A song 6 years in the making, Part 4/4

I had lyrics, a form, an opening lick (though I almost changed that a few times), a concise ending, a solid groove and a sloppy solo.

Time to fix the solo.

The previous recording of Mr. Wrong had a rather lazy (and often tacet) left hand, and that’s all thanks to one sad fact: I’m not very good at improvising. I knew I had to write out what I was going to do and actually practice it. This applied to everything I was playing once I started recording back in June of 2011. I had to write down virtually every note I was playing so that I could edit takes (What?…). Thankfully, writing a solo was significantly easier than writing lyrics. I had already written the solo for Picture Yourself, and I had transcribed a good deal of songs and solos by Elton, Billy and Ben. I also knew I was going to be recording this very soon with drums and a bass so I wasn’t afraid to write a solo as if I was a jazz player – let the bass player play the bass notes, I’ll play a little “rhythm piano” (a little joke for your rhythm guitarists out there) with my left hand and play the actual solo with my right hand.

Here are the licks I came up with:

I ended up using almost everything on this page for my solo. You can listen and follow along – the solo begins in the very bottom left with an implied walking bassline under it. The lick towards the end of the line (just before the left hand stops walking) that you can’t read is a variation of a lick from the lead guitar in Elton’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. From there the solo jumps up two lines, where you can see left hand and right hand written together. I liked the idea of taking the upper spelling of the D chord (playing A minor in my left hand) and letting the chord descend, and idea I got from the solo at the end of Ben Folds Five’s solo at the end of Underground. After four measures you can see the left hand continue while an arrow points to a lick written another line higher for the corresponding right hand lick, a simple mordent (?) with more upper spelling of each chord (G minor while playing over the C chord, and F Maj. 7 while playing over G7).

I love music theory. tee hee!

The solo was finished probably 2 days before I was to fly to Portland, OR. I went there to get a grip on myself, my music career, my goals, and to see my long-lost High School best friend, Steve Giedosh, who was getting me a great deal on musicians and recording producers so that I could make quick demos of three songs. In 9 hours, we rehearsed and recorded Mr. Wrong (You Aren’t Me), Another Day (also available on reverbnation), and another song that no one has yet to hear (because it’s freakin hard to sing and I need to get another take). That song is called Tomorrow Never Knows, a Stevie Wonder-inspired contemplation about whether life should continue as is or take a sharp turn.

Would you like to hear Tomorrow Never Knows? It’s not ready for release just yet, but you can hear it live at any of my performances:

NOVEMBER 11, 8 pm at Lickity Split
6056 N Broadway in Chicago


NOVEMBER 17TH, 6 pm AT Metropolis Coffee Company
1039 W Granville in Chicago

or my latest addition to the schedule, the one you should go to if you can’t go to any other shows:

DECEMBER 18TH, 8 pm at the Elbo Room Cocktail Lounge
2871 N Lincoln in Chicago
I MUST BRING AT LEAST 20 PEOPLE TO THIS PERFORMANCE! If you’d like to show your support, the best way to do it would be to attend this show, say hi to me, grab some drinks and tell all your friends about it.

Thanks again for reading. New songs are on the way – hear them first this Friday at Lickity Split.

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