MAKING OF A SLUDGE METAL SOLO ALBUM – Step One: Write Lyrics

I’ve been toying with the idea of making an autobiographical solo album for a few years now…I just had to hit rock bottom first.  The source material has always been inside of me, but it took a series of unfortunate events toward the end of last year to finally start drawing it out.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say it led to counseling, group therapy and some serious questioning of my identity.

Now, there was never any question as to what kind of music this record would be: filthy, angst-ridden, NOLA-style sludge metal.  I was really given a kick in the ass in that regard by EHG’s long-awaited comeback record, which is spinning on my turntable as I type this.  But my most recent musical inspiration was an aptly-titled recording Things Haven’t Gone Well by Music Blues, written and recorded by ex-Harvey Milk bassman Stephen Tanner.  When I reviewed it back in August, I mentioned that the notion of telling one’s depressing life story through sludge really struck a chord with me.

Thing is, despite such cheery song titles as “Hopelessness and Worthlessness” and “It’s Not Going to Get Better,” Tanner’s story is entirely instrumental.  Mine certainly won’t be.  One tip I picked up across a multitude of counseling sessions is how writing things down is a good way to get over them–and with that in mind, I started spewing words out onto the page across the course of a couple weekends.  Actual pages, that is.  I find that typing something on a screen isn’t quite as cathartic:

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As you can see above, the name of the project is Introvert.  Those of you who’ve met me in real life know that I’m not the most friendly, outgoing person you’ve ever encountered.  And if I were to give my life story a title, Picked On & Abused certainly fits.  Hey, Things Haven’t Gone Well was already taken…

The unique thing about this process was that I had decided on several topics I wanted to tackle, and jotted down a full tracklisting beforehand with nothing more than a couple chorus ideas in mind.  In my limited musical experience (I was once the tone-deaf singer of a short-lived punk band), I know that’s not normally how it’s done–songs usually start with melodies, y’know, music then lyrics.  Even when I was writing punk lyrics back in the day, I always did so with a melody in mind.  But again, aside from a couple choruses I had kicking around in my head, I just started jotting down stanzas without any sense of song structure; the message is meant to (eventually) drive the medium.

I’m not ready to reveal any of these song titles just yet, mind you, but let’s just say they make Stephen Tanner sound like Walt Disney.  Putting pen to paper was actually pretty painful…but sure enough, I did feel better afterwards.  That said, if this recording ever sees the light of day–and it’s certainly a long ways away–there won’t be any kind of lyric booklet included in the packaging.

In fact, for me to properly express these perverse passages, I’m gonna hafta learn to sing properly–y’know, like Mike IX Williams.  On that note, I’m still waiting for The Zen of Screaming to arrive in the mail…

I suppose I’ll provide periodic updates as this project progresses.  Like they told me, writing things down helps–even on a computer screen.

Peace out,

Gruesome Greg

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.