Bass Is High

This week’s effort, “Bass Is High“, will be heard by some of you as a summer wipeout, a midsummer night’s scream, a palette cleanser. But not like lemon sorbet would be a palette cleanser… more like a handful of dirt.

To understand this song properly, however, you must hear it as a tribute to Baby Teeth’s great drummer, Peter Andreadis, who has spent the day enduring a vicious stomach malady. How is this song a tribute to Peter? First, he originally challenged me to take a small part at the end of one of my other demos (“Disco Dance Derby”, as yet unrevealed on this blog) and turn it into a song of its own. That small part has turned into the piano-guitar-drum loop that goes throughout “Bass Is High”. Second, Peter is one of the biggest Iron Maiden fans I know, and the song’s title, “Bass Is High”, is a pun on Maiden’s “Aces High”, a Baby Teeth tour van favorite. And third, the chorus of “Bass Is High” goes heavily into Cobain territory, and Peter is the only person I know (I think) who actually saw Nirvana live, back at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo. Speedy recovery, Peter!

Nirvana aside, there’s a serious Stooges influence here too… “I Wanna Be Your Dog” features a single eighth-note piano octave that’s beaten from start to finish, and I bite that trick for this song. And the rhythm-guitar stabs are a tip of the hat to Spoon, whose new album, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” (unrelated to Spank Rock’s “YoYoYoYoYoYo”, in case you were wondering) I’ve been listening to a lot. Spoon knows a shit-ton about arranging and recording… it will blow you away again and again. Like the Pitchfork review said, their new album is definitely a “grower”. But it gets you in the end… highly recommended by this blog-gist.

Anyway, I’m going on way too long, but one more point: these lyrics were loosely inspired by Baby Teeth’s show Saturday night at Schubas, where we got to share the stage with the great Andy Pratt. Thanks to everyone who was there… what an amazingly enthusiastic crowd. We’re lucky to know you. To me, Andy embodies the rock-and-roll archetype of the manchild, with the child and the man engaged in a constant struggle within, often producing great art along the way. The choruses of “Bass Is High” are about that struggle.

Let me just close by saying, I’ve heard a lot of people dissing the ProTools AmpliTube plug-in, but I positively live off that thing. You’ve just gotta turn down the treble, that’s all.

Thanks again to everyone for writing in… this is lots of fun for me, and I hope you’re enjoying it too.

20 Responses to “Bass Is High”
  1. Lara says:

    That’s dirty! This is an obvious turn from your recent posts that were very old-timey, old-fashioned sounding…I like the versatility! Now you may don large, shiny black sunglasses and make your Q101 debut. Hopefully Eric and Kathy won’t make one of those billboards imitating you. Oh wait, that’s Mix 101.9. You’re safe. Those people aren’t ready for you yet. Also- my best friend Kash Kosinksi has seen Nirvana live. Take that, Andreadis!

  2. Jerry Grit says:

    “Feed the man but bleed the boy”…Thanks, I’ll be using that one on the moms this Thanksgiving. And only 1 progression of 2 chords? Is this a Baby Teeth First? I am used to many unexpected changes from you guys, that I’m a bit thrown. You’re getting into Bob Pollard territory. You do a great job of keeping interesting, not easy for a 2 chorder even for 2 minutes or so.

  3. Peter says:

    Feeling better today thanks. I ate some pancakes and some fruit. Along with about 5 popsicles. Glad to hear you got some inspiration from me. I don’t know if I’m the biggest Iron Maiden fan, but probably the biggest in the band at the moment. I too like the simplicity of this song and the repetitive nature. I already know you are a Bob Pollard fan, so that Jerry fellow is right on the mark. Keep it up! I’ll just sit back and eat popsicles while watching t.v. and let this blog do all the work.

  4. Cort says:

    Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, Oct. 29th 1993… EASILY, the finest musical event of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh yeah, Spoon, Spank rock, Stooges… all apt references.

    This tune is so friggen’ Detroit (the remains of the city) meets Love (the group). I doubt a B part would add much.

  5. Cort says:

    Popsicle time!!

  6. Abraham says:

    hey thanks everyone.

    lara: yeah, maybe all that old-timey musical stuff was getting to me, and I needed to spit it out somehow. I’d be honored to be billboarded by eric and kathy. and yeah, I figured that maybe I knew someone else who’d seen nirvana and that this would drag out the truth. who would’ve known… mild-mannered kash kosinski!

    jerry grit: thanks for the compliment…. the pollard reference is much-appreciated. I could just as easily have gone off in the post on my respect for that dude. happy to help with thanksgiving!

    peter: glad you’re feeling better. like cort said, popsicle time.

    cort: wow… you too? mild-mannered cort? thanks for the detroit-meets-love comment. that is wild! and thanks for nipping a B-part in the bud… that will save us lots of time at band practice!

  7. Jim C. says:

    Perhaps Eric and Kathy could both don an Abraham suit “Top Secret” style, with one in the bottom half, and the other in the top (Kathy)?

    I’ve bought my Bono insect goggles and tight leathers for this one. White Light, White Heat, baby.

    Seriously, one of my favorites so far– both musically and “commentarily.” Let’s trim the fat, Baby Teeth! No more B’s!

  8. don cacarella says:

    The song along with your blog, i feel,

    is compositionally analogous to Lt. Commander Data’s poem about his cat Spot:

    Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
    an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
    Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
    contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

    I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
    a singular development of cat communications
    that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
    for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

    A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
    you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
    And when not being utilized to aide in locomotion,
    it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

    O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
    connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
    And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
    I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend

    (Thems pearly whites Abraham, brilliant, simple, raw)

  9. Abraham says:

    jim: thanks! a surprising reaction, but I’m very glad you dig it. I guess not so surprising considering your current fela craze.

    don cacarella: I enjoyed that poem tremendously. and yes, compositionally, I am indeed a big fan of the A-A-B-B rhyme scheme (although to be perfectly technical, this song is A-B-A-B).

    cheers friends.

  10. Chris says:

    Abraham, I love this site. More than just an mp3 blog, it’s part songwriting workshop, part deadline-driven raison d’etre to keep writing. Very inspirational. Great songs. Keep on truckin!


  11. Lara says:

    Yeah, I think Kathy should be the upper half of the Abraham suit, because she can open her mouth really wide (see: the Pink ad), just like Abraham! (I do have license to say that, for anyone concerned).

  12. Jason C. says:

    Nice tune w/ cool references! ‘S got a TV on the Radio vibe to it, soulful vox.
    I’ve been listening to the Spoon disc too lately… The bonus material is pretty rad as well.
    Reminds me of their “Series of Sneaks” album. Good to see all you guys not too long ago.
    Rock (& write) on!
    -Jason of ATX

  13. Abraham says:

    chris: thanks buddy. I’m really glad you’re checking it out. I have elvis whispering in my ear… he gives me the courage to go on.

    lara: good call about kathy… she does have a big mouth.

    jason: hello my friend! glad you are also digging on the song and the spoon. I’ve always meant to get “series of sneaks” but as yet have not taken the plunge. twas awesome to see you too.

    love to the world. “heaven I need a hug / is anyone out there willing to embrace a thug?”

  14. Ron says:

    Oh my gosh, is there a way to download these tracks by Podcast/RSS?

    I think I used that Amplitube plug-in yesterday for the first time.

  15. Abraham says:

    hey there ron —

    I really don’t know about the RSS/podcast stuff. is there any tech guru out there who could lend a hand with that? I could pay in flavored pretzels….

  16. Having just found this blog via your comment at my site, I’m super excited to have a bunch of new songs to listen to, along with the ones I found at Daytrotter the other day. I’d be happy to help you out with the RSS stuff — I’m in the process of switching my site to WordPress, so I’ve been getting my site set up for it already.

  17. Ron says:

    Hello Abraham!

    I’ve only recently been learning about Podcasting, but it seems pretty simple. If you have server space to host your songs and an RSS file, then all you need to do is look up on the web how to write such code into the file (it doesn’t look too tough) and then BOOM, Abraham automatically downloads into everyone’s computer.

    Btw, tight song. Might I ask what you used for the drum sound? I like that gritty rockin’ kit.

  18. Abraham says:

    aaron: awesome! I’m glad you’re here, too. thanks for your offer to help. I’ll send you an email.

    ron: thanks for outlining that. with the two of you to help me, there is no way I can fail. the drums were made on reason…. a combination of one of their pre-programmed loops and a beat that I made myself. glad you dugged it.

  19. JoeBlu says:

    Abraham, I saw your letter in the Reader this week – I don’t know if we can even draw the line between independence and pandering. You guys have done the ‘unified theme costume’ thing before, and it seems like everyone’s got their schtick. Indie culture these days has such a concern with whether an action is posturing or not – is there even a way to address that without becoming a little hypocritical?

  20. Abraham says:

    hi joe,

    thanks for this comment… it’s very thought-provoking. I’m definitely aware of the hypocrisy involved in my taking any kind of “anti-schtick” stance, given my history with baby teeth and with bobby conn. but I would turn the laser beam on my own projects just as quickly. i.e., when any band is at its best, the schtick might be an initial provocation or enticement, but the music is what seals the deal. that goes for baby teeth, bobby, of montreal, anyone. it’s because I love the new of montreal album so much that I was disappointed by their pitchfork set: I thought that their schtick was the dominant element (more than the music), and with a band of their quality, it felt like a shame.

    thanks for chiming in!

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