monday song #73: wake


this is the first monday song i’ve posted that wasn’t written entirely by me. this song was composed by my band walrus, where i’m lucky enough to play with two outstanding musicians, christian riley and joaquin spengemann, who cowrote the tune.

it was originally released in 1995 on the ‘legless’ demo. the lyrics are mine, the composition was a group effort, but the lyrics are mine.

we played our first show in fifteen years a few weeks back, and as i relearned all the tunes, i was struck by how similar the lyrics are to what i write in monday songs: dark, existential, sad, but with a healthy dose of skepticism. this is probably my favorite walrus tune, in part because it so closely matches my current aesthetic, but also because it balanced volume and beauty so well. somewhere in the genre that ‘rain song‘ occupies. the lack of riffs made the translation a simple one.

as i worked on the tune, i experimented with new melodic ideas, harmonies, etc, but in the end came back to pretty much an identical treatment, minus distortion. for me, the presentation is part of the song. i have a hard time separating the two. i’m impressed by folks like harry nilsson who can take an excellent song and spin it like a rubik’s cube into another excellent song. if you want to hear the original, you can find the track in the itunes store.

and if you are curious about walrus, you can see them play in sacramento on october 12 at old ironsides. if it’s half as much fun as the last show, it will not disappoint.


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