Blog entry

In Studio With Eddie K

Song Of The Day: Dolphin's Cry / Live
Word Of The Day: Ethology / The portrayal of a character by mimic gestures, mimicry, an exposition of or treatise of manners. The science of character formation.

Spent the evening in the studio with Eddie K last night, he came into the Crucible (where I'm doing the new album) and did vocals on the song Miracle. It was curious how it came to be that song. I had originally planned on just playing three songs for him and letting him choose, and I was thinking either God Weird, Before Beyond, or Murder Suicide. But the night before we went into the studio, I was sitting looking through the list and I thought "I think I better play him Miracle". It's a song about Ara (my daughter) being born, and after the Live song Heaven sent a gold spike through my heart, I decided I'd throw it in the mix and just let Eddie pick. So when we arrived I played him Before Beyond, God Weird, and Miracle. Going through the first two he was "cool, cool", but half way through the first verse of Miracle he was like "this is THE ONE." He was totally clear and immediate about it. Listening to him track vocals on this song literally gave me goose bumps and made my heart ache. I hadn't said anything about any of the songs, and the fact that he was so quick and clear that THIS song was the one he wanted to work with -and what he did with it, is a memory I will always cherish. Eddie, Andy McEwen and I talked for a long time about the Dharma, fatherhood, relationship, and music. It was one of those magic evenings when the Mystery is right there, the fourth person in the conversation. It's always there of course, but sometimes it's so palpable and strong. This song Miracle has been such a private, secret song for me for quite a while. I've been working on it and working on, not in a mad scientist way, but just very gently, slowly over the last year or so. It's one of those songs I just started feeling moving around in me, and every time I would sit down to work on it, my heart would break and I would cry and then I would set aside for a while, not sure whether it was a good song or just a private room that my soul liked to visit sometimes. One of the hardest things about writing it was that the things I want to say about my daughter, and love, and the Dharma -there's just no way to even begin to say them with words. Everything I would write, it just felt like I didn't even want to say it, I didn't want to collapse the big feeling in my heart into words. It helps a lot when the word has a melody, but still. So I'd start it, then set is aside, come back to it a few months later. The one phrase I couldn't shake was the chorus:

Ache of hundred funerals
In the Miracle

And each time I would sing that, I was like, why do I keep going there? I can't say "funerals" in a song about love, and my daughter, right? It just seemed so oddly dark, or like it should be wrong. But, sometimes a song knows what it wants. I literally tried dozens and dozens of other lyrics in this chorus, and every time the song just stood by shaking it's head from side to side "no. no. no. the lyrics are: Ache of a hundred funerals, in the miracle." and i was like " can't say 'funeral'... it's just..." and the song was like "it's FUNERAL. FUNERAL FUNERAL FUNERAL!!" and after this last month I understood why nothing else would work. The feeling I've had many times in this love of my daughter, it is such a different kind of love, a singular way that souls are linked between parents and children I think, but also in this case because my wife and I were so specific about giving birth to Ara. We picked her name, knew she was a girl, and were having conversations with her before we even conceived, etc. That feeling that was so hard to express had such a strange combination of intensity, like the day Ara was born, and we hadn't slept in days, and she was 2 1/2 months premature, and we were just in this altered state, and the kind of love that filled the room was simultaneosuly like the deep ache you feel at a funeral for someone you really love, that and bliss, radiance, rapture- all entwined and blurred into this ecstatic ache that erased all the distinctions between pain and joy and just let them all explode at once. So this song Miracle kept coming back to that and back to that in the chorus, and no matter how I tried to re-write it to make it more appropriate, or "accurate" or poetic, the song refused. It was very much as though the song basically said "listen, you write whatever you want for the verses and bridge, but the CHORUS IS NOT CHANGING". so finally, last week I surrendered and just finished the lyrics to the verses and bridge, and the chorus is the same as it was literally the first time it came out of my mouth. This is where friendships in the Dharma are fascinating. Eddie came in, and when he the song and that chorus, he immediately said "this one". The song was like "See? SEE? I TOLD YOU. You should trust me." And then, when Eddie started doing his vocals, I was like WOW. I LOVE this song! The dude can sing. Me and Andy were sitting in the control room listening with our heads in our hands. The authenticity and love that comes from Eddie is big and real. That same feeling I get when I hear Heaven or Dolphin's cry was hitting me all over again. I feel so, so very fortunate to have the kind of friends that I do. These last weeks I've been talking with Ken, Tripp, Alex, Ottmar and Eddie about the Dharma, Fatherhood, and music, and life, and it just makes all the difference in the World having these friendships that are full of music, practice, and love. Eddie was incredibly generous with his time, but more than that, the way he showed up in the studio cracked us open; his presence was complete. I have to say, he was really truly awake, and it popped me right back into my causal body. Hearing him sing was a kind of subtle / causal sonic chiropractic session. He also makes me want to be a better singer, and inspires me to be the best dad I can. Love you, brother!

The lyrics to Miracle:

That night your comet fell
into our wishing well
it made your mother laugh
it cut your dad in half

My love we knew your name
one year before you came
even then you pulled us close
and scattered all the ghosts

Ache of a hundred funerals
in the miracle
Ache of a hundred funerals
in the miracle

We've studied scripture since
the Scriptor left its hints
etched in your fingerprints
with a love your life evinces

It moves between the sand
that falls between our hands
hides in the open sky,
looks out behind your eyes

Ache of a hundred funerals
in the miracle
Ache of a hundred funerals
in the miracle

Your mother and I kissed
it ripped a hole in space
you tunneled to her womb
at the point of every place

A life begins
in the midst a million twins
and death is just a door
to the love of a million more

In the miracle
Ache of a hundred funerals
In the miracle

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