In an effort to pump the Chicago Martyrs’ gig on Saturday, June 9th, I will dedicate as many blogs as possible between now and then to topics related to the Refreshments.
Originally, I pictured our new band as a co-writing situation between Roger and me. I’d written much of the material for Dusty’s and my previous band, The Hanson Brothers, and I planned on writing as much as possible for this new project. All of that ended with “Mexico.”
Roger and I sat down at his house over a six-pack one night to work on songs. Roger said, “I have the beginning of a new song, but I can’t finish it.”
He sang the first verse.
Here comes another song about Mexico
I just can’t help myself
I lost my old lady
“That’s all I have,” he said.
I, of course, was laughing from the first line. It perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the band, and I liked that it embraced this Mexico theme Roger had begun working into the songs. “Play it again,” I said.
He sang the first three lines and at the opportune time I blurted,
Got my lures, got my bobbers
Now I’m gonna go.
Roger, trying to keep from falling off his stool, sang,
Got off in the wrong direction
And I yelled,
Found a hooker but lost my erection.
And Roger sang,
So I had to lie in the letter to the boys back home.
We were both giggling, thinking we were the funniest guys who ever lived.
This is the point in most bands where someone says, “Okay, guys. We’ve had our fun. Now let’s get serious.” Then the band would suck it up, and someone would write “appropriate” lyrics.
I was ready to get serious. I think I said something like, “Well, that was fun. Let’s forget it.”
Roger sprang off his stool. “I will not forget the greatest thing you ever said,” he said. (I would say the same thing a few weeks later when Roger would try to back away from a line he wrote that went, “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people.”)
So, we had a verse—which would soon become two verses with the changing of a pronoun or two—but we needed a chorus. We both agreed we’d go home, each write the best chorus we could, and meet up the next day to see what we had.
I struggled that night with my acoustic guitar. While I loved Mexico and our new song, no one was confusing me with a tequila-swilling, border-jumping maniac. I eventually came up with something, which I was embarrassed about, but at least I’d done it. I went to sleep hoping Roger would write something better.
The next day, I met Roger in his driveway. He had his guitar.
“You come up with something?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Roger said. “You?”
“Yeah,” I said. "You go first."
Roger swallowed once and sang,
Well, the good guys and the bad guys
They never work past noon ‘round here.
They sit side by side at the cantina
Talk to senoritas and drink warm beer.
I smiled, climbed back into my truck. “It's finished,” I said. "I'll see you at practice."