“Begone long one!”

THIS WEEK: from the mouths of students

Because my class this quarter was about “Los Angeles”, I had my college composition students help me write a song about the good and bad things about it we’d experienced.  Here’s the resulting “57 Dip Expansion”:

(download)

The chorus, first two verses, and first breakdown are mine but the rest were written by groups of students on the second to last day of class (and reworked slightly by me to be easier to sing).  You can hear the HEAPS playing the original, shorter version on our 2nd album “Love Dinosaurs Forever.”

UPDATE: I did this again the next time I taught the class.

WHAT’s GOOD [non-exhaustive]: Erin and I rewatched Disney’s 1973 animated “Robin Hood” since my brother had pointed out that it’s love theme was playing on the radio in the scene of Wes Anderson’s excellent new movie version of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” where the kids are doing dives into the kiddie pool.  Franz and I watched “Robin Hood” so many times as kids that it was very strange to see it again–in retrospect, its got a very different pacing than almost any other Disney animated movie and, as Erin pointed out, the soundtrack has a little groovy electric guitar.  Plotwise, “RH” and “FMF” are pretty similar except that Robin Hood’s hubris about his own cleverness does not have blowback for those he cares about–unless you count the tripling of taxes foisted on the forest (but that was at least partially instigated by the oh-so-catchy song that the townsanimalpeople came up with to celebrate Prince John’s midmovie routing).  Anderson’s movie of “FMF” does a Jurassic-Park-style DNA-fill-in of Roald Dahl’s original book but I’m glad that Anderson wasn’t afraid to marinate the movie in his trademark overly-mannered patter.  In may in fact be the least visually “mannered” Wes Anderson movie yet since stop-motion-animation critters tend to be, by default, pretty stylized whereas his usual human actors stand out more among his carefully constructed shots.  Anyway, “FMF” is great and it might just wriggle free enough from the trap of paternal angst to win over people who thought Wes lost his touch after Tenenbaums.

BONUS: I’d hoped this week to be able to post for you a blort-phonic full HEAPS version of the new song “Cyrano d’ Regement” about something I read in Federman’s “Take it Or Leave It” for my dissertation that I posted two weeks ago in demo form but when I arrived at band practice on Sunday, I discovered that I’d left my P.A. cables (and my mics) at my family’s house when I was there for Thanksgiving , so that will have to wait.  The above version of “the 57 Dip” was made with the same humble methods forced on me by necessity.  The video footage of the recent HEAPS set opening for The Dutchess and the Duke will also have to wait, but the good news is that my brother and I did some good recording over thanksgiving, and here’s an example:

(download)

Franz called this one “Get Bent” because the practice of messing with the wiring of old sound toys and gizmos like “speak ‘n’ spells” is, as you know, called ‘circuit bending’ and there’s a riff that comes to the front at about 1:41 that has that sound.  It doesn’t have lyrics yet but we may add some (and cut the length down) for the final version.

DOUBLE BONUS: By request (and for the second week in a row) here’s The HEAPS covering Wilco, this time the b-side “A Magazine Called Sunset”:

(download)

This was from our “band request” session with Mike and Vernon (while Matt and Ben were out of town) where each of us brought in a few songs that the band had never played before and we tried to play them.  This was one of my requests.  What you’re hearing here is the first and only time that the band played this song together so it may not sound as smooth and synthesized as Wilco’s version; as was the fashion at the time, we play it twice through to really try the song out.

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3 Responses to ““Begone long one!””

  1. […] Here’s another looping jam (this one from the same Thanksgiving session as Lionfish and Get Bent) called “Said Roman […]

  2. […] had fun doing it, but I sort of think the previous class came up with better […]

  3. […] If you’re wondering what this is, each time I teach my freshman comp class on “L.A. Stories,” I cap the quarter by having the students write me new verses for a song I wrote a few years ago about my most favorite / least favorite freeway interchanges in L.A.  You can hear the versions from previous quarters here and here. […]

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