It's a twofer October as I dip back into the Claude Pate repertoire for a song to make up for September's lack of a blog post, and so I can share with you this decidedly more country version of Chalk it up to fate I recorded last week with my new Telecaster.
Chalk it up to fate is one of my better new wave pop rock songs. In fact, it's a pretty good song period. Nice beat and you can dance to it! I think I wrote it circa late 1984. I'm not real sure about the date, but I know I wrote it while living out in the apartment on North Dakota that I shared with Mark Mackin. The song is basically me trying to nail a Beatlesque vibe, with a little Buddy Holly country, which is to say I was trying to write songs in the fashion of Joe Jackson and Marshall Crehshaw, while trying to imagine what Elvis Costello might sound like without acutally bothering to listen to him.
It's weird, but I did not listen to Elvis Costello, and instead listened to a lot of Joe Jackson. Who I imagined as somehow better. I liked underdogs. I got Joe. He couldn't get a date either. Is She Really Going Out with Him was one of my favorite songs. Elvis was who all the cool, fashionable people liked. People who had dates and neat clothes and smoked clove cigarettes. Joe Jackson seemed like an awkward, angry, geeky, white guy who was too smart for his own good, and was the type of artist who certain wanna be cool people, who were too cool to bring themselves to like the people who all the cool people liked, liked. Of course, I also really, really loved Marshall Crenshaw, who many cool people also liked, but who also seemed to have difficulties with the ladies. Someday, Someway was my idea of perfection. So Joe Jackson and Marshall Crenshaw are often lurking in the background of my songs, teaching me how to put together chords and lyrics, along with Chris Difford and Glen Tillbrook tempting me to croon like blue eyed soul man Paul Carrack.
Chalk it up to fate was one of the songs we recorded as a demo for Slash Warner. We recorded it out at Otho in the Chicken Coop. I think we also recorded Gone Electric and Twisted Words and Twisted Minds. We were chasing the elusive record deal and were sending unsolicited cassettes off into the ether. MIraculously, we heard back from Slash A&R rep at the time Anna Statman. She was encouraging, and told us to send her a live recording. Carl Bade speculated that the reason Slash showed any interest in us was due to the barely hinted at old school country feel of Chalk it up to fate. Carl speculated that everyone on Slash proudly owned a Hank Williams album or two, and that they probably thought we a had a rockabilly soul buried somewhere beneath our anglophile exterior of Who-like bombast. Regardless, our follow up live recording and phone calls to Anna did not yield a record deal. But even after almost 32 years, I still think the song is a pretty good song, and probably is what briefly caught her attention. How can you go wrong with a lyric like "when it comes to love I'm a weak kneed simpering fool" ?
New guitar this month!!! I got the Telecaster I've been Jonesing for. Aint it purdy? Makes me go all Nasheville, which is part of the reason this version of Chalk it up to fate is the way it is. Stay tuned, I plan to tear this guitar apart and make a new body. I'm hoping to trick it out with a Charlie Christian pickup in the neck position so I can alternate between maximum twang and bebop jazz!