WJTL

30 Day Photo Challenge – Day 26

Day 26 – A picture of something that means a lot to you

These guys

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The “How to Write A Hit Song” Jingo Jango

As I mentioned in a post last week, tomorrow is the release day of the new Phredd album, Phreddtastic. To help celebrate that fact, I thought I’d offer up a little insight as to how one of the songs, “Jingo Jango” came about. Instead of telling you how Phredd and I wrote the lyrics, I thought I’d show you by copying the emails we sent back and forth that birthed the song. And yes kids, this is how ALL professional songwriters write their songs.

EDDIE to FRED:

Fred,
Are you up for writing a jingle for WJTL’s listen live feature, a la those annoying freecreditreport.com commercials? Kinda like the poor sap lost his radio or something and didn’t have a way to listen but now he does. I am actually going to lip synch the song since, just like in the commercials, the guy “singing” the songs isn’t the actual singer. Did you know that? He’s a French actor. True story, dude.
No rush on this at all. At all.
Eddie

FRED to EDDIE:

I love it.  Let’s do this…
Come up with a title and then let’s write (email) lines back and forth to write the song.
So you send me the title, and then…
Let the fun begin.
Fred

EDDIE to FRED:

“The No-Radio-Needed Jingo Jango”

FRED to EDDIE:

Jingo Jango Who need ‘da radio?

EDDIE to FRED:

I thought I did til my boombox broke

FRED to EDDIE:

Cruel old joke, when my boombox broke

EDDIE to FRED:

(Now) My boombox won’t tune in any mo’

FRED to EDDIE:

OK, I went a little crazy.  Start the second verse. :>)

Hey Radio Man now there’s a void
Yeah you succeeded
My life’s destroyed
No Radio Needed
Chorus
No Radio Needed (Jingo Jango)
Yeah, you succedded (Jingo Jango)
Casey Kasem pleaded
Rick Dees conceded
All your fears are now exceeded
Jingo Jango No Radio Needed

EDDIE to FRED:

Dude you are SOO much better at this, lol. I’m still trying to get my last contribution to fit in the structure…
Jingo jango, don’ need da radio

FRED to EDDIE:

Now I don’t have a life soundtrack

EDDIE to FRED:

I need music back, no tunes is pretty wack

FRED to EDDIE:

Wackitta wacka whacky no sound

EDDIE to FRED:

But Internet Man do what you can
Your technology
Can musically span
This dilemma probably

FRED to EDDIE:

Bridge/Middle eight
So I’m singing Papa papa papa papa
momma momma momma momma
Papa papa papa papa
Hm, Daddy Momma turn the radio on!
(OK Eddie – Big 3rd verse.  this is where we hit the point of the song.  The big finish so to speak.  You start)

EDDIE to FRED:

Jingo Jango what’s dis by da radio?

FRED to EDDIE:

Why, its my portal to the internets

EDDIE to FRED:

Now I gets no worries or frets

FRED to EDDIE:

Cause I can tune in 24/7  (or – Cause I can tune in all the time)  if you like that better

EDDIE to FRED:

Listen online man if you’re out of range

FRED to EDDIE:

Hey, we be streamin’

EDDIE to FRED:

You ain’t dreamin’

FRED to EDDIE:

Hey, You ain’t dreamin’
We be streamin’

NO RADIO NEEDED
Eddie, I think its done. The only other addition might be to talk over the ending, like listen online at wjtl.com or “get better speakers” or “nice profile pic dude.”

EDDIE to FRED:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha sweet!! You are sooo much better at this than me. I gladly stand in your shadow!

FRED to EDDIE:

already got the tune in my head

A few days later, Fred sent me an actual song based on what we’d written. As someone with no songwriting talent, I was crazy impressed that Fred was able to take our random lines and work them into a musical structure. He tweaked some words here and there, cut and moved and re-worded and the rest…well, I’ll say it. The rest is musical history.

Here’s the music video, set to Fred’s original rough mix:

Phreddtastic is available online at the WJTL music store and will also be available on iTunes in the near future. A free download of the first single, “Text the Cell” will be available online at the WJTL website from Tuesday Dec 8-Monday Dec 15.

Something New for the Resume

Tuesday Dec 8 2009 marks the day I will officially get to add a new section to my resume. That’s right, suckas, I’m almost an actual singer/songwriter/recording artist. Almost.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Phredd, the crazy guy who writes goofy songs for kids like Awooga, Baby Bottle BoomerangIf Coffee Smells So Good Why Does It Taste So Bad, and My Mom is a Pirate. Well, not only is Phredd the mind behind those catchy tunes, but he also happens to be my boss. And I’ll be honest: My boss is way cooler than your boss. Not only does he let me make crazy videos for work like this one

and this one,

but he also lets me appear on his forthcoming album, Phreddtastic.

That’s right. Phreddtastic drops next week and I’ve got two songs on there and a co-writing credit on a third! I know, I know. That’s just messed up. I’ll explain:

Almost a year ago, I wanted to make a video for the station promoting the fact that you can listen online. I asked Fred if he would write a song, something light and catchy, in the same vein as those Free Credit Report ads. But of course, just like in the TV ads, the song would be lip-synched by a guy who didn’t actually sing the song (in this case, me).

Fred came back to me with the idea that we co-write the song via email. I gave him the name of the song and he emailed back with the first line. And then I added the second line. And so on and so on. After we were finished, Fred tweaked it to make it fit the musical phrasing and then wrote the tune and melody. And then when Fred started working on his new album he decided to re-record the tune, Jingo Jango.

To tell you the truth, giving me a co-writing credit is really generous seeing how all I did was make up sentences that sort of rhymed with what Fred wrote. But it’s a co-writing credit nonetheless and I’ll take it. (By the way, you can see the original version of the song in the finished video here. I even let Fred appear as the guy singing backup vocals despite the fact he’s actually singing everything and I appear nowhere in the audio track. Wasn’t that nice of me?)


And then there’re my other two songs on Phredd’s new album. The first one actually shouldn’t count. It’s like 10 seconds long. I was working on a radio ad in Garage Band and heard a ukulele riff and of course, thought of Fred. So I started humming along and 30 seconds later Another Fred Song was born. I realize I’m not a singer, though, so instead of singing I just kind of talk to the rhythm in a sing-songy way like I’m Colin Mochrie in the hoedown game.

The other song I did…well…I’m gonna play that one down, too, because I didn’t actually write the song. Fred did. I just Weird Al’d it. Fred had a song out a few years ago called Floating Zoo, where he went through the alphabet and named animals that were on Noah’s Ark (armadillo, baboon, cougar, dingo, etc.).

Back in the year 2000, I was working on the air at the station and played Floating Zoo and I started singing “Scooby Doo” instead of the title phrase. What can I say? I’ve been listening to Weird Al since I was in Junior High School, 20 years of listening to parodies will have an effect on you. I started trying to come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet that correlated to the classic cartoon and after my shift I went into the production studio and recorded a really rough version of the song. Fast-forward nine years later to Fred asking me if I’d record an updated version for Phreddtastic.

I mean come on, if that’s not flattering, then I don’t know what is. You parody the guy’s song and he turns around and asks you to record the parody for his album? That was cool.

Realizing I still can’t sing, I decided to morph the song from a fun ukulele ditty to a mash-up of styles over which I do this weird pseudo-rap. It’s hard to explain. You’ll just have to hear it.

But don’t pick up the album because of my little contribution. Pick it up because it’s a fun listen and Phredd once again brings the fun for the whole family with a batch of tunes you’ll be humming for hours. In a good way. I just wish you could hear the whole thing. And, whaddya know, starting Dec 8, 2009, you can. :)

Holiday Greetings from Nakatomi Plaza

I’ve been busy at work this week cranking out holiday greetings from the staff of WJTL. It’s been a lot of fun. I had the gang talk about one of their favorite Christmas memories while I filmed them in front of the green screen. Then, add a little music and a cozy fireplace in the background, and it turns out really nicely.

But if you know me, you know things can’t stay nice for long. I had everyone record two versions. One of them, as I mentioned, a look back on holidays past. The other, however, is a look back on a Christmas film or TV special, as if it happened to them. For instance, “Hey this is Ed, one of my favorite Christmas memories is the year I lived in a cave up on a mountain and on Christmas Eve I snuck into everyone’s houses and stole the presents but the next morning, Christmas still came and my heart grew 3 sizes that day.”

You know, that kind of thing.

So, if you want to see a sincere holiday greeting, you might enjoy something like this:

Or, if you prefer your Christmas wishes with references to a Bruce Willis movie, then there’s this one:

To see all of the Christmas greetings, you can visit the WJTL YouTube page.

Pink Slip Proof

I’m having trouble contacting an old employer.

I used to work at Gotee Records, a Christian record label in Nashville. Before making the move there I worked at WJTL, a radio station in Lancaster PA for 3 years (I’m actually back at JTL again, so that worked out).

Not long after I got to Nashville, people started being let go from Gotee under really weird circumstances. Two years later, it was my turn. The best part is, it was one of those weird situations where the guy doing the firing couldn’t come up with a valid reason to let me go, so he had to make something up. On my pink slip under “Reason for termination” the excuse he put down was “No experience in radio.”**

I thought this was hilarious but have since lost my copy of the pink slip. I tried to get in touch with the HR department at the label to get a new copy sent to me. I actually want to frame it and put it in my office (I’m sorry, but when something is funny, it’s funny). I called the label today but got an automated message saying “Please hold for assistance” over and over again and was never connected to a real person. So, if anyone reading this has a hook-up…hook me up.

It’s all in the name of comedy.

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** Interesting footnote: The promotions manager who fired me? He’d worked there only a couple of months longer than me and his previous experience was working at a coffee shop. For realz, yo.

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UPDATE

A few minutes after posting this, my buddy and co-former Gotee employee Brad gave me the heads up on the person who could possibly get me what I was looking for. He gave me her email address and I sent her a friendly and polite email requesting a copy of my pink slip.

UPDATE #2

Approximately 30 minutes later I received an email in response to my request. She told me she’d see if she could get it from Joey (co-owner and co-founder of the label) and she would keep me posted. So far this is going much smoother than I anticipated.

Find out the final outcome by reading this post.