Lyric of the Week: GLORY DAZE
I had a friend
A big musician
Back in high school
When he played that guitar he could blow you away
Man, he rocked, and he ruled
Saw him for the first time in about 15 years
Still carryin’ his guitar
He said, Come on down to see me and the band
This is the one that’ll go far!
The best is yet to come
To the beat of a different drum
Glory daze, glory daze.
There’s this girl
She lives up in the city
Back in the day she was queen of the town
Everybody wanted to be seen with her
She had her pick, she could turn ‘em all down
Three husbands and counting, I guess they got in the way
Of her fast track TV production career
Given the choice between love and advancement
She knows which direction is clear.
Parked here facing the beach tonight
Loading up on sugar and caffeine
Twelve years of banging my head on the wall
Twelve years trying to penetrate and dominate the scene
Despite beat up hopes and shattered illusions
I keep on pushing and rolling ahead
Doggedly believing there’s a piece of it for me
And I’ll keep going for it, till I’m dead.
©2016 The Hesh Inc.
In 1994, I responded to an ad in The Aquarian Weekly soliciting contributions to an indie compilation of unsigned artists doing their versions of Bruce Springsteen songs. Of course, I responded; without waiting for a yes or a no from the person who placed the ad, I went ahead and recorded my cover version of "Glory Days" and sent him the master tape. (Yes, tape was still the preferred medium back then.) Well, after what was probably close to a year without hearing from him, I sent a letter vaguely suggesting legal action if I didn't hear from him—because who knows, maybe he went ahead with the project without notifying me, and then claiming all the credit!—he returned the tape with a handwritten note: "It would be better if you held on to your tape at this time." And that was the end of the project.
However, I couldn't just do nothing with this cover version! The music, as one of my friends who listened to it described it, sounded like a "heavy metal bar mitzvah"—heavy guitars, pounding drums, howling Hammond organ, and a Phrygian mode suggestive of klezmer and/or Middle Eastern music. The problem was, diehard Springsteen maniacs hated it while everybody else loved it. So when I submitted it to subsequent solicitations for similar contributions, the producers graciously declined, opting instead to pick up other cover versions that I did (the most notable of these was the limited-edition 3CD set, Light of Day: Tribute to Bruce Springsteen, available only in Spain, which included my pseudo-rap version of "Blinded by the Light"). So once again, nothing became of it.
Still wanting to do something with the song, I decided to include it on Everybody's in the Money, a collection of demos that I had amassed while kicking around the Jersey Shore music scene. Preferring to do the right thing, I contacted Jon Landau Management in order to obtain permission to use the song. While the woman I spoke to at the Landau office was very gracious and helpful, I ultimately got a message from one of Bruce's lawyers respectfully asking me to refrain from including it. And so it languished for another decade-plus.
Finally, in 2015, after some changes in US copyright law that made it easier to obtain permissions for cover songs, I managed to gain permission to release the song, and so I made sure to include it on my "best of" CD compilation, Boardwalk Mystic.
However, during that decade between being "respectfully" asked to "refrain" and finally obtaining permission, I figured that the Landau organization's (and possibly even Bruce's) objection to my version of the song was the way I took liberties with the music and some of the lyrics. Well then, if the music is so different, I reasoned, if I write completely new lyrics, then it is an altogether new song, perhaps with a discernible nod to Bruce but not at all a cover song. So that's when I wrote the lyrics you see on this page. Perhaps they might fit on one of the projected continuations of my Soul In Exile saga ... but we'll have to see.