Singled Out: Hot Head Show
"Bummer" actually started life as a Johnny Cash song. I was playing along with I think probably the Folsom Prison album, and this rhythm arrived in my hands. As is often the way, that initial idea was a long way from both the song that inspired it and the song it became. The body of the song was pretty much done by that afternoon, but that bass melody which opens and closes the song came much later, appeared in my head one night on the tube. Which is also where most Hot Head Show lyrics get written. There's something about riding the tube.
"Hotel Room" was a bit different - I wrote most of that song pacing around a room in Vancouver without a guitar. It's the only time I've come up with a melody and lyrics first, and written the chords and bass later. The other thing about that tune is that the bass melody for the verse is the same as the vocal melody in the chorus, the idea being that when you hear the chorus for the first time, you're already familiar with the melody. It could be that it never made any difference to anyone's experience of the song, but that was one of the ideas things grew from.
Lately I've been running with the theory that the best way to start a good song is with a bad idea. When I start out with an idea I like, the song's development will inevitably be hampered by an instinct-skewing loyalty to that first idea. If I start out with an idea that's lame enough to easily think of as a placeholder, then new ideas tend to sprout more naturally. I think it's important to be able to cheerfully kill some of your babies.
As for the Bummer Video - that started as an editing concept. I do a lot of work as a video editor, and for a while I'd been looking for an excuse to experiment with Rhythmadelic Micromontage techniques. It was Vaughn's idea (our Lead Bass player) to use girls with their boobs out. Worked out pretty good I think.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, check out the video which includes reworking of vintage Russ Meyer footage right here!