Goodbye Spain

22 05 2011

Shameless self-promotion time!  Before “Goodbye Spain”, I had always written songs with my own lyrics.  It’s not that I wasn’t open to writing songs with other lyrics but the thought never occured to me.  Then one day, I came across my good old friend Sam West’s blog, which he used to post his own poetry and lyrics every once in a while, and that was where I read lyrics of his called “Goodbye Spain”.  The words spoke of a longing to get out of a smalltown, and though Vancouver isn’t a smalltown by any means, I could still relate to the lonely, outsider feeling of the poem’s tone.  In fact, I was so impressed and liked the lyrics so much that I asked Sam if I could write a song with them and once I was given the OK, I got to work on them.  First collaboration!  Woot!

For a while, I couldn’t come up with much.  Most of the time when I write, I’ll either have the music for the verse or the chorus down, but not for both, and I usually just get frustrated.  With “Goodbye Spain”, it was the same thing: I had music for the verses all set but nothing really came to mind for a chorus.  Eventually, I somehow managed to crank something out, and the next thing I knew, I was singing the song walking down the street, thinking to myself, “Damn!  That’s actually a pretty awesome song.” (rather than, “Damn!  I must seem like a crazy person right now, singing in public about highway A1A.”

I don’t have a studio version recording of the track yet, but I’ve performed it a bunch of times in live and this is my favourite performance.  Enjoy!

One More Day

3 03 2011

I often tell people that “Empty” was the first song I wrote, but that’s not actually true.  Back in the 10th Grade, instead of listening to Mr. O’Connor drone on about Social Studies and his propaganda (more on that a different day), I wrote this poem that somehow turned into a song in my mind. Sure, the lyrics are terrible and the melody of which I have long forgotten was probably equally terrible.  But hey.  Without this, I may not have ever been able to take a look at this later and thought, “Huh.  So this is kinda really bad.  Let’s write something good for a change… like about depression!”

One More Day

The morning brings to me,
Something I don’t know.
Singing in the streets,
Is what I have to show.

Why is life so hard
with everything I do?
Nothing seems to start
but your face will get me through
‘Cuz I know that…


I need to be free,
I need you with me.
When I’m goin’ crazy
and my mind is hazy, yeah
I need my own ways
Don’t care what you say.
Just help me get through one more day.

Dreamin’ of your face,
Thinking of your smile.
Staring into space,
Thouts just seem to pile.

Words can’t express,
how much I like you.
This problem’s such a mess
but I know you’ll get me through.
‘Cuz it seems like…

Repeat chorus

And it feels like this is never gonna work out,
on the inside, this is making me scream and shout.
Trying to forget you, but there is no doubt.
Now I cannot lie,
My love will only grow.
I can’t deny

[I think there’s a line more but the paper’s ripped at the bottom.  Which may be a good thing.]


28 02 2011

I thought I had posted all the song lyrics I had written but apparently not.


Breathe a secret in a bottle,
careful not to spill a drop.
Slam a cork in,
throw it away.

But it someone were to catch this message,
he swears his world would fall.
So it’s best not to breathe
than say anything at all.


I know it’s hard but
every word you say, every step you take
will lead you to where you belong.
And out of darkness,
there’ll be a light, you’ll no longer fight
with the demons of doubt in your head.
And walk through the door

And with each passing day
the secret’s in his heart.
You can layer on the lies
but a thought is never too far.
A thought is never too far,
a thought is never too far.


And when the bottle washes up on someone’s shores,
that’ll be the day… someday.

Dream 6

23 02 2011

Well, I had the worst nightmare: performing and screwing it up like never before.

I somehow found myself at the old Myles of Beans cafe where I used to perform.  In my dream, it was the last day, before the cafe closed (it’s closed now.  I don’t know why…) and I was invited by Wes, the resident musician in charge of open mic nights.  He invited me up to the stage and I sat down at the piano with my back to the audience (which you’re not supposed to do and even in real life, the piano was turned sideways so people could see you).  So there I sat, staring at the wall with the audience behind me while I talked into the mic about random things and the people behind me laughed as if I were a comedian.

This went on for a few minutes until I realized what I was there to do: play music.  So I said, “I should better get playing” and proceeded to play a song (I don’t remember which one).  But there wasn’t a mic for me to sing into and my words were barely heard over the piano.  So I suddenly stopped playing and asked Wes if I could get a mic which was nearby.  He gave it to me and I started playing again and for whatever reason, I kept screwing up everything: the piano, the words, the singing.  Everything was going wrong, not to mention it seemed to take me forever to finish the song.

Finally, I was done but I still wanted to play one song well to show everyone that I wasn’t some idiot.  Out of all my songs, I figured I knew how to play “Goodbye Spain” the best (also I had just played it a few hours before I went to bed).  So I did that, except somehow the microphone was on the other side of the piano again and I just thought, “Fuck it!  I’ll sing without the mic” and proceeded to then sing-shout the song overtop of the piano.

That’s all I remember.  God, I hope that doesn’t actually happen to me.  *shudder*

Both Sides Now — Joni Mitchell

17 01 2011

A few minutes ago, I watched/heard this song and inexplicably started crying.  And not just little tears, but pretty big that both my eyes had completely welled up.

This version of “Both Sides Now”, written and performed by the fabulousness that is Joni Mitchell, always gets me.  Perhaps it’s because I associate this song with the scene in Love Actually when Emma Thompson’s character is crying in her bedroom after figuring out her husband has given a necklace to someone else that makes me cry.  Perhaps it’s a combination of that and the introspective, contemplative, regretful-sounding lyrics and the arrangement of strings that elevate the song to the way it is.  Or maybe I just happen to cry easily.

Whatever the case, “Both Sides Now” is one of my all-time favourite songs, particularly this version (the original version is much different in the music and the way it is performed and almost feels like a different song altogether because it comes off differently emotionally).  Here’s a live version where Joni sounds almost like she’s lip-syncing because it’s so close to the recording — but of course you can tell she’s not.  She’s just amazing.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

28 12 2010

It’s also where the streets have no name (okay, that seemed more witty in my mind).  This was one of the earlier songs I wrote back in the day, and it is based on a Shel Silverstein collection of poems of the same name.  I’m not sure how it somehow popped into my head but I do remember really enjoying his work in the 2nd grade.  I’ve pretty much forgotten about this song since I used the bridge of this song in “Let Go”, which I think is a much better song, both lyrically as well as musically. That being said, I still remember how to play it and how the melody goes so maybe it’s not such a bad song after all.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the sidewalk ends,
that’s where I’ll see you again.
Jumping from crack to crack,
always wishing to want you back.

When the rains begin,
I’ll hold a candle and some things.
As the colored skyline fades,
I rush back to my mental cage.

And I run down the street
All these thoughts and memories gently spilling out.
Leave me here to mend.
And I”ll meet you where the sidewalk ends.

Where the past will start
is when my heart departs.
Chasing fantastic dreams
and anything else in between.

How fortunes finish,
a mystery diminished.
Mixtures of low tides,
bottle up numbling then divide.


Fly away, I’ll fly away
Fly away.
These mistakes, oh, these mistakes,
Will I finally die today?


Where the sidewalk ends,
that’s where we’ll meet again.

Let Go

30 08 2010

Another song I wrote quite a while ago. 

Everything seems to be faded
Everything seems to be fake
Everyone thinks they can handle
Life nowadays

Nothing is ever as it looks
Nothing is truly ever new
Nobody sees in the darkness
Or with clouded eyes


I still have yet to know
I still have yet to know
Let go
Let go

Looks like you’ve got me hooked
Looks like I can’t swim away
Looks like you appreciate my absence
From your heart

I still have yet to know
I still have yet to know
Let go
Let go

I still have yet to know
I still have yet to know
I still have yet to know
How to let you go
How to let you go
How to let you go

The alienation of my music

1 08 2010

[posted from my myspace blog page since I’m too lazy and uninspired to write anything new today]

This weekend is Pride in Vancouver.  I’m going to be helping out with some filming of queer events and performers for a documentary a friend of mine is putting together about local queer performers in the city.  Of course, interviewing bands and musicians who are playing shows when I myself am a queer musician and have a hard time even getting a show kinda makes me jealous.  But there’s something else that I’ve been thinking about as well.

When I think of “gay” coupled with “music”, I–and I think most people–tend to think of dance-y, trance-y, electronic stuff that simply makes people want to dance.  And who better dances than the gays?  (The correct answer is no one, in case you didn’t get that)  Then there are also bands that can put on a good show because well, frankly, they’re noisy and during a celebration like Pride, noise = good.

But then there’s me.  My music/style isn’t particularly upbeat, both in a tempo sense as well as an uplifting way, and it’s not really loud either.  I thought about it a lot over the last few days and I realized my music isn’t… very gay.  Not that that’s a bad thing or that I feel like I should change my sound.  No way.  But it’s just difficult sometimes to try and get people, especially the gay community, to listen and enjoy my music when I’m so much different than what they typically listen to.

My music can be brooding, pensive, and sad, and a lot of people don’t want to listen to that, which is fine, whatever.  But then to see other musicians making it because they’re more… accessible or have a more popular sound and have more fans is kind of disappointing, especially when I feel like my music and my songs are a lot more meaningful than stuff that’s already out there.

I sent an e-mail to the Pride organizers with a link to my music several months ago when I saw an ad for acts in the upcoming Pride.  I never got a response from them so I can only say that my music wasn’t what they were looking for.

It’s not that I don’t have any happy songs, but that I don’t feel the need to write happy songs when I’m happy because I’m out there being happy!  It’s only when I’m utterly depressed and unwilling to do anything else that I write.  And if that gets me fewer gigs, than what am I supposed to do?

Anyhoo, I’ll try not to be a downer for Pride.  Just a reminder that my short film, Stay, will be screening on August 16th at 9:30 at Tinseltown.  Happy Pride, tout le monde,



2 04 2010

Related to my last entry about being alone.


Let’s play a little game
Where every outcomes the same.
Ill be the one
While everyone runs.

And every soul at my touch
Friends and strangers as such
Flee while they can
Leaving with another in hand

Cause they all find each other
As I grasp for a dangling/strangling hope
Reach out with every ounce in my body,
And pray they wont go/say no.
But why complicate things?
I know the road is always done/Knots always come undone.
Footsteps fading into the gray,
As I wait for the next one.

Let’s play the game, let’s play the game, let’s play the game… X2

As new players join the round,
And others leave for good,
I keep using the same play
More than I ever should.

But when the time is up,
And they all head home,
Im on the field with nos at my feet
Just as the rules say, alone.


One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do,
Yes, it’s the saddest number that you’ll ever know.

Let’s play the game, let’s play the game, let’s play the game… X2
It’s just a game, it’s just a game, it’s just a game… X2


Let’s play a little game
Where every outcomes the same

What Are We Now?

15 01 2010

There isn’t a video for this song as it’s kinda high for me… even though I’m the one who wrote it.  I think I wrote this right after “Empty”, so it’s a few years old now.

What Are We Now?

We built this world
With dirty hands
Deceiving one another
Any way we can

Am I the only one
Who feels this way?
Or is everyone
Being told what to say?


What have we done?
What have we become?
When the world’s been running on lies
And people are being denied for who they are
What are we now?

A homeless man
Stricken with AIDS
I turn on the radio and hear
“Everything’s okay!”

And as he sits on the curb
Receiving glances and stares
What will happen to him?
How many of us care?


What have we done?
What have we become?
When the world’s too busy with wars
And people don’t know what it’s for
And they don’t care
What are we now?

What are we now?

What have we done?
What have we become?


What have we done?
What have have we become?
When the world’s been running on lies
And people are being denied for who they love

What have we done?
What have we become?
When there’s fighting everyday
And how many lives will we pay
Until we can say…