Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Tom Getter Slack: Blog

Song Story #7 - Waiting For You

Posted on May 8, 2011

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

Back in the early 80's, I was living in a rented cottage with my band mates in Lake Ronkonkoma New York, a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere, er, I mean Long Island. The Slack Brothers Band consisted of myself, my brother John, Pat Woods on piano, Mike Franco on bass, and a litany of drummers. We were part cover band (the only way to get gigs on Wrong Island), but also played originals. We recorded some very nice demos at Sound Heights studio in Brooklyn Heights (no longer around, of course), but never garnered enough interest in our sort of blue-eyed soul/pop sound to get a record contract.

During this period of time, I borrowed my engineer friend Tim's TEAC 1/4-inch reel-to-reel tape deck and spent my spare time doing some experimental recordings of instrumental tracks. At the time, I had a day job packing musical instruments for shipment from a warehouse, which is a bit ironic, but I did come across some cool stuff on the scrap heap - including this little primitive touch-key moog-like synthesizer known as the WASP. It was highly unpredictable, but it had some real cool sounds and effects, and I used it to lay down a lot of these tracks.

I wrote the song Waiting for You on Pat's Yamaha electric piano, and put four tracks together to back it up using the WASP. It was one of several quiet, melodic instrumentals that Pat and I put together back then. It's funny, but I feel in retrospect like that really should have been our true calling, because it was kind of unique and we loved it, but it wasn't trendy back in the hoppin' new wave days, so it was sort of like a hobby. At some point, these tunes were dubbed on to a cassette tape and forgotten about.

Flash forward to 2009 when I'm in the middle of mixing sessions for a retrospective collection of quiet melodic tunes I'd written over the years, and I find this old cassette in a pile in my studio. (I have a lot of cassettes from that period - it was the easiest way to make a quick recording.) As I listened to 'Waiting For You', I instantly realized that it would be a perfect fit for the Looking Glass album. So I went about re-recording the parts, staying as true to the original tracks as I could, but using Kuzweil samples of actual instruments instead of the bizarre synth sounds of the WASP. Jeff Buck supplied the awesome drums (somewhat channeling Neil Pertz!), and we had an uptempo modern recording of a lost gem.

In case it's of any interest, the song title was simply about waiting for my girlfriend at the time to come visit. This being utterly meaningless to me in the current day, I flirted with changing the name to 'Joie De Vivre'. Be grateful that I thought the better of this and stuck with the original title!