About The Song: “BANDANA DAYS”
Sunday July 29th, 2018:
I was listening through to all of my songs while simultaneously putting the final touches on my PledgeMusic Pre Order Campaign before its launch 3 days later. My wife Heidi said “Babe, you need another upbeat song” and suggested I write another, or find a Public Domain song to cover. Being stubborn I took the latter & searched the Public Domain archives full of forgotten Blues standards written in the early 1900’s. I had been researching a couple hours, had discovered a handful of mind blowing recordings from the 19- Teen’s & 20’s but then I stumbled upon that really got my wheels turning. It wasn’t the song; an instrumental vaudeville era tune. It was the title: “Bandana Days”. I grabbed my guitar as quickly as I could and started strumming something in the key of C. I already knew I wanted to write a song that could smoothly transition into another track in the same key titled “Golden State” and had a feeling that this could be that song.
My first thoughts about it were…
“OK..What do I do with a Bandana? I roll it up and then I tie it up..”
Then something else crossed my mind. There’s other things that you roll up and tie up. Having recently finished reading Willie Nelson’s autobiography I’ll give ya 3 guesses to know what I’m talking about lol. But since bandanas are something that I really identify with, I did wear one during our wedding for goodness sake, I wanted to equate the title to my past. Specifically about the time I began wearing bandanas. In essence, my “Bandana Days”, which started when I was a teenager still living at home with my mom. Those “Days” were spent wasting time, hanging with great friends and other people I thought were friends or that pretended to be…
VERSE 1 ‘Better things are coming – I don’t even know it I haven’t even left my room Had some friends I used to hold – Some I’d really never know Some I never wanted to…’
I thought back to a song I wrote for the QUIET RIOT album Road Rage titled “Cant Get Enough” where I wrote about my mom getting me a hand-me-down guitar. It’s a moment of real importance in my musical discovering because if that hadn’t happened at the time that it did, I might not be here in the way that I am. I didn’t have an issue revisiting that same theme as it really fit the vibe of the Pre Chorus for “Bandana Days”…
PRE CHORUS ‘With a 6 string on a hand-me-down From a duplex on a cul-de-sac You can leave me on my own Already where I’m at
CHORUS Watch me roll up – All my old ways Cuz I get tied up – From all my choices When we’d fire it up – Every voice sang From where I’ve gone it seems its a long long way But it’s where I found myself; Bandana Days’
The song continued to write itself as I thought back to those defining moments that lead me to where I am today. I knew I wanted to say something about the night that I met my wife Heidi and wouldn’t ya know it, I was wearing a bandana that night too, so it didn’t require stretching my imagination. I simply wrote from the heart!
VERSE 2 ’Any other Tuesday night – Karaoke singing beachside Holding my head up I saw heaven under back porch light – Sent to save me tonight And teach me how to love
PRE CHORUS With a 6 string on a hand-me-down From a duplex on a cul-de-sac She took me from where I was Brought me to where I’m at…’
And that was that. I knew that I wanted to keep the song as short as possible without losing anything. I didn’t want to give it a bridge and try to force more in there or even a solo to extend it. It simply didn’t need it, which can be tough to do when you get so complacent with writing songs a certain way. Instead, peeling back the layers of the process and doing it against your comfort zone. But those odd feelings have been a recurring theme with all of these new songs as they’ve all been, at one point or another, against my comfort zone.
The funny thing, is that I’ve found comfort in that unknown space. For so long I’ve tried to conform to something that’s popular for the moment and in that I feel I’ve never fully been able to show the possibilities of my artistry and what I’m capable of as a songwriter, likely out of fear, until now. In the past I’ve sought out songs or tried to write songs in the style of some one or some band that I aspired to replicate. The difference with this album is that these songs each came from a personal space. I didn’t try to write any of these songs in a particular style. I just picked up my guitar at home, was inspired on the road or wrote my troubles to help solve my troubles. Though I was still inspired by artists of multiple genres, I didn’t take that inspiration to my guitar and try and duplicate what they had already done. Instead I pushed myself to always write directly from my heart and my own musical instinct. Its been a challenge but the reward of finding out to what extents you are capable of is worth every single personal hurdle.
*Editors Note: Bandana is also spelt Bandanna, with 2 N’s.
Either is right. Neither is wrong :)