Numbers

Just as tonight, it was wintry, and I was home alone as Mr. Crump toured with his bass in Europe. It was November 1997 I think, and I was staying for a few nights in his tiny Park Slope studio apartment with aspirations of writing a song in peace away from my 3 or 4 or 5 (?) roommates back in Manhattan.

 

I don’t wanna leave a bed

with a warm body in it

But when the numbers come to flood my head..

 

1997! I would never believe that back then we could still dial local numbers without an area code, if the fact weren’t documented in my now anachronistic lyric —

 

..I have to float on behind

to the grind

of the phone calls

seven buttons

 

I was writing about the hustle to get my music heard, which then entailed calling record company dudes and other music bizness people and waiting, hoping for them to call me back. I also would book gigs by pressing seven digits (The Bitter End — 673 7030!), and then promote the shows by making handmade flyers 4 to a page, copied 50 times and mailed to my steadily growing list of addresses.

 

don’t you see how fast I can go through a long list of shit to do?

make out a big check

write a little letter

and put a sticky stamp on the postcard that I mail to you..

 

The technology has changed, the hustle continues. The song is called “Numbers” – those symbols that are both so integral to the language of music, and yet so distracting from the true measure of its worth. Or are they?

 

then I wait

I wait

to see if there’s anybody out there?

 

The next 60 days will be all about the numbers, as I count and recount the numbers of people who will pledge interest in hearing more of my music, the new facebook “likes,” the twitter re-tweets.. I’ll divide up the numbers of the too-short work day to make sure I also use those other numbers – the beats per minute clicked by a metronome whose subtle variations so affect the impact of a song; the numbers of measures of intros and outros, solos and choruses; the infinite seconds before “the hook” hits —

 

I’m a hunchback, hunch

hunched over scribbled notes and numbers

that I can’t read

hunchback, hunch

hunched over

a cheap piano that I can’t really play

the other day though

I thought I might find

the kind of faith that could ease my mind..

 

then I wait

I wait

to see if there’s anybody out there..

 

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jenchapin

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