My two-session tribute to Warren Zevon rolls on with what is probably my favorite Warren Zevon song of all-time, “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.” You have to know that I love the song if I’m willing to sing it, mid-song swear and all. I’m not quite certain what it is about this song that I find so appealing; I’ve always found the story mysterious and exciting, and the music fits perfectly with the lyrics. I’ve heard conflicting interpretations of the final line, “Patty Hearst heard the burst of Roland’s thompson gun and bought it.” I thought it meant she was killed, but I’ve heard others read it as her buying the gun at an auction years later.
Regardless of Patty’s fate, this is one of the big check marks on my Laptop Sessions list. You can look forward to many more Zevon tunes in the future! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for an all-new session from Jeff, whose “Greenlight” EP comes out on February 24th at fusco-moore.com/store!
Hello and welcome to my favorite day, a day that comes only once every three weeks for we songwriters of the Fusco-Moore Productions music blog… Original Wednesday! Today, I took a trip down memory lane to my last solo release before joining the band MoU (Masters of the Universe with Jim Fusco, Mike Fusco, Becky Daly, and Cliff Huizenga). Today, I recorded “All the Days,” the penultimate track off my EP Love Out of Fashion. (Using “penultimate” in my post is my answer to Jim using — honest to God — the word “leviathan” properly and casually in a conversation the other day. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word… :-))
This was the first time I really experimented with such recording techniques as lead vocal doubletracking and sound effects such as my ZOOM guitar pedal. I have a lot of fond memories of rushing home after school or work during the summer to record this album in the basement of my parents’ home. I finally felt like I had mastered the computer program I used to record at the time, and I can’t count the number of mix CDs I made. Each time I would finish the recording of tracks for a song, I would burn a CD and listen to it in my car wherever I went — to work, to school, to the store. I’ve written on the blog here before about pulling over late at night to listen to the songs as loud as the volume would go, making mental notes of changes I would make to the final mix the next chance I got. Lots of fond memories.
My only regret, particularly on a track like “All the Days” that I felt had a lot of promise, is that I didn’t have a way to record drums. It’s a well-known fact that a drumbeat never hurts, especially when it comes to my playing… It was as a result of this regret that I’ve made the resolution to never record another album unless a drummer is available and raring to go.
So, I hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane for me; I probably haven’t played this track since I recorded it. Well, that’s not true — I think I’ve played it once or twice, but over several years…
Oh, and I hope you’ll take a listen to the recorded version so you’ll understand why this music video starts differently from any other cover song session I’ve recorded.
Okay, that’s all for me. Don’t forget to hurry back tomorrow for another all-new acoustic rock cover song session from Jeff. And now, I should check on the Mets who were winning by a lot earlier, then tied, and just pulled ahead… (Come on, Mets!!)
Okay, so here’s a bit of an anomaly. Most of us cast members of WCJM.com Free Internet Radio will be surprised, if they’re not listening to the shows as often as I do, to find me playing a Billy Joel song. I want to take this opportunity to clear the air.
If you listen to the Beach Boys’ music through the ages, you’ll hear a progression in the music. The styles may be different as the years go on, but most of it is just building on what was previously there.
Conversely, you can listen to Paul McCartney or the Moody Blues through the years and notice that their song/music styles change with the TIMES. For instance, in the seventies, songs got longer, then got disco-y, then got electronic once they reached the eighties. Around 2000, you heard drum loops and “new age” production on albums from both McCartney and the Moodies.
But, their SONGS and the general “type” of music (rock or pop) stayed pretty constant. I’m not giving any free passes for horrible disco versions (Beach Boys fans can goan at “Here Comes the Night”) or electronica from the early 80s, but at least you still knew it was a “Paul” song or a “Moodies” song.
Billy Joel, for me, falls into two categories, both of which I’ll briefly address:
As you’ll note with the bands I like, I tend to stay away from bands that are generally “overrated”. Yes, the Beatles are lauded all the time, but it’s pretty clear they’re the ONLY band that deserves the accolades they get. But, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys NEVER won a Grammy for their songs (unless you count “Best Instrumental” for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” a few years ago- what an insult). The Moody Blues STILL aren’t in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. I don’t think America’s had a decently reviewed album in Rolling Stone since their first one.
But, look at who gets ALL the attention:
– Bruce Springsteen
– Elton John (who sells concert tickets like Tickle-Me-Elmos did the day after Thanksgiving)
– Bob Dylan, whom I’m convinced can fart on the microphone and earn a Five Star Rolling Stone review. Don’t get me wrong, I love the man, but he is overrated, as well.
Now, Billy Joel is playing TEN, yes TEN shows at Mohegan Sun Casino here in Connecticut and sold them all out. The man hasn’t done an album in like 15 years and is more popular than ever. I swear more people go to his concerts than have EVER bought his music. And THAT’S the kind of crowd that makes someone so overrated. The “Starbucks” crowd that loves what all the other soccer moms love.
The theme here: It’s not Billy Joel’s fault. I really don’t blame HIM for my dislike of his music.
2. He changes the TYPE of music he plays ALL THE TIME.
As I said earlier, bands I like have changed their styles through the years, either through progression, or just keeping up with the times. But, again- a Beach Boys song was a Beach Boys song, you know?
Now, Billy Joel:
Sometimes, he’s the crooner, singing in that horrid “holier than thou” voice about “regular people” from New York and their stories.
Then, out of nowhere, he’s formed a barbershop quartet in “For The Longest Time”.
Then, he’s some teeney-bopper singing “Uptown Girl”.
Then, 80’s rocker while singing “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.
And, finally, he’s a good old fashioned rock’n’roller on tunes like this one, “You May Be Right”.
What style of music IS this man? Epic piano numbers? Guitar-based rockers? Vocals-only diddies? What?
That question, I cannot answer. And maybe I’m being a bit too general here, as since I’ve noticed this trend, I’ve never gotten past the Greatest Hits.
In closing, I love this song, I love the style, and I wish this was the REAL Billy Joel. I hope you enjoy my rip-roarin’ rendition of this Billy Joel song! (What a rant…)
Welcome back for an all-new recording on LaptopSessions.com! If you’ve been here before, then you probably know that today is “Original Wednesday,” and it’s my pleasure to bring you one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written, titled “Please Stay.”
I wrote this song a while back as a contribution for Masters of the Universe. My bandmate, Jim Fusco, helped me refine the chord structure and added in an incredible duo of guitar solos — that’s right, two distinct solos in one song! (If MoU ever releases Homestead’s Revenge, the fully-produced version will be on it.)
Of course, this is an acoustic performance, and you’ll hear the rarely-used third verse that replaces the second solo. I’ve never been entirely happy with the third verse, so I’ve amended it a bit for this recording. Without further ado, “Please Stay”!
P.S. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for an all-new Laptop Session by Jeff!