Saturday Night Live

All songwriters have certain rules and routines that work best. I guess all writers have best practices to which they adhere. Some writers are only able to work at the butt crack of dawn before the birds have had a chance to influence their day. I guess everybody has routines they follow to ease the burden of certain tedious chores. Maybe you can’t pay bills unless you are wearing your fuzzy pink slippers. Maybe you can’t do dishes without listening to some Conway Twitty. Maybe you can’t go for a run without first preparing your post-run treat of microwaveable pizza rolls and a jelly donut.

My songwriting routines have changed over the years. When I was younger, I would grab my trusty notebook and a pencil. I would grab my guitar and turn on the television. I required some background noise to get a good flow. Without a distraction, the judgmental and insecure parts of my brain second guess every word, note, and stum. I couldn’t start writing without a way to keep my worst parts entertained while I was trying to work. I’m not too proud to admit that I have done the same thing with my kids. “Pops needs five minutes, watch this show.”

There have been several phases regarding my preferred choice of background noise. There was a phase where I couldn’t write without reruns of Saturday Night Live. It was right before I got married and I was living with my Dad. This was a pre-streaming world. There was a channel that played classic comedy shows. In the afternoons I would tune in for classic episodes of Saturday Night Live. It was all Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner. They were legends. I wrote a lot during that phase. I wrote the last third of Princess and the Hero. I wrote Valentine’s Day Massacre during that phase which might explain why the year in the first line is 1981. Shadowlands was written during that phase. The project I made with my sister was also written during that time.

At my current stage in life, I do not need to turn on the television. My life is noisy enough without extra background noise. I love the classics but my kid’s racket is the best distraction.