Tag Archives: emptiness

Scared of the Light [acoustic]

ScaredOfTheLight4

 

A quick rough draft of a song written for the RPM Challenge — on the last day. This is not that version — it was really, really, really bad, we are talking laughably so — but rather  this is an acoustic version I recorded for posting to the Internet Archive (the content home of AYoS). The lyrics are unchanged and the melody, or what passes for it, little so.

Backstory: I jotted down the title for this song while watching the “Swan Song” episode of the old Columbo TV show sometime last year. In it, Johnny Cash plays a gospel singer who is also a murderous sinner. The episode leads off with a rousing ‘live’ version of “I Saw the Light,” his character’s big hit of the moment. Many months later, while I was dragging a song out of a clever potential title on the last day of the RPM Challenge — having completely forgotten the inspiration — I took a break while recording to watch a little TV.

There aren’t a whole lot of the Columbo episodes, which were shot as ‘two hour’ specials for airing a few times a year. I’ve gone through them on Netflix twice now and that day, on the 28th of February, finishing “Scared of the Light,” up came Johnny Cash and I quickly realized that the episode had been the inspiration for the song sometime last year and… well, dang… the circle is unbroken…

Two more versions will follow shortly, each very different. Stay tuned.

Scared of the Light

more download and streaming options at Archive.org

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
I can see what will come

Like a train in a tunnel
like a mole in a hole
like a bullet in a barrel
I know where to go

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
and I see what must come

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

(C)2013, TK Major
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Pass the dust, I’m apparently under the gravely mistaken impression I’m Bowie…

Scared of the Light [Electric Version]


Electric Acoustic

When he awoke, it was dark. His heart was pounding. He felt as though a giant hand was wrapped around him, squeezing the breath out of his lungs. He must have been dreaming but he remembered nothing. He forced air into his lungs, but his breath felt odd and shallow and each breath seemed to take tremendous effort.

He tried to shut out the panic but that seemed to make it more acute. He threw off the covers and turned on the light on the little table next to the bed… but its dim and yellow light seemed, if anything, to make his room just that much more oppressive and claustrophobic.

Steeling his grip on himself, he quickly got out of bed and threw on the clothes he’d been wearing the previous night, a pair of bluejeans and a hooded sweatshirt. Glancing at the clock, he saw the red glow of 4:43 a.m. He pulled on his boots and laced them, grabbed his phone and keys, and walked out into the crisp pre-dawn air.

As he often had decades earlier, running from the all-but-forgotten demons of his youth, he found himself walking toward the ocean through the empty, dark streets.

He walked past the lagoon, the shadowy trees looming above languid, almost black water, along the manicured sands of Mothers’ Beach, finally across the trendy little business strip to the bay. As he walked along the crescent of sand, still moving toward the ocean beyond the little bay, the tiniest sliver of golden sun appeared above the houses and trees across the bay.

Until that moment, he’d just been walking. Not thinking. Trying not to feel. Just trying to get away from whatever unknown fear had gripped him in dream so tightly that he feared it would crush the breath out of him.

He searched inside himself for the sense of relief he thought the sun should bring. But all he found was a veil of vague and uneasy dread, pierced by a slim, rosy crescent.

He walked a few steps down closer to the shore, the shift of perspective returning him to the moment just before sunrise. He surveyed the low line of houses, the mirror-like calm of the water. It was beautiful, he recognized numbly.

So beautiful that it seemed a shame to waste it on this moment of vague and free-floating dread.

He paused, pulled his phone out of his pocket, switched its camera on, held his breath just a moment and heard the simulated sound of a shutter snapping open and closed.

_______________________________

 

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
I can see what will come

Like a train in a tunnel
like a mole in a hole
like a bullet in a barrel
I know where to go

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

From the very first zero
to the very last one
I can see what has happened
and I see what must come

From the very first day
to the very last night
I’ve been through the darkness
but I’m scared of the light

(C)2013, TK Major

The third (and final?) version of “Scared of the Light”…

(The title of this post is a light-hearted lift from the late, lamented Black Randy — of infamous LA punk/funk provocateurs, Black Randy and the Metro Squad — whose first album was called, “Pass the Dust, I Think I’m Bowie.”)

I’d written out about three quarters of the lyrics and was settling into the chords and melody when I started roughing out the arrangement… something about the way it was going together really made me think of post-Berlin-era Bowie and, I dunno, I ran with it.

 

 

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I tore my soul open… it was empty [Sometimes]

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He woke up in a motel in Yuma looking at a cockroach.

He couldn’t remember exactly how he got there but he was pretty sure he didn’t have a truck, anymore. He fumbled on the bedstand under the imperious gaze of the cockroach, finally gripping his keys. Sure enough, the key to the Chevy was gone.

It all started when he didn’t come home from the bar one Friday night to the little garage apartment he’d shared with her since high school.

It wasn’t that he didn’t love her or think she loved him. He knew she did. He’d never doubted it until the moment he realized it was only that love that was holding her to him — that a sensible woman would have dumped his dark, driven, compulsively drunk ass long before.

That realization broke him like a twig.

He was drinking alone at the bar and thinking. And it just hit him and he knew what he had to do. He had to leave.

She would find someone new, someone who would be better for her. And he’d be free to go to hell, which is basically what he felt like he had to do.

It was a win-lose situation, but as long as she was doing most of the winning and he was doing most of the losing, it seemed right.

Today’s acoustic version:

Full version (1998):

previous version [Nov 20]

Sometimes I think about ya
think about, think about
think about the things
I thought I’d do for you

Sometimes I wonder
how you’re doing now
I think about it
but I think it turned out best
when I think it through

I know I let you down
I let you down, I let you down
I let ya down hard
and blamed it all on you

I threw your love away
and I laughed and I laughed
I laughed until I died
and when I came to…

the world — it was dead
and I walked around and I walked around
I walked around the world
but I couldn’t find you

I tore my soul open
it was empty, it was empty
a tunnel into nowhere
and I never got thru

sometimes I think about ya
think about ya, think about ya
think about the world I mighta had with you

(C)1999 TK Major

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2 Dazed 2 Care (v.2)

2 Dazed 2 Care
Winter stretched from a time before memory into a future he could no longer imagine. Fear seemed like a dream from a happier time — a time when there was still something left to lose — A luxury that had already been spent and borrowed on.

Now, there was just winter…

This version adds a little accompaniment guitar but is fairly similar to the previous AYoS version, from last November 7.

 


[full version (1982) on Soundclick | requires Flash]

2 DAZED 2 CARE

Turn down this street
back down that alley
there is no escape and there is no stalling

The future is here
and it’s more of the past
All I remember
is falling and falling

Leave me alone
just let me be
with wounds this deep
they just have to bleed

Desperation is short supply
I used up my panic in the crises last year
It’s hard to worry, it’s hard to care
when you’re so tired of anger
and you’re so tired of fear

Leave me alone…

No point in crying, laughing or dreaming
no point in love, no % in fear
desperation is in short supply
so tired of anger
2 dazed 2 care

Leave me alone
just let me be
with wounds this deep
they just have to bleed

(C)1982, TK Major

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