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
Behind The Song

Funeral Dirge For A Dead Ex-Girlfriend

Joe Satriani Pays His Last Respects
Download     mp3 demo

When I was 15 I had a vivid dream that my recently ex’d ex-girlfriend died. Being a highly strung youth it upset me. But 5 years later when I wrote a depressing foot dragging instrumental I was over it (and her) and decided Funeral Dirge For A Dead Ex-Girlfriend would be a fun name.

In 1989, smack in the middle of the neoclassical virtuoso shredder boom (Flying In A Blue Dream had just come out), I was stuck in an extremely lightweight rock band, but listening to anyone with big hair and a floyd rose. Drummer Mark Nelson and I spent extra hours in a rehearsal room in Grimsby (where the band was based) jamming through ideas for this and another tune called Disney X.

Later, out of the band and back in my hometown of Sutton In Ashfield, I worked with virtuoso bassist Phill Danks on the tracks that would make up my solo guitar debut album (including the original instrumental version of Shang Ding Hong Song called Verbal Gerbils). And then, just like that, I put my prospective shredding career on indefinite hold.

Funeral Dirge finally got an airing in 2005 when I arranged it for the Advanced Guitar Group I taught on a Saturday morning at Brunts School in Mansfield. For the next two years various budding metalheads (including Sarah Kerry and Joel Peat, I think) wrestled with release bends and chromatic melodies. When I left the kids even performed it in my honour along with a medley of Tequila, Mr T‘s Mother, Treat Her Right and The A Team Theme that they shoehorned my name into. And it was as bizarre as it sounds.

So in 2016, looking backwards to go forward, I recorded the first demo, 11 years after the first public performance and 27 years after I wrote it.

I really do have to pull my finger out.

Musically I can definitely hear the influence of Joe Satriani on the main melody (it’s in the same ballpark as Hill Of The Skull) and solo (3:41 and 3:55), Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy (clean dissonant arpeggios 2:04), Cliff Burton-era Metallica (lead bass at 2:20), Steve Vai (wide intervals in the solo at 4:00) and maybe a bit of Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring peeking through at 2:40.

The main point of interest is how many keys it goes through from Am and A harmonic minor to Cm and Ebm, Em and finally F#m. There are some interesting harmonies to parallel 2nds in the chromatic melody (2:50) and parallel 4ths shortly after (3:02). In the solo I play a lot of 7th (3:31) an idea I got from Izaak Wierman.

The inspiration for the pre chorus came when I realised in A harmonic minor you could have F major and F minor – but if you only heard the power chord you would assume it was major. I liked playing with that assumption.

The freak out right at the end (5:26) was from the guide track which I’d recorded before I dialled in the ritardando (slow down). It sounded so gnarly I flew a rough mix back into the finished session.

Samples

Rain – rain.mp3 by soundman9826
Bell – S: 111013 – Sirmione – Kirchenlaeuten.WAV by aarom
Snare drum roll – snare – Premier Artist Maple – loose – buzz roll x3.wav by bigjoedrummer
All from freesound.org under a Creative Commons license
Laughter from Flight Of The Bumble Bee (Spike Jones), Sunday’s On The Way (Take 6) and Moonglow (Chet Atkins and Les Paul).

Meaning I got to jam with two legends of the guitar on this track!

Categories
Behind The Song Song Vault

Faster (Than The Speed Of Light)

Your fuel-injected heart is a battering ram
A fast song about fast things
Download      mp3 demo

I’ve noticed that almost all my songs tend to be around 120 bpm – I’ve no idea why. So I deliberately set out to write a fast song. I also had an idea that to make a song that appealed to people who sync music for films and TV you should include the key search terms in the title and lyrics. So this is a song expressly written for a cool car chase in a film. So if you saw it in a movie my shameless sellout plan worked!

I wrote and recorded the music in about an hour. The track then sat on my hard drive for a bout 2 years till I laboriously brainstormed the lyrics. I tried to keep everything unified image wise but a few random things snuck in – sharks and wolves, ships and rollercoasters and … er… gum.

The “bad news travelling faster than the speed of light” idea came from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws”

White lines, tyres scream
You drink a little blood with your gasoline
No plates, no belts
I wouldn’t bet on any hand you dealt
You shift gears, shift blame
Trouble is your first, last and middle name
Roadkill, I’m struck dumb
Chewed me up like a stick of gum

Bad news moves faster than the speed of light
You move faster than the speed of light
I don’t like to fuss or fight
But baby, you’re bad news

Raw truth, you can’t swerve
Chase you down on a deadman’s curve
Pure speed, you overtake
Are you a junkyard dog or a dashboard saint
V8, twin cam
Your fuel injected heart is a battering ram
Your blood is calling sharks
And the wolves are howling for you, darling, out in the dark

Bad news moves faster than the speed of light…

Won’t kneel and pray, no changing lanes
St. Christopher ain’t taking your calls today
That ship has sailed, your saint has bailed
Your brakes have failed
Now you’re a rollercoaster bout to jump the rails

Bad news moves faster than the speed of light…

Categories
Behind The Song Song Vault

Losing The Light

Soon we fade to black, soon the credits roll
Smooth metal dark night of the soul
Download     mp3 demo

Written during FAWM 2016. Based on a riff I found on a writing tape from 1992 inspired by Jake E. Lee’s playing on Waiting For Darkness by Ozzy Osbourne.

I’m the damsel in distress
Just a girl in a green dress
Waiting for the hero to arrive
You’ve seen this scene a million times
Vulnerability is all I got
On my mark and beautifully shot
Cameras ready to roll
Waiting for my saviour to show

Please hurry cos we’re losing the light
Come quickly now we’re losing the light
We ran the race, we fought the good fight
Please hurry now we’re losing the light

The sun pauses as it sinks
To breathe a kiss on the horizon’s lip
Her beauty burning then gone
Magic hour is only minutes long
Play the scene where the problem’s solved
The plot’s explained and you declare your love
Our faith is running out
Start your speech before the night comes down

Please hurry cos we’re losing the light
Come quickly now we’re losing the light
We ran the race, we fought the good fight
Please hurry now we’re losing the light

Soon we fade to black, soon the credits roll
If there’s a happy ending would you let us know?
Shadows getting longer, twisting all we see
The air is getting cold, it’s getting harder to believe

Please hurry cos we’re losing the light
Come quickly now we’re losing the light
We ran the race, we fought the good fight
Please hurry now we’re losing the light

Categories
Song Vault

Not The End Of The World

Not many kiss the hurricane. Fewer live to tell the tale
None more black.
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)

Jesus save me from the ones
Who want to save me from myself
Who ask about my walk with God
But pray about my mental health
Cos I can’t pretend anymore

This is not the end of the world
This is not the end of the world

You used to be a metaphor
Now you’re like a simile
Can you tell me what this medal’s for?
It’s all my father left to me
And I can’t pretend anymore

This is not the end of the world
This is not the end of the world
But you can see it from here

Not many kiss the hurricane
Fewer live to tell the tale
Will she miss me when I’m gone?
Or go back to her maiden name?
I can’t pretend….I can’t pretend anymore…

That this is not the end of the world
I can’t pretend anymore…
I can’t pretend anymore…
That this is not the end of the world

Categories
Song Vault

Djimi Traore

He raised a half-full glass, a ghost of football past
A football hymn
mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)     Behind The Song     Lyric Video

No one ever sang before the Beatles
Since the Beatles came we’ve never stopped
The players of renown, every villain, every clown
Has added to the sound that shook the Kop

I dreamt that we were drinking in the Sandon
A tall dark stranger sat across from me
He raised a half-full glass, a ghost of football past
Said his name was Djimi with silent D

Djimi Traore tell us the story
Those derby days on Merseyside
Djimi Traore, the grit and the glory
Of every European night
Remind us of our history
Remind us of our destiny
Djimi Traore

Shankly came from Huddersfield in winter
We’d been in division 2 for 5 long years
He claimed a little room where the players kept their boots
And turned Liverpool into a team to fear

The Gunners lost at Anfield 5 years later
April 18th 1964
Can’t Buy Me Love was on the charts and we sang with all our hearts
Cos the league was ours, together we’d walked through the storm

Djimi Traore tell us the story…

Oh you beauty, what a hit son, what a hit son
Oh you beauty, what a hit son, what a hit son
Now Steven Gerrard, now Steven Gerrard, now Steven Gerrard.

I woke with Djimi’s last words ringing through me
11 men can play, the 12th must sing
Could be a clearance off the line, a goal in extra time
You grab your chance to shine, your chance to lift the team

Djimi Traore tell us the story…

Categories
Song Vault

Vengeance Is Mine

Can you see the heart inside a man?
Theology with Frank Black
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Little man with an axe to grind
If I let you judge this world of mine
When you saw the millions awaiting trial
You’d lose you strength or lose your mind

Vengeance is mine

Shall I acquiesce to your demands?
Shall I place all judgement in your hands?
Can you see the heart inside a man?
Tell me, who should fall and who should stand?

Vengeance is mine

Cos you don’t know what you’re asking for
No, you don’t know what you’re asking for
You don’t know what you’re asking

You got a thimble full of righteous rage
I’ve seen every murder, every rape
Heard every victim’s cries of pain
Seen evil things done in my name

Vengeance is mine

© Matt Blick 2013

 

Categories
Song Vault

Tear This Temple Down

All that you can see is all there is
Protest atheism meets balkan rhythms
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

Ball your tiny fingers up in fists
Pray each night that God does not exist
‘Cos a Father up in Heaven
Who’s presiding over such a mess as this –
God forbid

You want to tear this temple down
Tear it down
To the ground
Tear this temple down
Tear it down
To the ground

You fear Heaven like your father feared hell
But what you think that you might find there, who can tell?
A man with questions looks for truth
But you just want to prove there’s no such thing
You can’t win

Go on and tear this temple down…

All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can see is all there is.
All that you can feel is all there is.

All that you can see is all there is
Fools believe in things that don’t exist
Like tomorrow, like tomorrow.

You loved the way your name felt in her mouth
The angels came to take away the sound, and now…

Tear this temple down…

© Matt Blick 2013

Categories
Song Vault

Fresh Meat


Nobody’s buying tonight
A brooding ballad of a city full of broken people
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)     Behind The Song

There goes the wreck of a beautiful girl
Sticking two broken fingers up at the world
Stealing pennies from dead men’s eyes
She robs them while they’re still breathing
Her brother spends the hours pushing people around
The Morgue’s up on fourth, Maternity’s on the ground
Where they come from or where they’re bound
Can’t stop it repeating

Oh, but nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat to arrive
Nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

She’s fragile as a river frozen in winter
When bread is so hard, when fruit is so bitter
Now Autumn is dead and gone
Borrowed time is so fleeting.
Look at all the wolves circling around us
Looking so sheepish, part of this circus
Their teeth are as sharp as their tongues
At least their liberal hearts are still bleeding

Oh, but nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat to arrive
Nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

An ivory tower’s the place he calls home
A cold mausoleum of elephant teeth and bones
A place to look down from, a place to be alone
While he’s squeezing blood from a stone
Squeezing blood from a stone
Squeezing blood from a stone

But nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat
Oh, nobody’s buying tonight
Nobody’s buying tonight
They’re waiting for the fresh meat

© Matt Blick 2013

Categories
Song Vault

Different

Am I different? Maybe it’s you
Autism Rock
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)     Behind The Song

(Wake up sleepy head I’ll count every star for you)

Am I different? Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things the way you do.
Am I different? Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different – Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things the way you do.
Am I different? Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different – Is that O.K. with you?

Wake up sleepy head, I’ll count every star for you
Wake up sleepy head, I’ll count all the stars for you

Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s you.
I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) the way you do.
Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s true.
If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you?

1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
Am I different?
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2,3
Is that O.K. with you?

(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s you (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) the way you do (I’ll count every star for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Maybe it’s true (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count all the stars for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) I don’t see things (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count every star for you)
(1,2,3,1,2,3) Am I different? (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (Wake up sleepy head)
(1,2,1,2,3) If I’m different (Maybe it’s you) Is that O.K. with you? (I’ll count all the stars for you)

© Matt Blick 2013