Incubation Period
Volume 3 Book 9 Part 3 of
Living in the Bonus Round

Dave (Robyn) Woeckener.
[ Book 3-8 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 1a ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]
April 6-7, 2004.
Catching Up With Dave!
I have been having the best time. Remember a couple of months ago, I went into Kim & Ronda's studio and pounded out quick piano/vocal demos for the New World Singing (my new project) songs? I took those recordings, turned them into MP3s, loaded them into studio software and now I'm adding orchestrations. The thing about doing orchestrations, though, is that you can go crazy adding in too much.

But these songs are very specific. They need to have a specific energy and pulse -- and I want to find that.

So, to that end, I went to visit my ol' pal, David Robyn. I learned something about David Robyn on this visit. I learned that his real name is David Woeckener. (Pronounced "Wek-ner.") I saw all these packages on his table with that name and I said, "Who Dave Woke-ner?"

"Wek-ner," he corrected me. "You didn't know that?"

David is an authentic L.A. rock and roller. I met him back when I was at National Academy of Songwriters, then ran into him again after I began volunteering at Espy Music as part of my physical therapy. Later, I ran into him again when I was the "judge" at a tape listening session at a national songwriter expo. (Young songwriters playing their tapes at a group meeting listening to the feedback from the professional. I was the professional. Oy.)

Anyway, I kinda helped David make a few connections and he's made quite a living for himself writing songs to order for background "source" music in soaps and sitcoms. (Just a couple weeks ago, I heard David's bluesy "Breakin' Mama's Heart" coming out of some jukebox in Pine Valley).

Here is David in his temp studio. Everything is set up on boxes and shelves. He and his partner Per, a Swedish guitarist, own a studio together. We'll be visiting that next week.

David tweaks a knob.

Bait shop?

Dave takes a lot of phone calls.

Finally it was music time!

But writing source music, though it might be a fairly good living if your songs get used, can also be a soul-draining experience. The rules are very narrow. The goal is to write and record a song that sounds like it COULD be a hit song coming out of a jukebox. HOWEVER, it can't draw attention to itself. The words have to be somewhat generic, the arrangments consistent in tone, etc. In other words, you can't write anything that might interfere with the dialogue that's happening while your song is playing.

So, while it may be a fun exercise, Dave has written literally hundreds of these kinds of songs. I think he was worried that he was losing touch with the true creative artist that I know him to be. He has been through a great deal in his life, especially in his childhood and early young adulthood. And in his best, more personal songs, he can rip your heart to shreds. And of course, this is precisely the kind of song you CANNOT write for source music.

So, reconnecting was good for both of us. A few years ago, he and I collaborated on some REALLY nice tunes that went onto a CD of his. We plan to get back to that and see if we can't crank out a few more. I'm really excited to be working with Dave again.

Well, except for the ride home. No way to avoid the dreaded 405:

The 405.

[ Book 3-8 ] - [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 1a ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

© 1996-2004 by Steve Schalchlin.
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