||A Muse Myself
By Danny McBride
© 2000-2003, Danny McBride. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.
Danny stopped writing for The Muse's Muse in 2003 as his life
just got busy and went in different directions. It was my privilege
and honor to actually meet with him and drive around the LA area with
him when I was visiting the area some years ago. He was a gracious and
enthusiastic host, showing me a great deal of what made the area he so loved to live in, special. He made me laugh a lot. That was Danny to me.
He was extremely generous with his time and contributed a great deal to
The Muse's Muse while he was a columnist here. His previous bio is
On July 23rd, 2009 in the early morning, Danny passed away in his sleep. He will be sorely missed. But he's sleeping well now. His Obituary is here. Rest well, my friend.
McBride's amusing musings about the art- -and craft- -of songwriting-
-although sometimes just arts and crafts, such as "lanyards make
nice guitar straps"- -but mostly about songwriting.
has been an ASCAP writer for twenty-five years, and is best known
as a performer from his days as ShaNaNa lead guitarist and
television personality "Dirty Dan" on the ShaNaNa Show. His
work on the movie soundtrack GREASE earned him a Platinum
Album and a Grammy nomination, and it's still the biggest grossing
movie musical ever, although Danny would have preferred to see SPINAL
TAP have that honor!! ("That Stonehenge number really worked
humorous look at the songwriting process, such as how collaborators
secretly hate each other's guts, and other related topics, livens
and lightens up what can sometimes be too serious an undertaking.
(Not to suggest that undertaking is not serious- -It is- -Especially
if you are the Undertaker- -or worse, the Undertakee.) Danny is
a veritable font of information about all things musical, and his
way of expressing himself will have you chuckling and learning at
the same time. Find his latest C D "16 TUNES...and whaddaya get...A
Songwriter's Portfolio" on Amazon.com.
A short bio
Way Download Upon The Swapping River -
Danny discusses file sharing and how it endangers intellectual property rights while giving us a very valuable history lesson about the origins of our modern copyright law. Originally, songwriters did not get paid for their work. Then Stephen Foster came along and began to change everything. Irving Berlin and others took songwriters to a place of profitability. With the latest computer technology we have almost come full cirlcle. Soon songwriters may again not get paid.
Piano Is My Forte -
Danny talks about switching instruments to get inspired to write new songs with new sounds.
Contests Rule -
Danny wonders whether or not all these songwriting contests that are soliciting entries are worth it.
Money Honey -
Danny takes a rare serious look at the current form of radio payola, especially as practiced by Clear Channel Communications, which owns about 1200 radio stations in the United States. Senator Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin) says it is illegal and is introducing legislation to eliminate it; however, the power of money still rules.
Boy!! Bands!! -
Danny discusses the dreaded recording industry practice known as "unrecouped".
She'll Be "Coming Down From The Mountain" When She Comes -
Danny has seen lots of live music this summer and whether it's Will Smith or Ralph Stanley the lesson is the same- -It's the SONG that makes the difference.
Tacit Approval -
Danny talks about the need to leave a few spaces between the notes. Only write/play/sing the good ones and leave the others out!! There's no need to fill every beat of every measure, says Danny. And now here's the "REST"- - -!!
Key To Success -
Sometimes it's time to move away from your favorite keys to see what other textures have to offer. Danny has a few key suggestions.
It's About Time -
Danny talks about time signatures and a little baseball.
Write Out Loud -
Just like the title says. How to go about writing a song so it sounds good out loud, which is (duh!) the way most of us hear or perform music- -unless you're Beethoven- -in which case skip this and go on to something else- -like a wig fitting.
Mule On Luge -
Scoring with a movie musical!! Maybe you could write the words AND the lyrics!! And the music too!!
Jose Can You See? -
Danny salutes the patriotic song. Or is that refutes the patriotic song?
Middle Sea -
Christopher Columbus thought of himself as a failure, and many of his contemporaries agreed. He had not found the middle sea passage around the world that he was looking for. If he had been a songwriter instead of a sailor that would have meant he would never have had a hit in his lifetime, and only later be discovered as someone whose tunes should have been listened to more closely. Chris had a good press agent, so we still remember him. ...
Sing A Song Of Sixth Sense -
Danny examines the two pop song cultures--The manufactured hits and those songs born of an individual writer's passion. Which style suits you best? Humor and history included!!
Knit Pickers -
in which Danny attends a gathering put together
by CD Baby.
Evans To Heaven -
A tribute to Dale Evans, "Queen of
Old Yolks At Home -
Ever wondered what Just
Plain Folks is all about? Have a read through Danny's
assessment. Cynical? Been there, done that? This community
of musicians will surprise you.
Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire -
Just in time for the holidays,
Danny talks about the history of making a Holiday Hit. (Hmm...
I wonder if the next article will mention squirrels... ;-))
Napster Hamster NAMMster Dance -
Will copyrights survive the
Napster/RIAA lawsuit? Danny talks about how he thinks things
will shape up - and why.
Hopelessly Demoted U2 -
A humorous article dealing with how to
make a great demo tape.
A Ticket To Write -
Some tips on how to get fresh ideas
if you're running low...
Muse Me While I Kiss This Guy -
Collaboration as a social
art form? Why not?
A Muse Ment -
A slightly comical inner discussion about
attending workshops entitled "The Art & Craft of Songwriting".
A Muse Zing -
From the May issue of The
Muse's News, about... well... writer's block. Sort of.
McBride is a singer/songwriter/musician who has played guitar
with dozens of well known acts such as ShaNaNa, including the TV series
and movie GREASE, as well as Freddy Fender, Mary Wells, Chuck Berry,
Delaney and Bonnie, Bo Diddley, Conway Twitty, Roger Miller, Bobby
Day, and many, many more. Visit him at www.dannymcbride.com.
Danny's C D "16 TUNES...and whaddaya get...A Songwriter's Portfolio"
is available from www.Amazon.com
and other music sites. He lives in Los Angeles. Visit The Boston Rock
& Roll Museum at www.dirtywater.com
(Danny is originally from Boston.)