Monday, February 25, 2013

The Doper's Dream

Tonight's song is the result of a challenge given me by Jim Weiler. He wanted a song in which the guitar solos were made by scraping the pick along the strings. But before I added the guitar parts, I noticed that Band in a Box actually had "fret noise" as a MIDI-sound. So I picked a ragged waltz style and converted the piano parts into fret noise. Then I added to the chaos by scraping my pick along the strings as Jim wanted.

The song is another one supplied by little Tommy Pynchon from his children's book, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW. Back in October I collaborated with him for TOMMY'S TRAINS, also from the book. If you want to read along with the song, the lyrics are on page 369 of the Viking edition, right about the middle of the book.

The song is essentially a list of popular drugs loosely knitted together in a dream sequence. In 1967 I was a private in the US Army at Fort Bliss in a Nike Hercules guidance system school. Every day we would be given a huge notebook labeled "SECRET" to keep track of our electronics work. At the end of the day they'd gather them all up and lock them away for the next day. In my book I wrote the lyrics of a song about all of the drugs I knew about that was very similar to this one. Incredibly clever wordplay, as I remember. Then one day in the summer of 1967 I, and three of my buddies, were snatched from class and accused of "drug usage", which essentially trashed our SECRET security clearances. The story is told in detail in THE COMPLEAT CALHOON.
I never saw the notebook again and the song is irretrievably lost (unless they invent memory drugs during my lifetime). But Tommy's dope dream lives on. If I remember correctly, it's not quite as good as the dope song the army might still have stored under a mountain in Colorado.