The Random Griffith

Looking for inspiration

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson Griffith on 13/02/2010

Okay, so I’ve hit a little bit of an obstruction with the songwriting thing. I have this semi-ambitious number about a building, because the week-two challenge of FAWM is to write a song about an inanimate object, and I’ve got a chord progression and a melody and a chorus, but the getting rest of it is more like taking chisel to granite than sensually laying hands into a cool moist mass of clay spinning on a wheel. And there’s awful music pounding downstairs, thud thud thud thud, not the optimal environment for writing songwriterly-type songs, and after a brief respite of giving unsolicited advice to someone I don’t even know, well, shucks, why not go to the source?

Johann Sebastian Bach and I share a birthday, so Bach’s music always hits me right in the soul-spot that, on a good day, can trigger a sweet little storm of creativity. And, well, a little later, by gumball, I think I’ve got it. Now I’m halfway through my 14 songs, this one, titled simply “Building,” being song number seven. Here are the lyrics (which I’ve revised a bit, and, yes, if The Sammy Maudlin Show was still on SCTV, I’d be pitching them for an appearance with this one, because it would be a natural):

Brick and mortar, glass and wood
Built before the first world war
Housed a shop that sold dry goods
And then a drug store

During the depression years
A lunch counter was put in
Selling sandwiches and beer
Then whiskey and gin

See the everyday changes in our town
Aren’t they thrilling and smart and new
And on the street a crown
Not just another building on the avenue

Then came a piano bar
Gershwin Porter Mercer songs
There he met her won her heart
Love endures lifelong

They got married and then he
Got drafted and went to war
Then came home from overseas
Found work at a store

See the everyday places that we prize
They are filling a need so true
The touchstones of our lives
Not just another building on the avenue

Soon he worked his way to boss
Daughter and a son were born
Through the years their favorite spot
Kept the romance warm

They’d go dancing or hold hands
Bartenders knew them by name
Then one day came a rock band
Nothing stays the same

See the everyday changes we perceive
As we’re tilling the ground we knew
The changes that we grieve
In just another building on the avenue

Son and daughter soon grew up
Went to college and left town
He retired but their love
Never let them down

They’d walk by their favorite spot
Blues club then a discotheque
Then a storefront house of God
Then a vacant wreck

See the real estate peddling gentlemen
Making killings are what they do
So don’t get sentimental
It’s just another building on the avenue

She held his hand as he passed
In the cancer ward one day
Dreaming of times when they danced
Ah, the night away

The next week a wrecking ball
Made their building disappear
For lease now a new strip mall
Opening next year

See the real estate peddling gentlemen
Making killings are what they do
So don’t get sentimental
It’s just another building on the avenue

See the real estate peddling gentlemen
Making killings are what they do
So don’t get sentimental
We’ve lost another building on the avenue

Well, I will confess to two things here: One, I like cheese, from extra sharp cheddar to Stilton to Swiss, and two, that singing this makes me, uh, how do I say this — well, fellas, it makes me cry a little bit. Not break down like at the end of Tim Burton’s Big Fish cry, but I get a little choked up. Don’t worry, though; I’m probably too old to get famous from this stuff, and even if I did, I won’t give interviews about how I’d rather wank to memories of old girlfriends, or tell you that Jessica Simpson is “sexual napalm.” Should a miraculous talk-show appearance proffer itself, I plan on wearing fine-cut suits and behaving like a gentleman. Well, maybe I’ll relent and wear all black and mumble in French-accented gibberish, but basically I plan on remaining true to form.

Anyway, really glad I got this one written. Here’s to the next seven. —Jackson Griffith


4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. a person typing said, on 14/02/2010 at 01:18

    Jackson — this was beautiful. Just beautiful. Will you be at Urban Hive today?

    • jaxong said, on 14/02/2010 at 01:25

      Not sure. What’s going on? I’m supposed to sing tonight at another venue, but my voice still isn’t fully recovered from the bout of ‘Love and Theft’-era Dylangitis it’s been hobbled with for the past week.

  2. elle wrathall said, on 14/02/2010 at 05:00


    a. beautifully written…i think that one of the marks of successful art is that it elicits a raw response in the creator even before it does so with anyone else, as this did for you…so kudos for that, and

    b. i’m a singer. i long to be a songwriter, but i’m most-definitely a singer. if you ever have gigs come up that you can’t sing for…lemme know…i’d be happy to lend my voice


  3. jaxong said, on 14/02/2010 at 06:15

    Elle: a) thanks, and b) yes, I will take you up on that.. best, jxn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: