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Tom Getter Slack: Blog

Song Story #6 - Don't Walk Away

Posted on April 17, 2011

Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the sixth installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

In the last installment, I talked about how sometimes an instrumental seems like an unfinished song waiting for lyrics to be written, other times it stands on its own without the involvement of words. Unlike 'I Remember Now', the song Don't Walk Away spent a lot of time as an instrumental that ultimately belonged to the former category.

This is obviously a piano-driven song for which the chords and melody were quite clear for me. It may have stayed an instrumental, were it not for the fact that the words "Just don't walk away" insinuated themselves into the chorus. I didn't know exactly what it meant, but it absolutely fit the emotion that permeated the feel of the music. It was written at a time in my life when I felt like I had had enough of change and instability, and just wanted to grasp on to the things and people that meant something to me.

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Song Story #5 - I Remember Now

Posted on April 10, 2011

Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the fifth installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

It's not as easy to talk about instrumentals from the songwriting point of view, but they are songs after all. Sometimes an instrumental seems like an unfinished song waiting for lyrics to be written, other times it just seems to stand on its own without the involvement of words. I Remember Now falls into the latter category.

I'll be honest - this song came out all in a rush after I watched a very inspired performance by Bruce Cockburn on Austin City Limits. He's always been one of my favorite artists, and after listening to him play that night, I just felt like doing some melodic finger-picking and this tune came out as a result.

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Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the fourth installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

I wrote the song Should Have Known Better in the summer of 1979 sitting in my little shithole apartment in the Seagate section of Brooklyn. (For anyone who's curious, Seagate is a gated community on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn that used to be famous in the 1800's for a casino. I only landed there because I was able to rent a studio apartment for $140/month from a slumlord who owned a house there - but it was actually a pretty nice neighborhood.)

But I digress. This song and another from that time (also on Looking Glass, which I'll write about soon) came out at a kind of peak time of loneliness in my life. I had moved up to NYC from Pittsburgh so that I could spend as much time as possible working with my pal Tim B. at Bell Sound Studios. I really didn't have many friends, and less money, so I spent an awful lot of time just wandering the streets of that huge metropolis all alone.

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Song Story #3 - If I Had Time

Posted on March 13, 2011

Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the third installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

The genesis of the song If I Had Time was a melody I had written for the verse way back in the mid 90's. It didn't come to me with any lyrical inspiration, so I started thinking about different ideas when the song was fresh in my head.

I took a trip to Europe around that time, and had a thought about how strange it was that I could wake up one morning and go to sleep later on halfway around the world. This was also around the time the Internet was really just starting to pick up speed, and I met some friends in London on that same trip whom I knew only because we all participated in an online forum for fans of the band XTC called Chalkhills. (This was very cool by the way - I had some beers with Neville Farmer and we talked about the book he had just written Song Stories. Great stuff.)

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Song Story #2 - Your Love

Posted on March 6, 2011

Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the second installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

I enjoy reading about how songs usually start out as one thing and end up as something completely different. One of my favorite songwriters, Andy Partridge, often describes this metamorphosis when discussing his own incredible songs (he talks about this a lot on the XTC Fans Blog).

Your Love is a song of mine that went through a number of phases. It started out as a slow, spacy melody that came to me while I was fooling around with a synthetic Sitar sound on my Kurzweil. It might have languished there forever if I didn't try playing it on the piano at one point and discovered a chorus break that played off the original melody as a verse.

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