New Material Time Again…


When Pigs Fly - Spartan Summit 2012

Every now and then when we get a bit of a break we like to use it to work on new material.  Not only does this process build up our repertoire but it’s really a lot of fun.  Some people ask how we decide what new songs to learn and what that process is like. I wish there was one simple answer but really there’s not.

The closest we ever come to being a democracy are the times when we poll everyone in the group to find out which songs they’d like to add.  Once everyone throws their picks into the proverbial hat we all vote on every song and give our own thumbs up, thumbs down, or meh.  The ones that float to the top of the score card get added to the “we need to work on this one” stack.  Sounds simple right?

But here’s where it gets interesting. Inevitably that list of democratically superior songs sits there and sometimes we actually get to it and work one into the set list. What seems to happen more often however is something I like to call a “short circuit”. Not as in something electrical has shorted to ground causing fire, smoke,  and frizzy hair, but a good short circuit. One where a song just seems to drop out of the blue and land in our laps. Ripe for the picking if you will.

It usually happens in one of a couple ways.  Between songs at rehearsal we might be messing around with gear and or mix settings on the board. While serious troubleshooting is going on by someone (usually Dave) that knows what they’re doing the rest of us are apt to start goofing around.  We’ll start doodling with some non-setlist tune that we haven’t played before. Every now and then someone else will pick up on that tune and jump in. Before you know it we’re all jamming it.  We might not know all the lyrics right off the bat but at least the bones of the song will come together. Its moments like this that make doing what we do so fun. Sometimes it just feels so right so fast that this jam turns into a full blown rendition of the song and makes its way into the set list for the next show.  There’s no real explaining exactly how this happens, but when a song is powerful enough to seemingly pull 6 strong minded individuals into a single team and send them off on a 2 or 3 minute ride together that’s a cool thing.  Magical even.

Look, if I could explain it properly I would. To quote Nigel Tufnel, “maybe it’s just one of those things better left unsaid”. So far it seems to be working out all right. I’d even say that it’s one of the things that makes us want to keep doing what we do.  I know it is for me.

~ WPF dewey

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