I’m really having fun doing these songs solo. The low-key, grass roots way let’s me get to know the songs, try out different rhythms, tempos and voices and allows the songs to evolve. That said, I am really excited about recording some of the songs with the full band sound. Safe Bet is one of those I think will really come to life with guitar, bass, drums and maybe a sax solo!
This song was inspired by a poker friend who often boasted of his philandering in Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas I guess… unless you come home and talk about it. This song describes a version of how I imagine carrying on his escapades.
This song is kind of a character sketch, about a global warming skeptic in the future who realizes changes have taken place and he wants to do something about it. I was inspired by my friend David House, who’s written a fascinating book explaining the politics and science behind global warming called, “Tending The Garden.”
As a stand-up comedian I usually stay away from political material. I guess I just don’t feel comfortable making fun of people who are mentally challenged. (Couldn’t resist!) Also being political is a good way to turn off half your audience unless, like Jay Leno, you do plenty of jokes targeting both sides or like Bill Maher or Dennis Miller, you’re known and followed for your one-sided take on things. As a musician I feel a little looser about expressing opinions. So, if you have a topic you’d like to hear a song about… lay it on me.
I’m often asked to guest musician at local spiritual centers like Center for Conscious Living and Unity and Unitarian Centers. With my experience as a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker I’ve also been asked a few times to give the Sunday talk when the Reverend or spiritual leader had to be out of town. After one talk someone called the next day and asked for “Reverend Bates.” I don’t think I stopped laughing for a week.
As guest musician, the “thing” I’m known for is writing a song on the spot reflecting the main points of their talk while they’re delivering the message. I have about fifteen minutes to create the lyrics, melody and chords. As soon as they finish I get up and sing it. No time for a trial run, to make sure it’s in the right key, that harmony and melody work, etc.
Because it’s on the spot they don’t expect much… and I man I deliver. Ha! No, actually people really enjoy the spontaneity. They also love watching me pray, sweat and mumble, “Oh shit” on those occasions when I don’t have a complete song. Fairly often though the song turns into a keeper. That’s how “Point Of View” was written.
My wife, Amy has been telling me for years, “You need to watch this show about hoarders, I think you could relate.” I finally watched. These are sick people! How she thinks I could possibly relate I don’t know. Nobody’s doing an intervention because of a messy desk. At least I’m pretty sure it’s a desk under there… Anyway, I’m not in the same league. One woman’s teenage son was missing for three days. She said, “I think he’s asleep under this room full of magazines but I hate to check ‘cause they’re piled perfectly and I plan to read them today.” Actually, I could kind of relate to that one.
There is a big difference between a hoarder and a collector like me, as I clearly point out in the song. I admit there may be some gray area. But once I sell this stuff that will clean right up to it’s original color.