Last week I showed you the concept sketch for the KIRBY KRACKLE album out January 27th, and here's the result of someone taking the idea up-and-running who can actually draw! Oooooohhhhh.....Aaaaawwww.....
Yep, that's me on the right and Jim on the left. Yes, he's holding the guitar upside-down symbolizing his musical self-deprecation. Giddy as a school girl I was when we received this, and knew we had a great cover. And that my friends, is half the battle (G.I JOE?).
What? You want to hear about the second half of the CD? Great idea!
Track #6 "MARVELOUS GIRLS"
One of the great thrills that I encountered in making the KK album with Jim was finally after 15 years finding a place for the music that became the make up of "Marvelous Girls". I wrote the bouncy riff back in 1993 when Matt Edington of COLLIDER and I were just beginning to write songs and over the years it's always been something that I've wanted to find a place for but never have. Honestly, it's forever been an orphan because from the time I first wrote it and showed Matt until just this past spring, ever band I've had I approached with it thinks it sucks! It just may, but I've always loved it, and couldn't believe my ears after playing it when Jim exclaimed, "That's Awesome!"
Originally called "Jamaican Girl", it was written when I was going through a hard-core "Weezer" point in my life and does sound like it would be something the band may have written in their earlier days. Now renamed "Marvelous Girls", the song is an ode to the women of the MARVEL Comics Universe. Some have gills, some have feathers, but all are beautiful. The curse is broken on the song that would never be, and simultaneously the world has it's first rock love song dedicated to races of women that exist nowhere except in a 4-panel world. Hey, you only live once...
Track #7 "TEABAGGED"
Hmmmm....how to I approach this one? Being an avid HALO fan, there are certain, um, "behaviors" that one notices in the gaming world that didn't exist during the days of simple old-school NINTENDO button mashing of yesterday. Since over the past 8 years George Bush taught me that the best way to tackle awkward/semi-controversial topics is to speak to adults like children, I think that's maybe the best way to deal with this...
"So Timmy, Mommy wants me to tell you what "Teabagging" is. Swell! Well, sometimes when Daddy is playing his games and Daddy gets killed over and over again by people that are really good, Daddy sometimes gets a little angry. No No son, not like when Daddy catches Mommy with other Daddy, a different kind of angry. Instead of spending hours and hours getting better at his game, sometimes Daddy knows that the best way to feel better is for when he finally "kills" someone, to just squat over their face a few times to make them angry as well. Yes son, that's why sometimes you hear yelling from the TV speakers, but don't worry...it's all for good fun. Now go burn some ants."
Well, that's the best I can do and surprisingly almost as awkward as telling my Mom who exclaimed, "Well, that's just great honey." A look into the dark side of video-gaming, and also the result of me getting a ukulele a few months earlier.
DON HO meets 2 LIVE CREW....don't judge me.
Track #8 "ANOTHER NEW CRISIS"
Besides being an awesome source of entertainment that more and more people are tuning into with the release of movies over the past 10 years, the comic book industry is first and foremost just that... a business. Like any good business, you need to make sure you have customers that keep coming back (i.e. readers). One of the techniques that does just that is every year or so having a storyline that claims "THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!!!" and inspire you to buy many other titles that your normally wouldn't but end up buying just to follow a story-line that seems at the time VERY important. What sometimes ends up happening is that the story and the immediacy don't live up to the hype and the buyer ends up feeling burned. This happens more than not, but is not always the rule. This song is a dedication to those allowance/paycheck draining "events" and the fact that though fans have been complaining for years, they (and I) still buy them in droves fueled by the promise of "nothing will ever be the same". This is deep geek territory. Move along, nothing to see here...
Track #9 "COUNTING ON YOU"
In February 2008 I participated in a social experiment that I blogged about for the entire month. The experiment was called the "RPM Challenge" in which songwriters were given the task to write and record 10 new songs of brand new material in 30-days. Readers of this blog know that it's purpose was to inspire unrestrained creativity with a focus on speed and letting go by creating music that no one had to hear, and was more just to see what the result was of compacted writing without over analyzing. Of those sessions, I yielded a few songs that have gone on to be more than what they were intended for...just me. "VOUCH FOR ME" was released as an email-list only summer single in July, and "SUN TAKES YOU HOME" will be appearing on the new COLLIDER record due in early spring. The closer to the 10 song set was a tune called "COUNTING ON YOU" that was very simple musically, but was carried by what I felt was one of my strongest vocal hooks I had written for the experiment. Jim and I retooled it for the KK sessions after we were inspired by the chorus line that could be interpreted as the call from fictional citizens of a world where business as usual means making breakfast every morning as much as it does to see Heroes flying through the air saving the world. The lyrics to the verses were changed but the core of the song lies in the chorus originally sung as "I" and switched to the more inclusive "We're".
"We're Counting On You, to save us from the burning buildings. We're Counting On You, to follow us into the night. We're Counting On You, to pull us up when we are drowning. We're Counting On You."
Track #10 "ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE"
I won't go into how much I love zombies and the genre in general as I have already dedicated an entire entry to that! "Thank God", they say...
But, I will say that this song went through a few sketches musically most of which I'm glad got a *SMACK-DOWN* from Jim to bring you the final version heard here. The idea excited us; What would the Zombie Apocalypse be like for someone who wasn't scared but mostly just annoyed by the interruption to modern living and amenities? The kind of annoyance that one might experience if zombies were eating your family, but the fact that you couldn't get on your FACEBOOK page seemed like the more pressing matter. Dark comedy? Generation Y social commentary? A little of both to be sure, but maybe the core of the song could be found with an adjustment to one of my favorite quotes. A few years ago, someone shared with me the following quote that I chose to include on the back of Songs From The Orange Room by Dr. Howard Thurman. It read...
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because the world needs people who have come alive."
or was it...
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself if there's enough songs about Zombies played on a Ukulele and then go write them. Because the world needs more Zombie songs played on Ukulele."
That's the run down! Next week the cat's out of the bag with the full color-spectrum added to Jim Mahfood's inks by the illustrious man of color (not what it sounds like) Justin Stewart!
The self-titled KIRBY KRACKLE album hits the interwebs next Tuesday, January 27 as well as local Seattle stores Silver Platters and Easy Street Records!
And remember, my next show is tomorrow night, Tuesday @ TOST in Seattle as we celebrate the Inauguration of our 44th president! I'll be hitting the stage all patriotic like @ 9:45 (TJ SHERRILL opening @ 9:00) so see you there!
Hi, my name is Kyle Stevens and I am a Seattle based musician that has been writing/performing since 1994. This is a blog documenting my experiences as an professional songwriter, as well as my adventures with in music with KYLE STEVENS BAND, COLLIDER, GIGI EDGLEY, and KIRBY KRACKLE. Thanks for reading, join my email list, and please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by!
Bringing you 98% spell-check accuracy since 2007...