Let’s Not Talk About Girls

Let's Not Talk About Girls

This was written during a break at a practice session for my old band Machine Dog in 1980.

We were just sitting down, no doubt opening up beers, in the back of the furniture store we practiced in. It was a long night — we had a bunch of new songs to learn and were getting ready to play a party, which would be our first time in public.

It was after the third practice set and we were feeling a little spun, I think.

Our 19 year old drummer had a a loud kit and was a hard hitter, so we all played loud. When you’re playing like that, and you stop, there’s a strange kind of silence.

On one hand it feels so good you don’t want to break it — but the sudden quiet produces a kind of tension, too — and makes the ringing in your ears that much louder.

Finally someone said, “What should we talk about?”

Our lead guitarist, Rick, who had a new GF (now wife — they’re still married folks! Where’s that bug-eyed emoticon when you need it?) said, “Let’s talk about girls.” (Which is the title of an old Chocolate Watchband song, I think.)

Knowing my role in the band (as in life, it would seem), I blurted: “Let’s not talk about girls.”

Someone said, “There’s a song there.”

I grabbed my notebook and got busy.

The original was nearly three times as long and had an elaborate call and response form that I must have been intentionally trying to make annoying.*

[* Someplace in the late ’80s I recorded a version of “Let’s Not Talk About Girls” on my old 4 track that cut around half the song’s 8 or 10 stanzas (as it had been originally written). This time, I changed the verses around and got rid of one more stanza I thought was superfluous and kind of distracting. And you thought these things started with just two verses and a chorus, huh?]

Machine Dog was a punk/new music band, to be certain, but we’d joked so often about putting together a side project to only play flower power hippy love-in music (which drove the drummer, a metal-punk, crazy) that we’d actually come up with a few songs in that style — this was a natural.

Rick the lead guitarist would bring flutes he’d made out of PVC pipe and play them into the PA with the reverb turned up all the way. He loved to ‘overblow’ (that mid-70s flute-freakout technique).

I’d typically string together a bunch of intentionally trite major 7th progressions on a guitar, James, the other primary singer-writer, would often play some bongos or another guitar, sometimes joined by the drummer, if he hadn’t stormed out to chain smoke out on the sidewalk.

Someplace in this sorry old world (maybe in my own garage), I hope there are still a few tapes with some of the hippy noodles we did while we were on the break timer. (No, I can’t remember if we had a break timer or not. Maybe one night. Everyone did have jobs. Strike that. Everyone over the age of 19 had a job. But our practices seemed to be sprawling, semi-social events, nonetheless. And the furniture store was our secret clubhouse.)

I remember one improvisation that ended up labeled “She Was a Flower Girl” (or something to that effect — not the Cowsills song)…

It started with fingerpicked, reverby Stratocaster and Rick’s lilting flute; a couple of us began improvising some appropriately sappy lyrical content, flower girl, sunny day, love, peace… and then someone picked up another guitar that had a fuzz pedal plugged in and punched on and someone started pounding a tribal rhythm on something and someone started screaming about the Manson family and… it was Machine Dog again.

Let’s Not Talk About Girls

let’s not talk about lonely nights
or waiting for her to come home
we all know what it’s like
don’t think that your’e all alone

let’s not talk about girls
let’s not talk about broken hearts
let’s not talk about love and
how love can tear you apart

let’s not talk about togetherness
hearth home or family
let’s not talk about how it all falls apart
for all the world to see

let’s not talk about girls
let’s not talk about broken hearts
let’s not talk about love and
how love can tear you apart

(C)1980, TK Major


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