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Songbook: Bucket

I thought it would be fun to write about some of the songs I’ve written. (I should point out for those coming to this cold that I’m the principal songwriter for Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives). I’m going to start with songs from our latest record, Third Time’s the Charm. If you don’t have it, you can at least listen to a chunk of each song at our CD Baby page .

“Bucket” started because I felt that we had a dearth of songs in 3/4 and I wanted to remedy the deficiency. And what do you think of when you think of songs in three? Sea chanties, of course! The one-note-to-a-bar chorus is meant to be bellowed with your arms around your fellow men as you sway back and forth. It comes in groups of 9 bars, which doesn’t subdivide easily – the idea was kind of to just keep you swaying, bar by bar, without having that overall structural feeling of “okay, now we’re halfway through”.

The verses are mostly in groups of six bars, keeping the ternary idea going. Originally the guitars followed the bass as it went C – C – F – Bb – C – C, but it turned out to work out better to offset them slightly and ratchet up the tension a little – they pretty much go C – C – F – F – F – C over that bassline, which makes it feel like the bass is pulling them reluctantly along through the chord changes. We don’t prog out much in general but I totally gave into those tendencies with the unison break at the end of each verse. We drop one beat during it for extra proggy cred.

The lyrics are pretty silly. “Tomatillo” was a just a space-filling word I was using for the chorus, and it stuck. It took me a long time to come up with bridge words I was happy with – for a long time the bridge ended with “I’m a telegram” instead of “if you telegram”. If they mean anything at all it’s a general sense of leaving the quotidian trivialities of everyday life behind and achieving transcendence, which, hey, rock music never hurts in the pursuit of. “Hale-Bopp” from the first record had a similar basis.

The form is Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Bridge, Chorus. Originally there was another chorus before the bridge but it made the whole thing too long; by the last chorus you were just waiting for the thing to end instead of being swept away in a final flourish. It’s a little unusual to head into a bridge after hearing just one chorus, but the end of the verse is enough of an event that I don’t think you feel like you haven’t had enough resolution points yet.

We started out with everyone just coming into together, then we decided to give our drummer Bill a couple bars of intro, then one rehearsal he played a full eight and it was awesome. Which made it a clear album-opener as well.

There’s some Hammond organ starting in the bridge that I really like; it adds to the balls-out atmosphere I was looking for. I wrote the part in less time than it took to perform it. One take and it’s good to go!

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