Collaboration and Synergy

Image: Rob Scallon

I want to counter the trend in isolationism (Brexit, US Republican politics) by writing this week about collaboration.


Normally, this doesn’t happen too often at the composition stage. Standard MO for me is to either come up with a lyrical concept will riding to and from work, or a musical phrase/chord sequence in the man-cave studio.

However, in recent days, I have been trying to set to music some lyrics provided by a friend who I will not identify until I get the thumbs-up as to how well I did. It reminded me of two other collaborations with my friend and former The Nerve bandmate David Israelson.

The first of these was for Bowling for Dolores. I had come up with only the first four lines of the song, based on a very lame play on words referencing the old Bowling for Dollars TV show on WGRZ in Buffalo.  I was stumped for the rest. As I knew David’s competence and ability to turn text around quickly as a writer/journalist, I sent him an email and asked whether he might suggest further lines. Within 30 minutes, the rest of the lyrics showed up in my inbox. It took maybe another hour to come up with the music, and record a quick demo, which is attached in all its synthy cheesiness.

The experience was very positive, and when the next writing block occurred, David came through for me again for Isabella. For this song, the music was already fully completed, with only a chorus written. I sent David a brief of the story outline (a besotted Christopher Columbus unrequitedly pining for Isabella of Spain), and again, with a short space of time, I had a reply with an almost fully realized song. Here it is:

I keep hoping David will make it out to Relish to play his own songs, which are very good. So far, his busy life has prevented that from happening, but I keep asking.

As for the current collaboration, I expect it will be done shortly, and I can demo it for you real soon. Have a great week!


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