Rian Johnson, who made Brick, invited me to RECord a german drinking song for his new movie.
Since the BROTHERS BLOOM came out this weekend (I'm on my way to see it tonight), I figured I'd reRelease my journal entry from my visit to the set there nearly two years ago. It's also here in the hitRECord.org archives ~ http://www.hitrecord.org/archive/Journal-2007-05-07.html
monday 7 may 2007
Greetings from Beograd... Rian seems to have perpetrated a small paradise here. The Brothers Bloom. That's its name. I usually enjoy my days of unemployment by staying away from movie sets. However...
Towards the beginning of the story, there's a big celebratory Berlin bar scene with an undercurrent of malaise, and thus the wee hours' background was to be seasoned with a few drunken stragglers singing something sad and slightly sour. To this end, Rian enlisted Nathan the singing Johnson who's also composing the movie's score, Jared in thanks for all the SnowShow tickets, and me since those Blooms never work with the same crew twice (Both Noah and Nora make appearences as well). Or perhaps he just wanted to throw us in the movie, and this was the best way he thought of.
In preparation, Jared and I went out to New Jersey to a place called Accordion-O-Rama, yes Accordion-O-Rama. What we got there is less of an accordion and more of a novelty squeeze-box that can play two chords, but two is more than one, and so it was more than adequate for the job. Around the same time, I was talking with a friend of mine who was born in Germany. I told him my friends and I were trying to come up with some sort of German drinking song, and he told me the lyrics to one he remembered. It was just one line, repeated over and over again, which was just about right, since the bit would be short, and since I didn't think I could pull off much more German than that. And since I like repetitive things. I woke up the next morning and, using the two chords I knew our squeeze-box could play, recorded a version on GarageBand, the computer sitting on top of my grandpa's piano.
I emailed it to Nathan and Jared, and they said they liked it. So we emailed it to Rian, and he said he liked it. When Jared and I got to Belgrade, Nathan suggested we write our own lyrics, since we weren't sure if the lyrics my friend taught me were traditional enough--in other words, weren't owned by somebody who could legally demand a paycheck. Well, none of us knew any German, so we had that to contend with; but there was no requirement that the words make any sense at all, so we had that going for us, which was nice. Simple trip to fonetiks.org did the trick. We looked up various things in English relating to a conversation Nathan and Rian had been having regarding some of the movie's metaphors on which, for the sake of art's mysterious ways, I shall not elaborate.
We recorded it in Nathan's hotel room. He's got this cool mini MBox so he can use ProTools on his laptop. One nice microphone. Some headphones. A few cables. All fits in a little suitcase. Nathan on guitar. Jared on the squeeze-box. And I upped the number of languages in which I can sing to four, ha!
Keep in mind, it's supposed to be a drinking song--I was holding a bottle of scotch when we shot the scene--so it's a bit sloppy. I have little confidence that the words have much to do with the "German Language." And it is quite repetitive. But I like how it turned out. Perhaps you will as well...
Believe it or not, this part got cut from the movie. I still do have a wee cameo, inspired heavily by the stillness of SNOWSHOW'S Green Clowns. Hope you go check out the flick, I highly RECommend it -- not only clever and hilarious, but hits the heart...
Created: May 16, 2009Audio Media