My newest song. Almost done.
—Something To Hold On To
This is the second song that I have ever written and recorded. Like my first song, “Old Fashioned”, it was recorded at Leap Studios by Paul Broussard and Jonathan Romein, but this song had a much clearer direction than my first attempt at recording. I wrote this song to pay homage to the bands that I grew up listening to, like Something Corporate, New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Cartel, and the other great pop-punk bands that were around in the early 2000’s. This song is also a huge nod to Andrew McMahon (Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin) — my biggest inspiration.
The other meaning of the song is simple. I love playing music, but I wish I would have started writing my own music at an earlier time. Perhaps it was for the best that I waited to “get the ball rolling”; perhaps I had some growing up to do first; perhaps it’s best that I waited until I worked on my piano chops, my vocals, and my insecurity about my abilities as a songwriter, but I guess I’ll never know because I waited so long to get it all started. I’m getting old, and while the dream / glory of playing music and doing what I love hasn’t started to fade yet, unforeseen circumstances may arise in the future that may alter the musical journey I intend to embark on in the next year or so. So I want to leave behind something that is meaningful — not only to me, but to others that are close to me — before it’s too late. Therefore, before I’m forgotten about, or before something happens that may force me to give up playing music, I want to leave behind a song that reminded me of how I felt when I was an adolescent, listening to songs by bands that sounded like this song made me feel while writing it.
The chorus says it all. Just give the song a spin, and hopefully it flows as well for the listener as it did for me while I was writing it. The style of this song may not exactly be what my style is— given that this is only my second attempt at song-writing— but I definitely had to get a song of this genre out of my system before the time had passed.
—Ye Olde Fashioned
It was a Friday morning (meaning past noon) at Leap Studios, as I sat in the control room with Paul Broussard, Jonathan Romein, and Cullen Bernard as we all awaited Brannon McLeod to arrive for the final instrument tracking for “Ye Olde Phashioned”. While listening to the demo, Cullen looked over and asked “So, what’s the song actually about?” It finally dawned on me that during the sporadic song-writing approach that was taken to this track, that I never really thought about an overall theme. I thought about it for a second, and said, “Well, I guess it’s just about life? And growing up?” As cliche and uncertain as that may sound, it was somewhat accurate. It’s about things that we all inevitably go through:
The first verse talks about how “[E]veryone shows their true colors sometimes”; we have all been taken aback by surprising behavior displayed by those closest to us at some point in our lives. And the “colorblind” reference is indeed true—at least my mother claims it is. My grandfather is colorblind, like—black and white colorblind—and my mother thinks that it was passed on to me. Apparently I failed a color test as a young child and ever since then she has been convinced that I am colorblind, even though I can 100% see every color vividly.
(She has now changed her argument and says that I’m a “shade of colorblind”.)
The second verse talks about how everyone gets down in the dumps from time to time. People get fed up with doing the same thing everyday, and the groggy apathetic mentality that results from such a seemingly meaningless existence. But overall, it’s up to us to choose how we go about changing our own perspectives when times like this are upon us. We can either become complacent with what we have, or actively strive to get more out of our own daily lives—whether it’s making the best of the situation you are in, or doing your best to change it and better yourself.
The third verse, in essence, is about love, and our relationship with others. I’d imagine that everyone wants to be loved, but as we all know, true love is hard to find (just look at the divorce rate). But with every different person that enters and exits our lives, we learn a little about ourselves and what it’s like to care about others. We learn from our mistakes and we become better people for it (hopefully).
Now the chorus is about how we all just want to be happy. When I say we’re all “tossing wishes down similar wells”, I mean that we’re all hoping that our dreams come true one day (not like, the dreams where we can fly or something, but like, our ASPIRATIONS and GOALS). My mother always calls me and tells me that if I want something, that I should pray for it. I’m not the biggest person on religion, but essentially, we’re all wishing for something. Whether it’s something you ask for as you toss your penny into the wishing well at the mall, something you pray for every Sunday in church, or some goal that you have dedicated yourself to and have strived for— we’re all hoping that the universe will unfold in our favor.
Now the second part of the chorus was just a little fun part for me to add in for those who may not have the most positive things to say about me or may have said or done something to me with malicious intent. Music has always been my passion and my life since I was young, so after 5 years of playing music for a living, it is essentially my “wish coming true” to have my first original full length song finally finished. So this song is basically dedicated to anyone who may have wronged me in the past, or to anyone who ever had any doubts that I would never accomplish some of my musical goals. (And just because the lyric says “honey” doesn’t mean it intended for a female listener only— but the alternatives “buddy” and “broseph” didn’t work at all.)
Now the end of the song that chants the track’s title is about how even in the uncertainty that is this life, there can still exist some constants among the randomness. Oh, and drinking whiskey. Even though we don’t know what will happen tomorrow in this fast-paced ever-changing world we live in, we still know that we can forget about it all over a drink with our friends later at a familiar place, and THIS is a routine whose repeition we embrace. The past decade, all of our lives have changed drastically. There are best friends that we haven’t seen in years. All of our friends are getting married, having children, getting real jobs, and moving away, but on any given random weekend night, we can all become the same impulsive drunks we were back in high school, and forget about how grown up we’re supposed to be for a few hours. I’ve been playing music in bars for the past few years, and my friend Phil “Smooth” Rogers introduced me to his specialty Old Fashioned sometime last year at one of my shows at Legend’s Downtown, and ever since it has been my drink of choice. I spelled it “Phashioned” in the title in reference to Phil.
And that, my friends, is the answer I should have given to Cullen that day— but I think “life” is an easier explanation. Even though I am known for being a piano man, far as the style of the song goes, I’d say my biggest influences on the track are Andrew McMahon (of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin), Nate Ruess (of The Format and fun.), Brendon Urie (of Panic at the Disco), along with some classic influence from Elton John and The Beatles. I’ve been an avid listener/follower/fan of the genres advocated by the website absolutepunk.net since about 2003 (when I in my junior year of highschool), so it’s no surprise that the track was heavily influenced by artists in the “punk universe”.
Thanks to Paul and J-Ro at Leap Studios for their time and work— I could never have imagined my first recording experience being so rewarding, and I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for everything you guys did in helping me make this song come to life. It really is one of the most meaningful things I have ever done, and I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Thank you to Cullen for helping me shape the vocals the way they are; thanks to Brannon McLeod for laying down the guitar/bass/drums; thanks to Jim Price for laying down some trumpet for me; thanks to Phil “Smooth” Rogers and Jules Lemaire for helping out with the gang vocals; an extra thanks to Phil “Smooth” for the Old Fashioneds;
And THANK YOU for reading and listening.
EDIT: I’ve changed the name of the song to “Ye Olde Fashioned” without spelling it “Phashioned” (in honor of Phil) because I believe more people wouldn’t get it than would get it, and I don’t want anyone thinking I really can’t spell the word “fashion”.
… you want to sing creed to a room full of drunk people? i feel like its MY birthday
And no, this is not a rip-off of Ben’s blog. I started posting my pictionary napkins via Facebook and instagram long before his blog was even up. The fact that we have similar ideas is purely coincidental.
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