Jul 27, 2015

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #75

In this, the 75th(!) edition of Rich's Tips, I'll give my retort to a few bits of stupid advice from other songwriters. I mean, who are you going to listen to? Them (who I won't name so as to not embarrass them, even if they've had lots of success), or yours truly - the crackalackin-cowboy co-writer of such eternal gems as "Comin' to Your City" and "Fake ID?" Alright then. Here we go.

1. There's no right or wrong way to write songs.

Bullshit! There's a right and a wrong. There's first place and there's losers. This songwriting tip is akin to saying little Johnny deserves a trophy for being on the damn team, even though he can't hit a slider and his throw to the plate is suspect, and his team came in third place. This country's a bunch of whiners and enablers and I'm sick of it. Sit your ass down with just your guitar and a pad …and your 6 best songwriter friends, and write a classic! Don't experiment. Don't f*** around with a proven formula. This ain't Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and "you being you" don't pay the Audi lease.

2. Write from the heart.

Again with this sissy crap. Yeah, go ahead… get out your My Little Pony notebook and your gel pens. Sprinkle some potpourri around the room. Turn on some Enya and pour your little feelings out in glittery bits of subpar Dead Poets' Society nonsense. Cry a little while you do it, you little wuss. Now, if you want to make real art, the kind that sells millions and makes drunk b**ches dance, listen to me. Write from the ballsack. That's it.

3. Don't fake it.

Did Johnny Cash shoot a man in Reno? Hell no! Do I put the moves on college girls in pickup trucks after leaving frat parties? Not that you know of! So let's dispense with this tip quickly. Be as fake as you want. Writing a song isn't the same as giving a legal deposition - which motherf****ers lie on anyway;  I'm here to tell you from experience. Hell, I write rap songs for a certain artist from a country north of here and nobody can even tell. Do I have "beef" with rappers? (Yes, but for purposes of this article:) No. Do I party with scantily clad stoned girls? Well, maybe these aren't the best examples… but you get my drift, Pedro. I've got about as much street cred as Jeb Bush, but I drop them bars like B.I.G. (rest in peace, my homey). So, do what you gotta do, especially if you started from the bottom. Play a part. Lie. Make dem Franklins. I'm out!

*Not actually written by John Rich

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