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I guess I’m what you’d call a “lifer” in that I’ve never done anything but play music for a living, with the exception of a short stint as a waitress when I was fifteen. It was a fascinating experience and I only poured hot coffee on one person (that I can remember).
When I was a baby my crazy dad decided to leave suburbia and take his tender young family out into the wilds of Alaska to live like pioneers in denial of modern reality. So, with no neighbor kids to play with and no tv to watch, we all became incredibly creative if not completely bushwacky... or I should say in addition to becoming completely bushwacky. We spent our long winter nights and long summer days reading, writing, listening to my dad pontificating on everything in the world ( he was an english professor who gave up teaching but never stopped lecturing) and learning various arts and crafts which naturally included learning to play his old Martin guitar. What else was there to do?
As soon as I had a few chords under my belt I starting writing songs... strange songs about things like the weird guy who was a draft-dodger and lived by the railroad tracks, and the very large and ape-like trooper that came up to find and arrest him. Good and heady stuff for a six-year-old. I guess I was politically inspired at a very early age as Alaska was, and still is, full of interesting characters walking way off the beaten path for a whole variety of reasons, and of course our cabin seemed to be a rest stop on that path for many of them, strangely enough.
People always ask me how I get the ideas for the songs I write as it seems like a very mysterious process for non-writers. And it is for us too, really. I think it’s sort of like dreaming in a way; you wonder why your brain came up with those strange scenarios but if you think about it you can often come up with some reason, or link to what was happening in your life. And of course often enough the inspiration is painfully obvious to all! (I’ve always said it’s extremely dangerous to date a songwriter.) When I’m writing lyrics I always try to find new ways to say old things; hate the cliche, the done to death. (How many times can one civilization rhyme “maybe, baby, and crazy?” Or “girl” and “world”?) I’m a great lover of analogies and probably use them way too much in songs AND in everyday conversation. Analogies make it possible to create great illustrations out of ordinary statements so a wider variety of people can relate to the point by viewing it from a different (and hopefully more entertaining) perspective. And let’s face it, nothing beats a clever analogy!
All I really know for sure is this one thing; for some reason I’m here to write songs and I couldn’t stop if my life depended on it. Who knows if it’s a gift, a compulsion, or simply an addiction. Sometimes it comes like taking dictation and I have no choice but to write as fast as I can. And I’m never more happy, comfortable and at peace than when I’m making music,and that in itself assures me that I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on. If people take pleasure in what I create along the way, that’s the icing on the cake and the best reward.
My name is B, and I’m a songwriting junky. You can check out my solo work at www.bwishes.com.
My guitar kit is a Telecaster played through a classic 1968 Fender Vibrolux amp. I use this for live performance and for recording.
Top 5 CDs:
Rhythm of the Saints (Paul Simon)
The White Album (Beatles)
Rubber Soul (Beatles)
What Up Dog? (Was not Was)
Cosmic Thing (The B52's)
B Dub Gallery