May 24, 2013

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #66

When she's co-writing a song, Taylor Swift starts off the session with a little girl talk. You know, gossiping about shit, complaining about this week's famous boyfriend and stuff like that. Well, you can take that bit of trivia nobody really cares about and translate it to your co-writing. And yeah, co-writing, because if you're gonna be anybody in Nashville you can't do it sitting in your apartment with your wiener in one hand and a writing pad in the other. 

When I meet up with my writing buddies, I break out the scotch, porno mags and cigars to break the ice. That way, they're all chilled out and won't get butthurt when I shoot down their stupid ideas. A little guy talk can start things off too. You know, sports, Kate Upton's boobs, sports, hamburgers, sports... Then maybe they'll start picking the guitar a little and singing a line that's been stuck in their head all day. I pour 'em a little more drinky-drink and change the subject for a minute. That's when I whip my thing out. ...My song I already wrote before they got there, what did you think I meant? I'll play 'em the song, which is generally about 40-year-olds doing 20-year-old activities or some kind of weepy song about Jesus saving a hooker or some shit. They like it and attempt to change a couple of lines. I take out my collection of authentic ninja stars and remark how accurate I am inside 15 feet. They decide the song is perfect as is. I let them change one word and then add their name to the song, because usually they have a better reputation around town or haven't burned the ever-lovin' shit out of a bridge I want the song to cross. There you have it. Paydirt mofos!

Looking back at this particular songwriting tip, I'm not sure how it applies to you, the wet-behind-the-ears Starbucks barista who can't write his or her way out of the paper sack your forty ounce supper came in, but I'm sure there's some bit of knowledge you can glean. Chin up bro!

*Not actually written by John Rich

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