #79
Lot's of Clams in the ground, in the sand in Puget Sound
Lots of Clams on the beach, deep and low and hard to reach
Lots of Clams in the see, Lots of Clams for you and me
I've sailed a river of Tarter in dreams,
Clouds moving fast, like a Chowder Bowl steams
Full speed ahead says the Captain in hat,
a big white Mustache says we're heading for the Acres of Clams
A little over a month ago, a friend pointed out me that IVAR'S Seafood restaurant was having contest for people to write a new jingle/inspired song for their ad campaign and wanted songwriters to enter via a video performance of the song. Considering it was one of the most bizarre forms of generating publicity for a business that I've ever heard of...I fell for it hook line and sinker and thought it would be fun to enter and try my hand at writing a "jingle".
It's funny that no more than 10 years ago writing a "jingle" or song to be used for product placement was looked down upon in the music business; a dark corner to not be touched by anyone looking for indie-cred or respect. Yet, here we are in 2008 with the industry in a tailspin and where any band with a shred of business sense would give anything to have their song in a McDonald's commercial.
That would buy a helluva lot of "McGriddles".
I thought of theme songs/product jingles that have been stuck in my head MANY times over the years and compiled a list that was short, but strong spirit. It looked like this...
The theme song from "FULL HOUSE".
The theme song from "GOLDEN GIRLS".
The theme song from any sitcom I watched from 1985-1991...
The songs hawking product were all the ones you may have thought of as well...DOUBLE MINT GUM, CHILI'S, KIT KAT Candy bars; all of them songs or melodies that get stuck in your head like dog hairs in a pea coat. The more you try to get them out, the further they creep down in. Above all the rest though was a song from the now defunct grocery delivery company "Homegrocer.com" whose presence of commercials and strangely colored peach delivery trucks were inescapable during the early 2000's. I will forever remember the company's theme song as it has lodged like a traumatic memory in my cerebral cortex; I will never escape it, but I move forward acknowledging it's presence...
The song was called "Would You Like To Have Something To Eat?", and became synonymous with the company and it's business of delivering groceries to your door via online ordering. Ironically, the song was written by a band called THE DONNER PARTY and their song's subject matter mirrored their name as the tune documented the now famous story of a west-bound group of pioneers succumbing to cannibalism during a harsh winter.
Nevertheless, the song had the addictive power of a crack hit (I would assume having stopped using crack many years ago and not knowing the strength of the current markets product) and I would sing it all the time to the dismay of my then girlfriend (now wife) and to the delight of the company's P.R. Team. I thought it the perfect mix of nursery rhyme like fun, and pop hooks; the appreciation that one might find for a monster/massive weapon that though is evil and horrible cannot be ignored for it's beauty by simply existing. This is the song that I decided I should aim for in catchiness and sing-song ability, and so I set out to work on my entry...
Following still? Good...
I was really excited and tried to get all my musician buddies to work on it too to no avail, but I decided to get on it regardless. The restaurant makes it's thing about seafood and clams, so using the "write what you know" rule (and I'm running out of that stuff so teach me something quick please) I thought back to summers digging for clams with my family on the shores of Hood Canal in Washington. We would all head out in the morning for a walk down the beach to an area were the tide was really low and get to digging. Sometimes we had to look hard, sometimes they were right there, but always they were way down low and made us work for them. Later that night we would boil them and dip them in butter/pour butter in our mouths and gobble 'em all up. DELISH. A good childhood memory I thought made sense to use...
Secondly, I heart me some tartar sauce. If they made tarter sauce toothpaste I would use it. I love it. That said, I made myself laugh (and my wife roll her eyes) when the line came to me. "I sailed a river of tarter in dreams/Clouds moving fast like a chowder bowl steams". That FOR SURE had to go in. Lastly, like all jingles I like...THIS SONG IS ANNOYING AS HELL. And it should be; you should be humming it if it's doing it's job so make sure you send all hate mail via posting a comment here to let me know how it's given you a headache and or ruined your work day.
The result? Last week I received news I won 2nd place and a $500 gift card to the restaurant. Possible future radio promo/advertising with the song may take place as well so I'll keep you posted when I know more....
So there you go, that's the story behind "Lot's of Clams" and perhaps the most annoying song I've ever written. It sure was fun to do, and I hope to try my hand at more of this stuff in the future.
Though I have to be honest and say before I go that this isn't really the first tune I've penned for deep fried goodness. My song "This Is Not A Love Song" off of SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM is actually about ARBY'S.
Bet you didn't know that...now go buy a BEEF N' CHEDDAR. ;)