Not Wasting Time

Seriously. I’m not wasting time writing this blog, I’m actually writing the blog to stop me from procrastinating.

The Gideon Three are writing a musical. More like building one, which is what you have to do with a musical, and that is playing to all of our strengths and, in a way, all of our weaknesses. It’s both hard and easy, and both at exactly the same time.

Mac was downsized from his job, which hasn’t left him with a *ton* of free time, but it makes it easy for him to come over to the house 2 or 3 days a week and work from 10:30 or 11 until dinner. We sit in adjoining rooms and hammer out different parts of the show and shame each other into actually working. It’s been much harder on him than on me because the three of us have said over and over that we are trying to parody a specific kind of musical, and Mac is really focused on getting the tone just right.

What occurred to me yesterday while we were working is that the tone has to be just right, but that it also has to be a Mac Rogers play. We need to have a character, or two, possibly, who live just outside the world we’ve created for the play, so that the audience understands that the whole thing is a joke. Let me see if I can re-create what happened yesterday.


Mac: GOD! I can’t fucking get started on this scene.

(one hour, fifteen minute pause)

Mac (storming into the office): Okay, what is visible from Liberty Island?

(One hour of google searching pause)

Mac: Do they have an anchor?

Sean: What, on the boat?

Mac: Yeah, do they have an anchor on the boat?

Sean: I don’t think so. I think they just tie the boat up.


During all of this, I’ve been writing music. I’ve employed both methods discussed here , along with a little bit of Scott Bullocks method of adding notes, so there is a fair amount of bibbling and scribbling while Mac writes in the other room. I don’t really know what he’s doing in there. But what we ended up with was the following gem from a longer scene. (Sachs, Swallows and Captain are all members of the coast guard that have just landed in New York.)


SACHS: Oh captain, let me give the order, oh please please please let me give the order just this one time?

CAPTAIN: Oh, very well, Seaman Sachs.


(The others move tentatively as if to obey.)

SWALLOWS (aside, to the captain): Where’s – we have an anchor?

CAPTAIN (completely straight): No.


(The parentheticals are mine…)

And that’s what the show needs. In the world of the play, these idiot coast guard members are running around wrecking shit right and left, so we need the captain to remind the audience that the writers are in on the joke. It’s a fine line.

So, I’m writing this blog because I just spent forty minutes trying to locate a file I wrote yesterday and played for Jordana last night and now has *vanished* from the computer. I’m writing a blog so I don’t go sit in another room and read a book or watch tv or repeatedly slam my hand in a car door.

Writing music is painfully time consuming, even if you have everything in your head and you’re just trying to fill in notes and make rhythms work. This particular piece of music came to me in a very stream of consciousness way, and I really don’t remember how it went. For years I’ve been dumping memorized stuff out of my head the second I didn’t need it any more, and now I did it for a piece that I actually need.

FUCK. It’s maddening. It was a bass line and a melody line and just an indication of a chord part.

You know what? I think I’m sorta remembering it now.


Excuse me.