Bedroom Demos - Vol. 20

by Terry Scott Taylor

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Volume 20 of my Patreon home demo series.
patreon.com/terryscotttaylor

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released January 5, 2019

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Track Name: Strong Points, Weak Points - 2018
Strong Points, Weak Points
from the DA album "Fearful Symmetry"
Words by Terry Taylor
Music by Terry Taylor, Tim Chandler, Greg Flesch
©1986 Broken Songs (ASCAP)

You were always inclined to fall down on your knees
"Yes I am always praying through my vanities"
What was doubt in you has lost a Holy War
"What is faith in me has conquered all my world"
Chorus:
Good choice? Bad choice? Strong points? Weak points?
Strong heart? Weak will? Sound mind? Time will tell you.
Good choice? Bad choice? Strong points? Weak points?
Choices crowd your mind. Strong heart? Weak will?
And still time compels you, within these lines
to read the signs, you will find the truth
You were always talking 'bout some paradise
"Yes I am always thinking 'bout the afterlife"
What was hope in you is now your everything
"What was born in me is now a living thing"
(Chorus)
Good choice? Bad choice? Strong points? Weak points?
Strong heart? Weak will? Sound mind? Time will tell.
Strong heart? Weak will? Sound mind? Time will tell you.
Good choice? Bad choice? Strong points? Weak points?
Choices crowd your mind. Strong heart? Weak will?
And still time compels you within these lines
to read the signs, you will find the truth
You were always inclined to fall down on your knees
"Yes I am always praying through my vanities"
What was doubt in you has lost a Holy war
"What is faith in me has conquered all my world"
(Chorus)


note:
In setting out to write the lyrics to “Strong Points, Weak Points,” I conceived the idea of giving glimpses of the faith journey of its narrator by means of an inner dialogue, represented in the original recording, (and here), through the use of two voices carrying on a kind of internal theological conversation. This dialogue contains allusions to the concept of free will in opposition to determinism, consideration of arguments for and against the existence of God, and by extension and implication, the validity of the revelation of the Father’s nature and will through his Son, Jesus of Nazareth. At the heart of the lyric is a call to a reasonable faith based on God’s own admonition “Come let us reason together.” I am truly thankful that belief in Christ did not require me to jettison my intellect in favor of a so-called “blind” faith, but that I had sound and reasonable arguments for putting my trust in Him.
Track Name: Will Have To Do For Now - 2018
Will Have To Do For Now
words and music: Terry Scott Taylor
©1993 Shape Of Air Music, BMI

I'll toast and drink
While staggering toward the holy, hidden heart of it
You'll swim and sink
Drowning just to see a little part of it

Will have to do for now
It will do for now
Have to do for now

I'll live and learn
That the rain against the window's saying,
"Life is grace"
At your every turn
Reveals a mystery hiding in the commonplace

Will have to do for now
It will do for now
Will have to do for now

The Artful Dodger down on Avarice Street
He’s inclined to repent, but the sin’s too sweet, yeah
He’s imagining heaven through the multi-colored glass,
The icon pages, the blood and ashes

Have to do for now
It will do for now
Have to do for now

Will have to do for now
Will have to do for now
Will have to do for now…

Note:
I had intended in this note to write the usual stuff by offering a few explanations concerning the lyrical content of “Will Have To Do For Now”; the opening line of the song being suggestive of the Lord's supper, the second line alluding to baptism, etc. In the middle of recording this remake I learned of Tim Chandler’s sudden passing. So, setting aside my initial intent, I want to break protocol by sharing a few personal thoughts about the life and death of one of my dearest and most treasured friends.

Although Tim lived across the country, he has been with me in a unique way almost every day now for several months. I’ll explain this further as we go along. Let me begin by saying that I’ve never played much bass and I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by the instrument. This is not because I felt I couldn’t pull off an adequate, albeit somewhat pedestrian, bass accompaniment from time to time, especially on these Patreon demos, but the central reason for my intimidation is that I just happen to be a fellow musician and friend of someone who was arguably the greatest bass guitarist on the face of the planet. This isn’t hyperbole or simply the biased opinion of a fellow bandmate. Go on Facebook right now and you’ll read this same kind of thing from most everyone acquainted with Tim’s work, many of them naming a particular song or songs they feel are perhaps his most brilliant contributions. One of the great tragedies of Tim’s life is that his extraordinary gift remained relatively unknown to the world at large. The man was no doubt a musical genius, an utterly unique craftsman, more a magician than a musician, who passionately defied musical convention and, upon first blush, seemed to be playing with wild runaway abandonment. The truth is however that Tim carefully considered every single note he ever played. Virtually nothing was random or some kind of musical afterthought. He was contemplative and tedious in his pursuit of the ideal accompaniment, one which was apropos for the particular song yet, more often than not, unpredictable and at times eccentric. A deconstructionist at heart, Tim’s deliberate use, at times, of gaps, distortion, extraneous noise, bent strings, and dishevelment, brought a kind of punk sensibility to DA’s British Invasion pop leanings. His parts could be simultaneously subtle and ferocious, or conjointly grotesque and beautiful. He appeared to the listener, and even to us, his bandmates, to often be on the verge of derailment, but he never failed to pull back just enough to keep himself, and us, on track; a seemingly runaway train arriving safely at its destiny to the wild celebratory cheers of the crowd. God knows, as only God can, how Tim did it; how he actually brought more depth, and ultimately more meaning, to that which traditionally exists in the domain of lyrics or in frontline instruments such as guitar, piano, horn, and violin, instruments which one usually associates with the kind of fluidity and versatility necessary to induce in us a sense of beauty, adoration, sadness, melancholy, joy, darkness, fear, love, hate, chaos and symmetry. Tim managed, without ever getting in the way of the arrangement or appearing to overplay, to gloriously transcend the supposed limitations of his chosen instrument, one primarily existing to serve a humble supporting role, and using only four strings and an ancient amp held together with a little prayer and a truckload of duct tape, he somehow helped to evoke in us every one of these emotions. A bass player? Hardly. Any more than Picasso was just a “painter.” Of course, Tim would have passionately objected to the comparison, but like Picasso, Tim went beyond the acceptable norm and thereby took us to places we might not have otherwise imagined. Like Picasso, Tim’s abstractions were not the default position born of a lack of traditional skills. Picasso could paint a perfectly rendered horse and, subsequently, Tim could play as skillfully and conservatively as one might require of him. Ask The Lost Dogs, or listen to some of my solo work. Even when hobbled Tim excelled, once again impressing us with his dexterity and skill.

I began by saying Tim has been with me almost daily now for several months. Sure, we spoke occasionally long-distance on the phone about how life was treating us, invariably followed by the swap of a couple of absurd true-life stories which got us laughing so long and hard we’d be too drained and breathless to continue. As his Facebook followers well know, Tim had a remarkable, almost uncanny ability to recollect times, places, and events from the past, often in minute detail. He was a splendidly gifted story-teller. Anyway, we would always end these phone calls with a genuine “Love you brother,” managing to say this between bursts of residual laughter. Tim’s laugh was as equally ferocious as his bass playing; the initial expulsion of air that sounded like the blast of a fog horn, followed by breathless, drawn-out “ha-ha’s” and a series of machine-gun like cackles, the cycle repeating itself until we were both spent.

Still, because his work embodied the man’s essence, Tim’s presence, for me, was most strikingly perceived when I listened to his work, our occasional phone calls notwithstanding. And I am presently, now more than ever, doing just that; listening with rapt attention to his work. As I said, this started a few months back when I first began playing bass in earnest on these home demos. When consulting the original recordings I would do my best to tune everything else out and to zero in on Tim’s lines. Of course the problem is (as anyone knows who has ever attempted to duplicate Tim’s style), that even if one were to somehow manage to play the lines note for note, the intangibles—the soul—would remain elusive. If you’re lucky, at best you’ll get a reasonable facsimile because these aren’t just notes Tim is playing, they are his personal pain, anger, despair, doubt, rage, humor, hope, joy, anguish and ecstasy. What Tim played was who he was, and who he was had been forged down through the years by an inordinate amount of adversity, disappointment, and disillusionment. He was a PK (preacher’s kid) who fulfilled all of the nefarious requirements of that infamous title. He was at constant war with his earthly father and with his upbringing, and at times all of the adversaries of his childhood seemed to be incarnate in the heavenly Father he simultaneously rebelled against and tried his best to understand, to believe in and perhaps, eventually, to learn to trust and love. I believe that in Daniel Amos Tim at last found the love, support, camaraderie, and acceptance he had hungered and thirsted for first as a boy and then as a young man growing up in a judgmental and suffocating religious environment where the expectations imposed upon him as the son of a preacher were a cross too great for him to bear. He had been well acquainted with religious hypocrisy when he joined us, because he had witnessed it up close and personal. In Daniel Amos Tim also found, maybe for the first time, a robust Christian faith that rang true to him. We became then his home and family, one which graciously took him in, provided him with safe haven, and continued to love him through the years no matter his foibles, his doubts, his fears, his many failings, his darkness. Of course this is something that can be said about every one of us; we are, all of us, broken; we all “fall short of the glory of God.”

Because committing himself to anything or anyone meant ‘all-in’ (sometimes to the point of obsession), Tim drove himself far too hard. He lived on the edge and constantly paid the price for it, though he would never acknowledge the latter. If it is true that our body is a temple, then Tim committed frequent sacrilege within its hallowed halls. Unfortunately, so far as I can determine, he almost never expressed regret or remorse and was seemingly short-sighted when it came to truthful and penetrating self-reflection. When the rarity of a breakdown or an ending of a once seemingly robust relationship occurred, Tim had a tendency to angrily blame all but himself for what was, to all concerned, clearly his fault alone or at the very least a wrongdoing for which he shared some degree of culpability. On these very rare occasions in which something of a serious personal nature would break through, Tim’s anger, (along with the justification for it), was always predominant. For me it was like facing the sudden threat of a raging storm-front; I was unprepared, flummoxed, and jittery. I must also confess that among my greatest flaws is my inability, except when pushed to the extreme limits, to justifiably confront anyone, especially a close friend whose anger is not personally directed toward me. I may push back a little in the face of a clearly wrong-headed attitude or position, gently offering a counter perspective, but afterward I invariably feel I could and should have said more. If this isn’t blatant cowardice, (as I sometimes find myself thinking) then, God forgive me, it certainly borders on it. Be that as it may, in lieu of anything substantive about his personal life, Tim chose instead to accentuate the absurd and laugh-inducing events that seemed to regularly revolve around him . It wasn’t as if he and I never experienced moments of depth and substance in our conversations, we most certainly did, but this rarely resulted in unearthing anything very deep and illuminating about the man himself. Even on those rare occasions when I would gently prod him in that direction, he remained guarded.

His family and we, his friends, worried about Tim constantly; his health, his mental well-being. I told myself that one day very soon, maybe during the upcoming recording of my next solo project, I would sit down across from him and we would have a serious talk about some of these growing concerns. I have no idea how this would have been received. Tim could be an intimating figure, and no one who had ever been at the receiving end of his anger soon forgot it. Yet he was also capable of being extravagantly generous in his love of friends. At his best, and in this way, Tim came nearest to holiness. Without himself being aware of it it, he possessed a Christ-likeness in his ability to emotionally touch and help to heal us with his sweetness, tenderheartedness, kindness, encouragement, and loyalty.

He was equally extravagant in his appetites, feeding his need to escape his pain by swallowing the darkness in great mind-numbing gulps. His extremes, good and bad, were passions sometimes expressed in the form of anger, dismissiveness, or wilting condescension and disdain disgorged upon friends and foes alike whenever he felt he’d been crossed or encountered a point of view at odds with one he maintained with a righteous, stiff-necked fervor. On the other hand, there were times when Tim’s anger toward a friend as a result of some misunderstanding or genuine disagreement of some sort, could dissolve almost as quickly as it had first flared up. In these instances no one would be more desirous of reconciliation than he. Amazingly, not once in the many decades I have known him has Tim ever had an angry or unkind word to say to me personally. Not once. Surly there are others who can make the same claim. Still, there is no doubt that over the years I have given him plenty of grist for his mill, yet all I ever got from him in return was love, concern, encouragement, mutual respect, and validation. Although my bandmates were all extremely supportive and respective of my work (and I theirs), it was Tim who would request to actually sit down and read the lyrics when I first wrote them, Tim who would often comment on their significance and meaning, Tim who got a kick out of and took the greatest pleasure in them, Tim who would quote them back to me over the years, Tim whose love and encouragement lifted me out of my self doubt and gave me the courage to play what I was initially too self-conscious to play and to do battle with any self-restriction that might be keeping me from fully exploring all creative avenues. Tim, the gentle persuader, my cheerleader, my Champion. St. Paul wrote “We have this treasure in earthen vessels…” Perhaps no one I know was more “earthen” than Tim and very few are, like my irreplaceable brother, true treasure bearers of God’s grace in my life, whether he recognized this or not.

Before I learned that Tim had left the planet, the day began in its usual way. As I have said, I was working on yet another Patreon song and studying the remarkable bass part my friend had laid down in the studio. I immediately abandoned any hope of replicating it, so I went for something simple, settling for a couple of Tim-like flourishes here and there. There in my small work space Tim was with me, and with his specter looming over my shoulder I experienced memory pictures of him in the studio and on stage, at times attacking his bass guitar; beating it into submission, wrestling with it much like Jacob wrestled with the angel of God. Jacob lost his battle; the bass however never stood a chance against its formidable adversary. Come to think of it, Tim would have made a great professional wrestler. He had the look and the temperament. He was big, strong, and intimidating. He could rant and rave with the best of them and, if he had a mind to, he no doubt possessed the ability to pick a guy up like a limp dishrag and heave him right across the room. With professional wrestlers this is all part of the act and in everyday life I assume many or most of them have friends and family who cherish them and wives and children they dearly love. Many, no doubt, are generally kind and considerate people. Tim was true blue in his own duality; he could genuinely be both the madman in the ring calling his opponent a “pencil-necked geek” and stamping around with fire in his eyes and the chords in his neck taught and pulsating with the blood of a killer, as well as that same guy afterward, humbly doing his best to make amends to his bloodied, bruised, and defeated opponent. Tim was a wrestler with God as well, fighting Him to the very end and finally, at last, broken more than he already had been, succumbing in battle. Perhaps it was only death which possessed a strong enough grace to bring about my friend’s final surrender.

Working through the afternoon on my ‘Tim part’ for “Will Have To Do For Now” the thought occurred to me just how much the song was, in some way, more about Tim than it was about me. Later that evening, only a few hours before learning of his passing, I got an unexpected automated reminder on my iPhone; It was one of those pop-ups telling me to “Call Tim Chandler back,” and this was in reference to an old call I hadn’t yet returned, one which I’ll never have the opportunity to make. Regret. Guilt. The loose ends we will all have to live with because we thought we had more time. There is always more time.

The wrestling is over now. In my mind is another picture, perhaps a fanciful one and admittedly sentimental, yet one which I don’t believe is beyond the purview of “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”: Tim’s wounds from that fight-to-the death wrestling mismatch are being tended to. The healing has begun. Jesus has his arms wrapped around my friend and Tim’s sorrowful weeping turns to wonder and elation when the Lord points into the distance and Tim spots the grinning faces of his friends Mark, Tom, Doug, Dave, and Gene who are all running toward him. He has quite a story to tell them, and soon all of paradise is filled with the roar of their laughter.
Track Name: Be My Hiding Place - 2018
Be My Hiding Place
from the Lost Dogs album "Nazarene Crying Towel"
(Words and Music by Terry Taylor)
©2002 Shape of Air Music, BMI

Unto Thee I cry, my Savior
Don't be silent long, O my Lord
Hear the voice of my troubled heart
When I lift my hands to Thee
Be my hiding place in times of trouble
Compass me about with songs of deliverance
Blessed are You Lord, my Savior
My heart will trust in you, my strength
My soul will rise again, rejoicing
And I will praise Your name, my God
Be my hiding place in times of trouble
Compass me about with songs of deliverance

note:
This song, inspired by Psalm 32, needs no explanation. The plaintive, broken cry of the psalmist encapsulates my own sense of sorrow, longing, and loss during this time of mourning for my dear departed friend Tim. Along with fear and despair, we find faith and hope expressed in the psalmist’s words as well- “My soul will rise again, rejoicing.”
Track Name: Dig Here Said The Angel - 2018
Dig Here Said the Angel
from the Daniel Amos album Dig Here Said the Angel
Words & Music by T.S. Taylor
©2013 Shape of Air Music, BMI

“Dig here,” said the angel
I asked “My heart? Or my grave?”
“Maybe both,” said the angel, “things can go either way.”
“There’ll come a time,” said the angel,
“you’ll lose that wrinkled suit of skin.
And when you walk up to the big door you can go right on in.”
I cried then,
I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’
Night and day
I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’
To see your beautiful face
“Here’s the catch,” said the angel
“You’re gonna suffer for awhile”
“I’ll tell you straight,” said the angel
“Don’t plan to go out in style”
And meanwhile
I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’
Night and day
I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’, I’m dyin’
To see your beautiful face
Repeat chorus
note:
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”
-Philippians 1:21

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
-Galatians 2:20
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his”
-Romans 6:23
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”
-Colossians 3:3
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”
-Philippians 1:21
“He must increase, but I must decrease”
-John 3:30
“I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better—“
-Philippians 1:23
“I die every day”
-1 Corinthians 15:31

Of course the reality of our own mortality grows more pressing as we grow older, the years of our younger selves seemingly sluggish in their progression when compared to the merciless sprint of our twilight years. The angel in “Dig Here Said The Angel” is telling us to dig deeper and go below the surface of our temporal lives by embracing our suffering and our inevitable passing as the terrible and beautiful grace that it is; the means by which we sustain a hope in glory through the knowledge that “we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is.”

TST
Track Name: I May Never Know
I May Never Know
words and music: Terry Scott Taylor
©2018 Shape Of Air Music, BMI
In this old message you’re alive
The jokes, the laughter, and the lies
If I’d said something true and wise
Could I have saved you?
Now I
May never know
There's a flaming sword that bars my way
Back to what it was; to those kids at play
Could that memory have birthed the words to say
That would have healed you?
Now I
May never know

And now I’ll cry
That's all I can do for now, and so
I will cry
Because I
May never know

We can die before we’re dead
Form fossil hearts as hard as lead
Did I feed the thing I came to dread?
Should I have starved you?
Now I
May never know
The night’s a tyrant, the day’s a thief
Stealing all but the weight of grief
Was this the only way that peace
Could embrace you?
Now I
May never know

And now I’ll cry
That’s all I can do for now, and so
I will cry
Because I
May never know
Because I
May never know
Because I
May never know
May never know


note:
The tsunami of grief rolls in; a dear friend or family member has died and all you can really do for now is to try not to drown in it, but to ride it out the best you can. It is human nature to go to a place of guilt and regret when these great losses occur; “I should have hung out with him more,” “If only I had said (this or that) to her,” “I should have returned his call,” “I should have been a better friend (or father, mother, son, or daughter).” In all of these “I should haves” there may well be something of the truth, but we must remember that it is the one who is gone who, (more likely than not, since you so highly regard them in the first place), is the kind of person who would be the first to forgive you for your failings because he or she understood, as we all understand, that among our many self-deceptions is the thought that there is still plenty of time to do the things we know we ought not put off; those real-stuff-of-life things we postpone, in some cases, out of fear and guilt or, as is most often the situation. because of our hectic and distracted lives, which also happen to be fragile and fleeting. Death is a terrible grace that reminds us of the mortality we all share, and in so doing separates the wheat from the chaff by prioritizing the important stuff over the unimportant stuff or, at the very least, the least important stuff. In going on, we will try to do better in the days ahead; that’s all we can do, but in order to do so it is crucial that we make the effort to keep in mind that if God can and does forgive us our failures in all of this, then it is incumbent upon us to forgive ourselves. I’m in the struggle of trying to do so even as I write this.

“I May Never Know” is something like a diary entry in that it is an honest confession in real time of my thoughts and emotions regarding the death, a few days ago, of a precious friend. Some of these thoughts and emotions may be transitory; perhaps I won’t feel quite the same way tomorrow, or next week, or next year, but right now this is as honest as I can be.

Thank you my friends for letting me continue to share my grief with you, and thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers.
TST
Track Name: Flash In Your Eyes - 2018
Flash In Your Eyes
(A Song for Gene Eugene)
from the DA album "Mr. Buechner's Dream"
Words and music by T.S. Taylor
©2001 Shape Of Air Music, BMI

Once, we lit a candle in the
Cold dark street
And hoped the world would one day,
Burst into flame
We spilled a cup of water there
In the desert heat
And dreamed the earth was drenched
In the grace of that sweet rain

Chorus:
Now you're the catch in my throat
Was I in your dream of last goodbyes?
Now you're the thorn in my heart
Was I a flash in your eyes?

Once, we pulled some angels from
Our magic hats
Then we danced with them along
The Scenic Routes
Here is the Dream Room where we
Left our tracks
And dared to imagine what it
All was all about

Chorus

Bridge:
And Cohen was singing
"If it be your will"
And we heard him singing
"If it be your will"
Once, we painted pictures most the
World would never see
And hung them up on nails that held
God's feet and hands
We built a playhouse
In a fallen tree,
That you'd be first to leave
Was never in our plans
Chorus
Outro:
Feels like the late great's
Around us here (repeat)

note:
My tribute to Gene Eugene, written shortly after his passing. Since so much of “Flash In Your Eyes” contains parallels to thoughts and emotions I am currently experiencing after the death of Tim Chandler, I felt a rerecording of this song would be appropriate.
I’ve peppered the lyrics in “Flash” with references to such things as Gene’s “Green Room” recording studio (…the Dream Room where we left our tracks”), the Lost Dogs (…then we danced with them along the Scenic Routes), and so forth.
Gene was a big fan of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen (…and Cohen was singing ‘If It Be Your Will’) and it was through Gene that I went from merely appreciating Cohen, to falling in love with his body of work; thus the tribute within a tribute.
After Gene’s death, I began working on the Starflyer record “Leave Here a Stranger” and it was during these sessions that Jason Martin, front man of the band and another close friend of Gene's, would often refer to Gene as “The Late Great.” The last lines of “Flash” allude to this.
TST

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