Friday, October 6, 2017

Nostalgia to Look Forward To

By Chris McGinty (of
I got into a very one-sided phone conversation tonight about my history as a songwriter. I think that the reason the conversation went on as long as it did, and remained as one-sided as it did was because I started to come to the realization that I have an interesting body of musical work that is largely on formats that make it difficult to properly archive. I can’t say that the overall quality of my songwriting qualifies as good. I think it took me a number of years to start writing good music. It’s not music for everyone, but it’s good.

The thing is that I started “writing music” as early as about 9 or 10 years old, but I lacked the talent of the young songwriters you typically hear about. The songs I wrote at that point were probably absolutely horrible. If there were recordings of them (and there aren’t) I would likely burn them. This is a lot coming from me, because I believe in preserving things.

As I got into my teenage years, I wrote better stuff. There are a couple of things that I would even claim are pretty good for what they are.

At the end of my teenage years, I did my first collaborative work. I wrote a song with my friend Dex that was more silly than anything, and then I wrote a reasonable amount of music with Miguel (sometimes with others involved). As with everything creative involving Miguel, he eventually bowed out of the project leaving me to work with the other person who had been involved. This happened with the “band” with our friend Brett, and would happen again later with the public access show with our friend Nathan.

Around 1998, I went solo musically, and until 2006 everything I wrote was on my own.

In 2006, I joined a band and then followed up with a second band in 2008. I co-wrote six songs, three with each band.

In 2009, I wrote three songs as a solo artist, and I’ve since not recorded anything new, though I have worked on some songs here and there.

This is the short version of the conversation. I got into a lot of detail about what worked and what didn’t. I explained the steps it took to find my own style and voice. I explained the few things that helped me along the way to improve the quality of my work. I got pulled over by a cop for walking at night. He said that there was nothing wrong with what I was doing, but ran my driver license anyway. That’s a rant for another time.

After the phone conversation, I remembered that I had written some snippets about how the three songs in 2009 came about, so I searched the blog and found that article. It was part of a six-part series of articles in which I scoured the draft section of our blog and talked about the incomplete material.

Talking about my songwriting history made me realize that I miss the songwriting process, and I feel like I should quit delaying and go buy a multi-track recorder. The primary reason I’ve not recorded new music is because my last multi-track recorder broke.

Reading those articles about writing the blog made me realize that I miss the blog writing process. The blog was nice because it was both Nathan and me writing, which meant that we had material to read by the other that gave us things to talk about, and sometimes write about. Even Miguel sometimes chimed in.

The blog may be a harder thing to reconnect with. Nathan and Miguel might be interested in writing again, and they might not. If at least Nathan wrote it would be easier for me to keep at it. If they both wrote, it would really be helpful.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot that we’re a creative team. It’s not that we’re not working on projects, but we’re just not working as closely together anymore.

I went down Memory Lane tonight, up one side of the street and back down the other. This little journey, coupled with a recent desire to continue contributing to the body of work I’ve accumulated in my life, has me looking to the future and thinking that it’s time to get back to work at what I should consider my real job.

Chris McGinty is a writer who has spent too much of his recent time as a shift manager at Pizza Hut.

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