"Linda," from Doberman 1
This song is called “Linda,” and it’s a love song, the kind where the absence of angst or italicized sentiment, along with the upbeat treatment, can convey the impression that nothing very serious is behind it. That’s true in the sense that nothing was eating at me requiring me to get my inmost thoughts about a non-existent love object named Linda onto paper; but it’s untrue in the sense that I seriously love music like this (the clearest referents are the Everlys and Rockpile, but hyperactivity, light-heartedness, hookiness, and clatter are fondly-remembered traits of 1980s pop in general). Also the detail about the speech club is a true-life morsel.
The thought that you and a person way out of your league have come together against all odds, and the consequent feeling of giddiness and wild luck -- it seems to me that this is a pleasant and not utterly unusual thought to harbor and to celebrate, in a spirit of secular blessing. “Holy shit, I get to be chained for life to this person?!” In songwriting, where you’re forever trying to find a new angle on a universal feeling, this seems to me as good a starting point as any.
All right, I could be making it sound more intellectual than it was. The more proximate motive force behind the tune was wanting to make a duet I could perform with Steve Frisbie. His amazing, high, clear voice is one of the glories of my neighborhood. I had in mind one of those songs specifically arranged for people like Lou Christie or Roy Orbison, where you establish a broad vocal range along with a suspenseful expectation that some crazy glass-shattering payoff will happen near the end. If, when the modulation happens in “Linda,” a little voice in your mind says, “Uh-oh, what now?” then I’ve done the trick!
The other players are Gerald Dowd on the drumkit and K.C. McDonough on the bass guitar. I’m not much of an electric guitar soloist, or at any rate I’m definitely not a cleanly professional electric guitar soloist, but since the official vibe here was Amateur Freestyle, I gave it a shot. The Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl once said my solo on “Down In Her Arms” was so outrageously awful it was almost good, and since then I’ve saved that thought. There’s an edit in my solo here (not saying where), and between that and the fact I was doing some in-the-dark random moves, I produced a solo that I can never re-perform. Billy Bremner told me that the same serendipity happened to Dave Edmunds, when he soloed so magnificently on “A-1 On The Jukebox.” Enough name-dropping, thanks for listening.