The Random Griffith

A Saturday night update of, uh, sorts

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson Griffith on 07/02/2010

So I played Luna’s Cafe last night. I’d been really excited for a chance to play a bunch of my songs in a nice, intimate setting, which Luna’s provides. However, my throat had other ideas, one of which was to sound like Tom Waits doing “The Piano Has Been Drinking.”


Which is okay if your songs are named, oh, “My Baby’s Perfume Smells Like Bus Exhaust” or something. I don’t have much music like that in my original repertoire, however, although I can be pressed to do a passable cover of Waits’ “Pasties and a G-String” when asked. But Luna’s has a “no covers” policy, because Art the owner doesn’t like it when agents from ASCAP or BMI come in and jack him up for a blanket royalty payment, which is one way they pay their affiliated songwriters.

So I was a bit of a wreck. Managed to get through maybe eight or nine songs; I didn’t make a setlist, instead relying on the whims of the audience. Somebody’s churchy-looking grandmother was there, so I eschewed my semi-ribald “Barry White,” because the tempatation to look at granny when I drop to sotto voce and sing the line: “Oh baby, baby, I’ve got so much love for you/ I’m gonna make you come all night, that’s what I’m gonna do” might be too goddamn compelling to resist, and I can be sick and twisted like that.

I did some other less-shocking and more passable with the oldsters material instead, and aside from the frustration of not being able to sing the way I wanted to, came away reasonably pleased afterward — or at least not shuddering with self-loathing and regret. The very cool singer-songwriter and musician Richie Lawrence, on his way to play accordion with the esteemed Poplollys at Old Ironsides, sat through my set without bolting, and he even called me a “blatant romantic” online. Which, weirdly, pleased me. Yeah, at my core I’m an insufferable, unabashed romantic, and I guess I’m finally too damned old and apathetic about the repercussions to insist otherwise.

So after I got done with my little snarly snarl, James Cundiff laid down a stark set of outsider folk, some of it centered on imaginary characters from Nebraska, a state that Cundiff has never visited but that exists instead as an interior fantasy, and then Tyler Ragle played a bunch of sweetly detailed numbers from the intersection of folk and country; he was joined by his wife Katie for his last few songs. All in all, a nice night, despite my French vocal turn.

FAWM is still rolling along, and I’ve managed a full three songs in six days. Which is on track, I guess, but last year I wrote one song a day for 14 days. I got a couple more baking around in the ol’ cranium, but just haven’t put words to ’em yet. Speaking of romantic, the following are the lyrics to song number two, titled “All I Ever,” which kinda look pussyass from a cold read, but the song’s got a pretty lovely Elvis Costello vibe, and it’s a waltz. Don’t ask me why I love writing waltzes, but I do — even if I don’t write them very often.

All I ever want in this life is to open to love
I’ve been walled off inside for so long

All I ever dream every night is to hold someone close
Someone who can hang tight, stay and not go
Someone who’ll stick around long enough to get to know me

All I ever think once I wake are my sad, wasted years
And how all my mistakes got me here

All I ever hope every day is to turn my life around
Oh to dream up some way to come back from down
So when she walks into my life next time I’ll have both feet on the ground
I don’t want to miss out anymore if love knocks on that door
And says what are you doing tonight?
’Cause I’ve been there before only to watch it vanish from sight

All I ever want in this life is to open to love
I’ve been walled off inside far too long enough
Now all I ever want in this life is to open to love

All I ever want in this life is to open to love
All I ever want in this life is to open to love
All I ever want in this life is to open to love

So, well, that one spilled out after a couple of days; maybe I wrote it Wednesday night. I can’t remember. Anyway, then late Friday morning I messed with some other stuff, and then I started goofing on a vintage Kinks-style riff, kinda like “You Really Got Me” or “I Need You.” And pretty soon I had a bunch of gibberish thrown together called “You Got Me Spun Like a Record.” This one’s gonna be a blast to play live once I get it mastered.

You got me spun like a record baby you got some nerve
One week I’m the cat’s pajamas with you next week I’m on the curb
You got me spun like a record gimme gimme the word
First you let me in your sanctum sanctorum then you flip me the bird

You think you got me right where I can’t move
Just because you let my needle ride your groove
And where do you come off with that attitude?
When girl all I want is a real cool time with you

You got me spun like a record you’re so sweet to my face
When all I want to do is bend you over ’n’drive you back to your place
You got me spun like a record I got no time to waste
Gimme gimme some of what I remember baby gimme a taste

You think you got me right where I can’t move
Just because you let my needle ride your groove
And where do you come off with that attitude?
When girl all I want is a real cool time with you

You got me spun like a record what’s the meaning of this?
I think I’d crawl across a field of broken glass just for a kiss
You got me spun like a record up the charts like a hit
Got me fighting every impulse inside me don’t want to be your bitch

You think you got me right where I can’t move
Just because you let my needle ride your groove
And where do you come off with that attitude?
When girl all I want is a real cool time with you

You got me spun like a record
You got me spun like a record
You got me spun like a record
You got me spun like a record

So that’s the update. I’m drinking coffee now in a very polite little coffeehouse on a Saturday night with a friend. Didn’t feel like hitting the nightclubs or anything, because someone might ask me to talk and I really don’t feel like talking much. And sooner or later, I’ll have to navigate through the drunks and stoners in my neighborhood, which someone captured pretty accurately in the video below — especially the crowd coming out of Benny’s.


Tomorrow’s Sunday, and I hope to get back on pace with some more songs. —Jackson Griffith

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