227. Knock Me Down

Getting the dye to rinse clear from his head took a while, and then Ziggy just took a regular shower. He didn’t need my help for that and I left him to it. I changed shirts and went back downstairs.

Chris was watching MTV. “Haha, you just missed a news bit where they were joking about ours being the Album of the Year, and then a sound bite from Jordan Travers saying he told us to call it that because he thinks it really should be Album of the Year.”

“I still say we’re going to look back in ten years and be like ‘why the hell did we call it that?’ Talk about being dated.” I had gone along with the idea to call the album “1989” after failing to come up with something better myself. Sometimes titles just come, other times, they refuse to.

“Did they say anything about the tour?” I asked.

“Some dates scrolled by on the bottom.” A commercial came on and he muted it. “Speaking of the tour, though, it’s a lot of moving parts.”

Somehow I was still thinking of Louis’s idea for a few set pieces with lights. “Well, just five or six emotional peaks, really,” I said.

Chris snorted. “That’s not the kind of moving parts I mean. I mean, logistically.”

“Oh. OH. Okay. Yeah, there’s a lot going on.” I sat down. “But when we get going, it’ll be obvious, right? Someone’ll tell us what to do and where to go, right? It’s not going to be that different from our end, just from everyone else’s.”

He shrugged. “I hope so.”

A couple of minutes later, though, he said, “Are you listening to me?”


“You were in la-la land.”

“No, I was… writing a song.” I put my hands over my eyes. “Hang on.” I dashed into the kitchen and scratched out two full verses on the whiteboard on the fridge, then went and got my actual notebook and copied them over. It was a play on Moving Parts, on the complicated bits of relationships and how both people keep moving around and changing, but that it’s worth it, for the really moving parts. If you know what I mean.

Like the other one, it needed a chorus. We could work on that later, though.

Ziggy stuck his newly black head into the kitchen, where I was sitting and scribbling. “What do you think?”

I looked up. “Now it’s almost the way it was when we first met,” I said. “Except it was longer, then.”

“No it wasn’t, it was… oh, wait, you’re right, yeah, it was pretty much like this. Only long enough to hang in my eyes.” He grinned. “Well, just wait a while and it’ll grow into that.”

I shook my head. “You’ll change it before it gets to that point.”

“You’re probably right.” He drummed on the door frame. “All right, I’m heading home.”

“See you at rehearsal,” I said.

He nodded, gave me a little wave of his fingers, and then left.

I stared at the page for a long time after he left. Not seeing the words, just feeling strange and empty in his absence.

When I looked up a while later, the TV was quiet and I wondered how long I’d been just staring, spinning my wheels.

The phone rang. It was hung on the wall in the kitchen, next to a black cat clock whose eyes didn’t move anymore but the tail still wagged. Black cat said it was almost one in the morning.

I picked it up, thinking it was either an emergency, an ex of Colin’s, or Carynne.

Wrong. It was Ziggy. “Sweetness is so venomous,” he said.

“Um, what?”

“That line. You had that line that totally didn’t scan, about the nectar in the lotus?”

“Oh, yeah, right.”

“Just replace it with ‘Sweetness is so venomous.'”

“Shit. That’ll work perfectly.”

“I know.”

“Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants, now come up with a chorus.”

I heard a chuckle. “Doesn’t need one, really. Let’s just use a vocal bridge. Like this.” And then he started to sing. He sang the whole damn song, new line and all, and when he hit where a chorus would be, he just sang “ooooh aaaaah” but…

But I knew just what he was talking about. I’d never really wondered until that moment, hearing my words sung back to me, if maybe I was as bad for him as he was for me.

Later, I’d hear that song a lot more times, in all kinds of circumstances. But under it all I’d always hear the way it sounded that night, through the kitchen phone.


  • cayra says:

    Black-and-white hair always reminds me of skunks. I mean, they do look pretty cool.

  • Autumn says:

    “Iā€™d never really wondered until that moment, hearing my words sung back to me, if maybe I was as bad for him as he was for me.”

    Talk about a revelation.

  • Lenalena says:

    Two brilliant chapters in a row! So pleased!

  • deb h says:

    loved it ,maybe those two will be able to come to some sort of stand off ,the working/creative part is doing good at least .

  • Songquake says:

    Always hearing it as Ziggy sang it through the phone that one time…that must really suck. My experience is that phone acoustics are pretty wack. And the volume doesn’t modulate properly when you sing, and tryign to sing together never quite gets in sync.

    /singing nerd

    • daron says:

      Ah but there’s where we differ. The way things sound through a phone is awesome, just very different from reality. There are no good sounds or bad sounds ultimately, there are just SOUNDS. It’s how we use them in performance and in the studio that matters. I fucking LOVE the way things are attenuated through the old phone handsets — for me it’s like the miniaturization of a Polaroid photograph. It doesn’t look REAL — of course it doesn’t, only REALITY looks real — but it can look fantastic.

      This is why I used to spend so many of my overnight hours at the Aquarium fucking around, trying to make different sounds. It’s not about the notes. It’s about the aural texture presented. And that’s the difference between just being a songwriter and cutting a track for a pop record.

  • Amber says:

    These two chapters are kind of like a punch to the gut that leaves me haunted. Well done!

  • s says:

    What Amber said. I love the collaboration, the somewhat communication. And I get that you guys have hurt each other…still hurt each other…but damnit I love you together!

    • daron says:

      Nobody’s perfect, right? (If this was a song the corny second line would be about how nobody’s perfect, but we’re perfect for each other… right? Wait, is there a song that goes like that? *writes it down*)

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