So the other night I went to see Reel Big Fish and Pilfers at Water Street Music Hall. It was a great show, as expected, but one thing I didn't expect was to be so impressed with the first act on the bill, Dan Potthast of Dan P. and The Bricks. All alone on the stage, he delivered a rousing set that set the tone for the whole night. (Here's a clip of him doing an impromptu song when he was in Denver.) I chatted with him after the show and bought 3 of his CDs including one MP3 CD that has--no kidding--99 songs on it. Most are under 3 minutes and a few are under 50 seconds (though there is one that's 13 minutes long), but they're real songs with a full band, many including horns. The man pumps out songs like nobody's business. Are they all good? Of course not--there's 99 songs for crying out loud! But the good ones are very good and even the weak ones are better than some songs I've heard that bands took months to write. Even his throw-away songs are worth listening to - here's one he sings when he's heckled. And here's one about the KKK adopting a highway. Seriously.
I'm envious of Pan P.'s fearless approach to writing. Imagine if you could turn off all your filters and just get the stuff down on paper--and then have the moxie to share it with the world? I sweat over every sentence I write and I'd like to think that it makes them better, but then I listen to his CD (did I mention it has 99 songs?) and wonder what I lose when I take my time. (I'm sure he sweats the words, too, but he gets them out and that's the difference.) There's a cool spontaneity and what-the-hell feel to his songs that make them fun to listen to. True, I can't recall any of them well enough to hum the tune, but I do know that I smile when I'm listening to his frickin' 99 song CD.
So I went to see a band and got a lesson in writing. There are lots of lesson like this out there, and if you open yourself to them you just might learn something. And get to dance while you're doing it.