Old Songs

Last Thursday, April Fools Day, no foolin’, I went up on stage for the first time in 13 years with my old pal and bandmate Ryan McLarnon and played some old songs.  These songs were written in the mid 90s with our band Brillohead and were last performed around that time too. Brillohead broke up sometime in 1997 (I’ve previously said 1996 but I realize now that’s probably not accurate…though I may change my mind again)

In the time since Brillohead broke up I’ve gone to University, graduated, moved four times, ended up in Toronto, held five jobs, written a 300 strip webcomic, acted in dozens of plays, made hundreds of friends, been to San Jose and Columbus and Austin and Pittsburgh and Philly (you know…the really exciting cities), lived in Oklahoma City for four months, cared for a crazy part-coyote dog, ran workshops then coordinated workshops then took over a furry convention, and musically I’ve written about thirty new songs.

I like my new songs…but they all seemed kinda boring once Ryan and I reunited, with the goal of playing this show on April 1st, and started going over our old songs.  Ryan even has the original binder with our lyrics, song ideas, and notes.

It’s alien!  As you grow and mature your new creations are improvements, correct?  Not always.  I’d say my new songs are from a different writer than those old songs (which, it should be reminded, were co-written with Ryan).  Compare lyrics:

NEW:  “I want to go anywhere, you seem too far away to care, I guess the past is there, I’ll draw from memories even though they tear.”

OLD: “When I was younger, I needed it, it kept me warm at night, my little blanket.”

NEW: “Step on my  head, help me kiss the ground, step on my head, so I won’t be around no more.”

OLD: “I see a panda bear, isn’t that illegal I ask, the ringmaster says no one cares.  How can I help you out, can I walk the tightrope blindly?  Already got one, sorry…here take this broom and follow that gorilla.”

…I know, reading as text takes away from the magic of the song.  I’m not a ‘poet,’ I’m a songwriter, and that’s even a stretch imho.  I’m a ‘song-building-enthusiast’ I’d say.  For me, music is as much about having fun and making something than pouring out my soul. At least, it used to be.

So, we got on stage, and played three songs: Taking Too Much Time, Circus and So Much Time To Waste.  A strange thing happened.  My singing voice came back, it wasn’t my current ‘mid range indie warble’ but my pop-note bouncy one.  I wasn’t worried about what the audience thought…it was so much fun I could only assume they were having fun too.  And in a weird way I felt totally reconnected to Ryan despite having a little trouble hearing his guitar…we were pretty tight.

I joke before we start playing, after I tell the audience the ’13 year, old high school band, old songs’ story that the songs are still relevant today.  In a way they are.  It’s not like they were about the mid-nineties.  They were a universal theme that wasn’t all introspective and super-deep…it was more like…fun observation.

I’m not going to stop writing ‘new’ songs…but I think I want to get back to writing ‘old’ songs again too.  I don’t think I’ve matured and changed, I think I’ve just tried a couple of new styles…and now it’s time to bounce back into an old one.

It’s nice to think that those 13 years never happened.  Now I can be 15 again! (…I lie…I’m 19 now…don’t do the math…)

Check the video from April 1st out at my YouTube Channel: youtube.com/user/potoroo, and subscribe if you wanna catch more vids from future shows!

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