“Da da dah da da / Dada da-da dah de dum / Da da-da dah da / La da dah dede / La dah dah dada dah / Lah dada dah da-da dah / Dah da dada dum dah / La dah dah da-da dah dee / Dah da daladah duh duh duh / La dah dah da-da daaaaah” — Bob Dylan, “Wigwam” (1970)
C’mon Bobby, you can do this. You’re Bob Freakin’ Dylan. You’ve got a great little tune here in “Wigwam,” you just need to write some lyrics. There is a whole room of record executives waiting to hear this new album, you just have to finish this last song. The song’s not even that long. Like 25 lines tops. This shouldn’t be that hard. Why is it so hard?
You're better than this Bob. You’re the poet laureate of rock and roll. Princeton gave you a Doctorate of Music for crying out loud. That reminds me of an old joke “What’s the difference between a person with a Doctorate of Music and a pizza? The pizza can feed a family of four.” Damn it Bobby you’re losing focus.
Maybe you should call and ask them to reschedule? Then you’ll get more time to actually write some lyrics. What good is that gonna do, you’ve already had six months! Just write some lyrics down. You’ve done this hundreds of times!
You owe them 24 songs, and you only have 23. YOU JUST NEED ONE MORE. Why did you agree to 24 songs? That’s so many.
Maybe we're overthinking it. Yeah, you're putting too much pressure on this. Just think of this as a throwaway song and write down the first thing that comes to mind. Free association. Association… associate… you are so late… don’t hesitate. No that’s stupid, those record execs will laugh you right out of the room. They can be so mean too. Remember that first Columbia meeting when we all ordered lunch and you asked “what’s in the Cobb Salad?” because you had never had one before, and that one guy in A&R started to call you “Cobb” Dylan? Screw him.
They are going to be soooo mad. “Maybe, you’ll think of something tomorrow” you said… every day… for six months.
Just put something on paper. The hard part is writing it, revising it is easy… but you can’t even do that. There’s nothing scarier than a blank page. That’s good… why don’t we use that. “They say nothing is scarier than a blank page…” wait where have I heard that before. I think that’s Lewis Carroll. You can’t just quote Lewis Carroll and call it a song. That’s a stupid idea. Besides, this song is a top-shelf melody, not some filler song. You like the song. In fact, you love the song. Fun to play. Great horns… nobody does horns.
C’mon Bobby, focus. Maybe just like hum a long to it and see where it takes you. La…da…laaa…
That’s it! What about like a bunch of “la and das?” Yeah, now you got something Bobby. It’s a song that’s just “las and das and dee da das.” Like a campfire sing-a-long. Almost like anti-lyrics. Yeah, that’s a clever gimmick. You know what, those jerks at the record label deserve a song that’s just a bunch of “las and das.” And if they ask, just tell them it’s about the war or something. Actually the more I say it, the more I think we have something here. Maybe we can pull that off. Confidence is half the battle, right?
You walk right into that meeting and play “Wigwam” first. Rip the band-aid off. Yeah, act like this is the one song you're most excited to play for them. Tell them this is exactly the song you wanted to write, like you’ve been trying to do a “las and das” song your whole career. They won’t know what hit them.
What if someone calls you out? You are a terrible liar Bobby… What about this: you beat them to it. Before they even say anything, you say “Now, before you say anything: no, I didn’t write this one at the last minute… and a one and a two…” Is that too suspicious? What about like a fake tee up like, “try not to get lost in these lyrics…” Maybe they’ll even laugh to themselves afterwards when they get the joke. They won’t even realize that I waited until the last minute to write the lyrics to this.
C’mon Bobby, this is stupid. Maybe if you spent as much time writing the song as you did coming up with excuses we wouldn’t be in this predicament.
Nuts to that. I think we really got something here. I mean, who else could pull off a “las and das” song? Nobody. This is going to go great. And hey, what’s the worst thing that’s gonna happen? People boo? I mean really, no matter what we did with this song half the people will complain it’s too electric and the other half will complain it’s not electric enough.
It’s settled. “Wigwam” is just gonna be a bunch of “las and das.” And it’s a fun song and as long as you like it, that’s all that matters. Now let’s head to that meeting and show that stupid Cobb Salad guy that you’re Bob Freakin’ Dylan.
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