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Bait & Switch: Song 8: I Told Ja So

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

After going down the blues rabbit trail, I once more wanted to hit some power pop type riffs. After monkeying around on the guitar for a while, nothing was coming out. I'm not the kind of songwriter who forces songs out of thin air. I need something to give me a place to start half the time. No amount of noodling was helping. I didn't know what else to try. I mean, nothing was coming out. I needed a new approach.

So, I put down a drum track, which had a back beat and two snare hits. Sort of like the bouncy funk of go go music out of Washington D.C. and gradually started looking towards rhythm for inspiration. And I started to think about chopping the rhythm up in little jabs, rather than the 1/8 notes typically found in pop guitar songs. Listen to the Go Go's, Our Lips Are Sealed for what I'm writing about.

Pensacola Beach
Sunset drive home at the national seashore

Rather than keep perfect time, I chopped the guitar introduction into little punches, and a jab just before the down beat. This gave whatever I was doing some energy, and made it feel sort of syncopated. In other words, the guitar became part of the percussion in your left ear. In your right ear, you hear a slide technique I've used for a few years. And these things together became the riff needed to generate a song, rather than just a cool guitar line being centrally focused. (See Bad Moon)

After I got the intro down, I added a verse, which matched the intro. I know boring, right? So, to bring a little drama, I went way past the normal expectation, and hit the minor 6th of the scale, which resolves very nicely to the major 4th, and sets up the chorus very nicely. If you listen to the chords, there's a descending bass line walking down from the root, to the Major 7th, to the minor 6th to the Major 5th of the scale. You'll hear this in Journey's Any Way You Want It. Matter of fact, I used much of same notes in Journey's bass line, but without the punchiness they used. And that's why it sounds sort of familiar.

In between the first chorus and the second verse is a little guitar tag that lets you know another verse is coming. You'll also notice the guitar parts in the second verse are a little more assertive. Half way through the second verse, a new guitar part comes in, which sounds like an ambulance going down the road. (I didn't add this part until I got some of the lyrics worked out.)

At this point, I stopped and started working on the lyrics. And out of nowhere, I had this thought. "All I do is go to work, come home and then work on this stupid album." I'm getting sick of myself. So, I wrote about myself.

"I'm too busy with my ordinary life."

This is a project that never really got completed. El wire and glow rage looked cool, but was too high maintenance.
regular JOE 3.0

And what rhymes with "busy". Of course, dizzy...and then wife... this was perfect. And what does someone who's too busy, and dizzy want to do? Get out of there! And so, "Sometimes I wanna scream, "Feet don't fail me, now"! So, being a middle aged man, there' really no place to go! So I wrote, "There's no place I can run to, I burned all my bridges down"! It' was like magic. Things were coming together.

And then, the chorus, "How did life get so complicated?". And "sedated" rhymes with that, so I borrowed from the Ramones, "24 hours ago I wanna be sedated!" And of course, what every middle aged man in crisis thinks, "If I could've just stopped myself and started over things would be different." But it's too late.

So, I wrote, "Wanna close my eyes at the scene of the crime (marriage, kids, career all traps that keep you from having fun), and tell myself a million times, I Told Ja So".

But then, there's the rest of the story. How did I start down this path of being Mr. Responsible? Well, that was my previous girlfriend. She told me to grow up. Playing out with music wasn't her thing. She wanted someone more mature. She bailed on me for some preacher. I told her she was making a big mistake because how cool is it to be the guitar player's boyfriend? Well, that was that. She left and married the guy. Had his kids.

Contacted me on facebook a few years ago, told me she was never leaving Colorado. And you know what? I told her off. I told her she bailed on me, and she doesn't have the right, or prevailage to just walk back in like nothing happened.

Now, I hear through friends she's back in Northwest Florida and divorced. I told her she was making a big mistake. So, if we ever meet again, I'd tell her "I told ya so".

So, that is no kidding how the song wrote itself.

And then the bridge of the song came to me, "My life. It's tough, but our love is real. Truth is you were never good enough for a lifetime deal."

Now, who this woman is I'll never tell. But man, does that make a good song? And to make things even better, it kind of sounds like a song from a TV show!

Song number 8 was in the can. If you've not heard it, go to my website to get a taste of it in the "shop"

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