Sunday, March 13, 2005

I wish I were a music video director.

This is my first post on my first blog. Not much of an introduction, but I've finally found the inspiration to write this stream of consciousness blog. My grammar won't be perfect, because I'm not at work, but hopefully you'll enjoy anyway.

My inspiration? Music.

I have had three friends in this life who are published musicians. Is "published" the right word? I'm a writer, so I'm going with it.

The first was Paul Tabachneck. I haven't seen Paul in years, but back in college at Carnegie Mellon, he had a band called Stone Soup. I think there's another band called Stone Soup, but this isn't them.

Paul and I were editors together on the Tartan, which is CMU's college newspaper. Anyway, after Paul quit as a section editor, he wound up on my copy staff. The proofreading lounge at the Tartan had this huge, world's-most-comfortable couch, and every now and then, Paul (and Victor, another proofreader) would put on a little impromptu concert.

The song he used to play was called "She the 4th (Andrew Got Another Lover)" and it's probably a joke only CMU students would get (the Andrew part. you had to be there). Anyway, one day, a while after I'd left CMU, I was visting Pittsburgh, and I found Stone Soup's "Self-Titled Debut" in the local music section of a CD store. So, seeing the title of the song (which I'd never known, but knew it was the right song) I bought the CD and I still mix that track onto driving music CDs.

I hope Paul's off making music somewhere. His stuff wasn't really my taste in music, to be honest, but that song was great. I'm sure you'll hear more about my misadventures at CMU in the future. If I keep this blog up.

My second friend who makes music is Heather Shayne Blakeslee. Blake and I went to school together in Bloomsburg, and she went on to be a folk-rock singer in New York, and then Philadelphia. I was the valedictorian in the Class of '92, by about 00.01 of a percent, and she was salutatorian. I'm not sure who is more embarrassed about that.

Anyway, Blake chased down her dream, God bless her, and she's got two CDs out, one called "Bones" and the new one called "Treon's Cut Rate."

I'm lousy with music, and I don't rightly know if it's fair to call her stuff folk-rock, but that's what I do. Think Indigo Girls, or Melissa Etheridge. If you like them - and I do, despite myself - you'd like Blake.

My favorite Blakeslee song is "The Ballad of Anna Mae," from Bones, and eventually remixed onto an EP she promised to send me but hasn't yet. "The Ballad of Anna Mae" would make a killer frontier-farm-Cold Mountain-horse-and-cotton-dress-and-hat kind of music video. I mean, killer. I wish I were a music video director. I've got the entire thing in my head. It would be absolutely killer, with horses and cowboys and this clearing in the woods and a ghost!

Blakeslee kicks ass and should make it big. She's got a beautiful voice, and "Snowing in Stroudsburg," off TCR, always makes me think of home, even if home is Bloomsburg and not Stroudsburg. Close enough. What a beautiful song. I think it's replaced "Opiates and Envy" as my second-favorite Blakeslee song.

Remind me to tell you the story of how I went to see Blake play in the lesbian bar.

Anyway, the other reason I'm writing this is because I just got another CD from a friend. This one's by a guy named Justin Timpane, who's an actor in the movie I'm working on with Timewarp Films. More on that in another post.

Anyway, Justin did the soundtrack for the previous film from the company, "Crawler," and he gave me a copy today (no, the movie's not out yet). Apparently, he's done a bunch of CDs, but I don't know - I only met him on this film.

Anyway, the first song on the soundtrack is a song called "Crawl." (Yes, I started three graphs in a row with "anyway," sue me. I'm not at work, I can write however I feel like. I told you this was stream of consciousness.)

Back to "Crawl." I'm going all-caps here for emphasis.


I put the CD on in my car at 5 p.m. and by the time I turned it off an hour and a half later, I'd played "Crawl" about a dozen times. (It's about 3 minutes, I'd guess.)

This song kicks ass.

It's perfect. I love it. (Well, almost perfect, I wish the whispered words at the end were a bit louder; I'm a writer, I love lyrics.)

This song kicks so much ass, I'm jealous I had nothing to do with "Crawler" because I want to play this song for everyone I know and I wish I could say it went with my movie. But it doesn't. I wish my movie had a song that cool.

Look, let's be honest, I've got bad taste in music. I own CDs by Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Richard Marx. I shit you not. But I know good music when I see it, and this is good music. This is more than good music, this is great music.

By the way, of the three names dropped above, two have appeared naked in Playboy. Aren't you glad Richard Marx isn't one of them? Hey, "Hazard" kicks ass. But "Ballad of Anna Mae" is better. Same idea, though, just less pop kitsch and more haunting beauty.

Back to "Crawl." How can I describe it? I don't know. I don't know shit about music. It's rock, pseudo-metal, the kind with lots of guitars where you turn up the volume, open the sunroof and just let it play while you bob your head and thump the steering wheel.

It made me think of Bolt Thrower, except Bolt Thrower was insanely disappointing and this was just so frickin' awesome.

I turned up the volume at every intersection, on the off chance a record producer would pull up next to me in Princeton, roll down his window and say, "Who is that?" And then I'd tell him, because if there's any justice in the world, some record producer is going to read this and take my word for it and check this song out and make Justin rich.

(Make Blake rich, too, but it's a whole different kind of music.)

OK, here's how to think about it: I got to this bar called QXT in Newark. It's a Goth bar, and my friends Sari and Luisa take me. I have half a mind to take "Crawl" to QXT and try and bribe the DJ to play it because it would fit right in there. It's dark, pounding rock, the kind I love.

Perfect driving music. This one's going to be on a lot of mixes of mine.

By the way, one more reason I wish I were a music video director: Play "Crawl" and just film the Goth girls in plaid skirts and purple hair dancing to it at QXT. Oh. My. God.

And oh, my God, does this song kick ass. I can't even think of anything better to say, and I've got a degree in creative writing.

I've got to talk to Justin about his other CDs. The soundtrack to "Crawler" is great - even if I didn't get through it all because I listened to "Crawl" so much - but instrumental stuff doesn't make good driving music, and that's when I listen to music, in the car.

If the rest of his CDs are like "Crawl," I'll buy every one. Yes, I figure he'd probably give them to me for free, but I'm not above paying money to support my friends. Ask Blake.

And yeah, when my movie hits DVD, I'm making my friends buy it. There's money at stake there! I only get paid if we make a profit! (insert smiley face here)

So, to sum up: Record producers, e-mail me! I've found the perfect song. Between Blake and Justin, maybe I can have a finder's fee? I could use the money.

Links (no, I don't have a clue how to make HTML in this thing):

I'm not editing this or spell-checking it. Screw that. It's my day off.


Bonnie said...

Hi Eric.. cool blog :) You seem like the kind of guy that has a lot of deep thoughts that need to be shared. ;) I look forward to seeing what else you got!

Anonymous said...

Umm.. blushing much?

Okay, Justin here.
Umm... Crawl is probably the best song I've done (my wife said so and she's smart) which worries me because I like my other music too and it will never stand up to the compliments I've gotten here.

I'm kind of listening to my own old music saying, "Hello old music, you are not as good as Crawl"

Then my old music gets sad and needs therapy and who has to pay for it? me. Thats who.. thanks a whole damn lot, Eric...

Okay, digressing.. point being I have rarely been more complimented.. here's one back..

Eric is a first rate screenwriter who has elevated what could be a simple horror movie script to something cooler. I'm excited that he's written me such fun things to say. I'm glad he likes my stuff, so I can follow his fame into Hollywood..

Okay, return finished.. thank you ,Eric.

Anonymous said...

Not enough talk about cricket & rugby for my liking

.... guess who

Don Dohler said...


Ask Justin: I told him I hate the style of music that is "Crawl," but I like this and I think it makes a kick-ass end credits theme for Crawler.

Justin is truly talented, not just as an actor, but as a musician and vocalist, too. All those background harmonies in the Crawler music tracks are Justin (with a little help from Daniel Ross).

As for your Dead Hunt rantings -- I'm happy you're enjoying the experience. I think it will be quite a while before the next Timewarp production, since we have two of them to finish over the next 6 to 8 months. Ugh. That's mostly work on my shoulders, but Mitch Klein (who is doing the creature CG animation) has much to do, as well. We're hoping that at least one of these movies will be ready to premiere at Horrorfind in August, but I'm making no promises! I learned long ago not to set "deadlines" for these movies -- they ALWAYS run way later than one would like.

TRICIA said...

I have known Justin's wife since 7th grade and have know Justin since they started dating. I would like to think that, other than their families, I know them pretty well. Justin has always had great music. I am happy and proud to say that I have all of the CD's he's made, and I listen to them over and over. To hear such a plethera of sound created by one person is absolutely amazing. I can't wait to hear the soundtrack to 'Crawlwer.' Justin, Keep on rockin'!!!! Tell Kelly I said Hi!!

TRICIA said...

Let me spell check myself....
'Crawlwr' should be 'Crawler' :)