Categories
Behind The Song

New Song: That Takes The Biscuit

We never stop to ask why we fight over crumbs
Musical meme-based morality is the new rock and roll
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)

This is definitely the first internet meme that I’ve set to music, but hey! You can find inspiration anywhere, right? It was originally going to form the bridge section of Refugee With An iPhone, but as that song became more serious and personal it seemed to tonally out of place. So, soon after finishing that song, I wrote this tune based on the rising chord progression you find in Here, There And Everywhere, I’m Only Sleeping and Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. At the end I kept stumbling over the words and adding random soundalikes in there and decided to MAKE IT A ‘THING’.

A banker and a worker and a refugee
All siting down for a cup of tea
A plate of jammy dodgers and custard creams
Occupies the table in between

The banker he starts grabbing bickies with both hands
Filling up his pockets as fast as he can
And when there’s just one biscuit left on the plate
Whispers to the worker “I should warn you mate,

Watch out the refugee is gonna steal your biscuit!
Watch out the refugee is gonna take what’s yours
Watch out the refugee is gonna steal your biscuit!
Somebody should pass a law

They say the economy is buckling under the strain
Too much pressure on the houses, the schools and the drains
The media fuels our anger and it keeps us dumb
So we never stop to ask why we fight over crumbs.
Do immigrants have such expensive diseases
That they brought the NHS to it’s knees? It’s
The politician’s plan but we don’t realise it
You can’t take your country back once they privatise it

Watch out the refugees are gonna steal your biscuits!
Watch out the refugees are gonna take what’s yours
Watch out the refugees are gonna steal your biscuits!
You know that’s what they came here for

Watch out, watch out, watch out, watch out etc

Watch out the refugee is gonna steal your biscuit!
Watch out the refugee is gonna steal your biscuit!
Watch out the refugee is gonna grease your trumpet!
Watch out the BBC is gonna screen your chick flick!
Watch out the novice priest is gonna heal your slipped disc!
Watch out cos Ce Lo Green is gonna need your drumkit!
Watch out the quick brew teabag will congeal your breakfast!
Watch out the SNP is gonna veto brexit!

Categories
Behind The Song

New Demo: Finger Puppet Man

He’s already wearing four
No big deal…
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)

Finger Puppet Man is obviously nothing more than a joke set to music. I wrote it during FAWM 2013 but the melody was naggingly familiar. I asked the FAWM community to help me identify it, and even though the only original lyrics I could remember were “dooby dooby dum dum”, eventually a fellow songwriter’s Dad recognised it as the theme song from the 1958 film Tom Thumb written by Peggy Lee and sung by Russ Tamblyn. So once I was definively rumbled I had to change it. It took 3 years but here it is.

The weird ‘backwards’ sound just before the vocals enter is my sweaty arm unpeeling itself from the front of the guitar twice (the guitar is double tracked). Gross. I know.

This song contains fingerpicking – which I hardly ever do (I hate the way many acoustic guitarists mindlessly fill up all available space with it) and the minor iv chord (Fm in the key of C) – which I mindlessly use ALL the time.

Musically the sweet melody with mumbly, whispery delivery reminds me of Nottingham band We Show Up On Radar (check em out)

Finger puppet man
Trying to choose the best 
puppet that he can
In the finger puppet store
But he’s not sure
So insecure

Finger puppet wife
Husband asks her if she thinks that it’s alright
He’s already wearing four
On his brightly coloured paw
But he puts on one more
And says,

“Does my thumb look big in this?
Does my thumb look big in this?
Does my thumb look big in this?”
And she says “No.
You look fine.
Can we go?”

Categories
Behind The Song

New Demo: Sweet Baby Hand Grenade

Pretty little weapon of mass distraction
The explosive truth about the Birds and Bees
Download     mp3 demo     Capo Chords in D (pdf)     Chords in F (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

I wrote this song in 2013 and it instantly became one of my most popular songs, but that just made it harder to capturing on tape (well digital tape… OK ones and zeroes). Usually recording something tells you if it’s any good but the warm live response created self imposed pressure to make the recording outstanding. As you can hear I finally managed to shake that off and produce this very ordinary demo.

The initial inspiration was the birth of my eldest daughter. She was sleeping when we first brought her home and as she snoozed in her car seat on the floor in front our sofa my wife and I stared at her in shock. What do we do NOW? The next few years turned our lives upside down. Three more children followed, each with their own challenges, but nothing matched that initial terror of having a little human invade your life.

A few years later I overheard a guitarist in a local band say his partner was expecting their first child but he “wasn’t going to let that change anything.” I laughed like the veteran on his fourth tour of ‘Nam, listening to the bravado of a raw recruit.

A few years after that I heard Chris Robley of the CD Baby DIY Musicians Podcast had his first child. I said having a baby is like someone taking a hand grenade and throwing it into the middle of your life (in a good way).

And then suddenly ‘songwriting magic’ and here we are.

Musically I was thinking Elvis Costello goes a little country.

Heart-broke grin on the face of my lover
“30 weeks left if you wanna run for cover”
We must have pulled the pin one Saturday night
But how can something so small wreck your whole life?

Nothing ever stays the same
Didn’t know how much you’d change me
You’re the best mistake I ever made
My sweet baby hand grenade

Sweet baby hand grenade
Sweet baby hand grenade
Look at all of the mess you made
My sweet baby hand grenade

My best friend said his wife is six months gone
Now her biological clock (tick tock!) – tickin’ like a time bomb
She’s calling last orders at the milky bar
Now it’s time to show the world what kind of man you are

Nothing ever stays the same
You’ve no idea how much they’ll change you
But the best mistake I ever made
Was my sweet baby hand grenade

Sweet baby hand grenade
Sweet baby hand grenade
Look at all the mess I made
With my sweet baby hand grenade

Pretty little weapon of mass distraction
So cute I can’t resist this tiny terrorist
Though we got no guarantees and no instructions
There’s nothing I would trade for my sweet baby hand grenade

Sweet baby hand grenade
Sweet baby hand grenade
Look at all of the mess you made
My sweet baby

Sweet baby hand grenade
You make me smile like an unexpected key change
Look at all of the mess we made
My sweet baby hand grenade

Categories
Song Vault

Advice Regarding The Treatment Of Bullet Wounds no. 2

I did you wrong, but you did me wronger
Don’t Try This At Home
Download     mp3 demo          mp3 Live duet with Rachel McClean
Chords (pdf)      Behind The Song

Don’t take out the bullet, girl, don’t even try
That little piece of metal’s all that’s keeping me alive
Stuck into an artery like a finger in a dyke

Don’t scrub the wound like you used to scrub my back
Don’t make me walk it off, don’t even make me stand
Darling I’m not hungry, put away those pots and pans

Baby, baby, baby, please don’t ever shoot me again
Baby, baby, baby, please don’t ever shoot me again
I’m still your man but I might not be for too much longer
I did you wrong, but you did me wronger
So baby, baby, don’t you shoot me again

Don’t grab my bleeding arm and hold it in the air
I got precious little blood left inside of there
Darling please stop crying, I know you’re trying to show how much you care

Chorus

I’m sorry that I hurt you, sorry that we never talk
I’m sorry you can’t fix me, just get me to a doc
Most of all I’m sorry I bought you that 9 millimetre Glock

Chorus

Categories
Behind The Song Song Vault

A Little Spillage

 

The Horse is fine, of course, although the van is far less certain!
Just your average Cockney-Kiwi, Bernard Cribbins-type jam.
A collaboration with Stephen Wordsmith.
Download     Chords (pdf)

One of the pleasure of FAWM is meeting incredibly creative people from all over the world. New Zealander Stephen Wordsmith writes incredible lyrics often comprising of fiendishly difficult puzzles or dazzling wordplay. During FAWM 2015 we collaborated on A Little Spillage which to my mind sounded like an old fashioned children’s song. I set the lyrics to a musical part I could barely play and moved on to other things. When Stephen approached me this year about including it on his new album ‘Tintinnitus’ I actually learned how to play it and did a proper recording.

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Canterbury Lorry
Met a paint truck from Otago
A paint truck from Otago?
A paint truck from Otago!
And the paint truck from Otago’s
Gone and spilled its precious cargo

There’s ochre and orange and buckets of blue
And rivers of red in most every hue
Midst puddles of puce and great gushes of green
With flicks of sienna to finish the scene
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With colour and life along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A car from Alexandra
Met an ice-cream van from Lincoln
An ice-cream van from Lincoln?
An ice-cream van from Lincoln!
So you’d better get there quick
Because that ship’s already sinkin’!

There’s caramel, coffee and chocolate and cherry
And cookies and cream among boysen and berry
With pieces from Reece and vanilla from France
All mingling as one in their trickling dance
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With flavour and fun along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Clydesdale from Ashburton
Met A Clyde van selling curtains
A Clyde van selling curtains?
A Clyde van selling curtains!
The Horse is fine of course
Although the van is far less certain!

There’s spartans and tartans and circles and – cripes!
There’s spots and there’s dots and diagonal stripes
With florals that flourish and ziggies that zag
All rotten with cotton (or so says the tag)
Come quickly, and watch all the patterns explode
Unfolding like sails along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village!

Lyrics by Stephen Wordsmith
Music by Matt Blick

Categories
Behind The Song Song Vault

When I Said “Stop Setting Things On Fire” I Really, REALLY Meant It.

Wait! Wait! What Key Are We In?
Frank Zappa meets Scott Bradley
Download     mp3 demo

Written during FAWM 2016. I found a couple of musical fragments labelled ‘Etude No 3’ on a cassette I recorded in 1991. I really liked some parts, others made no sense at all. The original tape was a quarter tone out and I suspect I moved some parts up a semi tone and others down by mistake

I could hear I was attempting to do something with the whole tone scale originally, so I used that to write the middle section but by the time I came to put the bassline down I forgot I was in G# and played the bassline in G natural. But by that time it was already so bizarre that I didn’t hear anything wrong.

A happier (or at least more harmonious) accident was the string and horn parts in the final recapitulation. I pretty much improvised those counter melodies and they’re some of my favourite parts.

I decided I couldn’t call the finished piece ‘Etude No 3’ because

a) It’s not an etude.
b) I’ve already written more than three.
c) It’s a boring title.

I brainstormed and what you have the best I could come up with at short notice.

There’s a grand tradition of not knowing what key you’re in
What do you mean “who is Scott Bradley?”

 

Categories
Behind The Song Song Vault

Polishing A Turd (NSFW)

If they hang it in a gallery, it still don’t make it art
Three chords and the truth
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

During FAWM 2015 I was writing a song based on additive structures and in the middle of trying to piece together a demanding and over elaborate demo came to the conclusion I was trying to ‘polish a turd’. Despite all efforts to resist I flipped over the lyric sheet and started writing a new song on the back. The three chord pattern came immediately and ‘Polishing A Turd’ was demoed and done in 2 hours. The “roll it in glitter line” came from Mark Nelson (you can hear him say it to me in the behind the scenes video for Let’s Build An Airport).

The Pop Mythology site was kind enough to say “[If it] doesn’t give you a genuine LOL moment, you might not have a soul”.

Polishing a turd, polishing a turd
You can get a Grammy for polishing a turd
You might impress a hundred million pre-pubescent girls
“OMG he’s polishing a turd!!!!” >:O

Autotune a fart, autotune a fart
It’s OK to be pitchy if it comes right from the heart
If they hang it in a gallery, it still don’t make it art
Fire up the Melodyne™ let’s autotune a fart

Photoshop your mom, photoshop your mom
Make her taller, thinner, browner, bluer-eyed and blonde
Take away her cellulite and put her in a thong
Vogue will hold the cover if you photoshop your mom

Polishing a turd, polishing a turd
That’s what you get for polishing a turd
Roll it in some glitter but it just gets more absurd
That’s what you get for polishing a turd

(Make the world a better place by polishing a turd)

Categories
Song Vault

Bullingdon Boys

The rich run riot, the lawyers keep it quiet
Punk Protest
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

David and Boris and Gideon met
At Oxford University
They dined with a crew of the chosen few
Wearing sky blue and ivory

It’s a fine old tradition for young blue bloods
To trash a restaurant and pay in cash
As preparation for a host of Government posts
It’s how we train the ruling class (and they sing…)

Rah Rah Rah! We’re the Bullingdon Boys
Bullingdon Boys born to rule OK!
The rich run riot, the lawyers keep it quiet
Make way for the Bullingdon Boys
It’s the day of the Bullingdon Boys

Bloods have their colours
And so do the Crips
Like any self-respecting gang
But Bullingdon threads don’t come off the peg
Set your family back three grand
(Call it an investment, money well spent). Sing…

CHORUS

You wouldn’t put a paedophile in charge of a school
No matter how much he’d changed
Would you trust a Buller boy with the lives of the poor?
Then you’ve only got yourself to blame

Rah Rah Rah! It’s the Bullingdon Boys
Bullingdon Boys born to rule OK!
The rich kids break it and the poor just take it
And make way for the Bullingdon Boys
Crime pays when you’re a Bullingdon Boys

Buller! Buller! Buller!

Rah Rah Rah! It’s the Bullingdon Boys
Bullingdon Boys born to rule OK!
The rich run riot, the lawyers keep it quiet
Make way for the Bullingdon Boys
Hip hooray for the Buller Boys

Categories
Song Vault

Tonight

She’s shining like a constellation
A moment of transcendence down the pub (co-written with Harry Verity)
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Looking at that girl at the other end of the bar
Grinning like an idiot an’ still don’t know where to start
Need something to do or something to say
When it comes to love I get my own way
Love is a needlessly contrary competition
Often complicated with no proper definition
Taking aim at nothing and complaining when I hit it
Love is not a lottery if you don’t buy a ticket

Tonight she’s got the whole world at her fingertips
So why not unlock my life with just one kiss?

Tonight, don’t let me down tonight, the arguments and fights
Are violins and choirs sent to serenade tonight
There are sonnets I could write, revolutions to ignite
If I just put down my pint and talk to you to…

…Set the scene more thoroughly a dreary Wednesday night crowd
It’s mental in the gentlemen’s’ – the ultraviolet light’s out
A dog is licking lager up under someone’s table
Sat amongst the gargoyles is a solitary angel
They’re no brighter than their bling and bitter as Bacardi
All I hear is whistling, the pounding of my heartbeat
Everyone smells of smoke, sweat and desperation
They’re tryin’ to be stars, she’s shining like a constellation

Tonight she’s got the whole world at her fingertips
So why not unlock my life with just one kiss?

Tonight, don’t let me down tonight, the sirens and blue lights
Are violins and choirs sent to serenade tonight
There are sonnets I could write, revolutions to ignite
If I just put down my pint and talk to you tonight…

For tomorrow is a siren’s lullaby
Watch love sail away as day turns into night

Don’t let me down tonight, don’t let me drown tonight
Be swept out with the tide while there’s land in sight
And sonnets left to write, revolutions to ignite
If I just put down my pint and talk to you and…

Suddenly she’s by my side, and ‘penny-for-your-thoughts’ me
I just shake my head, say “being back in here transports me,
The first time that I saw you was the last time I felt lonely”
She says, “let’s go home love, ‘cos the babysitter’s phoned me”

Categories
Song Vault

Where Did The Time Go? (NSFW)

Days had strange elastic powers, minutes stretched to lazy hours
Frantic (tick tock) hyperactive jazz workout
Written with (and performed by) Liz Frencham
Download     mp3 demo      Lyrics (pdf)

Mr Time where did you go?
How I miss the time I used to hold
Days had strange elastic powers
Minutes stretched to lazy hours
Wish they hadn’t been devoured
Too busy dancing to the

Tick tock, time is sneaky
Drip drop [dropped] the clock and now it’s leaking
Put it in a big box
To stop it seeping out and never stop to take stock
[Stock] our shelves with pointless s**t
Look I scored another tick [tock]
Talking s**t until I finally get a big shock
Where did the time go?

Mr Time throw me a bone
Have I missed the rhyme that calls you home?
See the carrot on the stick
It’s dangling just beyond my grip
Bright and sweet but far too quick
It’s gotta be a silly trick

Stop! Time is sneaky
Drip drop [dropped] the clock and now it’s leaking
Put it in a big box
To stop it seeping out and never stop to take stock
[Stock] our shelves with pointless s**t
Look I scored another tick [tock]
Talking s**t until I finally get a big shock
Where did the time go?
Where did the time go?

Where is the time, to unwind?
To feel alive, breathe in deep
To stretch, to reach
Let the grass grow underneath my feet
Would be fantastic, would feel ecstatic…
(Tick – tick – tick – tock
Tick – tock – tick – tock – tick – tock)

Tick Tock, time is sneaky
Drip drop [dropped] the clock and now it’s leaking
Put it in a big box
To stop it seeping out and never stop to take stock
[Stock] our shelves with pointless s**t
Look I scored another tick [tock]
Talking s**t until I finally get a big shock, please stop!
Tick tock.