Is It Soup Yet?

May 18, 2006

I have this gigantic music room in my new domicile, far out in Brooklyn where hipsters fear to tread.

I think I’m done writing the record. I go to the music room (I’d like to call it The Parlor but I have absolutely no justification for that), where all the keyboards and the amps and the drum machines have been set up and are ready to go at a moment’s notice, just switch the amps on–my old Lower East Side place was so small you couldn’t have all the gear set up at once, you practically had to set up the Moog on the kitchen counter–and yet I go in there, and sit, and pluck around on a guitar, and: nothing’s coming.
It’s not a block–that’s an entirely different feeling, you’re panicking, you’re writing busloads of stuff, it’s all just halfassed–it’s this innate knowledge that everybody’s already shown up to the party.
I have the list of songs which are awesome, and then I have a bunch of tunes that are essentially life support systems for killer lines. I extract the lines and plug them into a new tune, but that tune ends up sounding kind of flat. Sometimes I come up with a tune that’s utterly stuffed, like a Stars on 45 cavalcade of homeless killer lines, and it just sounds bizarre. A drag queen lipsynching the 11 o’clock number of a Broadway standard.
“Is it soup yet?” is something Sekou Sundiata used to say in the poetry classes I took with him at the New School. We’d cut, revise, cut–he was pretty merciless, especially to a bunch of artsy college kids to whom every word was precious. Is it soup yet?
Maybe it’s soup. Let’s go.